All posts tagged: forgiveness

Jesus Has Redemptive Power Over Your Failures

This Sunday as we continue our new series “Nothing is Permanent,” we will be looking at 1 Chronicles 13-15 and 2 Samuel 6:12-15. This is one of my favorite passages in scripture but it is not an easy story to read. King David is preparing to bring the ark of the covenant back to Jerusalem. Throughout the Old Testament, the ark represented the very presence of God. So, as you can imagine, this was a big deal! However, in his enthusiasm, David fails to refer back to the proper way to move the ark (see Exodus 25:10-15, Numbers 4:4-6). When David sets forth with an impulsive plan, disaster strikes and the consequences prove fatal for one of his men. David set out to do a good thing for God and the people, but he went about it in the wrong way. Unfortunately, I can relate all too well. I come up with all kinds of great ideas “for God” and in my excitement to bring them to fruition I don’t always spend time seeking the …

Are You Living Out The Forgiveness Given To You?

-written by Betsie Richards Some of my favorite Bible stories are the ones where Jesus gives open, no-holds-barred forgiveness to someone and. at the same time He puts the Pharisees in their place. It may be because I have a “bit” of a snarky side and when Jesus calls the Pharisees out, it makes me smile. It may be because I know I need that open, no-holds-barred forgiveness too.  I love the story of the woman who was caught in adultery and brought to the Temple where Jesus was teaching. Jesus silences a crowd full of accusers by writing in the dirt and telling the one without sin to throw the first stone. When the crowd leaves without one rock thrown in condemnation, Jesus replies to her with “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.” This small statement is a declaration of forgiveness and purpose (see John 8:1-11) Another favorite of mine is the story of Luke 7:36-50. This passage tells the story of the “sinful woman” and how she washes Jesus’ feet with …

Love Your Neighbors And Your Enemies

The biblical command to love your enemies is likely one of the most difficult commands to follow in the Bible. Personally, I am tempted to just ignore my enemies. Whether it be someone I disagree with, who has wronged me, who has threatened me, or something else, I am really good at ignoring that person. I just pretend like that person doesn’t exist. If you don’t ignore your enemies, maybe you struggle with the tendency to want to hurt your enemy in return. Maybe you gossip about them. Or maybe you go out of your way to make their life miserable. Perhaps you make sure they do not get that job by digging up dirt about them. Whether you struggle with ignoring your enemies or are out to get them, we are disobeying Christ. Of course, Jesus knows that it is “normal” to hate an enemy. He says: You have heard the law that says, “Love your neighbor” and hate your enemy. But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! In …

Your Identity in Light of a Good God

This upcoming Sunday we celebrate Father’s Day.  For some of us, it is a day to celebrate with our father and say thanks.  For some of us, it is a day to remember our father and be thankful.  And for others of us, it is just another day as we never knew him or he wasn’t worthy of celebration.  I’ve been thinking about this recently.  I once had a professor say to me he never prays “Heavenly Father” because he doesn’t want to bring up bad memories of bad fathers for his students. I understand the heart, but I think this keeps a side of God at arms length. On Sunday we will be singing the song Good, Good Father by Chris Tomlin.  I think it is a very appropriate song for Father’s day.  Two things stand out to me in the chorus: You’re a good good Father It’s who You are, it’s who You are, it’s who You are And I’m loved by You It’s who I am, it’s who I am, it’s who …

Fight Human Nature And Embrace Compassion

Recently, a friend asked me a very poignant question. He wanted to know what I felt was Jesus’ most “Jesus” moment.  I knew immediately what he meant; what moment of Jesus’ life and ministry spoke to me the most. His answer was Jesus showing compassion to the adulterous woman and challenging those who were judging her to throw the first stone if they were without sin (see John 8:1-11). I have always loved the side of Jesus that challenged the established, religious leaders.  As He was extending grace to the sinner, He was scolding and educating the hypocritical aristocracy. I thought my friend had chosen his answer wisely! My answer came to me almost immediately.  When Jesus was hanging on the cross, suspended between Heaven and Earth, life and death, He looked down in His moment of greatest agony, upon the very source of His pain, and uttered “Father, forgive them” (Luke 23:42).  Jesus possessed all the power in the universe.  With a word from His lips, a legion of angels would have come to His …

This Week For Sunday

I’m sure you’ve heard of selective hearing and maybe you’ve even been accused of it.  I think at times we all only hear what we want to hear and tune everything else out.  I’ve been thinking about this concept a lot over the past week and have concluded that people are just generally selective. If I stroll up to a beach with seaweed all over the place, there’s no way I’m getting in the water.  But wrap that seaweed around a piece of fish with some rice and spicy mayo… I’m all about it! If you roll up a bunch of paper and throw it out your car window, it’s called litter.  But put “newspaper” on the top and supposedly you can leave it at the end of my driveway. Watching fail videos of people falling is hilarious!…  Until you’re the person busting your tail bone. See, we’re selective. My brother in law has a saying: “Same same, but different.”  We can look at the same situation but select a different response depending on which side of the fence …

“Yes.” I Married Way Outside of My League

It happened on March 5th during one of our morning services. I was asked for my hand in marriage!  And it was not Linda who asked me; it was Jesus!  Dwayne was leading us in worship. We were about to sing “I Stand Amazed (How Marvelous)” but he stopped us and asked us to stand in Jesus’ presence; just stand there—in Jesus’ presence. And those timeless words of hope by Charles Gabriel ripped my heart wide open: I stand amazed in the presence Of Jesus the Nazarene, And wonder how He could love me, A sinner, condemned, unclean. How marvelous! How wonderful! Is my Saviour’s love for me! That’s when it happened: I had this keen sensation that Jesus was kneeling in front of me. I thought, “He is getting ready to wash my feet.” And I was overwhelmed that He would do that. I should be washing His feet. But, instead, He looked me in the eye, and my spirit heard Him ask, “Dale, will you marry me?” My heart reeled. I know the Scriptures …

Inconceivable! What Poison is Living in Your Heart?

Ah, the battle of wits between Westley and Vizzini.  If you don’t know what this is, stop reading and go watch “The Princess Bride” right now. At this point in the movie, the hero, Westley, challenges Vizzini to a battle of wits.  He presents Vizzini with some iocane powder which is supposed to be an odorless, tasteless, and extremely deadly poison.  Vizzini tries to figure out which goblet has the poison; would Westley put the poison in the glass next to him or the one in front of Vizzini?  After Vizzini makes his choice and picks one with poison in it, Westley reveals to Buttercup that Vizzini would have died either way because he put poison in both cups.  Westley had successfully built up immunity by slowly drinking a little poison at a time over several years. Now, from a medical perspective… that don’t work.  You can’t build up immunity to poison.  If he had really been taking small doses of poison for years he would have either already died or he would be frail and …

Are You a Bruised Reed or Smoldering Candle?

The Apostle Paul reveled in the length and width and height and depth of Christ’s love—a love that embraced his highs and lows, his past and his future. That is the beauty of the Gospel—its ability to deal with all of life, from the cradle to the grave. Is it any wonder that Paul tagged it a “love that surpasses knowledge”? (Ephesians 3:18-19) That’s a beautiful thought, but I have a hard time accepting it. Maybe you do, too. I’m growing, but I still have relapses of loading up the truck with if only’s, what ifs, and now whats—regrets. The fruit of stupid decisions. The fruit of repeated mistakes. Truckloads of regrets that I wish I could unload and then just drive away. But, that just doesn’t seem right. And then I was shown a description written by the prophet Isaiah over twenty-seven hundred years ago. It is a portrait of the Messiah. Seven hundred years later Matthew found that portrait, brushed it off, and gave it to the world. He will not crush the …

Living Under the New Covenant of Christmas

I love Christmas! Food, family, and food! I may have those out of order, but I love this season. Growing up, we would attend our church’s Christmas Eve service. I remember the church being packed with families, singing Christmas hymns and lighting candles. My family would read the story of Christ’ birth from Matthew and Luke. My brother, sister and I would have a slumber party on Christmas Eve, staying up all night laughing and making every attempt to “catch Santa.” And even though Santa was cool, I knew it was about Jesus. But I didn’t fully understand just how important His birth really is. God gave Moses the 10 Commandments to make the Israelites aware of their sin. The Law did nothing to bring about atonement for sin, so God required daily sacrifices.  But Moses and the prophets knew that God would establish a new covenant, and it would not be written on tablets, but on the very hearts and minds of God’s people! “But this is the new covenant I will make with the …