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)

Are you a Saint?




 

 
“One sacrifice for sins”

But when this priest [Jesus] had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God…because by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy (Hebrews 10:12, 14).

I am a member of the WELS (Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod). The last four Sundays of our church year are referred to as the End Times Sundays. The “End Times” Season begins with Reformation Sunday. The Lutheran Reformation coincides with Halloween, but actually has nothing to do with Halloween itself. Reformation (Celebrated on October 31st each year) is the day we honor our church’s founder Martin Luther. Martin Luther was an Augustinian monk, a Roman Catholic priest and a professor of theology.

Martin Luther

On October 31, 1517 he nailed his 95 theses to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Saxony, Germany. The 95 Theses were statements of his beliefs (based on Scripture) which he wished to defend in a public debate. The Catholic Church had become corrupted by centuries of ignorance during the Dark Ages of medieval Europe. Martin Luther wanted the church to realize the importance of returning to Scripture as its only source of truth. He taught, per Scripture, that we are saved by grace alone! By faith alone!  and By Scripture alone!  Salvation is a gift of God’s never ending grace, through faith in His one and only Son Jesus Christ. The Catholic Church had lost sight of these truths which were/are clearly taught in God’s Word.

 

The second Sunday of End Times is called Last Judgment which is pretty self explanatory. It is a study of the last days and most importantly the final day when the earth and this life as we know it will come to an end – the day when Christ will come again in glory to judge the world.

The third Sunday in End Times is called Saints Triumphant.  It is a study and celebration of all the Saints who were/are made victorious when Christ after His suffering and death, rose victorious crushing the power of Satan.

The fourth and last Sunday in End Times is called Christ the King. This last Sunday of the church year is again, a study of the last day when Jesus will come in glory and bring His believers (those still alive and those who have died) home.

My pastor begins each service on Sunday mornings with a children’s lesson. He invites all children present to the front of the church and spends about five minutes with them. He teaches them a lesson which pertains to the Scripture on which the service for that particular Sunday is based.

The Sunday which I am referring to in this writing happened to be the third Sunday in the End Times season which is Saints Triumphant Sunday so it was fitting that the pastor’s question posed to the children that day was; what is a Saint?  They answered; someone who is holy (very good!). He then asked them to name some “saints”. They thought a minute and then answered by naming people they know from Scripture i.e. Paul, Matthew, Peter, James, Mark etc. They were 100% correct, but weren’t those men from Scripture sinners just like you and me? If a saint is someone who is holy, how could those men have been considered saints?

The definition of a Saint according to my Bible Dictionary reads; that which is separated or dedicated to God…All who are in a covenant relation with him through repentance and faith in his Son are regarded as saints. Wow! Does that mean I am a saint also? I came to faith at my baptism many years ago and the Holy Spirit has preserved that faith in my heart throughout my lifetime. My faith is strengthened and renewed daily through prayer and repentance, and through Bible Study and participation in the sacrament of Holy Communion.

If you have faith in Jesus, if you believe and trust in His promises and have come to Him with a repentant heart which mourns your many sins, you are a Saint also. Without Jesus we are all tainted and made dirty by sin and doomed to an eternity in hell, but with Him we are covered by His holiness.

The scripture above tells us; because by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.  Jesus, God’s perfect and holy Son sacrificed Himself in our place when He died on the cross. He suffered the punishment we deserve for our sin and gave us His holiness in return. So when God looks at His faithful believers He no longer sees our sin, but the holiness of His Son. Because of what Jesus did for us, every sincere Christian can correctly place the word “Saint” in front of his/her name. We are all Saints washed clean by the blood of Jesus.

This is Good News! This is pure Gospel – that sinners are made Saints through the blood of Jesus. This news brings peace to all who believe. This is a peace which the world we live in cannot give us. It is a peace that comes only from God. Jesus says; Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid (John 14:27).

Yes, I am a saint. Are you a saint? I hope that you can answer “yes” to that question. If your answer stems from a repentant heart filled with love for God and His Son you can be confident that you are counted among the saints.

Through faith in Jesus we have true peace – a peace which does not come from this physical world, but from knowing that our sins are forgiven and we can stand before a holy God without fear. We have a sure hope that there is a special place prepared and waiting for us in heaven. Death no longer has power over us. Whether we live or whether we die, we are winners through Christ Jesus our Lord and Savior.

“You will not abandon me to the grave”

Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; because you will not abandon me to the grave nor will you let your Holy One see decay. You have made known to me the paths of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence. (Acts 2: 26-28)

Gloria Dei!

by Christine