#Forgiveness is Costly – Are You On A Payment Plan? –>

Forgiveness. It’s a basic concept for every Christian. This is the message of the “Good News”: through Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross, God offers us forgiveness. Christ took on our sins so we could be reconciled with God, now and eternally. Our sins will no longer be held against us, and we are free from condemnation! Although forgiveness is offered to us as a free gift, it doesn’t mean it doesn’t cost us something. How could something free cost us something? Although God’s forgiveness is free, we may choose to not accept it because of the costs. The debt of our sin is paid, but accepting the Lord’s forgiveness costs us some things we may not be willing to abandon. 

It costs us our dignity to admit our sin — that we are helpless before God without Christ’s redemption. We would do anything to save face rather than stand before God and confess our sins and accept His forgiveness. We like to believe we can pay our own way to redemption. It is humbling to come before God, desperate for His grace. 

Forgiveness also costs us our unbelief. Jesus often told men and women who came to Him, “Your faith has made you well.” There are so many of us who believe in the concept of forgiveness but can’t accept it for ourselves. There is something—an abortion, sexual sin, a mistake with a child, divorce — (insert your sin here), where we allow ourselves to believe it’s beyond God’s desire and ability to forgive. God’s forgiveness just doesn’t make sense to our logical minds. Intuitively, we know that when we have sinned, we deserve consequences. Without realizing it, we often “sentence ourselves” to periods of depression and guilt to compensate for what we have done. We may sabotage relationships and gifts that could bring us pleasure because we know we don’t deserve such good things. This is why it requires faith to walk in this truth: “He has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west” (Psalm 103:12).

Forgiveness costs us our sense of justice. If God promises to forgive me, then His redemption is also available to people who have done horrible things. That means forgiveness is possible for murderers, child abusers, and others who we believe deserve the hottest places in hell. On a more personal level, it means extending forgiveness to people who have hurt us deeply. Forgiveness fights against every desire we have for justice. Embracing forgiveness doesn’t mean ignoring our cry for justice. Instead, we put our faith in a righteousness that is beyond our understanding. 

God asks us, not as a condition for our own forgiveness, but in turn, to forgive others just as we have been forgiven. While walking in forgiveness is costly, refusing to accept or extend it has a much higher price tag. It is really hard to forgive, whether it is forgiving yourself or others. We all could use some help learning to do it better. Learning to forgive is good for both our mental and physical health. When we are better at forgiveness, we experience lower stress, tension, levels of depression anxiety, and, perhaps most important, anger. When we have trouble being able to forgive, we hold in anger, resentment, and bitterness that can harm us in multiple ways and at multiple levels. Although it may seem to cost too much to embrace it, true forgiveness is the only gateway to freedom — freedom to love deeply and to live authentically. Forgiveness is Costly! But we all need to be on a payment plan! It’s worth it!!! 

 

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God Has Something in Store For You #Promise ~

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end (Jer 29:11)~ God has had it all worked out. The EXPECTED End means according to His plan and purpose. And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to HIS purpose. For whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He did predestinate, them He also called: and whom He called, them He also justified: and whom He justified, them He also glorified (Rom 8:28-30).This purpose and plan were already laid out before you were even conceived by your parents because God says “Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations” (Jer 1:5). So God not only had a plan for you to end up in a certain place but a purpose that you would achieve. The point is this: God INTENDED for you to get to a certain place at the end. It’s no mistake that you are where you are right now. You were not a “mistake”, even though you might have been a “surprise” and the experiences of life along your journey are impacted by the stops you make along the way but as long as you stay in relationship with Him you will hear the calling of His purpose and his plan will come together as He has promised for you…He guarantees it: So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it (Isa 55:11). God intends for you to BE someone and to DO something with your life! One way or the other, His will shall be done. He expects a certain end; the question is, will you follow His “way” and seek His “truth”, that His “life” may be in you?

God’s Promise is Real! Trust the Process! #YeaAndAmen ~

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TRUST in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths (Prov 3:5-6)~ God’s promise to us has a process. Take the Israelites when they were brought out of Egypt. They wanted “instant” Promised Land. But God’s promise had a process! The process was for them to not just be delivered, but also healed and set free… from their past. Many of the Israelites though were not willing to go through the process and as a result of their impatience and actions, they missed the opportunity to go into the Promised Land. God’s plan wasn’t fast enough! The small victories along the way weren’t big enough! They got so wrapped up in the “rewards” of the Promise… they had to have it “right now”… and so they pursued it in their own ways rather than the ways of God. We need to see that if we will just walk through the process, we will continually see blessings and miracles making us gradually better along the way. Not only will we see, we will experience and receive. As you pray for your ‘Promised Land’, don’t be discouraged that you may have to cross a ‘Red Sea’ and take a journey through the ‘desert’ for a period of time. That journey is God’s process. And what a journey to walk, especially when you are walking it out with The Lord! Rather than trying to race to the promise at the finish line, take a walk through the process with the Lord! Allow yourself to see what He’s doing with and for you along the way. You’ll find so many blessings in that itself! You’ll be glad to have gone the process route over the convenience of “instant” gratification!
For all the promises of God in Him are yea, and in Him Amen, unto the glory of God by us… (2 Cor 1:20)

God Will Stay With Us! The #Promise Is Real! ~

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The LORD will not suffer the soul of the righteous to famish: but he casteth away the substance of the wicked (Prov 10:3); I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread (Ps 37:25)~ By man’s standards righteousness is about being a certain kind of person and what you do to live a good life; and only certain people are even eligible to be considered righteous; but by God’s standards righteousness is not possible by man except for that which comes about to all by accepting the life of Christ to live in and through you by faith rather than the weight of your good deeds. Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference (Rom 3:22). So as we are IN HIM we are made righteous in His sight and are His children. Now God takes care of the most minute of His creatures, and we, His children are of much greater value than many for we are created in His own image. He will never forsake His own. And when He blesses, there is no limit. Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? (Matt 6:26). Do you obey God? Is His kingdom and righteousness your life ambition? Do you walk and talk with Him daily, hating evil and loving righteousness? Do you accept and have faith to releasing “your life” for the life of Christ to live in and through you? Then you may presume God will put a hedge around you and bless the work of your hands like He did Job (Job 1:1-3,10). God’s got your back and will see to it that you are taken care of.

God IS With Us; The #Promise is Real! ~

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“All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: ‘The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel’–which means, ‘God with us.'”(Matt 1:22-23)~~

“With us.” There is hardly a more central promise that God has ever made to human beings. The alternatives are just too horrifying to imagine. If God has abandoned us, and that is why so many bad things happen in life, then what does that say about God, and what does it say about our destiny? If God vacillates, willing to be “with us” only as long as we don’t get too obnoxious, coming and going like a father who keeps giving up on being a father, where does that leave us? If God is incapable of being with us, then we have to conclude that we will never reap the benefits of divine presence, and words like grace, mercy, love, and truth have no meaning.

Isaiah was the prophet who was given the message. In a time when Israel’s enemies where bearing down on them, he gave this startling oracle about the Lord giving a sign, a virgin would conceive and give birth, and the promise in the child: Immanuel. God with us.

Jesus was born, but He was sent, and Immanuel was one of His names. God with us! That was why so many people didn’t understand Him. His voice came from a different place. He turned life upside down with the truths He presented. But He also left people with the sense that they had never been closer to God than when they were with Him. We don’t need to stay lost. God is not indifferent to our condition. And He came to us in the most radical way, by taking our flesh, our humanity, on Himself.

Never give up! Practice #Perseverance Through the Process ~

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And he said, Let me go, for the day breaketh. And he (Jacob) said, I will not let thee go, except thou bless me (Gen 32:26)~ Getting to that great place in life doesn’t happen overnight. Having everything go right isn’t always automatic. Getting through things and situations requires going through them! Having good relationships doesn’t start when we first meet. We don’t go to bed broken and wake up fixed. It’s all a process and in all of these processes we have a tendency to want to give up because a new day is coming and we are still in the process rather than at our destination.

But look! You are STILL in the process!! You have to stay in the process! Stay with God! Don’t let go of Him because THAT is where He’s going to bless you. Jacob’s story goes on to talk about how  he continued to wrestle with God and God touched him in his hip socket, forever changing the way he walked… and blessed him ‘there’. When you commit to staying with God in the fight of the process, He will touch you, He will change you and He will bless you right there!!! All of this is the result of perseverance that God teaches us and we must practice through the process!

Perseverance: It is an emblem of the true spirit of faith and prayer. Jacob kept his ground; though his struggle continued long, this did not shake his faith, nor silence his prayer. He will have a blessing, and had rather have his bones put out of joint than go away without one. Those who would have the blessing of Christ, must resolve to take no denial!!! Never give up on God, never stop believing, never stop fighting, never lose faith…always pray…The fervent prayer is the effectual prayer and the effectual fervent prayer of the righteous avails much!

Life Is a Constant Battle – One That The Lord Will #Fight For You! –

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…Thus saith the Lord unto you, Be not afraid nor dismayed by reason of this great multitude; for the battle is not yours, but God’s; Ye shall not need to fight in this battle: set yourselves, stand ye still, and see the salvation of the Lord… (2 Chr 20:15,17)~~ So often we feel like parts of our lives are crashing down on us. We are overwhelmed by the trials and troubles we face. We forget that even as devoted Christians we are subject to troubles in our lives (Job 14:1). But what we must also remember in this life that is surely to have its uncertainties is that God is always there standing in for us… ensuring the victory. NO one else would…even if they could… go so far as to even come and get you out of hell and in fact go there in your place! Rather than get all worked up because of the fears of what might happen as we consider the magnitude of our trials, we must never forget the unmatched power of our God! He will step in and fix it all without you ever having to lift a finger or even say a word. He will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are stayed on Him and trust in Him. Some battles and trials are not for you to resolve but to trust that He will! When you turn it over to Him truly, your peace will be in great abundance as God intends. Remember – He came that we may have life and have it more abundantly! That’s not about material things, but the life and peace and joy that HE GIVES. Friend, don’t fight the battle before you take it to Him! Don’t worry about what hasn’t happened yet but trust in what HE will make happen for you… And the Lord said, Behold, there is a place by me, and thou shalt stand upon a rock: And it shall come to pass, while my glory passeth by, that I will put thee in a clift of the rock, and will cover thee with my hand while I pass by: And I will take away mine hand, and thou shalt see my back parts (Ex 33:21-23). As He sets you high upon a rock out of the reach of your (HIS) enemy, covering you by His hand from even a scratch, stand still and be completely silent…. and see the work of His glorious salvation as He goes before you!