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)

“For the Love of Money…”


... the Filthy Rich Aren't Green: 7 Habits of Highly Inefficient People
The root of all kinds of evil

People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. (1 Timothy 6: 9, 10)
Wow! Those are some strong words.

I enjoy watching the reality show The Deadliest Catch. I think what fascinates me the most is the water. I love the ocean. It reflects the strength and power of the almighty God who rules it. It also demands the respect of the men who work on it fishing for crab and other types of ocean fish.

Deadliest Catch is filmed on the Bering Sea in Alaska. The men who work on the fishing vessels are somewhat God-fearing. I say “somewhat” because there is a lot of bad language which needs to be bleeped out first of all, but many of the men struggle with issues such as alcohol abuse and drug abuse. They do respect God however. At the beginning of each season a prayer is offered asking God to be with them and keep everyone safe. I am not aware of the personal beliefs of any of the men on the show and I realize that all people, even those who truly love God struggle with sin and addictions.

During this 2014 season, one of the captains is featured as he struggles through his addiction to alcohol and drugs. His life seems to be out of control. His girlfriend of several years, and the mother of his children is leaving him, and this is not the first time. They have two children together whom he loves deeply. He is at the breaking point and walks off his vessel not telling anyone where he is going or when he will return. He walked away from the men who were counting on him. They can’t go crab fishing without their captain.

When he finally returns his father has a face to face talk with him pointing out to him what he already knows but hasn’t wanted to admit. He is addicted to alcohol and drugs. He needs help, and is in no condition to successfully and safely captain a crab vessel. At the end of the episode we see him getting on an airplane and later driving to somewhere in Mexico to a rehabilitation facility. On the following episode when he returns to his crab vessel, supposedly all healed after 30 days at the facility, he states; Back to work making money… Money is what makes people happy.

Somehow with that attitude, I don’t think his troubles are over. Money is really not what makes people happy. It seems the more money we have, the more we think we need. The more we buy, the more we want. Spending money makes people happy for a minute, but pretty soon we get bored with our new “things” and think we need to buy something else new…and then something else. When we search for happiness in material possessions, we are never quite satisfied. Eventually the same old problems will resurface causing pain and heartache for all involved.

What do we really need to make us feel happy and fulfilled? What is it that will fill that empty place in our heart and that void in our lives? Many people search their whole life and never find it. But I know the secret to happiness and I would like to share it with you. True happiness comes only through faith in Jesus. Faith comes by God’s never ending grace through reading, studying and hearing the Word of God. It is also granted by the Holy Spirit through baptism.

Faith in Jesus changes everything. It gives us hope for eternity. Without Jesus, we have no hope. We are sinners and not fit to stand before a holy God. We are doomed to hell because no matter how hard we try we can’t be good enough. We sin daily by thought, word and deed. But Jesus lived the perfect life we are unable to live. He was punished and died in our place. He conquered death and Satan when he rose again three days later. His blood washed us and made us

Clothed in Christ Water and the W0rd
Clothed in Christ

clean and white and perfect. Now when God looks at all who have faith in Jesus, He sees the holiness of His Son. He no longer sees the dirty rotten sinners that we are. We are forgiven. We belong to Him. We are clothed in Christ and have a Father who loves us unconditionally and will never leave us. We no longer need to fear dying. With Jesus we are immortal. This life is just a stepping stone to the life to come where we will live in the presence of God eternally. You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. (Galatians 3: 26)

Our faith in Jesus inspires us to live for Him. We are free from the guilt of sin which drags us down and makes us feel worthless. Our hearts are filled with love for Him and our desire is to serve Him. Our earthly possessions? We can’t take them with us when we die. We won’t need them in heaven.

When we trust in Jesus and put him first in our lives, we will have all that we need and more. It isn’t wrong to have money and possessions, but it IS wrong to make our possessions our priority and in the end we will never be happy. Make Jesus your priority and you will be blessed! You will realize you no longer need to buy new and expensive things every other week to be happy. He will help you overcome your addictions and your sinful habits. You will become addicted to Jesus and that is a wonderful addiction to have!

He doesn’t promise that those who believe in Him by faith will never have problems. But He does promise to be with His believers and give them the strength to persevere. He promises to hear and answer prayer. He will turn your troubles into blessings if you just put your trust in Him.

But store up for yourselves treasures in Heaven.
Jesus – My Treasure

The young captain from the Deadliest Catch will more than likely never see this writing, but he does need our prayers. When you pray, ask God to open his heart and make him receptive to the Holy Spirit so that with the eyes of faith he will see and realize what is really and truly important in life. Drugs and alcohol only relieve symptoms for a short time. When the effects wear off our problems are still there looming before us. Jesus doesn’t just relieve symptoms. He heals us. He makes us whole again. We will find that we no longer need the bad addictions. We will have a good addiction – Jesus!

Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasure in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where you treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Matthew 6: 19-21)

Gloria Dei! Amen.

Who is the Judge?


"I am the resurrection and the life" (John 11:25)
“I am the resurrection and the life” (John 11:25)

 

I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well (John 14: 6,7).

I was recently reprimanded by a friend because she felt I was judging people. Before I go any further I want to say that this is a good friend and I love her no matter what she believes, and she also me. On many religious matters however we have agreed to disagree.

We were discussing the end times which we are living in presently in this 21st century. I commented that I am not fearful of the day Jesus will come back to judge the earth, but I feel bad for the many people who don’t believe in Him because they will go to hell. This fact is very difficult for some people to accept. She looked at me and asked; what about the Jews? Are they going to go to Hell because they don’t believe in Jesus? I answered; yes, if they don’t believe in Jesus they will go to Hell. In response she said to me; do you really feel that you are qualified to be the judge of that?

I am not qualified to judge whether anyone should go to hell. Only God knows hearts. But I know what He says in His word and I take Him at His word. As harsh as it seems, people need to know the truth. In the above verse from John Jesus tells us that we cannot love the Father and yet deny Jesus. In answer to Philips’ request- Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us. Jesus replies; Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘show us the Father’? Don’t you believe that I am in the Father and that the Father is in me? (vs. 9,10)

His word is truth
His Word is Truth

Jesus paid the ultimate sacrifice for sin when He died on the cross. The animal sacrifices of the Jewish people in the Old Testament were repeated time after time to remind them of the sacrifice to come – that of Jesus, the “Lamb” of God and promised Messiah. He would become the ultimate and final sacrifice. Through His perfect life and innocent death on the cross, He would pay the price for sin one time for all people. For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous [Christ] for the unrighteous [sinful humans], to bring you to God (1 Peter 3:18).

Many of the Jews in Jesus’ day denied that Jesus was the Christ. Their stubborn and proud hearts refused to accept him as the Messiah. This belief or unbelief if you will, has been passed down for many generations. It is very sad because the Jewish people love God deeply and are devoted to Him, but still deny Jesus. Without faith in Jesus, they will go to Hell. We can’t pick and choose what we want to believe from Scripture. We believe all of it or none of it. We can’t love God and yet deny Jesus.

So then who is the judge? Ultimately it is God. I am not judging the Jewish people. I am proclaiming what God says in His word. According to His word the only way to salvation is through His Son, Jesus Christ. For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life (John 3: 16).

Not only the Jewish people, but all who refuse to believe in Jesus as the promised Savior will go to hell. Our God is a loving God, but He is also a just God. We are sinners and can never meet His demand for holiness without faith in Jesus.

His blood covers our sin.
His blood covers our sin.

His blood shed on the cross covers the dirt of our sin. It makes us holy in God’s eyes and fit for heaven. You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3: 26-28). Are you clothed with Christ by faith? Those who die without the clothing of faith in Jesus are not covered with the protection of His holiness and will therefore be lost.

God has revealed to us in His word what we need to know for our salvation. Many have read it and refuse to believe it, or only believe what suits their lifestyle. There are also many who truly do not know the truth. As Christians it is our responsibility to proclaim the truth of God’s Word. People must first know that they are sinners and in need of a Savior. Repentant hearts will then lead us to share the good news of salvation with them. For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile-the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for, everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved…How then can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?…How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news! (Romans 10: 12-15)

Beautiful Feet
Beautiful Feet

This does not mean we should get in peoples faces and tell them to believe or be damned. Rather we should be an example of God’s love through our own faith and actions and never be shy or ashamed to speak up for the truth when opportunities arise. We should be proud to be members of the body of Christ. Jesus told his disciples; whoever acknowledges me before men, the Son of Man will also acknowledge him before the angels of God…When you are brought before synagogues, rulers and authorities, do not worry about how you will defend yourselves or what you will say for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you should say (Luke 12: 8,11,12). These words were spoken for Christians today also.

Will the Jewish people go to hell? According to what God’s word says they will, unless they soften their stubborn hearts and listen to Him. I have no right to judge them or anyone, but I know what God says. I believe God’s word. I am confident in my salvation whether I die today or whether I live until the day Jesus returns. In the meantime I will continue to proclaim the truth which will lead lost souls to Christ. Through faith in His unconditional love and forgiveness, the Promise of eternal life in heaven is theirs.

He is there for you.
He is there for you.

Jesus says; Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me. To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I overcame and sat down with my Father on his throne (Revelation 3: 21).

Gloria Dei! Amen.