If we are not ashamed to sin, then how can we seek forgiveness? Have interpretations and explanations of Scripture only softened and diluted GOD'S WORD to "comfort" and "explain away" our HARDEN HEARTS? Has any pain and grief in this world ever really made us "contrite" (ground us to powder) to be grateful and thankful for what JESUS DID ON THE CROSS? Ecclesiastes 12:14, "GOD will bring every deed into judgement, with every secret thing, whether good or evil". There is no whimsical analogy of a "Defense Counsel" in a court room getting us Pardoned that can fulfill Scripture. Only in the reality of JUDGEMENT will our "hardened hearts" be destroyed and we see the LOVE OF JESUS. Then "every secret thing" will let us DANCE WITH JESUS for what HE DID ON THE CROSS.
We do a "good deed", we even feel good about it, we even feel a little "RIGHTEOUS". Do we try to do "good deeds", whether for GOD or anyone else, in order to be FORGIVEN? If WE TRY to be RIGHTEOUS in living by the LAW, we WILL BE CONDEMNED BY THE LAW. We cannot do enough good to undo our sins. Do we understand that the purpose of BIBLICAL LAW is to make known what sin is? Therefore, we can only have RIGHTEOUSNESS AND FORGIVENESS as a FREE GIFT by the Mercy of GOD. Romans 3:19-23; so what do we have to do? Our FAITH (agreeing with the Character and Promises of GOD) in JESUS CHRIST and our BELIEVING (acting upon that FAITH) in JESUS CHRIST brings us into our RELATIONSHIP WITH HIM. In this LOVING RELATIONSHIP we are taken BEYOND THE LAW WHERE "GOOD DEEDS" ARE NOT GOOD ENOUGH. AMEN.
"Let no one say that he is tempted by GOD...each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desires" (James 1:13-14). When we are under the "veil of GOD" nothing can hurt us; it is when we are tempted away from HIS protection that we suffer. Do we consider ourselves being "tested" by GOD when we suffer bad circumstances or evil in our lives? GOD cannot be tempted by evil, nor does HE use evil to tempt us (James 1:13). GOD'S WORD IS OUR TEST; whether we believe IT and ACT ON IT. Psalm105:19, "...The WORD OF THE LORD TESTED him". Does GOD need to know more about us by TESTING US? Or, IS TESTING FOR THE BENEFIT OF THE ONE BEING TESTED? BELIEVE IT! ACT ON IT! DID WE PASS THE TEST?
Do we treat the Bible as a "procedure manual" where we are given a list of "do's and don'ts" but not THE HOW TO'S? Or, is IT a mirror that reveals our character, showing every blemish and undesirable feature without "toning it down" or "rationalizing it away"? James 1:19-20, "...swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath..." Then we are told this means to restraint ourselves and control our actions. When we remain in GOD'S Presence there is NOTHING ANYONE CAN DO to provoke us away from HIM. Then we realize that we cannot do what the Bible says "under our own power"; it requires a FAR GREATER POWER. It comes down to our choice (not choices) of US OR GOD. We no longer have to try and have restraint, control and procedures; WE JUST LOOK IN THE MIRROR AND SEE WHAT WE HAVE DONE OR WHAT GOD HAS DONE. A MIRROR SHOWS THE BEAUTY ALSO, NOT JUST THE BLEMISHES. IT IS OUR CHOICE THAT DETERMINES WHAT WE DO; US OR GOD. MIRROR MIRROR ON THE WALL.
Have we lost "THAT LOVING FEELING"? Where is the childlike purity and trust that filled our hearts with JOY? What happened to the hearing and obeying GOD without question, because it brought great Pleasure? There was a time when we were Joyful and WILLING to go along with the LORD and do what HE desired. Is the "JOY OF SALVATION" an exuberant time in our life that cannot be sustained? When we lose GOD'S PRESENCE, we lose the JOY OF OUR SALVATION. Psalm 51:12, "Restore to me the JOY...And sustain me with a WILLING SPIRIT". A WILLING SPIRIT shines GOD'S light on our sins and inequities to give us the FRESHNESS of repenting and confessing. It is a humble, WILLING SPIRIT that does not want to be credited with the GLORY THAT BELONGS TO GOD. WE ARE SUSTAINED BY THE PRESENCE OF GOD; nothing can block HIS PRESENCE when we have a WILLING SPIRIT; THEN THE JOY OF OUR SALVATION IS RESTORED. And no one will ever say, "YOU'VE LOST THAT LOVING FEELING".
Why aren't all of our Prayers Powerful, Penetrating and Pleasing? Why do some of our Prayers take us into HIS immediate Presence; while the rest of our Prayers leave us wandering aimlessly? "This is the CONFIDENCE we have in HIM, that if we ask ANYTHING according to HIS WILL HE hears us, and we know we have that which we asked" (1 John 5:14-15). The POWER and LIFE of our Prayers depend upon the CONFIDENCE WE HAVE WHEN WE PRAY. This CONFIDENCE not only confirms HE hears us but WE KNOW HIS ANSWER AT THAT VERY MOMENT. We may not know how HE WILL DO IT, BUT WE KNOW HE WILL. We may not be delivered from a particular circumstance, BUT WE WILL BE DELIVERED FROM THE FEAR OF IT. When we Pray GOD'S WILL back to HIM, and HIS WILL is all we want, we know HE is Glorified; AND WE KNOW HIS ANSWER. Isaiah 65:24, "...I will answer while they are yet speaking..."
How many of us have let our past keep us from "walking" in the present? How many times have we been reminded of our faults and admonished for our "short comings" so that we will be better? "And if I be lifted up, I will drawn all men to me" (John 12:32). May we suggest that there is no such thing as "TOUGH LOVE" only LOVE? When we sin or offend have we experienced being LOVED through it? Did LOVE "LIFT US UP" and DRAW US TO JESUS? During these forty days (not just forty days, but everyday) JESUS spent HIS time HEALING, TEACHING, LIVING AND LOVING. TODAY, LET US HAVE A NEW BEGINNING BY BEING "LIFTED IN LOVE", AND LET US LIFT OTHERS WITH THIS SAME LOVE. WE ARE CREATED BY LOVE, TO LOVE.
If we "really" want to have a season of "Soul Searching" and a time of "Repentance" why not GIVE UP WHAT WE REALLY LIKE"? We really lust upon being ANGRY AND CRITICAL; disliking someone for their offensive ways. We absolutely CHERISH DWELLING upon the "negatives" where we bring ourselves and others down to a bottomless pit. Oh, and we REALLY LIKE, to have a GRACIOUS APPEARANCE TO THE WORLD, while in our minds and thoughts we deceive and torture them. We must like it or we wouldn't keep doing it, RIGHT? Luke 5:35, "...and they will fast in those days". Isn't FASTING denying our NATURAL DESIRES? FASTING is to demonstrate our profound need for GOD and our dependence on HIM. SO WHAT CAN WE GIVE UP THAT WILL DRAW US TO THE PRESENCE OF GOD? Do we give up chocolate, or a little food; OR DO WE GIVE UP WHAT WE REALLY LIKE?
Today's thought for Lent. When we think and speak well of others with Love, they rise to places they cannot achieve on their own. Galatians 6:1, "...you who live by the SPIRIT should restore that person gently..." When we do this, we rise to places we have never been.
Will yesterday's NEWS, today's NEWS, and tomorrow's NEWS impact our lives so much, that we will change our way of thinking, acting and treating others? Acts 8:35, "Then Philip began with the passage of Scripture and told him THE GOOD NEWS about JESUS". Have we known the GOOD NEWS that touches the SOUL, NEWS that convinces us of its teaching, and gives us no other agenda than wanting others to hear it. It's not just any news, IT'S THE GOOD NEWS, that fulfills prophecy. Even Caesar had to stop throwing Christians to the lions, because everyone saw the JOY of THE GOOD NEWS and began to jump out of the stands to HAVE THE JOY THAT CHRISTIANS HAD. We don't have to be concerned if others see CHRIST IN US; IF WE HAVE HIM, THEY SEE HIM!
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