The Miracle of Forgiveness


20161004_150844 (2)How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity! –Luke 23:34/AMP

We seek to know a love that holds no record of wrong.

We seek a love that knows no fear.

There is no fear in love.

-Ted Dekker / The Forgotten Way (@theforgottenway)

Raising a teen has been full of wonder and humility. We still laugh at mispronunciations. Monika got in the car and gave some bad news which I won’t go into. But she said “A lady in hair curlers…”

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I said, “Hair curlers?”

She laughed, “No.” And tried once more, “Head curlers.”

“Head curlers”? I repeat.

She laughed again and came out with something different.

“Headquarters!” I said.

“Yes!” and we both laughed for a long time.

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Mistakes happen in all shapes and sizes. Have you ever felt trapped, missed the mark and wondered why you fell for something so foolish when you knew better? I think of Paul’s great dissertation about the same thing in Romans 7:14-25. But as a discerning Christian, I immediately know it is sin in me that needs fixing, and only Jesus can fix it in a way that it is known to others.

Forgiveness is freeflowing, starting from Christ’s finished work on the Cross and flows until now. He stamps FORGIVEN, each and every time I miss the mark and confess my mistep. What’s more amazing is the forgiveness I receive for those things that I don’t know I am doing incorrectly. Yet, in His mercy, He gently offers the correction, confidence and reminds me of my position of place in His Kingdom here and now and forevermore.

It is miraculous! He exonerates me and you! How much more, then should I be so to anyone else, friend or adversary, particularly those in love with Jesus who come from a different place and see the same God from a different facet on the gem of truth. Truth does not change, but perspectives can the closer we get to the gem; they get clearer. Imagine the differences in perspective the apostles may have had, but for the sake of the unity of the church, they came together, worked things out in prayer and were strengthened. Imagine the forgivenss that was freeflowing.

It delights God to forgive a penitent heart, and strengthen the body of Christ through unconditional love.

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In the same way, I tell you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents [that is, changes his inner self—his old way of thinking, regrets past sins, lives his life in a way that proves repentance; and seeks God’s purpose for his life]. – Luke 15:10/AMP

Following the story mentioned above of the woman who found the lost coin is the story of the Prodigal Son.

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In the end, the father runs to the returning son, puts a ring on his finger and asks his older son to plan a party. The father was energized to see his son return. But the older son surprisingly was unhappy, a spiritual prodigal who “did it right,” but felt unappreciated until the father declared, SON, YOU ARE ALWAYS WITH ME, AND ALL THAT IS MINE IS YOURS. But it was fitting to celebrate and rejoice, for this brother of yours WAS [as good as] DEAD AND HAS BEGUN TO LIVE. He was lost and has been found. – Luke 15:31a-32/AMP (emphasis mine)

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Ted Dekker makes the point in Section 2, Part 3 of his book The Forgotten Way, that both sons were in a grievous situation; one rebelled, the other judged, and yet the Father forgave both, happy to have his sons under his roof again. I think of Christ commissioning his disciples to bring Heaven to earth, and what is more Heavenly than a clean slate?

imagesTed Dekker states Today I stand whole and complete, for I am new, I am risen, I am in Christ.

In the1997 book Fresh Wind Fresh Fire by Jim Cymbala, he speaks of a missing element today in many churches. Power. (@zondervan.com/fresh-wind-fresh-fire)

 

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…Acts 4: “Stretch out your hand to heal and perform miraculous signs and wonders…”

 

pexels-photo-380283In Chapter 9, Cymbala goes on to tell the story of a homeless man who wanted no money. He only wanted the Jesus he heard about at the meeting. He was so transformed that he eventually married and at the time of the book’s publishing, he was in charge of 10 maintenance people at the church.

Cymbala challenges Christians to believe in the power of miracles and at the top is the power to receive God’s forgiveness and offer forgiveness. It’s transformational because it delights God’s heart.

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Jesus is the way, the truth and life through the power of offering forgiveness. The Heart of the Father is delighted more everyday one more heart turns towards Him, accepting Christ’s forgiveness and offering it freely allows the Holy Spirit to work wonders in our lives. It sets all parties free and grows grace.

Amazing!

My Identity Transcends Resurrection


GodReflection: Power Words

garyguarujaI don’t recall God precisely speaking to this in Scripture.

Maybe it is so obvious there is no need.

It could be every page in my Bible speaks it between the lines.

I’ve known it all along but have never attempted to express it.

Perhaps with age the contrast increases.

identity12I am me.

I am who I was as a child. I am soul.

Sure, as a kid I was a more immature version. Yes, through the years I acquired maturity and a certain set of skills. However, I feel great continuity to the “me” on the playground of Hillcrest Elementary School.

identity3I think what bothers me with age is the attempt to correlate my eternal soul—that feels as young as “me” did when I played childhood tag with a heart that has matured, a body in massive decline, and a mind that has lost some of its quickness.

Here is what I think.

My body will continue its decline as I increase in years. As a body part, the brain that allows my mind to function while on earth will likewise decline with age. Both body and brain became terminal with the Eden exit.

identity1My soul will not grow old. It will pass intact from this life to the next. I will continue to be who I am.

What will change is my heart. I suppose my heart started its transformation when the Holy Spirit entered in.  I wish my heart-growth could be further along. However, it is what it is. I suspect that is my fault rather than the fault of the Spirit.

My expectation is to see additional heart/spirit progress. A limitation of life and my Eden heart means my God-turned heart will not reach its greatest potential this side of the grave.

identity15Here is how I see it. Both body and mind will decline with age. My heart (spirit) will increase in its capacity to beat more like the heart of Jesus. And, I will still be the me I have known all of my life.

Now, finally the best news:

identity19After the resurrection, my heart will reach its full capacity to beat in precise rhythm with Jesus’ heart—and my mind and body will be sharp and eternal. And—I will still be me.

All of that combined makes identity a personal word of power to guide my walk.

Stay tuned.

Dr. Gary J. Sorrells – A GodReflection on the Power Word Identity.

Gary@GodReflection.org