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Posts Tagged ‘Forgiveness’

Yesterday I discussed a part of the chapter on Job from the book:  Are you rea.dy for your Hea.ling? By Dr Fr.ed Chil.ds.  The post was getting too long so I decided to share the last part today. 

“God Speaks

For 36 chapters God is silent and He listens to the debate between Job and his 3 friends.  In job 38, God speaks for the first time and the mood and direction of the debate immediately changes.  Job 38:1-2 (NIV) says:  1 Then the LORD answered Job out of the storm. He said:  2Who is this that darkens my counsel with words without knowledge?”

The question God asks is a general condemnation for everything that had been said for 36 chapters.  God plainly said that what Job and his friends spoke was without knowledge and darkens counsel about who He is.  It only takes 1 question from God, and Job’s fiery tongue of blame and self-pity turn to humility in verse 3 and then repentance in verse 6.

Five steps to our deliverance

Step 1: Commitment – Job 13:15 (NIV) says:  15 Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him; I will surely defend my ways to his face.”

Without the aid of the Bible to tell him who brings sorrow and destruction to our lives, Job thought it was God that “slayed” him.  People who do not know or practice what the Bible says, tend to blame God first whenever calamity arises.  Yet Job stated early on that he would remain committed to God no matter the circumstances.  Following Job’s example, we must stay committed even when we can’t figure out the reason or understand the meaning of our circumstances.  We must continue to pray and believe in healing, even when we are sick.  We must trust Him for deliverance even when there seems to be no hope.  We must continue to tithe and give even when we feel that we are not blessed.  We stay committed because of God’s Word, not because of circumstances.  God is still God and will deliver us if we stay committed.

Step 2: A personal revelation of God – Job 42:5 (NIV) says: 5 My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you.”

Hearsay is at the root of all wrong views about God.  Without the aid of a Bible to tell him about God or the work of the Holy Ghost to lead him into all truth, Job was still able to receive a fresh, new revelation of God by observing the creation of God.  There will always be those who claim that healing is not for everyone because they knew someone who prayed and believed and they were not healed.  This is hearsay.  The truth is the opposite.  Despite what some have to say and the way things appear, if we receive our own personal revelation, we will believe for the impossible and say the unspeakable, calling things that are not as though they were.

Step 3: Repentance – Job 42:6 (NIV) says:  6 Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes.”

The reason that Job repented was not for what he did, but for what he said.  The Bible clearly states that Job sinned not, yet he was guilty of speaking words that he should not have spoken.  A necessary step in deliverance is for us to align our words with the word of God.  Proverbs 18:21 (NIV) tells us that:  21The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.”  If we are to have life and deliverance we must speak it first.  In Mark 11:24 (NIV), Jesus said:  24 Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”  Many people short circuit God’s restoration plan for their life by negative speaking.  God still works through words. Psalm 19:14 (NIV) says:  14 May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer”  If we can have acceptable words, then certainly our words can be unacceptable as well.  We must guard our words.  Job himself said in Job 6:25(KJV):  25How forcible are right words!…”

Step 4: Forgiveness – Job 42:10 (KJV) tells us:  10And the LORD turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed for his friends:…”

Prayer is not to be delegated.  If you want deliverance you must pray for it.  Again let us turn to New Testament light to interpret the Old Testament.  Mark 11:25-26(NIV) states plainly:  25-26 And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.”  Job has just been in a heated argument tainted with name calling and harsh statements.  Job is struggling with offence.  If God is to hear the prayer of Job, he must first empty the heart of ought towards others.  There is no better way to forgive and forget the offences of others than to pray for them.  If there is someone you are having a hard time forgiving or if someone has done something horrible to you, don’t look at them through the eyes of the offense.  Instead, look at them through the eyes of Jesus, who loved them so much that He died for them.  It will then be easy to pray for them and forgive them.  God turned around Job’s captivity only after Job prayed for his accusers.  The same is true for people today; we will never find restoration until we have emptied our heart of an unforgiving spirit and prayed for those who have offended us.  Matthew 5:11-12 (NIV) actually lets us know that those who have done injustice to us, are in reality, the key to our blessing:  11Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.  12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”

Step 5: Service to others – Again I quote from Job 42:10 (KJV)10And the LORD turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed for his friends:…”

The last step of Job’s deliverance occurred when he took his eyes off his needs and focused on the needs of others.  Philippians  2:4-7(NIV) says:  4 Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.  5 Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:  6Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, 7 but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.”  Here we have the example of our lovely Lord.  We are told to be conformed to His image.  The example He sets for us is of a servant.  The greatest blessing you will experience is when you put the needs of others before your own.  God used Job to meet the needs of others and by doing so his needs were met.

The promise of no suffering?

The purpose of this study is not to convince you that we can go through life without suffering, for that’s not the case.  But it is intended for you to see ways in which we do and do not need to suffer.  The things that job suffered are an example of the things we do not need to suffer.  Jesus is out example, not Job, and He never suffered any of Job’s sufferings.  However, there were things that Jesus did suffer.  Hebrews 5:8-9 (NIV) speaks of Jesus’ suffering:  8 Although he was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered 9 and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him”  Using Jesus as our example, we find that obedience follows suffering and the end result is maturity or perfection (completion).  The 3 ways that Jesus suffered are necessary for us to go through if we are to mature and fulfill our ministerial call.  These are:

  • Temptations of the flesh (usually brought about by Satan)
  • Persecution for the Word’s sake (usually by other people)
  • Consecrated for others (picking up and bearing our cross).”
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I want to share this from my Reference Bible, because it’s such an important message that we don’t always understand.  So often we want to do everything for ourselves and earn God’s love or salvation, but it’s just not possible to earn it in any way.  It’s just by the grace of God that we receive anything from Him:

Romans 4:4-8 (NIV):  4 Now when a man works, his wages are not credited to him as a gift, but as an obligation.      5 However, to the man who does not work but trusts God who justifies the wicked, his faith is credited as righteousness.  6 David says the same thing when he speaks of the blessedness of the man to whom God credits righteousness apart from works:  7 Blessed are they whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered.  8 Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will never count against him.”

“Paul’s argument in these verses is this:  You are rewarded when you work.  When you do a good job you get money for it.  If you do a bad job and your boss suffers a loss because of you, you will not get paid, and you end up in debt with your boss.  In the previous verses (Romans 1:18-3:31) Paul proved that our own efforts to earn rewards from God based on good deeds only plunges us deeper into debt with Him.   Paul quotes from Psalm 32:1-2 to prove the truth about what he says here.

A lot of people are afraid that they will not be saved, because they think their faith is not strong enough.  Those people make a good deed out of their faith.  They act like they must earn salvation with strong faith.   Your faith is not the reason God saves you, but it’s the way you accept that salvation and make it your own.

David did not try to hide his terrible sin, or to try and cancel it out with good deeds.  When he realised the fact that he did sin, he did not try and deny it, but he confessed his sin, he accepted forgiveness gladly, so that Paul could quote these words from him.  If you are someone who feels guilty about past sins in your life, follow David’s example and ask God:  Psalm 51:10-11 (NIV):  10Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.  11 Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me.”  You will experience the joy of total forgiveness.”

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Yesterday I touched on the subject of attitude.  I mentioned that the attitude of Paul and Silas helped them out of their difficult circumstances.  That reminded me of a message I’ve heard quite a few times from Joy.ce Mey.er about when the Israelites left Egypt and had to travel to the Promised Land.  She says it was normally an 11 day journey, but it took the Israelites 40 years.  Why did it take them so long to take such a short journey?

Numbers 13:25-31 (NIV):  25 At the end of forty days they returned from exploring the land.  Report on the Exploration:  26 They came back to Moses and Aaron and the whole Israelite community at Kadesh in the Desert of Paran. There they reported to them and to the whole assembly and showed them the fruit of the land.   27 They gave Moses this account: We went into the land to which you sent us, and it does flow with milk and honey! Here is its fruit.  28 But the people who live there are powerful, and the cities are fortified and very large. We even saw descendants of Anak there.  29 The Amalekites live in the Negev; the Hittites, Jebusites and Amorites live in the hill country; and the Canaanites live near the sea and along the Jordan.  30 Then Caleb silenced the people before Moses and said, We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it.  31 But the men who had gone up with him said, We can’t attack those people; they are stronger than we are.” 
Numbers 14:1-11 (NIV):  “The People Rebel:  1 That night all the people of the community raised their voices and wept aloud.  2 All the Israelites grumbled against Moses and Aaron, and the whole assembly said to them, If only we had died in Egypt! Or in this desert!  3 Why is the LORD bringing us to this land only to let us fall by the sword? Our wives and children will be taken as plunder. Wouldn’t it be better for us to go back to Egypt?  4 And they said to each other, We should choose a leader and go back to Egypt.  5 Then Moses and Aaron fell face down in front of the whole Israelite assembly gathered there.  6 Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephunneh, who were among those who had explored the land, tore their clothes 7 and said to the entire Israelite assembly, The land we passed through and explored is exceedingly good.  8 If the LORD is pleased with us, he will lead us into that land, a land flowing with milk and honey, and will give it to us.  9 Only do not rebel against the LORD. And do not be afraid of the people of the land, because we will swallow them up. Their protection is gone, but the LORD is with us. Do not be afraid of them.  10 But the whole assembly talked about stoning them. Then the glory of the LORD appeared at the Tent of Meeting to all the Israelites.  11 The LORD said to Moses, How long will these people treat me with contempt? How long will they refuse to believe in me, in spite of all the miraculous signs I have performed among them?”
Numbers 14:20-34 (NIV):  20 The LORD replied, I have forgiven them, as you asked.  21 Nevertheless, as surely as I live and as surely as the glory of the LORD fills the whole earth, 22 not one of the men who saw my glory and the miraculous signs I performed in Egypt and in the desert but who disobeyed me and tested me ten times—23 not one of them will ever see the land I promised on oath to their forefathers. No-one who has treated me with contempt will ever see it.  24 But because my servant Caleb has a different spirit and follows me wholeheartedly, I will bring him into the land he went to, and his descendants will inherit it.  25 Since the Amalekites and Canaanites are living in the valleys, turn back tomorrow and set out towards the desert along the route to the Red Sea.  26 The LORD said to Moses and Aaron:  27 How long will this wicked community grumble against me? I have heard the complaints of these grumbling Israelites.  28 So tell them, ‘As surely as I live, declares the LORD, I will do to you the very things I heard you say:  29 In this desert your bodies will fall— every one of you twenty years old or more who was counted in the census and who has grumbled against me.  30 Not one of you will enter the land I swore with uplifted hand to make your home, except Caleb son of Jephunneh and Joshua son of Nun.  31 As for your children that you said would be taken as plunder, I will bring them in to enjoy the land you have rejected.  32 But you— your bodies will fall in this desert.  33 Your children will be shepherds here for forty years, suffering for your unfaithfulness, until the last of your bodies lies in the desert.  34 For forty years— one year for each of the forty days you explored the land— you will suffer for your sins and know what it is like to have me against you.’”

From the moment the Israelites left Egypt the Lord did some mighty miracles for them.  He parted the Red Sea for them, and destroyed the Egyptian army that was following them (Exodus 14:15-31).  He turned bitter water into sweet water at Marah (Exodus 15:23-25).  He provided them with meat at night (quail) and manna in the morning (Exodus 16:13-18).   They got water out of a rock when Moses struck the rock with his staff (Exodus 17:5-6). The Lord’s presence was visible with a cloud column during the day and a fire column during the night (Numbers 9:15-16). 

Yet in spite of all this the Israelites complained and murmured all the time.  They wanted to turn back to Egypt and return to slavery numerous times.  They did not trust God.  Their faith was not strong enough.  When Moses was on the mountain receiving the 10 commandments they made a golden calf and worshipped it!  They had a serious attitude problem, and eventually God decided to punish them for it.  Their punishment was 1 year in the desert for every day they waited for the explorers to come back from the Promised Land.  All the people 20 years old and older that did not trust in God would not see the Promised Land – they would die in the desert. 

Joy.ce Mey.er often says:  “they had to go around and around the same mountain” time and again, until they learnt their lesson before they could move on.  How is that relevant to us? 

What is your attitude like?  What do you have issues with and how are you dealing with it?  I had a real problem with forgiveness – my husband says that I could carry a grudge for years, and that I never forget anything.  I would bring up issues years after it happened that he had completely forgotten about! When I became aware of this problem in my life I had to go and forgive everything and everybody that I could think of and let it go.  Now that was not easy at all – I asked God to help me of course – and there were times that I suddenly realized that I was thinking or talking of things that I supposedly had forgiven.  I think it took me at least 2 years to work through and I must still keep myself in check at times. I was tested time and time again with basically the same issues until I could recognize that I needed to forgive someone, and the quicker I did it the better it was for me…  

Forgiveness was not the only problem I had to deal with, there were several other problems, but another big one was jealousy.  I have mentioned jealousy before in this post.  The other day I heard Joy.ce Mey.er say about jealousy:  “I believe God will not let you have what you desire until you learn to deal with your jealousy on that subject”.  For me that was a baby, pregnancy etc.  Believe me I still had the temptation of jealousy about 2 months ago when I found out someone I knew was pregnant.  But I immediately and quietly asked God to help me with it, I just confessed that sin, as there was no sense in denying it.  I had peace with her pregnancy immediately after I stopped praying – it didn’t bother me anymore.

Every time I notice that my attitude is not what it is supposed to be I remind myself of Joy.ce’s saying:  “Marion, there is no use going around the same mountain again and again…”  So how long do you have to go through the same problems, before you are going to learn your lesson and how long before you can move on with your life?

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Forgive yourself:

Do you ever think that you do not deserve grace or help from God?  I used to be very harsh on myself if I caught myself sinning again.  I understood that as soon as I confessed my sins that they were forgiven, but I was so disappointed if I sinned again, and I felt that God had to punish me, because I knew better now.  Of course I confessed the sins again, but I wasn’t really able to forgive myself easily.  One morning I read about Peter in my Bible and I saw him in a totally different light.

Matthew 16:22-23 (NIV): 22 Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. Never, Lord! he said. This shall never happen to you!    23 Jesus turned and said to Peter, Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling-block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.

Mark 9:2-6 (NIV): 2 After six days Jesus took Peter, James and John with him and led them up a high mountain, where they were all alone. There he was transfigured before them.    3 His clothes became dazzling white, whiter than anyone in the world could bleach them.    4 And there appeared before them Elijah and Moses, who were talking with Jesus.    5 Peter said to Jesus, Rabbi, it is good for us to be here. Let us put up three shelters— one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.     6 (He did not know what to say, they were so frightened.)

John 13:8­-9 (NIV): 8 No, said Peter, you shall never wash my feet. Jesus answered, Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.    9 Then, Lord, Simon Peter replied, not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!

John 13:37-38 (NIV): 37 Peter asked, Lord, why can’t I follow you now? I will lay down my life for you.    38 Then Jesus answered, Will you really lay down your life for me? I tell you the truth, before the cock crows, you will disown me three times!

John 21: 19-22 (NIV): 19 Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then he said to him, Follow me!    20 Peter turned and saw that the disciple whom Jesus loved was following them. (This was the one who had leaned back against Jesus at the supper and had said, Lord, who is going to betray you?)    21 When Peter saw him, he asked, Lord, what about him?    22 Jesus answered, If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me.”

Galatians 2:11-12 (NIV): 11 When Peter came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he was clearly in the wrong.    12 Before certain men came from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles. But when they arrived, he began to draw back and separate himself from the Gentiles because he was afraid of those who belonged to the circumcision group.

When Peter became a disciple of Jesus he did not change into a perfect being.  He was still human and had his faults.  He said so many things that were totally inappropriate.  He did not understand the reason Jesus had to die, he denied Jesus 3 times, he was jealous of John and Paul accused him of being hypocritical after Jesus ascended up to heaven.  I always thought that the disciples had to be almost saints after being in the presence of Jesus for so long.  But clearly Peter was not.

Yet Jesus called him the rock upon which He will build His church:  Matthew 16:18 (NIV): 18 And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it Of all the disciples Peter was the only one who stepped out of the boat to walk on water.  Yes, his faith faltered, but he was the only one who thought it might be possible for him to do so, and he had the guts to try it.  Matt 14: 29(NIV): 29 Come, he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came towards Jesus. He was also the first to see Jesus as the Son of God and to confess it:  Mark 8:29 (NIV):29 But what about you? he asked. Who do you say I am? Peter answered, You are the Christ

Jesus did not look for perfection or holiness when he chose his disciples.  He looked for people who were totally human.  He picked people, who could be changed by His love, and then He sent them out into the world to tell everybody else about His love and that His love is available to everyone, also for those that are human and who fail at times.

It helps me a lot to see that even a great person like Peter had his faults, but Jesus still loved him and forgave Him for denying Him.  I have to accept that I’m human, and that I will make the wrong decisions every now and then, even if I should know better.  Just as long as I repent and confess my sins, Jesus will forgive me.  If I don’t accept His forgiveness, I’m rejecting the ultimate sacrifice that Jesus made for me. Like Joyce Meyer always says:  “God knew who I was before time began and He knew exactly all that I would do or say, so it’s no surprise to Him if I do falter.”  Psalm 139: 16 (NIV): 16 your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” Psalm 139:2-4 (NIV): 2 You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar.    3 You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways.    4 Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O LORD.”

When God forgives us our sins he removes it as far as the east is from the west, and He will never think about it again.  Psalm 103: 12 (NIV): “as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.”  Maybe we should just accept it and also forget about it for ever, just like God does.

I love the song “East to West” by the Casting Crowns, and the song is about the above verse.  Please have a look at it:

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