Studies, Lessons and Devotionals
As goes my marriage, so goes my relationship with God. We’re two halves of God. To keep unity in God and to keep God whole in our marriage we have to get along. This takes forgiveness.
Before I was a Christian I was not able to forgive. I could ignore, justify and keep the peace - but I couldn’t forgive. I blame my ancestors – anyone who has the unfortunate opportunity to have combined: Spanish, Italian, Navajo and African American genes is in a lot of trouble when it comes to explosive emotions and stubbornness (a deadly combination for relationships). Then to add to that I was brought up in the ubiquitous “dysfunctional family” setting. Sexual and chemical abuse, promiscuity and parental neglect mixed a cocktail of deep insecurity, fear of abandonment, feminism, developmental immaturity and a racial identity crisis that rivals global warming!
In part 1 I sought to give some background on God’s perspective of forgiveness. In this article I will share some thoughts I have found helpful on my path to forgiving from the heart.
I have come to realize that forgiveness is not just words I speak, or lip service. I must really forgive. Jesus sets the standard of how we are to forgive in Luke 23:34: Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing." And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.
Forgiveness is one of the most powerful demonstrations of love.
I can remember when I first studied the Bible, came to grips with my own sinful nature, and realized what Jesus endured on the cross for the sake of my salvation. I remember that feeling of being unworthy, and yet so grateful for forgiveness. I felt free and at peace. I could let go of the hurt, the pain, and the guilt.
March is a month that I had been anticipating with great joy. My lambs were due on March 25. Before that time, however, were other needs to be met. The shearer would come on March 4. I would then be able to see the shape that all the sheep were in. I was eager to see if the yearlings had maintained enough weight and if the ewes looked healthy for lambing.
One Wednesday evening during a church service we heard a lesson about Treasure in Heaven. The lesson contained several profound truths that could change our perspective on how we live this life and the purpose for which we live. Two side thoughts in the lesson that impacted me these are: building on the foundation of Christ from 1 Cor. 3:11-15, and, being hostile to God in our thinking and actions from Rom.8:5-14.
One evening in a woman’s Bible study group we talked about the “nothing times.” It started when a young woman said something like this, “I moved here about five years ago. I had a baby who turned out to have serious life threatening health issues. My whole life has changed. My husband and I used to be respected leaders in my church. I was a professional in the field of law and had a respected job. But now I am nothing. No one knows who I am or what I was.” So we talked about those times in our life when we feel as if we are worth nothing, and we are doing nothing.
February began with a really fun event that I had looked forward to for quite a while. Periodically, there are a group of us that have the opportunity to learn from a world class trainer of border collies, Kathy Knox . Kathy has been training these dogs for twenty years and is excellent at communicating with both dogs and humans.
What does mercy mean?
Romans 12:1 (NASB) reads, “Therefore I urge you brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice…”
“Mercies” in Greek is the word OIKTERMOS, which appears five times in the KJV and the NASB. It’s translated “mercy” or “compassion.” It means compassion, pity, mercy; the bowels in which compassion resides, a heart of compassion; emotions, longings, manifestations of pity.
I have become a shepherd. Well, actually I have been shepherding in the church for over 30 years, and yet now as I embark on the endeavor of shepherding a physical flock of sheep, I am gaining new insights into this art of shepherding. I wanted to share with you some of these thoughts.