Tag Archives: mercy

Making Room

It seems to me that many times we disparage the innkeeper in the Christmas story.  We think he was rude and uncaring to Mary and Joseph, and that he should have found a way to give them a room at the Inn.  After all, she was pregnant and obviously had travelled a long way to get to Bethlehem.  I’m sure they were dirty and tired from the long 80-mile journey they had just finished.  I’m sure Joseph begged with the Innkeeper for a while before he finally gave up begging.  It had to be hard for the innkeeper to turn them away because no good businessman turns away a customer

In defense of this man, he was a successful business owner.  His inn was full because he ran a good establishment and people wanted to stay there.  People want to go to a place that is run properly, and I’m sure his place was.  We only hear of this one innkeeper, but I am sure Joseph tried every inn in the city before this one.  He was turned down at every one.  The city was full because of the census Caesar had commanded.  Bethlehem was a small city with a small population, but because it was considered the City of David, all people who were of the house of David had to return there for the census.  This not only overcrowded people’s houses but all the business establishments that were in the city.  I can imagine this business owner was having his best business day ever and was quite happy about that.

So, when this couple came riding up on a donkey, and she was pregnant and seeking a room, the innkeeper simply stated the obvious.  He had no rooms available, and quite possibly a waiting list of people who would like a room if one became available.  As he turned the couple away though, he had a moment of compassion.  He showed mercy to them.  He had a stable in the back, and they could stay there the night.  He was not a bad man.  This innkeeper is mentioned in the Bible and all the others Joseph might have tried are left out.  Why?  Because he was a merciful person who wanted to help this couple out.  He had mercy on the one who gives mercy.  He had compassion on the one who showed compassion to all.  He provided shelter on the one who provides all our needs.  We should be applauding this innkeeper, not disparaging him.  Jesus found a place in his heart even before He was born, before all the miracles, before all the teaching, before He died for all the sins of mankind.  He really did make room for Jesus!

How about you?  What will you do with this man Jesus?  What will you do with the

one who came riding into your life in all humility, only seeking a place in your heart?

Have you allowed the cares of this life and your success make you blind to your need for Him?  Have you had too many other distractions to consider His life, His cross and His sacrifice for your sins?  Do you even know who He really is?  He innkeeper did not know, and yet he still gave him a place.  Being in a culture that is full of the gospel message, certainly you now more about who Jesus is than this innkeeper did!  At this time of year, we call Christmas, the message is everywhere we look.  The lights show to us the star that shone so brightly above His manger bed.  The tree shows us the vehicle that brought His death.  The manger scenes all over town show us that simple picture of a babe in a manger.  How can you miss it?  He is everywhere, humbly seeking for you to make a place in your heart for Him.  He calls to you in the songs of the season that we hear on the radio, or in the thrill of children opening the presents under the tree.

You see, He was the very first Christmas present.  He was given to us to show us the Father, to teach us mercy, to be an example for us to follow.  He appeared suddenly and made an immediate impression on some lowly shepherds in a field, and a busy innkeeper who found a place for Him.  Here was no fanfare, no far-reaching announcement of His coming.  He King of Kings c am quietly to most.  Only some shepherds in the field were given the announcement of who this baby really was.  Some wise men from distant lands saw a bright star in the sky and knew it was the sign of a great Savior being born.  But no one else heard the angels, and no one else recognized the star. Just like Santa puts Christmas presents under the tree in the middle of the night, Jesus came into the middle of an unknowing world.  A present for all of humanity.  A present that would not only change the course of history, but change a persons’ life.

How about you?  Are you a successful business person and feel like your life is full?  Or are you famous and rich and don’t have room for anything else?  Or are you just a servant of some other business, making money in the middle of the night of your life? Whatever your situation, you need Jesus.  He is the only one who can save you from eternal Hell.  He is the only one who can rid you of your sin and cleanse your heart and mind.  He is the only way to heaven.  He comes in meekness and humility and asks you to make a place in your heart.  Won’t you let him in today?  Won’t you make room?

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The Second Tabernacle

Hebrews 9:7-10 

But into the second went the high priest alone once every year, not without blood, which he offered for himself, and for the errors of the people:

The Holy Ghost this signifying, that the way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest, while as the first tabernacle was yet standing:

Which was a figure for the time then present, in which were offered both gifts and sacrifices, that could not make him that did the service perfect, as pertaining to the conscience;

10 Which stood only in meats and drinks, and divers washings, and carnal ordinances, imposed on them until the time of reformation.

I find it interesting that Paul relates here to the second tabernacle.  Here was only one tabernacle in Old Testament times.  Or should I say that God instructed them to build one tabernacle.  Within that tabernacle were three distinct areas.  There was a common place, where all the people brought their sacrifices to the priest and they offered those sacrifice upon the altar, washing in between offerings in the laver.  Hen there was the holy place, which was behind a veil.  His is where the priests ministered daily to the Lord by keeping the candles lit, renewing the shewbread on the table, and offering incense on the table of incense.  Last of all there was the Holy of Holies, which was not only behind a veil but had a roof over it as well.  His is where the Ark of the Covenant was kept, which was regarded as the very presence of God.  It is the Holy of Holies that Paul is referring to here as the second tabernacle.

A tabernacle is defined as a fixed or movable habitation.  It was considered a dwelling place for God.  He Cloud by day and the fire by night appeared over the Holy of Holies when the people of God were stationary, and moved to the front of the masses when the people were moving.  Hat is because the Ark was always at the front of the people, carried with gold poles that were put through gold eyelets on the side of the Ark of the Covenant.  Since the Ark represented the very presence of God, it could not be touched.  We all remember the story of the man who touched the Ark when it was being brought back from the camp of the Philistines in 2 Samuel 6.  That is because the Ark was the holiest of all things, and would be defiled by anyone touching it.  The Ark was the very prewe3nce of God amidst the people.  The dwelling place, or tabernacle for the Ark was the Holy of Holies, which Paul calls the second tabernacle here.

In Leviticus 16 God established the Day of Atonement.  It was the tenth day of the seventh month, and it was a special day.  No one was allowed to work, and all the people were to be in an attitude of repentance.  On this day, the High Priest alone would bath himself completely, put on the linen garments of the High Priest, and make a special offering.  His offering consisted of a bull and two goats. The bull was offered as a sin offering for all the people on the altar, and some of the blood was sprinkled on the Ark of the Covenant.  He then separated the goats, and one goat was let go.  It was the scapegoat, and signified the sins of Israel leaving the camp.  The other goat was offered on the altar, but this time the High priest would take the blood into the Holy of Holies and offer the blood directly on the mercy city atop the Ark of the Covenant.  While this offering is taking place, there was to be absolutely no one else in any part of the whole tabernacle.  Only the high priest. Only once a year.  This was the offering that was made for the sins of all the people to have those sins forgiven by God.  All known and unknown sins.  All sins of omission and sins of conscience.  All sins.  It was the most special day on the Jewish calendar., the tenth day of the seventh month.  I urge you to go back and read about it.  Leviticus 16!

All of this was done because there was no other way that the sins of the people could be atoned for, and even this day could not make the perfect, because even the one offering the sacrifice upon the mercy seta was not perfect.  The priest had to sacrifice for himself also, because he was a sinner.  All were sinners.  They were using sacrifices that God intended, but even God knew that these types of sacrifices could not clear their conscience.  God knew that sin would still come back again and again and again.  he blood of bulls and goats, sheep and doves, would suffice for the journey through the wilderness and the appointed time, but it was not a ritual that would make a person perfect.

I find the ark most fascinating, and the items that were in it even more fascinating.  Inside the ark was some manna, the rod of Aaron that budded, and the tables of the law, the Ten Commandments.  These represent God’s provision, God/s power and the word of God.  Manna, when left for more than a day, just plain stunk.  It was not made to last more than a day.  Aaron’s rod was but a dead stick of wood, but it budded on command.  The Ten Commandments had to be heavy and burdensome to carry.  But they were in the Ark, preserved for all time.  However, they were covered by the mercy seat.  They were covered by the mercy of God.  The law, the power and the provision are all under the mercy of God.  We must remember this when presenting the Gospel.  Whether we use the law, the power or the provision of God in our witness, we must be sure it is all done under the umbrella of mercy.  His mercy is protected by the angels, represented by the Cherubim that sit upon the Ark with their wing outstretched.  God covers all things with mercy, and we should be sure to have mercy on all others, Christian or not.

Are you showing mercy everywhere you go, but making sure the law is also covered with your witness?  Are you praying for healing and seeing those prayers answered because you called on God to have mercy on them?  Are you helping people out and providing for their needs, both physical and emotional, while showing mercy to them.  It’s all about mercy, my friend.  It’s all about mercy. 

Is It Impossible?

Hebrews 6:4-9

For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost,

And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come,

If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.

For the earth which drinketh in the rain that cometh oft upon it, and bringeth forth herbs meet for them by whom it is dressed, receiveth blessing from God:

But that which beareth thorns and briers is rejected, and is nigh unto cursing; whose end is to be burned.

But, beloved, we are persuaded better things of you, and things that accompany salvation, though we thus speak.

He word impossible appears in the Bible 9 times, all in the New Testament.  In Matthew 17:20, 19:238, Mark 10:27, and Luke 1:27, we are told the with God, nothing is impossible.  In Luke 17:1, we are told that “It is impossible but that offenses will come.”  In Hebrews 6:18, we are told it I impossible for God to lie, and in Hebrews 11:6, we are reminded that it is impossible tom please God without faith.  Impossible is rarely used, obviously, and almost always points to the fact that God cannot lie, fail, or not be there in any situation we are in.  He will always come through.  He will always make a way.  I wrote a song back in 2017 that takes about this:

I asked the Lord to bless me. He said I always do
I asked Him if He’d heal me. He said it’s done for you
I asked the Lord to give me peace. He said I left it long ago
I asked Him to fill me with joy. He said it always flows 

Always He is there. Always taking care
Meeting every need. Doing righteous deeds
Building up my faith. Answers never late
He is always there for me

I asked the Lord to build my faith. He said to read His word
I asked Him for a hope that lasts. He said I could be sure
Whatever thing I asked of Him. He said it’s been supplied
All things were given on that day. When Christ was crucified 

There’s no more sacrifice for sin. The work has all been done 
Now I just have to live the word. And victory is mine

Always He is there. Always taking care
Meeting every need. Doing righteous deeds
Building up my faith. Answers never late
He is always there for me

So, what is Paul talking about here when he says it is impossible?  If we fall in our walk with Him, are we doomed to never be able to come back to Him again?  I have heard this preached, and I say “Shame on those preachers!”  Impossible?  Nothing is impossible with God!  Nothing is impossible when we turn our lives to Him.  Why does he even say this then?  Why would he make it sound like we can’t get back once we’ve turned our backs?  I mean, it makes sense to me that if we turn away from the salvation God supplies after we have tasted that sweet wine, that it would be impossible to find that peace and joy again.  I have turned away from the compassion and mercy of the greatest sacrifice in human history and chosen a life of detachment from God Himself.  I made this decision.  I chose to walk away.  It makes sense when we look at it from human eyes – it would be impossible if we refuse to drink of that cup to once again come back and drink of that cup.  It is impossible for man to return once he has turned.  It is impossible if he tries to find the way back on his own. 

The word impossible used here talks about weakness.  In our own selves, once we have tasted the goodness of God and all its blessings (Psalm 103), and then decide to turn away from that, this impossibility comes to light.  We are too weak to overcome the world.  We were too weak before we got saved, we were too weak during our walk with Him, and we would be too weak to return on our own.  The world is just too strong.  The principalities and powers of this world will overtake our human spirits in a heartbeat.  All of a sudden, I will find myself drawn away from God and toward the world.  I will see the attraction to sin as something I desire more than I desire God and His blessings and benefits.  I will succumb to the wiles of that old serpent who tempts me with the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh and the pride of life.  He hasn’t changed His ways since the very beginning.  “Did God really say?” is his constant question to us.  And we fall for it, just like Eve did on that fateful day in the Garden. Satan is too strong for us – he always will be.  We cannot fight him on our own because it is impossible for us to defeat him on our own.  We are weak.

However, God is strong.  God has already won the battle for us.  He has already defeated our enemy.  What is impossible with man is possible with God.  When I have fallen away, and have decided to walk with the enemy, God is ill there, whispering in my ear, asking me to come back home.  He never gives up on me.  Nothing can separate me from His love (Romans 8:35-39).  I can stop loving Him, but He will never stop loving me.  He will never stop trying to get me to come home.

Consider the prodigal son in Luke 15.  He was in his Father’s house, enjoying all the pleasures of sonship.  He had it made.  Yet he decided, on his own, to take all that his father had given him and throw it all away.  Asking his inheritance like he did was tantamount to saying his father was dead to him.  He totally turned his back on his father.  He walked back into the world on his own, got mired in the mud and then realized what he had left behind.  So, he came back to his father.  I am sure all of his father’s friends thought he would never dare come back after the disgrace he brought on his father.  I can hear them saying “Your son is a loser.”  “He’s a fool and will always stay a fool!” “After treating you like this you should never think about letting him back into your house.”  “It’s impossible for him to come back now that he took this inheritance.”  I can almost hear their mocking voices telling the father to forget such a wicked son.  He had made a mockery of his father’s love, and there is no coming back from such a dumb thing.

Yet, where was the father upon the sons return.  He was right there waiting for his son.  He ran to meet him.  He honored him with a feast, a ring, a robe, and shoes on his feet.  The son was welcomed back into the father’s house with honor, not with disdain.  The older son reminds us of those preachers who would say that a person cannot come back once they have turned aside.  He wanted the father to put the son back out.  But God is a God of mercy, and he will always have mercy on a repentant heart.  Always!

If you have walked away from God, do not fear.  God is still there, waiting for you to return.  He holds His arms out wide to welcome you home.  Do not let the older brother scare you into thinking it is impossible for you to return.  I will say it is impossible on your own, but nothing is impossible with God!  If you have friends or loved ones who have fallen away from the truth, remind them of God’s mercy and everlasting love.  He will surely throw love on the repentant heart.  He will always love them.  Always!

Seek First

Matthew 6:33

33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

It is so easy to get my priorities messed up. It seems life throws things at me so quickly I have trouble deciding what should come next. Even now, when I am not working full time, my time is in high demand from so many projects. It seems I flutter around like a honeybee goes to various flowers, trying to get a little from each one to take back to the hive. He never spends too long on one flower, and wants to get to many flowers before he heads back. This is me, project after project, one at a time for short amounts of time.

I have considered setting up some kind of schedule now that I am home all day, but have not come to any determination on that. The following things would have to fit into that schedule:

respond to email
respond to text messages
writing projects which include
Poetry when the Lord gives me something
This blog from the sermon on the mount
My next book project, which is about my cancer battle
Working on the maps that I update (this is my paying job right now)
Building my web site
Worship service for church each Sunday – this has several pieces:
Choosing the songs
Pulling sheet music
Printing up a word sheet (we do a lot of choruses)
Power point for the big screen
Checking Facebook
Taking care of our puppy – inside and out (he does not like to be left outside)
Fixing meals (my wife works 2 jobs, so I fix most meals for my granddaughter and me)
Laundry
House cleaning
Grocery shopping

Now, let’s see, what am I forgetting? Oh yes, time with God. How could I forget that!

It’s easy to see how I could forget that with all the other things I try to work on each and every day. I am not even working again yet, and I am lost in a sea of constantly doing something. What is going to happen when I get back to my job as an independent insurance agent for Aflac? How will my time work out then?

Believe me, if I could afford to, I would not go back to work. God has blessed me with the ability to write, and much of that will have to be forfeited when I am on the road again. I can’t see how I will have the time. Right now, my days goes from 4:30 to 9:30 or 10 each day. I do take about 20 minutes each morning to spend in the word, dong a bible study with a friend of mine. We work out of the same book and text our thoughts back and forth, with a little prayer, every day. I am utilizing scripture many times in my writing through the day. My mind is on Him, praying or just meditating even as I go through my daily tasks. But is this putting Him first? Is my schedule designed to make sure God gets priority in my life each day? I am inclined to say no, it is not. I am inclined to think I should make a more precise schedule which would keep me on task each day. It might look something like this:

4:30-5:30 – Time in the word. Praying, reading, meditating on God and His words
5:30-6:15 – Take out the dog and check email, play a couple games
6:15-7:15 – Breakfast and time with my wife watching news
7:15-9:15 – Working on maps
9:15-9:30 – take a break
9:30-10:30 – Chores and errands, take dog out
10:30-11:30 – work on maps
11:30-12:15 – fix lunch for my wife and I
12:15-1:15 – writing
1:15-3:15 – work on maps
3:15-4:30 – email, games, talk with a friend, take dog out
4:30 – 5:00 – time with wife between jobs
5:00 – 6:00 – fix and eat supper
6:00 – 8:00 – work on maps or write
8:00 until bedtime – relax, take dog out

Would this work? Maybe. Maybe I should try it. I never have scheduled myself that thoroughly. I have some elements missing even from this. Exercising, whether it’s walking or riding my bike, will have to be fit in once the weather improves around here (March). More time with the Lord is something I need to work on and there is no room for that. Poems come up at all sorts of time and I need to write them down when God gives them to me or I’ll lose them. Phone interruptions come often.

And what will happen if and when I get back to my Aflac work? All this goes out the window and has to be condensed down to early morning and late evening hours. Aflac has to take primetime from 8 to 4 or 5 each day. Then there will be paperwork to do at night. It will all become quite a blur. I have thought about just ding Aflac part time but if I did it would not provide the income I need right now.

Why do I tell you all this? It is simply to say that life is busy for all of us. I am not working full time and I don’t have the time for anything extra. Much of this stuff that I do now I was not doing before I came down with cancer and stopped working Aflac. God has repurposed my life. Now I need to find ways to put Him first amidst the chaos of my day. How do I do that? How do you do that?

If you don’t schedule like the above (which I don’t) it is still critical that you do schedule time with God each day. It can be anytime of day you desire, but I recommend first thing in the morning. There are several reasons for this thinking:

If you don’t take time now and you are busy, you can just set your alarm earlier to take time with God. It is easier to do that than to try to squeeze Him in somewhere in the middle of the day, or stay up later to do some reading and praying.

Taking time first thing in the morning seems to make the whole day go better, at least for me. God’s word is an uplifting influence no matter where you study. It will set the stage for your whole day, and you can carry the things you learned and read with you all day long.

If you are scheduling time in the morning, it is unlikely anything will interrupt that time. If you schedule during the day or evening, it is very easy for interruptions or other options to come up, and then your time with God will be diminished.

But seeking first the kingdom is even more than this. It is keeping Him in your thoughts all day long. The word tells us to rejoice in the Lord always (Phil 4:4), pray without ceasing (I Thess 5:17) and acknowledge Him in all our ways (Prov 3:6). There should never a moment pass when we are not mindful of His mercy and grace toward us. There should never be a moment that we are not ready to praise Him, pray for others, or give an account for the hope that is in us (1 Peter 3:15). We must be instant in season and out (2 Timothy 4:2), ready to give a word to someone who needs to hear it. We must be ready, willing and able to show mercy whenever confronted with someone who needs mercy, as Jesus did. We musty make sure our words and actions are there to minister grace to those who hear and see them (Eph 4:29).

You see, putting God first is more than just scheduling Him into your day. It is more than just taking time to read scripture and study a book. It is a lifestyle. It is our “conversation” as the KJV puts it. Everything we do and say comes from our relationship to Him. If we are close to God, our words and actions will speak of Christ and His love wherever we go. My best friend has been close and has been drifting in His life. I can always tell when he is drifting away again because His language starts to get bad again. I will tell Him when I see this happening and sometimes he gets mad and defends Himself, and sometimes he takes the word of rebuke and thanks me for it. In either case, I will always tell Him. It is my duty as His friend and brother in the Lord.

We are to be a light that shines in the darkness (Matt 5:14-16), lighting the way so others will be drawn to the Lord. We are to be salt (Matt 5:13) making others thirsty for the things of God. We are supposed to feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, take in the stranger, clothe the naked and visit those in prison (Matt 25:35-36). We are to love one another because that is how we show we are His disciples (John 13:35). Everything we do or say reflects our relationship to God. Putting Him first means putting others first (Phil 2:2-4).

Not only are we to minister to others as a way of putting God first, this verse says we should seek out those opportunities to touch others for the Lord. We should seek out the lost and lead them to Christ, we should seek those that are sick and pray for them, or those in prison and minister to them. We should seek opportunities to feed the hungry and provide shelter to the homeless. There are opportunities to do these things all around us every day. Jesus travelled hundreds of miles during His ministry seeking ones who needed to know about the kingdom, preaching, teaching, healing and delivering every step of the way. He was our example, sent from God to show us the kingdom. He said the kingdom was here within us! When we first seek His kingdom, the rest of our needs will not be near as concerning to us. We will be walking as he walked, in harmony with God, knowing that others are being touched.

So do not think about seeking God first as putting Him into your schedule. I spent a lot of time on that just to show the futility of it. Think of putting Him first as your lifestyle, as a result of everything you do during each and every day. Seek Him in those you come in contact with and minister to those who have a need. Do take time in His word, in prayer and in meditation on the things of God, but don’t do only that. There is so much more to His kingdom.

Jesus said we cannot even see the kingdom of God unless we have been born again (John 3:3). He said except a man be born of water and of the spirit he cannot enter the kingdom of God. It is wonderful to seek the kingdom, but we will never find it if we have not done what Jesus told us to do, be born again. We have to put off the old man, and put on the new man (Ephesians 2:22-24). How do you do that? It is very simple.

Romans 9:9-10

9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

Romans 10:13 says that anyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved. Come into the kingdom today, seek Him first above all else and your deepest needs will all be met

Are You Forgiven?

Matthew 6:14-15

14 For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you:
15 But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

Jesus has just finished giving His disciples a prayer that will last through the ages.  He tells them how to pray, and still today many churches recite this prayer in every single service they hold  It has become a sacred prayer for all, and is learned by children from a very young age.  We call it the Lord’s Prayer.

After such a powerful, heart-felt prayer, what is the one thing Jesus pulls out of that prayer to expound on?  Not God’s holiness, not the kingdom, not God’s will, not provision, but forgiveness.  The wording in the Lord’s prayer is very interesting to me, and I believe many of us miss this.  A good friend of mine pointed this out in a comment on my last post, and it is worth taking a deeper look at.

When we pray the Lord’s Prayer, we are asking God to forgive us in the same measure that we forgive others. “Forgive us our debts AS we forgive our debtors”.  That word AS means in the same way, or to the same extent.  We are asking God to look at our track record in dealing out forgiveness, and asking Him to give us the same amount.  This begs the question “Are You Forgiven?”

While it is true that God promises forgiveness all through the Bible, these words of Jesus should be a wake up call to all of us.  Isaiah 1:18 says that our sins, which are scarlet, shall be white as snow.  ! John 1:9 says if we confers our sins God will forgive us and cleanse us.  Ephesians 1:17 says through Him we have forgiveness of sin. Isiah 43:25 says he blots out our transgressions. Psalm 103:12 says He removes our sins as far as the east is from the west.

Think for a moment about what Christ has forgiven you of!  Let’s start with the Ten Commandments.

  1. No other Gods before Him.  I have put plenty of things before God in my lifetime.  I have made many things more important than God.    Guilty as charged!
  1. No graven images. I have worshipped other things,  Drugs, alcohol, bowling, Toastmasters.  They have been like images I worshipped.  Guilty as charged,
  1. Do not take His name in vain. Thousands of times Guilty as charged!
  1. Keep the Sabbath Holy. I still struggle with this one today.  Guilty as charged.
  1. Honor Father and Mother. I rebelled as a teenager and disregarded my Mom for many years.  Hated my date for decades.  Guilty as charged!
  1. No murder. How many people have I said I wished were dead, or treated with such disregard they were dead to me.  Guilty as charged!
  1. No adultery. Before marriage, yes.  After marriage, with my eyes I did for many years.  Guilty as charged!
  1. Don’t steal. Over and over and over again.  From money out of the till when I was  a teenager to officer supplies as an adult.  Guilty as charged!
  1. Bear false witness. Who reading this has never lied?  Guilty as charged!
  1. Do not covet. Our lives are filled with covetousness, and I succumb to some of those enticements. Guilty as charged!

I would be in a world of trouble if not for the atoning blood of Jesus Christ!  I have been guilty of all 10 commandments and many other laws of the Bible.  Yet in His mercy, He gave His blood as an atonement for my sins, paying the price for me.  Not only that, He separated that sin from me and it is forgotten, and removed as far as the east from the west.  In God’s eyes, I am as white as snow.  He sees no sin that I have repented from and have covered with His blood.  He only sees Christ’s righteousness in me.

Isn’t that the kind of forgiveness we desire?  A forgiveness that removes all past transgressions and forgets about them,.  A forgiveness that will not remind us of our past, but only spurs us on to the future? A forgiveness that holds no ill-will against the sinner and only wishes the most for them?  Of course it is!

Now let’s go back to the Lords prayer.  “Forgive us as debts as we forgive our debtors”

Is this the way we have forgiven out debtors?  Forgotten the transgression?  Put it in the past?  Never brought it up again?  My intuition tells me we are a far distance from that model.  I know I am at times.  First there is the forgive and forget part of it.  I think all of us would admit that we are truly glad God forgives us and forgets it.  But do I do that for others?  Most of the time I think I do, but there are just some things I have real difficulty forgetting.  I hear it said all the time that a person forgave someone else, but they certainly won’t forget it.  Yet we expect God to forget our previous sins.  Jesus says God forgives to the extent we do.  How many people are in your life that you have something you have not forgiven them for?  Or maybe you have forgiven them, but you have not forgotten it?  Is this the kind of forgiveness that you want from God?  I am sure it is not.  God does expect us to forget those past hurts – to put them behind us and move on.  He certainly does that with us!

The second point is that we never bring that offense up again.  If we have forgotten it, we will not bring it back up.  But if we have not, we should never use that past hurt against them.  We should never bring it up to them again if we have forgiven them.  Imagine if God brought up all your past sins to you!  That is the devil’s specialty, my friend.  The devil is real good at reminding us of our past mistakes.  When we do that to someone else, we are on his side, not God’s!  Make sure you are never bringing up past hurts to someone, but instead spurring them on to good works.  Speak only those things that will minister grace (Ephesians 4:29).  Don’t help the devil out in his attempts to destroy someone else.  Instead, help God out in forgetting those past hurts and being a minister of grace.

The third point is that we hold no ill-will against the person that has hurt us.  If we have forgiven them (and hopefully we have) and forgotten that hurt (hopefully we have), than we have no reason whatsoever to hold ill-will against them.  We are commanded to love one another, and we must do that.  It is not a matter of choice.  Unforgiveness gets in the way of loving our brother.  I have heard people say “I love them but I just can’t forgive them for what they did.”  I say those two things cannot go together.  If you love them, you will forgive them and forget the incident.

The church just has to get in touch with these simple verses.  There are so many arguments in the church because of unforgiveness.  It ruins our marriages, our families, our churches and our witness.  If we would forgive those non-Christians who offend us, imagine what a great witness that would be!  Forgiveness is a key to truly loving people as Christ loved us.

If you have people in your life that you have not forgiven, do it today.  Don’t wait any longer.  If you do not, bitterness will set it.  Bitterness will eat you alive.  It will rob you of peace and joy eventually.  It will destroy your witness, not only to that person but to everyone else.  Bitterness can cause you to become argumentative and a complainer in all areas of life.  And it all stems from unforgiveness.  We are not talking about being sorry here.  We are talking about asking them to forgive you, and forgiving them.  Saying the words “I forgive you” is very powerful.  It frees the other person up.  Being sorry is the easy way out!

If you have people in your life that you have forgiven, but have held onto the hurt, I would first ask you to reconsider whether you have truly forgiven them.  If, with all your heart, you believe you have, then bring that hurt to God and ask Him to help you forget it and put it behind you.  There are times that only God can take away that hurt.

Examine your life and make sure you are walking in forgiveness toward others. Then you will be able to say “A am forgiven.”