Thought for the day: Holding unforgiveness against those who have hurt us is as self-destructive as drinking poison hoping that the other person will die.

Girl looking upThought for the day: Holding unforgiveness against those who have hurt us is as foolish and self-destructive as drinking poison hoping that the other person will die.

Unforgiveness is a trap of the enemy based on legalism.  Legally, we have the right to hold people’s offenses against them.  We have the right be feel angry, hurt and ripped off. We have the right to wish bad things for them. We have the right to accuse them in our hearts for everything that they have committed against us. And the enemy loves nothing more than when we do that.  Satan is the Accuser of the Brethren and a legalist, so when we accuse others we join him in his efforts.  When we accuse, we act like him and we don’t even know it.

Revelation 12:9-11 – And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.10 And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.11 And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.

But when we forgive, we act like Jesus who kept silent even while he was being falsely accused, lied about and wrongly sentenced to death. He forgave those who were murdering him AS they were standing there watching him die.  

And on top of that, Jesus forgives us from ALL of our sin and iniquity when we come to him in repentance. All that we have done in rebellion against the holiness of our merciful God is NOTHING in comparison to what others have done against us and if we don’t agree with that statement, we are not in touch with the depth of sin that we have been forgiven of. 

Ephesians 1:7 – In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace

In the Lord’s Prayer, the Lord is specific in His command that we forgive those who have trespassed against us.  He is so clear that it should shake us all out of our complacency when it comes to holding unforgiveness to other people’s accounts.  God will forgive us AS we forgive others.  So the degree to which we clear the accounts of those who have debts against us is the degree to which we ourselves are forgiven by God.  Oh boy.

Matthew 6:12 – And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.

Now you:

  • Are you holding unforgiveness against anyone? 
  • Do you feel that their sin against you is something you cannot forgive?
  • Do you feel as though this person will be “off the hook” if you let them go in forgiveness?

When you forgive someone, you set yourself free.  Their sin is between then and God, not between you and God. When you forgive, you are not saying that what happened is OK. It probably isn’t OK at all.  But what you are saying is that you will not be their judge and jury.  You are allowing God to handle the situation.  He works in ways of love of redemption that are far above our understanding. 

When you are in Heaven with Jesus, you will not have this hurt.  But you will have the record of whether or not you forgave.  Unforgiveness will be a point of separation between you and God on that day.  Will it be worth losing your place in heaven to hold on to this fleeting pain? God wants to heal your heart right now and give you ability to begin the process of total forgiveness.  

Let’s pray:

Lord Jesus, I ask for Your help forgiving (name their name/s).  Please lead me in the path of forgiving and letting go of this pain and hurt.  I release to You those who hurt me.  I forgive them and let them go into Your hand.  I ask that You would help them to be all that You created them to be.  Help me to become all that You created me to be.  I will not allow this pain to identify me and define me any longer.  I am free to love with God’s love which is shed abroad in my heart.  My life reflects the fruit of love in every season.  I forgive and receive Your forgiveness for my sins, Father. Thank you for the grace to forgive and not allow the enemy to refresh these hurts in my mind.  I set up a hedge of protection by the blood of Jesus around myself and my thoughts as I walk out obedience to You, Lord.  I renounce all patterns of unforgiveness and decide as an act of my will that I will no longer attach myself to the sins of others through unforgiveness.  I release myself from them in Jesus Name. I am free, Amen!

 

Homecoming: The end far outweighs the beginning

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This past weekend, my husband and I traveled with my in-laws to Quebec City, Quebec, Canada.  We had a wonderful long weekend in that absolutely gorgeous city! Not only was the weather perfect with hardly a cloud in the sky most of the time, but Quebec City is like stepping back in time.

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I have heard that if you want to experience France without having to fly (if you live in the U.S.), Quebec City is the place to go…and that comment was true.  I loved hearing French being spoken all around me and seeing every sign in French! The architecture was exactly like Paris and I felt like I was there when we were walking through the streets and eating in small cafes!  20160903_103314_resized.jpg

Quebec City is a 5.5 hour drive for us from New Hampshire, so on the way up I had time to visit with my in-laws and time to think.  During one of my pensive moments, I got thinking about traveling and how much I LOVE to do it! I love planning a trip, packing my bags and especially starting out on the road…wherever that may be.  Essentially, I love leaving the house and getting in the car with all of my expectations and anticipation bubbling inside.

Then I thought about how I don’t like the end of the trip.  I’ve blogged about this before in the post, “Wish you were here… “, but I don’t like heading home at the end of a vacation. I have never thought, “Gee I wish this vacation / trip / visit was over already. I really want to get back to work / cleaning / dishes / laundry.” Homecoming is always bittersweet for me, and is often accompanied by what I refer to as “Post-party Depression”.  Party’s over and it’s time to go home.

Now don’t get me wrong.  I love my family, my home and my job. And I really am fond of the town I live in and all that there is to do where I live.  But there’s just something exotic and adventurous about heading out into unknown territory.

So as I was musing on the excitement I was feeling while we headed north to Quebec, I correlated the joy of the journey to our walk with God.  We’re all on a journey with the Lord.  The Bible refers to our journey as a path, as a race, as a walk, and even a run.  (I notice that the Bible doesn’t say we’re on a drive!)

I distinctly remember the exhilaration I felt when I first came to know the Lord and felt the immense weight of sin lift off my shoulders.  I remember the awe of being able to enter His presence and finally understand what the Bible was talking about!  The beginning of the journey was stellar, to say the least.

But this journey is different than the journeys I take for vacation or even for work because this is the journey where the end is going to FAR outweigh the glory of the beginning.  For as wonderful as coming to know Jesus was for me, and for how much incredible ‘scenery’ I have taken in over the years, the end of my journey is going to blow the doors off anything I have ever experienced in either the natural realm or in the spiritual realm.

1 Corinthians 15: 51-58

51 Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed— 52 in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. 53 For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. 54 When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.”[h]

55 “Where, O death, is your victory?
    Where, O death, is your sting?”[i]

56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

58 Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.

The end of this journey, if we have made Jesus the Lord of our lives, is going to be a homecoming like nothing we’ve ever imagined or dreamed about.  In fact, we have absolutely no frame of reference for this homecoming.  How can you picture, imagine or conceive of seeing the Lord face-to-face, never experiencing pain, sorrow or loss again, never having to feel ashamed, guilty or wrong, being reunited with loved ones and never having to say good-bye again. This homecoming is where every difficult season and every tear is wiped away and a joy unspeakable and full of glory becomes tangible, no longer a hope but our eternal reality.  This is the end of the hard journey where everything is wrapped up in the love of God and made perfect. Sin and fear will have lost their footing forever and death will no longer be an enemy.

Isaiah 25: 7-9

On this mountain he will destroy
    the shroud that enfolds all peoples,
the sheet that covers all nations;
    he will swallow up death forever.
The Sovereign Lord will wipe away the tears
    from all faces;
he will remove his people’s disgrace
    from all the earth.
The Lord has spoken.

In that day they will say,“Surely this is our God;we trusted in him, and he saved us.This is the Lord, we trusted in him;let us rejoice and be glad in his salvation.”

Now you:

  • Do you ever struggle with homecomings after a vacation?
  • Do you wish that the “good times” could go on forever and you could experience the relaxation of the vacation ceaselessly?

While the Bible doesn’t say that we will float around on clouds with harps when we go to heaven (Thank God! I’d be so bored!), it does give us incredible pictures of what the new heavens and the new earth will be like and how we will forever be with the Lord and each other. Our homecoming is going to be glorious and the stress and striving of this life are going to be rewarded.  I love how Paul tells the Corinthians that in light of the amazing reward lying ahead for them, they should always stand firm, letting nothing move them and they should keep up the hard work for the Kingdom because the reward FAR outweighs the sacrifice!

Be encouraged.  When life is tough, the future is brighter!

“You are Mine”: my vision of heaven

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When I was running this morning, a soft rain started to hit my face.  I was in the last mile when the song by Matt Redman, 10,000 Reasons, came on my Pandora station.

All of a sudden with my eyes wide open, I had a vision of heaven.  When the audience joins Matt in singing, “Bless the Lord, O my soul, O my soul! Worship His holy name!  Sing like never before, O my soul! I worship Your holy name!”, I saw a vision of every tribe and tongue singing worship to the Lamb.  I saw crowds around the Sea of Glass with voices rising in unison.  I was so moved by this ultimate unity of worship to the One Who is Exalted that I started to tear up as I ran.

And then something amazing happened.  I saw the crowd part in front of me and Jesus walked right up to me.  He stood before me and I didn’t know what to do.  I was so humbled and felt so unworthy that He would even notice me among the throng.   “Why are You standing here looking at me?”, I thought.

And then I heard Him say to my heart, “You are Mine.”

Then ensued a quiet conversation where I wrestled with that statement.  “But Lord, why do You single me out in this moment?  Surely you know how far from holiness my thoughts and actions so often are.  You know how much of my life I spend in selfish pursuits, acting as if my own small kingdom will bring me satisfaction and joy. I wish I had more good deeds and righteous activity to offer you.”

Again, I heard, “You are Mine.”

As I ran with this vision in front of me, I was crying, blessed, humbled and undone all at the same time.  The whole Gospel narrative of a perfect, holy Lamb who chose each one of us and knows us by name and loves us with such great compassion, all flooded my mind. The words, ‘You are Mine’ began to expand in meaning in my heart as if they were being blown up like a balloon.  It became so clear in that face-to-face moment that all of my sin, all of my weakness, all of my mistakes and failures are not and will never be more powerful than His redeeming love.  I am His workmanship and He is not ashamed of me.

He is not ashamed of you.  He says to you, my friend, “You are Mine.”

If you have received that free work of redemption through the shed blood of the Lamb, then nothing and no one will separate you from His care.  You have His attention.  You are not one spot in a throng of millions.  You are a soul that he knows with the intimacy of the both the Creator and the Bridegroom.  And we will spend all of eternity exploring the depths of a love and intimacy that cannot be worn out, used up or depleted.

If you have never received Jesus as your Lord and Savior, you can do so today.  Jesus is alive and His mercy is mind-blowingly awesome.  The Bible says, All who call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.  (Romans 10:13)

Praise the Lord!! How great is our God! All glory and honor to the Lamb!