Tag Archives: forgive

Week # 21 Ephesians 2: 8-10

Did you have an opportunity to share your story last week?  If not, I’m sure an occasion will be presented soon.  I love the way last weeks verse, Matthew 28: 19-20, compliments  Ephesians 2:8-10(if this is your first time joining us click here to read more).  Both of these scriptures direct the focus in our life to Christ working in us for the purposes of God’s kingdom.  How does your story boast of God’s handiwork?

Sometimes that is an easy question to answer and other times it is difficult depending on the season of life we are in.  When our answer doesn’t come easy we should take time to reflect on how the Lord has worked in our lives in the past.  A purposeful pause might be just what we need right now as we are on the edge of entering the second half of 2017.

A good place to start might be with asking ourselves how has God’s free gift of grace impacted our lives?  Our answer to this question will reveal if we are accepting His grace freely and are living according to what He has created us, in Christ Jesus, to do.  An honest reflection requires us to start by defining God’s grace according to His standards.  Why?  Because, it tends to get muddled up when we try to define it within human parameters.  What do I mean by muddled up?

Well, we tend to want to continuously tie an “if– then” condition to grace.  For example, in my Sunday School Class, an illustration of restaurant tipping is often used to differentiate between God’s grace and an individual’s grace standard.  God’s grace standard is given freely without connection to if the individual deserves His grace.  God graciously provided salvation for us before we did anything to deserve it.  We receive God’s grace through faith, of any size, by accepting His offer and trusting His ability to freely gift us eternal salvation.

The tipping illustration places us in a service providing restaurant.  The person serving our table has a level of faith that their customer will provide a “monetary tip” for services rendered to the best of their ability.  What should our standard for tipping our server be?  As a paying customer we have been conditioned to measure the service provided by various personal standards.  How often are we trapped by our engrained service standards and “tip” based more on what they deserve rather than freely tipping with grace to bless our server?  From the conversations in my class I can tell you grace tipping is more of an acceptation rather than the standard. This topic is met by  some of the following comments:   “If I get bad service how is the person ever going to know they are terrible?”  or “I only give what they deserve, I shouldn’t have to tip, it’s the owners job to pay their staff.” This is meant only as an example— please don’t feel judged if your not a grace tipper.

I hope you didn’t get lost in this illustration.  The point I hope we will all take away is—- grace is given without consideration of merit and in many cases extended when by all measure when not deserved.  God’s free grace is absent of any “if or then” calculations.   But,  if we are focused on living life still trying to “deserve or earn” God’s grace.  Then, our understanding could be compared to believing that God is more like the paying customer who gives grace based on what we have done or are doing.  Does this belief align with scripture?  According to Ephesians 2:8-10 the answer is, no.  Paul states very clearly that we are saved by grace through our faith in God NOT by anything we do beyond freely receiveing it all, because even our faith comes from God.

If our very faith, is the basis of receiving grace, comes from the Lord what is our role?   I propose that it is to act on the faith we are given through belief in Christ and to obey his commands.  Jesus gave us our first step when he revealed the greatest commands of the Lord in Matthew 22:36 -40—  first, to love the Lord with all your heart, soul, and mind and second to love your neighbor like you love yourself.  When we obey these commands(John 14: 23 -24) it leads us into deep relationship with the Lord, increases our faith, and pours out into our love for him, ourselves, and our neighbors.  When we embrace the faith He has given to us we are able to live out His commands in love through His free grace.

Personally the concept of free grace was not one that I embraced immediately when I first believed Jesus is my Savior.  I spent many years believing that I had to earn God’s grace.  As I held onto this belief I felt like I couldn’t measure up or do enough for God and others.  My feelings of inadequacy became the substance of the walls that I built.  Barriers that separated me from experiencing God’s free grace and who He wanted to be in my life.  I blocked His love because I didn’t feel like I was good enough.  I couldn’t forgive myself, so I questioned  how or why the God of the universe would forgive me, love me, or even listen to me?  It breaks my heart to think of all the time I wasted behind a wall of unbelief, fear, and insecurity.  Maybe you can relate to the walls I built in my life or maybe you have other walls built to keep God at a distance.  If you do and are still struggling with this belief my prayer is that you will chose to believe in His unconditional love for you, as His child.  That you will act on the mustard seed of faith He has given you to receive His free gift of grace today.  It is as simple as us telling Him we believe in Jesus His Son and we receive His gift of grace— the key that brings us freedom from our sin.  After that we are free to continue to act on our faith and seek His help to obey His commands.  Now, let the boasting begin— of how God’s grace has invaded our life and caused us to live as the handiwork God created us to be in Christ!

Does boasting always mean through words?  Let’s consider how we can boast of God’s grace by extending grace to others through forgiveness, unconditional love, kindness, and maybe even some grace tipping.

How will you express the free grace you have been given this week?

Who needs to hear your story of grace and freedom?

Join the conversation I would love to hear your ideas!

**If you find your mind wondering back to the question of our source of faith being God himself?  I encourage you to answer your questions.   Here are some digging deeper scriptures for personal study. (Acts 3:16, Acts 15:9-11, Acts 26:18, Romans 1:17, Romans 4: 1-8, Romans 4:16-17, Romans 5:1-2, James 2:21-22) **

Be Alert~ Stay Strong~ Pray Always

Warrior~Princess Sherry

Welcome if you are joining me for the first time. This post is part of my weekly series “Wisdom Wellspring”. Take a moment to visit the page to learn about the heart behind the series and view previous posts.

Proverbs 4:23 “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.”

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Week # 17 Psalm 103:11-12

His love crescendos with his forgiveness of his people; those who fear him.  Our minds struggle to comprehend the vastness of the universe and the complexity of the heavens so no wonder we are left awe struck by the love of God for us.  I personally wander between the solid foundation of my belief in the Lord’s love for me and a slippery foundation muddied by my worldly doubts.  It is my thoughts that take me between the two and make me feel unworthy, undesirable, and unlovable to anyone let alone the King of Kings.  Maybe you can relate to having some of these feeling too.  What are we to do in the times of our life when we question if God really loves us or even wants us?

I have learned over the years that my feelings and emotions are not effective measurements of reality.  More times than I would like to admit my feelings and emotions have guided me to the wrong conclusion and clouded my judgement.  So I’m striving to become better at recognizing my emotional tendencies.  With the intent that I will then choose to redirect myself by asking “what is the truth in this situation?” and looking for the truth.  Often times my search begins with a little prayer to help me focus on seeking the truth over seeking to feel better in my situation.  Philippians 4:8 is a verse I turn to many times for redirection.  It is a great reminder for when we are feeling anxious or confused.  It tells us to think on things that are true, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy.   So when I catch myself questioning my worth to God I have to think on the truth of these two questions:

 Why do I think I’m unworthy?

 What has he told me about his love for me?

Answering these questions will set us back on our solid foundation with God. In most circumstances our feeling of unworthiness stem from some form of sin, confusing circumstances, or painful situation in life.   What is the truth about either of these possibilities?  Are they the answer to the first question?— Why do I think I’m unworthy?

  • Sin:  1 John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”
  • Confusing Circumstances:  Romans 8:28 ” And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”
  • Painful Situation in Life:  Hebrew 12: 7-8  & 11 :  7- “Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children.  For what children are not disciplined by their father? If you are not disciplined—- and everyone undergoes discipline— then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all.”   11- “No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful.  Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.”

Each of these foundational truths of how the Lord interacts with his people will help bring clarity to our situation and remind us of the truth of Christ’s love.  This weeks verse describes his love as being “as high as the heavens are above the earth”.  So that brings to question just how far is that? According to a quick google search I found the following distances, at www.space.com, to get our minds going:

  • Earth to the Moon- 238,900 Miles
  • Earth to the Sun- 92.96 Million Miles
  • Earth to  the Andromedia Galaxy- 2.537 Million Light Years

Wow!  Let that sink in!  Just from those figures we should be able to say that the truth is ~ God is out of this world crazy in love with us!  So why do we struggle so much with believing him?   I believe it is because the Lord has an enemy, one of his own beloved creations, satan a fallen angel, who doesn’t want us to believe in God’s love for us.  When we believe and are secure in the depth of God’s love for us the enemy loses his power over us.  Satan will do all he can to minimize our relationship with Christ so he works overtime in the department of clouding our view of the truth about the Lord’s love and forgiveness.  He promotes his lies to get us to buy into his accusations against us leaving us feeling condemned and helpless.  Many times we are left feeling unworthy of  forgiveness from ourselves let alone from God.  That is when we need to address the second question— What has he told me about his love for me?

All throughout scripture the Lord has revealed through his people that his love is enduring and never ending.   Just last week we celebrated Easter the ultimate display of sacrificial forever love.  So what is your answer to this second question?  How do you know he loves you?  One of the many truths that comes to my mind is Romans 8: 31-39.  This amazing section of scripture is entitled “More Than Conquerors” in my Bible.  It is spells out these truths of our relationship of love and forgiveness with the Lord.

Who is the one who condemns?

No one, because Jesus intercedes for us.

Who shall separate us from the love of God?

No one and no circumstances, because we are more than conquerors through Christ who loves us.

His love is higher than the nearest galaxy, 2.537 Million Light years, for you and his forgiveness stretches farther than the east is from the west,24,874 miles, on earth alone.  Will you receive it today and for all eternity?

 

Be Alert~ Stay Strong~ Pray Always

Warrior~Princess Sherry

Welcome if you are joining me for the first time. This post is part of my weekly series “Wisdom Wellspring”. Take a moment to visit the page to learn about the heart behind the series and view previous posts.

Proverbs 4:23 “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.”

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Week #16 Wisdom Builder He has risen!

Happy Easter!  Celebrating the resurrection of our amazing Savior Jesus Christ!!  He is Risen!!!

Love, forgiveness, kindness, and compassion were expressed with unmatchable sacrifice through the life, shed blood, and resurrection of Jesus.  This week we are encouraged to live our life alive in Christ by extending his love to with the world around us.  Ephesians 4:32 inspires us to be kind and compassionate and forgive as the Lord forgave us.   Sacrificial love shown through kindness, compassion, and forgiveness draw others to Christ.  Why?  The very thought of forgiving and not making someone pay for the wrong they have done is counter to our human nature.  Choosing to be kind and compassionate to others who are not responding or treating you the same demands sacrifice and a love that is deeper and richer than the superficial love regularly experienced.    

I find my greatest challenges lie within my family relationships because it is too easy for me to revert to my selfish thinking and internally demand they should treat me differently.   Can you relate?  It’s a struggle that challenges my witness daily.  I’m so thankful that my Savior is perfect in all of his ways and loves me and forgives me through all my faults and failures.

This week let’s be kind and compassionate to others for Jesus just because he loves us so much more than anyone in this world ever can.  God is love and he is alive so we can love others sacrificially  with his love.

Be Alert~ Stay Strong~ Pray Always

Warrior~Princess Sherry

Welcome if you are joining me for the first time. This post is part of my weekly series “Wisdom Wellspring”. Take a moment to visit the page to learn about the heart behind the series and view previous posts.

Proverbs 4:23 “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.”

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Week # 14 Wisdom Builder 2 Chronicles 7:14

2 Chronicles 7:14

” if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear fro heaven and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”

Maybe this is a familiar verse for you like it is for me.  I was first introduced to 2 Chronicles 7:14  when I was a National Day of Prayecoordinator for our Chapel in 2006.  I’ve always seen it as a call to prayer for the people on behalf of our nation.  But in studying the original context of this verse I have discovered it’s richness extends beyond a call to prayer.

These words of the Lord were spoken to King Solomon at the completion of building the Temple in Jerusalem.  The Lord appeared to him at night following  fourteen days of celebration of the Lord filling the Temple with his glory and  the Festival of Feast of Tabernacles with the people of Israel.  The people all went home joyful and glad.   While Solomon’s experience continued with a visit from the Lord.  God chose to personnally tell him that he heard his prayer of dedication(that is recorded in 2 Chronicles 6: 14-42(hover over this passage location to read it)).   Take a moment to read the prayer.  It is fascinating.   If you read the complete response, 2 Chronicles 7:12 – 22, you will recognize it as though Father God is continuing his conversation with Solomon.  He responds to him with the same phrases that Solomon used in his prayer.   I love it.  It is another sweet example of how relational and intentional the Lord is with his people.  We should find hope in this verse for many reasons.

  1. It is reassurance that the Lord listens and responds to his people.
  2. The Lord himself gave guidance for how to approach him:
    • in prayer
    • by seeking his face
    • by turning from our wicked ways
  3. The Lord is in heaven ready:
    • to hear our humble prayer
    • to respond with forgiveness
    • to respond with healing

Don’t we have such an amazing Father in heaven!  He is loving and holy.   We are to approach him in reverent humility.  The Lord is fully aware of our inability to live holy as he is without his righteousness covering our sin(Romans 3:21-31).  Solomon’s father King David knew this from personal experience and he certainly passed down, to his son, his understanding of God’s heart as David expressed it in Psalm 51:16 -17.  David approached the Lord with a sacrifice of his “broken and contrite heart”, rather than one for the altar, because he knew the Lord delighted in a heart submitted to him more than a sacrifice of grain or burnt offering, as prescribed in the Law of the Old Testament.  Both of these King’s experienced God the Father in a very unique personal relationship because they were chosen by him to rule his people and they responded to the Lord’s heart with reverence.  Before the new covenant, consummated by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, only a few chosen people were able to experience God the Father in a personal relationship(2 Corinthians 3: 1-18).  Now, under the new covenant, we are called the temple of the Holy Spirit(1 Corinthians 6:19-20).  The quality and closeness of our relationship with the Lord is a matter of our heart condition.

How would you describe your heart relationship with the Lord?

I encourage each of us to take time this week to humble ourselves before the Lord in an attitude of prayer as we seek his face.  When we do this we are better prepared to respond to his prompts to turn from any wickedness that has crept in-between us.   When we seek the heart of the Lord we can be fully assured that he will hear us from heaven and respond in love with forgiveness and healing.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this new way to look at our treasure verse this week.

Be Alert~ Stay Strong~ Pray Always

Warrior~Princess Sherry

Welcome if you are joining me for the first time. This post is part of my weekly series “Wisdom Wellspring”. Take a moment to visit the page to learn about the heart behind the series and view previous posts.

Proverbs 4:23 “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.”

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The Power of Self

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“Time to reflect”

Can you walk in a straight line? How about with your eyes closed? With our eyes open and something to focus on, yes, most of us are able to walk in a straight line. But when the ability to see and focus on our destination is removed or interrupted we will end up off course.  Is your life still on course? Has your focus been interrupted?  When is the last time you purposefully carved out time to quietly self-reflect with the Lord? The most common time for us to pause to contemplate where our life is going and consider changing direction is when the year draws to a close. I am learning the value of taking this time more often than once a year.  For me, self-reflection is an effective tool the Lord uses to help keep my life on track and arrive at my destination without too many detours.

Recently, in an almost forced pause for reflection, I was faced with a question: Does the way I live reveal that my identity and self worth are established in Christ? The honest answer was that I’m not sure it is as recognizable as I would

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Psalm 39:23-24

like it to be-which meant it was time to get to work. In my heart I knew that my identity and value are in Christ. However, when I was honest with myself my outward behavior showed that I believe differently.  I was seeking acceptance from this world. In some areas of my life I had put greater value on other’s opinions of success (as measured by this world) than over my unmatchable worth in Christ. The source of my true identity and self-worth were in conflict. My heart was reminding me that I am secure in who God says I am; his child, enough for him, loved, and the list goes on. My mind was measuring differently and offering its own list “You are lacking compared to….”; “You are out of style compared to…”, “You don’t have enough  education to…”, People don’t really like you.”, and that list went as well. Do you ever experience this conflict?

What does the world require of you to achieve its standard of worthiness? By what standard   do you measure and align your identity and your worth?   The world’s or Christ’s?

Here are some verses to remind you of your identity in Christ:

Colossians 2:10 “ In Him (Christ) you have been made complete and He is the head over all rule and authority”

1 Corinthians 6:11 “And that is what some of you were.  But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Christ and by the Spirit of God.”

 Also-  1 John 4:4 ;   Ephesians 1:3-13;  Ephesians 2:2-13

Do you ever struggle to be truly honest with yourself and minimize your choices?  During my forced reflection time I wrestled with being honest with myself. I had to admit that trying harder was not the answer.  I had to finally surrender to the Holy images-22Spirit’s transforming power and fight the urge to rationalize my thoughts and behavior. Opening my hands and releasing control,  I chose to trust that he would gently show me the source of my weakening witness for Christ.  And he did. The honest truth was I had experienced a pretty painful rejection. Until that time of stillness, I had never named it, but that is what it was. Rejection.

Did you know that the fear of rejection is one of the greatest human fears?? Once I openly assessed my behavior and thought process it became clear, to me I had been rejected. Naming it allowed me to recognize how my thought life shifted from focusing on Christ’s best to my “best” according to the world. The transition blurred my unquestioned security in Christ. This lead to a search for cropped-IMG_2063.jpgreassurance of my value in this world. When the fog of selfish thinking was removed from my eyes, I could see clearly how pride had crept into a corner of my heart. Living in the haze of pride it gave me permission to behave and make choices that I never thought I would. Thank God nothing earth shattering occurred, but enough happened to leave me embarrassed and regretful as I look back. I find assurance and comfort in 2 Corinthians 7:10 “Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.”

I sought after and put more value on the acceptance and approval of people around me that at the end of the day, wouldn’t even remember we had crossed paths. (John12: 43 “for they loved human praise more than praise from God.”; Proverbs 29:25) I images-23pushed aside God’s unconditional love as my creator, the one who has great plans for my life (Jeremiah 29:11-12), and accepts me just as I am. I took my eyes off Jesus and put them on myself. Faced with this truth I was left  to stumble through the questions: How did I not see this happening? Why didn’t anyone say anything to me?

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“Love covers all.”

My answer:  I couldn’t see because I was living out of a place of hurt. It was easier to choose to justify myself and blame the people who were causing my pain for my poor choices.  This included making sure other people in my life knew I was being wrongly treated.  I responded pridefully, rather than trust God to heal my hurt heart and ego. I rationalized that my feelings were justified, and I ended up stuck in a cycle of rejection, hurt, looking for assurance.  Around and around it went. The situation didn’t change, but I became more effective in dealing with my response.  Many months later when I finally gave the situation fully to the Lord I had the strength to put  change in action. The most perplexing factor was that during this whole situation I had not drifted from my involvement with my daily devotions or Bible study. I was living in a false security and blindly choosing not to fully lay that corner of my hurt heart and wounded identity in His arms for restoration. I was going through the motions in that area of my heart.

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“Find your power in your armor!”

Have you ever caught yourself in a similar heart situation? If yes, then you can attest to the sense of peace that comes as you practice the process of surrender. I had to surrender my hurt and release my hesitation for future interactions. I had to forgive and release my need for restitution. I had to repent of pridefuly seeking approval of man and live for the approval of only my Savior.
The enemy is so subtle in his ways. This is just another reminder that we need to live our life as the Warrior-Princess we are and stand fully armed for battle everyday. “For our struggle is not with flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against he powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” Ephesians 6:12

Remember~ Armor up and lay my pride down!

Take time to reflect with the Lord by focusing on Psalm 139:23-24 he will meet you in the stillness of your heart and lead you in ways everlasting.

Be Alert~ Stay Strong~ Pray Always

Warrior~Princess Sherry

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