You are currently browsing the category archive for the ‘forgiveness’ category.

1 John 2:1-6 Click on this link to read the passage. You may select your preferred version of the Bible after the link opens.

Sin. Repentance. Forgiveness. Freedom from sin or freedom to sin again?

Jesus’ redemption on the cross is the greatest gift ever given. We ask for forgiveness and Jesus forgives us. It’s free. It’s a gift.

Read the passage above from 1 John 2:1-6.  According to verse one, the apostle John wrote this so that we wouldn’t sin. His goal was to help us to rise above sin. Then John added that IF we sinned, that Jesus would come to our defense speaking to God on our behalf.

We live in a time when sin is flaunted in public everywhere we turn. I quit watching TV years ago because it sickened me to see virtuous living ridiculed and sin exalted on a regular basis. Sadly, Americans have allowed the media to deaden our senses to sin so that tolerance of sin is now virtuous while standing up for morality is portrayed as bigoted and an affront to the world. Of course virtuous living is an affront to Satan, but now we have allowed Satan to cloud our vision.

We have been given a standard to live by. God has given us his word in both the Old and the New Testaments of the Bible. Most homes have at least one copy of the Bible somewhere. People who identify themselves as Christian are likely to have several Bibles in various translations. But the percent of people, even Christians, who spend time daily, or even weekly or monthly reading God’s Word, is very low. We make great claims about how we believe in the Bible, but we don’t take time to read it for ourselves. We have allowed the self-serving elite of Hollywood redefine our values while we make our own assumptions about what the Bible probably says, or what it would say if God decided to re-write it today (as if even God had changed his mind).

Verses 5-6 in the above passage say “But if anyone obeys his word, God’s love is truly made complete in him. This is how we know we are in him: Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did.” How can we obey his word if we don’t read it? How can we walk as Jesus did if we don’t take the time to learn how he walked?

All the spiritual praise in the world cannot cover up our blatant willful sin. God is merciful, but he is also just. He knows our hearts. We may have praise on our lips even while our hearts are far from him.

Yes, God forgives our sins, and he keeps forgiving. But repentance is agreeing with God that our sins are sinful. If we are not trying to overcome sin, we are making a farce of our repentance. God is not mocked. He knows our hearts.

Father God, thank you for your gift of salvation. Thank you that you were willing to make the sacrifice for us while we were yet sinners. In you mercy, enable us to come to You with our whole hearts. May our praise be sincere. Help us to trust You, the one who created us, to know what is best for our lives. Help us to accept Your commands and to walk in them. Help us to live by Your Spirit and to be empowered by it. And never let us accept any counterfit spirit or way of life as Your will. Give us Your discernment that we will always know Your voice. May our love for You be pure. Help us to order our steps in Your Word that we may please You in everything we do.

Copyright © 2009 by Janice Green

Add to Technorati Favorites

Advertisements

Isaiah 53:1-9 Click on this link to read the passage. You may select your preferred version of the Bible after the link opens.

What was behind it all? Why did Jesus allow people to abuse him the way He did? I remember a time when a friend of mine suggested that Jesus had just given up on the world and let His enemies put an end to His life. According to my friend there was an article in Playboy magazine about it.

Read what God had to say about Him before Jesus ever came to earth. Here is Jesus’ destiny spelled out in words only those who choose to be ignorant can deny. Don’t take my word for it, read it for yourself in Isaiah 53:1-9.

Jesus didn’t attract crowds because he was handsome or winsome in his manner. He attracted crowds by doing miracles of healing and feeding people.

The people loved him for the things he could do for them, not for his messages of faith. His true followers were few. He knew the people’s hearts and thoughts. He knew they would abandon him when there was conflict.

Jesus experienced the sorrow of this knowledge long before he experienced the sorrow in its highest hour: his crucifixion, separation from God Himself, and death. He experienced the torture of the Roman soldiers. First their ridicule, then the crown of thorns, then the beating with the whip containing fragments of bone to tear His flesh. Then he had to carry his own cross up the hill (until he stumbled and fell under its weight and a bystander was ordered to carry it the rest of the way). He was then nailed to the cross, the cross was lifted up and dropped into the post-hole that had been dug in the ground. There he was left to die a grueling death of suffocation that resulted from the way crucifixion was designed to torture its victims.

Why did Jesus do this? Why did he allow this to happen to Him without opening His mouth to defend Himself? Because He knew that He was the only person in all eternity who would be in a position to be the sacrifice to pay for our sins. The only sacrifices God would accept had to be perfect in every way. No other human would ever be able to come close to this, yet Jesus had fulfilled the requirement completely.

All of Jesus’ sufferings were endured for one reason alone: to show us his unconditional love and to pay the price God requires to cover our sins. Put your name in the scripture verse every place you see a pronoun such as “we” or “our” or “us.” It is that personal.

If you accept this wonderful news along with this most gracious gift, then you are accepted by God as His own. You will be welcomed into His Kingdom when this fleeting life is over. If you reject this news as foolishness, then you declare yourself to be a fool who says in his heart there is no God. (See Psalm 14:1) There is no hope for you outside of what you get in this life.

If you have accepted His gift of salvation, you will be blessed. Consider how you have thanked Him? Do you simply say “Thank you, sir” and then go your own way forgetting the price he paid for your sins? I can not imagine a more ungrateful heart.

A gift is free, true, it is getting something for nothing. But I can’t help but wonder if many think they have accepted this gift when in fact they only accepted a fake ticket, like the thousands who ate the bread on the hillside when Jesus fed the multitudes. They ate the physical bread but rejected the spiritual bread Jesus had to offer. They ate to fill their stomachs, not their hearts.

Consider fresh and new if you have indeed accepted God’s gift of salvation. Reread Isaiah 53:1-9. If you heart is not filled with the kind of gratitude that makes you want to serve Him, you may never have accepted his true gift of salvation in the first place. Don’t settle for temporary bread to fill your stomach, accept the true Bread of Life. Accept Jesus for who He is, not who you want to make Him out to be, and your heart will be filled with gratitude and joy.

Father God, you know my heart. Break it if you must, but don’t allow me to settle for temporary bread that makes me think everything is OK with You when there may be real problems I need to deal with. Open my eyes and my heart to the awesomeness of your sacrifice for me so that I can respond with nothing less than full gratitude and a life dedicated in service to you.

Copyright © 2009 by Janice Green

Add to Technorati Favorites

Hebrews 9:16-24  Click on link to read passage. You may select your own version of the Bible after the link opens.       

    Why did Jesus have to die? In his death he became our perfet sacrifice for our sins. As in a will, his death also made our inheritance available to us.

    In the Old Testament, the blood was sprinkled in the tabernacle and on everything used in its ceremonies. The shedding of blood was a requirement for forgiveness.

    The tabernacle and everything associated with it is only a copy or representation of the greater and more glorious sanctuary in the heavenlies.

    The new covenant has been established in the heavenly tabernacle with Jesus’ own blood. Jesus is our high priest and he is interceding for us in the true tabernacle in heaven.

    Take time now to thank him for the sacrifice he made so he could be there to intercede on your behalf. Share your heart with him with the confidence that he understands your needs and cares for you.

 Copyright © 2008 by Janice Green

Add to Technorati Favorites

A week and a half ago I had cataract and corrective surgery on one eye. As the eye heals my vision in that eye continues to improve so that my once extremely near-sighted left eye is becoming closer and closer to 20/20. Meanwhile my right eye continues to be extremely near-sighted without correction and 20/20 with correction which includes a bi-focal lens.  My glasses have become glasses as the left lens was removed following surgery.

My new “bionic” left eye should be a source of joy to me except that it wants to argue with my right eye. I have been continually evaluating each situation and deciding which eye(s) to use… Driving calls for my glasses and bionic eye, while indoor activities are more pleasant without the glasses.  Reading and using the computer are a draw considering my bi-focals are less effective than they used to be and I have been able to pull my glasses off to read anyway. I now feel cross-eyed when wearing the glasses.

Sunday morning I had a pity party as tears rolled down my cheeks during the worship service. I will not be able to have surgery on my right eye for several months for various reasons, and this could turn into a year or more, maybe never. So I have begun to feel very betrayed by my doctor who didn’t prepare me for this battle between my eyes which has become so distracting.

We have campmeetings this week at Hemingway Campground, so I have been wrestling with my anger toward my doctor as well as wrestling with depression and despair over the possibility that this disorientation may go on for some time. Meanwhile I recognize that I have been continuing to draw more and more into myself.

I feel myself coming under conviction – my attitude has not been bringing glory to God. We sing “His Grace is Sufficient for Me” and I see my hypocrisy in my complaining spirit. I am allowing my eyes to rob me of my joy in the Lord. Doesn’t God’s word tell us to give thanks in everything? (1 Thessalonians 5:18) I am resolving to praise God for my eyes, and to wear my glasses with greater resolve that my eyes will make the necessary adjustments with God’s help. I also desire to walk more closely with Jesus so that I may sing “His Grace is Sufficient for Me” without reservations, with his joy bubbling in my heart. As he promises in his word may I draw near to him so that he will draw near to me. (James 4:8)

Luke 24:44-49   (Click to read NIV or select your preferred translation of the Bible. Please read the scripture first.)

Jesus appeared to the Disciples after his resurrection and ate with them demonstrating that his body was a physical body.

Jesus shared with them from the scriptures (our Old Testament) showing them that everything that had happened had been predicted long ago and it was necessary that it be fulfilled. Then the Disciples finally understood that Jesus’ death and resurrection took place so that repentance and forgiveness of sins could come and be preached to all people beginning with Jerusalem.

Then Jesus instructed the Disciples to stay in Jerusalem until they were to receive the Holy Spirit as God had promised. Jesus words in this passage described the Holy Spirit as if it would come over them like a garment, and that it would give them power from God.

The Disciples experienced so much in three short days. Jesus’ mockery of a trial which they were too frightened to attend, his crucifixion, death, and burial. Then as they were staying in hiding behind locked doors, Jesus appeared to them. After all this, they are told to wait for the Holy Spirit. (See John 20:19-23)

It is so hard to put myself into their minds to understand what they must have been going through, but it would certainly be an understatement no matter what kind of words we chose to describe their feelings.

How much confusion and disruption are we willing to endure for Jesus’ sake? When the road gets bumpy and rough do we decide that we must be on the wrong road, that we must have misunderstood God’s call?

Father, thank you for your gift of Jesus Christ, who died for our sins that we might receive and accept his forgiveness. And thank you too, for the many faithful disciples from his generation until today, who made it possible for us to learn about him, to share his forgiveness, and to receive the eternal life Jesus brings. Never let us forget the price that has been paid, first by Jesus, and later by those who endured persecution, that the message might reach us today. Embolden us to carry the message forth with the same urgency as did those brave disciples throughout the centuries.

Copyright © 2008 by Janice Green

Add to Technorati Favorites

2 Chronicles 6:36-39  (Click to read NIV or select your preferred translation of the Bible. Please read the scripture first.)

Solomon appealed to God on behalf of the people in his prayer of dedication for the temple. In his prayer he didn’t say “If they sin against you…” He said “When they sin…” Solomon knew the people would sin against God. He also appears to have had a premonition of the time in the Israelites future when the Babylonians did conquer the Israelites.

Solomon understood the importance of repentance. There is no hint that Solomon expected God to forgive those who were not repentant. Rather, Solomon describes a sequence of events in his prayer that he prescribes for forgiveness.

  • Experience the suffering brought about as a result of their sin;
  • Have a change of heart;
  • Recognizing their sin for what it is, repent and plead with God confessing their sins;
  • Turn back to God with all their heart and soul;
  • Pray to God;
  • God will hear and forgive.

This is a pattern that is consistent from the book of Genesis through Revelation. God has continuously asked man to repent of sins and to return to him. Fortunately for us, we are born after the resurrection of Jesus, and can receive total forgiveness through him.

Lord, quicken our consciences that we may see our sins for what they are, and lead us to come to you in total repentance. Then fill us with your joy as you cleanse us and enable us to break the chains of sin that would keep us from living fulfilled lives.

Copyright © 2008 by Janice Green

Add to Technorati Favorites

2 Chronicles 6:18-31  (Click to read NIV or select your preferred translation of the Bible. Please read the scripture first.)

The impact of Solomon’s words in verse 18 is a reflection of the wisdom God gave to Solomon. In spite of all the great craftsmanship and the elaborate construction that went into the building of the temple, Solomon knew that the completed house of worship could never contain the totality of God himself. God’s spirit could indwell the temple and it would certainly be a holy place. But it could only limit God to expect him to allow himself to be contained in the temple.

Solomon continued to pour out his heart in prayer for the people who would come to the temple. He prayed for justice among his peoples and forgiveness for the repentant. He prayed that the people’s hearts would be teachable when God’s discipline brought famine or other afflictions upon them, bringing them to repentance, followed by God’s forgiveness and healing. Solomon prayed that as a result of their afflictions, repentance, and forgiveness, the people would learn to fear God and walk in his ways.

There are many truths we can take away from these verses.

  • We cannot put God into a box. We can search the scriptures to learn about him, and sometimes it may stretch our minds beyond where they want to stretch. But we must never assume that the almighty God we worship must fit into a shape or form that we can understand fully. If he could, he couldn’t be God – we would be greater because we could contain him.
  • We should regularly pray for God’s spirit to indwell our churches, that God’s presence would be so strong that it would bring conviction on those who would do wrong.
  • We should pray for teachable spirits among our church members so that they would recognize situations when personal hardships or disaster is brought on by the hand of God to bring them to repentance for some grievous sin. (I am not saying that every such disaster is caused by our own great sins, though more often than not God will use our hardships to teach us something we need to learn.)
  • We should pray for members to come to God with a repentant heart that they may know the cleansing freedom of his forgiveness.
  • We should pray that Christians will have a healthy fear of God, that they may always walk in his ways and enjoy a growing relationship with him forever.

Father God, may we never tire of praying for our churches that they may truly glorify you. May your spirit indwell every worship service, that those who are in your house will feel your presence. May those who worship you with a right heart be filled with your refreshing joy. May they leave your sanctuary as salt and light that will draw others to you. And Lord, may those who come into your heart with wrong motives, or with sins they are trying to hide, may they feel the conviction of your presence. May they feel their hearts laid bare before you that they will repent in shame, receive your forgiveness, and then discover the true peace that comes from having a clean heart before you, the same peace that had been waiting for them from the beginning.

Copyright © 2008 by Janice Green

Add to Technorati Favorites

     19 “So then, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the vision from heaven. 20 First to those in Damascus, then to those in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and to the Gentiles also, I preached that they should repent and turn to God and prove their repentance by their deeds. 21 That is why the Jews seized me in the temple courts and tried to kill me. 22 But I have had God’s help to this very day, and so I stand here and testify to small and great alike. I am saying nothing beyond what the prophets and Moses said would happen– 23 that the Christ would suffer and, as the first to rise from the dead, would proclaim light to his own people and to the Gentiles.”  Acts 26:19-23 (NIV)

     Prior to these verses, the Apostle Paul had held been in prison under trumped up charges. He was now pleading his case with King Herod Agrippa and had just finished telling about his experience on the road to Damascus where he was converted to Christianity and was called by God to take the Christian message to the Gentiles (non-Jewish people). 

     Paul declared to King Agrippa that his first message was to preach to all people that they should repent and turn to God. Paul didn’t choose to gloss over this key message of the Christian faith. All people needed to repent of all their sins, and in addition, all those who did repent should prove the sincerity of their repentance by how they lived their lives. It was this message that enraged the Jews who had put Paul in prison.

     Paul further defended his confidence in his message by declaring that everything that had happened to Jesus was prophesied many years earlier by Moses and the prophets, as he re-stated the facts “that the Christ would suffer and, as the first to rise from the dead, would proclaim light to his own people and to the Gentiles.” (verse 23)

     Each of the scripture passages this week have echoed the same theme, the need for all people to repent. Let us pray with the Psalmist, “Create in me a pure heat, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” Psalm 51:10 (NIV)

Copyright © 2008 by Janice Green

Scripture quoted by permission. Quotations designated (NIV) are from THE HOLY BIBLE: NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.

Add to Technorati Favorites

     14 After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. 15 “The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!” Mark 1:14-15 (NIV)

     In the Gospel according to Mark, this passage comes immediately after the baptism of Jesus. The time for his ministry had come. He would soon call his Twelve Disciples.

     So what were the two components of Jesus’ ministry, right from the very beginning? Repent and believe. God had been saying this to mankind from the very beginning, but now there is much more to come–the good news! The good news of forgiveness and salvation. Don’t miss it.

     Dear Lord, prepare our hearts for true repentance that we may believe fully and receive all that you have to offer.

Copyright © 2008 by Janice Green

Scripture quoted by permission. Quotations designated (NIV) are from THE HOLY BIBLE: NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.

Add to Technorati Favorites

   1 One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.”     

2 He said to them, “When you pray, say:
“‘Father,
     hallowed be your name,
     your kingdom come.
     3 Give us each day our daily bread.
     4 Forgive us our sins,
     for we also forgive everyone who sins against us.
And lead us not into temptation. ‘”
   
  

As the Disciples observed Jesus praying, they wanted him to teach them to pray.  The Disciples must have recognized the benefits of prayer, even in the life of Jesus.  So Jesus taught them the things that make prayer effective. First, Jesus taught them to acknowledge God as our Father, and to praise his name.  We must know who it is we are speaking to, not only for the sake of praising God, but also for giving us the confidence that he is powerful enough to do what we ask. 

The Disciples were then instructed to pray for God’s kingdom to come.  We must always pray for God’s will to take place above our own.  If we are to serve him, we must align our will with his.

They were told to pray for daily needs, not for great wealth and riches.  I am reminded of the Israelites as they crossed the desert with Moses.  They were given daily manna.  If they tried to hoard it up it would spoil.

They were told to pray for God to forgive them of their sins and in the same sentence reminded to forgive others who sin against them.  Forgiveness is not a one-way street.  If we are unwilling to follow Christ’s example to forgive others, then we should not expect God to forgive us.

They were also instructed to pray that God would keep them from temptation.  This too is a daily need as there are temptations all around us demanding our attention and our time.  It is our relationship with God that enables us to overcome temptations of every kind.

Copyright © 2008 by Janice Green

Scripture quoted by permission. Quotations designated (NIV) are from THE HOLY BIBLE: NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.

Add to Technorati Favorites

Facebook

Fan me on Facebook

Blog Stats

  • 251,602 hits
Powered by WebRing.
This site is a member of WebRing.
To browse visit Here.