Archive for the ‘Forgiveness’ Category

American Revival

prayer..

“Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my thoughts: and see if there be any wicked in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” Ps. 139:23-24 (KJV)

The root meaning, of the word ‘confess‘ is “to say the same as.” So when we confess our sins to God, we are essentially agreeing with God about our sin. God is far from clueless about our sin, so we are just taking responsibility and letting God know that we realize we are doing something wrong.

In 1 John 1:9 of God’s word, we are told, IF we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (NIV).

That’s a big IF. I don’t think it’s going ‘out on a limb’ to say that America is not very good at confessing sin. We Americans usually do everything we can to shirk responsibility. But now, more than any other time, it’s imperative that we are on our knees. We are in a position of needing God’s hand in our country, in our lives, in our leadership and in our future. If you agree that this country needs a revival and a turning of our faces to the Lord, it has to start with you.

Jesus said, “And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?” Matthew 7:3
(KJV)

The thing to remember is that we can pray for each other, but we cannot confess for each other. No other man or woman knows your heart, just as you do not know mine. We must all be responsible individually. However, that doesn’t mean that we can’t do this together. We must make sure to name our sins to God. For example:

“Lord, I have not put You first in my life, I have neglected Your Word and Your sovereignty.”

We must not make excuses, God doesn’t care for the reason, He knows we are humans. Proverbs 28:13 says, “He [or she] who conceals his sins does not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy” (NIV).

Mercy sounds good, doesn’t it?

I propose that we write our sins down. Then, when we are finished, we can rip them up and throw it away as a tangible reminder that we have a  promise from God in Psalm 103:12: “As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.”

Personal revival is where American Revival begins, so let’s get started on those things we may not give much thought to at the time they are
committed:

1. Matt. 6:12-15 Do you hold a grudge against anyone? Is there someone who you have not forgiven? Do you justify your bad attitude toward another because of their actions? Are you doing unto others BEFORE they do unto you?

2. Matt. 6:33 Are your decisions based on your own wisdom and desires, rather than God’s will? Does your ambition, your pleasure, your loved ones, your money or your plans interfere with your surrender and service to God?

3. Mark 16:15 Do you care that members of your family, some of your friends and those that you may not even know yet are going to hell? Do you even think about that when you are talking to them, do you ever witness to them with your mouth that Jesus loves them and wants them to accept Him as their Savior as you have done?

4. II Timothy 2:22 Are you engaging in activities that you know are unholy? Do you allow impure thoughts about the opposite sex to stay in your mind and do you read that which is impure and suggests unholy topics?

5. John 13:35 Are you happy about the bad fortune of another? Are you guilty of any instigation and contention? Do you argue and/or engage in heated discussions? Are you an active or inactive participant in division? Are you envious of another’s good fortune?

6. Philippians 2:14 Do you ever seek to hurt people? Do you gossip? Are you carrying prejudices against others because they are of some different group than yours, or because they do not see everything as you do?

7. Acts 20:35 Are you guilty of stealing from God? Any time we withhold our time, talents or money from God that is His due, we have failed to support His Kingdom work either by service, prayer or giving?

8. Ephesians 5:20 Have you neglected to thank God for all things? Have you been guilty of doubting His Word? Do you worry and is your spiritual mood based on feelings instead of the promise of God’s Word?

9. Colossians 3:9 Do you engage in unprofitable conversation? Lying, exaggeration, cheating or stealing?

10. I Corinthians 6:19, 20 Are you careless with your body? Do you fail to care for it as the temple of the Holy Spirit?

Don’t be discouraged and start beating yourself up. That’s not what this exercise is about. I am guilty of all the above, most of us are. The  point is to be aware of it, own up to it, confess it to God. He knew we were sinners way before He sent His Son to die for us.

Let’s get it all out there and start depending on God to forgive us and to lift us up to be better stewards for Him and lights in a very dark world. We can do this and we can then ask Him to turn our whole country back toward Him. God bless you and God bless America!

My Fathers’ Forgiveness

Forgiveness & Rememberance

Image by alex drennan via Flickr

Forgiveness is the beginning of love. —Mother Teresa

In his 43 short years, my father was a walking example of forgiveness. He was part of my life for fourteen years and I cannot remember him every criticizing another person. Ever. I witnessed several examples of slights, disrespect and plain abuse of which my father was a victim. But, whether it was the product of an acquaintance, a supposed friend or a family member, he remained silent. Even upon questioning him regarding these instances, he defended the offender. A common reply was, “They don’t know no better, they’re just unhappy.”

My father was one of the happiest people that I would ever meet. I believe he was so happy because he was wise enough to know that most insults were not reflections of what someone thought about him, but rather what they thought about themselves.

Even though I had prayed to God, begging Him to let my dad live, he was taken to heaven on January 16, 1985. Being very close to my dad, this was a huge blow. Top that with being a relatively new Christian and with puberty, it was catastrophic to my new faith. I was so sure that God would come through for me and was unbelievably devastated that He had said no.

My strongest memory at my dad’s funeral were my family members telling me that it was okay to cry. I even tried to cry, but couldn’t. Looking back on it, I think there must have been some numbness and shock that factored in to this, but the primary emotion that I was feeling was deep, burning, seething anger. I was so angry with God that I denounced Him. I told Him that I no longer wanted anything to do with Him.

Needless to say, this lead to a very eventful time growing up as an angry, rebellious teenager and young adult, creating a severe cycle of self-loathing, acting out toward others, and then more self-loathing. But our Sweet Savior, being the happiest Father in the world, had no problem pursuing me and loving me no matter how I treated Him. Thank you Lord! Events in my life eventually brought me back to my knees, forgiving and more importantly, asking for forgiveness. It’s amazing what the forgiveness of God can do to change your attitude toward others and toward ourselves.

I’ve learned over and over again that it matters way more about what God thinks about us than what other people think. When you remember this, the insults and slights from others don’t matter very much. It results in sympathy toward their life and their view of it and allows you to remain largely unaffected by their abuse. Therefore, a much happier person.

Record numbers of people showed up at my father’s funeral. Everyone loved him and had wonderful stories and memories of him. Many people talked about how happy he always was. I know it was because he forgave, and more importantly, he was forgiven.

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