Category Archives: Forgiveness

Refining Moments Don’t Have to be Defining Moments

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And some who are most gifted in the things of God will stumble in those days and fall, but this will only refine and cleanse them and make them pure until the final end of their trials, at God’s appointed time.

Daniel 11:35(TLB)

We’ve all heard stories of famous celebrities and athletes at the pinnacle of their careers, gifted with incredible talent and success, who make reckless decisions causing them to stumble and fall. Like sharks in a feeding frenzy, the media quickly exploits these stories to an audience eager for any morsel of juicy details.

There are even biblical examples from our Superstars of Faith who stumbled:

  • Noah became shamelessly drunk on wine.
  • Abraham doubted God would give him and Sarah a son, so he took matters into his own hands and fathered a child with Hagar.
  • Moses lost his temper and disobeyed God’s instructions, costing him the chance to enter the Promised Land.
  • David committed adultery and had a man murdered to cover up his transgression.
  • Peter denied that he ever knew Christ.

We don’t have to be famous to find ourselves in the same types of situations.

We’re all imperfect humans, capable of missteps along the way. Our mistakes aren’t always reported in the judgmental view of the public eye or recorded in the Bible for generations of people to read, but we often find ourselves under the microscope of shame in our own eyes, feeling completely defined by our failures.

For believers, God uses these painful experiences to refine us.

The industrial process of refinement takes a substance with imperfections and impurities, purifying it to its most usable form. The spiritual process of refinement works the same way, only God purifies our lives to bring us to our most usable form for His kingdom.

Refinement removes our impurities.

When we emerge on the other side of the refinement process, we are cleansed and polished, more perfectly suited for God’s call on our lives. Without the cloudy imperfections, we shine for God’s glory!

As children of God, our Refining Moments don’t have to be our Defining Moments.

Noah, Abraham, Moses, David and Peter are famous for their faithfulness to God and their work in His kingdom ~ NOT for their failures. Their Refining Moments were not their Defining Moments!

God promises that He can make all things – even our failures – work together for good in the lives of His children. (Romans 8:28) He wants to use every detail of our story for His glory ~ even the times when we stumble and fall.

 

Related Scripture:

Pure gold put in the fire comes out of it proved pure; genuine faith put through this suffering comes out proved genuine. When Jesus wraps this all up, it’s your faith, not your gold, that God will have on display as evidence of his victory. 1 Peter 1:7 – 9 (MSG)

And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. Romans 8:28 (NLT)

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I Am…and so are YOU

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“But by the Grace of God, 

I am what I am…”

1 Corinthians 15:10

I am…

I keep a list in my journal which I have entitled “I am…” I add to the list as I read God’s word and come across verses that remind me of who “I am” as a child of God. Sometimes during my quiet time, especially when I am feeling less than significant, I turn to the list and read aloud, taking time to grasp the meaning of each phrase as it pertains to my relationship with my Heavenly Father. No circumstance will ever change the way He feels about me. By reminding myself of who I am in Christ, I am encouraged, inspired and energized to begin my day living out the divine purpose for which I was created.

…and so are YOU!

The beauty of the list is that it is not unique to me. Anyone who is a child of God is included in these promises. He cares about EACH of His children the same way. Below are a few items on the list. Read them out loud to yourself as His child, taking time to absorb the significance of each phrase. Before you read each phrase, repeat the words, “I am…” to personalize them to your relationship with your Heavenly Father. These promises capture a glimpse of the essence of how God feels about you, and they are all found in His word.

                        “I am…”

  • Created for a unique and special purpose
  • Fearfully and Wonderfully made
  • A unique workmanship hand crafted by God
  • A precious and treasured possession of my Heavenly Father
  • Valuable
  • Forgiven
  • Secure in Him
  • A Child of the King of Kings
  • Ransomed, Redeemed and Saved by Grace
  • Shielded and Protected by God and His Angels
  • Bought with a price
  • Accepted in His Son
  • Surrounded by God
  • Engraved upon His hand
  • The apple of His eye
  • Quieted and Comforted With His Love
  • Rejoiced over with joyful singing
  • The one in whom God takes Great Delight
  • Chosen by the God of the Universe
  • Gently Led by God
  • Loved Eternally by my Heavenly Father

“See I have engraved you on the palms of my hands;” Isaiah 49:16

Every New Day is a Second Chance

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Every New Day

 

 

“Yet this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope:
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
His mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
Great is Your Faithfulness!”
Lamentations 3:21 – 23
 

Every sunrise serves as a shining ray of hope, reminding God’s children about His inexhaustible supply of love and mercy ~ they are new every morning.

To fully comprehend this continually renewable resource of divine mercy, here are a few ways to define it:

  • kindness or help given to people who are in a very bad or desperate situation
  • a blessing that is an act of divine favor or compassion
  • kind or forgiving treatment of someone who could be treated harshly
  • compassionate treatment of those in distress

So if you’re in a desperate situation in need of a “second chance,” be encouraged to know that the Father of mercy compassionately dispenses daily acts of divine favor, and there will never be a shortage of His kindness and forgiveness. As constant as the waves rolling into the seashore, His mercies are new every morning, and they won’t ever come to an end. The situation is never hopeless when you place your hope in the Great Faithfulness of your compassionate and gracious Heavenly Father.

“And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, “The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness” Exodus 34:6
 “The Lord within her is righteous; He does no wrong. Morning by morning He dispenses his justice, and every new day He does not fail, yet the unrighteous know no shame.” Zephaniah 3:5

The New You

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Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!
2 Corinthians 5:17 (NIV)
 

Like a caterpillar metamorphosing into a beautiful butterfly, you are divinely transformed into a new creation when you become a child of Christ. At the moment you place your trust and faith in Jesus, you are emptied of the old self (the old has gone) and divinely reborn as a child of God (the new creation has come)! And just like the caterpillar after its mysterious metamorphosis process, that old life of yours is gone ~ it exists no more. Your newborn soul is fresh and unique, crafted by the Creator of the universe for His glory.  You are a brand new person, re-created on the inside, not simply an upgrade of an older version. Your mind, thoughts and purposes become God focused.

Don’t let the shame of your past or the guilt over former mistakes hold you captive ~ or cocooned ~ and keep you looking back with regrets. Through God’s unfathomable love and grace, your shame, guilt, and mistakes were nailed to the cross with Jesus.  Your Savior’s blood covered each and every sin so that you could become a new creation through Him.

Each time you see a beautiful butterfly, remind yourself that you are a marvelous new creation in Christ ~ the old has gone, the new is here!

“He who was seated on the throne said, ‘I am making everything new!’ Then he said, ‘Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.'” Revelation 21:5(NIV)
 
“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” Romans 12:2 (NIV)

When You Feel Crabby

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“Live in harmony with one another…” Romans 12:16a (NIV)
 

Let’s face it. There days when it’s difficult to “live in harmony” with others ~ days when every little thing gets on your nerves, and you feel crotchety and testy.  Perhaps something happened to precipitate this prickly state of mind, or it could be that you just simply woke up in a grouchy mood. Instead of harmony, everything around your seems to be a cacophony of jangling disharmony.

But as a children of the Prince of Peace, we must remind ourselves that the example we set in our lives should draw others to our Heavenly Father, not push them away. We should be a breath of fresh air for people around us, not a source of negativity and strife. So if you are having one of those touch-me-not days, take a spiritual time out and pray about it.  Ask God to reset your attitude, and replace your crabbiness with an infusion of His loving, patient and forgiving spirit. Remind yourself of these instructions from Philippians 2:14 – 16a (MSG)

        1. Do everything readily and cheerfully—no bickering, no second-guessing allowed!
        2. Go out into the world uncorrupted, a breath of fresh air in this squalid and polluted society.
        3. Provide people with a glimpse of good living and of the living God.
        4. Carry the light-giving Message into the night…

Strive to put heaven’s priorities into daily practice, and focus on what really matters, not on nit-picky details.  Let this be your constant theme: “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” Romans 12:18 (NIV)

  • “In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:16 (NIV)
  • “Do everything readily and cheerfully—no bickering, no second-guessing allowed! Go out into the world uncorrupted, a breath of fresh air in this squalid and polluted society. Provide people with a glimpse of good living and of the living God. Carry the light-giving Message into the night…” Philippians 2:14 – 16a (MSG)
  • But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.  Against such things there is no law.” Galatians 5:22-23(NIV)
 

 

God’s Love in the Midst of Our Mistakes

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“Whoever digs a hole and scoops it out
falls into the pit they have made.
The trouble they cause recoils on them;
their violence comes down on their own heads.”

Psalm 7:15 – 16

Let’s face it. We all make mistakes at some point in our lives.  And sometimes the deep pit in which we find ourselves is a result of our own doing.  Improper judgment in relationships, mismanagement of finances, misuse of time, poor decisions about those with whom we associate, exploitation of power, substance abuse, gambling, adultery, lying, cheating, inappropriate media, etc.… can all lead to destruction in our lives. 

Scoop by scoop, the hole gets deeper and deeper.  Then when we wake up at the bottom of the slimy pit, which we dug with our own hands, we look up and try to blame God or others around us for our problems.  We wonder why God would “allow” this pain and suffering we are experiencing.  But the harsh reality is that our own decisions and actions caused the trouble in our lives.  Our greatest difficulties are often a result of consequences we bring on ourselves.

If you find yourself at rock bottom due to ramifications of your own mistakes, there is a brilliant ray of hope shining brightly into the dismal abyss. Regardless of what you might have done to land in the depths of this destruction, God stands ready with arms wide open to grace you with His blessed redemption.  His unfailing love and compassion for you is so great that you can never fall so far that you are out of His reach.  He holds the deepest valleys in His mighty hands, and wherever you find yourself, He is there. Yes, He will sometimes allow you to suffer the consequences of your bad decisions, but He’s always ready to redeem your life once you call to Him for help.

There is no pit deep enough to outmatch God’s unfathomable love for you.

Lift up your arms to the Lord because He’s already waiting to pick you up.   His eyes are full of grace, mercy, and compassion…not condemnation.  Call to Him for help, and He will hear your cry.  “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  Romans 8:38 -39

“I called on your name, Lord, from the depths of the pit.
You heard my plea: “Do not close your ears to my cry for relief.”
You came near when I called you, and you said, “Do not fear.”

You, Lord, took up my case; You redeemed my life.”

Lamentations 3:55 – 58

Related Verses:

“For no one is cast off by the Lord forever. Though he brings grief, he will show compassion, so great is his unfailing love. For he does not willingly bring affliction or grief to anyone.”  Lamentations 3: 31 – 33

“In your love you kept me from the pit of destruction; you have put all my sins behind your back.”  Isaiah 38:17b

“Where can I go from your Spirit?  Where can I flee from your presence?  If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.” Psalm 139:7 – 8

“Though you have made me see troubles, many and bitter, you will restore my life again; from the depths of the earth you will again bring me up. You will increase my honor and comfort me once more.” Psalm 71:20 – 21

“And they will go to others and say, ‘I have sinned, I have perverted what is right, but I did not get what I deserved. God has delivered me from going down to the pit, and I shall live to enjoy the light of life.’ “ Job 33:27 – 28

“He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.” Psalm 40:2

He has risen!

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“Don’t be alarmed,” he said.

“You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified.

He has risen!

He is not here.

See the place where they laid him.

Mark 16:6

 

“Who believes what we’ve heard and seen?
    Who would have thought God’s saving power would look like this?

The fact is, it was our pains he carried—
    our disfigurements, all the things wrong with us.
We thought he brought it on himself,
    that God was punishing him for his own failures.
But it was our sins that did that to him,
    that ripped and tore and crushed him—our sins!
He took the punishment, and that made us whole.
    Through his bruises we get healed.

The plan was that he give himself as an offering for sin
    so that he’d see life come from it—life, life, and more life.
    And God’s plan will deeply prosper through him.

Out of that terrible travail of soul,
    he’ll see that it’s worth it and be glad he did it.
Through what he experienced, my righteous one, my servant,
    will make many “righteous ones,”
    as he himself carries the burden of their sins.
Therefore I’ll reward him extravagantly—
    the best of everything, the highest honors—
Because he looked death in the face and didn’t flinch,
    because he embraced the company of the lowest.
He took on his own shoulders the sin of the many,
    he took up the cause of all the black sheep.”

Isaiah 53:1,4-5,10-12 MSG

The suffering, death and resurrection of God’s only son, Jesus Christ, resulted in forgiveness made available to all mankind…including you!  No matter what you have done in your life, no matter what sort of sins or wrongdoings you have committed, no matter how unworthy you feel of God’s love, Jesus’ work on the cross included YOU.

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Romans 5:8

Believers in Jesus are forgiven in the sight of God, not by their own works, but by the great work of Christ, the Messiah, on the cross.  By claiming Christ as our Savior and Lord, believers are stripped of the condemnation brought on by their sins, and they are clothed in the goodness of Jesus.

 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

John 3:16

“Who believes what we’ve heard and seen?  Who would have thought God’s saving power would look like this?”

Do you believe in the saving power of Jesus Christ?