Tag Archives: forgiven

September 12 – No Turning Back

Ezekiel 46-48

I went to college with a girl who left the dorms by the same door every day, and always returned through the same door. If she happened to walk around a tree on the right, coming back she had to walk around the tree on the same side. I thought about her today when I read Ezekiel 46.

When the people came to the temple to go before the Lord, if they entered by the north gate, they had to exit by the south gate. If they came to the Lord through the south gate, they were to leave by the north gate. No turning back.

My friend would have gone crazy.

But isn’t that the way we all should be when  we come before the Lord? Shouldn’t we meet Him, lay our burdens down at His feet, repent of sin, and keep walking? Too many times we go to Him, only to turn around and do the same thing we just confessed, or we hold on to the guilt of something we were just forgiven of.

 

I’m thinking many of us can learn something from Ezekiel today. Let’s continue to go to the Lord, but let’s not turn around and go back to where we started. Let’s keep moving ahead, led by the Spirit, forgiven, and running the race set before us.

I have decided to follow Jesus.
I have decided to follow Jesus.
I have decided to follow Jesus.
No turning back. 
No turning back.

April 7 – Redeemed!

Ruth

The book of Ruth is a precious love story. Naomi loved her daughters-in-law, and they loved her. Ruth loved Naomi enough to leave her own family and travel with her mother-in-law to Naomi’s homeland. And Ruth learned to love Naomi’s God.

One of the greatest declarations of love ever recorded is here in these chapters. You probably have even heard it read at a wedding or two.

Boaz demonstrated love toward Ruth in a lot of little ways, from making sure she had grain to pick, to seeing to her mid-day meals, to making sure she was safe.

But the main theme in Ruth’s story is redemption. As a widow, and a foreigner, Ruth had no claim on her husband’s inheritance. But when Boaz paid the price for her redemption, she belonged to him, became his wife, and was guaranteed a position in that family. She received all the blessings being part of that family afforded her.

I’ve been redeemed, too. As a sinner, I had no claim on heaven, or the inheritance promised to a child of God. But when Jesus died on the cross and paid the price for me, I was able to be redeemed through His grace and mercy.

I belong to Jesus! All in Him is mine. And He lavishes me with every good thing.

Redeemed! How I love to proclaim it.

Redeemed by the blood of the Lamb.

Redeemed through His infinite mercy.

His child, and forever I am.

(Fannie Crosby, 1882)

Guilty?

Every time I read what happened after Jacob’s death it makes me sad. His sons panicked. So they lied to Joseph about their father’s wishes.

“Dad said you should forgive us for being so mean to you when you were a kid. Don’t hurt us now that he’s gone. Dad wouldn’t like that.”

The Bible’s account of Joseph’s reunion with his brothers in Genesis 45 is a beautiful picture of forgiveness. Joseph brought his brothers and their families to Egypt, gave them the best land for grazing their livestock, and took care of them during the famine. How much more could Joseph have done to demonstrate the fact that all was forgiven?

But after all these years since they had been forgiven, Joseph’s brothers must have lived with guilt. It wasn’t Joseph’s forgiveness they needed. It was their own.

When I confess my sin God is faithful and just to forgive me and wash me clean. He promises never to remember my sin or use it against me – ever! But sometimes I live as though I am still guilty. It’s at those times I need to forgive myself. Denying that forgiveness doesn’t honor God. And it’s Satan’s weapon to hold me hostage to that sin.

But, you ask, don’t I deserve to feel guilty for the horrible things I’ve done, the people I have hurt? The answer is, “NO”! Oh, you deserved to feel those feelings before you confessed them to God and received his forgiveness But once you’ve done that you deserve what Jesus died to give you. A fresh start, clean and forgiven. 

I don’t believe we should forgive ourselves before we allow God to wash the sin away. But once we have repented and have been forgiven by God himself, we need to forgive ourselves and live our lives free from the burden of guilt. Think of it.

If you are living with guilt, I would encourage you to lay that heavy burden down at Jesus’ feet and walk away, free from it’s hold. Forgive yourself. Jesus did. 

Dear God, I pray that your people will see the lengths to which you went to forgive us. You died on the cross, you went to hell then rose again. You paid what we could not pay, then handed us a clean slate just for the asking. Forgive us when we think we need to punish ourselves for past sins that you have already forgiven and forgotten. Father, may each of us sinners repent of sin, accept your forgiveness, forgive ourselves as we have been forgiven, and live lives free of the chains of guilt. And may we, with each breath, honor you with obedience and allow you to fill us with your joy.