Posts Tagged 'Jesus Speaks'



The Depths of Forgiveness

JESUS SPEAKING

“And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in Heaven may also forgive you your trespasses.” (Mark 11: 25) In Matthew 18: 21 – 25, we read, ‘Then Peter came to Him and said, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.'”

INSPIRED THOUGHTS

Peter asks Jesus what the limits of forgiveness are; initially expressing his belief in the sufficiency of seven times per day. However, the Lord quickly corrects him. Jesus uses an exaggerated number of 70 times 7, to emphasize the inexhaustible nature of forgiveness, as it pertains to repentant souls. By implication, Christ also vilifies the harboring of any resentments. Resentment is defined as, any persisting anger or indignation experienced as the result of another individual’s harmful, unfair, or detrimental treatment. Resentment is a destructive, selfish emotion that causes harm to those who refuse to forgive others absolutely.

As the story goes, on a prominent boulevard in Chicago there once stood for many years a fence eighteen feet high; erected by a woman who imagined her neighbor was peering into her windows. While it effectively cut off the in-look, it shut the sunshine out of her own yard, ruined the lawn, and cast a shadow upon the house. In a similar fashion, spite and resentment cast the heaviest shadows over the hearts that harbor them; shutting out the sunshine of life and the fullness of God’s peace.

Harboring hatred and resentment toward others separates us from God and produces destruction in our hearts and minds. If we have received God’s forgiveness, then entertaining spite and unforgiveness against others is unjust, hypocritical, and quite dangerous. Grace has been given, and grace, through us, must continue. As a practical matter, praying daily for those who have harmed us is extremely beneficial. By means of this mechanism, we are able to see our enemies as fallen individuals, in desperate need of a savior. We can then love them with God’s heart. There is nothing so freeing to the soul than the death of resentment.

“Lord Heavenly Father, we come before you as broken people; individuals who, aside from your grace, would be imprisoned in sin. If we are currently harboring any resentment toward others, make it known to us; and give us the strength, the courage, and the will to let go of our anger. Through forgiveness, may we continue to reach our enemies with the gospel message and serve our fellows without prideful intent and selfish ambition. 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!

The Golden Rule

JESUS SPEAKING

“Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.”

(Matthew 7: 12)

INSPIRED THOUGHTS

In this scripture Jesus identifies a simple litmus test that can decipher what is right and wrong in almost every situation. He basically condenses Christianity into a single sentence, which when followed, accomplishes the will of God and leaves little room for selfish behaviors. Simply put, we must treat others the same way that we would like to be treated. If we encounter someone who is hungry then we must feed them; if they are thirsty then we give them something to drink; if they need to hear the gospel, we must speak the truth in love. When empathy reigns in our hearts, there is little room for ungodliness.

As the story goes, before the fall of the Soviet Union, the Russian government had written many laws relating to water pollution. One of these regulations required that every factory had to discharge their water up-stream from their own intake pipes. In this manner, a factory would get back exactly what it put out; subsequently forcing them to remove pollutants if they wished to use clean water. In essence, their comfortable existence was conditioned upon, and equivalent to, the way they treated others.

According to Jesus, doing what is right is far simpler than attempting to follow every commandment individually. As Christians we are obligated to treat others with the same measure of affection and attention we might seek from them. Using the Golden rule permits us to carry out the will of God without resorting to selfishness, deceit, or hypocrisy. This way of living isn’t always easy; because telling people the truth is difficult and uncomfortable. But no matter the consequence, we must continue to speak the Gospel and to do what is right.

“Lord Heavenly Father, may we be empathetic and sincere; shunning hypocrisy and deceitful living. Give us the wisdom necessary to practice the golden rule; and to treat others exactly how we would like to be treated. We desire for our lives to conform to your righteous standard; in everything we do, may we emulate You. 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!

God’s Perfect Plan

JESUS SPEAKING

Now as Jesus passed by, he saw a man who was blind from birth. And His disciples asked Him, saying, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God should be revealed in him. I must work the works of Him who sent me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” When He had said these things, He spat on the ground and made clay with the saliva; and He anointed the eyes of the blind man with clay. And He said to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which is translated, Sent). So he went and washed, and came back seeing. (John 9: 1 – 7)

INSPIRED THOUGHTS

According to the prevailing sentiment of the first century, the disciples believed that all deformity and dysfunction were the result of an individual’s own sinful behaviors. Thus they sought to discover who’s sin had caused the man’s condition. Jesus insisted that his blindness wasn’t the consequence of any sin; but instead, had arisen as an opportunity for God to accomplish a miraculous feat of divine healing. His eyes were made whole again so that others might observe God’s power and embrace a faithful existence. In this life, the things that initially appear the most challenging or tragic, are frequently used by God to bring Him the greatest glory.

In the Old Testament, we are introduced to a man named Joseph (one of Jacob’s twelve sons.) He was highly favored above his siblings. This favoritism provoked his brothers to jealousy and hatred. One day they bound Joseph and sold him into slavery in Egypt. They then lied to their father, claiming he had been killed by a wild animal. Joseph served as a slave in Egypt for many years; enduring numerous trials and tribulations. After being falsely accused of a crime, he is sentenced to prison; where he remains a faithful servant. By means of divine providence, he impresses Pharaoh with his ability to interpret dreams. Pharaoh then promotes Joseph to the highest position of authority in Egypt. When a terrible famine strikes the land, Jacob and his family begin to suffer. He sends his sons to Egypt to buy grain, where they soon encounter Joseph; the brother they had sold into bondage many years earlier. Their evil deed is eventually revealed to Jacob, who is reunited with his lost son. Due to the devastating famine, Joseph has his entire family relocated to Egypt; thus ensuring their survival. He forgives his brothers for their mistreatment saying, “Do not be afraid, for am I in the place of God? But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive. Now therefore, do not be afraid; I will provide for you and your little ones.”

Like Joseph, we may encounter moments of tragedy and tribulation; and yet, unlike God, we cannot see the end from the beginning. Our adversities and struggles often arise, not as a punishment, but rather, as an opportunity to observe some divine achievement. As we overcome our trials, and God’s perfect will is accomplished, our victories become a testimony concerning the power, the honor, and the glory of our Heavenly Father; to whom all authority remains forever.

“Lord Heavenly Father, apart from You we can do nothing; but with You, we can accomplish wonderful things. As others witness Your miracles being accomplished in our lives, may they be healed, forgiven, transformed and reborn; according to the measure of Your faithfulness. You truly are an awesome and amazing God. 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 we pray. Amen.” God bless all of you!


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