FORGIVENESS – Part Three…


Matthew 18:21-22 – “Then Peter came and said to Him, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” 22 Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.”  NASB

Hopefully, you have or will read through verse 35 to get the full impact of the Truth taught in this passage.  As we have considered Forgiveness and Fellowship, we must not miss the truth that Jesus has promised to Not Reject Us!   He promised in John 6:37 that He would not reject anyone that comes to Him. 

Confession is important but there must be the exercise of wisdom in where and when you confess.  The person to whom you are confessing must be a righteous counselor not a physician of no value.  Their objective is to see you restored not to gain ammunition for gossip. 

A glaringly obvious truth is that to be truly forgiven there must be repentance.  That is not the imposition of some new law, requirement, rule, or regulation we can impose on the one repenting.  The problem is, the heart will not release what it has not repented of.  I hope you heard that.  Let me repeat it, “The Heart Will Not Release What It Has Not Repented Of!”

Do not fall for the trap and become ensnared by the devil.  I’ve had people who clearly were dealing with unforgiveness say, “But, Roy, I’ve been over that a long time!”  I often think and a few times have said, “Oh, Really! Then how come when it comes up you start crying, get angry, grow cold, and even sick?  How come you still carry the guilt or shame of it?”  The Bible tells us that God removes it as far as the East is from the West, so how is it that we still have it and can easily find it?

Repentance is the key.  In 1 John 1:9 we read, “If we confess our sins…”  That involves doing a 180-degree turn and going the other direction.  The word Confess is the Greek (Homologeo) which means to confess by way of admitting that we are guilty of what we are accused of.  We did it!  That is the result of inward conviction.  Therefore, to Confess is to Repent.  It is not just saying words.  It is from the heart.  It is the admission of guilt and accepting responsibility for the actions or words and turning from it.  It involves Godly Sorrow!

Let me share an illustration that hopefully will resonate and provide benefit.  Let me paint a picture of a situation where a person said, “I didn’t like my father.”  I said, “You didn’t like him?”  They responded, “Well, I did resent him a little.”  I said, “You resented him a little?”  Hold your horses.  I then walked through the accounts they had revealed, and I said, “If my father had beat my mother, cheated on her and sexually abused my sister and beat me until I bled and could hardly walk, I would not resent him a little. It would be much more than resented a little.”  They then said, “Well, I really was angry with my father and I guess I had a little bit of bitterness.”  I said, “NO!  It is far more than that it is Full Blown Hate!”

Why would I press the issue that much?  Because I understand that God is seeking a match in our hearts with what He sees with His eyes.  Honesty always precedes Repentance.  Never hide behind false religious expectations.  Be completely honest it is the only pathway to True Freedom!

I’ve heard people say, “Well, I was out fooling around a little.”  NO!  You were committing fornication or adultery not fooling around a little.  Honesty in repentance will bring Freedom but lying and deception will only make the matter worse.  The depth of our confession will determine the depth of our Freedom!  If we call it what God knows it is, we can receive the Fullness of His Pardon. That is the Key to Forgiveness!

I realize that I may be stirring up a hornet’s nest in this discussion, but I have at least one more area that I want to address so we will pause until the next time.  I pray that the LORD will help you honestly and fully evaluate all things in your heart and life and propel you to Full Victory.

May the Lord richly bless you on this wonderful day in Him!

FORGIVENESS – Part Two…


Matthew 18:21-22 – “Then Peter came and said to Him, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” 22 Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.”  NASB

Again, I suggest you read through verse 35 for the full impact of this discussion on Forgiveness or the lack thereof.  I want to call your attention to something that will prevent you from receiving total freedom.  That is a mindset that is rooted in fallacy or misconception.

I have heard people argue, “But I haven’t done anything wrong.  This was done to me and it is unfair!”  That may all be true but if we allow the ‘Self Pity Syndrome’ to take root we will find ourselves in the Prison of Unforgiveness and bound beyond our wildest imagination.  If we allow ourselves to become The Victim, we are defeated.  If that is or become the condition in any aspect of your life, it must be eradicated immediately.  Your Freedom is hanging in the balance.

The crux of the matter is whether or not we receive what has been done to us and become owner of it or a victim.  What I mean by that is, the devil delivers a package to our front door and we can either sign for it and take delivery or reject it.  It truly is a choice.  Jesus said, “Forgive them for they know not what they do.”  I hope you can grasp the power of that statement and attitude.  Jesus separated the sin from the sinner and the act from the person committing the act.  He was saying, “I see that the enemy is attempting to use them to pull me down, but I reject his tactics.”  In 2 Corinthians 10, we are informed that our warfare is not with flesh and blood.  Therefore, it is not imperative or required that we take offense.

Let’s address ‘Self-Pity.’  That means they are doing this to me.  I can blame everyone and everything for the problem or situation.  I am simply a Victim.  That mindset is vicious and destructive.

I’ve prayed with people who have allowed Self-Pity to take root but when I tried to console them, the condition worsened and made my task more difficult.  We must never focus on “Fairness” for that will exacerbate the problem and make healing and deliverance far more difficult it not impossible.  God never promised that life would be fair or easy.  That tactic is one of the schemes of the devil to get us to focus on Fairness. 

We can never have a ‘non-aggression pact’ with the devil.  We are engaged in war with him.  There is an amazing passage in 1 John 2:1 that is problematic and encouraging at the same time.  It gives God’s Standard that we Not Sin.  But it also provides the encouragement that If We Do there is hope.  But the objective is still the objective that we Do Not Sin!

In 1 John 1:6 there is “if” and in 1:7, “but if.”  Then in verse 8, 9, 10 we encounter the word “if” again.  If, if, if, if…  That makes it all conditional and places an emphasis on our cooperation with the divine and resistance to the devil.

In seeking to live as one who Forgives and lives in Forgiveness, we must also encounter another word and truth – Fellowship.  The word in the Greek is (koinonia) which means ‘community, joining, and fitting together.’  Hebrews 10:25 instructs that we are to not forsake the assembling of ourselves together.  To make that simply going to a church service is to do injustice to the truth of (koinonia).  We go to church, but we are the church.  For us to be ‘assembled’ we must become transparent and interdependent.  The devil offers a lie that too many buy into and attempts to isolate and separate us.  That is a device of the devil that must be overcome and exposed.

One of the major preventatives or hindrances to being ‘assembled’ and (koinonia) is our Fear of Exposure.  Assembling is putting all the parts in the right place to fulfill their particular and specific function and purposes.  It is through this process that the Body is built up in love and becomes a Spiritual House, a Body, a Community, an Army, and a Family.

We must learn to release the “hidden things” because of shame.  We must become willing to ‘expose’ it, ‘repent’ of it, and ‘release’ it.  When we do, we break the devil’s power to bind us and open the door for God to pour in His love and mercy.  Freedom Come through Forgiveness!

We will pick this up more in the next devotional but until then, I pray that the LORD will help you become willing to be assembled and to discover freedom from the Fear of Exposure and Shame. 

May the Lord bless you richly on this beautiful day in Him!

FORGIVENESS


Matthew 18:21-22 – “Then Peter came and said to Him, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” 22 Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.”  NASB

I ask that you read through verse 35 for this discussion on Forgiveness.  If we have not discovered that the devil uses ‘schemes’ to entrap and harm us, we need to acknowledge that reality.  It is important that we uncover or discover his schemes so that we can effectively defeat him and destroy the works of darkness in our lives and spheres of influence.  As we discover the schemes and our weaponry provided by the Grace of God and the Power of the Holy Spirit, we are able to receive Forgiveness, Defeat the devil, and help others be Free of his diabolical destruction in their lives. 

In this process, we find it necessary to address the matter of Forgiveness of the lack thereof.  That is one of the major areas in which the devil gains legal ground in the lives of believers and unbelievers.  Jesus identified just how important this truth is:

Matthew 6:12 – “Forgive us (as) we forgive others.”   (The as is the key or a key that too often we omit or overlook.)

Matthew 6:14 – “(If) we forgive others, God will forgive us.”  (Don’t miss the key.)

Matthew 18:21 – “How often are we to forgive?”  (Never numeric specifics.)

Matthew 18:35 – “God’s forgiveness to us is tied to our forgiving others.”

Mark 11:25 – Forgiving others is the key to God’s forgiveness but also answers to prayers.

Luke 6:37 – A Rule and Principle of Life – We Reap What We Sow.

The Law of Retribution flows to its inevitable conclusion UNLESS forgiveness is accomplished in the heart.  This is validated in James 1:13-15.  The matter of anger is a prime example.  What I mean is, ‘anger’ is a stimulus.  It engenders a response and each response becomes a stimulus to the other party or parties which then produces a response from them and becomes a stimulus that perpetuates the condition or situation.

(i.e.) – Arguments incite fights.  Group hassles morph into riots.  National tensions become wars.  (James 4:1-2).  The Law of Stimulus and Response. The Law of Sowing and Reaping or Retribution flows to its natural conclusion UNLESS Forgiveness is practiced.

Let me caution that Will Power or suppressing responses only delay the inevitable.  If it is seething in the heart it will eventually become a full-blown reality in life.  Therefore, the only remedy is ‘The Cross’.  Jesus is truly the only answer to the condition of harboring hurt or resentment in the heart and is the key to Forgiveness! 

Tragically, we sometimes find that something has blinded our minds and obscured the Cross, creating a situation in which we are held captive.  We become ‘bound’ and ‘bent’ toward destruction UNLESS there is outside or divine help.  It does involve our will, but it is far more than mere will-power.

None of us would have a problem with Forgiveness were it not for the condition of Sin!  Too often, I’ve heard people argue, “But, I’m only human or I’m not perfect.”  Those statements are true but can never be a justification for sin or failure to forgive.

God’s Standard and Plan is for us to become ‘totally transformed’ so that we do not sin!  Jesus always meets us where we are, in all of our sinfulness, and brings us up to His level.  It is a Process!

Jesus informed us in Luke 6:40 that the student or disciple is not above his teacher, but when fully trained he becomes like the teacher.  In 1 John 4:17, we are told that our objective is to be “as Jesus is” in this present world.  We learn in the Psalms that we become like what we focus on or worship.  Then in Jude 24, we discover that Jesus is able to keep us from stumbling and 1 John 2:6 instructs that “he who abides in Him (Jesus) ought to walk as He (Jesus) walks.”

I realize that I have not gotten to the nuts and bolts of forgiveness but hope that I have elevated your focus as to the importance of Forgiving and being Forgiven.  We will address that more in upcoming devotionals.  Until then, may the Lord richly bless you and help you to enjoy His fullness, grace, mercy, and peace.

Have a fantastic day in Him today!

WHAT CAN I DO? – – Grandparents Part Two…


Revelation 22:1 –“And he showed me a river of the water of life, clear as crystal, coming from the throne of God and of the Lamb,” NASB

Ecclesiastes 7:1 – “A good name is better than a good ointment, and the day of one’s death is better than the day of one’s birth.”  NASB

I want to call several things to our attention regarding the Family, Parents, and especially Grandparents, as that is the primary focus of my devotional.

First, I ask that you consider the Despair of Grandparenthood.  Before you protest and say, “Despair?” let me continue.  I believe there is a level of despair in Grandparenthood that is often overlooked or given little consideration.  There is a certain level of Fear in Grandparenting.  We all experience, to one degree or another, the Fear of Rejection.  After all, the old Fogey is out of touch with modern times, right?  There is the Fear of Aging and the loss of productivity, self-worth, and physical ability.  There is the Fear of Failure.  That would be the fear of not properly influencing the children and grandchildren that they become good parents, grandparents, and citizens.

Then, there is the Despair of Frustration.  The lack of willingness of others to hear our counsel is frustrating. We see the pitfalls and dangers and when our warnings and offerings of guidance are not heeded it is frustrating.  There is another element of frustration in seeing our children and grandchildren fail to heed our counsel and repeat our mistakes. 

I do not and will not adopt the attitude, “Well they are grown now, so what can I do?”  I cannot control their lives and do not want to.  I cannot make their decisions and do not want to.  However, I can pray and give them an example that, hopefully, will draw them into the light and the right paths.

The emotional strain is beyond belief when one deeply cares about the lives of those they are seeking to influence.  When you have done all, you can and given it your best shot and they still reject your counsel and rebel against God, it is heartbreaking.  It results in a state of broken-heartedness and many times we cry, “LORD, what can I do?”  Let me offer hope, there is an answer to that question.

There is an Obligation Imposed, by God on Grandparents.  We are to give those following an example worthy of being followed.  Let me ask, “What is the image you are projecting?”  Most of us desire to give our children and grandchildren a heritage of character rooted and grounded in a good name.  It is more than being well-spoken of.  It is more than a good reputation.  It is a life that bears spiritual fruit and exhibits Christlikeness.  It is not only a name remembered on earth but written in heaven.

That demands the question, “How Can I Project That Image?”  First, make a total commitment of your life to Jesus.  Second, endeavor to live totally committed daily and be conscious of your example.  I have discovered that sheep are led much easier than they are driven.  There is a poem that I share to remind us of a powerful truth:

“We are a living gospel, a chapter each day, by deed that we do, by word that we say; men read what we live, whether faithless or true, Say!  What is the gospel according to you?”

I heard about a Hindu woman who was converted and incredibly persecuted by her husband because of her faith.  The missionary asked how she responded.  She said, “I cook his food better when he complains. I keep the house cleaner when he is mean.  When he gives harsh words, I speak softly and kindly.”  She said, “I try to demonstrate that I am a better woman because I am a Christian.”  He could not resist and was converted too.  I had a person tell me that she got saved because of her grandmother.  She said, “I could not argue with her life.”

What can we do?  My own grandparents greatly influenced my life and did so with a godly heritage.  They wanted me to be better and do better.  They clearly had a desire to give us a godly heritage and a followable example.  That is the cry of my heart, “LORD, help me to be a right influence on my grandchildren.  Help me demonstrate to them a dedicated and committed life.”  I declare that “With God’s help I will do my best to be the example that will give them a godly influence.”

God bless you as you continue your journey in Christ!

WHAT CAN I DO?


Revelation 22:1 – “And he showed me a river of the water of life, clear as crystal, coming from the throne of God and of the Lamb,” NASB

Ecclesiastes 7:1 – “A good name is better than a good ointment, and the day of one’s death is better than the day of one’s birth.”  NASB

I want to address a group of people that are sometimes overlooked or their value in our lives underestimated.  That group is known as “Grandparents.”  In my estimation, and I am now one, Grandparents are a very special and important group of people.  Well, they should be and have a heavy weight of responsibility in the extended family.  They have, by virtue of longevity, garnered wisdom needed to be imparted to the generations following.

Wise counsel is important in all phases of life.  In Proverbs 13:10 we are informed that “with the well-advised there is wisdom.”  That is invaluable in life.  Solomon also declared that we should never reach a place or a mindset that we feel our parents and grandparents have nothing worthwhile to impart to us.  Proverbs 23:22, “Hearken unto thy father that begat thee, and despise not their mother when she is old.” 

There are a number of things I want to bring to our consciousness for consideration.  I ask that you bear with me and allow me the latitude to walk through the process of life.

First, Remember the Journey to Grandparenthood began with childhood.  All grandparents were once children with grandparents.  I know that seems a bit trite, but sometimes we lose sight of the fact that those preceding us on the chronological scale of life have been where we are as children and parents.  They were, likely, terrible toddlers, irresponsible adolescents, and adventurous young adults.  Their music and culture may have been very different, but they were like we on the journey.

Those Grandparents, having matured and learned through the ups and downs of life and are now seasoned veterans of the School of Life.  Their encounters, experiences, and experiments have brought them to this advanced degree in Life’s School.  They know, from experience and observation, what it is to hurt in defeat and to have overflowing joy in success.  Their counsel should be valued, for it comes through the eyes of those who have traveled Life’s Rugged Road.

Second, We Should Be Aware, The Bible is Quite Clear Regarding the Family Unit and its Importance and Purpose.  God’s first order in the Garden included the Family Unit.  He established the family before He established the church.  Yet, the church plays an incredibly important role in the development of the family or should. 

There are some clear guidelines or rules to be observed regarding the family unit.

Children are a gift of God to the home.  Children are to honor their parents, heed the counsel of those parents, recognize and honor God with their lives.  Parents have a tremendous responsibility toward God regarding those lives they have brought into this world.  They are to teach, train, guide, provide for, control and love those children.  They are charged with shaping their lives for God and good.

Parents are charged with the responsibility of training their children in the way they should live.  They do this by giving them instruction and a pattern to follow.  The question arises, “How can we train anyone in a way that we ourselves do not know?”

Thirdly, Grandparents have a major responsibility and role in the area of influence through word and example.  They have already impacted the lives of the parents, their own children.  This influence can be very good or very bad, but it is there. 

Our text speaks of treasures more valuable than silver, gold, or any earthly treasure.  That treasure is “A Good Name!”  I am fully persuaded that there is no person who truly says, “I do not care what my children or grandchildren become.”  I don’t believe that we are indifferent about the directions they take in life.  We do not want to see them become enslaved to addiction or lifestyles that lead them into societal, moral, financial, and spiritual difficulty. We want them to become responsible adults and turn out good.  We want them to rise higher than we in life.

I have always cautioned people when children are around that “Little eyes see, and little ears hear.”  That brings me to the major points I want to make and will do so in the next devotional. 

God bless you and may He make you a positive influence for those younger than you!

DELIVERANCE FROM ANXIETY – Part Three…


Proverbs 3:5-6 – “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. 6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.”  NASB

We have considered the first phases or legs of our journey into Deliverance from Anxiety, “Trusting God with All Our Hearts.”  We have considered the second, “Leaning Not to Our Own Understanding.”  Today, we will move to the third phase or leg and hopefully, the Holy Spirit will quicken your heart to receive the fullness of this Promise and walk into full deliverance from Worry!

Why depend on our own ability when we have God available and willing to help, lead, and guide in all things and at all times?  Sadly, many do because they are more comfortable in their own ability than they are in the unseen and unknown realm of Trusting God!

Now, let’s consider the third leg or phase of this journey into Full Deliverance from Anxiety, “In All Your Ways, Acknowledge Him and He Will Direct Your Path.”  If the other two were simple but difficult this part is possibly more difficult to fully embrace.  Why?  Because we have been taught to follow our own hearts and thoughts.  We are taught to be self-sufficient and independent, to a fault.

In 1 Timothy 4:12b, we read, “…show yourself an example of those who believe.”  In Psalms 37:23a, we hear the words, “The steps of a man are established by the LORD…”  The prophet Isaiah declares it powerfully in Isaiah 30:21, “And your ears will hear a word behind you, “This is the way, walk in it,” whenever you turn to the right or to the left.” 

God has promised to supply all our need (Philippians 4:19).  He has promised to be with us always (Joshua 1:9; Isaiah 41:10; Deuteronomy 31:6; Zephaniah 3:17; Matthew 28:20; Hebrews 13:5, and Romans 8:38-39).  He has promised to protect us and in John 14, He has promised to return for us, where He began with the words, “Let not your heart be troubled…”  Don’t worry, don’t fret, don’t be anxious, just Trust Me!

Therefore, if God is in control and He is, then there are zero reasons to worry.  If God is All-Powerful, and He is, then there is no reason to fear.  Worry is not a product of Faith or a fruit of Salvation, it is an attack of the enemy of our souls attempting to ruin our lives. It is designed to divert our trust and confidence from God to self and thereby doom us to failure and misery. 

Worry is rooted in confusion and is birthed out of fear.  The devil is the author of confusion and fear whereas God is the author of Peace and Confidence.  God is not worried!  That is an understatement and overly simplistic.  Saying it makes me “Mr. Obvious” but sometimes the obvious needs to be voiced.  God knows He is in control and is well able to handle any situation.  With that in mind, I ask, “Why Worry?”

Who is the LORD?  Is the arm of the LORD shortened that it cannot save?  Can He no longer save, heal, deliver, and provide?  Is the Bible speaking the truth when it says, “He can do all things and is the same yesterday, today, and forever.”?

I came to Christ when the Holy Spirit used this passage to penetrate my own understanding and pointed me to the only hope I had, Jesus.  God has used this passage to help me escape the prison of Anxiety and Worry that was somewhat hereditary in my family.  May the LORD bring you to full deliverance from anxiety and grant you the Peace that Passes all understanding guarding your heart and mind in Christ Jesus. 

I pray that you will have a fantastic worry-free day!

DELIVERANCE FROM ANXIETY – Part Two…


Proverbs 3:5-6 – “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. 6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.”  NASB

In the last devotional we considered the first plank in the platform or first leg in the journey to Freedom from Anxiety.  That was that we must “Trust in the LORD with All our Heart.”  Complete and absolute trust is required.  It is not optional.  It may not be easy to make that kind of commitment, but it is necessary!

The next leg is, we must “Lean Not unto Our Own Understanding…”  That is possibly more difficult than the first part.  Man does not appear to have the ability or intelligence to guide his own life successfully without divine input and enablement.  I don’t care how smart you are or think you are, you are not that smart or that disciplined.  We all need God’s help!

In Isaiah 55:8-9, we discover an incredible revelation, “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways,” declares the LORD.  9 “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts.”  Also, in Proverbs 14:12 we hear the arresting truth, “There is a way which seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.” 

In Jeremiah 17:5-7, we are confronted by the Living God with this declaration from the Omnipotent, Omnipresent, and Omniscient Creator, “Thus says the LORD, “Cursed is the man who trusts in mankind and makes flesh his strength, and whose heart turns away from the LORD. 6 “For he will be like a bush in the desert and will not see when prosperity comes, but will live in stony wastes in the wilderness, A land of salt without inhabitant. 7 “Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD and whose trust is the LORD.” 

The man or woman that Trusts God completely and does not rely on his or her own understanding or ability becomes like a Tree that is planted by the waters of life and prospers.  We do not understand all things in the natural, therefore, how could we expect to understand all things in the spiritual realm?  God has a master plan at work and is in control.  We can trust Him! 

We only see the outward and know only the superficial or circumstantial. God sees it all.  We see the beginning from the end, but God sees the end from the beginning.  He is ALL KNOWING!  We have no power to change people and only a few things, God has All Power!  Nothing is impossible with Him.  Although He will never violate the will of man, He has the power to bring to bear circumstances and conditions in and on our lives that lead us to His truth.

The first phase is to “Trust God Completely” and the second phase is, “To reject our own Understanding” and replace it with His guidance.  Before we get to the third phase or leg in this journey I will pause and ask that you muse on these two important points and open your heart to the third tomorrow. 

May the LORD enlighten your mind and open your heart to receive His total deliverance from Anxiety and give you peace. 

Have a fantastic day in Him!