Matthew 6:14-15
For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

Closing the Door on God’s Forgiveness

One of our most blessed benefits in knowing Christ is our ability to call upon the blood of Jesus to forgive us of our sins when so often we stumble and fail. 1 John 1:8-9 teaches us, “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” With that promise of forgiveness in 1 John also comes the condition that Jesus gives us in Matthew 6:15. God requires that we give forgiveness to receive forgiveness. We can no doubt all think of times when others may have done things to us that are, in our minds and hearts, unforgivable. God would ask us a question. What if He considered the things we have done in our lives unforgivable? None of us can attest to deserving or earning God’s forgiveness. We have all come, or at least should have come to the realization that we have fallen short of the glory of God. We are all sinners standing condemned under the law of God, estranged from God except for the grace of the blood of our Lord Jesus that has atoned for us. For all of those who have acted in faith in asking Christ into their hearts to be the Lord of their lives he has washed our sins away, casting them as far as the east is from the west.
What if God continued to hold a grudge, an offense or unforgiveness in His heart towards us? How would that affect our relationship with Him? It would obviously bring a separation and estrangement again from His fellowship and love. That is exactly what we do when we hold on to an offense, resentment and unforgiveness for others. Our offense toward others becomes God’s offense toward us. Some of us would say, ‘but that isn’t fair, you don’t know what that person has done to me or to someone I love’. Is there anything that God has refused to forgive you for?
Yes, there are some horrible, detestable and seemingly unforgivable acts that one person can perpetrate upon another. They are not right and they will be judged, but we are not the lawgiver and judge. That is God’s department. We can’t control the behavior of others, but we are responsible for our own. We can’t always control how we feel, but we don’t have to choose to live and act according to our feelings. It is Christ that now sits upon the throne of our hearts. He is to be the ruler over our mind, will and emotions. We have been called to walk after the Spirit and not after the soul. Often that is a very hard position to align ourselves with when we are carrying deep seated emotions of anger, hate, resentment and unforgiveness. It is not a switch that we can just turn off and on, but it is something that the Lord can help us to come to terms with if we will allow Him too by opening our hearts and being honest about where we are at.
We must understand the principle that resentment, resistance and retaliation, repels love.
What is God’s nature? Love. When we hold these things in our hearts we are switching off His love, which is the light to bring us to healing, forgiveness and reconciliation. We may never be reconciled where we have the same relationship with a person that we once had, but the important thing is that we have reconciled the offense caused by someone else’s behavior or bad decisions with the love of Christ that abides in us. This often stands contrary to how the world acts and behaves, but we are not of this world, we are a kingdom people with the kingdom of God residing within our spirits and lives. That means we live and operate our lives out of the context of kingdom principles.
At some point and often at many points in our lives we struggle with these issues. What we must realize and remember is that resentments and unforgiveness will always do more to hurt us than the people that we are offended with. It is not our love, but the love of Christ in us that is the ointment and balm of our healing. It is His love in us that is that power to release the unconditional love and forgiveness that He has released toward us. If this is an area in your life that you are struggling with then, for your sake, open that door of forgiveness that God’s love and forgiveness might flow back into your life. He wants to set you free. How else can we give forth the love of God if it has never been tested in our lives?

Blessings,
#kent

Do You Love what God Loves?

December 3, 2013

Luke 15:1-7
Now the tax collectors and “sinners” were all gathering around to hear him. 2But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.”
3Then Jesus told them this parable: 4″Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Does he not leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? 5And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders 6and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ 7I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.

Do You Love what God Loves?

I have the joy of photographing many people. We jokingly tell our clients that we have one rule when they view their photographs. They can criticize anyone else but themselves. Why do we say that? Invariably, the ones we are the most critical and judgmental of is ourselves. We can see faults and weaknesses in us that no else would even notice or pay attention too. Self is sometimes the hardest person we have to live with and accept. Sometimes it is hard to love your neighbor as your self, because you don’t really love yourself.
God sent Jesus Christ to tell you that you have extreme value and worth in His eyes. We often judge ourselves according to worldly standards of acceptance. We may hate ourselves because we don’t fit into the right weight class, physical appearance, intellectual ability, race or social –economic status. There are numerous reasons we may feel condemned and rejected. We may be struggling with hidden sins or urges we know are perverse or unclean. We may have done things that we are ashamed of or feel dirty and condemned for. Do you know why these sinners and publicans liked to hang around Jesus? It wasn’t because He told them what scumbags and worthless people they were and that they were all going to hell. They were attracted by the Love. It was a love that they had never seen or known for themselves. It was a love that was unconditional and that could look past their sin and shame and see their heart. It was a love that spoke to them that they were not just refuse and rejects, but that they had value and were precious in the eyes of the Father. John 3:17 says, “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” God didn’t come after us with a big stick. He came after us with the greatest act of Love ever demonstrated to man. God isn’t trying to reject you; He is trying to accept you. We already stand rejected and condemned because of our sin, but God’s love says come to me, trust in My Son and His blood will cover your sin and shame. His blood, shed for your sin, can wash you as white as snow if you will embrace Him in faith. God’s heart is to save and redeem a lost and dying world. It is not His desire that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance and eternal life. We have a will that He has given us and He will not violate our will. He doesn’t force us to receive salvation, He simply invites us to receive the provision He has provided for us to be delivered out of the judgement that is already in place for sin and come into His life, receiving His forgiveness.
Many that have walked in darkness for a time are really sick and tired of it. They realize the emptiness it leaves inside of them. It is fun for the moment, but then it leaves us feeling unclean, used and worthless. So we come back to that attitude so many of us have about ourselves, for various reasons. The truth is that God wants you to love and respect what He loves, and that is you. His heart beats for you, His arms are open to you and He wants to receive you and transform your life. It doesn’t matter where you’ve been or what you’ve done, the important thing for you to know is that He loves you and He can forgive you if you ask Him too. Simply give your heart to Him. Ask Him to forgive those past sins, come to live in your heart and to give you His life. He has a destiny and purpose for your life that you will never know or find in the places of darkness and self –loathing. It is in His love and His light that He will teach you the path of righteousness and show you the great value that you can have in His kingdom.
Do you love what God loves? Isn’t it time that you did? You are the object of His love.

blessings,
kent

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