Transformation through Forgiveness

The subject of forgiveness is a touchy one for most people.  I freely admit that I am most people.  The idea of forgiving someone when they have wronged me, or repeatedly wronged me, is displeasing.  Or, should I say it is displeasing to my fleshly nature?

Why does God require us to extend forgiveness to those who have offended us?  Is He simply wanting us to let wrongdoing go and let the offender off the hook?  Through study and my own experience, I can confidently assure you that is not case.  God requires us to extend forgiveness for our own benefit.

Forgiveness from God

sunset-4060437_1920
Image via Pixabay by Rauschenberger

Quite simply, God has forgiven us a great sin debt.  This was accomplished when Jesus was crucified and died.  Our new life came through His resurrection.  By nature, we are sinners.  No matter how hard we try or how good we are, we are unable to atone for our sins.  Jesus paid a great price to free us from our sinful nature.

God freely gave us His forgiveness.  Once we accept what Jesus did as the atoning sacrifice for our sins, we become born again.  When we sin, we go to the Father, through Jesus Christ, to receive forgiveness.  We did not deserve this grace and mercy, but He freely gave it.

Forgiving Others

Because of the forgiveness we have received, we must forgive others when they sin against us.  Refusing to forgive puts a barrier between us and God.  It also opens us up to being ruled by other sins such as malice, unbridled anger, gossip, and many others.  We become obsessed with getting revenge which can be dangerous to us and others.

Forgiving others does not mean that the offense was not wrong.  It does not mean that is is okay that you were hurt.  It simply means that you release the offense to God giving Him the right to take care of it.  Trust me, God knows how to deal with other people.  Once you have released the offense (an act you might have to repeat several times), you will find that you have joy and peace.  You will realize that the offense was weighing you down.

praise-1154566_1920
Image via Pixabay by McCarty V

Forgiving Yourself

Often, the person I have needed to forgive is myself.  You might find the same is true in your case.  When I keep falling into the same sin over and over, I begin to become self-condemning.  Unfortunately, this is not productive.  What is productive is bringing myself to the throne of grace, pouring my heart out in repentance to the Father.  His Word promises that He will cleanse us of our sins when we go to Him.

Once you have repented, leave condemnation alone.  If you try to carry it, you will be of no use to the kingdom of God.  It is not humility.  It is a selfish focus on yourself and an insult to the blood of Jesus.  Whether you realize it or not, you are saying the blood of Jesus is not enough when you walk in condemnation.  We do not need to do penance.  We simply need to repent and allow the Holy Spirit to transform us.

So, How about Forgiving?

yellow-roses-2859077_1920
Image via Pixabay by Artistic Operations

Are you struggling to forgive someone who has done a great wrong to you?  Are you struggling to forgive yourself?  Bring that hurt to the Lord.  He is able to take it and make you new again.

Refusing forgiveness is like drinking poison and hoping your enemy will die.  It is dangerous, and it is heavy.  You will feel much lighter when you let go of the offense and allow God to take vengeance.  Forgiveness, whether being given or received, brings transformation.

Transformation in Progress

Perhaps I should explain why I have not yet published the book I was promoting.  The title of the book is Are You Ready for Transformation (It’s All in Your Mind).  As a practical guide to renewing the mind, I want the Holy Spirit to guide me through the process.  In my rush to complete the book, I found myself running off without Him.  That will never do.

At this time in my life, I am experiencing some great transformation spiritually, personally, and in my career.  I am excited about these changes although I can get a bit apprehensive.  Why? I am stepping out of my comfort zone.

Areas of Struggle

Weight

One of the areas of my life in which I struggle is with my weight.  Since my late teens, I have been on one diet or another.  When I was not dieting, I was going on complete binges.  This type of yo-yo method is not healthy and can mess with the metabolism.

worshipping-god-2101347_1920
Image via Pixabay by 4653867.

The Lord began speaking to me about my weight.  I am following His leading, and I would love your prayers.  He is teaching me how to keep the pursuit of weight loss in balance, allowing Him to heal areas that led me to overeating in the first place.  However, the pursuit of weight loss must not become an idol in my life.  If I am not careful, I tend to pursue the blessing rather than the God giving the blessing.  Can you relate?

Giving Up Control

By nature, I have a type A personality.  I feel the need to be in control.  Part of that control is feeling that I have to do everything asked of me to show my capability.  When I surrendered my control to God’s control, I found that I can say “no” when I need to.  I do not have to do everything someone asks of me.  If I need to, I can politely refuse.  Jesus did not travel to every town.  He did not give in to the wishes of everyone around Him when those wishes contradicted the will of the Father.  (Balance alert:  While I do not need to do everything asked of me, I do need to consider the needs of others which, at times, can bring inconvenience.)

Leaving the Comfort Zone

Due to loving control, I have a certain zone I prefer to stay in. If that zone were God’s will, then it would be fine.  However, it is my own desire.  It had to be surrendered to God because wanting to remain comfortable was keeping me from the transformation I needed.  Understanding that God’s ways were higher than  mine liberated me to allow Him to lead and guide my steps.

love 7
Image via Pexels by Pixabay

The Book

Are You Ready for Transformation will be out when I know God’s timing is right, not mine.  The transformations that I have been undergoing will be discussed along with scriptures that the Lord led me to.  I am willing to wait because I know it will be better and the annointing of the Holy Spirit will be more evident when I rely on God and give Him the glory.

What about you?

Are you undergoing transformation by the leading of the Lord?  Remember our transformation comes by renewing our minds.  If you belong to Christ, you have the mind of Christ.  Using the mind He has given us will cause us to tap into realms of glory that we have never before experienced.

Trust the process that the Lord is taking you through.  The end result is worth the means.  God loves you, and His plan is to give you more abundant life.

 

 

 

Why I Need Jesus

Everyone needs Jesus.  It does not matter if you are a good person with impeccable morals.  Why do you need Him if you are good?  Even at your best, you are not perfect.  Neither am I.  There is no way that we could live by every word in the Word without Jesus.

The Way, The Truth, The Life

No Confidence in the Flesh 2Although it is politically incorrect to say so, Jesus is the only way to God the Father.  There is no other way.  Of course, there will be people who say you can get to God and heaven by your own merit, or, by finding another way.  The fact is, the Bible says something different.

John 14:6 declares Jesus as the way, the truth, and the life.  No one comes to God except through Him.  In John 10:1, Jesus said the following:  “Amen, amen I tell you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door, but climbs in some other way, is a thief and a robber (TLV).”  Jesus is the door, so to speak, and you can only enter by Him.  If you attempt to go another way, you will not make it in.

There is no desire for me to sound self righteous or facetious, but I have to tell the truth.  As for me, I would go no other way.  Jesus has been everything I have ever needed.  He saved me.  He has healed me physically and emotionally.  He has delivered me from dangerous habits.  He has set me free from myself (at times, I can be my own worst enemy).

I Need Him

I need Jesus because I have a tendency to wander off in dangerous directions when I go on my own.  When I attempt to live without Jesus, I am mean, hateful, and cruel.  My life falls apart when I attempt to put anything before Him.

As a wife, mother, daughter, church leader, teacher, family member, and friend, I need Jesus to make those relationships work.  In Christ, I can do all things. Without Him, I can do nothing.  That is why I need Him.belief featured image

After the birth of my youngest child, I nearly suffered a nervous breakdown.  Not only was my body in limbo, but my heart and mind were too.  My sister and only sibling had passed away unexpectedly about three weeks before my daughter was born.  The reality of the loss began to hit shortly after my daughter’s birth.  Had it not been for Jesus, I would have lost my mind.  He kept me sane.  He helped me to see what He had given me (husband, children, family).  He walked with me through grief.

When I fell into seasons of sin, He drew me back where I needed to be.  Sometimes, He had to get tough as I am very stubborn.  He never gave up on me.  That is why I need Him.

You need Him too.  No matter how good you are, your goodness is not enough to have eternal life.  You must accept the fact that He went to the cross and died for you, then rose on the third day defeating death.  When you accept Him and acknowledge your need for Him, peace and joy come in abundance.  No Confidence in the Flesh 2

 

I Believe, But…

We all have a measure of faith that we are given by God.  Without it, we could not be saved.  Without it, we would not believe in anything.  After all, we must have some faith to simply get up and face the day.  We must have some faith to believe that we can accomplish the day’s tasks.  Faith can be grown.  Faith can mature.  Faith can become weak.  Faith can become tested.

When Faith Wavers

belief 2
Image via Pixabay on Pexels

No matter how strong our faith is in God and what He can and will do, we will have times that our faith is weaker than usual. This can be caused by a series of trials and tests which can either be extremely serious situations or minor nuisances.  Even what does not seem such a big deal can get to us if we have had very many minor nuisances hit us all at once.

When faith wavers, as it sometimes will, it is time to go before God and confess it to Him.  His compassion never fails.  He does not refuse the one who comes to Him humbly and openly.  Once you have went before God, get into His Word.  Find scriptures that apply to your situation.  Read them out loud, or, write them down on index cards to keep with you.  If need be, write them down on a sheet of paper and put the paper on your refrigerator.   This might sound extreme, but when faith wavers, it must be built up again.  The only way to do this is by the Word of God.  After all, faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God (Romans 10:17).

Help My Unbelief

In Mark 9, a man’s son was possessed by an unclean spirit.  The man brought his son to some of Jesus’ disciples while Jesus and the other disciples were on the mountain during the transfiguration.  When Jesus came down, the man informed Him that the disciples had not been able to cast the demon out of his son.

belief
Image via Pixabay on Pexels

The man asked Jesus to help his son.  At the end of his request, he adds the words “if you can” in some translations.  Jesus told him that if he believed all things were possible.  The man instantly replied, “Lord I believe, help my unbelief (Mark 9:24).”  Immediately, Jesus cast the evil spirit out of the young man. Jesus did not wait for the man to confess that his own faith was great.  When the man said he believed, yet, he admitted there was some unbelief in the mix, Jesus moved on behalf of the father and his son.

Although we do not want to make unbelief a practice in our lives, there are times when faith wavers.  There are times when some unbelief is mixed with our faith.  That is the time to tell Jesus that you believe, but, add that you need Him to help your unbelief.  The Lord was moved because the man was pressing past his unbelief.  He did not deny it, but he pressed past it.  That is what you and I must do when our faith wavers.

Willfully continuing in unbelief is dangerous; however, confessing the unbelief to Jesus as the man with the demon possessed child did, brings deliverance.  The man’s faith was built up and deliverance came.  Cry out to Jesus even in your wavering faith.  Deliverance will come and your faith will be stronger.

Pursue Holiness

What is true holiness?

In Hebrews 12:14, we are told to pursue holiness.  How does one pursue that lifestyle?  Of what does holiness truly consist?  Although much of the Christian teaching we hear would have us to believe that holiness is what we say, what we do, and how we behave, holiness is so much more!

Where is my righteousness?

During my experience as a Bible teacher, I have heard people make the following statement: “I would love to give my life to Jesus Christ, but there is no way I could live it.”  My reply is always this: “You are right.  You can’t.”  I have received some priceless facial expressions with this reply, but the fact is, I am right.  In myself, I am completely unable to live the Christian life as the Bible commands, and so are you.No Confidence in the Flesh

What is a person to do?  Should you just give up and sin recklessly because you are unable to live the life the Bible instructs you to live?  No, not at all.  It is at this point that you should look and see the source of your righteousness—Jesus Christ!

Christ in me!

Galatians 2:20 (MEV) contains an important truth about pursuing holiness.  It states the following: “I have been crucified with Christ.  It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me, and the life I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself up for me.”  What happens when I come to Christ?  My sinful nature dies, and I come alive to a new nature—Christ in me.  He is the one who makes me righteous.  It is impossible for me to make myself righteous, and that is why many Christians are in such religious bondage–from pursuing righteousness by their own merits.

No Confidence in the Flesh 2If you are in Christ, you will walk free from sin, but it will not be of your own goodness.  It will be Christ in you (see Romans 6).  If you or I were capable of living without sin on our own, it would not have been necessary for Jesus to leave heaven and come to Earth to live and die, then, live again.  We were hopelessly enslaved to the power of sin, but God gave us Jesus.  He is our righteousness.  He is holiness.

Pursue Christ!

Since Jesus Christ is my righteous, my holiness, then to pursue holiness as Hebrews 12:14 says is to pursue Christ!  Go after Him!  You will not have to go far.  He is waiting on you to draw near.  Because of the cross, you can approach Him with confidence.  He is in you if you have accepted Him as Savior.  If you haven’t accepted Him, there is no time like the present.

What good is it to try to pursue self-righteousness?  No good!  Self-righteousness is a pathetic attempt to glorify you.  The righteousness of Christ glorifies God, the Father.

If you pursue Christ, you let go of yourself and allow Him to live through you.  As a result, your life will display the fruit of the Holy Spirit.  The life you live will be a result of Christ in you, and nothing of your nature! Amazing Grace is More than Enough for me!

 

Pursue Christ Himself!  Seek Him.  Love Him.  He will change you, completely transform you.  You will never be the same.  You will lose your self-righteous attitude because you will clearly see that your righteousness in Jesus Christ!

 

Mercy Seat

I don’t know about you, but I need God’s mercy every day.  For the past week, I have been reading in the book of Hebrews.  Throughout several chapters, the Old Testament priesthood is compared with the priesthood of Jesus Christ.  I will share with you some portions of what I read.

Behind the Veil

In the Old Testament, the mercy seat was located inside the most holy place of the temple behind a veil, or curtain.  No one could enter certain places of the temple except for the priests.  The priests, who were from the tribe of Levi, made sacrifices and atonement for the peoples’ sins.

Mercy Seat 1
Image via Pexels by Pixabay

The mercy seat was surrounded by cherubim.  In Hebrews 9:5, the writer speaks of the glory overshadowing the mercy seat.  The writer goes on to say that he could not speak in detail of the things concerning the mercy seat and the holy place.  I find that statement compelling.  Of course, he was most likely referring to the magnificence of the tabernacle, yet, we can take his words to heart because it is often difficult to express the details of our gratitude to Jesus for what He accomplished at the cross.

The Veil Torn

When Jesus died on the cross, the veil to the most holy place was torn, not by human hands, but by the power of God.  Jesus Christ was the perfect sacrifice, the complete atonement for our sins.  The veil was torn because we were no longer restricted from an intimate relationship with God, the Father.  People no longer had to go to a human priest to be absolved of sin.  After the cross, people could go directly to the Father through Jesus Christ.

Mercy Seat 2
Image via Pexels by Flickr

 

Unfortunately, it seems a veil is still up for some people.  It is not because God does not love them.  It is because they have not accepted Jesus Christ, God’s Son, as the atoning sacrifice for their sins and the only way to God, the Father.  Once you accept Jesus for who He is and follow Him wholeheartedly, you have direct access to the mercy seat.

Receive His Mercy

God’s mercy is available to everyone, but it requires a personal choice.  He forces nothing on you.  Each person must choose Jesus.  Each person must come running to the mercy seat, so to speak.

I know and love Jesus, but I still must come running to the mercy seat.  I need His mercy daily.  No, I do not intentionally sin, but I will fall short of His glory.  You will too.  That’s where mercy comes in.  Am I suggesting that you can be careless and reckless in your sin without consequence?  Certainly not!  However, I am suggesting that when you do surrender to Jesus, you will be changed forever, not perfect, but changed.  Then, you will be humbled by His wonderful mercy, and you will not take it for granted.

What about you?  Have you accepted the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ?  If not, you can do that now.