FAITH – FORGIVENESS – TRUST


Forgiveness
Faith, Forgiveness, Trust

For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more (Hebrews 8:12).

In recent months we have heard a lot about the Duggar Family. For those who may not know, the Duggars, Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar have 19 children. They became well known some years ago when their reality TV show began on TLC (The Learning Channel). At that time they had 14 children. They now have 19. In May of 2015 their show was taken off the air when sexual abuse involving their oldest son Josh toward his sisters and several others came to light.
I have always respected Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar for their faith in God and their courage to stand up for what they believe in. It is easy to see that the Lord has truly blessed them and provided them with the means to care for their big family.
I happened to tune in to an interview with Jessa Duggar Seawald and Jill Duggar Dillard after the show went off the air. The two sisters had been innocent victims of their brother’s abuse several years previous. At the end of the interview Jill was asked; do you forgive your brother, and if so were you ever able to trust him again after this incident?
Her answer to this question pleasantly surprised me. It revealed a strong background of knowledge, based on truth, learned from Scripture. I may not have it worded exactly as she said it, but Jill answered; forgiveness and trust are not one and the same. We all need to forgive as Jesus has forgiven us, but trust has to be earned.
Is there someone in your life who has sinned against you? Have you forgiven that person? If not you should. The apostle Paul tells us; Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you (Colossians 3: 13, 14).
It is always easier to forgive than it is to forget the incident ever happened. Sin leaves scars on our hearts and because we are human we can never completely forget. Scars do heal however, and through faith and Prayer God is able to help us forgive and move forward even as the scars remain.
Isn’t it a comfort though, to know that our God does forget!? He promises the repentant sinner that He will remember their sins no more. Our God is an awesome God!
As for the Duggars, no family is perfect. There are problems in the best of families, but when we trust in the Lord and stay connected to Him by faith through His Word and sacraments we are covered by the blood of Jesus. The debt of sin we owe to God has been paid and we are holy in His eyes. So never hesitate to forgive. If it is hard for you to do so, then pray. Ask God to give you the strength to move forward and leave the past behind.
Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times? Jesus answered, I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times (Matthew 18: 21, 22).
And remember that trust and forgiveness are two different things. It is okay to forgive, and still remain cautious regarding the behavior of that person who sinned against you. Ask the Lord to guide you into building a new trust with that person. And even if that trust is never regained, the forgiveness should remain true.
Faith, Forgiveness, Trust – Faith in Jesus and a knowledge of what He did for us leads us to forgive others, and forgiveness allows us to build trust.

Gloria Dei!

duggars-01-800The Duggars

Duggar Statement:

We are so thankful for the outpouring of love, care and prayers for our family during this most difficult situation with Josh. As parents we are so deeply grieved by our son’s decisions and actions. His wrong choices have deeply hurt his precious wife and children and have negatively affected so many others. He has also brought great insult to the values and faith we hold dear. Yesterday (August 26, 2015) Josh checked himself into a long-term treatment center. For him it will be a long journey toward wholeness and recovery. We pray that in this he comes to complete repentance and sincere change. In the meantime, we will be offering our love, care and devoted support to Anna and our grandchildren as she also receives counsel and help for her own heart and future. During this time we continue to look to God—He is our rock and comfort. We ask for your continued prayers for our entire family.
(Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar)

The Easter Story


Death has been swallowed up in victory! Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death is your sting? The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Corinthians 15: 55, 56)

(Matthew 28)

THE RESURRECTION:

After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb.
There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men.
The angel said to the women, Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified . He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples: He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him. Now I have told you.
So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. Suddenly Jesus met them. Greetings, he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.

THE GREAT COMMISSION:

Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. Then Jesus came to them and said, All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.

A Lesson in Humility


That Stubborn Pride

Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.
He gave His life as a ransom for many
(Proverbs 16: 18)
Are you a proud person? To be proud of one’s accomplishments and hard work is natural and it is good. It is a great feeling to have worked really hard, putting your heart and soul into a project, and then be able to look back and see a job well done. It builds confidence and self esteem. But at what point does pride become destructive?
Jesus Himself was a very humble man. He says of Himself in Matthew 11: 29; Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. The prophet Isaiah also, as he prophesies the coming Savior states; He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. (Isaiah 53:2)
Jesus intention was never to stand out in a crowd. He repeatedly told people whom He had helped not to tell anyone. He did not want people to be attracted to Him because of the miracles He did. That was not His purpose. He says in Matthew 20: 28; the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many. His purpose was to free us from the chains of sin, and to save us from eternal death. He lived a perfect life for us and took the responsibility for our sins on Himself. He paid the debt we owe to God for our sins by suffering and dying on the cross, and He conquered death for us by rising from the dead three days later.
Recently I experienced hurt feelings at a Christian gathering. We were having a fellowship meal and as I went to sit down, I was told by the woman sitting across from me that the seat I had picked was already taken. I was a little surprised and yes, I felt more than a little offended also.  I immediately got up and moved to another seat.
The purpose of this fellowship meal was to welcome new members to the organization. My husband and I were new members. Is this how new members should be welcomed? To make matters worse, when the new members were introduced our names were not mentioned. Were we invisible? Needless to say, by the end of the meal I was ready to leave. I was angry and I was hurt and my husband was experiencing the same feelings I was.
Several days later through my daily devotional reading, God made me realize that my negative feelings were not “Christ Like”. I would like to quote to you the words of the author. He states as follows; Here’s a test to see how proud you are. How easily do you feel humiliated? Feelings of humiliation come quickly and easily if you are proud, but not if you are humble. A proud person says how dare you say that to me! A humble person thinks nothing of it.
Did our reaction to this situation denote pride in us – the kind of pride that is a sin? Before reading the devotion mentioned above, I would have definitely answered “No” to that question. I didn’t feel like I was being proud and haughty. I felt hurt. I felt not welcome. I felt like I was not important and yes I felt humiliated.
Now I have to admit that although we were the ones wronged in the situation, our reaction to it was wrong also. Our pride got in the way of our graciousness. What would Jesus have done in the same situation? My heart tells me that he wouldn’t have been offended. He would not have become angry. He would have politely moved to a new seat and let it go. He would have without a second thought, forgiven this woman. The apostle Paul in his letter to the Colossians tells us; Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another, Forgive as the Lord forgave you. (Colossians 3:13)
I can’t even count the times I have offended Jesus in my lifetime by not acknowledging that I know Him. I have listened quietly as His name was used inappropriately. I have sinned against Him in countless ways. I have done things in my life that I am truly ashamed of and would not like anyone to know about. I have turned my back on Him in countless situations – But He still loves me! I don’t know how He can love a sinner like me, but He tells me in His Word that He does and I believe His promises.
Am I too proud for my own good? You bet I am! Jesus gives us these words of advice in Luke 14 beginning with verse 8; When someone invites you to a wedding feast, do not take the place of honor, for a person more distinguished than you may have been invited…Then, humiliated you will have to take the least important place. But when you are invited, take the lowest place, so that when your host comes he will say to you; Friend, move up to a better place. Then you will be honored…For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.
Yes, I am definitely guilty of being stubbornly proud at times. My pride has led to sin on many occasions in my life, but there is good pride also – the kind of pride which says that I am proud to know Jesus. I am proud to bear His name. I am proud to have been baptized into His family. I am proud to call Him my brother. I am comforted to know that He loves me in spite of the many times I have sinned against Him.
Dear Jesus,
Forgive my stubborn pride. When someone sins against me, bring to mind the many times I have sinned against you and have been forgiven by you. Help me to forgive others in the same way. Help me to learn humility from your humility. Make me a humble servant of your Word. Help me to be more like You – who came to serve rather than to be served. Amen
In His holy name – Gloria Dei!
By Christine