It’s Time To Look Up and See Our Saving Grace

Jude 1:24 (WEB)

Promise 270: I will keep you from falling until you joyfully stand blameless in My presence.
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The Gift of Forgivness

Matthew 22:36-40

Most of us have known the Golden Rule since childhood: We are to treat others the way we want to be treated. And for young children, this standard seems to make sense. It is logical to share if you want others to share with you, and to avoid hitting because you wouldn’t like being on the receiving end.

But as life continues and relationships become more complicated, this simple ethical code doesn’t always seem to fit our circumstances. For instance, imagine being wronged by your business partner. How can you treat him respectfully when he has taken advantage of you? What if a kind, forgiving attitude opens the door for you to be hurt again?

God’s command nevertheless does apply in this situation. Obedience can be challenging, however, because when we are hurt or mistreated, our instinct is to retaliate. This might take the form of speaking badly behind a person’s back or showing subtle disrespect to his face. Human nature wants revenge for wrongdoing. In fact, we are unable to do anything different on our own.

Thankfully, as believers, we are indwelt by the Holy Spirit, who enables us to forgive. So while our own strength is insufficient for a godly response, we have the option to obey through the Spirit.

“The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, [and] self-control” (Gal. 5:22-23). Are these characteristics evident in your interactions with others—even with people who are difficult to love? Ask for the Lord’s supernatural strength so you can respond correctly.

The Power Of Forgiveness

The Power Of Forgiveness

Out of the depths I cry to you, LORD — Psalm 130:1

There is a story from Spain about a father and son who had become estranged. The son ran away from home, and his father set out to find him. The father searched for months, but to no avail. As a last-ditch effort, the father took out a full-page ad in a Madrid newspaper. The ad read: “Dear Paco, meet me in front of the newspaper office at noon on Saturday. All is forgiven. I love you. Your father.” The next Saturday, 800 men named Paco showed up, all looking for love and forgiveness from their fathers!

How many people in life are walking around looking for love and forgiveness from their Father in heaven?

If you’re like the rest of us, you have probably messed up once or twice in your life. We all make mistakes! As it says in Ecclesiastes 7:20, “Not a single person on earth is always good and never sins” (NLT). However, there is also a danger in thinking that you are only a sinner. Every time we fall, there is the risk that we will be too discouraged to get back up again. The next step after sin is repentance; yet sometimes, we find it hard to move on.

In Psalm 130 King David exclaimed, “Out of the depths I call out to you . . .” The  sages explain that the “depths” David was referring to was the depths of sin. Sometimes when we sin, we feel so low and so far from God. We feel like we are deep in the gutters of life. How can we possibly climb out? How can we face our God again? We feel distant, unlovable, and unworthy.

The sages caution us, “Do not consider yourself wicked in your self-estimation!” If we give in to those feelings of unworthiness, we will never be restored to our true selves. In Psalm 130 David also reminded us that God is forgiving. He implored us to put your hope in the LORD, for with the LORD is unfailing love and with him is full redemption” (v.7).

God is waiting for us, loving us, and anticipating our return so that He can forgive us. We just need to return to Him.

Imagine that you open the newspaper today and you see an ad with your name on it: “Dear _____. Meet me in church on Sunday at noon. All is forgiven. I love you. Your Father.” Believe it — God is sending us this message every day! We just need to turn to God in repentance, and He will do the rest.

djs

The Dark Side Of Self Defeating Jealousy

 The Dark Side Of Self Defeating Jealousy

A heart at peace gives life to the body,
but envy rots the bones.
— Proverbs 14:30

It could be your neighbor’s new car or maybe it was your fifth-grade teacher praising your best friend, but not you. There are so many scenarios that can catch us off-guard and bring out one of the ugliest traits that we are all susceptible to — the experience of jealousy. Whoever came up with the expression “eat your heart out” in reference to producing jealousy in another person was speaking a truth. In Proverbs we learn “envy rots the bones.” Jealousy destroys us from the inside out.

But there is a flipside to self-defeating jealousy. The very same verse begins, “A heart at peace gives life to the body.” Literally translated from the original Greek, “a heart at peace” is called “a healing heart.” The sages explain that a healing heart is a soft heart, one that accepts and forgives and is kind and generous.

A healing heart is the exact opposite of a jealous heart. A jealous heart wants what others have. A healing heart is happy for others when they succeed. A jealous heart is never satisfied. A healing heart is always content. A jealous heart is focused on its own personal gain. A healing heart looks out for the well-being of others.

Yet, for all jealous people do to better their own lives, they only bring ruin upon themselves. In contrast, kind, content, and generous people will bring peace and healing to themselves and to others. People with such a positive and peaceful attitude allow the body to function properly while spreading peace and health to those with whom they interact.

Of course we’d all prefer to have a healing heart over a jealous one. But how can we avoid jealousy?

The following story can help us. Once there were two eagles who would fly together. One eagle was able to fly higher and faster than the other, making the less adept eagle very jealous. One day, the jealous eagle spotted a hunter and asked him to shoot the other eagle. The hunter said that he could, but needed a feather for his arrow. The jealous eagle was happy to oblige, plucking one of his own feathers.  The hunter missed and needed another feather, and then another and another. The jealous eagle supplied so many feathers that soon he didn’t have enough feathers to fly. The huntsman turned around and shot the eagle who could no longer fly or escape.

This story shows us how to avoid jealousy — by knowing deeply that it harms us most of all. When we feel jealousy beginning to grow and fester inside us, we must allow our hearts to be healing hearts, bringing life and joy to ourselves and those around us.

djs

The Folly Of Judging Others!

The Folly Of Judging Others!
The suicide of Robin Williams in August 2014 dominated headlines for days. News reports attributed his death to depression coupled with substance abuse and linked his struggles to other performers with similar issues.

Now we know better. According to his widow, Susan Williams, the comedian had no alcohol or illegal drugs in his system when he died and had been sober for eight years. Nor was his death the result of depression. Rather, he was a victim of what Susan calls “the chemical warfare that no one knew about.” Specifically, her husband was a victim of Lewy body dementia (LBD), a progressive disease caused when normal proteins in the brain begins to aggregate and interfere with the brain’s ability to transmit signals. 

LBD victims experience confusion, reduced attention span, memory loss, hallucinations, and wide mood swings. Doctors who examined autopsy results told Susan that her husband’s disease progression was one of the worst they had ever seen. She now believes that Robin knew he was losing his cognitive abilities, and chose to die before his condition got even worse.

This news is important for several reasons.

First, it highlights the fact that many people face devastating diseases most of us don’t know exist. According to the National Institute of Health, LBD afflicts one million people in the U.S. Yet I had never heard of it before Susan Williams made her husband’s condition public.

Second, her report shows that it’s always too soon to judge other people. It is never true that “I know how you feel.” Even if I am in the exact circumstances you face, I experience them differently than you do. I remember reading a counselor’s advice when dealing with people who disappoint or frustrate you: there’s always “one more thing” you don’t know. If you knew that fact or factor, you might still disagree with their behavior, but you would understand it better.
Third:  When we judge others we open ourselves to the same judgment of things in our lives that could be label “dirty laundry.”   Let’s work on cleaning up our own lives and leave the final judgments to The One who is the only ONE qualified to sit on the Judgment Seat in the Heavens of Heavens.
DJS

The Vibration (s) of Our Lives

The Vibration of our Lives
Everything that manifests in your life or anybody else’s life that
you are observing, is nothing more than an indication of your
vibrational frequency.  It is an INDICATOR.  Indicators are
manifestations of what you have been doing vibrationally. Period.
So if wonderful things are happening, you are receiving
indications of the vibrations you have been sending out. If things
have been out of control in your life, then you’ve got negative
manifestations of what you have been offering vibrationally.

Indicators are just that – indicators.  You don’t want to kill the
messenger. You don’t go to the gas station when the gas gauge is on
empty and lay your head on the steering wheel in utter despair and
say, “Oh look at what I have done. The gas gauge is on empty but I
kept driving. My life is a mess”. The gas gauge is an indicator and
you know you have to do something about it.  You don’t paste a
happy face sticker over the gas gauge because it is depressing to
see you are on empty.  And you don’t usually wait until you are
completely out of gas and standing on the side of the road. You
fill it up don’t you?

That’s what we are talking about here. We are talking about your
indicator that lets you know what your habit of thought has been.
And if you have been feeling pretty crummy lately then it is time
for a fill up. If things are not going the way you want them to –
it’s time to change your thoughts about it.  It’s time to offer
some more deliberate thought. It’s time to seek a better attitude.
It’s time to stop blaming yourself and others, stop feeling sorry
for yourself and become more positive, even in the smallest way.
Don’t blame your “indicator”. Instead, train your mind to look for
the good things in your life and you will find them.

Today will bring you a new awareness, a lesson or a manifestation
that you are making progress – IF YOU LOOK FOR IT!  No matter how
large or small, please record it in your Evidence Journal. It will
only take a few moments and will AUTOMATICALLY put you in the Flow.

DJS

 

The Power Of Forgiveness…It Can Be Complicated!?

The Power of Forgiveness…It Can Be Complicated!?
“I forgive the hands of the people who had a hand in my son’s murder—either before or after—and I pray and hope that some day everybody out there will forgive them also.” So said Ursula Ward less than an hour after a jury convicted former New England Patriots player Aaron Hernandez of killing her son.She added, “I will never have a grandchild from my son or grandchildren.  I will never get to dance at his wedding.”  She told the packed courtroom, “The day I laid my son Odin Lloyd to rest I felt my heart stop beating for a moment.  I felt like I wanted to go into that hole with my son.”  Nonetheless, the grieving mother has chosen to forgive the man convicted of his murder.
Nouman Masih was a 15-year-old Christian living in Pakistan.  According to a prominent Pakistani human rights attorney, Nouman was walking to work when he was approached by two Muslim men.  They asked if he was a Muslim or a Christian.  He told them he was a Christian.  They beat him, chased him down, doused him in kerosene, and set him on fire.  He died last week.British Pakistani Christian Association Chairman Wilson Chowdhry told reporters that Nouman forgave his killers, but also wanted them caught: “He just said that he forgave them. . . . but he didn’t want his attackers to prevail and enact their crimes on anybody else.  He was just being very magnanimous in a Christian way saying, ‘I have forgiven them but I want them to go through the justice system.'”Who has hurt you most recently?  Most deeply?  What can Nouman Masih and Ursula Ward teach us about forgiveness?  Consider three facts.
One: forgiveness is complicated.  Ursula Ward could extend unconditional forgiveness to Aaron Hernandez because he had already been sentenced to life in prison without parole, and would never again threaten her fellow citizens.  By contrast, Nouman Masih wisely knew that his murderers would likely kill again.  While he forgave them personally, he wanted the justice system to keep them from attacking more Christians.Forgiveness is not excusing the person who hurt you or pretending your pain does not exist. To forgive is to choose not to punish personally.  But there are times when those who hurt you must face the consequences of their actions, lest they hurt others as well.

Two: forgiveness frees the one who forgives.  Researchers have linked forgiveness to higher functioning cardiovascular, endocrine, and immune systems.  When we forgive, we make ourselves, not the person who hurt us, responsible for our happiness.

Three: when we forgive, the world takes note.  Nouman Masih and Ursula Ward would probably not have generated headlines if they had not forgiven murderers.  Our ILCT ministry exists to help others change their culture and way of thinking—there is no more powerful witness than to imitate Jesus’ decision to forgive.

C. S. Lewis notes, “Every one says forgiveness is a lovely idea, until they have something to forgive.”

(DJS)