Forgiveness is a Chewed Shoe

“Forgive…

Or, you can choose not to forgive, and get farther away from God.

Usually, if you’re not a forgiver, you’re not a Christian…

Like, if your dog chewed up your shoe… you still love him!”

~Abigail Pelleman, age 7

These were the words my daughter said to me this week, after she overheard me telling her dad that I had forgiven him, but I still struggled over the fact that he had convinced me to throw away over ten years of teacher files. For our homeschool lesson, I was teaching my daughter a grammar lesson on contractions, wishing for some of the games and activities I’d had 25 years ago as a public school teacher.

Several years back, my files had been accidentally stored in the garage, and little critters had visited the box. They’d left a few marks…and I’m not talking about A+’s! Any elementary through high school teacher will tell you about the important of his or her teacher files! The files are a cumulative collection of our college professors’ teacher tips, copies of activities created and shared by ourselves and other teachers, and copyrighted lessons which grant special permissions to reproduce for education or classroom use. I’d hoped to salvage any folders that were hiding and had escaped, untouched. My husband had insisted I should just throw the entire box away; it would be daunting work to go through it paper by paper. I reluctantly agreed, and later deeply regretted it, feeling I’d made a dreadful mistake. I wondered at times, if I should have checked to make sure. It didn’t matter. The files were long gone.

There were other items my husband had convinced me to throw away, including: a fire place mantel, a hutch, and an old favorite beat up desk which was past its prime. These were things my husband wanted to”check off his list,” while the gears in my mind were considering options to repair, sell, or donate. We each had a different approach for getting rid of items we no longer needed. The differing opinions always eventually came again to the surface, as they do in any marriage where there is an attempt at communication. Sometimes these differences rub over the “sore spot” of an old wound from a long past argument. I was discussing the old wound of regret with my husband, as my daughter worked quietly at kitchen table.

My young daughter, in her godly wisdom, knew exactly how my old wound could heal…through the forgiveness of Jesus Christ. Even if we have forgiven people over past events, sometimes the nick of the old wound brings about feelings of regret. Regret is actually a form of guilt. When regret visits, we need to take a second look, and make sure we have forgiven anyone who has offended us through Jesus Christ. I’d forgiven my husband, which caused me to wonder why I was still struggling with regret. I didn’t realize until much later, that the person who needed my forgiveness most, was actually…me. I renounced the spirit of guilt, in Jesus’ name, for not being able to provide my daughter with those delightful activities from long ago. My prayer worked. And so did my daughter’s. Today, on impulse, I created a brand new lesson. The activity made her laugh so hard, she had tears in her eyes!

During those first days of my teaching career, when I was just beginning to build up that precious box of teacher files, money was budgeted carefully. I’d come home to discover that my puppy had chewed up my brand new leather career shoes and my brand new leather purse. I was not happy! But, as I scooped up the ball of warm, wriggly cocker spaniel, and looked into her chocolate brown eyes, the forgiveness came immediately. The silver lining is that God feels the same way about us! He gathers us into His arms, and covers us with the forgiveness of Christ.

Whether a mistake from the past is real or perceived, we may come face to face with regret. Whether regret comes from old wounds requiring surgery, or just a tiny little paper cut, it all needs to be healed through the power of forgiveness through Jesus Christ. Accepting God’s grace and mercy is the greatest gift towards living a hope-filled life of joy and freedom here on earth. Give your past regrets to Jesus: “Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 3:13-14 New International Version).

Summary of 3 biblical truths on forgiveness, backed by scripture, based on the words of a young child filled with The Holy Spirit:

1. “Forgive… or, you can choose not to forgive, and get farther away from God.

“For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” Matt. 6:14-15

2. “Usually, if you’re not a forgiver, you’re not a Christian…”

“Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen.” 1 John 4:20 

3. “Like, if your dog chewed up your shoe… you still love him!”

“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Romans 8:38-39

 

Soldier On!

It’s an emotional and crucial time in America. I hope you will join me for my upcoming blog post, “God is Sovereign…He’s in Control.” God was already leading me to write about His Sovereignty, even before the election took place. It is my prayer that God will continue to use me as an instrument, to bring you: hope, encouragement, and comfort through Jesus Christ. I pray God will give us a desire to unite with our brothers and sisters in Christ, by providing us with reminders of His biblically proclaimed promises: God promises to watch over His children and protect them at all times. He does not abandon His people. “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you’ ” (Deut. 31:6  New International Version).

I am sharing a link to last year’s Veterans Day post, Thank a Vet…Pray on Veterans Day. I’m so grateful to each and every veteran who has served our great country of America. I believe that writing about how God chooses a king, and about how God is sovereign, is the best way for me to show gratitude and honor to our veterans on Veterans Day. Our soldiers and forefathers have fought hard, and sacrificed much, in order for us to live in a country founded on God’s laws. America is a country worth fighting for! It still remains a Republic which “stands one Nation, under God!

As Christians we must continue to do battle in Christ Jesus, knowing we are soldiers in God’s Army. We should fight without sinning, recruit with honestly, and our battle cry should be love. Our mission should be one, and the same; to introduce Jesus to people who don’t know him; and to share God’s love with a hurting nation of broken people who need hope and healing in Christ. As Christian soldiers, we must believe in God, and trust that He can make good out of anything and everything we do in His name! 

Soldier on in your search for The Truth, pursue Jesus, and “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.” 

1 Peter 4:8 New International Version

 “Join with me in suffering, like a good soldier of Christ Jesus.” 2 Tim. 2: 3 

“Onward Christian Soldiers”
19th Century Hymn

Onward Christian soldiers

Marching as to war 

With the cross of Jesus

Going on before

Christ the royal master 

Leads against the foe

Forward into battle

See His banners go

Refrain:

Onward Christian soldiers

Marching off to war

With the cross of Jesus

Going on before.   Amen.

-Written by Sabine Baring-Gould, 1865
-Music by Arthur Sullivan, 1871

    
  
Thank a Vet…Pray on Veterans Day 

Choosing a King… 5 Biblical Examples

CHOSEN, ANOINTED, APPOINTED: God chooses all kings. When we understand how God chooses a king, we can apply godly wisdom and discernment when faced with a democratic vote for choosing our new president of the United States of America. Do you have peace about your vote? We can examine five biblical truths from 1 Samuel and 2 Samuel, to prayerfully guide us to be at peace with the decision we make when we go to vote.

 1.   GOD SENDS A PROPHET TO ANOINT A FUTURE KING:

Samuel was a prophet. A prophet is also anointed by God to proclaim God’s truth. “The LORD said to Samuel, ‘How long will you mourn for Saul, since I have rejected him as king over Israel? Fill you horn with oil and be on your way; I am sending you to Jesse of Bethlehem. I have chosen one of his sons to be king’ ” (1 Sam. 16:1 New International Version). Today, God sends his pastors and disciples out to anoint and pray for our leaders and disciple them, in the name of Jesus.

 2.   GOD DOES NOT LOOK AT OUTWARD APPEARANCES:

 King David was a young shepherd boy. Shepherds were looked down upon as the lowest of the low on the social scale during biblical times. They were dirty and smelly; they were gossips and liars. But God didn’t see that, because He saw what was underneath, a heart after His: “But the LORD said to Samuel, ‘Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart’ ” (1 Sam. 16:7) Today God is still unimpressed by status, wealth, fame, and connections. After all, He is The Creator of all of us. He can give and take away in an instant.

 3.  GOD LOOKS AT A THE HEART OF A MAN:

God sees everything. He observed how David took his job as a shepherd very seriously. He watched as he gathered each and every one of the sheep together, and searched for any that were lost, to bring them back home. God in His Omniscience could already see that David would do the same thing with people under his reign. God needed a king who would care for the chosen people of Israel. “After removing Saul, he made David their king. God testified concerning him: ” ‘I have found David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do’ ” (Acts 13:22). Today God looks through all the superficial layers the world has created, and He searches deeply for the good that lies down underneath. He sees our potential, even when no one else does.

4.  GOD SEEKS A KING WHO WILL PURSUE HIM, IN SPITE OF BEING A SINNER:

King David was far from perfect. He lusted after a woman named Bathsheba, while she was bathing. Then he committed adultery with her, and she became pregnant, all while her her husband was being loyal to the king and fighting for him in The Lord’s Army! As if that were not despicable enough, he also deceitfully set up a plan that would cause Uriah, Bathsheba’s husband, to die in battle, just so he could keep Bathsheba for his wife. It worked. “After the time of mourning was over, David had her brought to his house, and she became his wife and bore him a son. But the thing David had done displeased the LORD” (2 Sam. 11: 27). Though David battled sin and strongholds, he had a repentant heart, and continued to pursue God. He wrote the Psalms, which everyone can relate to today, because we are all sinners. Today’s kings must pursue Jesus for forgiveness of their sins, because God has said Jesus is the One and Only way to God.

 5. GOD WORKS IN SPITE OF EVIL BUT DOES NOT CONDONE IT. THERE ARE CONSEQUENCES:

A consequence of King David’s sin, was the death of his son.  David was remorseful. He prayed and asked God to save his son, but when his son died, he accepted the consequence. “Then David got up from the ground. After he had washed, put on lotions and changed his clothes, he went into the house of the LORD and worshiped. Then he went to his own house, and at this request they served him food and he ate” (2 Sam. 12:20). David sinned, but he was not evil. He had a repentant heart. After asking God to forgive him, he accepted his trial, and continued to pursue God, and fight for God’s Army. God equipped David for these battles.

David could have rejected God and turned his back on him. Instead, David trusted God in all things, even painful trials. He went on to receive God’s blessing of another son, King Solomon, who became the wisest and richest king in history. Today’s kings can also have a close relationship with God by choosing to accept Jesus Christ. As they pursue Jesus, with repentant hearts, they can come boldly to God, without fear, knowing He will help them gain victory in their battles. They can say, “Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need” (Heb. 4:16).

If God has appointed kings, but we live in a democracy, what does that mean for us? It means we are responsible to choose a king as God would, to the best of our knowledge and our abilities through Jesus Christ. Our candidate’s agenda should line up with God’s scriptures. If God says it’s a sin, the candidate we vote for should be saying it’s a sin. A quick way to do this is to look up the 10 Commandments.

They are listed in both the Old and New Testaments. God’s scriptures are black and white. If you feel an issue is a “gray area” seek God with all your heart, soul, and mind. Accept Jesus, if you haven’t. Repent of any sins. Ask Him to remove any spiritual blinders. Then ask Him your question again. He will answer you. The silver lining is that God is in control, and if we pray, we can have peace about going to the polls. God gave you a voice…Go out and vote!

“Choose some wise, understanding and respected men from each of your tribes, and I will set them over you.”

Deuteronomy 1:13

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Related: Christians and Candidates: Voting for Your President