This weekend my pastor gave a message based on Hosea 14:1-9. This passage of scripture talks about the Isreal and the dire place they are in. It talks of their lostness and the pain and brokeness their land is experiencing because of Their sin.
Our pastor drew some parallels between Iseral and America and issued us a challenge and I enjoyed it so much I want to pass it along to all of you!
Often times you will see an interview with an wealthy busisness man. This business m an invested wisely and he did his research and worked hard. He is a self made man. He has no one to thank for his success but himself.
Amazing isn’t it. Don’t we all wish that we could be self made men? I sure don’t.
Forgiveness is a difficult thing. It goes against everything in our being. We as humans want to either hold a grudge or get even. It is our way of protecting our selves and creating a form of justice.
Though the Bible continually tells us to forgive. I ran accross another verse while doing my devotions the other day that gave us yet another reason to forgive that I had not originally through of.
Jesus Thank You, You Love me So
I wander away , and cause much woe
I get all dirty in the mud of the world
But you rejoice at the return of your little girl
You pick me up and welcome me home
you clean my feet from my last roam
You gently discipline, put me on the path that’s right
Stay beside me as I go through life
Thank you Jesus, my great savior
oh for that day we meet in Forever
that glorious day, when I see your face
and stand with you in that glorious place
Thank you Jesus for what you did for me
for coming here and saving me.
Have you ever meditated on the concept of forgiveness? We ask for it without even thinking sometimes–”Father, please forgive me for such-and-such”–and a lot of the time I know I forget how hard it is. Not for me to get it. It’s mine as soon as I ask. But what it cost God to allow me to be forgiven.
As a Christian, we are supposed to be a “little Christ;” that’s what Christian means. Being like Christ means obeying our Father and doing our very best not to sin against Him.
“Therefore be imitators of Christ, as beloved children.”
Today I was cleaning out the many boxes sitting in my basement which have grown smellier by the years and I realized something.
Amongst the boxes of random dishes and mismatched sheets, there were boxes and boxes of papers.
However, these papers were not old bank statements, or chemistry notes, or even love letters.
In fact, sheet after sheet was pain– More…
Throughout my life I have crossed paths with many people who have made poor decisions. They had either gotten into drugs, lived a promiscuous life or even done physical harm to people. These people often would say, I believe everything you are telling me about Jesus but I’m too bad for God. There is nothing he could possible do with me.
She stole your boyfriend – lets trash her name.
He left the family – I’m never speaking to him again.
He broke your heart – The world is going to know all his dark little secrets.
Ever since the fall of Adam and Eve, mankind has been living in sin that is inherent in our nature. Along with the inherent sinful nature, sins are committed against one another continually. We are expected to forgive others, as it isn’t our place to judge the person for their sins, but God’s (Romans 14:12-13). But what about God himself? Shouldn’t He have forgiven Adam and Eve originally? Did He even give forgiveness to them? Read on to find out!
When Adam and Eve sinned (by not trusting in God’s promises), instant separation was created between God and us. Think of it this way: If you had a perfectly white wall, a tiny speck of mud would stand out to the point that you would think it is impossible not to see. In the same sense, this little slack of trust in God stands out to an infinite degree. And since God is absolutely holy (Isaiah 43:15), and therefore perfect, this seemingly ‘minor’ infraction is more like a chasm many, many miles wide between us and God.
This is fine and dandy, but did God even forgive Adam and Eve for their sins? Yes! And it can be answered in two ways. Specifically, God is heard ‘walking’ with Adam and Eve (Genesis 3:8) and, in fact, conversing with them after they had sinned against him. Do you think the creator of everything — who absolutely despises what is not holy and sinless — would allow Adam and Eve to still keep their lives had God not already forgiven them? Of course not. Much like the painter of that perfectly white wall would think it is ruined just by a small speck of mud! Although the Bible didn’t specifically mention God say “I forgive you”, it can be implied by the actions (Genesis 3:21) with the first blood sacrifice. Remember, sin must be paid with death (Romans 6:23). Furthermore, in a more general sense, Adam and Eve (and therefore all of us) are forgiven through the blood of Christ — the perfect sacrifice for mankind’s collective sins. Genesis 3:15 is one of the first references in the Bible to coming of Christ.
Ok, so God forgave us, but why does that mean we should forgive others? Because we were given the ultimate gift! Remember how God is perfectly holy? He is the perfectly white wall and we are that little speck of mud. The wall is ruined! But God is gracious enough to offer forgiveness and even offer His own son (John 3:16) as a sacrifice for our sins. Simply put, we need to forgive others because God has forgiven us first (Ephesians 4:32).
As a round-up: We aren’t commanded to forgive others simply because that is a rule, but because we were greatly forgiven first. We are modeling what God did. And although sometimes it is hard to see God’s forgiveness, just realize that we are sinful, and God is not. We don’t deserve to be anywhere near His holiness, but we are because He greatly loves us and cares for us and has forgiven us. Forgiveness is one of the defining characteristics of Christianity (not that non-Christians can be forgiving either!). If we can’t forgive, then what does that make of Ephesians 4:32?