I love Chinese food. I used to save the fortune cookies and give them to my daughter, but recently I’ve been cracking them open myself and seeing the fortune found within. I built up quite the collection on my desk and started to see the truth in them. May these “fortunes” bless you as they have blessed me.
“No matter what your past has been, you have a spotless future.”
The past is the past. Perhaps the memories stay, the scars remain. Even still, the past is still the past. Unfortunately, some people cannot forget your mistakes. Some people cannot forgive your missteps. Sometimes you cannot let go of something from your past. Sometimes despite your efforts, the past keeps coming to the forefront of your mind, and things once “settled” are rehashed again.
But history is different from God’s vantage point. When you believe in Christ Jesus, the past is forgiven. The crimson stain is white as snow. Your sins are forgiven as far as the east to the west. Through Christ, you have a great inheritance—as a child of God, you are co-heirs with Christ. You truly have a spotless future.
When you hear taunts from your past, remember what God says about you. Remember that you are forgiven. Remember that you were bought with a price. Remember that you have been set free. Remember that you have a spotless future. You have overcome through Christ! Declare this today!
“Come now, let us reason together, says the LORD: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool.” – Isaiah 1:18 [ESV]
“He has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west.” – Psalm 103:12 [NLT]
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]
A dear friend gave me some Tim Tams the other day. I even ate one with my afternoon coffee that very day. But then with my scatterbrained mind, I forgot that the Tim Tams were in my special hiding spot. Only when I saw them today, did I realize that I had nearly a full pack of Tim Tams just waiting to be enjoyed. Forgetfulness is a horrible thing, except for when it comes to forgiveness.
When we forgive another person, we should forgive as if we forget. This means we forgive as if it never even happened. We forgive like with the Tim Tams, where it would not be remembered unless seen again (meaning the person sinned against you again). That’s how God forgives us. The Bible says that He forgives us as far as the east to the west (Psalm 103:12). His Word also tells us that He forgets, He chooses not to remember what we’ve done when we ask for forgiveness (Isaiah 43:25). Now He could choose otherwise. He is all powerful and all knowing. He could easily remember; it’s a choice.
We need to forgive like God. We need to make a choice—and be intentional with our forgiveness. When someone has sinned against you, when someone has upset you, when someone has done something foolish—choose not to remember. Ask the Spirit to help you forgive and forget. This isn’t only for the benefit of the person being forgiven, but more so for you. Unforgiveness is a prison where you are held in torment. Marriages break apart because of the records kept of the wrongs. Friendships are destroyed because of the records of the wrongs. Always we remember the faults, the bad moments. These things burn a hole in our memory bank. Only when you choose to put it aside, to say “I forgive this” and press forward, are you free from the prison of unforgiveness. Only then will you have freedom. Only then will you live by the grace you have received. It is a beautiful thing, a freeing thing.
“Love prospers when a fault is forgiven, but dwelling on it separates close friends.” – Proverbs 17:9 [NLT]
Trying to figure out who you are is one of the hardest things to do in life. I remember when I was younger, it was a big question that would be bounced around in my head. Many people would ask what I had planned for my future. I remember the “are you going to college” and “what do you want to be when you grow up” type questions. Now my kids hear those same questions.
The truth is, we live in a world that tries to tell us who we are, and so often we listen. We listen when the world tells us what we cannot do. We listen when the world tells us what we are “supposed” to do in the eyes of the world. We listen to what the world says about how we should think or what we should wear. We constantly are listening.
All of the listening we do, we forget to listen to the One Who is Truth. We miss out on truly grasping who we are—a child of the King. As we are busy trying to fulfill the titles of mother/father, sister/brother, friend, co-worker, parent, teacher, doctor, cashier, drama queen, youngest child, cat lady, etc., we look in all the wrong areas to figure out who we are and what makes us and moves us and completes us. We don’t understand our place in the world or what defines us because we aren’t looking in the right place.
May today be a reminder for you—for who you truly are in Christ Jesus. As a believer in Jesus Christ, many things are understood about you. You are the salt and light of the earth (Matthew 5:13-14). You are chosen and appointed to bear fruit (John 15:16). You are a child of God (John 1:12). You are a member of the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:27). You are a saint (Ephesians 1:1). You are a citizen of heaven (Philippians 3:20). You are God’s temple (1 Corinthians 3:16). You are God’s workmanship (Ephesians 2:10). You are a personal witness of Christ (Act 1:8). You cannot be separated from the love of God (Romans 8:35-39). You have been redeemed and forgiven (Colossians 1:14). You have access to God (Ephesians 2:18). You are united with the Lord (1 Corinthians 6:17). My friends, THIS is who you are—now live it out!
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]
I love when Jacob and Esau reunite. When Jacob and Esau were last together, Jacob was stealing Esau’s blessing. His mother and he were following a plan of deception with included wearing clothing to disguise the truth, and cooking food to carry out the bad intentions. Yes, it was all a part of the youngest son ruling the oldest, as was spoken before these men grew to this point; however, the deception was present and emotions were high. Esau wanted to kill Jacob.
Jacob was fearful of Esau and took off for another area directed by his mother. When Esau was nearby, Jacob separated his family into sections and sent forth a large gift. Esau doesn’t seem angry at all. He doesn’t seem like the same Esau who threatened Jacob’s life. Instead he comes forward with a smile and an embrace. Jacob says that Esau’s smile “is like seeing the face of God!”
Wow. The face of God. Esau’s smile was like the face of God because it was grace-filled. It was compassionate and merciful. Esau did not approach wanting the vengeance he once desired. He came with forgiveness. When people see you today, will they say it is “like seeing the face of God” or something very different? Remember, we are to bring Jesus everywhere we go—forgiveness, love, mercy, grace, compassion, humility—everywhere we go.
“But Jacob insisted, ‘No, if I have found favor with you, please accept this gift from me. And what a relief to see your friendly smile. It is like seeing the face of God!’” – Genesis 33:10 [NLT]
I saw a post today online about the infamous invite-a-friend to church day. It got me thinking about the recent invitations I have extended and the invitations that seem to get excuse after excuse. There are some people I have been inviting to church for years. I get a lot of excuses but the one that goes through me is “I’ll come when I get my life together.” So I guess the idea is that you cannot go to church until you have yourself cleaned up, fixed, repaired, looking good, feeling good, or whatever.
Jesus said He came for who? For the perfect? NO! Firstly, we all have fallen short so no one but Christ alone is perfect (Romans 3:23). Second, Jesus came for the sinners. Luke 5:32 says, “I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners and need to repent” (NLT). Remember, it’s not the healthy who need a doctor but the sick (see Mark 2).
I don’t care what you have done or how dirty your hands are right now—Jesus can make anyone white as snow. See it doesn’t rest on what you have done or how you appear or where you are at in life. It rests upon the blood of Jesus Christ. His blood is enough. He has paid the FULL PRICE. By His righteousness, we are welcome before the throne of God. So yeah, perhaps you have a sporting event to attend or you must work. But don’t use the excuse of getting your life together first. The only way to get your life together is through Jesus Christ. Therefore the BEST place to be is in His presence and with His people. Come to church. Today. Tomorrow. Come. I have some good news to share with you.
“But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.” – 1 John 1:9 [NLT]
I recently moved into a new home. Before I moved in, there was a work crew here making sure that all of the blemishes were no longer visible. The nail holes were patched up. The walls were painted. Where there once was a mark on the wall, there was fresh paint. You know paint can cover up so much. For example, you can have a scrap on your car and a bit of touch up paint will make it go away. It doesn’t mean the scrap didn’t happen. It doesn’t mean you didn’t get a little too close to the garage. But it looks like nothing happened.
Long ago they would whitewash the tombs. They wanted to be sure that the graves were easily marked, some would say covered with lime or chalk, but it helped them consider it pure in case someone walked up to the tomb. Otherwise, if the whitewashing didn’t occur, a person would be contaminated, defiled for being in close contact with the dead.
Today’s passage says we cannot whitewash our sins. We cannot cover them over. We cannot pretend they aren’t there. We cannot take a paintbrush and cover it all up. Instead, we are to admit our sins. We are to confess and repent. If something you have done has not yet been confessed, get it out now. God is quick to forgive. You simply need to confess your sins and move forward. Don’t hide them behind some whitewash and think they will go away. Receive God’s mercy. Confess and receive His mercy.
“You can’t whitewash your sins and get by with it;
you find mercy by admitting and leaving them.”
-Proverbs 28:13 [MSG]
The word “full” means complete. Being full means you lack nothing. The Psalmist wrote that the “full ransom” was paid. The complete ransom. There is nothing that could be added because it lacks nothing. It is finished. That’s what Jesus said at the cross. It is finished.
Not everyone can wrap their minds (and hearts) around this statement. Some people feel that their sins are so bad that they need to do more to “fix” the situation. They still are dirty. They still aren’t fully paid up. The ransom has been paid—the full price. Jesus paid the penalty for each one of us, each one of our sins, no matter how bad or how big you think they are compared to others. He paid for all.
Embrace this completeness. Accept that it is finished. Move forward with a different attitude. You are forgiven. You are loved. You are free. The price has been paid. Now move forward. Don’t let the devil keep you down when Jesus has already provided the victory.
“He has paid a full ransom for his people. He has guaranteed his covenant with them forever. What a holy, awe-inspiring name he has!” – Psalm 111:9 [NLT]