Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.
Forgiving people is not easy. We have all sinned. We have all hurt people. The old saying – hurt people – hurt people is so true. When we hurt or when others hurt us – forgiveness is not easy. We tend to hold grudges. We tend to seek revenge for the hurt. We tend to get angry and at time we close down when we are hurt. At times we even strike out at others when we are hurt – even to those closest to us – even when they had nothing to do with the hurt we feel.
What are some hurts we have experienced? My heart goes out to those who have experienced the death of a child – at the hands of someone – be it an accident or intended. I feel for those who have lost children or other loved ones in drive by shootings in some of our urban areas. The chemical attack by Assad on his people brought many images into our living rooms. Such pain in my heart watching babies gasping for a breath. I’ve talked to persons who have had hurt from abusive parents – from ugly divorces – from false accusations. These and other images and experiences beg the question – can we really forgive those who do evil in our world? Continue reading
Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all his benefits
This morning I simply want to praise the Lord! I’ve faced a number of rough days in my life – some recently. I’m sure many of our readers have as well. Some of the members in the church I serve are facing rough times right now! Life is often rough and often doesn’t line up like we would want it to. Some of our troubles are caused by our sin and some by the sin of others. However they arrive – we all face tough times in our lives. This morning I simply want to praise the Lord!
Today’s passage says – praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all his benefits. Instead of focusing on the issues of life – and there are many – the passage reminds us to focus on the benefits of our Lord. I want to break down the first twelve verses of this Psalm today – repeating it in a paraphrase type fashion. Continue reading
Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.
Can we remember the moment we received Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior – the moment of our salvation? Some of us experienced a sudden conversion. Some of us experienced a more subtle conversion – where God works on us for a period of time and we finally yield to His Spirit’s tugging. However we come to Christ there must be a change and that change – the moment of our salvation – brings a great deal of joy.
I remember a man who was caught in all sorts of sin in his life. He came to the church almost out of desperation – trying to find something that would give him a reason to live. When the moment of his salvation came – months after he arrived at the church (God loved him into His arms) there was a dramatic shift in his behavior. Sin no longer had a strangle hold on his life – oh he still fell from time to time but sin didn’t rule their life any longer. He would stand before the church – often – and celebrate the new found freedom that he had found in Christ. He had a new purpose in his life. He was free from sin and had great joy. Continue reading
Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.
When I was younger – and I officiated baseball games – in some of the leagues where I worked there was something called a mercy rule. Sometimes it was called a slaughter rule. Either way it went like this – if a team ever got ahead of another team by 10-15 runs – (depending on the league) – the game was called to show mercy to the team being beaten so badly. In some leagues it didn’t matter how many innings had been played and I remember the mercy rule being applied in the bottom of the first inning. Mercy – defined on an online dictionary is compassion or forgiveness shown toward someone whom it is within one’s power to punish or harm.
In the Baker’s Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology – Mercy is a concept integral to an understanding of God’s dealings with humankind. In English translations of the Bible, it comes to expression in phrases such as “to be merciful, ” “to have mercy on, ” or “to show mercy toward.” The corresponding term, “merciful, ” describes a quality of God and one that God requires of his people. The noun denotes compassion and love, not just feelings or emotions, as expressed in tangible ways. Continue reading
1 Corinthians 10:12
So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!
Have you ever walked on a mountain path? I have and it is scary at times with the side of the mountain on one side of the path and a drop off on the other side as the side of the mountain goes down – down – down! How mountain goats run on these paths is beyond me. I inched myself along the path – holding onto anything I could. I’ve also driven on mountain roads and it can be as scary. I once traveled in the mountains on winding roads in a snowstorm and that was scary.
Have you ever walked on a balance beam? I don’t mean doing flips and splits and all sorts of other things like the Olympians do – simply walk on a balance beam. I’ve done so and it is not easy. I see why they call it a balance beam – you must have amazing balance to simply walk on it. The US gymnastic team was simply amazing in the Olympics!
Have you ever crossed a creek walking on a small – even slight – tree branch that had fallen across the water? I have and it is not easy to say the least. I’ve also slipped and fell into the cold water before – and it is not a nice feeling to fall. Continue reading