Who is the offender?

order up

order up (Photo credit: circulating)

A person’s wisdom yields patience;
it is to one’s glory to overlook an offense. – Proverbs 19:11

My husband and I were dining with another couple at a nice restaurant. When our food was brought out, my entrée was cold and the meat somewhat raw. I called the server over and explained the problem, but was polite and understanding. The couple with us was amazed that I didn’t get all upset and demand satisfaction. I wish I could say that I was always this understanding, but the truth is … sometimes my impatience shows through.

Allowing God’s Spirit to guide us in words and actions will be noticed. It is almost considered normal to demand our rights in this country with no consideration for anyone else. Revenge is on our hearts when we have been offended. We forget for that time span how we have been offensive. The grace of God shown through us says that we know who died for our sin and who put him on the cross. While yet offensive, Christ died for us.

Prayer: Father, forgive me for the times that I forget what you have done for me. There is no offense against me that measures up to the offense I had against you. You have taken the sting of death away by your grace and mercy. Amen

Faith Tip: If you have been offended or are offended today, look upon the offender as Christ looked at us from the cross.

Be brave … be humble

English: fireworks seen across the at Washingt...

English: fireworks seen across the at Washington, D.C., USA. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

… if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. – 2 Chronicles 7:14

With America celebrating another birthday, I appreciate the sacrifices made for the freedom I enjoy today. Many brave men and women gave up countless things back in the time of 1776 following their dream of independence. Their courage of humbling themselves to the cause is a model to me today.

As our country ages, there are so many things that we can be proud of in the development of the United States. God has truly blessed America. Unfortunately, like the Israelites in the book of Judges, we have a cycle of sin that brings us to our knees. With the freedoms God has given us, we have gone astray from his truth and made our own truth. This sin has created illness in our country.

The brave thing for us to do is to humble ourselves before God and seek his way. We have lost our way in so many areas of life and allowed sin to waltz in without any effort to hinder it. All of us are a part of the problem, and all can be part of the solution. It begins with prayer.

Prayer: Lord, forgive me when I have not done what I should have in my life. Empower me to go forth in your strength and power and pray for the healing of our land. Amen

Faith Tip: Join in the courageous group of prayer warriors and seek God for his healing to fall on us as a nation.

Forgive me

Asking For Forgiveness

Asking For Forgiveness (Photo credit: hang_in_there)

Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord. – Leviticus 19:18

I’ve been hurt. I’ve hurt others. This is because of the human condition I was born into. That explains the why, but what about my response? That is what God is interested in as I grow and mature in my walk with him. Being hurt does not give me a free ticket to retaliate, but it does offer a lesson in forgiveness. Hurting others gives me an opportunity to ask for forgiveness and seek reconciliation. These can be tough lessons, but to do them will bring growth and freedom to me. I must truly love myself to be able to offer that love to others, which means I need to forgive myself for offenses I have done in my life.

Peace and freedom begins with us. If we are holding onto anger and bitterness, growing in our faith will be very difficult. Allowing God to take that from our tight grasp will leave our arms open to embrace the lovely things the Lord has planned for us. His plan for us is beautiful … don’t miss it.

Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for the lessons you have placed in my life and for helping me through them. I pray that I can grab unto the opportunities of forgiveness for myself and others. Amen

Faith Tip: Ask God to reveal a hurt that hasn’t been healed in you. Are you holding on to it tightly? It may be time to let go and let God handle it. He’s very good at it.

 

 

Drop the rock…

holding stone

holding stone (Photo credit: tamaki)

Then the Lord said to Moses: “Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘When you cross the Jordan into Canaan, select some towns to be your cities of refuge, to which a person who has killed someone accidentally may flee. They will be places of refuge from the avenger, so that anyone accused of murder may not die before they stand trial before the assembly. These six towns you give will be your cities of refuge. Give three on this side of the Jordan and three in Canaan as cities of refuge. These six towns will be a place of refuge for Israelites and for foreigners residing among them, so that anyone who has killed another accidentally can flee there. – Numbers 35:9-15

My friend had been hurt. Someone she trusted betrayed her. She was tricked into thinking that this person was unable to go to an event with her because of sickness. She later found out that the one she trusted went with somebody else.

Many of us have been hurt by similar situations. We want to pick up a big stone and throw it at them meaning to do harm. But remember Jesus with the woman caught in adultery in John 8.  All the Pharisees had the stones in their hands ready to kill the woman. As Jesus wrote in the dirt, perhaps words that reminded each of them of their own wrongdoings, the stones dropped one by one onto the ground … a testimony of their own guilt.

We are ready to avenge someone who has done wrong … especially against us. God knows all about what happened, so we don’t need to make a case. We can let him handle it, because he knows exactly what to do. Can we trust him in this?

Prayer: Lord, thank you for taking care of times I have been wronged and have wronged others.  I pray that I can let go and let you handle it. Amen

Faith Tip: Is there a situation that you are holding on to and still feeling the barbs of resentment. It’s time to let go and be free. Trust God in that he will handle it in a perfect manner.

Breaking free

Make a clean break with all cutting, backbiting, profane talk. Be gentle with one another, sensitive. Forgive one another as quickly and thoroughly as God in Christ forgave you. – Ephesians 4:31-32 The Message


I recently listened to a woman talking about an upcoming wedding and how she is dreading it because of the family that will be there … or won’t be there. The situations arise in her mind of the relationship struggles and are taking her focus off the beauty of the celebration of marriage.

Many of us are there, aren’t we? Many of us filter events through the situations and hurts that have come in our past. We are blinded to the beautiful things that God plans to do. We first focus on our emotions, because it is what we feel the most and tries to lead us in choices. They are the experience we remember.

All in all, we need to remember that at the end of days, when Christ returns, these situations are not going to mean anything to us or anyone else … at all. They will be gone in a blink of an eye. So why do we make them so important now and allow them to imprison us each day when God has something so much better planned for us? Freedom is a choice.

Prayer: Lord, thank you for the freedom you provide for me. I pray that in any circumstance where I have allowed myself to be imprisoned, that I will break free in the power of your name and live in the abundance you have planned for me. Amen

Faith Tip: Make a plan to be free from any chains that imprison you. Do you have to forgive or be forgiven; do you need to face a fear or anything else that keeps you from serving the Lord freely? Take steps to be free. Don’t wait until heaven when you can experience heaven on earth.

Paid in Full

 

God sacrificed Jesus on the altar of the world to clear that world of sin. Having faith in him sets us in the clear. God decided on this course of action in full view of the public—to set the world in the clear with himself through the sacrifice of Jesus, finally taking care of the sins he had so patiently endured. This is not only clear, but it’s now—this is current history! God sets things right. He also makes it possible for us to live in his rightness. – Romans 3:25-26 The Message

Jane didn’t know how she would pay for the gifts she wanted to buy for her children for Christmas, but she desired to give them a good holiday experience. It was true she worked two jobs and still struggled with making ends meet, but if she was extra careful, maybe she could make payments of the gifts in layaway at the store.

About a week after Jane put the items in layaway, more bills poured in and she knew it would be impossible to purchase the gifts. Having a roof over their heads was more important. Tears of frustration flowed just when the phone rang.

“Hello”

“Hi, is this Jane Bradford?”

“Yes”

“This is Mike Smith, manager of Buy It Right. I have the pleasure of calling you with great news. An anonymous donor has paid for all of your layaway items as a Christmas gift. Not only you, but many others, too.”

As that generous person made it possible for Jane to give her children gifts for Christmas by paying her bill, God paid the price for us so we could live eternally with him. The bill of our sin kept coming in and there was no way we could cover the cost. Jesus paid it all.

Prayer: Dear Jesus, I thank you for paying my bill of sin. I pray that the grace you have shown me, I will show to others and in doing so, they will see you. Amen

Faith Tip: Reflect on the true gift given to you by a very generous God who loves you.


 

Healing Words of Grace

Cassettes

Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones. – Proverbs 16:24

I’ll never forget the time when I was working at a bank and the president wanted me to transcribe a tape for him. He said it had a lot of important information on it. I put it on my desk with a couple of other tapes I was working on. After the tapes were transcribed, I would need to then delete the information on the tape by putting it through an erasing mechanism.

After finishing the tape I was working on, I grabbed the wrong tape and erased it. In fact, I grabbed the most important tape on the desk and erased it. I then thought about what I would need to collect on my desk as I was sure I would be escorted out after my mistake came to light. I slowly walked down the long hall to the president’s office … kind of in a daze. I knocked on his door. I swallowed hard as I walked in and hung my head in shame as I explained what happened to his tape and apologized.

He took in a breath. My breathing stopped. He then smiled and said not to worry. That he would record it again since it was still pretty fresh in his mind. When I received the tape from him, I instantly put it in the transcription machine and the first words out of the tape were, “This has been recorded on a non-erasable tape.”

The grace shown to me by this man of God was so healing to me. I learned a lot about grace that day. I saw and experienced Jesus in the president’s words and actions. He reflected the one he followed.

Prayer: Lord, I thank you for the grace you have shown me. I pray that I can reflect that to others each day. Amen

Faith Tip: Reflect Jesus today when someone you come in contact with needs that special gift of grace.