The Lord Forgave You

Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.

—Colossians 3:13
When we do not forgive, the weight of another’s actions becomes increasingly heavy upon our shoulders. 

Anger and bitterness cannot share the same heart space with love and compassion. 

Our hearts need to be whole and set to a perfect oneness of peace with God and with others. 

Like the petals of a rose bud opening more each day, God’s forgiveness opens to us each moment. 

Fragrant and beautiful, it releases us from the debt of our mistakes. 

May we offer the same to those around us….

Bright Light

The people who lived in darkness have seen a bright light. A light has risen for those who live in a land overshadowed by death.

—–Matthew 4:16

The trees at my friend’s house had branches filled with green leaves.

While sitting outside and enjoying the late afternoon, I noticed that the sun had set just close enough to the horizon that its powerful light was shining almost straight on the trees.

The branches, with their green leaves, along with the bark on the trunk, did not just simply become more visible.

They began to glow with an intensely amber color.

I quickly photographed the scene before the sun was completely gone.

Theses trees were totally transformed in color because of the light.

Some of the branches were just out of the sun’s penetrating rays.

They remained green.

The tree closest to me appeared dark and untouched by the bathing yellow radiance.

When Jesus came, those who lived in darkness could now be bathed in His great light.

His light of love and salvation.

His light of forgiveness and hope.

His light of eternal life.

When He came, everything changed.

Do you know of His love?

Do you know of His forgiveness and hope?

He is waiting for you today to call out to Him in prayer.

It’s not too late…..

bright-light

Hidden

For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.  Nothing in all creation is hidden from God. Everything is naked and exposed before His eyes, and He is the one to whom we are accountable.

—Hebrew 4:12-13

 

Looking out across the water to a small island, I could see something in the wildflowers growing there.

An Anhinga bird was behind them.

Looking at my photograph later, it almost looks as if he is hiding.

He does blend in with a certain amount of camouflage, yet upon closer inspection, he’s hard to miss.

I’ll never know if he was truly intending to hide that afternoon, but I can certainly identify with him if he was.

At times in my life–even as a child–I wanted to just hide away and be alone, in what I felt was a safe place.

There are many reasons, however, to hide.

Shame.

Guilt.

Fear.

Failure.

Sadness.

Depression.

Grief.

The list is long.

We may hide from people and flee from circumstances, but we cannot hide from God.

He sees us wherever we are, in whatever condition we are in.

Our emotions may urge us to hide, yet His great love beckons us back into the open–in the light of His comfort and forgiveness.

 

 

 

 

 

hidden

The New

Just a couple of days ago, I downloaded a new operating system for my smartphone. 
I had learned about its availability and the positive things it had to offer. 
In making the decision to begin the download, I was aware that with the new operating system in place, there would be some changes that I wouldn’t be used to. 

The way that things had been would not all be the same. 
Some aspects of the system would be improved upon; some would be completely new and still others from the previous system would have been deleted all together. 
Although change is good, it is sometimes difficult to take that first step to incorporate it. 
Many years ago, I received a new spiritual operating system—one that changed me completely. 
My old way of living was becoming such a burden to carry. 
Things just hadn’t turned out the way I had planned. 
Even though I felt that I was in control of my life, my decisions weren’t always productive and many times they were harmful. 
With my level of discontent and disappointment, I knew that things needed to change. 

When I came face to face with the choice to allow Jesus to become my Lord and Savior, I was ready. 
Ready to get rid of the old way of operating my life. 

Ready for a new operating system—one where God was in control and guiding me. 

Asking for forgiveness of all that I had done to displease Him and asking Him to become the Lord of my life, I changed. 

God did come into my heart that day. 

Things have never been the same. 
It was the most important decision of my life. 
Are you tired of operating on your own through every moment, every hour of your day?
God is ready to change all that. 
Don’t wait another minute……

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 

2 Corinthians 5:17

Grow Tall Like the Cedars

There are times when I am stuck in traffic driving home from work along a rural highway. 

The movement of vehicles can come to a slow crawl or even stop all together. 

In these moments, I can choose to look at the scenery around me in a more concentrated way than when I am just driving past. 

The trees are tall and healthy. 

The green grass carpets the ground in vivid color. 

The land has been well cared for. 

People who are in right standing with God—those who have sincerely chosen to seek His guidance as they journey through life—grow tall in the faith and flourish in the midst of His forgiveness and love. 

Righteous people flourish like palm trees and grow tall like the cedars in Lebanon.

Psalm 92:12

Proclaimed in His Name

As I was driving home today, I saw a church that had the word COFFEE on their sign outside.

Underneath COFFEE, it read, “Christ Offers Forgiveness For Everyone Everywhere.”

I had not seen this before.

Sometimes, little illustrations can lead to very significant conversations.

Thousands upon thousands of people drink coffee every day, many of them while in the company of others—at work, school or in a restaurant.

How simple it would be to just relay those six very important words linked to the letters in “coffee” to someone who does not know about Jesus and what He has done for all of us.

I know that it is something I want to remember as a way to share about God’s plan of salvation.

After Jesus rose from the dead, He appeared to His disciples.

In part of one account, we find these words:

Then He said to them, “These are My words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.”  Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures,  and said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead,  and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in His name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.  You are witnesses of these things.  And behold, I am sending the promise of My Father upon you. But stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.”

—Luke 24:44-49

 

to all nations

 


So Ready to Forgive

O Lord, You are so good, so ready to forgive, so full of unfailing love for all who ask for Your help.

—Psalm 86:5

 

How do you think most people react when they know they have done wrong?

How do you react?

Would you think a small child hiding behind the couch after they have broken a vase in a room they were told not to be in would be a normal response?

If you feel that most people have the urge to hide, I would agree with you.

Hiding doesn’t always look like hiding, however.

If we know that we are not living the way God would have us to, we may firmly decline any invitation of a friend to go to church.

That would be hiding.

If we know that we’ve done something we shouldn’t have, we may not pick up the Bible to read it.

We might feel unworthy.

That would be hiding.

Just because our natural tendency might be to hide, the behavior needed is exactly the opposite.

Instead of hiding, we need to run to God with our failure.

Psalm 86:5 reads,

“O Lord, You are so good, so ready to forgive, so full of unfailing love for all who ask for Your help.

When we fail, we can go to God.

He is good.

He is ready to forgive.

He is full of unfailing love.

Hiding?

It doesn’t help at all.

Only asking for and receiving forgiveness and comfort from our heavenly Father will bring the peace we long for.

 

ready final

We Are Made Right

Driving along the highway, I approached a drawbridge that was raised.

The red stop lights were on, so any car that approached had to come to a halt.

Some type of boat was surely making a safe passage under the raised bridge.

Unless the obstruction of steel and concrete could be moved, the boat would not be able to pass to the other side.

Jesus did something for us when He died on the cross.

He made it possible for the obstruction of sin to be removed.

Our sin created a barrier between us and a safe passage to Heaven when we die.

The Bible says that all have sinned.

When Jesus took on that sin for us, He then lifted the penalty for it.

With the penalty of sin taken away, there is now an open passage for those who accept Him as their Savior.

Romans 3:21-24

But now God has shown us a way to be made right with Him without keeping the requirements of the law, as was promised in the writings of Moses and the prophets long ago. We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are.

For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet God, with undeserved kindness, declares that we are righteous. He did this through Christ Jesus when He freed us from the penalty for our sins.

made right

Cleanse Us

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

1 John 1:9

The old garage door near the church was surrounded by smooth, nicely painted walls.

Looking at the photograph I took of it, I wonder—why hadn’t the door been painted nicely and repaired?

It looked tattered and worn out—like many desperate people in this world.

They feel dirty and guilty, used up and torn up, stripped and faded, hopeless and lost.

With an outlook tinted with shame, they see what looks like a clean, smooth surface on others’ lives.

No one could accept them in their broken condition, they think.

Family couldn’t.

Friends couldn’t.

Certainly God couldn’t.

After all, they’ve messed things up.

There’s nowhere left to go to escape the mirror of accusation that hangs on every wall they encounter…

In the last two weeks, I have learned of two people I know—both in very different walks of life—who have taken their own lives.

They lived hundreds of miles from one another, but they both shared hopelessness.

For a crucial moment, they failed to look at God’s unlimited power and grace and instead, looked at their own lack of ability to repair and restore.

God can accept anyone in any condition.

Broken.

Dirty.

Guilty.

Used up.

Torn up.

Stripped.

Faded.

Hopeless.

Lost.

Friends may not accept us.

Family may not.

But, God?

He is ALWAYS ready to heal and to forgive!

To CLEANSE us from ALL unrighteousness!

If we cry out to God from our brokenness, confessing our sin and our mistakes, we will be forgiven.

We can start over.

We can begin again.

It’s not too late for any of us, ever.

 

confess

 

 

 

Cleanse Us

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

—1 John 1:9

I received a beautiful bar of sandalwood scented soap as a gift. 

The aroma that surrounds its perfectly smooth surface is wonderful. 

I am certain that bathing with it will fill the bathroom with its pleasant scent. 

Besides being so aromatic, it will surely get me clean, as well. 

That is, clean on the inside

My spiritual self can only be made clean by Jesus. 

When He cleanses me—and you—from sin, we are truly clean and forgiven. 

Sweep the House

Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Doesn’t she light a lamp, sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it? And when she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbours together and says, “Rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin.” In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.

–Luke 15:9-10
If you are a believer in Jesus Christ–someone who has repented of their sin and asked for forgiveness–there was rejoicing over you when you did that. 

Can you just imagine the rejoicing over you? Right there in Heaven?

Like a lost coin—but so much more important than that—you were found!!

Forgive

Look at my misery and suffering, and forgive all my sins.

—Psalm 25:18

 

Driving along the highway, I noticed a broken down barn.

Why had it been left in disrepair?

Who owned it?

What did it look like when it was new and untouched by time and the elements?

Surely, it was something of great worth to its owner at one point.

If you look closely, I’ll bet you know some people whose lives look like this barn.

Poor choices, the effects of sin, and the barrenness of years spent without a relationship with God have likely caused a spiritual collapse–maybe even an emotional or physical one, as well.

The good news is, God is the Master Builder.

Our lives can be wrecked, but He can restore them.

He can rebuild, reshape and renew.

Through forgiveness, anyone can live an abundant life with God.

Every life is something of great worth to Him.

 

 

 

forgive

So Death Spread

Walking near a park area in the early morning hours, I noticed some trees—well, they used to be trees, or maybe they still were–but they hardly resembled trees anymore.

Having been absolutely overtaken by a growing vine, the trees were almost unrecognizable.

Instead, the tightly intertwining vines had taken over, creating a lush, green shroud.

The trunks and branches beneath this blanket are probably in danger of dying from the vines that hold them in bondage.

People are kind of like those trees.

Once sin came into the world, it brought death with it.

Sin and death have spread, covering humanity.

Jesus came to set us free from the bondage of sin that entangles us.

He died on the cross to pay the penalty for our sin.

Because of Him, those who believe are rescued from its heavy blanket of death, restored to new life, forever.

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Sin came into the world through one person, and death came through sin. So death spread to everyone, because everyone sinned.

–Romans 5:12

 

 

sin

He Can Be Depended On

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Do you know what it is like not to be forgiven?

Do you know how it feels to truly be sorry about something and yet your most heartfelt words are not received?

Although I would hope not, I am afraid that there are many people in this world who have experienced these feelings time and again.

God, however, will never cease to forgive when we ask.

When we are truly sorry about something, our most heartfelt words are received by our heavenly Father.

Not only are they received, but they are placed beside the truth that Jesus has already paid the penalty for the transgressions we are speaking about.

With the penalty being paid, He is faithful to forgive.

Not once, but always.

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If we say that we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and refusing to accept the truth.  But if we confess our sins to Him, He can be depended on to forgive us and to cleanse us from every wrong. And it is perfectly proper for God to do this for us because Christ died to wash away our sins.

–1 John 1:8-9

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cleanse

Name Was Not Found

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If you’ve ever tried to get a visa on your passport in order to enter a particular country, then you know it can be a complicated matter.

It’s likely that you’ll have to answer a lot of questions on a form.

Maybe more than one form, even.

Some of the questions might turn out to be pretty hard to answer.

Questions about your job.

Your parents.

Your grandparents.

Your driver’s license.

Where you were born.

The list goes on and on….

Even after you send in the information, it is always possible that your request may be denied.

You’re not allowed in.

No particular reason.

Just, “No.”

But what about getting into Heaven?

There aren’t any forms to be filled out.

Your job status doesn’t matter.

It doesn’t matter who your parents were.

It doesn’t matter who your grandparents were, either.

Really, it doesn’t even matter when you were born.

The only thing that matters is if you have believed in Jesus and repented of your sins, asking for forgiveness.

Look at these verses:

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

—Ephesians 2:8-9

Because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

—Romans 10:9

That leaves us with a question.

So, what if you don’t believe and repent?

It’s not a popular topic and it can certainly cause some divisive arguments.

In the book of Revelation, the Bible speaks of the book of life:

Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. The earth and the heavens fled from his presence, and there was no place for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books.  The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what they had done.  Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death.  Anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire.

–Revelation 20:11-15

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Not many people want to talk about the “So, what if you don’t” question.

Not many people want to talk about the passage above from Revelation.

It’s frightening.

I believe that my name is written in the book of life because I have believed in Jesus and repented of my sins.

Still, I am frightened for those who have not.

If you feel that your name would not be there, why not change that right now.

God is ready to hear your prayer.

It’s not too late…..

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book of life

His Love Among Us

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Waterfalls capture my attention whenever I am near.

Something about the flowing water and the cascading patterns of rock and foam intrigue me as they quietly bid me to come closer.

Constantly moving, yet ever the same, the water is still as glass before the descent begins, reflecting the surroundings like an elegant mirror beneath the sky.

There is a popular Christian song that compares God’s love to a waterfall.

Here are some of the lyrics:

Your love is like a waterfall, waterfall
Running wild and free
You hear my heart when I call, when I call
Deep calls to deep
Your love is like a waterfall, waterfall
Raining down on me

Waterfall, waterfall

Oh God, my God I seek You
In this dry and desert land
You lead me to streams of mercy
Once again

(Chris Tomlin, “Waterfall”)

1 John 4:9 reads,This is how God showed His love among us: He sent His one and only Son into the world that we might live through Him.

God’s love is like a waterfall.

When we believe in His Son, we have life that flows over us, sealed forever by His love and forgiveness.

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His love frame

Again Like an Eagle

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He forgives.

He heals.

He rescues.

He crowns.

He fills.

He is worthy of our praise!

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Praise the Lord, my soul,
and never forget all the good he has done:
He is the one who forgives all your sins,
the one who heals all your diseases,
the one who rescues your life from the pit,
the one who crowns you with mercy and compassion,
the one who fills your life with blessings
so that you become young again like an eagle.

—Psalm 103:2-5

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like an eagle

 

Ready to Forgive

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Am I gentle?

Ready to forgive?

Do I hold grudges?

Does love guide my life?

Is the peace of Jesus present in my heart?

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Be gentle and ready to forgive; never hold grudges.

Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.

Most of all, let love guide your life, for then the whole church will stay together in perfect harmony.

Let the peace of heart that comes from Christ be always present in your hearts and lives, for this is your responsibility and privilege as members of his body.

And always be thankful.

—Colossians 3:13-15

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Be gentle

Whoever Rejects

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John the Baptist, in speaking about Jesus, said,

For the one whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God gives the Spirit without limit. The Father loves the Son and has placed everything in his hands.  Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them.

–John 3:34-36

Jesus speaks the words of God.

Everything has been placed into the hands of Jesus by the Father.

If anyone—anyone-–believes in Jesus, they will have eternal life.

If anyone—anyone—rejects Jesus, they will not have eternal life.

If anyone—anyone-–rejects Jesus, God’s wrath remains on them.

It’s up to us.

God’s wrath.

God’s forgiveness.

Which one do you want?

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rejects

I’m on the Right Way

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I am grateful to God for placing my feet on the right path many years ago.

Just having turned 19 years of age, I was weary and worn from making my own decisions.

Coming to the place where I realized that I needed to invite Jesus to be the Lord of my life, I repented of my sin and asked for  forgiveness.

Since that time, my feet have been on the right path.

I’ve fallen a few times.

Actually, more than a few.

But I fell while on the right path that God placed me on, and I stood up each time to continue on with His help, continuing on that right path.

In a way that I cannot explain, this path “glows.”

I am drawn to remain there.

It is the only choice, as God holds my hand through the events of each day.

How about you?

Are you on the right path today?

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Now you’ve got my feet on the life path, all radiant from the shining of your face. Ever since you took my hand, I’m on the right way.

—Psalm 16:11 The Message

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right way

Brokenhearted

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Sometimes when I’m driving, the songs on the radio just “play” and my mind is on so many things that I don’t really take in the message of the lyrics.

At other times, I am totally focused on the words and I connect with the song.

Today, I was connected when I heard a song titled, “The Broken Beautiful.”

Here are part of the lyrics:

I’m better off when I begin to remember
How You have met me in my deepest pain
So give me glimpses now of how You have covered
All of my heart ache, oh with all Your grace
Remind me now that You can make a way

That Your love will never change,
that there’s healing in your name
That You can take broken things,
and make them beautiful
You took my shame
And You walked out of the grave
So Your love can take broken things
and make them beautiful *

Contemplating the meaning, I remembered a movie I once watched about Jesus.

In one of the scenes, someone took a glass creation–perhaps a sculpture–and threw it on the floor in anger and pain.

It broke into many pieces.

Later in another scene, Jesus had restored the sculpture, but not in the way you might expect.

It did not look like it did before.

The broken pieces were put together as a collage of broken parts.

Beautiful, but different.

The same sculpture, yet changed.

I also remembered that, recently, something I cared about was broken.

A dear friend had purchased an expensive ceramic pottery piece for me.

Displayed in my living room, our cat somehow knocked it onto the floor, breaking it into several parts.

I haven’t thrown it all away yet.

Perhaps I can glue it together or make it into something else.

When Jesus takes our broken hearts, broken lives and broken hopes and dreams, He restores us.

But what is that restoration like?

If we have suffered loss and pain, we still remember that.

If we have made big mistakes, the consequences may still be evident.

Like the glass sculpture in the movie, Jesus can make something beautiful out of our broken lives.

With forgiveness, acceptance and love, He gently puts us back together in a new way.

With our new form and likeness, we give honor to our Savior who has given us new life.

Are you broken today?

Jesus can take broken things and make them beautiful.

The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.

—Psalm 43:18

*Broken Beautiful by Ellie Holcomb

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crushed

The Face of Christ

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The light was beaming onto the vast ocean, diffused by the moisture that hung heavily within each cloud.

There was beauty in the white light piercing the gray shadows that day.

There is a light within those who know Jesus that has pierced the shadows of separation from Him.

We can look to the face of Jesus and know forgiveness, peace and compassion.

Remember, our Message is not about ourselves; we’re proclaiming Jesus Christ, the Master. All we are is messengers, errand runners from Jesus for you. It started when God said, “Light up the darkness!” and our lives filled up with light as we saw and understood God in the face of Christ, all bright and beautiful.

—2 Corinthians 4:5-6  The Message

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it started correct

Whiter Than Snow

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Psalm 51:7

Purify me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.

I grew up hearing a hymn about being washed and cleansed.

I’m not sure if I grasped the meaning as a child, but I understand it now.

The old English words of the hymn bring my mind to a time long past, yet Jesus was there to save then just as He is today.

Whiter Than Snow by James L. Nicholson 1872

  1. Lord Jesus, I long to be perfectly whole;
    I want Thee forever to live in my soul;
    Break down every idol, cast out every foe—
    Now wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.

    • Refrain:
      Whiter than snow, yes, whiter than snow,
      Now wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
  2. Lord Jesus, let nothing unholy remain,
    Apply Thine own blood and extract every stain;
    To get this blest cleansing, I all things forego—
    Now wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
  3. Lord Jesus, look down from Thy throne in the skies,
    And help me to make a complete sacrifice;
    I give up myself, and whatever I know—
    Now wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
  4. Lord Jesus, for this I most humbly entreat,
    I wait, blessed Lord, at Thy crucified feet,
    By faith for my cleansing, I see thy blood flow—
    Now wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
  5. Lord Jesus, Thou seest I patiently wait;
    Come now and within me a new heart create;
    To those who have sought Thee Thou never said’st “No”—
    Now wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
  6. The blessing by faith, I receive from above;
    Oh, glory! my soul is made perfect in love;
    My prayer has prevailed, and this moment I know,
    The blood is applied, I am whiter than snow.

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wash me

Christ’s Triumph at the Cross

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A few weeks ago, a church very close to my home erected a white cross on their property.

Several stories in height, it towers above everything.

It would be very difficult for anyone to miss while driving down the road.

A reminder to all, it speaks silently of the sacrifice that Jesus made in order to pay for our sins.

We need only accept His payment and repent, asking for forgiveness as we purpose in our hearts to live for Him.

I recently purchased a song that I had heard on the radio.

Part of the song’s message is:

               There’ll be days I lose the battle
               Grace says that it doesn’t matter
              ‘Cause the cross already won the war*

Sure, I will make mistakes sometimes.

So will you.

God is willing to forgive us when we do.

Jesus has already won the war over the destiny of those who love Him.

When we find that we have displeased God in some way, (sin) we must seek His forgiveness, get up, and move on—

move on toward the path He has laid out for us that day.

You were dead in sins, and your sinful desires were not yet cut away. Then he gave you a share in the very life of Christ, for he forgave all your sins,  and blotted out the charges proved against you, the list of his commandments which you had not obeyed. He took this list of sins and destroyed it by nailing it to Christ’s cross.  In this way God took away Satan’s power to accuse you of sin, and God openly displayed to the whole world Christ’s triumph at the cross where your sins were all taken away.

—Colossians 2:13

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triumph

In Order To Take Away

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I have lived in the same house for several years now.

Ever since I moved in, a private waste management company has taken care of the trash in my neighborhood.

A fee is charged and paid on a regular basis.

Each of my neighbors has their own idea about what type of trash can to buy.

Mine is metal and hefty; others have plastic ones that are lighter.

There are different colors of trash cans, too.

Whatever anyone wanted was always just fine.

Recently, that all changed.

Our trash pickup is now with a public service and new, matching trash cans were delivered to each house for our use.

A special truck will come once a week.

Giant prongs will pick up the cans and empty the trash into the back of the truck to be hauled away and forgotten forever.

When I came home after work today, my street was lined with matching, empty trash cans.

Although I know they could, I really don’t think anyone in my area is keeping their trash inside their homes, refusing to throw it away.

If they were, things would get really bad, really fast.

Throughout the week, when something is identified as trash, it gets thrown away.

Once a week, the giant pronged truck comes to take it all away.

When that happens, it’s gone from us.

We don’t see it.

We don’t smell it.

We don’t trip over it, get sick from it or deal with it in any way, ever again.

Sin can be gotten rid of, too.

Those words we said that we wish we hadn’t?

They can be thrown away and considered as trash.

The things we did that we wish we hadn’t?

Out they go.

How is that possible?

It wouldn’t be, if there wasn’t any way to actually be rid of the trash.

If no one picked it up, we’d see it.

We’d smell it.

We’d trip over it and get sick from it.

Every time we do or say something that is displeasing to God, we can ask for forgiveness and throw it away.

Jesus paid the price on the cross for all our sins and He can take away all our trash.

It doesn’t matter how heavy it is.

That’s not a problem for Him.

It doesn’t matter how much it is.

There’s no limit to His forgiveness.

When He takes it away, it’s gone from us.

We don’t see it.

We don’t smell it.

We don’t trip over it, get sick from it or deal with it’s penalty in any way, ever again.

If you’ve been keeping all your trash, don’t you think it’s time to throw it out?

You know that he appeared in order to take away sins, and in him there is no sin.

—1 John 3:5

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take away sins

The Solitary

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He was all alone.

The warm waves of a summer ocean crashed nearby.

Was he hungry?

I would say that’s the best guess.

Searching the shoreline, all by himself.

You know, I was like that once.

In fact, it was a very long once.

I felt all alone.

Big, looming circumstances in my life crashed nearby at unpredictable intervals.

Was I hungry?

No guessing needed—I was.

Not so much for food.

I always had something to eat.

My hunger was for acceptance.

Guidance.

Forgiveness.

Belonging.

Holding those four in a tight grip was my hunger for love.

When I was “out there” in life, all by myself, God rescued me.

At nineteen years old, I was ready for the redemption.

Just like the bird, I was up against a big world and there I was, spindly and small.

When I prayed and asked for forgiveness, it came.

I was not alone anymore.

God settles the solitary in a home;
    he leads out the prisoners to prosperity,
    but the rebellious dwell in a parched land.

–Psalm 68:6

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Through Jesus

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Does the weight of guilt sit on you with a heaviness you can’t get rid of?

Does the hope of ever being forgiven seem impossible to even consider?

Does the helplessness you feel when you remember your mistakes grip you with regret?

I want you to know that through Jesus, you can be forgiven of every sin.

The weight can be lifted.

The heaviness can go away.

The helpless feeling can be replaced with gratitude.

Regret can be replaced with thankfulness.

Therefore, my friends, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you.

–Acts 13:38

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forgiveness

A New Day

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The rain poured down for several minutes while we were preparing dinner.

Our family had decided to work together to make the evening meal.

When I had finished eating, I could tell that it was no longer as dark outside as it had been.

An orange glow was in the sky, making the grass a vivid, emerald color.

Taking my camera with me, I ventured out into the street to see the sunset after such a long rain.

Reaching the open space away from the trees, I was enveloped in color.

Looking all around me, I didn’t want to miss any part of the spherical canvas that was ablaze with light.

I took several pictures, focusing on different parts of the sky.

The rain was gone.

Although night was approaching, the setting sun sent a silent invitation to tomorrow’s dawn.

A new day.

 

In the New Testament, we find the account of the birth of John the Baptist.

God had planned for him to go ahead of Jesus, preparing the way for Him in speaking to the people.

When John was born, his father, Zechariah, prophesied about him:

“You, child, will be called a prophet of the Most High. You will go ahead of the Lord to prepare his way.  You will make his people know that they can be saved through the forgiveness of their sins. A new day will dawn on us from above because our God is loving and merciful.

—Luke 1:76-78

 

A new day.

A new forever.

Jesus was coming, destined to pay for our sins on the cross so that we could be saved from destruction.

The day of Jesus’ birth did occur, and the new day dawned, just as God intended.

We live in the new day right now.

This very moment—

 

Because God is loving and merciful.

 

 

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a new day

 

 

A Love For Him

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During the time of Jesus’ ministry on the earth, who did He seek out?

He chose His disciples.

He talked to crowds about the kingdom of God.

He talked individually to people, as well.

Sometimes, He talked to people who had obvious transgressions.

Tax collectors.

Prostitutes.

People known by their sin.

Sometimes, He talked to people who might not have shown any outward offense.

People like the rich young ruler who had kept laws but refused to sell all he had and follow Jesus.

Who is more broken and in need of salvation and forgiveness of sins?

The prostitute?

The tax collector?

The young ruler?

Who is more broken and in need of salvation and forgiveness of sins?

You?

Or could it be me?

The real answer is that those who do not know Jesus as their savior are in need of His forgiveness.

We are all existing in the same need.

Once we ask for forgiveness, believing in Jesus, we are all existing in the same salvation.

We will never be a first class Christian or a second or third class.

Every life is precious to God.

Every one.

As believers, we each have a ministry on the earth.

By following Jesus, there will be those that He wants us to talk to about Him.

Prostitute?

Tax collector?

Ruler?

Maybe.

Neighbor?

Coworker?

Family member?

If we are attentive to His voice, He will let us know.

He sees the hearts of the broken even when we cannot.

 

 

As He was setting out on a journey, a man ran up to Him and knelt before Him, and asked Him, “Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good except God alone. You know the commandments, ‘Do not murder, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor your father and mother.’” And he said to Him, “Teacher, I have kept all these things from my youth up.” Looking at him, Jesus felt a love for him and said to him, “One thing you lack: go and sell all you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” But at these words he was saddened, and he went away grieving, for he was one who owned much property.

—Mark 10:17-22

 

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