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At the close of another Annual Fellowship Meeting, I think back on the services and reflect on the gold nuggets that I am taking away from it. I always look forward to this time of year, a time of reflection, a time for a deeper consecration, a renewing in my soul, a fresh touch of desire. But all of this is of no use, unless it is put into practice. It becomes an emotional experience of the past, just a good time, if the challenges aren’t accepted and pursued. This is my desire, that it not be just another great meeting, but that it be a stepping stone that draws me closer to God.

  1. No relationship can survive with out forgiveness.
  2. If you are not willing to constantly forgive, you will become bitter.
  3. Do we want God to forgive us as we forgive others? There is a reason why he says to forgive others as he has forgiven us.
  4. Unforgiveness incarcerates the victim with no effect on the offender.
  5. Who art thou Lord? Daily ask who God is. The answer, I am Jesus, will meet every need, answer every question.
  6. We need to have a for sure knowledge of who he is.
  7. We need the Spirit – to kill the flesh, to pray when we can’t, to be a witness, to quicken the body. We NEED the Spirit.
  8. He rescued me from what could have been my end. Being saved young and not having experienced the vast world of sin, my end could have been a mess, full of heartache and sorrow. He saved me from what could have been.10514-Great-Is-Thy-Faithfulness
  9. He is a faithful Father, and GREAT is his faithfulness to me.
  10. Why should I feel discouraged? When I know that he watches me, just as he watches the sparrow.
  11. We need to be willing to let the spotlight of God shine on us and not always shift the focus to someone else, he that is without sin cast the first stone.
  12. Face your need.
  13. Allow Christ to see your failure. Allow him into the intimate part of your heart, where your hurts are. He will take them and make something great.
  14. Be willing to God with God to places you have never gone before. Go out into the deep.
  15. Be concerned about stagnation. If you aren’t growing, moving up, experiencing more in salvation, if it is no longer a benefit to you, Be very concerned. Seek God.
  16. Don’t bring up the past. Focusing on the past hurts, problems, divisions, will cause you to miss your blessing.
  17. Don’t be afraid when your “child” is dead. Don’t listen to what others say, believe and ask Jesus into the intimate parts of your house, so he can bring healing to your need.
  18. Jesus says, no matter what you have heard, I can do something with this impossible situation.
  19. I’m still HOLDING ON.558309
  20. When God draws the line, it is up to us to measure to it.
  21. God wants to do good, are we willing to let him use us?
  22. We need to be more intimate with God. You need intimacy with him in order to bring forth new converts.

A long list. A lot to remember. But changes don’t have to happen over night. We do what we have known to do. Take additional time in prayer and devotion. Be quick and willing to forgive the little slights each day. Open our mouth and let God fill it.

God help us, help me, to be your child. To hear AND obey.

We live in a world with many people, personalities and differences. While this is a good thing, making life interesting. Happiness and sorrow come from the encounters that we have with those around us. It is a given that at some time we are going to be hurt. There will be disagreements, accusations, disappointments, and physical harm.

When someone comes against us wrongfully, betrays us, destroys trust, harms us, there is cause for hurt. And the hurt is greater if it is someone that we love and trust.

It is easy to harbor a grudge or wish pain back on that person in punishment for how they made us feel. You want justice for the wrong deed that was committed.

However, there is danger in this. We cannot be found close to God if we don’t forgive them.

What is it to forgive?
to give up resentment against or the desire to punish; stop being angry with; pardonto give up all claim to punish or exact penalty for an offense; overlook
to cancel or remit a debt

Through out the bible there are descriptions of how a Christian is to live.

Ephesians 4:31-32

Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.

It is interesting that we are first instructed to get rid of the bitterness, wrath, and anger, before we are told to be kind and forgive. It is impossible to forgive with bitterness.

Another place in which we are commanded to forgive is

Colossians 3:12-13

Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.

The scripture lists that qualities we need to have being apart of God’s people.

In both of these scriptures Christ is pointed out as our example of a forgiving heart.

Forgiveness is an act of the heart, not just in motions, we can’t harbor or hold on to a grudge, allowing bitterness to grow

Often we hear the words “forgive and forget” I think that is impossible. God gave us a memory for a reason; it would be easy to forgive someone if we didn’t remember the hurt that was caused. God wants us to be able to forgive even though we remember.

The children of Israel continued time and time again to go against God, but in his mercy knowing they were human, he forgave then.

Psalms 78:38-39

But he, being full of compassion, forgave their iniquity, and destroyed them not: yea, many a time turned he his anger away, and did not stir up all his wrath. For he remembered that they were but flesh; a wind that passeth away, and cometh not again.

God showed compassion just as we are to show compassion, as said before forbearing with each other, understanding the weakness of the human, and forgive.

Side note – this doesn’t give us the liberty to go around heedless of those around us, not being careful to not cause offence. We still need to be faithful to our promise to God, to do our best and not sin, and in this we are to do right to those around us.

If we fail to forgive we can’t reach God and he will hesitate to answer our prayers, in fact, he says he won’t hear our prayer.

Mark 11:24-26

Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them. And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses.

God hearing and answering our prayers is contingent upon us forgiving others.

We are also instructed to seek forgiveness of others if we have caused hurt before coming to God.

Matthew 5:23-24

Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.

We need to be careful to have everything clear between us and others before seeking God. It is best that once we know that there is a problem, to take care of it, thus to not hinder our relationship with God.

Jesus explains forgiveness through a parable in Matthew 18:21-35, Peter questioned Jesus about forgiveness. He was in a predicament, his brother kept bothering him. He would say sorry, and Peter would forgive him, but it kept happening over and over. Peter was tired of it.

Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven. Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his servants. And when he had begun to reckon, one was brought unto him, which owed him ten thousand talents. But forasmuch as he had not to pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife, and children, and all that he had, and payment to be made. The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him, saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt. But the same servant went out, and found one of his fellowservants, which owed him an hundred pence: and he laid hands on him, and took him by the throat, saying, Pay me that thou owest. And his fellowservant fell down at his feet, and besought him, saying, Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. And he would not: but went and cast him into prison, till he should pay the debt. So when his fellowservants saw what was done, they were very sorry, and came and told unto their lord all that was done. Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me: Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee? And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him. So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.

In Today’s money

1 talent=15 years wages, at minimum wage, yearly is $15,000, 10,000 yearly wages – 2,250,000,000, 2 billion, 250 million dollars

100 pence – $1.56

This story exemplifies the amount that Chirst has forgiven us to anything that we may need to forgive another man. Christ is our example in how we are to live our life.

The seriousness is that if we can’t forgive, that Christ won’t forgive us.

Matthew 6:14-15

For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

With out God’s forgiveness, we would still be living in sin.

It takes a humble heart to ask for forgiveness and to forgive, let us be willing to be humble. To clear up anything that we have with others, if you can, call up someone that has heart you and let them know you forgive them. If you can’t, forgive them in your heart. Seek forgiveness of those that you have hurt. When you are able to let the hurt go and forgive, you are able to be in communion with God, and life gets so much better.

Mark 11:22-26 (The Amplified Bible)

And Jesus replying said to them, “Have faith in God (constantly). Truly, I tell you, whoever says to this mountain, Be lifted up and thrown into the sea! And does not doubt at all in his heart, but believes that what he says will take place, it will be done for him. For this reason I am telling you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe – trust and be confident – that it is granted to you, and you will [get it]. And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against any one, forgive him and let it drop – leave it, let it go – in order that your Father Who is in heaven may also forgive you your [own] failings and shortcomings and let the drop. But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your failings and shortcomings.

Have you ever found yourself in a “dungeon of despair” overcome with the guilt and shame of committing some deed? I’m not talking about committing sin, but maybe you acted with out thinking or said something out of turn or with out wisdom. Perhaps it was a something done in your youth or just yesterday. Even after receiving forgiveness for our sins, we all have found ourselves locked away at one time or another. In fact, many times we lock ourselves away, never forgiving ourselves for what was done, even if we have been forgiven by others. If we are constantly locking ourselves away, we cannot fully live for God. In fact, not only do we diminish our relationship with God and those around us, we damage our effectiveness on those around us.

In her book, Keeping a Princess Heart, Nicole Johnson refers to three gold keys as truths that are helpful to remember in order to unlock the doors that may hold us in the dungeon of despair. And even though her book is focused on women, men listen up; I believe these thoughts can be helpful for all of us.

1st Gold Key: “You have been recognized. Your crimes were enough to put you in the dungeon, but you are not forgotten there. The King has thrown open the door and stepped in to find you. The scolding bridle of shame and guilt has been broken and destroyed. You are loved. Your worth is not determined by your deeds; it is granted by your Father. Your guilt is cleansed by forgiveness. The chains of envy can be melted away by gratitude. Your heart can be free, able to grow strong once again.” -NJ

Psalms 18:4-20: The sorrows of death compassed me, and the floods of ungodly men made me afraid. The sorrows of hell compassed me about: the snares of death prevented me. In my distress I called upon the LORD, and cried unto my God: he heard my voice out of his temple, and my cry came before him, even into his ears. Then the earth shook and trembled; the foundations also of the hills moved and were shaken, because he was wroth. There went up a smoke out of his nostrils, and fire out of his mouth devoured: coals were kindled by it. He bowed the heavens also, and came down: and darkness was under his feet. And he rode upon a cherub, and did fly: yea, he did fly upon the wings of the wind. He made darkness his secret place; his pavilion round about him were dark waters and thick clouds of the skies.  At the brightness that was before him his thick clouds passed, hail stones and coals of fire. The LORD also thundered in the heavens, and the Highest gave his voice; hail stones and coals of fire. Yea, he sent out his arrows, and scattered them; and he shot out lightnings, and discomfited them. Then the channels of waters were seen, and the foundations of the world were discovered at thy rebuke, O LORD, at the blast of the breath of thy nostrils. He sent from above, he took me, he drew me out of many waters. He delivered me from my strong enemy, and from them which hated me: for they were too strong for me. They prevented me in the day of my calamity: but the LORD was my stay. He brought me forth also into a large place; he delivered me, because he delighted in me. The LORD rewarded me according to my righteousness; according to the cleanness of my hands hath he recompensed me. KJV

God doesn’t forget about us, he hears our cry from deep in the dungeon we have put ourselves in and he will help us unlock the doors.

2nd Gold Key: “You are loved. No act of injustice ever done to you has the right to destroy you. Only those things you do in response or the acts you commit against others or yourself can shrink your heart and make it small. Open your self to love! The golden key of adoration will fit the lock of the most cynical heart.” – NJ

Romans 8:35-39:  Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. KJV

God loves us and NOTHING but ourselves can separate us from his love. As long as we keep him first there will be no separation between us and God.

3rd Gold Key: “All will be well. We have a promise that the King is working things out in the world that we can’t see. We will cry now, we will not understand it all, we may think we’ll never make it through the storm – but he promises he will never leave us or forsake us. He helps us go to sleep at night with a stronger sense of the power of good and an understanding that he is protecting us from evil. He hasn’t assured us that we will always get our way; he has promised that he is the Way. And in his way, despite our suffering, we can safely trust that all will be well.” – NJ

Romans 8:26-28: Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. KJV

Hebrews 13:5-6:  Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me. KJV

God hears our cry and has a plan to work good into every situation. He has promised that all things work together for good, even if the ingredients are not positive. In all of this, he has promised to be by our side through everything.

We can take these three keys, recognition, love and assurance of a positive outcome, to unlock the doors of the dungeon that we have banished our self to. Once the door is open and God leads us out into the light, then he can begin to use us, even in the midst of the trial, to draw souls to him and be an encouragement to those around us.

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