By Still Waters II

I Just Don’t Remember

The essence of God’s goodness to His children is that because of the work of His Son, He forgets. He forgets our sins. This is amazing. God, who is Holy, Righteous and “Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see…”  (1 Timothy 6:16) forgets that His children have sinned against Him: “I, even I, am he that blots out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins.” (Isaiah 43:25) Our transgressions are as if they are not. And if there is any doubt about whether or not our transgressions can still accuse us before the Holy God, the Holy God looks at Christ’s marred body and says to us: “What sins?” Oh, to “be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passes knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.”
Forgiveness equals forgetfulness. When Jesus teaches us to pray: Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.” it is as if He is saying: “Forget the sins done against you because I have forgotten the sins you committed against Me.” God does not ruminate, does not remember. Let us, by
God’s grace, become forgetful people in the same way.

This is the final installment in our mini-series on forgiveness. For the first two, please go to: Debt Free and Rich!!!  and What is Your Inheritance?

I Just Don’t Remember

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By Still Waters II

For thy name’s sake, O LORD, pardon mine iniquity; for it is great. Psalm 25:11

birdhouse-colorsDebt Free and Rich!!!

Debt. Not a pleasant word to see. Not a pleasant situation to be in. Depending on the amount of debt, relief can seem unattainable.

Debt is experienced not only by individuals, but by countries as well. Look at the following website to see in real time the incredible speed of debt growth for various countries of the world: http://www.usdebtclock.org/world-debt-clock.html.

Financial debt should be taken seriously. Financial debt keeps a person or a country in constant obligatory chains until the debt is paid off. Financial debt is part of the physical world, and we need to be responsible in regards to financial debt. But there is another type of debt in this life that requires more grave attention. It is the debt related to the spiritual world. This debt requires such serious attention that Jesus gives it notoriety by including directions regarding it in His commands for how to pray to His Father, “Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.”

What is this debt that we owe to God? God is owed perfect obedience, but we haven’t given Him that: ”All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way. Isaiah 53:6. Our debt to God builds rapidly, just like the speed of debt growth we see in the referenced website. If we would comprehend the daily innumerable sins of disobedience that we commit in thought, word, and action, we would say something like what Ezekiel said: “O my God, I am ashamed and blush to lift up my face to thee, my God: for our iniquities are increased over our head, and our trespass is grown up unto the heavens.” Ezekiel 9:6. Just like financial debt that is overwhelming in its scope, so also is our constantly accumulating spiritual debt.

Where can we find relief from this unending debt we owe to God? Can we find it in ourselves by trying to do better or be a better person? No, for the Bible speaks of us in this way: “They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.” Romans 3:12, and “They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no, not one.” Psalm 14:3.

Our lack of perfect obedience to God incurs His wrath upon us in the form of the living death of hell – unless this debt can be paid off. But if our debt needs to be paid off, and  we cannot do it, then who can? The answer is amazing: God, Himself, provides the debt relief. “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 6:23.  In God’s amazing love for His children, He sends His Son to the world to receive the wrath that His children deserve. His children become debt-free. And not only that, they are brought into the riches of God’s kingdom: “the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints” Eph. 1:18. These riches are not financial, but rather spiritual. However, to use the financial debt analogy, it’s like your creditor forgiving you your financial debt and then giving you millions and millions of dollars.

If you are still in debt to God, the beautiful gospel is that the Holy and Just God gives mercy and release from that debt through the work, sacrifice and resurrection of His Son, Jesus Christ. Go to God for this pardon of your debt, and you, too, can be debt free – and unbelievably rich!! “for the … Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.” Romans 10:12

Our next post in this mini-series on forgiveness will address what spiritual riches are (see What is Your Inheritance?). Our final post will discuss forgiving others as we have been forgiven (see I Just Don’t Remember).

 

 

Debt Free and Rich!!!

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By Still Waters II

golden-hillsThe King
Triumphant.
The King
Victorious.
The King
Omnipotent.
The King
Worthy.
He comes.
The Holy Hill
To Ascend
Oh, ye gates.
Begin
To rise.
He has
Accomplished
His Father’s
Eternal will.
His hands are
Clean.
His heart is
Pure.
His soul
Loves
What is
Good.
His word is
Sure.
His is the
Right
To ascend
To the
Holy place.
He who was from
The beginning.
He who made
All things.
Things in heaven
Things on earth.
By Him
For Him
All things
Were created
His they are.
He is
The King of glory.
Selah

From Psalm 24

Photo credit: Rachel Blake

The King of Glory

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By Still Waters II

God Had Not Sent Him

“And, lo, I perceived that God had not sent him; but that he pronounced this prophecy against me: for Tobiah and Sanballat had hired him.
Therefore was he hired, that I should be afraid, and do so, and sin, and that they might have matter for an evil report, that they might reproach me.
My God, think thou upon Tobiah and lone-treeSanballat according to these their works, and on the prophetess Noadiah, and the rest of the prophets, that would have put me in fear.” Nehemiah 6:12-14

Believer, do you know what fear is? Have you ever been so afraid that your chest tightens, and you feel that you cannot breathe? Have you ever let a small fear turn into a big fear by adding your own ingredients to it? Does a whispered fear in your heart turn into the roar of an open mouth, sharp-toothed lion? Or, are there real life, hard situations for you that tempt and demand you to fear? How powerful is fear! It is no wonder that FDR said these famous words: “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” Fear looms large and powerful. Fear can completely control. Fear demands submission and agreement to its assessments and perceptions. Fear wants to own you.

Believer, God did not send that fear. This fear is not from God. God is not the author of this fear. Then who is? Well, you are. And the father of lies is right there to just make it worse. How powerful is our thought life! How, if we do not have control over our mind, we fast-forward to all kinds of fears. How we run to the theater in our mind, act out our fears on stage over and over till it they are ready for Broadway! How we can be so strong to do that instead of submissively running to God’s truths and promises in His Word!

How merciful God is to grab us back from this destructive marathon and show us verses like Nehemiah 6:12-14. Believer, God did not send the fear. Fear was hired by our own sinful nature and encouraged by the father of lies so that we would be afraid, so that we would sin and blaspheme the name of God in our hearts, and with our words and actions.

Believer, pray battle prayers against these Tobiahs, Sanballets and the rest that would seek to put you in fear. God is not the giver of the spirit of fear, but of power, and of love and of a sound mind. (1 Timothy 2:7) By His grace, remember and believe Him when He says to you, “I will never leave you, nor forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5b

God Had Not Sent Him

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By Still Waters II

The Wrong Side of the Door

The wind howls and blows cold.
There is no support.
You stagger and fight to stand
Against the door you just shut behind you.
It is dark, and you cannot see.
No one calmly says to you,
“This is the way, walk ye in it.”
Rather, there are screamings and haunting shrieks,
Reverberating in your mind,
Demanding unholy alliances.
Oh, soul, go back!
Repent!
Flee their counsel,
Their way,
Their seat,
Their sweet-covered rot.
Delight in the Delightful.
Meditate on the Merciful.
Stay by the Water of the Word.
Listen to the Lord of Lordgrove-of-treess.
And you will clearly see.
You will securely stand.

 

 

 

 

Photo credit: Rachel Blake

The Wrong Side of The Door

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By Still Waters II

Pray cherries-2Without Ceasing. (I Thessalonians 5:17)

Have you ever prayed without ceasing? Have you ever filled all the nooks and crannies of your busy thought life with prayer? Have you ever stopped mid-thought to pray? Have you ever realized that much of your thought life is meaningless and a waste of time? What occupies your thoughts? What goes through your mind when you are driving? What about when you are doing the dishes, laundry, making your bed, vacuuming, clearing the table, gardening, tidying up, mopping the floor, watering the lawn, raking the leaves, waiting in line, lying in bed, taking a walk, and etc. I think you get the idea. Dear Reader, thanks to a couple of Godly friends of mine, I have been challenged in my prayer life. One of these friends will stop mid-sentence to pray or thank God for something. She said she learned to pray without ceasing when she was left a young widow with eight children. The other friend has, patiently, over the years, encouraged me to pray without ceasing. By God’s grace, and through these friends’ examples, I am learning to fill the nooks and crannies of my busy thought life with prayer. And yes, much of my busy thought life has been meaningless and a waste of time. Now, instead of mulling and mulling over meaningless thoughts, I am finally learning to not only fill the nooks and crannies of my thought life with prayer, but to also replace worthless thoughts with prayer. I am learning to pray bold prayers to the God who is the Fount of all blessing. I don’t pray for riches or ease of life, and right now I am not praying for myself. Currently, I am led to pray primarily for a specific person. I will move on to praying for other things and people when I think God is leading me to do that. I am praying aggressively for this person, using Scriptural truths and ideas. All of this is to God’s glory – I take none for myself – and I hope to learn to pray more fully, adding constant praise to ceaseless praying. I believe that I have experienced only the first fruits of praying without ceasing. It is my hope that I will enjoy the full harvest someday. May you, as well, grow in this blessing.
See also: Acts 12:5; Romans 1:9; 2 Timothy 1:3

Pray All The Time

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By Still Waters II

fire-on-the-praireFire!!

Some of you may know that recently, my family’s home and life were in danger of fire. That’s right, there was a prairie fire furiously eating up the dry prairie grass as it rushed toward homes, barns, corrals and yes, our home as well.

A few days ago, my youngest daughter and I were coming home from her soccer game, and as we left the highway to continue on the paved road that headed east toward our dirt roads, we could see in the distance the tell-tale signs of a fire burning on the high prairies – which is where our home is. We called my eldest daughter who was at home, and our anxious surmisings were confirmed.  There was a fire burning on the bluffs south and west of our house.  It was relatively small at this point, and so she was going to drive south down our road to figure out what was going on.  We picked up our speed.  As we drove, we scrutinized brush and trees to try to confirm which way the wind was blowing.  We finally saw an American flag high up on a pole.  It was streaming, almost without a flicker of movement, straight north. When we finally finished bumping over dirt roads that jogged north, east and north again to our road, we could tell that whatever size the fire had been several minutes ago, it had grown significantly.  Our hearts beat faster as we saw the blowing, billowing mass of white and brown smoke. As we headed north to our house, we realized just how big and bad this fire was. The smoke was so bad there were times when we could not see the road ahead of us. There were times we could not see the houses that were set back on the acreages. Were these houses up in flames? We did not know. But what I really wanted to find out was whether or not my eldest daughter, who was farther north up the road, was safe. Thinking that she had already driven south to check out the fire, I frantically called her to tell her to head back north.  She had not left the house yet and was astounded at the quick growth of the fire.  She called her daddy for further instruction.  I kept heading north on my side of the fire to try to get to our house. Behind me quite a distance, a fire truck was quickly following in my path. I kept up my intense speed to satisfy my frantic longing to see what I could not see.

All of a sudden, fire came roaring down the prairie and stretched and strained its red hot oxygen-grabbing fingers over the road in front of me as if it wanted to continue its journey on the other side. Of all the horrifying images of that day, this is the one that is always ready to intrude back into my mind.

I turned the van around and heading back south so that I could take a westerly road that would lead me to a road heading north again on the west side of the fire. From there I would be able to head east then south again to approach our house from the north. This fire-induced detour seemed to take forever, but finally we reached the house and were unimaginably relieved to see that though the fire had come close, it had not reached our property, and that the flames had been virtually extinguished. I was also so greatly relieved to see my eldest daughter calmly using the hose to create a fire barrier around our house should the flames revive themselves. The rest of the houses and buildings on our road were unharmed, but the black charred prairie gave evidence of a fire that came way too close to these structures.

This fiery orange, destructive and rushing fire that tried to get more fuel for its lifework has made me ponder. Fire can be good. When we are cold, we enjoy our fireplaces. When we want a yummy meal, we cook out over a fire. When we want to celebrate a birthday, we light birthday candles on a cake. The sun is a ball of fire, and the beautiful, twinkling stars are fire orbs as well. We can even use fire to put out fires. But fire can be bad as well. It is destructive. It can burn. It can kill.

In the Holy Scriptures, we read about fire. We read that a small spark can produce a whole lot of fire. We read that our tongues are compared to this small spark. We can say one small, unedifying thing and start a whole lot of problems. We read that God showed himself to Moses in the burning bush that was not consumed by the heat of the flames. We read that God kept His people safe at night on their travels to the Promised Land by placing a pillar of fire at night between them and their enemies. We read of fire and brimstone coming down from heaven to destroy the cities of Sodom and Gomora. We read that God sent fire down from heaven onto an altar to show the Israelites that He was God, and that Baal was only an idol made by men’s hands. We read of the fire on the beach on which Jesus was cooking fish for the nourishment of his hungry disciples. We read that the gates of hell (from which flames of fire reach undyingly in an attempt to feed on God’s people) will not prevail against God’s church. We read in the book of Revelation that in the vision given to John, God has eyes like fire, and His feet are like burning brass. We read that Satan, that devil who roams the earth now, seeking whom he may devour, will, at the end of time, be thrown into the lake of burning fire, along with all those who worship and serve him. We read that in the last days, the earth will be destroyed by fire. We read that in the new heavens and the new earth, there will be no need of a ball of fire giving light to us, but rather the Son of God, Who is the light, will be the only light we will need.

Fire. So powerful. So descriptive of many truths of God. The next time you see flames, and I hope that it is not in the form of a prairie fire, think of the many ways that God uses fire to teach us truths about Himself. Deeply meditate on those truths and consider how they pertain to your relationship with Him.

Fire!!

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