Faith Messages to build your faith

Sunday, October 5, 2014

But I Don’t Feel Like Forgiving .

Mary Southerland asks us, Do 
you remember the last words 
of Jesus as He hung on the cross? 

“It is finished!” 

The most literal translation would be “paid in full.”

Have you ever paid off a loan? I will never forget paying off my very first car loan. After sending in my forty-eighth and final payment, I celebrated the fact that I finally owned my bright blue and ever-so-compact Chevy Vega from bumper to bumper. 

There were those who said you couldn’t drive a Vega – you had to wear it. Others described the bright color as “unique.” But to me, it was the most beautiful car in the world, because it was all mine. 

I celebrated all over again when I received the loan papers. Stamped in big, red letters across the document were those beautiful words, “Paid in full.” Forgiveness is like that – beautiful!

Part of forgiveness is releasing the person from the debt we think is owed. Sometimes the highest thing we can do is let something go and cut our losses instead of allowing the weight of an unpaid debt deplete mental and emotional energy. 

In other words, we can forgive the debt - and set ourselves free.

Several years ago, we decided to sell one of our cars. It was old, rusty, ugly, and needed a lot of work. But in the right hands, it could last for several years. 

A man who worked for the church bought it. He and Dan worked out the terms. The man agreed to make monthly payments. No papers were signed because, after all, it was a business agreement between two ministers.

Some lessons are learned the hard way. Dan gave the man the title and car keys. He gave us nothing. Not one penny.

Dan talked with him several times. The man always promised that he would make a payment soon. “Soon” never came. 

I was furious – not so much because of the money, although it would have come in handy, but because this man was taking advantage of my husband’s generosity, and royally ticking me off in the process.

I ranted and fumed. Dan did not. In fact, he said, “Honey, I have decided to forgive the debt on that old car.” 

I decided not to. And my anger grew.

A few weeks later, the man quit his job at the church, and went to work for a nearby grocery store – my grocery store. 

Almost every time I went grocery shopping, he was there. And every time I saw him, anger consumed my heart. I finally realized that this whole car situation was killing my joy – until the day I decided to give him the car. It was the only thing I could do if I wanted peace.

I created a mental scene of driving to the grocery store, handing him the car keys, and saying, “Merry Christmas! Enjoy your new car.” 

Now it wasn’t Christmas, and the car was far from new, but it worked. I forgave the debt, and let it go.

The most amazing thing happened. I was the one set free. Every time I saw the man, I waved and smiled. He began avoiding me. A few weeks later, I saw the man driving a different car, and learned from one of his co-workers that “his old car just up and died.” Enough said.  
Forgiveness is a deliberate choice. 

You may not feel like forgiving. It doesn’t matter. Just do it. Sometimes the feelings will follow that choice – other times they won’t. Feelings are irrelevant, but obedience to God is crucial.

Do not base the validity of what you are doing on how you feel. Make the choice to forgive. God will supply the forgiveness, and set you free.

Let’s Pray

   Father, I am so tired of holding on to the pain in my life. I want to forgive those who have hurt me, let go of the pain, and walk on. Today, I lay down my pride and my rights. I will not seek revenge or retaliation. I choose to love my enemies and bless those who have hurt me. Help me, Father.

In Jesus’ name,

Now It’s Your Turn

Make a list of the sins in your life. Confess each one, and ask God to forgive you. When you are finished, write 1 John 1:9 across the list and destroy it.

"If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:9, NIV).

Be sure to check out Mary’s weekly Online Bible Study: A Glimpse of Heaven. Enroll now and have access to all 2014 lessons. Connect with Mary on Facebook or through email.

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September 2, 2014
But I Don’t Feel Like Forgiving
Mary Southerland

Today’s Truth  "And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins" (Mark 11:25, NIV).

(Google image and emphasis added)

Why, God?

Why do I think that if others would change
ife would be happier for me?
Why do I always judge their faults,
But my own I somehow don't see?

Why don't I ever stop to think
That if I'd change, perhaps they might too?
Why don't I first take a look at myself,
And leave changing them up to You!

By Frances Gregory Pasch

(Pg. 68) in Double Vision: Seeing God in Everyday Life
through Devotions and Poetry
by Frances Gregory
published by Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas.

Check out her messages:
devotions and poetry 

Used by permission.

A Prayer for Trust in God

   "Father, in our attempt to get even with our offender, we can do irreparable harm not only to our wrongdoer, but most especially to ourselves. Instead of having a spirit of forgiveness we harbor a vengeful heart. Out hearts harden and take on the character of the enemy instead of the Savior who loved us even while we were dead in our transgressions and sins.

   Our debt of sin He paid, freeing us to break the chains of sin that had long held us bound. Father, You heal the broken-hearted and console the wounded as they seek You in the midst of their affliction, whether it is a fresh wound or an old injury. Our affliction from others is earthbound, but our affection for You is heavenbound where there will be no more heartaches, pain or wrongdoing of any kind. Keep us steadfast and faithful till that appointed time. Amen." 

A thought today: We have the power to change things because of the power of Christ within us. More disrespect is formed through complaining. Stop, and listen to what God says about the situation.
Today's Bible verse: 2 Cor. 4:7 "But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us."

7th- Tuesday’s post:  #5  Strategic-level Spiritual Warfare
C. Peter Wagner

9th- Thursday's post:  #6 The Focus of  WARFARE PRAYER
C. Peter Wagner

10th- Saturday's post:  Step Up
Dave Branon

11th- Sunday's post:  No Regrets
Debbie McEwen

A post of interest:  How CAN I Forgive? By Jean Oathout  "First of all, WE can't forgive to the point that we let some offense go completely. 

A popular post: I'm Sorry, Man  Dave Branon shares with us, "When my son-in-law Ewing and I attended a sporting event, we enjoyed watching both the game and the people around us..."

This is something that only our Creator, Who is the Author of Forgiveness, can help us with, when we turn to Him for help."

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