All posts tagged: forgiveness

Do What is Right, Love Mercy, and Walk Humbly!

-written by Jean Daniel Do you have any scars? I have quite a few. I remember the first one I ever had was from a smallpox vaccination. As a child, those of us who had been vaccinated proudly displayed our “bad of courage.” As a teen, I was in an accident in a Volkswagen Beetle which, due to driver error (I was not the driver), slid onto its side and then flipped three times. Every time I look in the mirror, I still notice the faded facial scars that are a reminder of the wreck. They may not be noticeable to others, but I still see them. As I aged, there were several surgeries which left larger scars. Over time, all wounds have healed, but some left faded remnants. Likewise, emotional wounds require time to heal and some scars never fade. During my first marriage, which ended in divorce, I protected my teenage daughter from the painful facts of the marital problems, even though she was somewhat aware of them. When the marriage ended, she …

Are You Standing in a Flood, Mopping Floors?

I doubt this is true, but it sure struck a note with me when I read it. The story goes that years ago a certain mental institution devised a test to determine if a patient was ready to be discharged from its care. The patient under consideration was put into a room with a mop and bucket, and was instructed to mop up the floor. If he turned off the faucet filling an overflowing sink before he started mopping, he was considered sane enough to return to the mainstream of life. Over the last 50 years of ministry I’ve helped a lot of people mop up messes. Those who turned off the faucet first usually got their “rooms” cleaned up and livable again. But what’s really hard is not turning off the faucet (I’ve done that a thousand times). What’s hard is keeping the faucet turned off. I’m a lot like the Israelites of old. They would forsake the Lord; the Lord would discipline them by raising up foreign oppressors; the people would end up …

But Its My Gift and I Don’t Want to Share

Remember the first day you got to drive a car? Alone? Maybe you were lucky enough to get a new car that day. Or maybe you were just grateful to be able to borrow the family car. Either way, you were given the gift of freedom. You didn’t have to depend on anyone to go where you wanted anymore. You could just go. I got to drive the family car when I was 16 and the privilege to do so was a gift I didn’t take lightly. I had dreams of grandeur, driving around and picking up my friends to go and do… I don’t know what. We didn’t do a whole lot other than hangout and play basketball. I found out quickly with my new found gift there was an expectation to share the gift with my sister. She was younger, but she needed the car to take her places also. I needed the car to get to the store, school, a friend’s house, and church. So did my sister. And now with the …

What Do You Think You Deserve?

Have you ever admitted to yourself that you don’t deserve something? In most situations and circumstances in life, we tend to tell ourselves we deserve it. Whether we say it aloud or not, our actions show this is what we think. I deserve this new job. I deserve a pay raise. I deserve my family. I deserve this house. I deserve a new car. I deserve these clothes. I deserve this vacation. You get the point. I can probably say that I have thought or said all of these things more than once in my life. So let me ask you: Do we deserve the love of God? For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. – John 3:16 Let that verse resonate and then meditate on it. Do I really deserve this? Absolutely not, but this is the love of God and His generosity in action. I can go through a day, a …

Is Your Love The Enduring Kind?

We recently started our third round of our in house Biblical counseling training called Equipped to Counsel. It is really exciting to spend nearly a year with people looking at how God’s truth changes people. I know His truth has changed me and I’m sure you can speak of how it has changed you, too. One of the things that we try to get across to our trainees is the idea of sacrificial love, or agape love. We’ve been looking at 1 Corinthians 13:7 as part of our sermon series. One of the parts of that verse says, “Love endures all things” (ESV). The NLT says, “endures through every circumstance.” To be honest, I think this is one of the truths hard for people to believe in counseling. On the surface we believe it. “I can endure anything,” we tell ourselves. “I’ve been through childbirth,” or “I survived (fill in the blank).” But real, sacrificial, agape love endures every situation, no matter how hard, or what the consequences may be. When someone comes for counsel …

What Question Does Jesus Have For You?

Have you ever asked a question for the purpose of teaching a lesson? Maybe you ask, “How many slices of pizza did you eat?” because you know your child is about to get sick. Or maybe, “Why do you think it turned out that way?” because you want your friend to think of making a better choice in the future. Jesus was the wisest question asker and often His questions would cut deep to the core issues at hand. In John 21:15 Jesus asked Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?” Jesus asked Peter if he agape loved him, which refers to the highest form of love, a selfless love which puts others first. This question would have cut deep for Peter because he knows earlier he had denied even knowing Jesus. Peter responds saying he phileo loves Jesus, or another way of putting it is he loves Jesus like a brother. And Jesus responds by telling him to feed His lambs. Jesus doesn’t allow Peter off the hook …

New Patches For Old Mistakes or New Creations?

Legacy: consequence, effect, by-product, result, repercussion There are a lot of men who creep Into the world to eat and sleep, And know no reason why they’re born Save only to consume the corn, Devour the cattle, bread and fish, And leave behind an empty dish; And if their tombstones, when they die, Were not to flatter or to lie, There’s nothing better can be said Than that they’ve eaten up their bread, Drunk up their drink, and gone to bed. -Author Unknown What will be the by-product of your life? What ripples will you make in the pond? When you leave this world, what will the record say about the 1.75 cubic feet of space you used up every day for 25, 50, 75 years or more? What will be the repercussion of your life? No matter what stage of life you are living out, now is the time to make mid-course corrections. Jesus, in response to the Pharisees’ criticism about not practicing religion the proper way, said, “…who would patch old clothing with …

Do You Know Who Jesus Says You Are?

-written by Betsie Richards My favorite name is “BetBet.” If you know me, you know that’s what my niece and nephew call me and I love it. I’ve heard it yelled across ponds, parking lots, dining rooms, ball fields (sooooo many ball fields), and even a classroom or two. When I hear it, I don’t have to guess who someone is looking for. “BetBet” isn’t all I’m known as. Some people know me as “Betsie, who sings at Southern Hills,” others as “Betsie, from Carrollton Ear Nose and Throat,” and dear to my heart are those who still know me as “Betsie, Beedie’s grandaughter.” Those are a lot of good ways to be identified. There have been times, however, when I’ve been identified in a much more negative manner. I can sometimes be identified as “Betsie, the bitter woman” or “Betsie, the unkind.” As much as it hurts to admit, there have been times I could be identified as “Betsie, the liar.” I think Peter would understand that last one. Luke 22:54-62 tells us of …

Giving Grace To The Undeserving Spouse

He did it again. His wife is growing bitter as empty promises fill the room for the third time. “I won’t mess up again.” “I’ll do better.” “I’ll get help.” All words she’s heard before. Broken. Alone. Betrayed. Devastated. She begins to contemplate divorce. Reverse the roles and you end up with the same disappointment, the same hurt. I don’t think any other person has the power to hurt us the way our spouse can. As much potential as our spouse has to hurt us, it is also true that no other person on the planet can love us the way our spouse can. This has certainly been true for myself and my wife, Kyndel. We have both caused each other immense pain. However, the mountain tops are higher than any I’ve ever experienced. Matt Chandler, a pastor in Dallas, Texas, has said, “Love says: ‘I’ve seen the ugly parts of you, and I’m staying.’” What a powerful way to live out the gospel! Shannon hit the nail on the head on Sunday when he …

Stop Messing Up Something New In You

God wants to do something new in me. And I want Him to! The jungle is all-too-ready to overgrow and bury me during my careless times. I desperately need a pathway through the wilderness. I have built too many cisterns, broken cisterns that can hold no water (see Jeremiah 2:13). I know what a dried-up heart is like. I need some rivers of living water to flow through the dry wasteland. And the good news is God has already begun draining the deadness out of me and pumping new life into my parched soul (see Isaiah 43:19). Why would He do that for me? When I am haunted by this question, God, in His grace, firmly but gently drives me back to His love demonstrated on the cross. Milton Vincent, the author of A Gospel Primer, writes: God loved me so much that He was willing to suffer the loss of His Son (see John 3:16; Romans 8:32), and even more amazingly, He was willing to allow His Son to suffer the loss of Him …