#Forgiveness is Like Climbing a Mountain… But You Can Get to the Top! ~

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(Love) It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs (1 Cor 13:5)~

How do you climb a mountain? One step at a time. Overcoming unforgiveness is a lot like that as well. It’s a process with small victories along the way. There may be moments when you feel you have forgiven someone, or yourself, only to rediscover through a trigger that those same raw emotions of anger, bitterness, fear and regret have risen once again to the surface. But at those times I want to encourage you not to give up, but to keep going – step by step. Because when you carry unforgiveness with you throughout your life, it affects you in more ways than you realize.

Maintaining healthy relationships becomes more difficult as your interactions and approaches no longer reflect the purity of who you are but rather the impurity of unforgiveness, even toward those who may not have caused you your pain. Small offenses can get blown up into much more than they were, or you can withhold love and generosity whether in words or actions as a way of trying to protect yourself from being hurt again. That’s one reason why it is critical, for your sake, to forgive.

Biblical forgiveness is the decision to no longer credit an offense against an offender with a view of enacting vengeance. It also involves releasing that person from a debt owed as well as the blame that they deserve due to an infraction or sin committed against you.

The best biblical defense for this definition of forgiveness is found in 1 Corinthians 13 where we read about love. In verse 5 we discover that love “keeps no record of wrongs.” (NIV) This is similar to how God forgives us. He doesn’t forget the sin in terms of losing memory of its occurrence, but He “forgets” it in that He no longer holds the offense against our account. We are not held in debt to Him to pay off something that we are unable to pay.  This is the point that we have to get to – and I say GET to because it’s a PROCESS – we don’t just GET there but we have to WORK TOWARD IT.  There are hurts that happened against me, even as a child, that I carry to this day but if I hadn’t and if I don’t CONTINUE to take the forgiveness PROCESS one step at a time, the pain from those hurts will never go away. My brother and I were estranged for many years because of childhood hurt and while I didn’t WANT to be angry at him anymore, I didn’t take the steps up that mountain of forgiveness for a long time.

I was fortunate enough to do it and when I last saw him, it was like a leap to the top because at that point, it was over. We truly reconciled. I felt complete forgiveness for him and that (what felt like) lifetime of stress of unforgiveness was gone.  I say ‘last saw him’ because that was the last time I would see him.  My brother died later that year.  I’m just glad we had that time – and although he’s gone, I’ve got peace (and victory) over something that haunted my spirit for much of my life.  I have a cousin now that I’m about to do the same thing with.  It’s Time! I’m back on that mountain headed for the top.  I pray we get more years than I did with my brother after the process!

If you don’t do it for anything else – climb that mountain – forgive for PEACE – for yourself!  You can get to the top and it’s glorious!!!

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Thanks for reading! God Bless!

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#Woman – God’s Gift to Man, Yet We Abuse Her! –

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Then the rib which the Lord God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man. And Adam said: “This is now bone of my bones And flesh of my flesh; She shall be called Woman, Because she was taken out of Man (Gen 2:22-23)~~ God, as her Father, brought the woman to the man, as his second self, and a help meet for him. That woman, who is of God’s making by special grace, and of God’s bringing by special providence, is likely to prove a help meet for a man. She was given purpose by God and as was God’s intent, must be taken CARE of, not taken advantage of. Women, the help for man from God, become the wives and mothers that bring forth generations – following the Will of God, to be fruitful and multiply and subdue the earth (Gen 1:28). They are meant by God, as ‘help’ to the man, to look after us in our purpose. A gift of divine benefit, women must be looked after by us that their purpose (to help …. us) may be fulfilled rather than hindered. Yes, MAN, God created HER to look after you and take care of you! How could we possibly abuse what God has given us to help us???

Since I Have Control Over It, Today I #Choose To Rejoice! –

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This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it (Ps 118:24)~~

Fear mongers, proponents of negativity, and preachers of doom and gloom would have us live in a very different world. There are those that want everyone to see only the bad in the world and scare  people into a certain type of belief and mindset. They point out all of the dangers and problems and worries and would have us all afraid to even seek a peaceful life.

It’s all too easy to focus on the storms of life and worship at the altar of fear.  It’s easy to forget that storms come and go, but dreams can last forever… that peaceful life begins with our own actions and faith in rejoicing and praise!

See, Fear is a coward that flees in the face of positive action, and  it doesn’t take much action to make it happen. There’s no reason to ever allow fear to dominate your life because the smallest amount of positive action will send fear packing.

An ounce of action in faith is more powerful that a megaton of fear. So with that we should rejoice and be glad in each day; not only that such a day is given in new mercies every morning, but in the mere occasion of it. Too often we wake up complaining about the day and what may be wrong or uncomfortable or undesirable in our lives. Our days ought to be rejoicing days, first of all, because God didn’t HAVE to let us BE in it. We didn’t HAVE to be allowed our great blessings! God let our souls prosper and be in health, in that peace and righteousness which His government brings. He let us have victory over the lusts that war against our souls; and let Divine grace subdue our hearts. The duty which the Lord has made, brings light with it, true light; not the gloom and melancholy the cares of the world would have you believe. The duty this privilege calls for, is here set forth; the sacrifices we are to offer to God in gratitude for redeeming love, are ourselves; not to be slain upon the altar as our sins deserve, but living sacrifices, to be bound to the altar; spiritual sacrifices of prayer, worship and praise, in which our hearts must be engaged. I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your REASONABLE service (Rom 12:1). Stop complaining.. You control the direction of your day with your attitude and it’s the least you could do!

Even Now – God’s Got The #Balance Of The World In His Hands –

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You are in the hands of a living, loving God. Random collection of disconnected short stories? Far from it. Your life is a crafted narrative written by a good God, who is working toward your supreme good.

God is not slipshod or haphazard. He planned creation according to a calendar. He determined the details of salvation “before the foundation of the world” (1 Peter 1:20). The life and death of Jesus was not an afterthought, nor was it Plan B or an emergency operation. Jesus came, lived and died “when the set time had fully come” (Galatians 4:4 niv), according to God’s “deliberate plan and foreknowledge” (Acts 2:23 niv).

God isn’t making up a plan as He goes along. Nor did He wind up the clock and walk away. “The Most High God rules the kingdom of mankind and sets over it whom He will” (Daniel 5:21 esv). He “executes judgment, putting down one and lifting up another” (Psalm 75:7 esv). “The Lord will not turn back until He has executed and accomplished the intentions of His mind” (Jeremiah 30:24 esv). Look at those verbs: God rules, sets, executes, accomplished. These terms confirm the existence of heavenly blueprints and plans. Those plans include you. “In Him we were also chosen, . . . according to the plan of Him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of His will” (Ephesians 1:11 niv).

From Max Lucado’s new 365-day devotional

Are You On #GodsWay Or Are You Just Trying to Cross It? ~

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And this is the confidence that we have in Him, that, if we ask any thing according to His will, He heareth us: And if we know that He hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of Him (1 John 5:14-15); You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures (James 4:3)~~ There are people who believe the Bible teaches that whatever we ask we can have – – – “name it and claim it” – – – with no strings attached. We can name verses verbatim that support and drive our beliefs and we even walk in expectation that whatever it is we ask for, we shall receive. But what happens to our faith, our drive, our motivation when God doesn’t answer? When He says “No”? How many times have you prayed for something specific and it didn’t come as you asked? There is one very key point that we must stay in our minds as we consider our petitions: that if we ask any thing ACCORDING TO HIS WILL, He heareth us. We can’t ask outside the will of God and expect our desired answer. Our will can’t be above His! But when our request lines up with His will, we have the guarantee that He will not only hear us, but that our answer is on the way; in fact it’s already done! Asking and praying in His Name means to ask and pray IN HIS WILL, with HIS authority so that all HE desires will be done in our lives. You can’t just cross His street when you want something – you need to be ON His Way – You need to LIVE on His Street! Ask and you shall receive IN JESUS NAME – Amen! 

This Burden Is Too Heavy – #LetGoLetGod Take The Load Off! –

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Casting ALL your cares upon HIM; for HE cares for you (1 Pet 5:7)~ Fears, worries, burdens, stresses, issues, grudges, pressures, anger, jealousy…all those things and more are what elevate our blood pressure, cause depression and in some cases drive us to drink, smoke, do drugs, take anxiety medications and even seek professional help! My friend, these things are like the books you carry in life; rocks in a backpack! Each one adds weight and increases the burden on us. Here’s the amazingly painful truth about our self-help remedies…THEY DON’T WORK!! They may mask the pain or calm you or alter your thoughts and make you “feel” better, for the moment… but the fears, worries, burdens, stresses, issues, grudges, pressures, anger, jealousy behind it all still exist. But thank God that He promises to always be with us! When you give these cares to God, it’s like removing a book from the stack — a rock from the backpack; the load is lighter as your burdens are lifted. God does not want your issues to burden you! God loves you and is in control of your circumstances. Even when things do not work out the way you expect or hope, you do not have to worry or be afraid. You can be free from your cares because He will never leave you or forsake you (Hebrews 13:5). Jesus tells us to bring it all to Him rather than try to carry the load on our own: Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light (Matt 11:28-30)…He will carry the burden for you! In exchange He gives you His peace and leaves it in place of your burdens.. not as the world gives (with man’s remedies). You probably know someone right now that somehow is going through all kinds of craziness but seems to be at peace with things…although they’ve not indulged in any of the ‘human remedies’. They’ve likely traded in their burdens for the peace of Christ! Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid (John 14:27). Let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him that endured such contradiction of sinners against Himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds. Rather than seek refuge in those things of the world…trying to carry the load yourself…try laying those heavy burdens down at the feet of the Savior; He’s already gone through ‘the hell’ for you! He’s already got YOUR SITUATION worked out! He’s already dealt with the ‘stuff’ so you won’t have to wear yourself out over it and have your mind all jacked up over it! He’s carrying the light load of Peace and wants to trade His load for yours! Walk with Him in your journey and take a load off!

Tired of The Battle? #Rest in the Lord! –

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There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from His (Heb 4:9-10)~~ God has always declared man’s rest to be in Him, and His love to be the only real happiness of the soul; and faith in His promises, through His Son, to be the only way of entering that rest. There is, in Him, a more spiritual and excellent rest remaining than that of the seventh day. This rest is, a rest of grace, and comfort, and holiness, in the gospel state. The rest, is undoubtedly the heavenly rest, which remains to the people of God, and is opposed to a state of labor and trouble in this world. It is the rest they shall obtain when the Lord Jesus shall appear from Heaven. As God finished His work, and then rested from it, so He will cause those who believe, to finish their work, and then to enjoy their rest. But those who do not believe, shall never enter into this spiritual rest, either of grace here or glory hereafter. (Read that again… those who don’t believe shall never have rest! – No God = No Peace!) True Sabbath..that holy rest, the kind that empties us of our works and fills us with the blessings of God’s completed works, depends on complete confidence and trust….rooted in a deep conviction that God is good and God is sovereign. There’s no rest for those who don’t believe that. If God works all things together for good for those who love Him and are called to His purposes (Rom 8:28), you can relax. If He doesn’t, you had better start worrying. If God can pick any mess, any mishap, any wastage, any wreckage, any evil meant toward you, any anything, and choreograph beauty and meaning from it (Gen 50:20) then you can rest in Him! If He can’t, you had better get busy. Either God’s always at work, watching the city, building the house, or you need to try harder. Either God is good and in control, or it all depends on you. Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest (Matt 11:28).