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Posts Tagged ‘forgiveness’

Kinda sick of hearing how the church has hurt…

September 10, 2010 Leave a comment

I’m just kinda sick of hearing Christians say, “The church has hurt people.”

No one with any intelligence can argue with that statement, but should that stop ministry today? No, of course not.

Has the church hurt people? Yes. Will we again? Yes. But can’t we ask for forgiveness and repent by loving people with the truth?

What is the church? A building? No! It’s the people of God and people, even Christians, are capable of acting selfishly and sinfully though we should not. It happens when we walk in the flesh and not in the Spirit (see Galatians 5:16).

So, let’s get over our failures and recognize that there is much work to be done!

-Mark (sunbathing in the grace and mercy of God)

All done in the CONTEXT of the Gospel

August 4, 2010 Leave a comment

Rules, rules, rules…As parents, we discipline our children and give them rules and more rules but do we ever deal with the heart of the child?

All discipline must be done in the context of the Gospel and go after the HEART.

Use every opportunity to point your child to the good news of the Gospel. Say this to your child: “I love you but your behavior just now was sinful and wrong in God’s eyes. But let’s pray to Jesus, ask Him to forgive you, and then ask Him to empower you to overcome this sinful temptation inside of you.”

I want to encourage you to live in a daily context of the Gospel never forgetting the importance of the message that we are tempted to sin but are forgiven by Him when we do. Teach your child to trust in God’s forgiveness alone for eternal life.

-Mark (Gospel-saturated parenting is the only kind of parenting that works)

P.S. A new book called “Addiction-Proof Parenting” will be out by October of 2010 that will help you to implement stragtegies to parent your children in a Christ-centered way.

A “disease”? Give me a break!

August 1, 2010 1 comment

One of the very pieces of EVIDENCE that show that addiction is NOT a “disease” was told to me by a police officer commenting about the addictive properties of crystal meth.

After the FIRST usage of crystal meth, 70% of people become physically addicted to it (aka ENSLAVED in the Bible).

Crystal meth is POWERFUL and no joke. It’s not a game. Don’t play with that drug and all of the chemicals it is mixed with. There will be very few crystal meth addicts who live a long life to the age of 80 because of the damage to the lungs from smoking all of the chemicals mixed with it. Very few.

So what does that tell us? A drug that is 17x more powerful than cocaine will cause almost everyone to be “addicted” to it after the FIRST usage. Repeated usage puts the numbers even higher.

So if 70% of people get addicted after just one time, then that means addiction is not a disease that some have and others do not have. Nearly everyone is susceptible to addiction if they try the right drug.

Here’s a secret. Shhh! don’t tell anyone this: Everyone is “addicted” to something pleasurable. Everyone.

Why? Because we all fight feeding our flesh which hinders our ability to walk in the Spirit.

But here’s the good news. Galatians 5:16 states: “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.” It doesn’t say you “might not” – it says you “WILL NOT” gratify your flesh.

Walking in the Spirit is the ONLY way to overcome any addiction in the flesh. Biblical counseling works because Christ is the ONLY solution.

-Mark (glad God never calls addiction a disease, only a sin nature problem in our flesh that Jesus forgives us and empowers us to overcome both in this life and in the next life to come eternally)

Calling Evil Good

July 24, 2010 Leave a comment

Isaiah 5:20 says this:

Woe to those who call evil good
          and good evil,
     who put darkness for light
          and light for darkness,
     who put bitter for sweet
          and sweet for bitter!

Sadly, our culture continues to call evil things “good” by renaming sinful choices as diseases or excuses that make one look less responsible than they really are before God. That’s why we do what we do – speak the truth in love by calling sin “sin” and leading a person to the Cross for forgiveness and the power of the Holy Spirit to be transformed.

Examples of calling evil good is calling “idolatry” as “addiction” – “drunkenness” as “alcoholism” – “abortion” as “pro-choice” – “murder” as “euthanasia” – and “adultery” as an “affair.”

These examples may not seem like much but a change in terminology makes all the difference in the world as it either points people to Christ for the forgiveness of sin or minimizes sin by making it more acceptable and excusable.

As believers in Christ, we must not laugh at sin or minimize it in any way. Jesus died for our sins. To minimize sin is to minimize His great sacrifice for us! And He loves us that’s why He is the lamb who takes away the sins of the world for those who surrender to Him and ask for His divine forgiveness and power to change.

-Mark (recognizing that one word change can affect an entire society by leading them away from Christ)

Excerpted from the English Standard Version of the Bible – go to http://www.esvstudybible.org to get one today!

“I can’t forgive myself!”

May 29, 2010 1 comment

Where’s the Bible say we are to forgive ourselves?

I thought sins were against God and others? The consequences of sin hurt us but when we sin, we need God’s forgiveness – not our own forgiveness!

I hear this phrase a lot – “I can’t forgive myself!” – and I think they mean that they are struggling with the guilt and shame of their sinful actions. They are having trouble getting over their sinful choice. I understand that – feeling so stupid because you knew better than to make the sinful choice yet did it anyway. Paul says something about that in Romans 7:15 “what I hate, I do.”

In some ways, I think we realize, “I can’t believe I did this and now I can’t believe I have to deal with the consequences of this.” It’s terrible and there’s no reverse. We can never go back to the moments before the sinful choice when we had the opportunity to say “no” to sin and “yes” to God. Just like Adam and Eve could not go back into the Garden of Eden – they were banished.

God forgives us. We live in His grace and mercy when we accept His forgiveness of our sins through Jesus Christ. We need His forgiveness and then we need to TRUST HIM that He has forgiven us according to His Word in I John – “He is is just and faithful to forgive us…” I trust God at His Word.

I heard someone on the radio say that saying, “I know God forgives me, but I can’t forgive myself!” is like saying Jesus and His sacrifice for our sins aren’t enough.

Now, ask Him to forgive you and believe in faith He does because of Jesus Christ. You may not feel different at first so re-train your mind by focusing your thoughts on Christ and not yourself. You do not need your own forgiveness. In fact, there is no such thing because you sinned against God. The kingdom is about the King, it’s not about you! You need the King’s forgiveness and He gives it freely!

Biblical counseling hinges upon God’s forgiveness of our sins!

Now, I think the phrase ought to be, “I can’t believe I sinned against You, God! Please forgive me and be gracious to me in the consequences of my sin.”

-Mark (looking to Christ for forgiveness and not myself)

“Did Jesus have to forgive God for putting Him on the cross?”

February 8, 2010 Leave a comment

No!!!

So why do people incorrectly think and say that they have to “forgive God” as if God has done something wrong?

God NEVER sins. God NEVER wrongs us. God is good. God is love. God is just, perfect, holy, and righteous. There is no fault in God. None.

I know that it is a reality that people get angry with God when they are sinned against and mistreated by evildoers, but it is still NOT right. It is a reality but it is NOT justifiable since God is incapable of doing wrong even IF a person thinks God is wrong.

This type of incorrect thinking reveals at least 3 things about a person: (1) Wrong view of God where He is lowered to man’s level and even below man’s level. It’s as though God is less than man. (2) Wrong view of God’s grace because they think that we deserve God’s grace when in fact, we deserve His wrath. He graciously gives us His grace and not because we have been mistreated but because Jesus was mistreated on the cross. (3)  Our understanding of Who God is and His truth does NOT come from our own understanding. In fact, the Bible warns us NOT to lean on our own understanding (Proverbs 3). Knowing the truth comes only from the Holy Spirit revealing God’s Word to us!

Even if you feel angry at God, remember God did NOT harm you. He allowed you to suffer at the hands of evildoers.

If you have been unfairly victimized and harmed by someone, your suffering is due to the sin of Adam and Eve and the sin of mankind. If you are angry at God, it is misdirected. It may be righteous anger that you feel against the sin and mistreatment you received from the hands of another person, but you must never be angry at God. Mankind is responsible for sin.

It’s not ok to be angry at God. Ever. Yet I acknowledge that people do get sinfully angry at God, but they need to repent for that attitude against a holy, loving, and righteous God.

We NEVER EVER have to forgive God since He NEVER EVER does anything wrong.

God allowed a sinless Man, the Son of Man, to die the death you and I should have experienced because of our sin yet Jesus was never angry at God. Jesus never had to forgive God for the suffering He experienced at Calvary. To think that Jesus was angry or had to forgive God for His death on the cross is ludicrous.

Jesus experienced God’s wrath on the cross for the GREATER GOOD – God’s forgiveness of our sins! That was God’s greater plan: the plan of salvation for sinful mankind who needs a Redeemer! Jesus was NOT angry about that because He was SUBMITTED to God’s plan for the greater good. You and I should be, too. We should trust God and His sovereign plans that they are for God’s greater good and His greater plans than our measly, little ole understanding. Our perspective matters not. God’s perspective is all that really matters.

Let me urge you NOT to believe the lie that you must forgive God. You don’t have to forgive God because He has never and will never do anything wrong. In fact, even if you hate God right now at this very moment, He is the REASON that you are breathing and that your heart is beating because you are sustained only by His power!

God never sins.

God is never wrong.

God is always right.

Only God is righteous. We are unrighteous until He makes us righteous through Christ.

Anything we receive from Him is merciful and gracious and only because He loves us first while we were still sinners (Rom. 5:8; I John 4:10).

God is love (I John 4:8b). Love is His character.

You never have to forgive love!

-Mark (recognizing the holiness of God and His sovereignty while acknowledging the responsibility of mankind at the very same time)

“Pre-forgive me!”

September 25, 2009 Leave a comment

Have you ever had this attitude toward the Lord?

“Lord, please forgive me for what I am ABOUT to do?” I call it the “pre-forgive me” syndrome. People are taking lightly the consequences of sin and the grace of God which abounds so much in our lives when they have this attitude. Our counselees do this all of the time, unfortunately.

Reflect for a moment: do YOU have this type of attitude right now about some sinful area of your life (can be in your thinking, speaking, or doing)?

There is no pre-excuse for what you choose to do. God holds you responsible. Even more so, we are taking Him for granted when we make this type of decision willfully against Him. At the bottom level, we are choosing to believe the lie that sin is good rather than God’s way of righteousness is good and best for us. It is a lack of trusting in the Lord.

-Mark (glad that God does grant forgiveness for all of my sins yesterday, today, and in the future!)