God’s Gift of Forgiveness

Inline images 1Colossians 3:12-14

Motivated by love, God provided a way for our sins to be forgiven: He sent Jesus to be our Savior. When we trust in the Lord’s substitutionary sacrifice on our behalf, we receive the gift of forgiveness.

Before placing faith in Christ, we were dead in our sins and objects of divine wrath (Ephesians 2:1-3). But our merciful heavenly Father sent His Son Jesus to redeem us. At the cross, the Savior took our sins upon Himself and experienced God’s fury for our sake. His death secured a pardon for us; there was nothing we ourselves could do to acquire God’s acceptance. We are saved by grace—through faith in Christ and what He accomplished (Ephesians 2:8-9). Our salvation is a free gift from the Father.

God’s will is that we, as forgiven people, show mercy to those who wrong us—to the same degree that He forgave us in Christ. But the human tendency is to attach conditions when extending mercy. We think, I will forgive you only if you apologize. Or, You must fix the problem, and then I’ll stop being angry. Or even, You must make restitution before I will let this go. That’s not what our Savior did. Romans 5:8 expresses it this way: “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”

Depending on how much hurt we’ve experienced, we may require time and healing before we can truly forgive. But we are to remember that showing mercy is God’s will. We’re called to pardon those who have caused us pain. Through reliance on God’s Spirit, we can become Christlike and forgive.
Bible in One Year: Jeremiah 51-52

God Is in Control

11 Corinthians 13:12

It is 100 percent true that God is good and that He’s in control. These facts, however, do not prevent bad things from happening. Though it’s within the Lord’s power to give everyone a perfect existence, that wouldn’t be in our best interest. Trials and suffering often drive people to the Father. And for those of us who are already His followers, God uses harsh circumstances to mature our faith and conform us to the image of His Son. To be made perfect and pleasing to our Father is indeed beneficial.

In His omniscience and wisdom, God will allow disaster and evil to touch our lives so we can grow from the experience. Growth, whether in compassion, trust, or knowledge, is good. If we could peek behind the scenes of our life, we’d see the Lord sovereignly working toward His ultimate purpose for us.

Romans 8:28 affirms this: “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” On occasion, we see immediate positive results from trials. But other times, we must wait months or years (or until we reach heaven) to fully understand what God was doing in those difficult circumstances.

Suffering and evil are inevitable parts of a fallen world. But we have assurance that God is in control of the universe, including the tiny corner we occupy. When He permits bad things to happen, we can be sure that He will continue to provide comfort and guidance as He shapes us into the people He wants us to be.

 

STAY BLESSED

Glorious Reunion

Genesis 33:1-20

Then Esau ran to meet him and embraced him, threw his arms around his neck, and kissed him. And they both wept.

Then Esau looked at the women and children and asked, “Who are these people with you?”

“These are the children God has graciously given to me, your servant,” Jacob replied. Then the servant wives came forward with their children and bowed before him. Next came Leah with her children, and they bowed before him. Finally, Joseph and Rachel came forward and bowed before him.

“And what were all the flocks and herds I met as I came?” Esau asked. Jacob replied, “They are a gift, my lord, to ensure your friendship.” “My brother, I have plenty,” Esau answered. “Keep what you have for yourself.”

But Jacob insisted, “No, if I have found favor with you, please accept this gift from me. And what a relief to see your friendly smile. It is like seeing the face of God! Please take this gift I have brought you, for God has been very gracious to me. I have more than enough.” And because Jacob insisted, Esau finally accepted the gift. (Genesis 33:4-11)

Reflect

Why did Jacob send gifts ahead for Esau? In Bible times, gifts were given for several reasons. This may have been a bribe, an expression of affection, or the customary way of greeting someone before an important meeting. Such gifts were often related to a person’s occupation. This explains why Jacob sent sheep, goats, and cattle to Esau, who was a herdsman. In any case, Jacob was probably seeking Esau’s favor and good will.

Esau, who once had actually plotted Jacob’s death (Genesis 27:41), greeted his brother with a hug. Esau had forgiven Jacob. Time away from each other allowed the bitter wounds to heal. With the passing of time, each brother was able to see that their relationship was more important than their real estate.Jacob must have been amazed to see Esau’s change of heart when the two brothers met again. We know how God changed Jacob, but he also must  have been working on Esau’s heart. Esau was no longer bitter over losing his birthright and blessing; instead, he had forgiven his brother and was content with what he had.

Respond

Life can bring us some bad situations. We can feel cheated, as Esau did, but we don’t have to remain bitter. We can remove bitterness from our lives by honestly expressing our feelings to God, forgiving those who have wronged us, and being content with what we have. Who do you need to forgive? What glorious reunion could be in store?

 

 

STAY BLESSED

 

FALLING IN LOVE WITH JESUS

Psalm 63
When we fall in love, we want to spend time with the object of our affection and willingly give our attention to the relationship. Falling in love with Jesus should be no different, but believers often hurry through Bible reading and prayer. The result is a superficial faith kept alive by habit rather than worship. To attain lasting intimacy, we must approach God with a sense of purpose and determination.

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