from my notebook

My head is full of thoughts, and I have to write them down.

Archive for the category “forgiveness”

How Far is East from West

I love the explanation Max Lucado gives for Psalm 103:12 in his book God’s Story, Your Story.”

How far is the east from the west?  Further and further by the moment.  Travel west and you can make laps around the globe and never go east.  Journey east and , if you desire, maintain an easterly course indefinitely.  Not so with the other two directions.  If you go north or south, you’ll eventually reach the North or South Pole and change directions.  But east and west have no turning points.

Maybe I’m just slow.  I am directionally challenged.  But I never really thought about it quite like that.

Should a Christian Feel Guilt?

1 Samuel 16:14 – Saul had been repeatedly disobedient and God’s favor left him.  Saul began to be mentally tormented.  I will speculate to say this was due to a lack of repentance resulting in built-up guilt.

Several years ago, a counselor at a Disciple Now weekend was sharing with us adults how well his last session had gone.  How he told the kids God doesn’t want you to feel guilty.  He loves you.  Now my friend and I knew the group of kids he had shared that with were into some fairly heavy things they shouldn’t be, and we were appalled at what this guy had just told them.  We felt like six months of work had been undone in a few moments.

We can come up with all kinds of reasons and ways to avoid repentance and that awful feeling a true Christian feels before they repent, but none of it will ever last.  Matthew Henry says this:

Music, diversions, company, or business, have for a time often been employed to quiet the wounded conscience; but nothing can effect a real cure but the blood of Christ, applied in faith, and the sanctifying Spirit sealing the pardon, by his holy comforts. All other plans to dispel religious melancholy are sure to add to distress, either in this world or the next.

Does God want his people to feel guilty?  Certainly not…after he forgives us.  But we should be grateful for the torment we can feel that is meant to drive us to repentance.  Scripture never tells us Saul repented.  His torment just got worse.  After a while even David’s harp playing didn’t help.

How Ugly is Sin

No where is the ugliness of sin better depicted than in Moses’ writings in Leviticus. The details of the animal sacrifices are downright disgusting. I am so glad we don’t have to do all that any more. The blood alone is enough for me; add to that the dis-emboweling that had to happen, and well…

What was the point to all of it? Why such gross, nasty-ness? Because sin is gross and nasty and disgusting to God. The result of sin is blood-shed and death. It is never pretty.

In reading Leviticus 3 this morning, I reflected on my own sin and grieved at how it makes God feel. May I always remember that.

How Stubborn Can We Be?

Of all the plagues and tortures that will be poured out at the end of time, it is amazing that people will still refuse to repent, acknowledge God for who He is, and worship Him (Rev 9:20-21, Rev 16:9 & 21). I mean, please, how much evidence of His power and supremacy do you need? It is hard to imagine being that deceived or just plain angry.

But in a way, we do it every day. Most of us are stubborn at times about repenting. I don’t mean saying, “I’m sorry God, forgive me.” I mean true repentance. And even more so than that, most of us are very stubborn about letting go of our plans and ideas and accepting God’s, especially when we don’t know what God’s is.

Selfishness and fear often block the door of progress to a better life. Whether that better life be eternity in heaven or being all we can be in Christ while still here on Earth, we’ll never get there until we stop resisting God and His will for us.

A Forgiving Church

Scripture speaks in Matthew 6 and other places on forgiveness as pertains mainly to individuals, but Paul speaks in 2 Corinthians Chapter 2 to the church’s responsibility.

Paul begins the chapter by expressing grief over having to rebuke them in his first letter. In verse 5 he brings up one of the incidents he had rebuked them for from 1 Cor. 5, a man living in sexual sin. Paul had instructed the church in Corinth to remove this man from their congregation, now he tells them it’s time to stop rebuking him, forgive the man, comfort him, and encourage him so that he not be overwhelmed with sorrow.

Note Paul doesn’t specifically tell them to welcome him back into the church yet. Apparently the man had shown sorrow over his actions; perhaps he had even repented or was showing signs of it. Paul, therefore instructs the church to be active in helping restore this man back into the fellowship.

How many times has a church member, even a Christian church member, fallen into sin, and that church (not just a few members, but the church as a whole) never actively seeks to restore and welcome back that member? In verse 11, Paul warns them of the dangers of unforgiveness; it becomes a foothold for Satan.

We should take this warning much more seriously. Satan has stopped churches from growing more often than not because the church refused to forgive and restore a fallen member.

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