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Absolute Forgiveness

JESUS SPEAKING

    “Take heed to yourselves. If your brother sins against you, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him. And if he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times in a day returns to you, saying, ‘I repent,’ you shall forgive him” (Luke 17: 3-4.)

INSPIRED THOUGHTS

   Those who desire God’s mercy must also be merciful; and those who yearn for His forgiveness must not withhold forgiveness from others. Hatred, anger, and resentment have no place in the heart of the believer; as unresolved bitterness creates division between God and His disciples. Jesus said, “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” Everyone who truly seeks to follow the Lord, will also attempt to imitate Him; thus, forgiving those who repent without restriction or exception. God’s mercy is immeasurable; and in turn, those who practice unconditional forgiveness are wonderful examples of His limitless love.
   In 1956, five American missionaries flew into the jungles of Ecuador; seeking to make contact with a hostile and war-like tribe of Indians known as the Waodani. All five men were speared to death. Their families were devastated by the loss; in a single day, many wives were widowed, and a handful of children were orphaned. But did the remaining family members seek vengeance? Did they cry out for justice? No. Instead Elizabeth Elliot (who had lost her husband), and Rachael Saint (who had lost her brother), remained obedient to God; forgiving the tribesman unconditionally. Elizabeth and Rachael continued evangelizing the natives. The Waodani people eventually invited them into their community. One by one, the members of the tribe began committing their lives to Jesus Christ. The men who had perpetrated the murders expressed great joy in knowing that they had been forgiven. The women eventually formed lifelong friendships with the individuals who had killed their loved ones. This unconditional forgiveness has given birth to the Waodani Church; a church that is currently thriving. They have abandoned their spears and picked up their bibles; going so far as to evangelize the other neighboring tribes as well (at great personal risk to themselves.) This amazing work of God was only made possible because two women were willing to forgive without restriction.
    Forgiving others is not a suggestion, a recommendation, or a request; it is a command; a command that heals both the forgiver and those who are forgiven. Is there anyone you’re angry with? Has someone caused you great pain? Then you must forgive them. Search your heart and ask God to give you the courage, and the strength to let go of your resentments; to lay down your hostilities; to do away with your bitterness. In turn, God will give you peace…and your heart will be filled with joy, as you walk in fellowship with the almighty and everlasting Father.
 “Lord Heavenly Father, search our hearts and reveal our hidden resentments. Give us the strength and the courage to forgive without restriction. May we love as You have loved. May we forgive as You have forgiven. We cherish You Father, we praise You, and we thank You; and we ask and pray all of these things, according to Your will, in Jesus Christ’s name. Amen.” God bless all of you!

Help Wanted

JESUS SPEAKING

    Then Jesus went around to all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people.  But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep without a shepherd.  Then he spoke to his disciples saying, “The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few.  Therefore, pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest” (Mathew 9: 35 – 38.)

INSPIRED THOUGHTS

    Vast amounts of people had traveled great distances to be healed, to see miracles, and to hear Jesus speak.  As he looked upon a sea of lost and broken souls, his heart swelled with compassion.  Having been denied the truth for so long, these men and women had become spiritually malnourished.  Numerous weary souls eagerly devoured the gospel; and with it they received salvation through faith in God’s only Son.  Jesus, realizing the enormous task that lay ahead, instructed His disciples to pray that the Father would send more workers into the fields; that countless others might be delivered from death.

    Most individuals today are unfamiliar with agricultural practices; yet during the time of Christ, farming was a close and intimate part of daily living.  Modern farmers often utilize large machines to gather their crops; ancient farmers however, had to harvest their wheat by hand.  When the grain had ripened, nearly every member of the household was needed to assist in collecting the produce.  Often though, even an entire family wasn’t enough; farmers would then hire seasonal laborers to help them in accomplishing their goals [Note:  A proper harvest was such an essential part of first century living, that even warring armies would call a truce during the reaping season; the soldiers would return home to work in the fields; when the harvest had concluded, the men would resume their armed conflicts.]

  Today, there are billions of lost souls wandering the earth; seemingly unaware that God has sent His only Son that they might have eternal life.  Those who believe and receive the message are in turn called to be messengers.  A Christian must share in the labors of Jesus Christ, by delivering the gospel to those who are starving for the truth.  The fields are vast, the harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few.  We must pray to God to send more workers to aid in gathering up His crop.  As we labor for Christ, may our hearts be filled with compassion; may love reign in our souls; and may God use us to convey His message to all those who are in need.

    “Lord Heavenly Father, may we share in Your labors; may we be filled with mercy and love; may we continually strive to deliver the gospel message to those who are perishing.  We pray that You would send more workers into the fields; that Your harvest might be plentiful.  May the lost be found, may sinners repent, and may salvation be received by all those who believe.  We love You Father, we praise You, and we thank You, and we ask and pray all of these things, according to Your will, in Jesus Christ’s name, Amen.”  God bless all of you!

Professing Our Faith

JESUS SPEAKING

    “I also say to you, whoever confesses me before men, him the son of man will confess before the angels of God.  But he who denies me before men will be denied before the angels of God” (Luke 12: 8 – 9.)

INSPIRED THOUGHTS

  Pride plays an essential role in what we choose to communicate to others; most intuitively hide what is unimportant or shameful, while simultaneously expressing the things that are of great value.  In American culture, individuals utilize social media to post quotes, publish photos, and transmit thoughts.  Similarly, others may use billboards, bumper stickers, t-shirts, and jewelry to convey their beliefs to the public.  And yet, in a nation reportedly comprised of millions of Christians, Jesus Christ very rarely occupies the top position.   He is often displaced by more important things; like a career, a family, a political candidate, a sports team, a noteworthy cause, or even a unique lifestyle.

   Throughout history Christians have been persecuted for their outward professions of faith.  In many countries today, those who openly convert from Islam to Christianity will endure imprisonment and execution.  Only a lucky few are afforded the right to a trial; during these mock proceedings, evidence of a true conversion is presented against the accused.  To test the genuineness of our faith, we can ask ourselves a hypothetical question: “If we were to go on trial for our lives, what evidence would our accusers have to convict us of being real Christians?”  Would we be blamed for spreading the gospel?  Would we be found guilty of outwardly displaying our beliefs without shame or remorse?  Would others willingly testify that we have followed the teachings of Jesus Christ?  Would we be condemned for our love, and convicted by our faith?

    Those who are proud to be disciples are truly committed to the Lord.  As believers we must actively seek to express our faith in obvious and practical ways; through our words, our deeds, and our nonverbal communication.  Whether it’s the bumper sticker that reads, “Jesus is Lord,” or the cross that hangs from our neck, outward displays of devotion strengthen our relationship with God.  Each time we openly express our love for Christ, we grow closer to our Heavenly Father; who in turn, pours out upon us, all of His spiritual blessings.

   “Lord Heavenly Father, give us the strength and the desire to share our faith with others.  May we never be ashamed to be called Your Sons and Daughters.  Continue to be our number one love; may nothing ever come before You.  In Your wisdom, give us opportunities to communicate Your message to those who are devoid of understanding; that they too would come to know You as we have.  We love You Father, we praise You, and we thank You, and we ask and pray all of these things, according to Your will, in Jesus Christ’s name, amen.”  God bless all of you!


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