By Still Waters I

I forgive you.
Thorns.
I forgive every sin,
Every sinful action,
Every sinful word.
Nails.
Every sinful omission,
Past sins,
Present sins,
Future sins.
Blood.
I know you don’t deserve my forgiveness.
You have truly sinned against me.
And there’s the point – you don’t deserve it!
Forgiveness is not something deserved.
It is something given.
If it was deserved,
It would not be forgiveness.
How plain.
And yet,
We are blind
Until we understand in our hearts,
And obey,
Remembering we have been forgiven
By an offended God,
Who looked past the offense
And saw
Thorns,
Nails,
Blood.
Because He was heart-generous,
He forgave.
Because He loved us.
He forgave.
Therefore, we die to self
And forgive.
And it is beautiful.
And freeing
You shall know the truth,
And the truth shall set you
Free.

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Forgiveness and Freedom

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By Still Waters I

Murder: What It Is and Why We Do It

The gun is raised, the trigger is pulled. The knife flashes and is plunged into the flesh. The fist is clenched and the blow fatally applied. Death by murder. What is murder? And why do we do it? Should we ban the instruments of murder? Remove from our society all things used in murder? The gun, the knife, the fist? Careful. Just as Adam and Eve in the garden pointed the finger at others for what they themselves did, so we can point to others and to things, for blame.


A man lies dead in a field. Murdered. Another man walks away, thinking no one saw him kill his brother. Yes, his brother. The first murder occurred, tragically, between brothers. What did Cain use to kill his brother? The Bible does not tell us, but we can be sure that it was not any modern device. Perhaps it was a stone, a large stick, a knife, or his bare hands. But can we be sure that the only instrument Cain used was a tangible one? Listen to what the Bible says about this first murder, “And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the LORD. And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the LORD had respect unto Abel and to his offering: But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell. And the LORD said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen? If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him. And Cain talked with Abel his brother: and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him. And the LORD said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? And he said, I know not: Am I my brother’s keeper? And he said, What hast thou done? the voice of thy brother’s blood crieth unto me from the ground.”

It is perhaps significant that the Bible does not relay to us what physical instrument Cain used to murder his brother, but it rather stresses the condition of Cain’s heart toward God. Cain was wrathful toward God. He was angry. And he took his anger toward God out on his brother.

The Word of God tells us that the instrument used in murder is not of great significance. What is significant is the heart. Jesus tells us: “ For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies:” Matthew 15:19. I think that we can all assent to that. We may say it in different ways, but if we are honest with ourselves, we are going to come up with the conclusion that physical murder starts in the heart. It doesn’t start with a gun, knife, a fist, etc. Banning items used in murder is not practical or logical. If we are going to ban all items that folks use to murder others, we are going to have to ban not just fire arms, but knives, cars, alcohol, ropes, etc. That still leaves fists, hands, feet, and yes, the heart. Even if we could ban the heart, if the heart wants to murder, it finds a way.

But have we addressed fully what murder is? Murders are brought to our attention in the news. Some murders do not receive this media attention. Regardless, murders happen every day. Though this is true, we usually do not dwell on them unless the media does, or unless, tragically, someone we love has been murdered. I would be remiss if I did not bring up the murders of babies through abortion. Just like Abel’s blood, their blood cries out from the ground. To further complete the picture, we also need to mention the murders committed through genocide that happen throughout the world.


But still, is that all there is? Is the picture truly complete? Have we completely fleshed out what murder is? No. We came close to it when we said that murder starts in the heart. But is murder always physical? Again, the answer is no. The Word of God says that when we have hatred in our hearts toward others, we are murderers. “Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him.” 1 John 3:15. So just because we have not broken the sixth commandment – Thou shalt not kill (Greek, apokteino, meaning “murder”) in a physical way, Jesus says that when we are unjustly angry toward someone, we are in danger of being judged by this commandment as a murderer, “Ye have heard that it was said of them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment: But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment:” Matthew 5:21, 22.

Sometimes this anger toward others plays out in physical murder, as in the case of Cain and in the case of many others throughout all time, and sometimes it produces the hidden murder of the heart. We are all guilty of at least the second scenario.

Physical murders in society should be addressed. Some are addressed properly in this world, and some are not. Some are not addressed at all. In any case, the blood of the victims cry out from the ground, and God hears it and will address physical murders in His own time and way.

God also hears the murder in our hearts. If we listen very carefully, we can hear it, too. We should tremble when we realize that simply the thoughts of our hearts condemn us. God, the judge, looks not on the outside, but on the inside, “for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7

Yes, we can point the finger at the young man who sinfully pulls the trigger, at the drunk who abuses his wife, at the bully who beats up the small kid, and at those who murder their babies through abortion, but we must stop pointing to the instruments of death (guns, alcohol, knives) as the culprit, but rather point to the heart of those who wield these instruments. Furthermore, we must point to our own hearts, as we are guilty as well. Who or what can change our hearts? Can regulations and laws? As Paul, the apostle, cries out: “O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? Romans 7:24


A man hangs dying on the cross, the victim of hearts of hatred. The instrument was the cross, but the source of hatred was the heart – the hearts of those who cried out for him to be crucified and the hearts of all of us, “Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted? and they have slain them which shewed before of the coming of the Just One; of whom ye have been now the betrayers and murderers:” Acts 7:15

Ever since the fall of Adam and Eve in the garden, our nature is to hate God and His ways. Just as Cain took out his wrath toward God on his brother, so, too, we took out our hatred toward God on His Son. Is there deliverance for this heart of hatred toward God and His Son? Yes. It is in the death of His Son, foreordained by God, that we find life and forgiveness. We meant His death for evil, and God meant it for Good. God does indeed work all things together for good for those who love God and who are called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28. The sin that dwells within us was crucified with Jesus on the cross. Jesus took these sins upon Himself, paying the penalty that we owed to God for our sins. We are no longer guilty for our sins, and are re-born into a new life through His resurrection. We are washed and made clean and given a new heart, one that desires to love God and walk in His ways.

Murder. It is heavy business. It weighs on the heart and controls our actions, and puts us in hell. Jesus says: “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30


May you flee to Jesus for relief of your heavy sin burden. He is faithful and just to forgive those who come to them seeking His mercy. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9

Murder: What It Is and Why We Do It

Aside
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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In the World But Not of the World

A Movie Review on “Zootopia” (The Promoting of  Man’s Idea of Perfection Packaged in Cuteness)

The Movie’s Basic Theme: You can be what you want to be no matter your biological make-up.

When one watches Zootopia, one first has to ask oneself: Was this movie written for animals to watch? This will be one of the most important questions to keep in mind as one views this film. The answer to the above question is obviously “no”. Here are a few reasons behind this answer: 1) animals cannot understand movies, 2) animals do not have a desire to be other than what they are, and 3) because animals do not have a desire to be what they are not, animals do not set out to be something they are not.

The next question that needs to be asked then is: To whom is the movie, Zootopia, directed? We would have to say this movie is directed toward humans. That is the obvious answer. But then we have to recognize that there are all kinds of humans. There are the young, and the middle aged and the old. There are men and women and boys and girls. There are those who hold to standards of others (whether of their religion, their family, and/or their peers) and those who hold to standards determined of themselves. Now when we ask to whom is this movie directed, it gets a bit tricky to answer. But, keep in mind, that although ALL the characters in the movie are animals, the movie IS directed toward humans.

One clue as to which segment of the human race this movie is directed can be found in the first scene. There is a play being put on by young animal children in which the “old way” of predator vs. prey is denounced as evil, old-fashioned, and unenlightened. One has to ask oneself, if this play is not directed towards animals, as we have determined in our first paragraph, then to whom is this predator vs. prey message directed? Well, we can say at this point, the targeted human segment is children. Writers understand the power of children teaching children. But, because there is at least one set of animal parents in the audience who is often shown reacting to the play, we can say that this movie is also being directed to the older generation. This statement plays out as the movie unfolds, and we discover that these parents are portrayed as being stuck in old ways of thinking but are willing to change.

The next clue regarding to whom this movie is directed is revealed, again in the first scene, through a young animal character coming on stage with a rainbow on its head. This animal makes a speech regarding how it has changed and has seen the light in terms of how it was wrong in the past in terms of its view of others. Why a rainbow on this animal’s head? To whom is this rainbow motif directed? Again, animals don’t recognize what a rainbow is, but humans do. What message does the movie writer want to give to the humans watching their film? The rainbow motif has been garnered by the homosexual movement to mean that all people (really meaning all people like themselves) should be accepted. The scene is relatively brief, but pointed.

We can now further answer the question: To whom this movie is directed? This movie is directed toward those whom the homosexual community and its supporters believe need to be taught this lesson: that being what you want to be, even though you are not born that way, is possible and good. The teaching in this Homosexuality 101 movie is for children and anyone else who needs to be enlightened.

The rest of the movie brings forth this lesson through various scenes and conversations. For example, there is a scene meant to be heart-wrenching as we witness the treatment of a predator who works at the front lobby desk of the police department.  He  is now considered evil (And we should note that his character is a male tiger who seems to have a mixture of feminine and male characteristics in its behavior.) and is therefore removed from its job at the front information desk because it would look bad to have him be the “first thing people (animals) see” when they walk in.

An interesting fact about this movie is that in its promotion of homosexuality, there is no “de-moting” of marriage between heterosexuals. There is a prominent scene in the movie where a girl animal marries a boy animal. Should we breathe a sigh of relief and applaud this movie now because they have not made negative references toward heterosexual unions? Be careful here. The supposed message of the homosexual movement is that everyone should be accepted, no matter their “choices” in partners. This Homosexuality 101 movie is very thorough in covering its subject.

Though the promoting of the acceptance of the sin of homosexuality is obvious in the movie, there is a deeper message being flaunted: all moral mores must be challenged and embraced. In other words, “Try Anything” as the title of the main song of the movie states.

This message is taught in the animal “nudist” colony scene. In this scene, the main character – a female rabbit who has always dreamed of being a police officer – walks through an “animal nudist” colony in order to find a witness. Again, we need to remember the question: To whom is this movie directed? To animals? No, to humans. That being the case, then I will leave you to answer why the story writers have the witness – a female elephant in the “nudist” colony who is doing yoga – spread her legs in full view of the other characters (and the humans watching this film), and also bends over in front of the main characters, showing her hinder parts, and furthermore, twist herself into various positions where her “private parts” would be on display. Cute, right? She is just an animal. But, what is the picture that this “nude” female elephant is painting? Definitely, if animals cared about such displays, this picture of “nudity” would be meant for the arousal or at least the embarrassment of the observing animals. But again, we have to keep in mind that animals do not watch movies nor care to, and that this movie is directed toward humans. What pictures do these “nude” female elephant moves bring to the mind of humans? What is the message of this scene toward humans? I won’t answer the first question, but I will answer the second. Actually, the main characters of the movie, give us the answer. Though the rabbit is embarrassed at first to head into this “nudist” animal colony, the other main character, a male fox, challenges her on her reaction. The rabbit, answering to the call of duty and being challenged in her own belief that anybody can be who they want, drops her inhibitions and her own lingering prejudices and willingly subjects herself to viewing this “naked” limber elephant.

There is one main problem with this movie – this problem being the norm for humans in the history of this world – but looming larger and larger in 2016. It is the tearing down of what is Holy and Good as determined by God in His Word, the Bible. It is calling evil good. This movie is a candy-colored reflection of the many evils being called good as taught and pushed in schools, corporations, churches, and by our own government.

Here is God’s message, as found in His Word, to all people. Sin reaps real consequences. We can be deceived in ourselves regarding God’s view of sin. We can be forgiven for our sins and washed from them, and sanctified (grow in our obedience to God).

Since our first rebellion against God in the garden (See the book of Genesis.), we have sought to go our own way – the way of utopia. That way always ends in misery and eternal destruction. Jesus is the Way and the Truth and the Life. Go to Jesus and His Word to see what true freedom is – freedom from the bondage, guilt and eternal consequences of sin.

1 Corin. 6:9-11 – Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.

Movie Review on Zootopia

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By Still Waters I

sunset clouds in east - just clouds

 

 

About Forgiveness

Christ’s work of salvation for us is finished.

Heb. 10:18

  • Now where remission of these (sins and iniquities) is, there is no more offering for sin.

John 19:30

  • “When Jesus, therefore had received the vinegar, he said, ‘It is finished:’ and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.”

And from Hebrews 10:1-25

Forgiveness gives us boldness.

  • Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest (the presence of God) by the blood of Jesus; by a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh;
  • And having an high priest over the house of God; Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.

Forgiveness gives us assurance.

  • Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;)

Forgiveness leads to the ability to love and to do good works.

  • And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:

About Forgiveness

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