Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Forgive and Be Forgiven

Yesterday as I scrolled my Facebook feed, I came across a post that really touched my heart.  This post was written by a young lady that was expressing her love for her father; a father that is seldom in her life.  She expressed that even though he "wasn't perfect" or "have not always been there" that she still loved him.  What an example of unconditional love!  I couldn't help but wonder if that father knew how blessed he was to have a forgiving and loving daughter.

Forgiveness has been on my heart a lot lately.  Think about it, when someone forgives someone else, it is a powerful thing.  I  know many times in my life I have made some stupid decisions and later felt the heaviness of shame and regret.  However, as I have received forgiveness from either God or the one I wronged, I felt a tremendous relief.  Obviously God thinks forgiveness is important too.  The Bible  tells us what great lengths Jesus went to in order to offer us true forgiveness.  He not only suffered abuse and ridicule, He actually suffered death.  However, that wasn't the end of the story!  He not only died but He rose again and won victory over death and sin.  Forgiveness!

As good as it feels to be forgiven, it often feels even better when we offer forgiveness to others.  When we remember our sin and how much we have needed forgiveness, it is much easier to offer forgiveness. Do you need forgiveness today?  1 John 1:9 tells us that if we confess our sins to God, he can always be trusted to forgive us and take our sins away.  Don't waste time on feeling shame and regret, go to God today and ask for His mercy.  On the other hand, do you need to forgive someone else, including yourself?  Unforgiveness can latch onto your heart like a parasite sucking all the life and joy out of your soul.  Can you trust God with your hurt?  Can you trust Him to heal the pain you have experienced?  He will give you the strength to forgive and be free of this dead-weight of bitterness.  Matthew 6:14-15 tells us that if you forgive others for the wrongs they do to you, your Father in heaven will forgive you.  But if you don't forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins. 

When you think about it, forgiveness can unlock the door to true love and life.  Receiving forgiveness from Jesus can give us a new life, hope and love.  Through God's power, extending forgiveness to others can give us joy and freedom in the Spirit.  Don't wait any longer; forgive and be forgiven!

Friday, April 24, 2015

Book Review: Unafraid

Recently, the Lord has been taking me through a process of giving up control; the need to be in control, the need to push for others to do what I think is best, and the need to "work" things out in order that my loved ones be safe, successful, and happy.  A controlling spirit works against surrendering your life to God and is motivated out of fear.  Maybe you are afraid that if you are not in "control" you will be left out, abandoned, hurt, or disregarded.  On the other hand, maybe you are afraid if you do not "control" your loved ones, then they will be hurt, make bad decisions, or do something you don't approve of. However, no matter what we think, we really can't be in control; we are fighting a losing battle.  I have come to understand that control is the opposite of trusting God.  Satan loves to use fear to put us in bondage and to cripple us on this journey called life. When we are filled with fear, we are not filled with faith.

Being a Family Christian Blogger, I have recently had the opportunity to review a newly released book entitled "Unafraid" by Susie Davis.  Not only was I blessed to receive a complementary copy of this book, Susie's story was exactly what I needed to hear.  Once I began to read the book, I couldn't put it down.  She told her story that as a teenager she had witnessed a murder that left her very afraid.  As the years went by, fear wrapped itself around her life until she felt powerless.   Worry, fears, and anxiety were in full control of her heart.  She loved God, however trusting Him was another story. However, step by step God led her on a journey of healing.  In "Unafraid", Susie takes us along on this journey that ultimately led to her freedom from fear.  My heart was uplifted and encouraged as I read page by page.  God reconfirmed in my heart what He had previously revealed to me: He is TRUTH and IN HIM we can truly be set free!

I wholeheartedly recommend this book.  In fact, I plan to purchase copies for my friends and family.  If fear is something you have struggled with in the past or are in the midst of now, you will greatly benefit from reading "Unafraid".  You can find this book at any Family Christian store.  However,  If you would like to order your copy online now , please click HERE. 

Fear is the opposite of trust.  Trusting God and living by faith is the only way to walk out the Christian life.  Like Susie, we can find freedom and healing through Christ and walk in peace, victory, and wholeness.  Christ in us, the hope of glory!  Colossians 1:27

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Do you know Him?

Sometimes I'm just out of words.  Sometimes I just want to sit quietly and ponder what has been, what is and what is to come in my life. I don't have answers to all of life's problems but I do know more each day that God is my reason for living.  He has not only created me but has given me a purpose to live and His strength is made perfect in my weakness.   There are so many hurting people in this world and I often feel helpless when I try to encourage others. Sometimes as I travel on this journey called life, I am simply perplexed.  The truth can get foggy in a world filled with deception and rebellion. 

Recently, I was challenged, once again, as to how I can be so sure that God is real.  The answer to that question is that I have experienced His forgiveness, His peace, His love, and His joy.  No one can talk me out of believing there is a God and that His son Jesus died for my sins.  He came into my life and made a new person out of me.  I think differently, I feel differently and I love differently.  Yes, I still make mistakes when I choose to not trust God and His Word and when I try to do things on my own. However, I am not the same as I was before.  Before Christ, I was broken, insecure, needy, searching for a real love, working hard to be good enough, empty and sad.  On the other hand, one day, at the end of my rope, I cried out in desperation to the One and only true God.  I confessed with my mouth and believed in my heart that if He didn't save me, I was doomed forever. I was tired of trying to fill that bottomless pit inside of my heart.  I was tired of searching for peace and love in undependable things.  I just wanted Jesus.   During that time, God had mercy on me and granted me repentance and gave me a new heart.  I have joy, peace and hope now where there was once sadness, turmoil and hopelessness. 

I am not called to answer all of the questions to life.  I am not called to make sure everyone is happy, peaceful and joyful.  I am not called to fill the hearts of all who are empty.  However, I AM called to point others to the ONE who can exchange death for life, sadness for joy, shame for security, and weakness for strength.  So, no, I don't have all the answers; but I know the ONE who does and His name is Jesus. Do you know Him?