Forgiveness First

Comfort & Challenge

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Today’s readings (click below to open in new tab/window):
Psalms 27; 147:12-20, Genesis 39:1-23, 1 Corinthians 2:14-3:15, Mark 2:1-12


Jesus was speaking to a large crowd gathered in and around his home. “[S]ome people came, bringing to him a paralyzed man, carried by four of them. And when they could not bring him to Jesus because of the crowd, they removed the roof above him; and […] let down the mat on which the paralytic lay. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, ‘Son, your sins are forgiven.'” The scribes present were offended that Jesus felt he had the authority to forgive sins. The man lowered through the roof may have been disappointed his faith was rewarded with forgiveness and not healing. His friends were probably not looking forward to carrying him back.

As he always seems to do, Jesus turns the situation on its head.

To demonstrate to the scribes the…

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Hard Hearts

A Christian Worldview of Fiction

My church is reading Exodus together. Daily we read the selected passage and one of us writes a short response. Today’s portion details the plague of hail.

I’ve noticed a progression in the plagues, from inconvenient and annoying to dangerous and deadly.

Hail might not sound like one of the deadly plagues but it was, because the hailstones were apparently large and could kill anyone who was not in a covered space. Essentially that meant farm workers and others who did manual labor.

There was more. The hail also destroyed the crops, which meant a famine was around the corner.

You’d think for sure that by this time Pharaoh would see that he couldn’t continue standing against God. Up til now he and his people had dealt with a three-day water shortage brought on by the water-to-blood plague, an inundation of frogs, gnats, flies, disease on the animals, and boils…

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Thankful February 22, 2018

Yesterday was an interesting day here in the little town of Bridgeport, Texas. First we had an ice storm move in, so I had to leave work after only working 2 hours and as desperately as I need every penny and cannot afford to miss work, I knew if I did not leave when I did I could end up missing a lot more work than a day or two. So I warm up my car and scrape off the ice that was already covering my windshield and head home. I didn’t make it out of the driveway of the apartment complex where my client lives before my windows were icing up, so I stopped and scraped the ice off again. I didn’t make it a block before the ice on my windows would not be moved by my windshield wipers, and unfortunately the road I was on there was no where I could safely pull over and since there were cars behind me I had to slowly trudge along using the lights on the car ahead of me to make sure I was on my side of the roan. A five minute drive turned into a 20 minute one, but thankfully I made it home safely without any incident. Thankful to be home safe and warm a power surge hit. Electricity went out. I was told ice on the power lines were to blame. Thankful to own thermals and sweats I layered up. Reports of accidents and hearing sirens from ambulances I was thankful to be home safe. Hours later still no electricity I was thankful for my little French press. I had decided to see if any work was being done to fix the electric for the apartments I live in and to see how other neighbors were doing. One neighbor said they were dealing without having power but they sure wanted some coffee. I told them I had a French press and could make them coffee. All I needed to do was boil some water and thankfully our stoves are gas. So they brought over some coffee and their coffee pot. So thanks to my little press we had coffee and they could take some home. Just as I finished pouring the coffee into their pot the lights came on. They took their coffee home and I went to blowing out candles. The second I blew out the last candle there was a loud bang. The transformer blew. Once again we were in the dark. It was hours later before it finally got fixed and the electricity came back on.

There are many lessons that can be learned from this day.

1 The true source of power comes from God alone. Jesus told His disciples He had to return home but that He would send us His Helper. This being his Holy Spirit.

John 14:26  (NKJV) But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.

2 That even in the darkest hours of our lives when there is little light or none can be seen at all He is with us.

John 8:12  (ESV) Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

There are many more I could share with you but today the one that is important to me is this. Be thankful always. Not only when the sun is shining and you are happy and do not have any worries. James tells us to count it all joy when we face trials and tribulations.

Ephesians 5:20 giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,

Colossians 3:16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.

Bending/Your Will or God’s Will

God is who he is. The Great I Am. He does not change, His Word does not change. He is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. The only bending He does is to bend down to pick us up. He does not break His commands nor does He change them. The ones who try to change what God has commanded is the enemy and man. We say it is okay to do things that His Word says is wrong because He understands what we are going through and that we don’t have a choice. He forgives us and we are under His grace. We try to bend His Word to fit how we want to live, when we should be allowing His Word to transform us to His will.

Something to think about.

Take a moment and think about the serpent and Eve. Do he strange out lie to her or did he bend the truth to deceive her,that eating the fruit would not harm her? Now what things do we as Christian’s do that bend His truth, believing that we are doing something good and that we are not hurting anyone?

Is it time for a change of your name?

As you read through your Bible you find that names were changed by God. In Genesis 17:5 You read that God change Abram to Abraham and in verse 15 Sarai becomes Sarah. Jacob becomes Israel, Simon becomes Peter, and Saul becomes Paul are just a few names that were changed by God.

So why the name change? When a woman marries a man she then takes on his family name which identifies her as his wife. Think about that we are called the bride of Christ. Who we were before we came into the knowledge and relationship with Jesus is now a part of our past. That is who we used to be, but now we are made new by Jesus.                 2 Corinthians 5:17  (NKJV) Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.                                       Isaiah 43:18 “Do not call to mind the former things, Or ponder things of the past.
Ezekiel 36:26″Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.

Most of us still identify with the person we were and still hold onto the traits of the person we were before we received Christ Jesus as our Savior and repented of our sins. When we repented, we turned from our sinful way of living and turned to Jesus, who is the Way, the Truth and the Life. No one can come to the Father but through Him.

I can try to change my behavior on my own, but this is nothing more than what is called behavior modification. My actions have changed but the desire to do the things I once did is still there. There are two things that I need, but not limited to, and they are (1) The heart of Christ Jesus.  James 4:8  – Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse [your] hands, [ye] sinners; and purify [your] hearts, [ye] double minded. 1 Samuel 16:7  – But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for [the LORD seeth] not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart. (2) I need the mind of Christ. For how I think and see things are not how God sees or thinks. Isaiah 55:8 “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord. Romans 12:2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what [is] that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

I have to make the decision to submit to God and allow Him to transform me into the creation He wants me to be so that I can better share the love of Jesus and testify what God has done for me through His Son Jesus. How He changed my life in ways that I never could on my own.

Questions;

If God changed your name today, what do you think He would change it to?

What part of the old you are you holding onto? (like an old pair of jeans that do not fit anymore but you hold onto because one day they might fit again)