Tag Archives: peace

David’s Prayer for Peace (No. 11 of the Series “Prayer: What Difference Does It Make?”)

Today’s message summary of October 15, 2017 from Assistant Pastor Travis Jackson:

Psalm 4:1-8

For the choir director: with stringed instruments. A Davidic psalm. Answer me when I call, God, who vindicates me. You freed me from affliction; be gracious to me and hear my prayer.  How long, exalted men, will my honor be insulted? How long will you love what is worthless and pursue a lie? Selah. Know that the Lord has set apart the faithful for Himself; the Lord will hear when I call to Him. Be angry and do not sin; on your bed, reflect in your heart and be still. Selah. Offer sacrifices in righteousness and trust in the Lord. Many are saying, “Who can show us anything good?” Look on us with favor, Lord. You have put more joy in my heart than they have when their grain and new wine abound. I will both lie down and sleep in peace, for You alone, Lord, make me live in safety.

During our days, we often face emotional distress, and it can cause us to lose out on a good night of rest.  Even I have had nights like this.  Perhaps you have had these, as well.  They may be relational or financial, and they may even be spiritual.  There is no true rest unless there is a relationship with Jesus Christ.

David, in his prayers, is showing us a pattern to model where he was praying in the morning, throughout the day, and into the evening.

Be aware that Psalm 4 was relevant to David and his people, and it is relevant today.  Psalm 4 shows that in our prayers, only God can provide to us long-lasting peace.

Verse 1 of Psalm 4 represents when David speaking to God.  Verses 2-6 has him speaking to men and admonishing them, and the last two verses speak again to God in prayers for peace.  He prayed with intensity, and his prayers were clear in petitioning God for answers.  He prayed in such a way that he made sure that God heard him.  He prayed with a burdened heart, and he experienced peace that would allow him to rest.

David understood that he was not delivered from his circumstances under his own merit or righteousness. He understood that he was being delivered because of God’s righteousness alone.  Your own good deeds are worthless without the grace of God and your own obedience and faithfulness to Him.

David experiences relief when He is assured of God’s presence.  God provides the relief.

In Psalm 3, there is a reference to David’s prayer to God for protection from his son, Absalom. He did not fear those who opposed him, but he, nonetheless, appealed to God for help in overcoming them.  His admonishing of the people in Psalm 4 was directed to the people in a similar way.  God is still the source of his protection and his mercy.

2 Samuel 16:5-14

When King David got to Bahurim, a man belonging to the family of the house of Saul was just coming out. His name was Shimei son of Gera, and he was yelling curses as he approached. He threw stones at David and at all the royal servants, the people and the warriors on Davids right and left. Shimei said as he cursed: Get out, get out, you man of bloodshed, you wicked man! The Lord has paid you back for all the blood of the house of Saul in whose place you became king, and the Lord has handed the kingdom over to your son Absalom. Look, you are in trouble because youre a man of bloodshed!

Then Abishai son of Zeruiah said to the king, Why should this dead dog curse my lord the king? Let me go over and remove his head!

The king replied, Sons of Zeruiah, do we agree on anything? He curses me this way because the Lord told him, Curse David! Therefore, who can say, Why did you do that?’” Then David said to Abishai and all his servants, Look, my own son, my own flesh and blood, intends to take my lifehow much more now this Benjaminite! Leave him alone and let him curse me; the Lord has told him to. Perhaps the Lord will see my affliction and restore goodness to me instead of Shimeis curses today. So David and his men proceeded along the road as Shimei was going along the ridge of the hill opposite him. As Shimei went, he cursed David, threw stones at him, and kicked up dust. Finally, the king and all the people with him arrived exhausted, so they rested there.

David knew that he faced enemies and there was a public display of this contention.  He knows that the opposition he experienced from Shimei was allowed by God in spite of his being anointed as the country’s future king.  It was a reminder to David to seek the Lord for guidance in the midst of his affliction, and it is also a reminder to us to remain prayerful of those who may be going through a struggle, and to not pursue any condemnation.

Our posture towards those who speak falsehoods against us (Psalm 4:2), as it was for David, is to remain focused on Him as the righteous Judge and is the true mediator who separates those who trust in Him with those who have nothing to do with Him.

Proverbs 15:29

The Lord is far from the wicked, but He hears the prayer of the righteous.

Do you recognize that God knows you, as a distinct child of God, and that he hears your prayers?  He does not want you to wallow in your own sin from unchecked anger (Psalm 4:4).  He does give those who are opposed to you to repent from evil and do what is right and proper.

Absalom, David’s son, tried to appear to others as righteous when, in fact, he was using deceit to plot against David (2 Samuel 15:1-12).  Even today, such behavior will not be viewed as honorable by God, and anything good accomplished in this way is nothing more than “filthy rags” (Isaiah 64:6).

Psalm 51:16-17

You do not want a sacrifice, or I would give it;

you are not pleased with a burnt offering.

The sacrifice pleasing to God is a broken spirit.

You will not despise a broken and humbled heart, God.

David’s prayer in the final verses in Psalm 4 was a prayer for peace in spite of his enemies.  This attitude is crucial within our Christian walk.  There should be a joy in the heart of the believer that goes beyond the blessing one receives (Psalm 4:7).  There is joy in your fellowship with the Lord.  Nothing in this world will give you peace if has nothing to do with Jesus Christ (and certainly not worldly successes).

If you do not believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, you will not have at this time, or in the future (the afterlife), any peace.

Isaiah 26:3-4

You will keep the mind that is dependent on You in perfect peace, for it is trusting in You. Trust in the Lord forever, because in Yah, the Lord, is an everlasting rock!

Advertisements

Why Should Christians Care About the Church?

Today’s message summary of July 2, 2017 from Pastor Gus Brown:

The church gets criticized in many different ways.  People who attend will often say that it can be boring.  Please understand that, when you love someone, it is not boring.

Other criticisms include that the church is old-fashioned or not modern enough.  Note that the world who never go to church will offer their own critiques of church that people who do attend church will agree with.  Church is not just for Christians–it is for anyone who desires to know more about Jesus Christ.

The church experience should be one where Christians really love the church.

Ephesians 5:23

…for the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the Church. He is the Savior of the body.

One of the biggest issues about loving the church is missing the fact that Jesus Christ is the head of the church.  We serve a sovereign God.  We have to believe it along with simply stating it.

Ephesians 1:22

And He put everything under His feet and appointed Him as head over everything for the church.

Colossians 1:18

He is also the head of the body, the church; He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He might come to have first place in everything.

You are to love the church because Jesus Christ leads it.  It is a place to come to learn and grow, and yes, to be sharpened.

Ephesians 5:25-27

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ love the church and gave Himself for her to make her holy, cleansing her with the washing of water by the word. He did this to present the church to Himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or anything like that, but holy and blameless.

The church’s purpose is to help the people of God holy.  It is done through the work of the Holy Spirit, and He is the Teacher within the church about holiness.

If the church does not get involved with you, the relationship between you and the church is only superficial.  Your participation in church allows you to hear the wisdom of others through God’s guidance.

Ephesians 5:29-30

For no one ever hates his own flesh but provides and cares for it, just as Christ does for the church, since we are members of His body.

Another reason to love the church is that Jesus Christ and the church are one.

Ephesians 5:32

This mystery is profound, but I am talking about Christ and the church.

The church is the bride of Christ.

2 Corinthians 11:2

For I am jealous over you with a godly jealously, because I have promised you in marriage to one husband–to present a pure virgin to Christ.

The church is like Eve–Adam’s bride.  Eve came out of Adam (Genesis 2:22).

Romans 11:36

For from Him and through Him

and to Him are all things.

To Him be the glory forever. Amen.

John 6:44

No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him, and I will raise him up on the last day.

2 Corinthians 11:3

But I fear that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your minds may be seduced from a complete and pure devotion to Christ.

When it comes to The Trinity, we have to learn to dance with God.  The Church was designed by God to be a dance studio to teach us to stay in step with Jesus, the Holy Spirit, and the Father.  We are dancing with all three.

Dancing and relating to Jesus, the Holy Spirit and the Father is no simple thing.  No one gets the hang of it quickly or permanently.  Why?  Because there is always a new step you have to learn and another turn added within the dance.  With all of this, you still will have to follow His leading.

It seems difficult, if not impossible, but the Holy Spirit is a great teacher.

John 14:17

He is the Spirit of truth.  The world is unable to receive Him because it doesn’t see Him or know Him. But you do know Him, because He remains with you and will be in you.

Without God, it seems wrong, or even foolish, and even sometimes downright stupid to dance with Jesus.  But you know better because you know Him and trust in Him.

Do you really know the Holy Spirit and understanding His voice?  His presence?

The church carries us through the pain and darkness of our lives.  It is there to be the light when there is no light.  It is there to provide encouragement.  It is there for us until we learn to dance smoothly with Jesus, and become actively involved in church life.

Once you become more active in church life, then you really will begin to grow.  Not just within the four walls of the building, but when you are living for Christ everywhere you go.

The church is a partial fulfillment of the kingdom of God here on earth.  It serves as a primary agent of the kingdom.

Colossians 1:13

He has rescued us from the domain of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of the Son He loves.

It is in the church the inward disciplines with outward expressions of spiritual maturity take place.  The church is where you learn to be sharpened.

Acts 17:11

The people here were more open-minded than those in Thessalonica, since they welcomed the message with eagerness and examined the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.

Proverbs 27:17

Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.

Ecclesiastes 4:9-10

Two are better than one because they have a good reward for their efforts. For if either falls, his companion can lift him up; but pity the one who falls without another to lift him up.

We begin to grow in the church:

Because one is able to excise the fruit of the Spirit.  It does not mean one is mature, but it is a lifelong process.

Galatians 5:22-23a

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness, self-control.

True transformation determines our growth, but our desire is to look more like Jesus Christ in our everyday actions.


Jesus is in Our Midst

Today’s message summary of June 11, 2017 from Pastor Gus Brown:

It is important to note that God is the one who empowers and strengthens us.  He is in our midst with even only two of us let alone a small group (Matthew 18:20).

Jesus is in our midst, and with that realization, all fear disappears.  We want to see Him and hear from Him as we recognize His presence.

Believers gather together in the name of Jesus.  He promises that He never leaves us or forsakes us, and it is a promise for us now and in the future.

There has to be a reason for His presence.  He promises that He will be with those who desire to seek Him.  We may not physically see Him, but we believe He is present because of faith.

Jesus informed His disciples that He would not be with them much longer, but told them that He would always be with them to the end of the age.

He wants us to know that the prayer and actions of two people is more powerful than that of a thousand people, and He tells us that He is with us.

Matthew 18:20

For where two or three are gathered together in my name, I am there among them.

Genesis 4:26

A son was born to Seth also, and he named him Enosh.  At that time people began to call on the name of the Lord.

The heart of the believer has to come to a place to acknowledge His presence, and determine if he or she is in accord with God’s will.  If God is in the midst of what you are doing, He is going to speak to you, affirm you, guide you, and even correct you.

Among two people, you can have cooperation, but you can also have conflict and even destruction.  Even a small group can have trouble in accomplishing God’s will if there are differences within the group.

Malachi 3:16-18

At the time those who feared the Lord spoke to one another. The Lord took notice and listened. So a book of remembrance was written before him for those who feared the Lord and had high regard for his name. “They will be mine,” says the Lord of Armies, “my own possession on the day I am preparing. I will have compassion on them as a man has compassion on his son who serves him. So you will again see the difference between the righteous and the wicked, between one who serves God and one who does not serve him.

Those who fear the Lord talk with each other. If the conversation look who is in the midst making corrections.

James 1:5

Now if any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask Godwho gives to all generously and ungrudginglyand it will be given to him.

With God in our midst, He will speak to us, and we need to train ourselves to listen to Him.

Wisdom is needed.  God is in the conversation.

Guidance is needed.  Jesus is there.

Understanding is needed.  Jesus is there.

1 Corinthians 14:33

…since God is not a God of disorder but of peace.

God is in the midst to bring about order and not to create disorder.  He provides guidance for order and proper function.

Proverbs 16:9

A person’s heart plans his way, but the Lord determines his steps.

Planning is necessary, but God is the one who must affirm the plans.  We are to be sensitive to His wisdom and guidance through the process, including making changes when and where they should be made.  As we listen to Him and remain focused upon Him, He will make us shine in the process.

Psalm 37:33

The Lord will not leave him in the power of the wicked one or allow him to be condemned when he is judged.

Think of what Jesus means to you in your life.

The name of Jesus is a name of power and authority.  He is the one who will clean up your life and order your steps.

The name of Jesus represents the Godhead.  In that name, the fullness of the Godhead (the Father, Son and Holy Spirit) is present.  They are all present and all of them are there when we call upon His name.  He is there to protect you…His investment.

Colossians 1:9

For this reason also, since the day we heard this, we haven’t stopped praying for you. We are asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding.

Micah 5:4-5

He will stand and shepherd them in the strength of the Lord, in the majestic name of the Lord his God. They will live securely, for them his greatness will extend to the ends of the earth. He will be their peace. When Assyria invades our land, when it marches against our fortresses, we will raise against it seven shepherds, even eight leaders of men.

1 Peter 5:4

And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.

A group of servants within a church or organization may call a meeting, but it should be the desire of the group to have access to God.

We are to desire God’s presence, to hear His voice, and to receive His guidance. We want His favor and His peace.

No one gets to God’s presence without Jesus; therefore, we gather together in the name of Jesus.

Romans 5:1-2

Therefore, since we have been declared righteous by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. We have also obtained access through him by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.

John 14:6-7

Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you know me, you will also know my Father. From now on you do know him and have seen him.”

When we come together, Jesus is with us, whether it is two people or a hundred people.

We can do whatever God has purposed for us to do (no matter the number of people).

Nehemiah learned this very lesson.  He succeeded in spite of a small group and opposition.

Faith says Jesus is with us, even though we don’t physically see Him.

He has promised to be with us.

He reveals that He is with us.

John 20:19-23

When it was evening of that first day of the week, the disciples were gathered together with the doors locked because they feared the Jews. Jesus came, stood among them, and said to them, “Peace be with you.” Having said this, he showed them his hands and his side. So the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, “Peace to you. As the Father has sent me, I also send you.” After saying this, he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”

Jesus is in the midst of us.  He is there, and we have to trust in it.  The promise to believers in Jesus Christ is that when you meet, He is there.

  • All authority and power is in His name (Matthew 28:18).
  • Every knee shall bow to His name (Philippians 2:10).
  • He has a claim to ownership of everything within the meeting (His Lordship).

1 Corinthians 6:19-20

Dont you know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought at a price. So glorify God with your body.

Philippians 2:13

For it is God who is working in you both according to his good purpose.


His Gift…My Gift

Today’s message summary of December 25, 2016 from Pastor Gus Brown:

There is a spiritual reward for those who give generously; however, we should not expect to become wealthy through giving to others. Those who receive your gifts will be helped, will be joyful, and comforted that someone thought about them. As you bless others, you will be blessed.

Giving is done because we love others.  It is the example of what God has done for us.

John 3:16

For God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.

 

Romans 5:8

But God proves His own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us!

 

Romans 8:32

He did not even spare His own Son but offered Him up for us all; how will He not also with Him grant us everything?

 

The gift of Jesus Christ is a gift that continually gives and it is for everyone who acknowledges Him.  It is a lasting gift that is beyond description.  It is His gift of eternal life for all who believe in Him.

2 Corinthians 9:12-15

For the ministry of this service is not only supplying the needs of the saints, but is also overflowing in many acts of thanksgiving to God. They will glorify God for your obedience to the confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with others through the proof provided by this service. And they will have deep affection for you in their prayers on your behalf because of the surpassing grace of God in you.  Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift.

 

The service of giving is addressing needs that others have.  It is to bring forth a great relief in someone’s life.  Your giving is a reflection of God’s gift to all people for all to see.

God’s gift of eternal life–salvation through Jesus Christ–brings peace, wisdom, knowledge, discernment and fellowship–and many other things.  It is a lasting gift that no one else can provide but Him.

Thanks be to God!


Jesus is Coming

A message summary of June 5, 2016 from Pastor Gus Brown:

Everything is about preparation for the coming of Jesus Christ.

Jesus is coming, and Christians are going to be with Him!

I.  He is coming unexpectedly!

Revelation 16:15

Look, I am coming like a thief. The one who is alert and remains clothed so that he may not go around naked and people see his shame is blessed.

Jesus is indeed coming, but He is not giving advance notice. Why?

1 Thessalonians 4:13-18

We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, concerning those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve like the rest, who have no hope. Since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, in the same way God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep through Jesus. For we say this to you by a revelation from the Lord. We who are still alive at the Lord’s coming will certainly have no advantage over those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the archangel’s voice, and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are still alive will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air and so we will always be with the Lord. Therefore encourage one another with these words.

1 Thessalonians 5:1-3

About the times and the seasons: Brothers, you do not need anything to be written to you. For you yourselves know very well that the Day of the Lord will come just like a thief in the night. When they say, “Peace and security,” then sudden destruction comes on them, like labor pains come on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape.

1 Thessalonians 5:9

For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.

The believer has been warned! He is calling for people to live in righteousness going forward. The past is the past. How will you live today and in the future?

2 Peter 3:9-10

The Lord does not delay His promise, and some understand delay, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish but all to come to repentance. But the Day of the Lord will come like a thief, on that day the heavens will pass away with a loud noise, the elements will burn and be dissolved, and the earth and the works on it will be disclosed.

His delay is actually patience. He is certainty coming back soon, but He wants to see as many people as possible come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. He does not want to see anyone perish.

Matthew 24:42

Therefore be alert, since you don’t know what day your Lord is coming.

Keep watch! Are you looking for His return? You need to have a sober mind.

Mark 13:32-37

Now concerning that day or hour no one knows–neither the angels in heaven nor the Son–except the Father. Watch! Be alert! For you don’t know when the time is coming. It is like a man on a journey, who left his house, gave authority to his slaves, gave each one his work, and commanded the doorkeeper to be alert. Therefore be alert, since you don’t know when the master of the house is coming–whether in the evening or at midnight or at the crowing of the rooster or early in the morning. Otherwise, he might come suddenly and find you sleeping. And what I say to you, I say to everyone: Be alert!

Be on guard! Be alert!

Luke 12:35-40

Be ready for service and have your lamps lit. You must be like people waiting for their master to return from the wedding banquet so that when he comes and knocks, they can open the door for him at once. Those slaves the master will find alert when he comes will be blessed. I assure you: He will get ready, have them recline at the table, then come and serve them. If he comes in the middle of the night, or even near dawn, and finds them alert, those slaves are blessed. But know this: If the homeowner had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into. You also be ready, because the Son of Man is coming at an hour that you do not expect.

Be dressed (your loins will be girded about).

Satan wants you to be undressed and unprepared.

v. 37 – it will be good (you will be blessed)

v. 38 – it is good to be ready

 

II.  During this time it is important to stay awake. Be aware! Be alert!

1 Peter 5:8

Be serious! Be alert! Your adversary the Devil is prowling around like a roaring lion, looking for anyone he can devour.

1 Peter 4:7-10

Now the end of all things is near; therefore, be serious and disciplined for prayer. Above all, maintain an intense love for each other, since love covers a multitude of sins. Be hospitable to one another without complaining. Based on the gift each one has received, use it to serve others, as good managers of the varied grace of God.

Proverbs 4:23

Guard your heart above all else,

for it is the source of life.

1 Corinthians 16:13-14

Be alert, stand firm in the faith, act like a man, be strong. Your every action must be done with love.

1 Timothy 6:20-21

Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to you, avoiding irreverent, empty speech and contradictions from the “knowledge” that falsely bears that name. By professing it, some people have deviated from the faith. Grace be with all of you.

Stay awake: to give strict attention to, to be cautious, to take heed lest through remission (laxity) and indolence (slothful, not diligent, restlessness); some destructive calamity can suddenly overtake you if you are unprepared.

Ephesians 4:27

…and don’t give the Devil and opportunity.

 

III. There is proper clothing for each occasion. A welder needs to wear the appropriate clothing. Using chemicals requires the proper clothing.

Matthew 22:11-14

But when the king came in to view the guests, he saw a man there who was not dressed for a wedding. So he said to him, Friend, how did you get in here without wedding clothes? The man was speechless. Then the king told the attendants, Tie him up hand and foot, and throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

For many are invited, but few are chosen.

Proper clothing is…

Isaiah 61:10-11

I greatly rejoice in the Lord, I exult in my God; for He has clothed me with the garments of salvation and wrapped me in a robe of righteousness, as a groom wears a turban and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. For as the earth produces its growth, and as a garden enables what is sown to spring up, so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to spring up before all the nations.

2 Corinthians 5:3

…since, when we are clothed, we will not be found naked.

Revelation 19:8

She was given fine linen to wear, bright and pure.

For the fine linen represents the righteous acts of the saints.

Revelation 7:14

I said to him, “Sir, you know.” Then he told me: These are the ones coming out of the great tribulation. They washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.

We are not to be naked (unaware) and, as a result, shamed as we live our lives. Satan desires to keep us in a place where we are not ready for Christ’s return–through sin and self-righteous behavior.

We are to be ready.


Knowing the Peace of God

A message summary of October 4, 2015 from Pastor Gus Brown:

There are people that desire peace in their lives, but that peace is often attempted without God’s presence.
The more that you are walking with the Lord, the events of the day will not unsettle you. That is peace from God that Satan cannot take away from you.
During the times of war, there will be periods where matters are very unsettling.
The taking (removal) of peace from the earth – The Second Seal is opened.
Revelation 6:3-4

When He opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature say, “Come!” Then another horse went out, a fiery red one, and it’s horseman was empowered to take peace from the earth, so that people would slaughter one another. And a large sword was given to him.

The absence of peace is chaos. Without God’s inner peace, people will hurt others until they get what they desire.
If the Holy Spirit was not present in our lives today, we would operate in the same manner that the world does.
Confusion is defined as a state of disorder; a time of bewilderment; the failure to distinguish between things (1 Corinthians 14:33).
Peace is the freedom from disorder; an undisturbed state of mind; the absence of mental conflict.

Peace of mind

John 16:33

I have told you these things so that in Me you may have peace. You will have suffering in this world. Be courageous! I have conquered the world.

John 14:27

Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Your heart must not be troubled or fearful.

Only Jesus Christ can calm you during your storms in life.  Without God’s peace, you will come unraveled.

Every man and woman alive today will experience trouble. Only Jesus can bring people through this trouble.

In Revelation 6:4, the word “take” in the passage “take peace” means “to get hold of” or to seize or remove.

There is no exemption from the rage and havoc of war.

There is no peace between individuals; that is, no harmony.

Matthew 10:34-37

Don’t assume that I came to bring peace on the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.  For I came to turn

a man against his father,
a daughter against her mother,
a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law;
and a man’s enemies will be
the members of his household.

The person who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; the person who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.

Matthew 19:29
And everyone who has left houses, brothers or sisters, father or mother, children, or fields because of My name will receive 100 times more and will inherit eternal life.

Micah 7:1-7

How sad for me!
For I am like one who—
when the summer fruit has been gathered
after the gleaning of the grape harvest—
finds no grape cluster to eat,
no early fig, which I crave.
Godly people have vanished from the land;
there is no one upright among the people.
All of them wait in ambush to shed blood;
they hunt each other with a net.
Both hands are good at accomplishing evil:
the official and the judge demand a bribe;
when the powerful man communicates his evil desire,
they plot it together.
The best of them is like a brier;
the most upright is worse than a hedge of thorns.
The day of your watchmen,
the day of your punishment, is coming;
at this time their panic is here.
Do not rely on a friend;
don’t trust in a close companion.
Seal your mouth
from the woman who lies in your arms.
Surely a son considers his father a fool,
a daughter opposes her mother,
and a daughter-in-law is against her mother-in-law;
a man’s enemies are the men of his own household.
But I will look to the Lord;
I will wait for the God of my salvation.
My God will hear me.

Galatians 4:16
Have I now become your enemy by telling you the truth?

There is no security, safety, prosperity, or happiness (because peace and harmony make and keep things safe and prosperous).

Psalm 71:1-2
Lord, I seek refuge in You; let me never be disgraced. In Your justice, rescue and deliver me; listen closely to me and save me.
The only place of security–now and in the future during the tribulation–will be in Jesus Christ.

Psalm 37:1-11

Do not be agitated by evildoers;
do not envy those who do wrong.
For they wither quickly like grass
and wilt like tender green plants.

Trust in the Lord and do what is good;
dwell in the land and live securely.
Take delight in the Lord,
and He will give you your heart’s desires.

Commit your way to the Lord;
trust in Him, and He will act,
making your righteousness shine like the dawn,
your justice like the noonday.

Be silent before the Lord and wait expectantly for Him;
do not be agitated by one who prospers in his way,
by the man who carries out evil plans.

Refrain from anger and give up your rage;
do not be agitated—it can only bring harm.
For evildoers will be destroyed,
but those who put their hope in the Lord
will inherit the land.

A little while, and the wicked person will be no more;
though you look for him, he will not be there.
But the humble will inherit the land
and will enjoy abundant prosperity.

He gives you the desires of your heart (v. 4).
Commit and trust in Him. He will bring it to pass. (v. 5)
Rest in the Lord (v. 7)
Cease from anger (v. 8)
Inherit the earth (v. 9)
Abundance of peace (v. 11)


Spring Break 2015 Relationship Seminar Text

Text from this year’s Spring Break 2015 Relationship Conference presented at the Hampton Inn, Stow OH, April 17-18, 2015:

 

Thank you for attending this year’s Spring Break 2015 Relationship Conference presented by Akron Alliance Fellowship Church.  We sincerely hope that you have a great time here this weekend, and that you are inspired and encouraged by what God has to say to you!  A special thanks to the staff at the Hampton Inn for hosting this event.

If you were with us last year, the goal of the seminar, Using your IMAGE to Be A Change Agent for Christ, was to help its participants begin and continue the process of developing a closer, healthier and vibrant relationship with Jesus Christ.  In order for a believer in Christ to grow in faith, he has to do more than just go beyond the basics.  The seminar provided practical methods for a present believer, and even a potential believer, to reach one’s fullest potential as a child of God living in a manner that brings praise to Jesus Christ!

Our annual Spring Break weekend seminars are devoted to addressing relationships in your life, and this year is no different.  We will take a closer look at an area that is a hindrance to any relationship.  A lack of forgiveness—either for the person who is holding a grudge against someone or for the person who is awaiting some sort of reconciliation that never comes—is a devastating force that destroys relationships.  A lack of forgiveness not only ruins family and interpersonal relationships, but it also hinders, and even damages a healthy relationship with Jesus Christ.

We will be presenting this information this weekend with frequent references to your IMAGE, which we presented last year to the group to show how you can develop as a believer who is consistent in obedience to God’s Word and His will for your life.  In maintaining your true IMAGE in Jesus Christ, this will help a person to overcome the lack of forgiveness in one’s life, and even help others who may struggle with this issue.

A lack of forgiveness or receiving forgiveness, as we noted earlier, destroys relationships.  Can a believer in Jesus Christ be effective in Christ as long as a lack of forgiveness is unresolved?  My emphatic answer is “absolutely not.” Why?  There are several reasons, but the most important one is that if forgiveness is unresolved in any way, shape or form, then that means that Jesus Christ cannot possibly be the primary focus of that person.  You may have heard the lyrics of a song that declare “nobody but Jesus,” but the person who lacks forgiveness might as well sing “anything but Jesus.”

Forgiveness, in itself, is impossible to cover in its entirety over your entire lifetime, let alone within a short weekend seminar.  With that in mind, we will focus on areas of personal development and in how we relate to other individuals to help us discover ways in which we can personally grow in our relationships with others and find ways to experience forgiveness and to forgive others.

Psalm 32

The Joy of Forgiveness

Davidic. A Maskil.

1 How joyful is the one

whose transgression is forgiven,

whose sin is covered!

2 How joyful is the man

the Lord does not charge with sin

and in whose spirit is no deceit!

3 When I kept silent, my bones became brittle

from my groaning all day long.

4 For day and night Your hand was heavy on me;

my strength was drained

as in the summer’s heat. Selah

5 Then I acknowledged my sin to You

and did not conceal my iniquity.

I said,

“I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,”

and You took away the guilt of my sin. Selah

6 Therefore let everyone who is faithful pray to You

at a time that You may be found.

When great floodwaters come,

they will not reach him.

7 You are my hiding place;

You protect me from trouble.

You surround me with joyful shouts of deliverance. Selah

8 I will instruct you and show you the way to go;

with My eye on you, I will give counsel.

9 Do not be like a horse or mule,

without understanding,

that must be controlled with bit and bridle

or else it will not come near you.

10 Many pains come to the wicked,

but the one who trusts in the Lord

will have faithful love surrounding him.

11 Be glad in the Lord and rejoice,

you righteous ones;

shout for joy,

all you upright in heart.

 

Segment 1

Characteristics of Your IMAGE

 

Investigate the Word of God

The development of a believer must begin with the appropriate time and effort devoted to bible reading.  Even as you are developing a routine for bible reading each day, the proper development of the image of the believer must have progression in this process—the progression must continue in the achievement of levels to where you are no longer just reading the bible, but you are investigating what scripture has to say to you.

  • Reading the bible daily
  • Scheduled time
  • Use external biblical resources to complement your study (ex. – Greek and Hebrew references and concordances)

Investigate (v.) – to observe or study by close examination and systematic inquiry

Merriam-Webster Dictionary

 

Meditate on the Word of God

(Be still and know that I am God. Psalm 46:10)

Christian meditation is a form of prayer in which a structured attempt is made to become aware of and reflect upon the revelations of God.[1]  Christian meditation is the process of deliberately focusing on specific thoughts (such as a bible passage) and reflecting on their meaning in the context of the love of God. [2]

Meditation is reflection, consistent prayer and practice that promotes greater understanding and wisdom in the application of God’s Word.

 

Act (Application of God’s Word)

The act portion of your IMAGE involves taking action upon what you have learned in your investigation and mediation of God’s Word.  Taking action or applying God’s Word involves four key lifestyle elements of your faith in Jesus Christ:

  1. Repentance upon acknowledgment of sin to restore immediate fellowship with Jesus Christ (Matthew 3:8; Acts 3:19)
  2. Compliance with God’s will in your life (John 7:17)
  3. A desire to improve and please God (Colossians 3:15)
  4. Greater consistency in Christlike behaviors (Psalm 119:101-106; Romans 12:1-2)

We act upon God’s Word and His will because we are His specially chosen people, and we desire to maintain a special relationship with Him (Ephesians 2:10; Psalm 37:23-24, 73:23-24)

 

Grow

Growing in Jesus Christ is the natural progression of a healthy, vibrant relationship with Him (Ephesians 3:17-19, 4:11-15)

Growth is measured in the following:

  1. Continuing achievement of maturity in Christ
  2. Hearing and knowing when God is speaking to you
  3. Increased sensitivity to matters of the Holy Spirit
  4. Greater focus and determination

 

Endure

Bearing all things that occur in the faith with an understanding of the big picture–the love of Christ is exhibited for all to see and that Jesus Christ is glorified (Romans 5:1-5; 1 Corinthians 13:7; James 1:2-4).

Jesus wants you to not only persevere but to remain steadfast in your faith and retain a boldness in your faith (in words and in your demeanor before others). It is your steadfastness that makes the boldest statements of Jesus Christ’s presence in your life.

2 Timothy 2:8-12a

Keep your attention on Jesus Christ as risen from the dead and descended from David. This is according to my gospel.  I suffer for it to the point of being bound like a criminal, but God’s message is not bound. 10 This is why I endure all things for the elect: so that they also may obtain salvation, which is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory.  This saying is trustworthy:

For if we have died with Him,

we will also live with Him;

if we endure, we will also reign with Him.

 

 

1 Christian Meditation for Beginners by Thomas Zanzig, Marilyn Kielbasa 2000, ISBN 0-88489-361-8 page 7

2  An introduction to Christian spirituality by F. Antonisamy, 2000 ISBN 81-7109-429-5 pages 76-77

 

Segment 2

Forgive and Forget?

 

Hardly. It’s difficult to get past the pain and trauma that occurs when someone hurts you. It’s something that each one of us has experienced, and it shapes our view of the world.

When we experience pain, our defense mechanisms kick in.  Everyone responds differently when they have been hurt, but most often the response is proportional to the painful experience.  It is manifested in both emotional and even physical responses, where the physical ailments are often the result of prolonged emotional difficulties.

The response in kind to the stimuli of pain and trauma experienced is similar to that of Isaac Newton’s Third Law of Motion: To every action there is always opposed an equal reaction. [1]  While the response may be equal to what a person has done to you, it is how you respond and manage this pain that is very important as you seek the Lord for ways to cope with your experience.

1 Corinthians 10:13 (ESV)

No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.

 

Pain makes it hard to forget the hurts.  It’s hard to let go of the wrongs that you have experienced.  It makes it difficult to conceive the nature of “forgive and forget.”

First, we need to note that forgive and forget is not found in Scripture.  It is a term that comes out of a world view that proclaims a person can indeed forget the hurt upon forgiveness and move on.  There are many verses that discuss forgiveness, and there is a reference to how God sees our sin once a person repents of it:

Isaiah 43:25 HCSB

It is I who sweep away your transgressions for My own sake and remember your sins no more.

 

The concept of forgive and forget means to suck it up and move on with your life.  Sure, you got hurt or you’ve been damaged, but now it’s time to let it go and face the next life challenge.  The reality of this is that we never truly forget.  We may indeed forgive, but we never forget.  In fact, remembering the hurts can help you put the healing process into perspective.

With that in mind, does God truly “remember your sins no more,” or “forget” them as if they never happened?  Well, if we consider the passage of Isaiah 43:25, we need to also note that Jesus Christ made a one-time payment that covered all of mankind’s sins–past, present and future.

Hebrews 10:14-18 ESV

For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.

And the Holy Spirit also bears witness to us; for after saying,

“This is the covenant that I will make with them

after those days, declares the Lord:

I will put my laws on their hearts,

and write them on their minds,”

then he adds, “I will remember their sins and their lawless deeds no more.”

Where there is forgiveness of these, there is no longer any offering for sin.

God does not forget in the same way that we forget—He doesn’t forget anything.  He is omniscient.  He knows everything and forgets nothing, but, in the case of our sin, because of Christ’s sacrifice for our sins, He chooses to not remember our sin.  He even provides a visual measuring distance as to how far He removes sin from each of us:

Psalm 103:11-13

For as high as the heavens are above the earth,

so great is His faithful love

toward those who fear Him.

As far as the east is from the west,

so far has He removed

our transgressions from us.

As a father has compassion on his children,

so the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him.

 

Note that God’s choice to not remember our sins reflects His love for each one of us and how he has patience and compassion for His children.  In order to experience true forgiveness, on either side, there are key elements that must be involved; they include love, compassion and humility (more on this later).

So, when we use the words forgive and forget, we must rely upon the power of God to give grace in forgiveness.  True forgiveness is to move past the pain.  While you don’t forget the sin or its behaviors, you have to choose to overlook them and extend the grace of forgiveness to the other person to move through and out of our pain.  Knowing that Christ forgives us and remembers our sins no more is a reminder that grace does not need to stop with Christ.  He gives you the ability to forgive and, not forget, but to choose to remember the other person’s sins no more.

Matthew 6:15

But if you don’t forgive people, your Father will not forgive your wrongdoing.

 

This leads to the discussion about where forgiveness begins.  True forgiveness comes with the understanding that it’s time to get right with God.  It doesn’t matter if you are on the giving or receiving end of forgiveness.  Your relationship with God requires a cleansing.  In order for you to love God with all of your heart, soul and mind (Matthew 22:37), you need to give all of who you are and what you are to Him.

 

1 Article – Newton’s Law of Motion. (n.d.). From Wikipedia. Retrieved March 25, 2015 from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Newton%27s_laws_of_motion#Newton.27s_3rd_Law

 

Segment 3

He Forgives You

 

For the believer in Jesus Christ, it may seem to be a redundant discussion when considering God’s forgiveness.  I mean, it’s understood that he forgives you, right?  On the surface, yes, but…not so fast.

The moment that you take for granted how God has forgiven you is the very moment that you begin to take your relationship with Jesus Christ for granted, and perhaps even minimize it.  Believers will need to proceed with extreme caution here.  The act of forgiveness was certainly a one-time act when it came to our repentance of sin and acknowledgment of Jesus Christ as personal Lord and Savior (Hebrews 10).  We get that.  What we also need to remember, though, is that we are always in need of His forgiveness.

Why? Even though we have the Holy Spirit as a guide that dwells within us, we still have the flesh present in our hearts and in our thoughts.  Our souls are indeed protected with our eternal salvation, but we still must actively call on the power of God to withstand living in Satan’s domain, and everything that goes with that.

God continues to forgive us if we exhibit the following:

  1. A sincere heart. You can’t fake it with God and expect to make it. Giving Him everything that you’ve got means just that…everything…nothing held back; especially your honest feelings. Come clean the way you know that you should, and don’t pretend to be close to God when you’re not. That’s rooted in the sin of pridefulness.

Matthew 6:5-8 HCSB

“Whenever you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites, because they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by people. I assure you: They’ve got their reward! But when you pray, go into your private room, shut your door, and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.  When you pray, don’t babble like the idolaters, since they imagine they’ll be heard for their many words.  Don’t be like them, because your Father knows the things you need before you ask Him.

 

1 John 1:8-10

If we say, “We have no sin,” we are deceiving ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say, “We don’t have any sin,” we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.

 

Hebrews 10:22 HCSB

…let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed in pure water.

  1. A willingness to repel sin. Even when you do sin, our desire to have a healthy relationship with God through Jesus Christ will drive you to make things right with Him sooner rather than later. And He absolutely loves receiving you back in fellowship with Him.  Prayer must be at the forefront of your desire to repel sin.

Psalm 119:10-12

I have sought You with all my heart;

don’t let me wander from Your commands.

I have treasured Your word in my heart

so that I may not sin against You.

Lord, may You be praised;

teach me Your statutes.

 

2 Peter 3:9 HCSB

The Lord does not delay His promise, as some understand delay, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish but all to come to repentance.

 

Leviticus 26:11-12 HCSB

I will place My residence among you, and I will not reject you.  I will walk among you and be your God, and you will be My people.

 

Matthew 26:41 ESV

“Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

 

  1. Give God His due in worship and praise. If we take the time to stop and thank God for all that He has done for us, there is little time for sin to occupy our hearts.

Psalm 33:1-5

Rejoice in the Lord, you righteous ones;

praise from the upright is beautiful.

Praise the Lord with the lyre;

make music to Him with a ten-stringed harp.

Sing a new song to Him;

play skillfully on the strings, with a joyful shout.

For the word of the Lord is right,

and all His work is trustworthy.

He loves righteousness and justice;

the earth is full of the Lord’s unfailing love.

 

A believer who is living for Christ understands the importance of keeping a solid relationship with Him and maintaining a healthy fellowship.

He forgives you as often as you turn to Him asking for forgiveness, and He never refuses you!

We’ll discuss this further as we unpack how you can forgive others and be forgiven because of His loving example of forgiveness within His eternal promise and in how we live each day of our life!

Psalm 73:28 ESV

But for me it is good to be near God; I have made the Lord GOD my refuge, that I may tell of all your works.

 

Segment 4

Everyone Makes Mistakes

 

To err is human; to forgive, divine.  –Alexander Pope

We know that everyone makes mistakes.  Each of us has blown it sometime, somewhere, and in some way, shape or form.  Some mistakes are honest ones, while others come from deliberate acts of malice or intent.  That’s all part of our human nature.  We make these mistakes because of who we are.

God reminds of this with His Word…

Romans 3:23 (NIV)

…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…

 

If we know we make mistakes, and we know that God is aware of this, as well, why is it that we don’t cut other people some slack when things go badly?  We need to understand how a lack of forgiveness is harmful to relationships, and the act of harboring resentment keeps people from moving forward in their lives.

When a person drives a car into a large muddy area, it can get stuck.  Unless the car can get traction, it’s not going anywhere.

Relationships can get stuck altogether because of our behavioral responses when there is a lack of forgiveness, and it will stop any progress or can even permanently damage a relationship.

What stops a healthy relationship?

 

STOP

  • Stubbornness
  • Tension
  • Obstinance
  • Pride

What will a person see in you when you are stuck in unforgiveness:

 

STUCK

  • sluggishness (unforgiveness has a debilitating effect on your mind and spirit)
  • turbulence (drama is a by-product of an unforgiving spirit–it follows you everywhere)
  • unchangeable (no one can give you any advice, let alone good advice)
  • confusion (where there is no peace, there is confusion and bewilderment)
  • killjoy (a person who deliberately spoils the enjoyment of others through resentfulness)

Hopefully you can see that you can’t keep an unforgiving spirit to yourself.  It won’t be a secret, because, sooner or later, everyone you know will see signs of it in your behavior at one time or another.  It definitely has a negative effect on others, and it certainly will have a negative effect on you.  One day, you may even find yourself all alone because no one will want to be around you.  Stubbornness, tension, obstinance and pride are all relationship-killers.  They kill human relationships, and they are absolute hindrances to any relationship that you will have with God.

 

Segment 5

The Road to Complete Forgiveness

A direct flight from Akron-Canton Regional Airport to Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport takes 1 hour and 45 minutes.

If I were to drive from my house in northern Summit County to the Savannah airport, it would take just a few minutes under 11 hours.

If I wanted to take transit, I would have to walk 48 minutes to the bus stop on Highland Road and catch the 102 bus to downtown Akron, transfer to three other buses that will take me to the Alliance Amtrak station, catch the Capitol Limited to Washington DC and transfer to either the Silver Meteor or Silver Star to downtown Savannah GA.  The total time for the trip–1 day and 16 hours.

If I wanted to travel by bicycle via the Great Allegheny Passage to Savannah, which loops through Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia and the Carolinas, it would consist of 969 miles of biking through elevations as high as 2,359 feet above sea level.  If I keep going without food or water or without losing consciousness, it would take me 84 hours.  I could shave six hours off of that with a trip through the New River Trail State Park and US Route 321, but the mountains near Roanoke, Virginia cap off at 3,753 feet above sea level, and I would also have to take a ferry boat.  If I want to walk the entire distance, I would only need to walk 767 miles, but it would take 254 hours, or the equivalent of just over 10 1/2 days. Of course, it would take longer than that if you decide to eat something or get some sleep every now and then.

The same starting point and destination can take one hour and 45 minutes, 11 hours or 10 1/2 days.  The method of travel is different, and the roads are different, but they lead to the same place.  The healing process within forgiveness is much the same as this travel scenario.  Different people may have different paths to get to the same place, which is a place of rest through the healing.  The differences will lie in the amount of time it takes to heal.  Just as no persons are alike, people will heal and respond differently based upon where they have come from and where they have traveled on the journey.  It’s also important to note that healing in the process of forgiveness is seldom accomplished in the same way one can get on a plane from one place to the other.  If you were to take a poll, I’m confident that the majority of people would say it takes a long, long time.

The road to complete forgiveness is paved with opportunities for healing.  God grants us immunity when we ask for His forgiveness, and He does it right away.  Our greatest challenge is to recognize that we are guiltless before Him.  Many people struggle with this issue in that there is still a form of guilt over what has happened.  This is why people must heal from the wounds of their transgressions.  God is aware that people suffer from these feelings and emotions (Psalm 147:3), and He is aware of them because He bore all of our sins on the cross.  He relates to each and every one of us.  He is a God who is relational and wants us to cast our cares upon Him (1 Peter 5:7; Matthew 11:28-30).

In the same way that God gives us grace in forgiveness, He desires that we treat others in kind with grace and mercy in forgiving others.  Easier said than done?  Most certainly, but that doesn’t change God’s will for us.  It remains the same as it always has been—to forgive others and show mercy to them.  That is the best (and only real way) for the light of Christ to shine before others.  Anything else is nothing more than a worldly approach of forgiveness with man-made conditions behind it.

The road to complete forgiveness is a message of hope.  In order to make the journey, it requires these attributes in order to experience the power of God’s healing:

H – Humility

Note that humility is acquired as we grow in God’s wisdom and understanding.  We develop humble hearts as we become Christlike in our actions.  Humility does not come naturally.  It comes from a series of learning experiences that God orchestrates in our lives.  Humility is what allows us to draw nearer to God.

2 Chronicles 7:14

…and My people who are called by My name humble themselves, pray and seek My face, and turn from their evil ways, then I will hear from heaven, forgive their sin, and heal their land.

 

James 4:8 HCSB

Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, sinners, and purify your hearts, double-minded people!

 

Deuteronomy 8:2-3 HCSB

Remember that the Lord your God led you on the entire journey these 40 years in the wilderness, so that He might humble you and test you to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep His commands. He humbled you by letting you go hungry; then He gave you manna to eat, which you and your fathers had not known, so that you might learn that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.

 

God humbles us in order for each of us to see the Lord as we need to see Him.  With this realization, we understand the importance of humbling ourselves before Him and, as a result, reflecting this same grace before others.

A humble approach involves using a kinder, gentler approach when dealing with others.

Philippians 2:3 ESV

Do nothing out of rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.

 

O – Overlook shortcomings

Because we reside in the flesh, we often encounter people when they are at their best, but sometimes when they are not at their best.  In the spirit of recognizing that we are all in the human race and that everyone does fall short at one time or another (see Romans 3:23), then there are times when a person who falls short needs to be cut a break.  It is prudent to address issues as they come up, but sometimes we need to take the humble approach and overlook some transgressions for the sake of keeping the peace.  If we are being honest with ourselves, other people we have dealt with have cut us some slack even when it was undeserved.  God has cut each of us some slack–not because he is letting you off the hook for your sin, but because of His love for us.  He extends His grace to you.

Ephesians 2:8-9 ESV

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

 

Titus 3:5-7 ESV

He saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

 

P – Patience

Humility and overlooking one’s shortcomings is an exercise in patience.  You will do none of this, including forgive someone, without patience.  Patience is indeed an act of love.

Romans 12:12 ESV

Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.

 

Ecclesiastes 7:9 ESV

Be not quick in your spirit to become angry, for anger lodges in the bosom of fools.

 

1 Corinthians 13:4 ESV

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.

 

In order for you to exercise patience, it requires the assistance of the Holy Spirit, at times, to give you more than you believe you have the capability of doing.  How patient was Jesus Christ when He suffered on the cross for each of us?  Just when we think we’re going to lose our patience, take the time to remove the flesh from your thought process and rely upon the power of the Holy Spirit to move you beyond mere fleshly responses.

 

E – Empathy

The road to forgiveness also needs a strong dose of empathy.  Empathy allows you to see people in the same way that God sees those same people.  It may well be the most challenging element of a person’s Christlike development.  Empathy allows you to go deeper than the surface elements of one’s personality and, through the Holy Spirit, gain insight into what a person is experiencing from within.  Jesus Christ shows empathy for each of us.

Ephesians 4:32 ESV

Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

 

Empathy allows you to be human before other people.

Romans 12:15 ESV

Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.

 

Matthew 7:12 ESV

So  whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.

 

Love is the root of empathy, and Christ is the example.

John 15:12 ESV

“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.”

 

The acronym HOPE is exactly what a person needs to see from a person who is sincere in forgiveness:  Humility, overlooking shortcomings, patience and empathy.  A person should experience relief because of these steps that are being taken in forgiveness.

Now, for one to truly forgive someone there must be an attitude that what happened in the past must remain in the past.

When a governor or a head of state gives a prisoner a “full, complete and absolute pardon,” it means that the person is released from any and all previous transgressions.

Forgiveness requires extending a pardon to another individual, and that means a full, complete and absolute pardon–without conditions.

 

PARDON

pray

absolve (free from guilt)

release (free from debt)

deliver (free from captivity)

optimize (enhance, improve relationship)

no memory of wrong (nomow)

 

NOMOW

No memory of wrong is the Christlike example as God has declared He would remember your sins no more (Isaiah 43:25; Hebrews 8:12).

There is hope for the recipient of complete forgiveness.  It restores relationships and moves the person to a place to begin to move forward in life.  Hope conveys to the other person that it is time to live in freedom, and Christ is where that freedom comes from.  A person who forgives is also free to move on from the past, get on with life and focus on what is important—obedience to Jesus Christ and a desire to live according to His will.

Is there someone in your life that needs your hope and a pardon?

  • Read, study and meditate on God’s Word
  • Get some quiet time
  • Get right before God (in order to hear Him speak to you)
  • List who you need to forgive
  • List why you need to forgive
  • Bring it all before God and let Him do the rest

He is the Savior, Sanctifier, Healer and Coming King.  If you ask for His help, He is faithful to provide it to you.

God forgives you and provides the example for you to forgive someone else.

 

 

All seminar content written and presented by Melvin Gaines.

Copyright © Melvin Gaines. All rights reserved.