Some dads are funny, some are serious, others are matter of fact and yet regardless of their personality, they are DAD. No matter the kind of father you have or had, you have gained much from him. Some would say, "but mine wasn't around, they left when I was small". To you I would say, you learned how not to be and the importance of faithfulness. (It's important in the midst of 'life' situations, in spite of the good and bad and the ups and downs, to find the gain.)
Being a father is a big responsibility. First of all there's the task of being the provider for the entire family. He's accountable for making sure the bills are paid, food's in the cabinet, gas is in the car, there's money for extracurricular activities, as well as for clothes. Having and keeping a good job is very important to him. (Pro. 12:11) (Col. 3:23)
A dad also has to be the emotional strength in a family. Assuring that everything's going to be alright. He comforts the family in sad and difficult times and encourages each one according to their persona. Building up and cheering up attitudes. (Josh. 1:9)
He's the disciplinarian, helping to direct and lead in the right direction. As difficult as it may be for him to punish and correct, he does it because of love for his children. When a wrong decision was made, he's there to help, instruct and redirect. (Pro. 3:11-12)
The brunt of decisions lie in his lap, so he must stay tuned in to God, lending his ear to His instructions. He prays continually for each member of the family, lifting up their needs, desires and purpose before the Lord. His mouth daily confesses the Word over his children believing in faith for the manifestation of God's blessings in their lives. His faith is fortified by being faithful in his service to the Lord. And by this example he is showing his family how to be Godly. (Pro. 22:6)
He helps with scientific homework projects, math calculations, rescuing lost items or fixing broken things. Dads are known for making sure there's recreation, like picnics, camping trips, fishing excursions, trips to amusements parks, going to the movies and even birthday parties. Amidst the significant and important tasks, he still has time to laugh, and have fun doing silly things. Jumping into a pool with all his clothes on, letting the dog lick his face, having a tea party with his daughter, or playing games with his son are all part of being a Dad.
And just in case you didn't know or you forgot...... he attended your events, he cried when you got hurt, carried you to bed when you fell asleep in the car, kissed your boo boos, and stayed up praying over you when you were sick. You see a DAD is a lot of things to his family. He IS the extension of God's love! A wonderful gift from the Heavenly Father. And this Sunday is the day we take to say Thank You, and Honor him for his blessing our life. Take time to thank God for the man God gave you as DAD, whether he's your natural father, step-father, father-in-law, grandfather, uncle or a 'DAD like one' - let's give honor where honor is due. Give him your love and attention, after all he's given you his!
Eph. 6:1-4 "Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. "Honor your father and mother"--which is the first commandment with a promise-- "that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth." Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord."
We all know that heat is regulated by the fuel. Adding wood to the fire in the fireplace makes the fire last longer and become stronger. The more you add, the flames become extensive and enduring. And of course, if we fail to add the wood, the fire eventually dies.
Proverbs 26:20-21 GNT "Without wood, a fire goes out; without gossip, quarreling stops. Charcoal keeps the embers glowing, wood keeps the fire burning, and troublemakers keep arguments alive."
I came to realize, recently, this same scripture can apply to what we say over our circumstances. Facing a serious illness, extreme need for finances, conflict in major life decisions, or simple daily matters are powered by what we say repeatedly. In essence, we fuel the fire by our mouth and whatever we allow to build the fire the longest becomes the strongest! When we keep reciting the problem, it keeps growing.
Many people don't believe that words are forceful. But the Bible tells us differently. "Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof". (Pro. 18:21) And "For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned." (Mt. 12:37) This explains how important it is WHAT we say! Think about this, our words determine the outcome of our circumstance. Since it behooved God to create the World by what He spoke, it's also required of us to consider our creation by what we speak. Rom. 4:17b "...God, who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did."
What we say produces a consequence. Not only for others but for ourselves as well. Faith filled words are powerful and life giving. Fearful words bring failure and defeat. A person that voices the Word over something, then in their second breath is contradictory, is like the double minded man mentioned in James Chapter 1. Their allegiance is divided because of sincerity, conflicted between belief and unbelief, thinking God will help while at the same time giving up all hope. Truth is, they will get nothing! (Read James Chapter 3)
Smith Wigglesworth said, "Voice your position in God and you will be surrounded by all the resources of God in times of trial." Expression where we stand in God, in faith, determines whether or not we will be victorious. Because out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks. (Mat. 12:34) What we say reveals what we truly believe.
Today, evaluate your confession about your circumstance. Are you blaming God or are you praising Him for your deliverance? Are you talking about the report of your health or finances to everyone or confessing His supply to the need! Is your mouth a well spring of blessing or cursing? Your speech is prophetically declaring death or life! Make a decision today to watch the Words of your mouth. Speak what God says about you and your life! Take your God given authority in the Word of God creating His best. Let's fuel the fire of faith by confessing the Word of God! Hope says, I can have it. Faith says, I already have it!
Mother's Day is upon us. A time to reflect, honor and bless the Mother's in our life. We have Grandmothers, Mother In Law's, Aunts who are mother like, and of course our own Mother. Washington Irving said of Mothers, “A mother is the truest friend we have, when trials heavy and sudden fall upon us; when adversity takes the place of prosperity; when friends desert us; when trouble thickens around us, still will she cling to us, and endeavor by her kind precepts and counsels to dissipate the clouds of darkness, and cause peace to return to our hearts.”
Most women, when they become a Mom, want to know how to be a good one. Whether or not they've had good examples, the desire to be the best is deep within the heart. In their quest their Love speaks volumes. Throughout the Bible there are listed different women that have ideal characteristics for Mothers. Let's look at a few.
1) Mary the Mother of Jesus was a woman of great faith even in her youth. When the angel Gabriel came to Mary he said to her, "Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!” (Luke 1:28) Mary was very submitted to God, willing to accept His call at any cost. She demonstrated great strength and perseverance during her pregnancy and Christ's death. She followed and supported Him all the days of His life. Mother's today can learn from Mary's example of trusting the Lord with all their heart, and not leaning to their own understanding, but knowing He'll make and guide the path when trusting and obeying. Her faith in God even in sorrowful times proved God always provides.
2) Jochebed, the Mother of Moses was a woman willing to give up her child so his life would be spared. By trusting God, He made a way for her to be a nurse to her own child. She was able to teach him and set a foundation of belief in Almighty God enabling him to become a servant to help deliver Israel. Her example of faith and trust can help us realize God's plan is bigger than what we can think or see. Believing that He'll make a way even when there doesn't seem to be one, makes possible the supernatural.
3) Hannah the Mother of Samuel the prophet, is a woman who, regardless of the taunts of others, remained steadfast in prayer trusting God for a child. Although she was ridiculed and mocked, she pursued God with all her heart to become a mother. God answered her prayer giving her Samuel, which she gave back to the Lord to serve Him. Hannah's example teaches us dedication and commitment in prayer. Her devotion to honor God with her child, opened the windows of heaven and receive a blessing of five more children. Intentional fervent prayer of a righteous man will avail much.
Mothers impart many things into our lives. Her fortitude and tenacity enables us to be a strong and unshakable. As she exemplifies love and a tenderness, it empowers us to look past mistakes and be quick to forgive. Her faithfulness in service to the Lord in prayer, giving, and attending church leads us to be anchored in Christ. When she's obedient to the leading of the Holy Spirit, it shows us how to trust the Lord and believe His Word. A mother's dedication to nurture, instruct and correct, guides us in the paths of righteousness. These are just a few of the qualities demonstrated in the life of a Mom. Take a few moments to think about your mother and how she influenced you. Then give her honor on this coming special day! She deserves recognition after all, her love speaks volumes!
1 Cor. 13:1-8 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.
Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.
Sailing a ship in stormy weather can be hazardous unless the captain has the knowledge and expertise. High winds and enormous waves can cause the ship to sink or shipwreck. Many a vessel has been lost due to treacherous seas. Like the tempest at sea, we are living in a troubled world. However, Jesus said "...in the world you will have tribulation..." (John 16:33) Paul also wrote in 2 Timothy, "...in the last days perilous times will come." (2 Tim. 3:1) Listening to the news we can see that we live in very dangerous, risky and unpredictable days. One who does not have the Lord as his Savior, is generally fearful and fretful. Jesus is our lighthouse, illuminating the path to safety. Through His direction and knowledge from His Word there is hope. (Heb. 13:20-21 "Now may the God of peace who brought up our Lord Jesus from the dead, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you complete in every good work to do His will, working in you what is well pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to who be glory forever and ever. Amen") In light of the fact of circumstances we face, let's see how our Great Shepherd is characteristic of the lighthouse to us....
Psalms 23 says, "The Lord is my shepherd;" Making Jesus the ruler of your life, places Him as your protector, and watcher of your life. A lighthouse is guidance to safety. Surrendering to Him, just like sheep do to a shepherd, allows Him to be a guide of security. Sheep know the shepherds voice and where He leads they follow, unlike goats that question and butt everything that comes against them. (John 10:4)
"I shall not want." Phil. 4:19 says, "He supplies all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus." As your Shepherd, He's going to make sure you have provision for every necessity. His supply is satisfying if we follow Him, as a ship that follows the light from the lighthouse. The Bible also tells us, He will give us the desires of our heart as long as we are delighting in Him. (Ps. 37:4) In the place of every need is supply.
"He makes me to lie down in green pastures;" When sheep lie down it means they are satisfied and content. Because we are in His presence there is fullness of joy we can rest untroubled as well as at peace, "I will both lie down in peace, and sleep; For You alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety." (Ps. 4:8 & Ps.16:11) Even in the midst of a stormy sea the beacon shines to give us confidence and peace.
"He leads me beside the still waters." We can be sure He's leading us to a place of refreshment and tranquility. When we delight in His Word, as we meditate day and night will place us by the rivers of water which provides sustenance. Therefore, keeping us refreshed and prosperous, quenching our thirst. (Ps. 1:1-3 & Jer. 17:3)
"He restores my soul;" God forgives our iniquities and heals all our diseases. (Ps. 103:3) Regardless of how much we mess up, when we repent He forgives. Because of His infinite mercy and grace we are restored. The Holy Spirit gently signals us during times of struggles to escort us to the sanctuary for redemption.
"He leads me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake." We can depend on the guidance of the Holy Spirit. (John 16:13) He will usher us in the right direction and in safety. His Name is the Lord our Righteousness, Jehovah Tsidkenu. Ps. 32:8 God says, "I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will guide you with My eye." Keeping our vision focused on Him assures traveling in a sheltered course.
"Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death," Life is full of tribulations and temptations. One thing for sure, is we are going to the other side of the problem. But we must remember not to set up camp in depression or sorrow. We are more than an overcomer through Him. Especially when storms are raging, there's trust in His guidance. Pro. 18:30 "As for God, His way is perfect; The word of the Lord is proven; He is a shield to all who trust in Him."
"I will fear no evil, for You are with me;" Paul wrote, that God didn't give us a spirit of fear, but a spirit of power, of love and of a sound mind. (2 Tim. 1:7) As long as we abide in the presence of the All Mighty God, we remain in His protection and fear will not affect us. (Ps. 91) Relying on the promise of His faithfulness to never leave or forsake us brings courage and strength. (Deu. 31:6-8) Just like the light signaling lost ships gives hope.
"Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me." God's Word is the instruction we need to get us through our life. In Ps. 119:105, it says, His Word is a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path. That means it will point us in the right direction daily and for things to come. If we refer to the Bible everyday, it will teach, correct, and admonish us in living. (2 Ti. 3:16)
"You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;" God is on our side. He will contend with those who contend with us. Although there are enemies, we will not just survive, but feast in the midst of them. We come out on top of situations because of Him. Ps. 18:3 says, we can call upon the Lord, and He will deliver us from our enemies. Our trust and faith in Him, will bring peace with any adversary. (Pr. 16:17)
"You anoint my head with oil;" The anointing of oil upon the head is symbolic of blessing, protection and empowerment. We are sanctified and set apart for Him. (1 Cor. 6:11) We are chosen to proclaim the praises of God. (1 Peter 2:9)
"My cup runs over." Jesus said He came that we might have life and have it more abundantly, overflowing, much more than is expected or needed. This is the blessing that spills over. We are blessed!
"Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me All the days of my life;" As long as we remain faithful to God's Word, we shall be in His mercy. Ps. 65:11 says, God crowns the year with His goodness, and richness overflows wherever He is. Steadfastly abiding in the Word and His presence guarantees goodness and mercy.
"And I will dwell in the house of the Lord Forever." We have guarantee of our place for eternity when Jesus becomes our Lord and Savior. This is a promise of security in eternity.
We want to encourage you to mediate on this scripture and let it become a reality in your heart. Realize that through the Word, God has given us guidance for anything we may face. He encourages us with the promises of provision, protection, healing, blessing, and His benefits. Our failure to recognize these, believe and trust Him, and receive it, puts us at risk in these insecure days. Don't shipwreck because you reject faith and a good conscience. Keep your eyes upon Jesus and sail through to the shore. You can do all things through Him, who gives you strength. (Phil. 4:13)
We've all heard the old adage, "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never harm me." The response was to bullies on the playground that called us names. The reply was to imply they might be able to hurt us by physical force, but their insults would not. America values 'Freedom of Speech, so people are quick with expressing what's on their mind. Whether it's an opinion about world events, another person, or just how we feel, it's uttered without restrictions regardless of repercussions. In fact, in our culture today, we support the irresponsible use of words through music, movies or in the public. Most individuals think nothing of the foul language that's expressed. Because we've become desensitized, by our consistent hearing of it, we do not notice it and we allow it to become common place.
As a Christian, words are extremely important, especially to God. Proverbs 18:21 says, "Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits." Since God created the world by speaking, then utterance must be significant. What this scripture means, is that we frame our future by what we say. That's why it's important to think before vocalizing. You know, we don't always have to say everything we think about!
Do you know of someone that has been affected by what others have told them? Perhaps a parent that spoke negatively to a child, telling them "You're not going to amount to anything, you're such a loser, you lazy no good kid."; A teacher that said, "You're such a failure, what's the matter with your brain? When God passed out brains you must have thought He said trains and you said no thanks." If this degrading talk is consistent, they begin to believe what's been said. That's why the Word of God says, "Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it." (Prov. 4:23) It's critical that we guard what goes into our heart, because our life is shaped by what we let in. We should be protective of the movies we watch, the music we listen to or the conversation with which we yield.
Not only it is our obligation to protect our ears, but we must put a guard on our mouth. Proverbs 21:23 "Whoever guards his mouth and tongue Keeps his soul from troubles." Most of us are praying and believing God for a specific thing. We can trust Him and be in faith when we pray. But we must remember, to retain the blessing of the Lord it's contingent upon our mouth. It's easy to loose faith and our blessings, when our mouth complains or talks about the problem. In Mark 11:22-24 Jesus says, "....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]." Don't lose the answer you've received or the miracles because of opposing conversation. Remember Proverbs 18:21, "Death and life are in the power of the tongue..." We want blessing not cursing!
Take a look and see what's enthroned on your heart. You decide by what's coming out of your mouth. "For out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks." (Luke 6:45) Make a quality decision today to place the Word of God in your heart. Heb. 4:12 "For the Word that God speaks is alive and full of power [making it active, operative, energizing, and effective]; it is sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating to the dividing line of the breath of life (soul) and [the immortal] spirit, and of joints and marrow [of the deepest parts of our nature], exposing and sifting and analyzing and judging the very thoughts and purposes of the heart." Gods Word is Life, Choose Life!
Do you find yourself overwhelmed or stressed with all the things on your 'To Do' list? With all the decorating, shopping, planning, events and just regular everyday chores, it seems like the list just keeps growing. Not to mention all those that want to help add things to your list.
It's actually easy to get engulfed in feelings of pressure, thinking there's not enough time to get everything done. So, we want to help you enjoy the season and keep you from freaking out in the season. If you'll do the following we know that you'll have a lot more peace and a lot less anxiety!
1. First things first. Put the Lord first in your day. Mark 12:30 says, "And you shall love the Lord your God will all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and will all your strength. This is the first commandment." Love is recognizing and honoring. It's so easy to get distracted and forget God. But we must remember He IS the reason for the season. It's because of His love that we celebrate Christmas. Besides that, you'll find giving Him first place in your day, will produce peace, order and joy!
2. Take moments throughout your day to 'smell the roses'. In other words, slow down! Rushing only causes pressure and stress. Realize the task WILL get done, you WILL get to where you're going, and everything WILL come together. By slowing down you not only give yourself time to enjoy the moments, but generate peace for you and others. Life is short, appreciate it. Eccl. 3:13 "and also that every man should eat and drink and enjoy the good of all his labor—it is the gift of God."
3. Rejoice, sing and praise God. It is a proven fact that music can affect our behavior and our emotions. Ps. 63:3-5 "Because Your lovingkindness is better than life, My lips shall praise You. Thus I will bless You while I live; I will lift up my hands in Your name, My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness (abundance), and my mouth shall praise You with joyful lips." So listen to some beautiful Christmas music and sing along. This will help create an atmosphere of peace and joy!
Putting forth an effort to do these three things will promote joy and peace. The experience of Christmas, perhaps, will be better than ever before. And although there are challenges, remember Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year!
It is with grateful hearts we celebrate this wonderful Thanksgiving. Although there are many people in our lives to which we're thankful, our first and foremost giving of Thanks goes to our Heavenly Father.
We praise the Lord for His faithful goodness, mercy and grace. We thank Him for His ever present Spirit, Who guides, instructs, and comforts. We rejoice in His abundance of blessings and daily provisions. We give honor to God for His continual healing power. We thank Him for the beauty and breath of life that He has given. Thank you Father for being the God of second chances and your ever ready forgiveness in our repentance. "Bless the Lord, O my soul, And all that is within me, bless His holy name! Bless the Lord, O my soul, And forget not all His benefits; Who forgives all our iniquities, Who heals all our diseases, Who redeems our life from destruction, Who crowns us with loving kindness and tender mercies, Who satisfies our mouth with good things, So that our youth is renewed like the eagle's." (Ps. 103:1-5)
Father, we thank You for Your protection and defense in the course of life. "Though we walk in the midst of trouble, You will revive us; You will stretch out Your hand against the wrath of our enemies. And Your right hand will save us. The Lord will perfect that which concerns us; His mercy endures forever." (Ps. 138:7,8)
Thank You Almighty God for Your everlasting love. "Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet My unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor My covenant of peace be removed," says the LORD, who has compassion on you." (Is. 54:10)
We take this day to "Offer to God thanksgiving, and pay our vows to the Most High" and we know that "He who brings an offering of praise and thanksgiving honors and glorifies God; and he who orders his way aright [who prepares the way that God may show him], to him the salvation of God will be demonstrated." (Ps. 50:14, 23 NIV)
Now is the time to acknowledge the Lord God in our life and give Him thanksgiving and blessings. Make sure this Thanksgiving you offer praise to Him, first.
We wish you all a very Happy Thanksgiving, In His love and ours Pastors Michael & Ginny Gulotta
We here at Living Joy, just want to say THANK YOU!
THANK YOU for all the prayers you've prayed. For the times you've spent laying before the Lord interceding for others, even for those you didn't know. We THANK YOU for praying for the people that didn't treat you fairly. THANK YOU for prayers you prayed for those in the ministry, people in leadership, and for the men and women in the military. (1 Pet. 3:12 "For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, And His ears are open to their prayers...." 1 Tim. 2:1 "Therefore, I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men,")
THANK YOU for the times you given most sacrificial. THANK YOU for being obedient to the Lord in your giving, being faithful even when it was difficult. THANK YOU for helping the poor and needy when asked to sponsor or give. (2 Cor. 8:7 NIV "Now as you abound and excel and are at the front in everything, in faith, in expressing yourselves, in knowledge, in all zeal, and in your love for us, [see to it that you come to the front now and abound and excel in this gracious work [of almsgiving] also." Pro. 19:17 "He who has pity on the poor lends to the Lord, And He will pay back what he has given.")
THANK YOU for your faithful service to the Lord. For all the times you attend church, for your diligence in ushering, greeting, working behind the scenes as technicians, teaching children, and ministering to the babies. THANK YOU for all the encouragement you've given the "Man or Woman" of God, in words of affirmation or gifts of love. THANK YOU for being the arms of God to hug those in need, for being His feet to go share the gospel, and for being the Lord's mouth to build up and cheer up others. (2 Thes. 1:3 "We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is fitting, because your faith grows exceedingly, and the love of every one of you all abounds toward each other" 1 Pet. 4:10NIV "Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God's grace in it's various forms.")
THANK YOU for remaining stedfast in the faith, not giving up. THANK YOU for your consistency in trusting the Lord. THANK YOU for persevering in trials and tribulations. THANK YOU for your belief in God's Word that never fails. THANK YOU for being responsible in your allegiance to the Lord. (1 Pet. 2:12 GNT "Your conduct among the heathen should be so good that when they accuse you of being evildoers, they will have to recognize your good deeds and so praise God on the Day of his coming." 2 Cor. 9:8 NIV "And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.")
We give thanks to God, Who in Christ always leads us in triumph [as trophies of Christ’s victory] and through us spreads and makes evident the fragrance of the knowledge of God everywhere. (2 Cor. 2:14 AMP)
It is our prayer that during this wonderful season of Thanksgiving that you remember to be thankful to and for those God has placed in your life. Some may be blessings and others may be the 'opportunity for you to develop your walk of faith'. No matter what you encounter, we pray that you are able to look past circumstances and find the reason to be THANKFUL to God. "Enter His gates with thanksgiving and into His courts with praise, be thankful unto Him and bless His name." (Ps. 100:4)
We had the privilege of visiting a Christian school and watching a program during their spiritual emphasis week. Being very impressed about the message that was shared, it came to mind that the subject was one that many struggle with daily. The message taken from Eph. 2:10 "For we are God's [own] handiwork (His workmanship), recreated in Christ Jesus, [born anew] that we may do those good works which God predestined (planned beforehand) for us [taking paths which He prepared ahead of time], that we should walk in them [living the good life which He prearranged and made ready for us to live]."
This verse is talking about us being God's 'masterpiece', His work of art, NOT being saved BY good works BUT saved TO DO good works. And walking in the paths He has already prepared for us so that we can complete our destiny, which is His purpose.
The issue at hand is that numerous people don't see themselves as God's masterpiece. They might refer to themselves as a 'real piece of work' in a derogatory way. Mainly because for years, they've listened to the lies of the devil; to things like, 'you're not very smart', 'you're not going to amount to anything', 'no one cares about you', or 'you're a problem - a mistake'. And whether it was from relatives, school mates, instructors or just self inflicted thoughts, they were still lies from the devil.
Eph. 2:10 says, "For we are God's [own] handiwork (His workmanship), recreated in Christ Jesus, [born anew]....." You are NOT a mistake! You were created to do good works that God predetermined for YOU! YOU were in the mind of God long before you were born. He intended for you to BE! He deliberately created YOU! YOU are His work of art, masterfully, wonderfully fashioned! When you come to realize that you were a deliberate creation, then you can comprehend the full scope of His purpose for you.
Take time today to say, "I am God's Masterpiece, His workmanship! I am recreated in Christ Jesus! I am part of God's plan. Lord I ask You to reveal the path You have ordained for me that I might live the good life and do good works to glorify You."
Anyone out there ever made a mistake that you were embarrassed about? A bad decision or a fall into a sin? Then right after the realization that you fell short of the grace of God, remorse set in. All the repenting didn't seem to help you feel better. And the devil, who is quick to bring up past sins, guilt or condemnation was right there on your tail. Even some friends or family seem to constantly rehearse the mishap, which doesn't make the situation better. Getting past the hurt and guilt is extremely difficult. Forgiveness from yourself and those you hurt, generally seem a long time coming.
1 John 1:9 says, "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." Of course the first thing we need to do is confess to the Lord we messed up. The second, is to ask for forgiveness. Then the scripture says, He is faithful to forgive us and cleanse us! That means He cleans us up. It's as if we never sinned. Now, the hard part, in our mind is, we must forgive ourself! Yes, we have to let it go, just as if we never sinned! (A word of caution, all this forgiveness and cleansing, doesn't give us freedom to sin again. Rom. 6:15) Forgiveness is not condoning the sin or even the lack of accountability, it's letting go of the anguish or resentment of the sin. It's coming to realize that Jesus himself took our sin, guilt and iniquities. Is. 53:5 NIV "But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our guilt and iniquities; the chastisement [needful to obtain] peace and well-being for us was upon Him, and with the stripes [that wounded] Him we are healed and made whole." We can be free from pain of guilt and condemnation only by receiving it by faith from God, when we truly repent!
Now let's talk to the people that were hurt by the offense. I am reminded of the story in the Bible where, Jesus spoke to the accusers of the woman caught in the act of adultery, "he who is without sin cast the first stone". I believe that everyone of us at one time has committed a sin that affected others. I can already hear "but my sin wasn't as grave as the one committed against me"! Listen people of God, sin is sin! Lying is the same as stealing, sexual sin is the equilvalent of anger, unforgiveness is synonymous of murder. One sin is not greater than another! And if Jesus can forgive us of any sin we commit, then how simple is it that we forgive others! Holding grudges, animosity or someone hostage for their sin hurts us as much it does the one who committed the infraction. First of all it keeps us from being forgiven. (Mat. 6:14-15) Secondly, the bitterness that comes from unforgiveness keeps the blessings of God from flowing to us because we grieve the Holy Spirit. "Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers, And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another even as God in Christ forgave you." (Eph. 4:29-32)
How many times are we suppose to forgive, you ask? Jesus said in Luke 17:3-4 "Pay attention to yourselves! If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him, and if he sins against you seven times in the day, and turns to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive him.” I know some of you are saying, 'How can I forgive this person that has done this dastardly deed against me? My feelings are hurt. Trust is broken. How do I know they won't do it again?' The answer to forgiveness is LOVE. Agape Love which is unconditional Love, like the love Jesus gave us. He forgave us even before we were born. He paid the price for our sin and forgiveness 2000 years ago. The only way to get past this hurt is by faith in the Lord. Through prayer, praying like you would for yourself and faith, forgiveness will flow. Every time you think of the pain you must forgive by faith, until one day you realize it's no longer tormenting you. That's when forgiveness is established.
If you are one of these two kinds of people I urge you to operate in the Love of God and forgive. Allow the healing power of God to come into your life and minister to you. Remember 2 Cor. 5:17 "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come." Trust the Lord for a new beginning. All things are possible with Him.
Prayer #1: Father, in the name of Jesus I come to you repenting for my actions. I ask for Your forgiveness and invite the Holy Spirit to help direct me and lead me in the path of righteousness. Open my ears and seal Your Word, that I may do what I have heard. Amen.
Prayer #2: Father, I come to You in the name of Jesus praying for the person that sinned against me. I forgive them as Christ forgave me. I loose them from my anger and allow the Holy Spirit to minister healing to them and to me. I ask forgiveness for anything I may have done to cause this transgression. And I choose to operate in the Agape Love towards them. Amen.
Pastors Michael & Ginny Gulotta
Pro. 11:25 "The generous soul will be made rich, And he who waters will also be watered himself."