Prayer

Dear God

I bring my burdens to you and you know my situation. You know I cant make it without you. Comfort my heart, give me strength, and help me carry on. AMEN

Forgiveness

How do you deal with sin ? Some people will say “what sin?” Others will admit they have made mistakes but don’t want think about them, because its makes them feel bad. Besides that’s in the past, they’ll just try and do better in the future. Still will try and make up for their sins. To try and balance the bad with the good. And some will act like they have won the lottery. They think Gods gives them a free pass on sin. That its Gods job to forgive them. Its like they are saying “oh well I messed up, but its okay God will forgive me anyway.” Like its a automatic thing that God does.
Jesus tells us that our sins must be forgiven, but we have to ask for that forgiveness, it isn’t a automatic deal with God. We must ask for forgiveness !
Now we usually think of sin as things like lying, stealing, swearing, and cheating. And when we do these things we are breaking the commandments given to us by God, we are crossing a line. We are not only crossing the line, we are missing Gods target. And that target is a life of righteousness and peace for us and others. We also hurt God who is holy and righteous and only wants what is best for us. God loves us and wants us to be the best we can be.
We all know that sins are the bad things we do (lying, cheating, stealing ). But did you know we can sin by the things we don’t do ?
Things like a wife or mother that needs a hugs and we don’t give it. A husband or father that needs to be asked how his day went. Or a child that needs just 10 minutes of undivided attention, or a bit of encouragement. A lonely person that just needs a friend, or a ministry that could use a bit of support.
Everyday we run across opportunities to do something, to shine for Jesus, to let Jesus shine through us. But by not doing these things we miss the target, and we have sinned.
We owe God our love and obedience, our best efforts. We owe God our gratitude, our service, and our worship. We need to look at what our lives could be and compare that to what we have made of our lives. If we are truly honest about it we can see, we have come up way short, we are way behind of what God wants for us and we just cant catch up!
The only way, the only solution is for God to forgive us. Then we can move forward. With our relationship with God, and our lives. And God made that possible through the death and resurrection of His Son Jesus Christ! ” When you were dead in your in your sins, God made you alive with Christ.” (Col. 2:13 ) God forgave our all our sins, God took them from us and nailed them on the cross of Jesus! When Jesus on the cross, it was to forgive the sins of all who believe in Him. Past present, and future, Jesus paid the price for them all. He sacrificed for their sins once and for all when He offered Himself. ( Heb. 7:27 )
Yes we do need to our sins to God, but don’t drive yourself crazy if you can’t remember each and everyone of your sins. God knows what they are, and God knows if we are truly repentant. Our forgiveness doesn’t depend on if we remember to confess every little thing, but upon the righteousness of Christ, received by faith.
But confessing our sins to God is not the only thing we are told to do, oh no. We are also to forgive others their sins against us. Yep, we are to forgive others too. Read Matt. 6:14-15. It sounds like the price of Gods forgiveness is forgiving others , if it was we’d all be in trouble. In fact I wouldn’t be surprised if there were someone reading this, that is finding it hard to forgive someone. Does our inability to forgive someone mean we can’t be forgiven by God? No, see Gods forgiveness is not conditional. Gods is a gift of Gods grace. Gods forgiveness can not be earned, nor is it deserved. It is a gift. A gift of Gods grace to us. As Paul tells us in Ephesians 1:7 ” in Christ we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins in accordance with the riches of Gods grace.”
So just what did Jesus mean when He said if we don’t forgive we can’t be forgiven? If we read Matthew 18:23-35, Jesus this in a parable. In this parable Jesus tells about a king who wanted to settle up accounts with his slaves, one of which owed the king 10,000 talents. But the slave didn’t have the money to pay what he owed. So the king forgave him, and he didn’t have to pay it back. But when that same slave would not forgive anther slave that owed him a 100 talents, and had the man thrown in prison, the king when he found out about it, had the slave tortured and thrown in prison, saying ” I had mercy on you, shouldn’t you also have mercy on others?”
This parable is not about business, but about life in the Kingdom of God. meaning that if we live by the values of righteousness mercy, and grace, that’s good. But if we don’t we cant expect mercy either. That not judgement, that’s reality.
When we forgive others we live in Gods kingdom of grace and mercy. When we refuse to forgive, we place our self in danger of cutting our self off from Gods forgiveness.
We forgive not because it comes naturally, because it doesn’t. And not because they deserve it. And not because we understand why they did what ever it was they did, if we could explain why, there would be no reason to forgive. Not even to feel better about our self, though we will. No, we forgive because Gods kingdom is a kingdom of grace and mercy and forgiveness, and we want to live that kind of life. We forgive because God has forgiven us.” Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other just as in Christ God forgave you.” ( Eph. 4:32 )
We all have someone we find it hard if not impossible to forgive. We just cant find it in our hearts to forgive them. Forgive them anyway, do it because God forgave you. Do it because of Gods grace and mercy shown to you. Do it because Jesus commands us to, and because we trust in Him. And if you cant forgive right away, keep praying about it until the grace and mercy of God overwhelms your heart.
There is something else that is equally as important as getting and giving forgiveness, and I believe that we all struggle with this, and that is self forgiveness.
We all have things in our past, things we are not proud of, all of us!
There once was a man that in his former life had done things he was not proud of. He had lied, cheated. He had been a bully, used drugs, drank and got into fights, even spent time in jail.
But, his wife and sister prayed for him, and started speaking to him about God and Jesus, and the salvation that could be his. And even though he resisted for years, they never gave up. And by the grace of God they lead him to Christ.
But even though he had given his life over to Christ, he had one big problem. He just could not forgive himself for his past. For years he held onto the past. For years his past haunted his mind.
It wasn’t until just a few years ago that he finally let go of that past life and forgave himself. And it wasn’t by his own power, but though the grace of God and because of Gods mercy, that he was finally able to forgive himself. It was because Jesus came into his heart and life and forgave him first.
Brothers and sisters, we are to ask forgiveness. We are to forgive others. And just as importantly, we are to forgive ones self. I know I have finally done so.

Disciples

Now the word disciple refers to a student or apprentice. A disciple is a follower. (luke 6:40 a student is not above his teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like his teacher. Now we are all disciples folks. We are all learning or should be learning how to be great disciples. In (matt 4:19) Jesus said come follow me and I will make you fisher of men.
Now when Jesus called his first disciples, they may not have understood where Jesus would take them or the impact it would have on their lives. But they new what it ment to follow. They took Jesus call literally and began going everywhere He went and doing everything he did.
Now I know we would say that those were different times. REALLY!!! You don’t think they had families jobs hobbies a social life. YES they did.
See today many have come to believe that a person can be a “Christian” without being like Christ. WRONG. A follower that don’t follow. Explain how that makes sense? (Can a person say they are a truck driver with out having a CDL now days? NO so how can you say you are a Christian and not do what Jesus commands? Many have decided to take on the name Christ and nothing else. Hey I got to church I read the Bible. Folks that ain’t enough. You need to get off your backside and actually start doing what Jesus commands of us. To live and preach like Jesus’s disciples did.
Oh wait Preacher if I do that I might get made fun of or loose my friends if I actually were to do that. Guess what one) they wasn’t a true friend. Two) I would rather loose them as a friend and secure my place in heaven by doing what Jesus commands of me . A true disciple preaches talks about Christ and what he did for all of us.
Most people live there lives as so called Christians and do nothing. Except on Sunday. Do you think Jesus’s disciples said ok Rabbi we will do as you instruct us BUT if our friends want us to go drinking or go to a ball game. Well sorry you will have to wait on us. NO!!! Folks you can take every aspect of your life and use it for the glory of God. At a ball game talk to a person and tell them how great your God is and what he does for you and for everyone.
Being a disciple is not part time, it has to be full time all the time.
We need to repent meaning changing the direction of our lives. Jesus was telling people to prepare themselves to change what ever needs to be changed. Because Gods kingdom (the kingdom of heaven) was approaching. So how do we prepare to face this heavenly kingdom? How do we make sure we are at peace with our coming king? REPENT Jesus saids we are to repent. Which means we all need to turn from the way are currently thinking and living. (Romans 3:23) all have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God. Christ died for all, you me our children etc. Don’t we owe it to him to be the best disciples we can be. Not part time but full time.
The call to be a disciple is open to everyone, but we don’t get to write our own job description. the choice is yours.