Posts Tagged ‘forgiveness’

CHRISTMAS AND THE LOVE OF GOD

Christmas is a very unique and special seasonal celebration all over the world. It is the remembrance of the birth of Jesus Christ, the Saviour of the world. It is time to remember God’s initiative of love, in making the first move in reconciliation with disobedient, fallen mankind. We remember the offended God, deciding to stretch out his hands with all readiness, willingness and eagerness to forgive all of mankind. God’s first response is to express his displeasure and judgement. Immediately after, God ‘took the bull by the horn,’ by deciding to send Jesus on the ultimate rescue mission to redeem mankind, right at the occasion and location of man’s fall into sin. Christmas therefore is a remembrance of God’s love, for choosing to rescue disobedient man. We remember God’s humility in standing up to take the place of the offender and bear the punishment for the offender’s sins. Thus peace was made at the initiative of God and at his own expense. Jesus was born to die for our sins and to rise up from the dead; and eventually become King; the King of ALL kings and the Lord of ALL lords. Love, humility, giving, service, selflessness, justice, holiness, repentance, forgiveness, peace, goodwill to all men are hallmarks of Christmas. It is when Jesus Christ comes back that he would reign as King of kings and Lord of lords. God Almighty set the pace. We as human beings need to follow.
As a young boy, I heard an adult asking; “Why do you sing resurrection songs in December? Another adult replied him; “It does not matter when you sing each category of songs.” It is the depth and faith in God which count. As I grew up, I liked many hymns and songs, especially those which expressed the whole gospel in a nutshell. An example is the hymn ’Seeking For Me.’ themed on the Love of God; Composed by E. E. Hasty.[Author A. N.]
Jesus my Saviour to Bethlehem came,
Born in a manger to sorrow and shame;
Oh it was wonderful – blest be His name!
Seeking for me! For me!
Then in the following stanzas, the hymn writer says:
How Jesus went to the cross to die; how he paid the great debt and set my soul free. Dying for me! For me!
How Jesus called me while I wandered astray from the fold [like a lost sheep]; he pled gently and long with my soul, Calling for me! For me!
Finally, he speaks about the second coming of Christ thus:
Jesus my Saviour shall come from on high-
Sweet is the promise as weary years fly;
Oh, I shall see Him descend from the sky,
Coming for me, for me!
Coming for me! For me! –
Coming for me! For me! –
Oh, I shall see Him descend from the sky,
Coming for me! For me!
Many other carols highlight the glory of the new born King, Jesus.
His incarnation, priesthood, his righteousness, his life-giving power, his healing virtue, are all expressed.
The global impact of Christmas, as historically documented, is seen also in the carols highlighting the visit of the three wise men; kings from the East, who came to visit Jesus in a house, giving him gifts, in Bethlehem. That was after leaving the manger.
The impact of God’s redemption for mankind stems from his absolute love, which would not discard or abandon us. Imagine being asked to die for a condemned armed robber, a terrorist, or a morally corrupt person in your community; would you oblige or voluntarily rush out to do so? Certainly not; judging by general human standards. For a good man or woman in society, some people may agree reluctantly or hardly opt to die in their places or stead.
However, that unpopular and unlikely line of action was what God took. Read how the Holy Bible tells us:
For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God demonstrated his love towards us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. Romans 5:6-10.
Our first parents sinned by deliberate disobedience to God. Being our foundational and therefore representative parents, Adam and Eve. ushered sin into the world with the deception by Satan. The choice was theirs to obey God or Satan. Their choice had severe spiritual and physical implications. As forewarned by God, death was the result. Man died spiritually by being cut off and out of fellowship with God. This effect passed on to all mankind. Genesis 2: 16-17 God instructed Adam not to eat the forbidden fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. As we found out later, Adam disobeyed God. Adam was not deceived by the devil, but Eve was. Genesis 3:1-19, 21. Adam chose to join his wife in disobeying God. God pronounced curse upon them and consequently upon the whole human race.
God prophetically declared the ultimate redemption of mankind thus:

And I will put enmity between thee and the woman; and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel. Genesis 3: 15.

It is the seed of the woman and not the seed of the man. God, the Maker, is Omniscient. Jesus Christ was born with conception between the seed of the woman and the HOLY SPIRIT; not involving the seed of man.
The prophecy was fulfilled thus: Thousands of years later, God sent an angel called Gabriel to a Jewish virgin called Mary. The angel said to Mary:
Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. And behold thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. He shall be great; and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the LORD God shall give unto him the throne of his father, David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob forever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end. Luke 1: 30-33.
As for Mary, that was too hard to take and difficult to comprehend. She was humble, but bold enough to ask the angel:
How shall this be, seeing I know not a man? Luke 1: 34.
The angel replied, to allay her fears: The Holy Ghost shall come upon you, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow you. Therefore, also, that holy thing that shall be born by you shall be called the Son of God.
To give her double assurance, the angel told her that her old cousin called Elizabeth had conceived in her old age. A woman considered by many to be hopeless as far as giving birth to a child; barren indeed, was an expectant mother; six months pregnant! Nothing is impossible to God. Luke 1: 35-37.
Thus, an overwhelmed, excited and humble Mary surrendered herself to God: Behold, I am the handmaiden of the LORD. Let it be done unto me as you have said. Luke 1: 38.
In the Garden of Eden, after their failure, God made coats of skin for Adam and Eve and clothed them. Genesis 3: 21. God must have killed an animal in the process. The blood of the animal was shed. GOD IS ABLE THOUGH TO MAKE COATS OF SKIN WITHOUT KILLING AN ANIMAL, BUT KNOWING THE SUBSEQUENT ORDER OF SACRIFICE, BLOOD HAVE BEEN SHED TO COVER THE GUILTY SHAME OF ADAM AND EVE. ADAM AND EVE WERE COVERED; LOOKING FORWARD TO THE SHED BLOOD OF THE SECOND ADAM THAT WAS TO COME; JESUS! Abel did not merely imagine a sacrifice of choice animal from his flock of sheep; he must have learnt it from his parents and from God.
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. Genesis 4:4. Please read Genesis 4: 1-4. [What do you have to contribute on this?].
However, in the fullness of time, the reconciliatory initiative made by God through the death of his Son Jesus Christ removed the curse and judgment of death from us all. We have been reconciled to God by the death of Jesus Christ. We are saved by his life because he died, was buried but arose from the grave on the third day according to prophecies of the Scriptures. We can rejoice in victorious celebration. The Bible states:
And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement. Wherefore, as by one man, sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so, death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned. Romans 5:11-12.
The whole of mankind was hopelessly under the grip of sin and death. Before the law came by way of the Ten Commandments given to Moses, no man could be legally accused of sin, even though all sinned through Adam and Eve. The partaking in the failure of Adam and Eve was the inheritance of death which passed on to all mankind. That death was pronounced upon us conditionally by God. We entered into it by the choice of our fore-parents. We therefore inherited the death as well.
Jesus Christ came as the second Adam. He was perfect all the way. He obeyed God all the way. Greater still, Jesus Christ died for our sins instead of us all. He became sin for us, took our sin away. He died our death. Arose from the grave and freely offers and gives his life to all who would receive him! That is Love that is indescribable! It is such a great and wondrous love.
At this time of Christmas celebration, we remember that God sent his own begotten Son, Jesus, into the world. He was born in a manger, in the little town of Bethlehem, in Judea. Jesus Christ came on a rescue mission. He came to rescue mankind from sin and death. That rescue mission has been completed. Jesus came, born as a baby. He grew up and became a carpenter in Nazareth. He ministered across Jerusalem, towns and villages in Judea and Samaria in Palestine. He surrendered himself to be crucified after a torturing flogging with whips at the whipping post by fierce, cruel Roman soldiers. He died on the cross. He was buried and the tomb securely sealed. On the third day he arose from the grave and came out alive after a powerful earthquake broke through the sealed entrance to the tomb! By his life, Jesus Christ offers and gives new life to anyone who would listen, trust and obey him. Dear friend, you can be one of that great company as you read this message and respond with gratitude.
Come to God through Jesus Christ today, as you read this message. If you shall confess with your mouth that Jesus Christ is Lord. And believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead on the third day according to the Scriptures, you shall be saved. With your heart you believe and you are made righteous. With your mouth you confess and you are saved. Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. Romans 10: 9-13.
For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son that whosoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life. John 3:16.
Jesus said:

For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through him might be saved. John 3:17.
To reject Jesus is to reject peace and everlasting life. That in essence, is self-condemnation. It is worse than suicide!
Indeed, Jesus Christ came into this world with the joint plan of his Father, the Almighty God. His mission was to rescue the whole of mankind. The rescue mission was accomplished. By his substitutionary death for every human being, Jesus Christ effected peace and reconciliation between God and mankind through his death on the cross. That was why he was born at Christmas. He was born as an obedient servant of God; born as willing spotless sacrificial lamb; born as a high priest; born as a king; born as the final judge of all the earth. Jesus Christ brings you and me peace from God. He enhances peace with God. Come to Jesus now. The other part of the angel’s message to Mary shall be fulfilled soon, when Jesus shall return to the earth as King of kings and Lord of lords. Jesus Christ is coming again, very soon. Embrace him, so that you may have everlasting life and peace.
Jesus Christ Is The Reason Behind This Season Of Celebration Of Christmas. Come To Him Without Any Delay. Have you been to Jesus? Do you know his love and guidance? Keep yourself pure and holy; growing in the love of God. Keep looking for the blessed hope; the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Have A Blessed Jesus-centred Christmas And A Happy New Year, 2019. Shalom.

FORGIVENESS IS IMPERATIVE FOR THE CHRISTIAN

We often pray to God and ask for his forgiveness. We need his forgiveness so much because without it we are out of fellowship with him. Jesus said; But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins. Matthew 6:15. Not forgiving our brothers and sisters is equal to walking in darkness.
He who hates brother is in darkness,  and walks in darkness.He is like a blind man. 1 John 2:9-11. Such a person is merely doing religion; he is not having fellowship with God.
Tom Huffy told a story in his devotional titled TIME ALONE WITH GOD. It was about two very close brothers who did and owned joint business in a store. The business flourished in the community. One of the brothers placed a Dollar on the counter but while he turned around the dollar had vanished out of sight. He asked his brother if he had taken the money. The other brother denied taking the money. A hot argument developed. Neighbours got involved and they took sides. Eventually the joint business ended and the store was partitioned. Competition for business started between the two brothers. This continued for twenty years until light was shed on the darkness of their lives. A big car pulled up in front of the store and a wealthy man got out. He walked into the store and asked to speak to both brothers. Unaware of what happened to the brother’s partnership, the man confessed to stealing the dollar as a little boy.
Twenty years of bitterness with wasted opportunities of better business. Those neighbours who wrongly took sides in an unnecessary quarrel are also to be blamed, but the two brothers made the loophole.
Dear friends, please give your brother, sister, spouse or neighbours the benefit of a doubt in questionable cases. Do not draw the line of break or partition too soon. How would you feel to be wrongly accused? Seek peace and pursue it. And furthermore;  Follow peace with all men and holiness without which no man shall see the LORD.
For the Christian, forgiveness is not a matter of choice, but a command. Let us walk in love; forgiving one another. Those two brothers did not betray trust at the beginning, but they failed in the day of trouble. Wrong or false accusations are not tenable. Bringing in third parties into a dispute should be carefully and sparingly done. What is 1 dollar?  What is brotherly kindness and love? What is mutual trust? Where was second chance? What about the benefits of a necessary doubt; and that for your business partner or spouse?
Grace be with you all.

NELSON MANDELA DEPARTS : TRIBUTE TO A GREAT GLOBAL ICON OF PEACE

President Nelson Mandela, the indefatigable, resilient, freedom and human rights champion has departed the world stage at the age of 95 years. He passed away 8.50 p.m. on Thursday, 5th December 2013, after a long battle with lung infection. Current President, Jacob Zuma made the passionate announcement to the world. We salute his courage, boldness,vision, forgiveness, patriotism and humanity. A great global icon of peace has departed. In his humility and politics, neither was he selfish nor power-drunk. May the Almighty God comfort his family, the Republic of South Africa and lovers of peace, freedom, democracy and justice all over the world. South Africa, Africa and the World has become impoverished by his departure. For all eulogies to be meaningful, his legacies must be upheld and practically passed on to succeeding generations across the world, especially in South Africa. Death is inevitable. Let each person, whether in public office or not; in close relationship with Madiba or not; bear it in mind: that the bell of summons would ring for each one of us sooner or later. In the words of the Psalmist; may God teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom(Psalms 90:12). In the Letter of James in the Bible, it is written: Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” As it is, you boast and brag. All such boasting is evil. Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it sins.James 4:13-17. And so Nelson Mandela departs.

MORE ON MARRIAGE TODAY: WORK IT THROUGH SUCCESSFULLY

No man or woman should enter into marriage deceitfully; otherwise such marriages are not true marriages! A life time relationship should not be taken carelessly. God watches over all of us and He cannot be deceived. Each person shall give account to God. Marriage should not be handled loosely as to allow it to make us guilty before God. Where guilt exists, there must be repentance for healing and refreshing to take place. Neither POLYGAMY nor POLYANDRY is good or right. Marriage is honourable in all and the bed undefiled, but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge[Hebrews 13:4]. God does heal marriages today. He heals broken minds and hearts. He is the Restorer and Healer.
1. When God established marriage, He meant it for life time, till physical death parts the couple. Let God be true and all others liars. [Genesis 2:23-25; Romans 7:1-3; Malachi 2:14-16; Mark 10:2-12;]. What God has joined together, let not man put asunder[Let NO man/ woman/ family/ culture/ religion/ parliament/ legislature/ government/ law court put asunder.].
2. Can God heal sick, corrupted marriages? YES! If human beings would allow God by inviting Him in and patiently waiting for Him to do His miraculous operation. No case is too advanced for healing or beyond healing. Humility and true repentance can lead to wonderful, positive results. Examples do abound today of what God is doing. Divorce is not a remedy. Remember the example of the woman of Sychar in Samaria, who met Jesus at the well. That lady had five previous husbands and the sixth man she was having relationship with then was not her husband! [John 4:6-42]. If divorces gave any solution that woman should not have had up to six men in her life before she had miraculous encounter with Jesus. We were not told what happened to the lady afterwards, but if she ever married again I would expect that to have been a stable marriage because her life had been renewed and her focus brightened.
3. When God is at the centre of a marriage, problems are easily overcome. God never promised us that we would not have challenges or problems, but He assures us in every area of our lives that we would overcome problems. No one should build castles out of problems and make use of such castles as excuses for initiating divorce! Bring all your anxieties; all your worries; all your hurts; all your experiences of rejection; all the verbal and psychological abuses; all your broken hearts; all your own failures towards your spouses too; bring them all to JESUS! Jesus turns all sorrows into joy. Jesus will lift off the problems that weigh you down. Call upon Him without delay and wait for His miraculous operation! He truly cares [Matthew 11:28-30].
4. Do you seek forgiveness from God? Do you quickly forgive others when they offend you, even after their apologies? [Matthew 6:12; 7:12;]. Where in the Bible is it written that the sin of adultery cannot be forgiven? Many have used adultery as the basis for divorcing their spouses. God did not say that adultery should not be forgiven. When God said He hates divorce, it is implied that there is a remedy. Remedy for divorce is to stay faithful. Remedy for divorce is to stay vigilant and be our spouses keepers[not as spies, but as loving carers and watchers]. Remedy for divorce is to make yourself more pleasing and attractive to your spouse now that the ring is on your fingers and you have each other! Remedy for divorce is to submit to one another. On sexual intimacy each person should remember that his or her spouse should never be refused sex, except in rare cases of giving oneself to prayer and fasting. I would add also that by mutual consent it should be assessed that physical weakness as in tiredness arising from work or long travel could be a temporary excuse. The cure for that should be adequate rest. Shortly after child birth sexual intimacy may be postponed till the woman regains strength. No room should be given to temptation from Satan as a result of negligence on sexual intimacy. Brother Paul rightly states this in his epistle[1 Corinthians 7:3-6]. The stubborness or hardness of people’s hearts was the reason in Moses days why divorce was permitted, when adultery was reported. God never condoned adultery. The Israelites were very frequent with their spiritual adultery through abominable relationships and idolatrous practices. They were punished for such dirty practices, but when they cried out for mercy and repented, God forgave them many times and He restored them back into clean, fresh renewed relationship. God also restored their fortunes. Who can be likened to the LORD, the Almighty God, Who forgives sins and iniquities? Who are you to refuse forgiveness to your spouse? Are you wiser or more righteous or holier than God?
Remedy for divorce is to uphold your family altar of worship, reading of the Bible, meditation, prayer and thanksgiving everyday. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him. [Psalms 119; Psalms 107: Micah 7:18-20; Colossians 3:16-17].
The only unforgivable sin is to reject Jesus Christ. Another remedy for divorce is humility before each other. TALK together in turns and LISTEN to each other. The seniority of the man as husband and father makes him the biggest servant at home and not the task master! The humility of your husband should never be taken for granted. Accord to him the honour due to him as the head who is as Christ to you. As a mark of humility it is not too difficult to say and mean sorry when wrong or when you offend each other. Because you are married, work out your marriage with love. It takes the two to work out their marriage successfully. GOD is ever faithful, His Word is true and cannot be undermined. In marriage God wants each couple to win. True love honours, trusts, serves, obeys, endures, gives and forgives. [1 Corinthians 13: 4-7]. As a Christian couple God expects you to make your marriage honourable and successful. Grace be with you.

Forgiveness in Marriage

In ordinary human relationships, the issue of forgiveness is very vital for continuity. It is human to make mistakes, but that is no excuse for repetition of the same mistakes. If a person takes his or her relationship seriously, he would not indulge in causing sorrows to the other person at the expense of the continuity or stability of the relationship. In marriage, forgiveness occupies an important place. A husband and his wife interact every moment daily, throughout their life time. It is inevitable for offences to occur. However, when offences do occur, it should be handled patiently,in love and give the other person, room for correction, apologies, and improvement. Nobody should be judgemental or condemning. It is good to consider yourself, assuming you are the offender or one who made a mistake. Where there is understanding, no offence or wrong is too big to be forgiven. The peak of offence may be taken as infidelity. That, as big and horrible as it sounds and feels can yet be forgiven. Any offence that could be forgiven by God should be forgiveable by human beings.It is written: Be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you[Ephesians 4:32]. Bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. And beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful[Colossians 3:13-15]. The marriage relationship does not thrive or succeed with a ‘TIT FOR TAT’ or retaliatory attitude. We should not render evil for evil or insult for insult. Rather, we should live good and peaceful lives that are harmonious, sympathetic, brotherly, kind and humble, blessing each other verbally and in actions[1 Peter 3:8-9]. This may not be very easy, but God gives the grace to each person to make us able. God never asks us to do what is impossible! With God, all things are possible.

AGAPE NUGGETS – 2

Forgiveness is an essential component of relationships. If you appreciate or love a person, you would not be hesitant to overlook his or her shortcomings or failures. That is not indicative of condoning the bad behaviour of the other person,but being willing and ready to accommodate and uplift the man, woman or child whom you love.If a person fails, you would not seek to bury him or her alive! You would not ‘make a mountain out of a molehill’ in the course of your reaction to the other person’s mistakes or failures.A molehill is the small mound of earth thrown up by a mole while burrowing. A mole is a small burrowing mammal which has velvety or dark fur. It has a its forearms specialised for digging.It often feeds on insects.If you would judge yourself truly, you would know that you are not perfect either.A molehill is treated as a mountain when you exagerrate on the mistakes of others,making them look aweful as if irredeemable.You could make your spouse appear useless or unprofitable when you never see any good in whatever he or she does.Who are you to condemn another person?Have you never failed? We put it to you that by that very attitude of yours in justifying yourself,you have just failed! On the other hand,you may not approve the acts of the other person,but you seek to correct him or her in love, by making constructive criticisms.Anyone who fails to see positive potential in his or her neighbour,work colleague,subordinates,students, friend,family member or spouse needs to do a self-examination.Forgive today and always.Forgive your spouse now.God forgives us and expects us to be forgiving too; otherwise God would not forgive us.Corrective discipline is better than damning judgment which closes the door to future hope and progress.That is not the way of peace and progress.Habitual fault-finding makes a person to hunt for faults in others.The trend therefore is to find fault on important matters as well as trivial matters.On those trivial matters,watch out;you might be ‘making a mountain out of a molehill’.Please shun stubborn unforgiving lifestyle because it is psychologically and spiritually poisonous!Another very interesting rider to forgiveness is in dealing with your self personally.Do you;have you;or would you ever forgive yourself?Paul writing under the influence of the Spirit of God in Ephesians 4:31-32 states: Let all bitterness,and wrath,and anger and clamour,and evil speaking be put away from you,with all malice:And be ye kind one to another,tenderhearted,forgiving one another,even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.Jesus Christ also said that if we forgive others,God would forgive us,but if we fail to forgive,then we should not expect to be forgiven by God!(Matthew 6:14-15). Please,get in touch with us.God bless you.