Tag Archives: forgive

Live for Today

Today is today. Live for today. The Bible tells us that we are given all we need to handle today, and today alone. We should not be worrying about tomorrow, for we have today to live (Matthew 6:34, Luke 12:34).

At the same time, when we start a new day, we are reminded that it is a fresh day—a day that should not carry over the dust of yesterday. Shake off your shoes. Don’t carry over the anger, the hurt, the pain, the burden, the stress of yesterday. Start the day fresh. Forgive those who have hurt you, as you too have been forgiven by your heavenly Father (Colossians 3:13). Holding onto unforgiveness is bringing bitterness into this new day. Just the same, clinging to past hurt, living in the past today, destroys the promises of today. The Lord has set you free from your past, so live free (John 8:36)! If you have sinned yesterday, repent and be forgiven. Receive His forgiveness that He pours out in abundance and move onward and upward (1 John 1:9)!

Today is a new day my friends. His mercies are new each morning! Live for today! God has a great plan for your life. He has awesome things to reveal to you today, and much work is still to be done! Today is a day the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad (Psalm 118:24)!

“The faithful love of the LORD never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is His faithfulness; His mercies begin afresh each morning. I say to myself, ‘The LORD is my inheritance; therefore, I will hope in Him!’ The LORD is good to those who depend on Him, to those who search for Him.” – Lamentation 3:22-25 [NLT]

Willing Consent

Notice that when Paul writes Philemon, he says he didn’t want to do anything without having Philemon’s consent. He wanted Philemon to help because it was something he was willing to do, not something that he was forced into doing. The Bible speaks about this desire and purposeful decision we make to do something, and it comes from the heart. We know that when we are giving, we are to not give reluctantly or because we are forced, but to give what is on our heart (2 Corinthians 9:7). If we are doing anything for God because we are forced to do it, or because we feel we should do it, but it is not in our heart to do it, that’s not being real with God. It’s also not what Jesus had in mind when He spoke of discipleship.

Paul wanted Philemon to make his own choice in the matter. If Philemon just did what Paul said because Paul told him to do it, it does not give the opportunity for forgiveness and reconciliation. It also does not open the doors for what God had for all parties involved. It was important for this reconciliation to take place. It was important for there to be this opportunity to forgive and move forward. It was a great moment for growth if he was willing to respond.

Today, consider what you are doing because you truly want to do it, and what you are doing because you feel you are supposed to do it or your family/friend/parent/boss is making you do it. If it is not something on your heart, if it is not something you give your willing consent, it is just going through the motions. It’s not being transparent or truthful. If you are not willing, talk to God about it. Ask Him why not. At the end of the day, you have the opportunity to give consent for God to move mightily in your life, just as you also have the opportunity to keep yourself self-centered. It’s always either Thy will be done or my will be done. You decide.

“But I didn’t want to do anything without your consent. I wanted you to help because you were willing, not because you were forced.” – Philemon 1:14 [NLT]

Refusing to Confess

We never like to be wrong. Pride. It’s a terrible thing. Not only do we not like being wrong, but we usually are not quick to confess our sin. Rather than confess to God and receive His mercy, we do not take the simple step toward forgiveness.

The Psalmist noted that when he refused to confess his sin, his “body wasted away… (he) groaned all day long.” He carried around this horrible burden, this dreadful sin, and it caused him to experience great pain. It tore him up. It weighed him down.

We usually think that the confession of sin is all about us stating our imperfections, listing the laws of God we have broken. It is a time when we recognize we serve a holy God. Confession is much more than this though—it’s a release, a freedom from this sin that weighs us down. When we confess, He is faithful to forgive us (1 John 1:9). That’s it. Said and done. No need to look back on it. No need to remember it (He chooses not to). Read Isaiah 43:25. Freedom. If you have something to confess, take that step. Be free.

“When I refused to confess my sin, my body wasted away, and I groaned all day long.” – Psalm 32:3 [NLT]

Stirred Up

When Korah had a problem with Moses and Aaron, it wasn’t a matter of taking it to Moses and Aaron and dealing with it. Ironically, the problem wasn’t with Moses and Aaron, but with God, because He was the One Who put these two men in their positions. Nonetheless, Korah stirred up the entire community against Moses and Aaron.

We were created to be communal people. We have friends. We have people we go to about our problems, our worries, our joys, and life in general. Sometimes we get upset with someone, and we take that to our friends. In doing so, we often stir them up. It makes us feel better. Our friends agree with us. We have someone on our side. But what does it do to help the situation? Where is the relief? Now your friend is sharing your opinions about someone. Your friend is thinking poorly about this person who wronged you. By sharing all this, you have stirred up the pot. Now there is something between you and this other person, and something is between your friend and this other person. Stumbling blocks and more stumbling blocks. Imagine if your friend tells another person. Before you know it, everyone knows what this person did to you.

Proverbs 16:28 speaks about a troublemaker planting seeds of strife. This is exactly what Korah did– planted seeds of strife. We are called to be peacemakers, not troublemakers. If we are too busy making trouble, we will never be able to make peace. Remember, the fire goes out without wood. When you get upset with someone, go to the person and make peace. Ask the Lord to help you to forgive. Allow the fire to go out. Keep the peace. You will be blessed (Matthew 5:9).

“Meanwhile, Korah had stirred up the entire community against Moses and Aaron, and they all gathered at the Tabernacle entrance. Then the glorious presence of the LORD appeared to the whole community.” – Numbers 16:19 [NLT]

“A troublemaker plants seeds of strife; gossip separates the best of friends.” – Proverbs 16:28 [NLT]

“Fire goes out without wood, and quarrels disappear when gossip stops.” – Proverbs 26:20 [NLT]

Philemon Study: True Forgiveness

[Philemon]

  • Paul wrote letter to Philemon while he was in jail.
  • Philemon’s house may be where the Colossian church met (v. 2).
  • Philemon had a slave Onesimus (v. 16).
  • Onesimus means “useful” or “beneficial.”
  • Onesimus was useless to Philemon – slave who stole money and ran away.
  • Paul converted Onesimus.
  • Onesimus is now useful to Philemon and Paul. (v. 11).
  • Though Onesimus was helping Paul while he was imprisoned, Paul sent Onesimus back to Philemon with this letter to appeal for forgiveness for Onesimus. Roman law required this to happen.
  • Philemon owes Paul his life – his very soul— salvation in Christ (v. 19)
  • Paul asks Philemon to charge all that is owed by Onesimus to his (Paul’s) account (v. 18). He offered to pay for Onesimus’ sins against Philemon.

Friendship – Forgiveness – Reconciliation

Ephesians 4:32 – Forgive as you have been forgiven

Forgiveness comes through Jesus. Through Christ alone we have forgiveness and reconciliation to God. Reconciliation means “coexist in harmony” or “restore friendly relations.” We only have the ability to forgive others because of the Holy Spirit.

Forgiveness has a cost. Paul offered to pay the cost. Onesimus could have been punished – even with death. Our cost for forgiveness was paid by Jesus Christ.

Forgiveness is always necessary. Paul asks Philemon to do the right thing. He could have punished Onesimus or he could forgive him and receive him as a partner. The word used means “fellowship.”

Forgiveness from God lasts forever. When we are transformed, becoming a “new creature” in Christ, the Spirit changes us from the inside out – just like Onesimus. This is forgiveness and transformation that lasts forever. The board is wiped clean.

Bible Study Questions:

1) Paul mentions in verse 14 that he preferred to do nothing without consent in order that Philemon’s (fih-LEE-muhn) goodness be of his “own accord.” What does this mean?

2) Paul wrote in verse 21 that he was confident of Philemon’s obedience. How could he be so confident that Philemon would forgive and do even more than asked?

3) Forgiveness, Paul notes, will take Onesimus (o-NEH-sih-muhs) from position of bondservant to beloved brother. Was he asking for Philemon to free his slave Onesimus or does this beloved brother mean something else?

4) Read Colossians 4:7-9. Onesimus was sent along with Tychicus (TIH-kih-kuhs).

How was he described?

Why do you think Paul had Onesimus go along with Tychicus to deliver the Letter to the Colossians as well as the      Letter to Philemon?

 

This is one part of a 12-week Sermon Series and Bible Study focused on Colossians. The 12 weeks include:

Gospel Truth
Will of God
Lord of All
Ministry to Maturity
Foolish Philosophies
Men of Rules
Realities of Heaven
Taking Responsibility
Godly Living
Worship Work
Good Words
True Forgiveness

Colossians Study: Taking Responsibility

[Colossians 3:5-14]

[V. 5] THEREFORE consider dead…

  • Because you are alive with Christ – seek things above (v. 1-4)
  • Because we died with Christ
    • Put off earthly life / past sin
    • Put on Christ (clothe yourselves)
    • Result – more like Christ

[V. 5] Consider dead to…

  • Immorality – “porneia” – where word pornography comes
    • Includes fornication, adultery, incest
  • Impurity – unclean – someone who refused to clean up act
    • Someone who never repents
  • Passion – “pathos” – inordinate affection or lust to point of suffering for it
  • Evil Desire – longing for that which is forbidden
  • Greed – always wanting more, associated with acts of fraud and extortion

[V. 8-9] But now also put aside…

  • Anger – “orge” – where word orgy comes
    • Passion out of control
  • Wrath – “heavy breathing” – rage / fierceness
  • Malice – attitude of ill will toward a person
  • Slander – “blasphemy” – speech that tears down
    • Opposite of let your speech be grace seasoned with salt
  • Abusive speech – filthy language
  • Lies – working with / cooperating with the father of lies

[V. 12-14] Put on…

  • Compassion – mercy
  • Kindness – form of general moral excellence – person who does right thing – to extend goodwill
  • Gentleness – Christians are most powerful people on earth but power should be clothed in gentleness – obedient, submissiveness to God
  • Humility – modesty
  • Patience – “macro” means you’re going to need a lot – patience that doesn’t give up on other people – handling injustice / difficulty well
  • Bearing with and forgiving each other
  • Love – perfect bond of unity – it’s the binding strap that holds the church together.

Bible Study Questions:

  • The passage mentions that because of the sins listed, the wrath is coming. How does that relate to us? Do we face this wrath? Do these sins have any consequences for us?
  • What are some actions we need to take or things we need to do to take responsibility for our actions?
  • What is the hardest to take responsibility or blame for in your own life? Why is it so hard?
  • Verse 13 mentions bearing with one another and forgiving one another. What does it mean to bear with one another?
  • Verse 14 says that love binds everything together. Explain what that means to you and what that means for the church as a body.
  • Consider the list of sins listed in this passage. What can we put on in place of this sin? How can we go about taking action?

This is one part of a 12-week Sermon Series and Bible Study focused on Colossians. The 12 weeks include:

Gospel Truth
Will of God
Lord of All
Ministry to Maturity
Foolish Philosophies
Men of Rules
Realities of Heaven
Taking Responsibility
Godly Living
Worship Work
Good Words
True Forgiveness

Wiped Away

I remember when I was younger and the big thing was the IOU. I owe you. When you made a deal, you pulled out a piece of paper and wrote an IOU note. This note basically was a binding contract between you and your friend, and the holder of the IOU was promised that at some point they would receive whatever you promised on said note. I used this method of contract many times over.

When you paid back the IOU, your friend would give you back the paper and you could destroy it as a sign that it was paid in full. With Jesus, He takes that IOU note that is meant for us to pay back God so as to not face His wrath for our sin, and He pays it off for us. He pays it off and it’s cancelled. It is paid in full. Wiped away. Boom. He clears the IOU and it is nailed to the Cross.

How awesome is it that we have our sins wiped away? How awesome is it that there is no IOU? All we have to do is repent and then we are freely welcomed into the Kingdom. We no longer have an IOU. When it’s time for the punishment, we simply say, “Oh, I’m already paid. Jesus paid for me.” Thank you Jesus. Thank You for taking care of my IOU. He paid a debt we never could pay. My friends, we are cleared. We are free. We are His.

“Having cancelled and blotted out and wiped away the handwriting of the note (bond) with its legal decrees and demands which was in force and stood again us (hostile to us). This [note with its regulations, decrees, and demands] He set aside and cleared completely out of our way by nailing it to [His] cross.” – Colossians 2:14 [AMP]

More Than a Story: Forgiveness

More Than a Story is a 12 week study of the parables of Jesus. This is the second week: FORGIVENESS.

[The Unforgiving Debtor: Matthew 18:21-35]

Unforgiveness is the POISON we drink hoping another will die

When you hold tight to an unforgiving spirit you slowly die to TRUTH and RIGHTEOUSNESS – PRISONER

Peter came and asked “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” (v. 21b ESV)

He thought he was being extra generous with his forgiveness because Jewish law said to forgive a person three times.

Jesus answered “Seventy-seven times.”

“And should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?” (Matthew 18:33 ESV)

Mercyeleeó (el-eh-eh’-o) – pity, have mercy on, show mercy, have compassion

These people begged for mercy:

  1. 26 says “the servant fell on his knees, imploring” the king
  2. 29 says “his servant fell down and pleaded with” the forgiven servant

Each of us is forgiven because of Jesus. Jesus paid the debt.

“But if you don’t forgive people, your Father will not forgive your wrongdoing.”                – Matthew 6:15 [HCSB]

  • Remember how much you’ve been forgiven (Ephesians 4:32)
  • Don’t try to get even (Romans 12:19)
  • Respond to evil with good (Luke 6:27)
  • Pray for those who persecute you (Luke 6:28)

“Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone.” – Romans 12:18 [NLT]

“We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love. There is some good in the worst of us and some evil in the best of us. When we discover this, we are less prone to hate our enemies.” – Martin Luther King Jr.

1) In Matthew 18:21-22, we read about Peter approaching Jesus with the question – “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive Him? As many as seven times?” Jesus answers, “Seventy-seven times.” What does that mean?

 2) Read Luke 17:3-4. This passage mentions something happening before the forgiveness happens. What does it mention? Should this be required to forgive something?

3) The passage from Matthew 18 says we must continue to forgive. What is hard about forgiving someone again and again?

 4) From where are we to forgive from? How can we do this?

5) Read Ephesians 4:32. How are we to forgive?

6) Share an example from your life when you needed to forgive.

            Were you able to easily forgive?

            What made it easier/difficult?

            How did you feel after you forgave the person/people?

 

more than a story

More Than A Story is a 12-week Sermon Series and Bible Study focused on the parables of Jesus.

Richness
Forgiveness
Persistence
Fruitfulness
Obedience
Humility
Compassion
Responsiveness
Repentance
Readiness
Faithfulness
Kingdom-Focused

Three R Challenge

This was a message I shared with a challenge for Lent. It can be a challenge for anyone at anytime of the year. At the end of the day, it is my prayer that we all will be relentless in our pursuit of Jesus as He is relentlessly pursuing us each day.

The Three R Challenge

1) REMAIN in God (John 15:8-12)

“My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples. Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; ABIDE IN MY LOVE. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full. This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you.” [NASB]

 Challenge 1: Show Love through Acts of Generosity

With Will and Purpose – Sometimes this requires us to change /adapt. About putting God / people first.

With Actions – Act, not just observe. “Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it?” (James 2:15-16 NIV).

With Possessions“John replied, ‘If you have two shirts, give one to the poor. If you have food, share it with those who are hungry’” (Luke 3:11 NLT).

With Words“Use your heads as you live and work among outsiders. Don’t miss a trick. Make the most of every opportunity. Be gracious in your speech. The goal is to bring out the best in others in a conversation, not put them down, not cut them out” (Colossians 4:6 MSG). “Pleasant words are a honeycomb: sweet to the taste and health to the body” (Proverbs 16:24 HCSB). “Say only what helps, each word a gift” (Ephesians 4:29b MSG).

With Love“We know what real love is because Jesus gave up his life for us. So we also ought to give up our lives for our brothers and sisters. If someone has enough money to live well and sees a brother or sister in need but shows no compassion–how can God’s love be in that person? Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions” (1 John 3:15-18 NLT).

With Faith – Philip taking the time to run to and speak with the Ethiopian (Acts 8:26-40). The Woman at the Well going into town to tell people about this man Jesus (John 4). Do you share your hope?

With Forgiveness“Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others” (Colossians 3:13 NLT).

(see 40acts – Do Lent Generously)

2) RENEW yourself in Him (Romans 12:1-2) – Change the way you think

“So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, FIX YOUR ATTENTION ON GOD. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.” [MSG]

Challenge 2: Dig deep into His Word – Daily Bible reading, Daily Devotion Reading, attend Sunday School &  Small Groups.

3) REST in Him (Philippians 4:6-7)

Don’t worry about anything; instead, PRAY ABOUT EVERYTHING. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” [NLT]

Challenge 3: Daily Prayer – Go to God first with everything. Familiarize yourself with the Psalms.

Colossians 1:15-17 – “The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” [NIV]    —— YOU WERE MADE BY HIM AND FOR HIM

Forgiveness Outline

I recently shared a devotional on Forgiveness. Here’s the outline for reference / resource. To download this, follow the link below.

Forgiveness

Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. – Colossians 3:13 [NLT]

Parable of the Unmerciful Servant – Matthew 18:21-35

PRAY FOR THEM:

But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you. – Matthew 5:44 [NIV]

THINK LOVING THOUGHTS:

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus; Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross! – Philippians 2:3-8 [NIV]

ACT IN LOVE:

“But to you who are willing to listen, I say, love your enemies! Do good to those who hate you. Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who hurt you.” – Luke 6:27-28 [NLT]

EXPECT THE BEST:

“Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.” – 1 Corinthians 13:7 [NLT]

Download Forgiveness Outline