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Forgive? You’re Kidding Me, Right?

Hug it out

(Hugging it out…)

The concept of forgiveness can be a hard thing to digest.  If someone wronged us, granting forgiveness can feel almost as if we’ve been hit twice.  The first time when we were so generously issued the wrong-doing; the second when we struggled to set-aside our ill-feelings and extended the gift of forgiveness.  After all, he/she may have deserved anything but a gift.

Our minds cannot grasp some acts deserving forgiveness.  Can you think of something that has been or would be hard to forgive?  I’m sure you could—I just thought of three in about five seconds flat.  Forgiveness doesn’t always appear justifiable.  Why should we let our perpetrator off the hook?  Withholding forgiveness can deceivingly present itself as our last hope to even the stakes.  However, is keeping the culprit on that hook really enforcing justice … or do we feel the weight ten-fold from supporting the hook itself?

 “Forgiving those who hurt us is the key to personal peace.”

~ G. Weatherly

This residual weight strapped to our shoulders is not only a nuisance, but can be draining, tormenting, and even suffocating.  To choose to carry this pain can feel as if the incident is recurring with each passing day.  Neither party wins.

My Glimpse in the Mirror

I’ve recently asked myself, “Where would I be if I was never granted forgiveness for my own transgressions?”  Sadly, the answer wasn’t pretty.  We all appreciate forgiveness for our mistakes.  God forgives us over and over again every single day.  Upon acknowledgement of our blunder and a sincere request for forgiveness, His mercy awaits.  So wouldn’t it be hypocritical not to reciprocate this generosity to others?  

“Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” 

Ephesians 4:31-32  

(NIV)

We are left with a choice:  do we forgive, or do we carry the weight?  It’s not an easy decision.  Given we make the decision to forgive, our next step(s) toward allowing that act to transpire can be even harder.  Here’s where prayer comes in, asking God to locate the strength and perspective within us to not only want to forgive but also follow through with that desire, surrendering to His wisdom when our need for justice yanks us backward.  We give our Father our torment and baggage and embrace the metamorphous of our heart.  We do this each and every day, over and over again until we are able to welcome this road as if no other choice had ever been appealing.  We simply can’t do it alone.

But How Often Should We Have to Forgive?

Ever feel like your forgiveness is constant?  Why do we continue to hand out forgiveness—shouldn’t we reach a threshold at some point?  We don’t have a limited bank of forgiveness to grant.  God emulates for us limitless love, grace and mercy.  He doesn’t issue this sparingly.  Forgiveness is a choice, not a well that will run dry.  The option will always be available.  So what stops us from giving it?  Only ourselves.

“Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, ‘Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?‘ Jesus answered, ‘I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.’”

Matthew 18: 21-22

(NIV)

Wow.  Seventy-seven times.  Does your mind present this as, “seventy-seven opportunities for another to take advantage of me”?  Or instead, “seventy-seven opportunities for personal peace”?  The choice is yours.

Always wishing you peace,

Alicia M. Smith

Twitter:  @AliciaMSmith7

 

Jesus on Cross


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What Have You Placed At The Foot Of The Cross?

Jesus on Cross

“Our sins twisted the crown of thorns; our sins drove the nails into His hands and feet; on account of our sins His blood was shed. Surely the thought of Christ crucified should make us loathe all sin.”  ~J.C. Ryle

http://eph5v2.wordpress.com/2011/04/22/our-sins-drove-the-nails/

“He (Moses) chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin.  He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward.” Hebrews 11:24-26 (NIV)

Martin Luther put it very well when he said, “Sin is, essentially, a departure from God.” When standing in the all-consuming fire of God’s great love, any sins still clinging to our garments will find themselves exposed. Nothing is hidden from our Heavenly Father. He sees all, knows all, and is all. Therefore, it is a spiritually immature child who images iniquity can remain concealed from an all-knowing God.

Our reaction to having personal sins exposed will be one of two possibilities. Either we will shudder and shriek in shame and fall to our knees in humble and contrite repentance, or we will grab onto our sinful vice with unspeakable determination and flee the presence of God….. Choosing temporary pleasure over His grace and forgiveness. Mind you, forgiveness is necessary in order to have fellowship and a true relationship with the Creator.

When Jesus died upon the Calvary cross, He took all of our sins with Him, and then threw the iniquities as far as the east is from the west. Because of His great love for us, He willingly suffered an unthinkable death. It was only through His obedience and sacrifice that a way to the Father was procured. Jesus is THE WAY. He is our mediator! He pleads our case and intercedes on our behalf both day and night. So why, WHY would anyone choose sin over the fellowship offered by God?

Hebrews 11:24 tells us that sin is pleasurable, but fleeting. The human race is obsessed with pleasure, whether it is attained through the food we eat, sex, or objects bought on credit. A juicy steak may delight us for a few moments but the thrill is short lived, and we will soon find ourselves thinking about the next delectable to devour. The flesh is never satisfied.

So sin gives us pleasure but it is only temporary. And because the enjoyment is not long lived, many of us are cursed with the addiction of finding new and better ways to curb our cravings for gratification. With our focus on the “next good thing” we forget that all things in this life will pass away. We ignore the warning to lay up heavenly treasure, where moth and rust have no affect.

“For where your treasure is, there your heart will also be.” If Christ is our treasure, we will crave fellowship with Him. If the lusts of the world are the treasure we desire, we will exit the presence of God in order to pursue them. Being short sighted in such cases is a gross understatement, for those who toss aside the eternal to live for the temporal can’t see past their next pleasure fix. They lack self-control.

The Devil tries to use our sins to erode the significance of our Savior’s death on the cross. He casts out his nets of deception and daily collects a multitude of sinners, entangling them in a latticework woven by human iniquity. Jesus suffered so that all of us might live eternally with Him. When we CHOOSE a life of sin over a life of gratitude and obedience, it is as if we are helping the Roman soldiers hammer the nails in the flesh of Christ. Jesus was crucified for our salvation. Unrepentant sin is our damnation.

Will you continue to hold onto your sins for the mere temporary pleasure they give you, or will you surrender each one now and lay them at the foot of the cross? It is never too late to start! Begin building your treasury in heaven. You will be glad you did, for eternity is for an eternity and life on earth is but a blink of the eye.

“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”   Matthew 6:19-21 (NKJV)


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Forgiveness and Humility

ImageMatthew 5:25: Make friends quickly with your opponent at law while you are with him on the way, so that your opponent may not hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the officer, and you be thrown into prison.

 

Just as pride comes before the fall, humility comes before honor. There is no honor without humility first. Humility dictates that a person demands to be judged and reckoned by others. If outward humility is not the result of inward humility, it is very dangerous because it becomes an outward display of deception. To put it another way: the outward expression of humility must always be a result of inward grace at work. Humility is the direct nature of God therefore we are advised to take advantage of every opportunity of humility.

Jesus was humility made manifest in the earth. We all know that if we are accused of something for which we are guilty, we must confess, apologize and make it right – and that’s difficult enough! If we are wrongfully accused, what then? Do we have the right to jump into a debate with someone, yelling (or calmly stating) how wrong they are about us? Absolutely not! Rather, instead of arguing, we should respond by apologizing to them for having given them the impression that we did or said what they think we did or said. Ask how we can make it right. When your opponent is faced with your humility, how can they successfully come against you? This is walking in a perpetual condition of forgiveness before someone offends.

We need to get it in our spirit-man that our Defender is far greater than the offender (Satan). We are never to defend ourselves. Walk away if you must, but don’t get into a showdown of words trying to convince someone they are wrong. When has that ever accomplished anything good? When someone thinks something in their heart, no amount of words you speak can turn them away from their opinion. Only God can change a heart. Don’t waste time and energy, and for heaven’s sake, don’t jeopardize your personal walk with God because someone thinks something incorrectly about you. It isn’t worth it.

God will prove them wrong in time; you needn’t concern yourself with such petty matters because truth will always surface in due season. Keep integrity intact and it will protect you in the long run.

 

Peace and blessings,

 Alexys V. Wolf

www.thefierysword.com

https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Fiery-Sword-Global-Ministries/185299884822251

http://thefierysword.wordpress.com/


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Deadly Secrets

Ever had the past thrown up in your face? Just when you think you past is over and forgotten, some secret comes screaming back at you  - that secret is no longer secret!

A lot of Christians can relate horror stories about past sins that have “caught up” with them.

In my past blogs (The Hauntings & Blood Stained Pages) I have attempted to answer the question of past sins and how we as Christians can have those feelings of guilt and self-condemnation forgiven AND forgotten.

All sin is a stark reality we must all deal with sooner or later in our lives – not one of us escapes! – We all have rebelled against God and His standards. Only through Jesus’ death can we be forgiven.

In Jesus, even the most heinous of sins can be blotted out by His Sacrifice  - if you turn to 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 there are heaps of sins mentioned there that are totally covered by His death on Calvary.

Salvation is by grace and grace forgives.

But what about those ‘secret sins’? – What secret sins? I hear you ask.

Our ‘secret sins’ can be our jealousy, slander, innocent enough sounding gossip, conceit, pride, greed, money worshiping, drunkenness, fraud, stealing, idolatry, bad motives, lust, pornography, adultery and the list goes on and on – some seemingly quite innocent and happen day to day before we even notice.

Even our very thoughts can lead us to sin – so we are seemingly trapped in this never ending and ever widening cycle of our ‘deadly secrets’.

Satan is king of strategies! – He is a master of using our secret sins, those no-one knows about, he whispers in our ears to keep them in hiding, maybe justifying them or blaming others so that God will shift that blame somehow onto them and see you as the innocent party. Either way our ‘secrets’ can remain just that – secrets – our own little realm – out of sight but not really out of mind.

However, on saying that, it is possible through the work of God’s Spirit inside of us that we can take up the ‘armor of God’ He has provided and ready ourselves for battle. Or, on the other hand, we can give in to whatever our particular ‘secret sin’ is that plagues our lives.

The battle can often be overwhelming and we can be defeated but due to our amazing forgiving Lord we need not be demoralised.

When we sin God’s Holy Spirit convicts us  and helps us recognise what we have done and encourages us to ask for forgiveness.

May I add here, that God in His infinite mercy wants desperately to have a relationship with us – He is not a Pharisee, always picking fault, and throwing past sins in our faces. His mercy and forgiveness is boundless and free.

So, when confronted by your ‘secret sins’ admit to them, fess up, name them out loud if you have to and ask God’s forgiveness and His help in nailing them to Jesus cross. I heard someone say once that “it is not the sound of a gavel pounding out justice to our guilt but the sound of a hammer hammering our sins to the cross of Christ.”

Once those sins are hammered there, no-one can ever pry them off.

So right in the early stages, admit your ‘secret sins’ and walk away, then we don’t have to worry about them coming back to haunt us.

Kindness & Truth PM 213 DPI


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Truth Should Always Hold the Hand Of Kindness

Kindness & Truth PM 213 DPI

“I believe that in the end the truth will conquer.”  ~ John Wycliffe                    http://www.whatchristianswanttoknow.com/bible-verses-about-truth-20-great-scripture-quotes/#ixzz2tkrNszvJ

“Let not kindness and truth forsake thee: Bind them about thy neck; Write them upon the tablet of thy heart”   Proverbs 3:3 (ASV)

Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, but those who deal truthfully are His delight.” Proverbs 12:22 (NKJV)

 Therefore, putting away lying, ‘Let each one of you speak truth with his neighbor,’ for we are members of one another.” Ephesians 4:25 (NKJV)

KINDNESS and TRUTH should always hold hands. Together they are powerful and fully capable of spreading insight and revelation, conviction and true repentance. However, one without the other is never beneficial or profitable.

When truth is spoken with callousness, or merely in a hurried fashion, discourse will surely follow. By forgetting to speak honest words, with the love of God backing them up, our candor will put folks off. This hinders the effectiveness they could have and the ability for someone to receive them.

Ephesians 4:25 instructs us to put way lying and speak truth to our neighbors. This applies to our friends and family as well. Although sincerity is not always easy, the Lord requires it of His children. He does not lie, therefore He expects us to make a concerted effort to follow in His footsteps.

Truth is supposed to establish trust and/or restore and build up relationships. Truthful words are hard to share but they are even harder to hear and receive. A spirit of humility and sincere love, when speaking words of truth, should always be a prerequisite if God is leading you to confront someone. We are all sinners and it is imperative to remember this fact. We all sin and fall short of the glory of God. We all have seasons when we are trapped and ensnared by the entanglements of sin.

A reputation of honesty is certainly worth its weight in gold. Just be sure kindness and the love of Christ is present when realities are shared or addressed. Certainly we are to “Do to others as we would have them do to us.“ (Luke 6:31 NIV)

If you find a friendship has been destroyed by truths, first look to yourself (and not the other) when finding fault. Maybe your tone lacked compassion and your emotions got in the way. Sin should be confronted with truth but be sure God is leading you to acknowledge it and wait for His leading to speak. He knows when the time is right for the arrow of truth to pierce the soul, and hit its mark.

Godly truth will cut down the lies of the enemy and it should bring about true conviction and sorrow, spiritual growth and joy. But then again, some hearts are so hardened and deceived it may take many arrows to finally pierce their spirit and bring about true repentance. This is where prayer and intercession must step in, never loosing hope in the ability of God to lead a sinner to the mercy seat of God.

“These six things the Lord hates, Yes, seven are an abomination to Him:                                                        A proud look, A lying tongue, Hands that shed innocent blood, A heart that devises wicked plans,   Feet that are swift in running to evil, A false witness who speaks lies, And one who sows discord among brethren.”    Proverbs 6:16-19 (NKJV)

“Sanctify them by Your truth. Your Word is truth.” John 17:17 (NKJV)

“However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.” John 16:13 (NKJV)

“These are the things you shall do: Speak each man the truth to his neighbor;
Give judgment in your gates for truth, justice, and peace” Zechariah 8:16 (NKJV)


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Forgiveness

“For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins (Matthew 6:14-15, NAS).”

We all need to be so heavily clothed in the spirit of humility that we are able to walk in a perpetual internal condition of forgiveness. Meaning, we are to have forgiveness readily available for those who have not yet offended us. My friend Ruby taught me a great technique many years ago about how to alleviate unforgiveness and judgment that we form against others. It is, figuratively speaking, to put people in “the chair.”

The way it works it to pull a chair in front of you, pretend that the person who has hurt you is sitting there. Then begin to tell them what they have done to hurt, offend or anger you. Once you have released your irritations, forgive them from the heart (Matthew 18:35). The next step is to confess to God and repent of all judgment you have formed in your heart against them. Next, pray and ask God to apply His forgiveness for the judgment against them. This is an excellent technique. Getting our own hearts clean is our issue, not whether or not they hear our plea or receive our forgiveness or apology for what they did wrong. It really has nothing to do with the other person at all.

I have heard people say to me, “Well, I think putting people in the chair is a cop out. I should go to those people every time to repent of my unforgiveness (or whatever) directly to the one who offended me. How they react does not matter, only that I tell them what they did wrong, how it affected me, what is going on with me and that I forgive them anyway.” Clearly there are times when we should go to an actual person. If the one who hurt or offended us is a friend, they should be able to listen, apologize for their action, and forgive us for whatever we’ve held in your heart against them.

Please understand that putting people in “the chair” is strictly for the purpose of keeping our own hearts clean before God. The attitude of “I have to confront the offender” is wrong because what may seem humble on our part by confessing to the offender that we forgive them is really an act of revenge. It is having the perspective of, “I’m going to tell them what they did to me because they need to know.” However, in reality, people with this attitude (generally speaking) just want to tell the offender what they did wrong so that they will hurt like the offended.

This person’s so called “confession” to the offender of their personal unforgiveness and judgment is not an act of humility. In return for such a confession, there’s just more anger and judgment going round and round, now in both people. If the offender did not accept the so-called apology and became angry at the anger of the offended, both the offended and the offender grow ever more angry. By going to the actual person, fire is being fueled when it all could have been avoided simply by keeping mouths closed and deal with personal issues in our quiet time with Yahweh. Silence takes genuine humility.

There may be someone who offends us (or trie to) regularly. It is not necessary to go to them every time. If we do, we simply irritate the situation by going to them and, in turn, make them angry. We then are the ones who make our brother or sister fall and the guilt lies on us. Be very careful and discerning about whom we are to apologize in person, and who to forgive quietly. Nine times out of ten, quietly in the privacy of our own home and heart is the best resolution.

Remember, the person who has offended us may be very fragile in their heart. If we, thinking only of ourselves, go to them when they upset us, we may make them feel worse about themselves because they did not know what they did. Another scenario could be that the offender has confirmation that they accomplished their task of annoying us and they will continue all the more. Some people are full of evil spirits and it is their mission to cause as much havoc in the lives of others as possible. Be careful with people. We are a fragile creation and we need tender, loving care that can only be given through obedience to Holy Spirit within.

I hope you’ll come back next week as we continue to explore the subject of forgiveness. If you’re interested in reading more on this subject, please go to my website and check out my books.

Peace and blessings,

Alexys V. Wolf
http://www.thefierysword.com

https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Fiery-Sword-Global-Ministries/185299884822251

http://thefierysword.wordpress.com/


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Oh My!! How things have changed.

Well it’s summer time in good old Australia and with the temperatures way above 40 deg C, sweaty and hot days are the norm.

Made me think as I turned on the air conditioner just how times have changed and I began to reminisce to myself about the past.

Doesn’t seem that long ago that air conditioners/central heating & cooling were a dream for the future – sort of like a scifi film of some distant future time made up of dreams and wishes.

With oscillating fans trying at least to keep the hot air moving, the family together in a hot little room with the west-facing windows heavily shaded and shut tightly to stop the hot sun from making the ‘furnace’ even hotter.

And bedtime! what can one say?? – laying on top of the sheets waiting for the fan at last to make it’s slow revolution across your sweaty body so you could at least catch a breath of some sort of moving air and to cool the pooling sweat particles.

As kids we would talk mum into putting on the sprinkler and run back and forth around the yard like made things squirting each other with water pistols and buckets of water.

The beach Oh! the beach –  heaven awaited us! Into the car, of course minus the air conditioning and with wind down windows and all vents open we at least hoped to catch a breath of hot air as the car struggled with the family on board to get to our destination.

Once arrived, there was the run across the tarred road that almost burned the soles off your bare feet and that was even before reaching the scorching sand. Then the dash down to the water to jump in and spend the next hour or so before turning blue with cold.

The cold didn’t last long before struggling back to the car to perch with bare legs and back on the blazing hot vinyl seats of dads old Holden for the journey back home where you were just as hot if not hotter than you were before the whole adventure started.

Back to the fan and a cold drink and then all hang out for the ‘southerly buster’ to come and cool things down to everyone’s relief.

Things are so different now – with a flick of the switch we can have instant cooling/warming. Swimming pools in the backyard and air conditioned cars all go to make life that little bit more comfortable.

As a Christian I have changed too! Again, I look back over the years to where I have come from and where I have been through my Christian walk and must admit I am gobsmacked with the change that God has made in my life.

Like the wind-down windows and the oscillating fans, things were so different way back then – God to me was this BIG person way out there wielding a gigantic stick and making me do the ‘right’ thing and if I didn’t there were all sorts of threats and punishments just waiting to be dished out.

I often thought that I would be somehow ‘cut-off’ from God if I stepped out of line too often and if I crossed the invisible line of His patience and make all hell (literally) break out.

Like the Israelites of long ago who were so influenced by those nations round about them I too was influenced by my distortion of God. My vision of God was one of Him being cruel, vengeful and uncaring but actually He demonstrates that He is the very opposite.

If you, like me are anxious about your thoughts, ideas, feelings and desires that so often seem to lure you away from God’s plan for your life, then like the Israelites, God can and will cut-off and do away with those hurtful and wicked thoughts that pervade your mind.

You are NOT in danger of being completely cut-off or condemned in judgement, instead God applies forgiveness when needed and through His mercy and Grace and use of amazing ‘spiritual surgery’ removes those feelings of hopelessness and despair.

So if like me you have been thinking of God as uncaring and cruel, I hope this new understanding about Him removes much of your dread about this seemingly vengeful God. He is our Shepherd who leads, feeds and protects us.

So yes, God has brought me a fair way in my walk with Him. Every day is a new adventure. Every day His Spirit guides and directs the paths I take and fills me anew with His love and understanding.

Unfortunately I still wander off the path – Of course I do – BUT He is there ready to drag me back and make me the New Creation I know he has planned for my life.


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Christ the Lowly, part VI

“Take My yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls (Matthew 11:29, NAS).”

 “For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins (Matthew 6:14-15, NAS).”

We all need to be so heavily clothed in the spirit of humility that we are able to walk in a perpetual internal condition of forgiveness. Meaning, we are to have forgiveness readily available for those who have not yet offended us. My friend Ruby taught me a great technique many years ago about how to alleviate unforgiveness and judgment that we form against others. It is, figuratively speaking, to put people in “the chair.” The way it works it to pull a chair in front of you, pretend that the person who has hurt you is sitting there. Then begin to tell them what they have done to hurt, offend or anger you. Once you have released your irritations, forgive them from the heart (Matthew 18:35). The next step is to confess to God and repent of all judgment you have formed in your heart against them. Next, pray and ask God to apply His forgiveness for the judgment against them. This is an excellent technique. Getting our own hearts clean is our issue, not whether or not they hear our plea or receive our forgiveness or apology for what they did wrong. It really has nothing to do with the other person at all.

 I have heard people say to me, “Well, I think putting people in the chair is a cop out. I should go to those people every time to repent of my unforgiveness (or whatever) directly to the one who offended me. How they react does not matter, only that I tell them what they did wrong, how it affected me, what is going on with me and that I forgive them anyway.” Clearly there are times when we should go to an actual person. If the one who hurt or offended us is a friend, they should be able to listen, apologize for their action, and forgive us for whatever we’ve held in your heart against them.

 That being said, if they are really a friend, the question we should ask ourselves is “why am I offended by them? Then ask “are they someone that would purposely hurt me?” If not, consider that they did not mean to hurt you and don’t let their misstep offend any longer. Otherwise, maybe they aren’t someone with whom you need to remain friends. You should be in control of your emotions and be slow to anger and offense.

 Please understand that putting people in “the chair” is strictly for the purpose of keeping our own hearts clean before God. The attitude of “I have to confront the offender” is wrong because what may seem humble on our part by confessing to the offender that we forgive them is really an act of revenge. It is having the perspective of, “I’m going to tell them what they did to me because they need to know.” However, in reality, people with this attitude (generally speaking) just want to tell the offender what they did wrong so that they will hurt like the offended.

 This person’s so called “confession” to the offender of their personal unforgiveness and judgment is not an act of humility. In return for such a confession, there’s just more anger and judgment going round and round, now in both people. If the offender did not accept the so-called apology and became angry at the anger of the offended, both the offended and the offender grow ever more angry. By going to the actual person, fire is being fueled when it all could have been avoided simply by keeping mouths closed and deal with personal issues in our quiet time with Yahweh. Silence takes genuine humility.

 There may be someone who offends us (or tries to) regularly. It is not necessary to go to them every time. If we do, we simply irritate the situation by going to them and, in turn, make them angry. We then are the ones who make our brother or sister fall and the guilt lies on us. Be very careful and discerning about whom we are to apologize in person, and who to forgive quietly.  Nine times out of ten, quietly in the privacy of our own home and heart is the best resolution.

Remember, the person who has offended us may be very fragile in their heart. If we, thinking only of ourselves, go to them when they upset us, we may make them feel worse about themselves because they did not know what they did. Another scenario could be that the offender has confirmation that they accomplished their task of annoying us and they will continue all the more. Some people are full of evil spirits and it is their mission to cause as much havoc in the lives of others as possible. Be careful with people. We are a fragile creation and we need tender, loving care that can only be given through obedience to Holy Spirit within.

I hope you’ll come back next week as we continue to explore the subject of humility. If you’re interested in reading more on this subject, please go to my website and check out my books.

Peace and blessings,

Alexys V. Wolf

www.thefierysword.com

https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Fiery-Sword-Global-Ministries/185299884822251

http://thefierysword.wordpress.com/


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Are you a Pharisee?

While here in earth Jesus gave his harshest criticism to the Pharisees!

Who were these amazing people?

They were the leaders of Judaism and ‘kept the law” of Moses. They were so ‘good’ at it they became wholly devoted and aligned to it. So devoted in fact that they became extremist in limited parts of the law plus adding to it as they saw fit.

They were like the ‘policemen’ of the law and were down, like a ton of bricks, on anyone that dared step out of line. So you can imagine their surprise when Jesus came along.

Here He was, the very Messiah in their midst, performing miracles aplenty and changing lives radically. But instead of embracing the truth with joy – what did they do?

They killed Him of course – what else could they do? Jesus brought a message of love, hope, forgiveness, mercy and grace which was utterly opposed to the harsh, unforgiving, merciless and “you must do as we tell you unless damnation awaits” message portrayed by them.

We stand aghast at what the Pharisees eventually did to Jesus – our minds can’t grip the truth of the whole deal of Jesus’ death and why?

They were a sad yet zealous lot – forever searching for the wrong in peoples lives and dragging them over the coals for breaking the law no mater how trivial.

Thing is – Are we in danger of becoming a “Pharisee”? I have become somewhat concerned looking around churches of late where there seems to be a “spirit of the Pharisee” among a lot of us. Me included unfortunately!

How did this happen?

Years ago when Sue and I were fortunate enough to run a Youth Group, a lot of the young people on most Sunday nights after church would visit a fish and chip shop to hang out and eat. No a bad idea – but the place was filthy – the kids used to call it “Chips Diarrhoea” for obvious reasons – SO why OH why did they keep going back to such a “dive”? Asking them once the answer I received was “I don’t know it just sort of happens?”

Shaking my head I couldn’t believe that answer – surely there were heaps of other places to hang out? I couldn’t believe they would even dream of darkening the door.

But sadly I reckon it is a bit like a lot of Christians today when it comes to being a ‘modern-day Pharisee’. “It just sort of happens”.

Lots of people have distorted views on God. The truth is that everything He arranges in life is wrapped in mercy! He is good and filled with such love, mercy and grace. God wants the very best for us – He doesn’t WANT to judge and punish.

Jesus whole ministry was based solely on love and forgiveness, giving hope and encouragement. The Pharisees on the other hand wanted to punish, judge and condemn.

We can so easily fall into the habit of condemning people, looking down our noses at others judging people, speaking unkindly and in effect ruining reputations and lives.

It’s so easy to point out the sin in someones life – in our churches – in our work places – of course there is sin there – we all do it! We all sin consciously or unconsciously

Of course there is sin in our lives and that on-going sin produces deep condemnation and a constant nagging worry that somehow we may have crossed an invisible line with God – Have we gone beyond Gods’ grace? Having said that we continue to make very poor choices often many times a day.

Satan loves to ‘get at us’ this way. He loves to warp God’s truth in order to lead people away from the very grace and mercy that can save them from him. God speaks to us of deliverance and His amazing plan of Salvation not of Wrath!

“Guilty, Condemned and Damned” cries the voice of the Pharisee – “Forgiven and Forgotten” whispers the voice of the grace of God.

On saying all of that, one day we will all stand before our God and King and if we haven’t given our lives to him in trust and commitment then we can be truly terrified to meet Him – but God doesn’t want to judge – He is NOT a Pharisee – He wants to have a relationship with us through His amazing love, mercy, grace and forgiveness.

So how are you? Are you a modern day Pharisee, even unintentionally? Are you always ready to judge others? pointing out their shortcomings to your friends. 

In Proverbs 6: 16-19 there is a list of things that God hates and top of that list is what the KJV says is “Proud Eyes” – the ESV  describes verse 16 as “Haughty Eyes”. Either way top dog on Gods “anger” list is looking down on others, being dismissive, judgemental and arrogant.

So again. How are you shaping up? How am I shaping up?

But don’t despair, good news awaits. It’s not too late we can turn back to Jesus – even well-intentioned as you may be – the spirit of the Pharisee is wrong and so sinful.

Turn back to Jesus – take a detour – make a U-turn, back track, turn around or go in reverse – whatever you do climb back up the slippery slope and I can guarantee that Jesus in His great love and mercy will be there welcoming you.


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THE GREAT ETERNAL CONSTANT

By Neil Anderson

banner_secondary_who i am in christ

December 27

1 John 3:1  
See how great a love the Father has bestowed upon us, that we should be called children of God

Have you ever felt that God is ready to give up on you because, instead of walking confidently in faith, you sometimes stumble and fall? Do you ever fear that there is a limit to God’s tolerance of your failure and that you are walking dangerously near that outer barrier or have already crossed it? I have met a lot of Christians like that. They think that God is upset with them, that He is ready to dump them, or that He has already given up on them because their daily performance is less than perfect.

It’s true that the walk of faith can sometimes be interrupted by moments of personal unbelief or rebellion, or even satanic deception. It’s during those moments when we think that God has surely lost His patience with us and is ready to give up on us. The temptation is to give up, stop walking by faith altogether, slump dejectedly by the side of the road, and wonder, “What’s the use?” We feel defeated, God’s work for us is suspended, and Satan is elated.

The primary truth you need to know about God in order for your faith to remain strong is that His love and acceptance is unconditional. When your walk of faith is strong, God loves you. When your walk of faith is weak, God loves you. When you’re strong one moment and weak the next, strong one day and weak the next, God loves you. God’s love for you is the great eternal constant in the midst of all the inconsistencies of your daily walk.

God wants us to do good, of course. The apostle John wrote: “I write this to you so that you will not sin” (1 John 2:1 NIV). But John continued by reminding us that God has already made provision for our failure so His love continues constant in spite of what we do: “But if anybody does sin, we have One who speaks to the Father in our defense–Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world” (verses 1, 2 NIV).

Prayer: Lord, give me grace to correct my character defects and to help meet the needs of others.