Week Thirty-Eight, 2019
“If the anger of the ruler flares up against you, do not resign from your position, for a calm response can undo great offenses” (Ecclesiastes 10:4).
Many items of computer software have an “undo” button. It allows us to erase forever your most recent action and redo it the way you first intended or should have attended. It allows you to dismiss mistakes and proceed as if nothing wrong had happened. It also allows you to restore something you mistakenly deleted. It is so easy.
Real life is so much more difficult. You can’t un-cook an apple or take back and forever erase words you have said and things you have done. We all make wrong decisions at some point in our lives. What’s worse is that no matter how much we repent and ask God for His forgiveness, what’s done is done and cannot be undone. While God in Heaven will forgive us, the consequences on earth are still there.
Many of us feel condemned by what we have done. We fail to understand when God forgives our sins, He also forgets them. He never condemns us for something He has already forgiven.
What many of us do not understand, however, is the fact that while God’s forgiveness erases our offenses from His sight, we still have to face the consequences of our wrong decisions. Life is not as easy as a computer program.
When we have done or said or written the wrong thing, we need to do what we can to right the wrong. Often is not easy and something the world says is unnecessary, but the Bible teaches us it is. So, whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin. James 4:17
One thing I learned as a pilot is that I should always be looking for a place to land. Life is like that. Whenever we make mistakes, we should always be looking for how to right our wrongs as best we can. Sometimes it is embarrassing. Sometimes it is expensive, but it is always the right thing to do.
We go through life making mistakes, some accidental and some foolishly intended. I have done my share and so have you. To err is human; to forgive, divine. (Alexander Pope 1711). The key is how we follow up. Young sailors are taught how to ride out a storm by heading into the wind, not from it. Don’t run from your mistakes; confront them head on. Try to undo as best you can.
As you ask forgiveness of others, ask forgiveness also of God, the ultimate forgiver. We do not earn our forgiveness. We do not pay for our own forgiveness. Jesus died for it before we ever committed a wrong. Unlike our forgiveness of others, He blots it out forever. God’s love can never be taken away from you, ever – Romans 8:37-39
SOMETIMES TRUE STORIES
Public trust in government today stands at 17 percent. Trust in the church and organized religion has fallen as well. From 1973 to 1985, American confidence in organized religion was at 60 percent, higher than confidence in any other institution. Today, only 38 percent of Americans say they have a “great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence in the church or organized religion.
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We must never forget that the world is watching how we treat each other—and what they see can be far more powerful than what we teach. As it is, it’s no surprise that Christians do a less-than-stellar job when it comes to our attitudes toward each other and the world. It’s that kind of criticism that prompted Gandhi’s famous quote: “I like your Christ. I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.” And his follow-up: “If it weren’t for Christians, I’d be a Christian.”
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Let’s start by dumping the idea that “it’s all about me.” That belief alone will dramatically change our perspective on living the Christian life. Instead of being so “inward” thinking, it’s time to get “outward” in our thinking. Here’s a good scale to measure our progress: How many times do we say “I” or “me” in our prayers?
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Three truths Christians should remember:
1. The loudest voices don’t represent all voices.
2. Don’t shout back. Listen.
3. God’s Word stands strong.
Jesus and disciples
“Who do you say that I am?” Jesus asked Peter. His response was immediate. Direct. Unequivocal. And divinely inspired. “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matt 16:15-16).
QUOTES YOU CAN USE
You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” —Jeremiah 29:13
A Bible that’s falling apart usually belongs to someone who isn’t.—Author and Pastor Charles Haddon Spurgeon
Christians are losing the battle for our culture because we would rather skip the training. We’d rather pursue our dreams than do the hard work. Phil Cook
What if we took Christianity as seriously as Navy SEALS take their training?
A tree that falls in a storm usually isn’t felled by the outside force of the wind. It falls because it’s already rotten on the inside. The same is true of Christians.
Nothing can destroy Christianity if we live like Christians.—A. W. Tozer, Culture
The truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it emotionally. Novelist Flannery O’Connor
You are called to a mission! Not just to bask in his glory on the mountaintop, but to share his message with a lost and dying world. Pastor Jack Graham
No one who has ever bowed before the burning bush can thereafter speak lightly of God. A. W. Tozer
In whatever way God is calling you to be a culture-changing Christian, know that the culture will likely resist. Those who hate our Father will hate his children. Jesus warned us: “If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you” (John 15:20). Jim Denison
A person can be removed from slavery in an instant, but it takes a lifetime for slavery to be removed from a person.” Lecrae Moore