Forgiveness and the License to Love – Purity 584
Purity 584 11/24/2021 Purity 584 Podcast
Today’s photo of the surf and fading sun from the shores of Myrtle Beach comes to us from a friend’s late October trip there to get some R&R with some family which included “getting high” via a helicopter tour of the South Carolina shore area.
Don’t freak out but it’s official Thanksgiving Eve! Yep it’s that day when people all across the country will be taking planes, trains, and automobiles to reunite with family and friends to celebrate our national holiday of feasting in the spirit of gratitude. As some will be travelling today, others will be cleaning the house and making deserts and other treats in preparation of tomorrow’s festivities.
As we travel and meet up with friends and family tonight and prepare our homes for tomorrow’s day of thanks, I would encourage my friends to also prepare their hearts as we come together and will officially be entering the Holiday season as Santa will be coming to town as part of the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
Let’s be sure to prepare ourselves emotionally and mentally for tomorrow by reminding ourselves that the people we will be seeing and who may be testing our patience at times are our loved ones and that we will not have them in our lives forever.
If we remember the brevity of life and all that we receive through our relationships, we can appreciate our family and friends and be thankful for them in our lives.
Let’s also be aware that some of the people in our circle may not be so thankful because of recent traumatic losses and other difficulties of life.
Try to be compassionate with those who are suffering by being present with them and sensitive to their needs for patience, understanding, and love. Reach out to those who have suffered losses in the last year to let them know you are thinking about them and offer to spend some time with them or to help them in whatever way you can.
And finally let’s also endeavor to listen to the commands of Jesus in the Lord’s prayer to “forgive those who trespass against us”.
A lot can happen in a year in our relationships and the changing circumstances of our lives. Our relational interactions are not always smooth and by the time Thanksgiving rolls around we could be harboring a lot of bitterness, envy, or offense because of what people have said, done, or caused us to make us feel criticized, rejected, or unaccepted in some ways.
This morning as I started to prepare for a holiday meal for me and my children and was gathering the documents I need in order to pick up the license for my upcoming marriage, I felt convicted in my spirit to “get right with God”.
Through all the changes and twists in turns of my life in the past several months, there has been many instances where I have felt offense or sensed difficulties in several of my relationships.
The Holy Spirit convicted me to get cleansed of any bitterness or animosity that I was holding on to that was subtly influencing how I was feeling about various people in my life.
So this morning I pulled out a copy of The Steps to Freedom in Christ and decided to recommit myself to following the Lord by doing a spiritual housecleaning that includes forgiving others from the heart.
As I went through the various prayers I was amazed at how much I had to process with the Holy Spirit as the list of people I need to forgive was quite extensive! Any slight, offense, or less than harmonious feelings toward others came to the surface and regardless of whether I was sure of someone’s intentions or not, I put them on my list and forgave each and every one of them.
People don’t always react the way we expect them to or support us in the ways we would like and while we may adjust to disappointments and overcome to move on, those offenses and disappointments that we experience can build up and cause us to make our view of the other people suffer.
Instead of forgiving our friends and family that offend us, we re-categorize them as people who “don’t really love us” or as people we can’t trust. It is one thing to protect ourselves and to be aware of other people’s limitations and it is another thing to draw away from them relationally and hold attitudes of contempt towards them. As much as we may think we are protecting ourselves by keeping others at arm’s length, those feelings of bitterness or attitudes of rejection that we are holding onto towards others actually hurt us. By not forgiving from the heart, we hurt ourselves.
So to thoroughly enjoy tomorrow’s holiday of Thanksgiving and to walk into the holiday season beyond with joy, choose to forgive from the heart all those who have offended you in the past year by following this simple prayer drawn from the Steps to Freedom in Christ. Make a list of all the people you need to forgive and then for each one pray:
Dear Heavenly Father,
I choose to forgive _(person’s name)____ for ___ (the offense)___ because it made me feel _(share the painful feelings – hurt, rejected, unaccepted, belittled, angry etc. )__.
After you have gone through everyone on your list, pray the following prayer:
I choose to not hold on to my resentment. I relinquish my right to seek revenge and ask you to heal my damaged emotions. Thank You for setting me free from the bondage of unforgiveness. I now ask You to bless those who have hurt me.
In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.
When we forgive others and release them from our feelings of resentment, we set our selves free to live and love the way God wants us to. We are never more like God when we choose to forgive.
Forgiveness gives us a license to love.
Chances are that you picked up some bitterness and resentments over the last year and the Lord can give you the power to unburden yourself of them and to experience a renewed sense of peace and freedom. So keep walking and talking with God, and you will continue to discover the new and abundant life is something we can progressively experience when we walk in His ways.
Today’s Bible verse is drawn from “The NLT Bible Promise Book for Men”.
This morning’s meditation verse is:
1 Thessalonians 5:23-24 (NLT2)
23 Now may the God of peace make you holy in every way, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless until our Lord Jesus Christ comes again.
24 God will make this happen, for he who calls you is faithful.
Today’s verse speaks of the spiritual reality that the work done in us to make us holy is performed by God.
One of the biggest spiritual misunderstandings that exists in the world and in some parts of Christendom is the idea that we have to work to be approved by God.
Ephesians 2:8-9 make it clear that we are saved by grace and that our salvation is not a reward for the good things we do. Our salvation is a gift from God, a gift we don’t really deserve. Our salvation is a work performed by God.
Likewise the process of sanctification, where we become holy, is also a gift from God. Today’s verse tells us that God will make us holy because He is faithful, not us.
After coming to faith in Jesus Christ, we are made spiritually alive by the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit. When we receive the Holy Spirit, we are given eternal life and the power to say no to sin.
As much as we may pride ourselves on our newfound abilities to overcome the sin that had entrapped us, we should realize that we are only exercising the gift that the Lord has given us and that we should thank Him for the power we now have.
Our power of sanctification lies in faith. We have an increased ability to overcome sin and negative mind states that is directly proportional to our belief that we have been given the victory. If we believe it, we receive the victory over anything that would entrap us or hold us back.
While we must agree with what God has said about us in His word as His adopted children, and we must act according to that truth, it is still God who is the One who gave us the power to be sanctified.
God will make our sanctification happen because He is faithful. If you are His, He will perform your sanctification even if it isn’t realized until your glorification. Your sanctification is going to happen one way or another, whether you resist it or not.
But the thing is that our faith is not a religion, our faith is a relationship. So because God has already given us the victory and promise of sanctification, we can choose to cooperate with God and experience our sanctification sooner rather than later. While we won’t necessarily be sinlessly perfect, we can enjoy an increasing measure of sanctification if we decide to live according to God’s word.
So thank the Lord for the gift of our ultimate sanctification. Rejoice! But while your rejoicing, make the decision to accept your gift of sanctification now by turning from the world’s ways and by living for God and His kingdom by believing what God’s word says and by choosing to live by it.
The gift of sanctification is ours. So let’s open it up by believing God’s word and walking in the way we should go.
As always, I invite all to go to mt4christ.org where I always share insights from prominent Christian counselors to assist my brothers and sisters in Christ with their walk.
Today we continue sharing from June Hunt’s “Evil and Suffering… Why? Is God Fair?
As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase June Hunt’s books for your own private study and to support her work.
C. Key Questions and Answers about Salvation
Question: "Since the greatest good for mankind is that all people be saved, how can a good God send anyone to hell?"
Answer: God does want everyone to be saved. However, for people to be saved, they must freely choose to put their faith in Christ.
- Because God has given you free will, it would be impossible for Him to force you to place your faith in Him.
- People cannot be free and forced at the same time because that is a contradiction, making it an absolute or intrinsic impossibility.
While God desires that no one should perish, God has given you the free choice to repent of sinful ways and yield your life to Him. The Lord Jesus lamented ...
"O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing." (Matthew 23:37)
Question: "Why are some people saved and others lost?"
Answer: God's desire is that everyone would come to salvation through His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. This point is made plain in 1 Timothy 2:3-4, "This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth." Yet God will not force Himself on anyone. Everyone has the opportunity to accept or reject His free gift of eternal life. God clearly states ...
"You will seek me [God] and find me when you seek me with all your heart." (Jeremiah 29:13)
Question: "Would God send someone to hell who never heard of Jesus Christ?"
Answer: All human beings receive "a candle of light" from God.
- If you refuse to respond to the natural revelation of creation made by a God of intelligent design, your heart could become darkened and you may not be receptive to more light.
- If you respond to general/natural revelation of creation, He will illumine the revelation of Himself. Light rejected brings darkness and judgment. Light received brings the promise of more light. (Read Psalm 9:10; Psalm 19:1-6; Jeremiah 29:13; Luke 12:47-48; John 3:19-20; Romans 1:18-20; 10:14-15.)
"The grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men ... The Lord searches every heart and understands every motive behind the thoughts. If you seek him, he will be found by you; but if you forsake him, he will reject you forever." (Titus 2:11; 1 Chronicles 28:9)
Question: "How can a good God send people to hell who do not want to go there?"
Answer: Those who go to hell choose to go there by the decisions they make regarding God and their relationship to Him. God then honors those choices because He cannot do otherwise. C.S. Lewis wrote, "There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, 'Thy will be done,' and those to whom God says, 'Thy will be done.' All that are in hell, choose it."
"The Lord knows how to rescue godly men from trials and to hold the unrighteous for the day of judgment, while continuing their punishment." (2 Peter 2:9)
Question: "Wouldn't a fair God give people a second chance to believe in Him after death?"
Answer: God gives second and third chances—in fact, He gives many opportunities in this lifetime. But realize...
- Salvation is based on faith—choosing what is unseen, not what is seen.
- After death, you immediately see the consequence of your choice because the Bible says when Christians are "absent from the body," we are "present with the Lord" (2 Corinthians 5:8 KJV). Death eliminates the need for faith.
- "Saving faith" willingly bows the knee to Christ when the option is available to do otherwise.
- Even up to the last minute on earth, everyone has the option to receive Christ. However, at death, every knee will bow, without an option to do anything else. In order be totally fair, God plainly communicated His plan in the Bible. There are no first or second chances in the next life. Hebrews 9:27 says ... "Man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment."
Question: "How can I escape suffering throughout eternity?"
Answer: No one can escape evil and suffering in this life (John 16:33). You can and should expect trials and tribulations, problems, and pain. Yet God, because of His compassion, promises to be your "ever-present help in trouble" (Psalm 46:1).
But make no mistake: Your suffering is designed to be temporary—to come to an end. While there is a suffering that lasts throughout eternity, He has a plan to save you from that suffering. Eternal suffering takes place in the "eternal fire"—a place called hell (Matthew 25:41).
- Those who never want to be with God in this life have, in fact, already chosen to live without God in the next life. And those who choose not to live God's way in this life have, in fact, already chosen not to accept God's way into the next life.
His perfect plan, however, is that we all escape such suffering.
"The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance." (2 Peter 3:9)
Biblical Counseling Keys: Evil and Suffering... Why?: Why God? Why?.
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