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]
Good Friday 2017
At about 9am, Jesus was nailed to the Cross.
At noon, darkness fell across the whole land.
At 3pm, Jesus died.
During the six hours that our Savior hung on the Cross, He spoke His last words.
- “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.” [Luke 23:34]
Fulfilled Isaiah 53:12“Therefore I will give him a portion among the great, and he will divide the spoils with the strong, because he poured out his life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors. For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.”
J.C. Ryle “While the blood of the greatest sacrifice started to flow, the greatest of all high priests started to intercede.”
The tense of the word “said” in this passage indicates that the Lord repeated this appeal. Not only did He pray for forgiveness for His enemies, but He even argued on their behalf. Basically saying let me give you a reason why you should forgive them.
Hebrews 7:25– “Therefore He is able also to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.”
Isaiah 1:18– “”Come now, let’s settle this,” says the LORD. “Though your sins are like scarlet, I will make them as white as snow. Though they are red like crimson, I will make them as white as wool.”
Ephesians 1:7– “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace”
- “Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise.” [Luke 23:43]
When we suffer, we are consumed by ourselves and we forget everything else.
Jesus was focused on our forgiveness, our salvation.
He promises salvation to the one thief, who would that very day join Him in Paradise.
The thief only asked to be remembered. Our God provides in abundance. You won’t simply be remembered – you’re coming with Me!
Colossians 1:13-14– “For he has rescued us from the kingdom of darkness and transferred us into the Kingdom of his dear Son, who purchased our freedom and forgave our sins.”
Romans 10:9– “If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”
- “Woman, behold, your son!” / “Behold, your mother!” [John 19:26-27]
Fulfilled Luke 2:35“and a sword will pierce even your own soul– to the end that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.”
Mary found out what this truly meant.
John calls himself the disciple Jesus loves
He is the disciple who stays with Mary
He is the disciple who stays at the Cross
He is the disciple who is given responsibility for Mary
- “ELI, ELI, LAMA SABACHTHANI?” – “MY GOD, MY GOD, WHY HAVE YOU FORSAKEN ME?” [Matthew 27:46, Mark 15:34]
Fulfilled Isaiah 53:46 “But the LORD was pleased To crush Him, putting Him to grief; If He would render Himself as a guilt offering, He will see His offspring, He will prolong His days, And the good pleasure of the LORD will prosper in His hand.”
Quoted Psalm 22:1 “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning?”
God could not look upon His Son while He bore all sin, as He is holy. At this one moment, Jesus was without the Father.
Because He was alone on the Cross, you NEVER have to be alone.
- “I am thirsty.” [John 19:28]
Fulfilled Psalm 69:21They gave me poison for food, and for my thirst they gave me sour wine to drink.
Hell is a place of thirst (Luke 16). When Jesus died on the Cross for us, He entered the darkness of hell for us and He thirsted.
This is the only time He is focused on His own physical needs
He’s quenching His thirst by drinking the cup God placed before Him (John 18:11– this is the cup God gave Him to drink)
John 4:34– “Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to accomplish His work.”
By depleting Himself in death, Jesus would become a bountiful stream of living water
Isaiah 55:1 “Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat!Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.
John 4:14“But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life.”
- “It is finished!” [John 19:30]
Servant – I have finished the work you gave me. The task assigned was completed the way the master wanted it to be done and when the master wanted it completed.
Artist – It is finished means the picture is complete
Galatians 4:4-5– “But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeemthose who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.”
Merchant – Debt is paid in full. The purchases made on layaway were paid. When the last payment is made, this was written on the receipt to note that the debt is fully paid.
Hebrews 10:12– “But our High Priest offered himself to God as a single sacrifice for sins, good for all time. Then he sat down in the place of honor at God’s right hand.”
Priest – It is perfect– if they examined the sacrificial animal and it was faultless and acceptable for the offering
1 Peter 1:19– “but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot.”
- “Father, INTO YOUR HANDS I COMMIT MY SPIRIT.” [Luke 23:46]
The final act of obedience
Prayer that Jewish mothers taught their children to say before bed
Quoted Psalm 31:5 “Into your hand I commit my spirit; you have redeemed me, O LORD, faithful God.”
The Father’s protection àJesus was no longer in the hands of the sinners. He died confidently because He was in the Father’s hands.
The divine plan was not brought to completion according to the human limits of the human body, but according to the Son’s awareness that His mission had come to an end.
He did what only He could do. It was a loving, self-sacrifice.
John 10:18 “No one can take my life from me. I sacrifice it voluntarily. For I have the authority to lay it down when I want to and also to take it up again. For this is what my Father has commanded.”
Something that I have been thinking about a lot is usefulness. There are moments when we have items in our home that are not useful to us. Sometimes we have apps on our devices that are not useful. Maybe at a time they seemed useful, but things have changed. But usefulness isn’t only something we consider as objects or possessions. People can be useful or not useful too.
Paul was writing to Philemon about the runaway servant Onesimus. He tells Philemon about this change that has occurred. Yes, Onesimus was deserving of punishment, which could have meant a death sentence. It was within the legal limits. But Paul mentions this great conversion of Onesimus. Not only did he give his life to Jesus, but in doing so, he became useful. In saying, “Not my will, but Your will be done,” he became useful. God had big plans for Onesimus!
If someone would consider your usefulness, what would they say? Would they describe you as very useful? Do you think you are very useful? Or is something getting in the way? That something could even be you! Truth be told, you have a great purpose. God has known this since the very beginning. It is a purpose that I pray you embrace and pour yourself into as an offering. Aim today to come to terms with this usefulness, and if the Spirit convicts you, follow His leading. It is a very dangerous prayer to say, “Use me.” Yet is a prayer than can help position you for what God has already prepared. Be useful. Plant for a good harvest.
“Onesimus hasn’t been of much use to you in the past, but now he is very useful to both of us.” – Philemon 1:11 [NLT]
We often like to think the best of ourselves. We do not realize how corrupt our heart is, so it difficult to take a good hard look at ourselves and see the truth. In Jeremiah 17:9, we read, “The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is?” Deceitful. The MOST deceitful of all things. Desperately wicked—so wicked we cannot say how bad.
Today’s verse says that no one does good. That means that even you do not do good. You are part of the “not a single one.” That is hard to handle. We find it hard to come to terms with the fact that we are not good—that we are corrupt. The truth is, no matter how many good things we do, we have bad things that we think and do—things we do not even realize. But God can see through every crack and crevice. He sees the corruption. He sees the deceitfulness. He sees the wickedness from within us.
The awesome good news is that He loves us anyway, and He has made a way for us to be in right relationship with Him. Despite the corruption, despite not doing good—He has made a way for us to come before Him, covered in the blood of His Son Jesus Christ. We are clothed in His righteousness, made right with God through Him. Today, thank God for His great mercy and His unfailing love. Seek His righteousness above all else. Remember, no one does good—not a single one.
“But no, all have turned away; all have become corrupt. No one does good, not a single one!” – Psalm 53:3 [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]
The Psalmist asks God how he could know all the sins that were lurking about in his heart. He understood that we cannot see everything. We are blind to some of the things lurking in our heart. We try not to acknowledge some things that are happening. We disregard some of the sins. We turn a blind eye. But God, He sees everything. He sees everything on our heart. He knows us more than we know ourselves. All the hidden faults, all of the bad thoughts, all of the things we deny or turn our eyes from—He sees.
The Psalmist asks that God cleanse him from these hidden faults. He does not want to have this sin in his heart. He knows he cannot see it, but he knows there’s something there. God sees it. God alone can cleanse him from it. This is a great prayer we can lift to Him. Those sins that are hiding deep within—He can purify us from them.
It’s amazing to consider how awesome our God is, isn’t it? He has unfailing love for us. He pours out grace upon grace. His mercy is unending. Even though we have these sins, even these ones we deny or cannot see, He loves us. He forgives us. He calls us His own. Today, rejoice in His love. Rejoice in the freedom from sin that He alone provides. Rejoice, rejoice that He makes all things new!
“How can I know all the sins lurking in my heart? Cleanse me from these hidden faults.” – Psalm 19:12 [NLT]
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]
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]