Are you physically, mentally, totally aware of God’s forgiveness? Is that even possible?
This morning the verse above popped into my mind. I wasn’t even reading Lamentations today, but there it was and I knew the Holy Spirit was leading me to a new understanding of His forgiveness. These words speak to the fact that God forgives us every day, every morning.
Mercies refer to forgiveness. They are much more than giving us a loving hug and moving on. This kind of forgiveness never ends. There is no punishment involved. It’s simply God showing His great love for us, over and over, faithfully, every morning of our lives.
What was the last prayer God answered for you? Do you remember? Are you listening for His voice during and after your prayers?
He hears us when we pray. He knows His plan for us but He wants us to talk with Him about it and listen for/to His answer. (1 John 5:14) He listens carefully when we call. (Jeremiah 29:12)
We are to pray fervently and often. Set aside a specific place and time to spend in prayer. (Matthew 6:6) Put it on your calendar. Tell anyone who is near not to bother you. Take Your Bible and pray back what you are reading. Intercede for all who need praises or problems taken to God.
Our words are very important to God. If we don’t know what to say or how to say it, He still hears us. Paul, in Romans 8:26, tells us the Spirit will help us. He, the Spirit in us, takes our prayers to the Throne with ‘wordless groans’. Jesus told the disciples to be careful and thoughtful with their words. Not to just babble on and on but to focus on what they are saying and asking. (Matthew 6:7-8) Then He gave them an example of how to pray:
Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name, Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.
Sometimes it’s just too much! Sometimes I can’t bear the insanity of the world any longer. Sometimes I’m so tired, so overwhelmed, sometimes I just don’t understand…
This simple verse gives the simplest of answers. Come to Jesus! That’s it! That’s all!
It’s just not possible to do it all ourselves. This verse assures us that there is Another who really wants to help, to comfort, to guide.
Each morning I read a Psalm and then I pray it back. This morning it was Psalm 23. I find this one of the most calming, restful, and supportive of all the Psalms.
My Shepherd, You are all I want. All I need.
You help me make the right choices.
When darkness surrounds me I do not fear because You are protecting me.
Those who would harm me see all You do for me.
My life will always be filled with your loving kindness and forgiveness.
Your house is my home throughout all eternity.
Abba, Father, You know what life is like right now. Open our hearts to Your Word. Give us Your love! Let us know Your Holy Presence!
What is being holy all about? We are called to be holy. I have thought and thought about this thing of being holy for a very long time. I thought I didn’t have it, but I really wanted it.
God said, in the first verse of Leviticus 19, “Be holy, because I am holy!” He then goes on to tell us how to do that. I know Leviticus is not one of the modern Believer’s favorite books. It’s full of rules and customs and laws that are ancient, and, well we’re New Testament Believers, right?
I used a bit of sarcasm here because Jesus definitely had something to say about that. He said, “Don’t misunderstand why I have come—it isn’t to cancel the laws of Moses and the warnings of the prophets. No, I came to fulfill them and to make them all come true.”Matthew 5:17NLV
I hope you will take the time to read the whole chapter of Leviticus 19. It’s amazing! (Just click on the blue letters and it will take you to Bible Gateway.) There are so many answers to our culture’s questions about what God says about so many issues. When God said, “Be holy, because I am holy”, He didn’t just leave it at that. He went on to explain in the next verses how to do that. I picked out 10 that stood out to me. I’ve paraphrased some of them for you:
1. Worship God ONLY
2. Keep the Sabbath. God does not say worship on the Sabbath. He says rest on the Sabbath. The expectation here is we can and should worship every day. But since we work every day we need to rest so we have the energy to do our jobs effectively. God knew that so He said, do it.
5. Do not use His Name for anything but worship. This OMG stuff is completely unacceptable to Him. When I hear it or see it the Spirit within me cringes.
6. Care for the needy. That’s why we have the admonition to leave the edges of the fields unharvested. It’s a really creative way to give to the needy. Those who need it can harvest it.
7. Be just. Don’t skew the law because of race, color, creed, wealth, age… or just because you want it your way.
8. Be loving and treat all with respect. I discovered early on, in my teaching career, that respecting my students made a huge difference in what they learned.
9. Do not lie! Can we please go back to just saying what is true? Political correctness and tolerance for everything and anything are way out of control.
10 Avoid hate, violence, and sexual immorality. We are living in a time where these sins are rampant. Stay away from all three!
So how do we ‘become’ holy? It really is a daily process. It doesn’t just happen when the Holy Spirit comes to live in us. There’s more to it. Holiness requires some thought and work. We are called, invited, and commanded to make holiness a part of our lives.
He created us in His image. He wants us to show the World who He is.
One of our biggest mistakes is thinking our words don’t matter. Yes, they do!
God created us with the ability to speak. We are the only part of His creation that can choose the words we say. Our words can lift up and tear down. Our words have the power of life and death. (Proverbs 18:21)
James 3:7-8 tells us that even though we can tame all the rest of creation we cannot do so with our tongues, the words we speak. So how do we control this small part of our bodies? Let me say this with as much love in my words as possible. We can’t do it alone! Matthew 19:26 holds the answer. Jesus, using words that give great hope, said this, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
There’s the answer! Give it to God! Ask for His forgiveness. Apologize and ask for the forgiveness of the person you have harmed with your words. Then, give God praise for His forgiveness.
Abba, Father, give us strength to control what we say. Guide our words. As David says in Psalm 119:133, “Direct my footsteps according to Your Word, let no sin rule over me.” Make it so in the Precious and Holy Name of Your Son, Jesus.