We have found this to be a profound truth that we would like to share with you. “To choose to forgive is a major key to both living and dying well.” To forgive is to live in freedom from the bitter acid that unforgiveness brings to our entire body, soul, and spirit. May we point out that to forgive the person does not mean we are in any way condoning what the person has done. We do this by submitting everything to God, our righteous and impartial judge. In Psalms 89:14, it says, “Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne; love and faithfulness go before you.” The scriptures portray God as being a righteous judge who is always just and fair. When we allow the grace of God to enter our hearts by His supernatural power, then and only then is it possible for us to forgive from our heart. We need to give all the accusations in the case over to our advocate, Jesus (1 John 2), who will defend us from the accuser, Satan ( Rev. 12:10), and then accept the decision that God the judge will make. Jesus Himself was our example as He willingly gave His life on that cross for our sins and prayed, “Father forgive them for they do not know what they do!” Luke 23:34
As most of us know or will probably find out very soon, life is not always fair. Each night we hear from families who have lost loved ones to Covid-19, homes to the wildfires out west, or those who are part of the mass migration taking place around the world. There are forces beyond our control that can take away everything we possess, everything except one thing. That is our relationship and promise from Jesus and our response to a given situation. We cannot always control what happens to us in life, but we can control how we react. The only way we can lose everything is to allow the circumstance we find ourselves in, to rob us of our freedom to respond positively. That response comes from the hope we have retained inside of us ‘Jesus’, which gives us a purpose for our existence that is far beyond the immediate circumstance we are facing. It is in those times that we need to remember Philippians 1:6, “For I am sure of this very thing, that the one who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.”
No age group is immune to the affects of anxiety, the more anxious we become, the quicker we succumb to irrational fears. I recently read that ninety percent of our irrational fears never become reality. When we allow worry and irrational fears to take over, we end up robbing ourselves of the meaning and purpose God has planned for our lives. It would be good to remember that God is standing with the ‘cloud of witnesses in front of us, cheering us on, reminding us that our purpose and destiny lies in front of us. Even though God is aware of all our shortcomings and failures, he does not stand behind us to remind us of those things we have repented of and asked forgiveness for; instead, he encourages us by pointing to the promises he has placed before us. Hebrews 12:1-2 says, “Therefore since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer, and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the Throne of God.”
Most people view happiness through the lens of material items that we acquire rather than what is available to us through the Holy Spirit. Jesus came that we may have life and have it abundantly. (John 10:10). When He gave Himself on that cross and rose again, He did not leave us as orphans but gave us another helper, our Paraclete, our Holy Spirit who is permanently and readily available to comfort, teach and guide us in all of life. (John 14:15-21)
I know that species have become extinct, typically through man’s neglect; however, none of these have done it to themselves with such consistency and finesse as we humans. If we or someone we know is not suffering now, there is an excellent probability that they will in five to ten years unless they are fortunate. In one way or another, it will be challenging to make it through life without being affected by some random act of chaos, which will be out of our control, resulting in our experiencing some level of suffering. We should all be wary of this, that we would not be worthy of the suffering that we face. As Peter said in 1 Peter 3:17, “For it is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.” Yes, if we have to suffer, let it not be over something we deserve.
I Have Come To Overcome The World
Even as we write, there has been another horrendous and meaningless act of violence in Boulder, Colorado. Were any of those who were killed Christians, did any of them have the opportunity to accept Jesus? The shooting the previous week in Atlanta, Georgia, is another example of a random act of chaos and destruction. Then we watch on the news as a six-year-old migrant child is seen running all by himself along the railroad tracks on our southern border without any adult within sight. Have we become so insensitive and uncaring about what is happening in the world around us?
Jesus came that we may have life abundantly, a life that always knows that He is faithful no matter what happens in this world. When people search for who is at fault, one only needs to look at the thief who comes to steal and kill and destroy (John 10:10). May we be here to not live for self-fulfillment but to consider His heart in all that happens to His beloved creation. Both male and female, He created us with body, soul, and spirit to know and be known by Him and to be guided by the Holy Spirit within us as we show love and His kindness in any way we can to others. This police officer that gave his life in Boulder to save others is a hero, as are so many others that I believe we will see at the front of the line in heaven. I think we will see many who we never thought would be at the front. Luke 13:30 ”And indeed there are last who will be first, and there are first who will be last.”
All of us are ambitious to some degree, however, we must be careful of what it is that rules our ambition. Those who strive for character and ability rather than status and power keep their eyes focused on the prize that Paul mentioned in Philippians 3:14, “I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” It is important to remember that we can lose status and power, but we carry character with us everywhere we go, and it is our character that keeps the adversary at bay.
So on this day and every day, may we celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for all who will come to receive His amazing gift of life-life to know and be known by Him now in this life and to live with Him for eternity. Life that gives us freedom from our own sin as we come in repentance and confession before Him and others and declare Him as our Lord! Life that brings His anointing to heal the broken ones and deliver the captive and pours the oil of Gilead over our hearts as He fills us afresh with the Holy Spirit! Yes – More Lord!
May we give all Honor and Glory to Him who sits on the Throne and unto the Lamb! For He alone is Worthy!
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