Tag Archives: god forgives

A Restored Life

Jonah is a story we are all familiar with, and it’s a story we can all relate to in some fashion. I believe every one of us are created with a purpose only we are uniquely qualified to accomplish. Jonah was called to a city he hated and a people he couldn’t stand. He knew that God is merciful and good, so he knew that God would forgive the people of Nineveh if they repented. So he did what so many of us do, he ran from his calling. Of course you know that didn’t work out so well. A storm threatened the life of everyone on the ship he was on. That’s when I believe he thought if he died, so would the people of Nineveh.

You know that he had the crew throw him overboard and the Bible says that God prepared a large fish that came and swallowed him whole. As he sat in the darkness, he remembered that God is good and would even forgive him for this disobedience. In Jonah 2:2 he said, “I cried out to the Lord in my great trouble, and he answered me” (NLT). Jonah repented of his actions and God heard him. He asked God for help even though he was in the middle of paying the price for his disobedience and God answered his prayer.

There are times that all of us disobey God. Like Jonah, we need to get past our pride and call out to God for mercy. It doesn’t matter what kind of trouble we’re in or how far away from God we feel, a simple cry for help is heard in Heaven. God is waiting to respond to each of us to restore us to the life He’s called us to. It takes us reaching the point where we cry out to Him though. The good news is that we don’t have to wait until we hit rock bottom or are so far away we’re sitting in darkness. God will hear your cry wherever you are and answer you. He is full of mercy, compassion and forgiveness, and He is waiting to restore your life.

Photo by nikko macaspac on Unsplash

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Consequences 


When I was little, my mom said, “Don’t touch that. It’s hot.” What did I do? I touched it and got burned. When I got a little older, she said, “Don’t eat mushrooms in the back yard.” What did I do? I fed them to my younger brother and I got spanked. A few years later, she said, “Don’t talk that way.” What did I do? I said a few choice words and got my mouth washed out with a Ivory soap. Each time I disobeyed, I suffered the consequences of those actions whether it was through her punishment or the physical result of disobedience.

In the Garden of Eden, God said, “Don’t eat of that tree in the middle.” What did they do? They ate from the tree and were kicked out of the garden. God gave the Israelites the Ten Commandments. What have we done since? We’ve broken them and suffered the consequences. In my own life, I’ve known what God has said, and I’ve lived in violation of the way He has said to live and I’ve suffered the consequences.

Several years ago, while suffering with the consequences of my choices, God was using them to try to bring me back into right relationship with Him. The more I pushed back, the more it seemed I suffered. I eventually surrendered, but had to live with the consequences. The pain of that time has been a constant reminder to me to follow God’s will and plan. Do I do it all the time? No. I still disobey at times, but those times are getting fewer and I’m learning to repent faster.

All of us face the consequences of our sins. It’s designed to help us remember to obey much like my punishments when I was younger. Psalm 119:71 says, “My suffering was good for me, for it taught me to pay attention to your decrees” (NLT). We don’t like the suffering from our consequences, but it helps us remember in the future to walk in obedience to what God says. God sets life and death before us. Oh that we would obey His Word and choose life. It’s a much less painful route.

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Drop Your Stones


One of the most intriguing stories in the Bible is the woman the Pharisees brought before Jesus who had been caught in adultery. With stones in their hands, they told Jesus that the Law of Moses commanded them to stone her for her sin. Then, in John 8:5, they asked Jesus, “What do you say?” (NLT) I love that Jesus went back to what He was doing, which was drawing in the sand like He was bored. They demanded an answer from Him. He looked up and said, “Let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone.” One by one, they dropped their stones and walked away.

I love this story because if any one of us had been there, we would have had a stone in our hand too. At the same time, each of us has stood where that woman stood. Each of us has sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. Even though we’ve been forgiven a great debt, we still pick up stones to throw at others who sin. It’s time we quit carrying stones, and started being thankful that God not only forgives our sins, but the sins of others. If God’s grace was sufficient for our sins, it’s sufficient for theirs. 

Here are some Bible verses on grace and forgiveness.

1. When Jesus raised Himself up, He said to her, Woman, where are your accusers? Has no man condemned you? She answered, No one, Lord! And Jesus said, I do not condemn you either. Go on your way and from now on sin no more.
John 8:10-11 AMPC

2. In prayer there is a connection between what God does and what you do. You can’t get forgiveness from God, for instance, without also forgiving others. If you refuse to do your part, you cut yourself off from God’s part.
Matthew 6:14-15 MSG

3. Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.
Colossians 3:13 NLT

4. Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, if my brother keeps on sinning against me, how many times do I have to forgive him? Seven times?” “No, not seven times,” answered Jesus, “but seventy times seven.”
Matthew 18:21-22 GNT

5. And become useful and helpful and kind to one another, tenderhearted (compassionate, understanding, loving-hearted), forgiving one another [readily and freely], as God in Christ forgave you.
Ephesians 4:32 AMPC

6. My dear friends, if you know people who have wandered off from God’s truth, don’t write them off. Go after them. Get them back and you will have rescued precious lives from destruction and prevented an epidemic of wandering away from God.

James 5:19-20 MSG

7. And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him and let it drop (leave it, let it go), in order that your Father Who is in heaven may also forgive you your [own] failings and shortcomings and let them drop.
Mark 11:25 AMPC

8. We all arrive at your doorstep sooner or later, loaded with guilt, Our sins too much for us— but you get rid of them once and for all. 
Psalm 65:2-3 MSG

9. If you want people to like you, forgive them when they wrong you. Remembering wrongs can break up a friendship.
Proverbs 17:9 GNT

10. There is no condemnation now for those who live in union with Christ Jesus.
Romans 8:1 GNT

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Unstained


When I was in Nazareth, one of the cool things they showed us was how they made yarn from wool. After they made the yarn, they then showed us the basket of colored yarn you see above. If you look in the middle of that basket, you will see how they colored it. To get red, they used pomegranates. To get purple, they used the creature that lived in the shell. To get brown, they used a date. They told us that once the yarn was dyed, there was no way to get it back to its original color.

When you couple that with the words of Isaiah 1:18, you can begin to see the imagery God was using. He told Israel, “Come now, let’s settle this,” says the LORD. “Though your sins are like scarlet, I will make them as white as snow. Though they are red like crimson, I will make them as white as wool” (NLT). The people of that time period didn’t have Clorox. They knew there was no way to return wool back to white, especially after it was stained red.

So what was God saying? He was saying that what is impossible for them, is possible for Him. He was specifically telling them (and us) that no matter how bad our sins may be or how permanent they seem, He can erase them. There is nothing you and I can do that God cannot undo. He specializes in making the impossible possible, and He used this imagery to let them and us know that. 

I don’t know what you’re facing today, but whatever it is, it’s not impossible for God to fix. I don’t know what you’ve done in your life to this point, but I do know that it’s not beyond forgiveness. The blood that Jesus shed on Calvary is strong enough to wash away the guilt and shame, and can give you a fresh start. You can be cleansed just like the yarn above and be restored just like the wool above. As God started that off, you settle it with Him. You ask for His forgiveness and He brings restoration. I know this because in my life I’ve had sins as scarlet, and He made them as white as snow. He will do the same for you.

2 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Prayer: God Never Changes

Lord,

I want to start off by praising you for giving me another day to live. I don’t want to take any day you give me for granted. I know all too well that things can change instantly. I’m thankful that you have provided for my needs. You have given me all that I have and made sure that I have more than enough. Even through lean times, you have sustained me to ensure I didn’t go without the necessities of life. In times of plenty and in times of poverty, you have supplied all of my needs.

I’ve learned throughout my life that you are consistent. As I watch the seasons change, I’m reminded that you never change. It seems as though everything changes here, but I can count on you never changing. Your love for me doesn’t depend on what time of year it is, how well I serve you or how much money I have. It is constant as well. I’m reminded of the scripture in Romans 5:8 that says, “But God showed His great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.” Your love isn’t conditional. It never changes.

In a world of changing situations and changing people, it’s good to know you never do. You are my rock and my foundation. I can always rely on and trust in you because I know you will always be there for me. When people have deserted me, you have stood by me. When people have failed me, you have never let me down. When others have knocked me down, you were the one who picked me up. I have learned to put my trust in you rather than in others. Thank you for your faithfulness.

Help me to forgive those who have failed me, let me down or hurt me. Help me to seek forgiveness from those I’ve hurt, let down or failed. There’s not one of us who are perfect. There’s not one who doesn’t need grace from another or from you. Teach me how to give your type of love, forgiveness and grace to others. I want to be proactive in demonstrating the kind of love you have shown me. I know I have a long way to go, but you are the one who can help me get there.

I now pray for those who have wronged me in some way. Bless them, Lord, instead of cursing them. Show them the same compassion you showed to me. I can hear your words as you prayed for those who put you there: “Father, forgive them.” I pray the same for those who have wronged me in some way because I know it was a part of your plan to get me where you needed me and to make me who you wanted me to be. Help them to find their forgiveness in you. May they see you as the unchanging rock you are and learn to trust in you rather than to hurt others.

In Jesus’ name I pray.

Amen.

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Don’t Change Your Clothes

Joel 2 is known for verses 28-29 which Peter used when he preached from the balcony of the Upper Room in Acts 2. While those verses are well known, there are a couple of other ones in there that stand out to me as well. One of which is verse 13 where he is quoting God and He says, “Rend your heart, not your clothes and return to The Lord your God.” When I read that, it jumped out at me. So I began to read it in other translations and interpretations to see what else I could get from it.

The Message Bible says, “Change your life, not just your clothes. Come back to God, your God.” It made me think of a show my wife and I used to watch called “What Not To Wear”. A person could nominate a friend who was a walking wardrobe disaster and the hosts of the program would secretly tape them in every day life wearing ridiculous outfits. The person would be invited to a party which would turn out to be an intervention. They had to agree to go to New York with all of their clothes for a makeover.

Once there, they tried on several of their favorite outfits and were picked apart by the expert hosts. They would be required to throw away their entire wardrobe in most cases. After throwing them away, they were taught how to shop for clothes that fit them and their style. After a day of shopping, many wouldn’t know what to purchase and would return to their former style. At the least they would lament throwing out their favorite clothes. The hosts would join them, encourage them and have a break through with them. They could then change their buying and clothes wearing habits.

That’s what God wants to do with each of us. He wants us to throw out our old wardrobe. He wants to change not just how we look on the outside to other people. He wants to change us from the inside out. We can change our clothes and how we appear to others, but that’s not what God is looking for. God looks at our hearts, not our outward appearance. That why the NLT translates verse 13 as, “Don’t tear your clothing in grief, but tear your hearts instead.” God is more concerned with us changing, tearing or rending our hearts because He knows that when we do, our outside will change as well.

Maybe you’ve tried to change how you appear to others, but haven’t changed on the inside and it’s not very fulfilling. You’ve fooled others, but you haven’t fooled yourself or God. The rest of verse 13 says, “Return to The Lord, your God, for He is merciful and compassionate… and filled with unfailing love.” God is not out to get you when you mess up. He’s merciful and compassionate. He wants to help you change your heart so that you won’t keep making the same mistakes over and over again. If you do, He’s right there to help you make better choices. All you have to do is call out to Him.

4 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized