The Circle of Forgiveness

Forgiveness in the Christian Doctrine is like a circle, it all connects and if any part of the circle is broken it loses its shape and meaning.

The first step to forgiveness is to ask God to forgive you of your sins, He will always forgive you. That is the most important and crucial part of the circle. In order to enter it you must first ask to be forgiven, God is there waiting for you to join Him inside.

Salvation comes from forgiveness from God, without asking you cannot receive it.

It is also important to continue to repent after you’re saved. God knows what is in your heart but showing obedience by praying to Him after a mistake shows Him that you love Him.

Remember your salvation is not a license to sin, don’t abuse your relationship with the Lord. Show Him the same love He shows you.

The second part of the circle is to forgive yourself. That is a very difficult task, forgiving yourself for all you have done. Just last night I laid awake thinking about things I did in High School.

But remember God is more important than yourself, if He can forgive you. Then you can forgive yourself.

It is very similar to loving your neighbor as you love yourself, if you don’t love yourself how can you love your neighbor the same? Well if you can’t forgive yourself how can you forgive your neighbor?

Which brings us to the third and final part of the circle, forgiving others.

God calls us to forgive others it’s included in the Lord’s Prayer and in many verses throughout the Bible.

In Matthew 6:14-15 we read, “14 For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”

Also in Luke 17: 3-4 it says, “3 So watch yourselves. “If your brother or sister sins against you, rebuke them; and if they repent, forgive them. 4 Even if they sin against you seven times in a day and seven times come back to you saying ‘I repent,’ you must forgive them.”

I will include a link to 20 verses on forgiveness in the Bible.

Once again I must emphasize we are not greater than God so if He chooses forgive others than you should too.

The circle of forgiveness goes like this…

God forgives, your forgive yourself and then you forgive others. God will always forgive you so the circle can only be broken by yourself. It is also up to you to keep the circle flowing so you can get back to God.

The Lord is waiting on you to enter the circle.

Have a blessed week,
Chris

https://www.biblestudytools.com/topical-verses/forgiveness-bible-verses/

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Two Year Wedding Anniversary

Two years ago today I married my wife Jane.

Meeting Jane changed my life, we were connected to each other from the beginning and shared so much in common, we fell in love almost right away.

However one big thing we did not have in common was our belief in God. I was always a believer while Jane was agnostic.

I had many discussions with her about it that led nowhere. I was frustrated, I felt like I needed to save her.

But the truth was God needed to save us both. While my belief was strong, my actions and the way I lived my life was not the way God would want.

I decided to get closer to Christ, however I didn’t realize God was working his way into Jane’s heart as well.

She came to me one day and asked to go to church, I was shocked. After many services, discussions, bible readings, book readings and many many videos on YouTube. I asked her why she still wasn’t calling herself a Christian.

She looked down and said “Because I don’t feel I am worthy”

I told her, “None of us are.” She smiled and looked up, I  looked down at her and gave her a hug.

She accepted Christ that day.

When she did her smile lit up the room. It was one of the happiest moments of my life. When she offered her heart to Jesus, He took it, like He always will to anyone who asks.

God was there for us, holding us together through all of our ups, downs, the losses, the pain and He was there to celebrate all the joyous moments in our life.

When it came time for the wedding we really stressed out about it. I will say my wife did an amazing job finding high quality items for really good prices. She did tremendous.

Our church was there for us too, we were going back and forth on locations, every venue seemed to be to expensive or just wouldn’t fit.

After Church one Sunday our Pastor looked at us and said, “Why don’t you just have the wedding here?”

Man did that turn out to be a huge relief.

It was the Church’s first wedding and the first time our Pastor officiated one (I think the Pastor’s Mother was just as excited as we were).

A lot of people helped us along the way and I thank all of you.

Most importantly thank you God, Who helped us and continues to do so each and every day.

The wedding was beautiful and we loved every moment of it.

But of course we look forward to another wedding, as do many believers. The marriage of Christ and His Believers.

That will truly be the greatest day in all of our lives.

Have a Blessed Week,
Chris

Doer of the Word

As it says in James 1:22-25, “22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; 24 for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. 25 But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.”

We must not just listen and hear the Word of God we must do the will of the Father. Knowing scripture is not enough, the Pharisees were experts on scripture, yet missed the coming of the Messiah.

We must bring people to God and do so in the right away, in John Chapter 4 Jesus encountered a Samaritan woman, He asked her for a drink of water and then spoke to her about her sins, He promised to give her living water so she would never be thirsty again. Jesus didn’t point out her sins to condemn her or threaten her with Hell but instead He showed her love, the living water, His message was love not fear. Bringing people to God out of fear will led to them falling away. A successful relationship must be built on love not fear.

Also in John 4 (39-42), Jesus stayed two extra days on request of the Samaritan people, use that as a guide, we must take time and change our schedules to save others and help those in need.

Remember we too can give Jesus something to drink. Remember in Matthew 24: 35-40,  “35 for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; 36 I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’ 37 “Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? 38 When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? 39 Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ 40 And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’”

We are called to help those suffering, no matter what their beliefs are or what they may have done. God is willing to forgive ALL sins.

We must go out and do the work God has asked us to do. Without going out and doing the work we cannot truly be called servants of God, someone can take classes and read books to learn how to become a mechanic but until they actually do the work they are not a real mechanic.

Support and believe in others around you. Sometimes a person says they are going to turn their life around or go and serve God in the community, and others will look at one another and scoff or mock the person, they point out their flaws, laugh at them, ask who does this person think they are?

Jesus was treated this way in his own town. In Mark 6:1-3, “Then He went out from there and came to His own country, and His disciples followed Him. 2 And when the Sabbath had come, He began to teach in the synagogue. And many hearing Him were astonished, saying, “Where did this Man get these things? And what wisdom is this which is given to Him, that such mighty works are performed by His hands! 3 Is this not the carpenter, the Son of Mary, and brother of James, Joses, Judas, and Simon? And are not His sisters here with us?” So they were offended at Him.”

Believe in your brothers and sisters.

Let’s go out and do the will of the Father today.

Father, I pray that You guide me to do Your will and not my own. Be patient with me and help me help others as You help me. Amen

Have a blessed week,
Chris

Links:
https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=James+1%3A22-25&version=NKJV

https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=John+4&version=NKJV

https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+25%3A35-40&version=NKJV

https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Mark+6&version=NKJV

Unconditional Love vs. Conditional Grace

I once wrote that if God’s love has conditions I am okay with them but I would like to correct that writing with this weeks blog post. It is not conditional love but it is conditional grace. God loves us all and wants us all to be saved. The Bible makes that
obvious. The word Love is mentioned 310 times in the Bible.

The Grace of God is that part that is conditional you must accept the salvation through Jesus Christ.

I have heard often from skeptics that if there is a God it is unfair that they won’t be able to get into Heaven for their lack of belief, they believe they’re good people and that should be enough.

Let me give you a hypothetical scenario, a Father builds his two children a home each, he supplies them with everything they need and sends them out with a small set of rules.

Both children proceed to break these rules.

The first child immediately regrets it and apologizes to the Father, who in turn forgives him out of love. After that every time the child makes a mistake he calls the Father to apologize and tries to correct the issue. The Father always forgives him.

Now the second child goes on with his life, ignoring the fact he broke those rules, he points out that they were just the small ones anyway. But small mistakes often led to bigger ones. As time goes on this child does everything on his own, years and years pass,  now he begins to doubt the Father even built the houses, he never saw him do it, where is the proof? Then he begins to point out all the times the Father didn’t help him and even questions if he is really his Father. He stops talking to his Father all together.

Meanwhile the children’s houses begin to deteriorate, their Father decides he will build them beautiful mansions in his gated community. All they have to do is apologize for their mistakes and try their best to follow the rules and most importantly love him.

The first child is so thankful to the Father but the second isn’t, he ignores everything the Father said and continues on his way refusing to apologize for anything he has done, refusing to acknowledge his Father at all.

In the end the Father welcomes the first child into the gated community and presents him with his mansion. But when the second child shows up the Father sends him away and gives the mansion to someone else, a person who accepted him as Father, respected him and loved him.

Was the Father wrong? Did the second child who disrespected his Father and his Father’s house deserve to obtain a new house?

Of course he didn’t, like wise those who refuse to acknowledge God on Earth will not be welcomed into His dwelling either.

Accept God’s grace today.

I am going to leave you with a link to the Parable of the Lost Son, often refereed to as the Parable of the Prodigal Son. This is a perfect example of how God views us when we are astray.

https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Luke+15%3A11-32&version=NIV

As you see from the parable, the Father represents God, who will run to us with open arms when we return.

Freely run back to your Father.

Have a blessed week,
-Chris

God and Destiny

This week I am writing about God and Destiny. I want to show despite Him giving us free will and leaving our choices up to us (see last week) some things are destined by the will of God.

Jesus’ story is the prime example of this. He knew exactly how He would die*, He knew about His resurrection*, He knew His Betrayer** and even knew Peter would deny Him.**

It is important to know that it always okay to ask God to change your course. We just need to remember when the course is not changed to accept it and trust in God, just like Jesus did. You show true faith by trusting in God in the middle of the storm.

Jesus gave us a perfect example of this as well, remember when He petitioned to the Father about his destiny in Luke 22:42, “42“Father, if You are willing, take this cup from Me. Yet not My will, but Yours be done.” 

The Father sent him an angel to comfort Him and He completed His mission just as the Father wanted.

God I pray that you guide us all to do Your will and grant us the wisdom to know when it is destined to be and the strength to battle through all of life’s storms.

Have a blessed week,
-Chris

https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Luke+9%3A21-27&version=NLT *

https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Luke+22&version=NIV **

The Right Thing

Great post by Mitch Teemley

Mitch Teemley

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It finally happened where I live: four people (including the shooter himself) died and two were injured in Cincinnati last week when an angry paranoid young man opened fire in a bank lobby. The horrific event happened just off Fountain Square, our city’s symbol of civic unity. “Enough” was the only word on the Cincinnati Enquirer’s otherwise blank Op-Ed page the next day.

Something has changed. For most of its first two centuries, my country benefited from a unifying code of values. Most married couples stayed together because it was the right thing to do. Most adults strove to make an honorable living and model moral-social responsibility to their children because it was the right thing. I lived in an agnostic home, i.e. my parents didn’t consciously adhere to the Judeo-Christian values our culture was built upon. Nevertheless, they lived by them, because it was the right thing to do.

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God’s Plan and Free Will

We hear often how God has a plan for us all and that is of course true. But we must remember that God also has given us free will to chose our own path.

Does that sound like the Bible contradicts itself? Today I will be discussing why that is not the case.

You see God has a plan for us all but He gives us options on how to go about it. It is up to us to follow that path in order to get what God has intended for us.  There is the right way and the wrong way, follow God’s guidance and He will lead you to the right way, ignore and you will go the opposite, down the wrong path.

Now the great thing about God is because of His grace, He will always be there to guide you to get back on the right path.

If you take the exit to the wrong way, there is always a ramp to get back on the right way.

God is all knowing, so he knows how it will all turn out. He sees every path in which you can take and knows each outcome that will occur based on our choices.

For example if you have been looking for a job for awhile and one day you get the urge to go to a certain place that the Lord would want you to be, it is up to you to decide to go. If God really wants you to be there He will continue to throw signs at you and do everything to show you to go but it is up to you to actually get up and make it there.

Now lets just say for the purposes of this blog, God intended for you to go because there was someone He wanted you to meet who would lead you to a great job opportunity.

But if you didn’t end up going, that opportunity is now lost. God knew the outcome of both options, He was just waiting for you to decide the path you were going to take.

Now that doesn’t mean He won’t help find you a job another day, He will be right there with you continuing to guide you through it all, hoping you chose the right path.

Another example is when the Prophets of Israel and Judah called the people to repent, their prophecies of coming judgment were warnings, if the people repented God would relent. He knew the outcome of what would happen if they did or didn’t repent.

The problem is after they did repent and the judgment didn’t come, time would pass and they would go back down the wrong path, back to their wicked ways, which led to the Judgment of God coming down on the people.

Then because of His love, God would set them up for another path, back to the plan He has for His people.

God has His plan for us, we must follow the right path in order for the plan to come to fruition.

It is very important to understand this because many scoffers have pointed out that if God makes our plans for us and everything that happens is a part of that plan, then that means He chooses who goes to Hell.

That is a complete lie.

God wants us all saved, that is why the Father sent His Son to die for our sins.

God sends no one to Hell, you only go to Hell by your own choice.

I chose to accept my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and I hope and pray for guidance to stay on the right path of God’s plan for me.

Next week I will be writing about the other side to this…destiny and when God chooses to make something happen by His own will.

Have a blessed week,
Chris

The Importance of Rest

I can’t begin to tell you the importance of rest. If you’re exhausted you need to take time to re-energize. Go with the Lord and relax. Spend quality time with Him. Take a vacation with the Lord.

Society has told us how important it is to work hard, God would agree with that but society tells us those who rest are weak. Some won’t even use their paid time off from their jobs, thinking it will make them look good if they just keep going.

It won’t look good when you burn out completely and break down.

The Bible tells us differently. We need our rest. Even God rested. Genesis 2:2, “2And on the seventh day God had finished the work He had been doing; so on that day He rested from all. His work -. ” 

In the Bible God orders us to rest as He did.

I’m leaving you with a link to some Bible verses on the importance of rest.

https://www.biblestudytools.com/topical-verses/rest-bible-verses/

Have a blessed week,
Chris

Nine Year Anniversary

I was going to mention this in my weekly blog that Sunday was my wife and I’s Nine Year Anniversary.

But when I thought that I heard God say, “Doesn’t she deserve her own entry?”

Yes she does, Lord.

Nine years ago today I met the love of my life. She credits me with introducing her to God. The Lord is the one who deserves all the credit.

I tried to talk with her about God by myself and it really didn’t go well. After praying for a long time, He softened her heart.

So many people drew her closer to the Lord not just myself.

I can’t emphasize enough how much it meant to me the day she accepted God into her heart.

She has helped mold me into the man I am today. Her and God teamed up and changed my life.

I treasure her and thank God for giving Jane to me.

Thank you Lord.
Thank you Jane.
I love you both always,
Chris

Jesus loves the little children

Remember that song Jesus loves the little children?

Here is a selection from Matthew 18, it is verses 2-7, “2 He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. 3 And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4 Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. 5 And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.

6 “If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea. 7 Woe to the world because of the things that cause people to stumble! Such things must come, but woe to the person through whom they come!”

God wants us to be childlike in nature, innocent, trusting in Him.

But we are told by society we need to, “Be a man”. What does that mean to so many? Always be tough, show no fear, have no emotions outside of anger and stubbornness, enjoy violence, get the biggest and best of everything, “have” the most women. If you see anyone who is caring, sensitive or doesn’t like the stereotypical “Man” things, then ridicule and belittle them.  Call them a “Man Child”

I am proud that I strive for innocence and compassion. I enjoy my childlike qualities. I still read children’s books, watch children’s shows and movies. It’s certainly better than reading and watching things that are evil in God’s eyes.

Look at children in Church, many are so excited to hear about God’s word or act out plays. They trust what they are being told and believe in God.

However many adults don’t act that way, we grumble, complain, doubt God and don’t realize how truly blessed we are. Living in America is a giant blessing in itself, yet so many of us are so miserable.

Even worse many children grow up and lose their faith because of their parents or others around them who have harmed them and made them resentful to God.

Woe to those people.

I hope and pray to God in my imperfections that I never cause any of the little ones to stumble.

The truth is being one or the other is equally bad. You have to hold true to both qualities, Jesus did. He was compassionate, caring and merciful, He loved everyone. He was also brave, tough and strong. He suffered immensely for us and will rule strongly over His Kingdom in the next age.

Let’s all follow His example.

Have a blessed week,
-Chris

https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+18%3A2-7&version=NIV