Friday, April 22 2011
Luke 23: 26-49
As we read this scripture we are reminded of what a terrible thing happened on the day we call Good Friday. As we read the account, we are very saddened and upset at what happened. If we read the preceding chapter, we are taken through the gathering with the disciples in the upper room and then the betrayal, the trial, the brutal flogging, and the painful crown of thorns. Then we see the very painful death. We also see the mob that was there to call for his death, but mixed in the crowd were the people who had followed him and supported him.
This is very hard for us to think about and understand how they could send an innocent man to the painful death that Jesus died. How many times have we been part of a group that takes us where we don’t want to go but are afraid to get up and say what is right.
Each Lenten season we have the opportunity to gaze upon a gift that was given to our church by a very wonderful man. The man that many of us called Grandpa Corrello had a great talent and a quiet faith that he shared with us every day but especially in this cross that he carved. He showed us that our journey to the cross first had to take us to that painful time that led to the denial and killing of our Savior. This was so done that all he told us could be fulfilled. But most importantly Jesus died for us so that we might have life. As we enter the sanctuary and see that hand carved cross, remember the pain and suffering that was endured for us.
There have been many meaningful hymns about that unforgettable day. We must concentrate on what those hymns tell us in their words not just the somber music. Those hymns tell that horrible story but we must realize that all of this takes us on the journey to the cross. We must not let ourselves stop at the cross with Jesus on it but walk farther to the empty cross and what it means for us.
We have been led to the cross of Calvary, Lord, to remember your suffering and your sacrificial death for us. Fill us with gratitude for what you did for us and let us keep looking forward in our journey. Amen
Tuesday, April 19 2011
The Lord is gracious, and full of compassion; slow to anger, and rich in love. The Lord is good to all: and He has compassion on all He has made.
Psalm 145: 8-9
WOW! How much more could you ever ask for in a Best Friend? When I ask—He graciously answers—granted, I may not always like the answer. My journey began with a question --and I really did not like the answer I got!! I was angry. It is so easy to blame God for things that don’t go your way. I never felt His anger back at me though.
During the time I was angry, the choir was practicing an anthem. The words got into my head, as they so often do, and they finally got into my heart. The song said that everything would be alright and not to worry. It said that He would take care of everything if I gave my worries and my heart to Him. I know now that God was speaking to me through those words. The Lord is good to All: He has compassion on ALL HE has made. All I had to do was place my trust in His compassion.
Along with being angry, I was also afraid. He somehow me feel that I was not alone. He is full of compassion and rich in love. I think this Psalm was meant for me and my journey.
Heavenly Father, Our journey begins and ends with you, Father. You have made us feel welcome in your loving embrace. You calm our fears and keep us in your tender care. You carry us when we are too weak or afraid to walk on our own. We are most grateful, O God that you allow us to walk in your path and even when we stray, always welcome us home. Thank you Father for all that you do. In Your Holy Name, Amen
Monday, April 18 2011
Life became topsy-turvy when at the age of 10, my mother went to meet the Lord. She was but 36. For the five of us, ages 3 - 10, dad was unwilling to step up, so life began anew. The big old orphanage was dark and scary. After a year of feeling estranged from the whole world, we were taken separate ways. Relatives gave us shelter. Then came foster care, one after another. Until age 16, I struggled, felt lost, was abused, mistreated and felt sad and lonely. Who in the world could I go to?
Through it all, I coped. Only God knew how. The thing is, I didn't know Jesus then. However, much later in life I was invited to particpate in a weekend, personal spiritual journey. I actually met the Lord there and felt the presence of His Holy Spirit! It was on that special weekend I learned about God's "provenient grace".
Can you imagine how different life would have been for me if only I'd known His gift of provenient grace. You see, actually, I was never alone. God had been seducing me from the very day I emerged from the womb. I can say now, beyond a shadow of doubt it was because of the grace of God that I survived those years. I was never aware of His presence, yet the Lord carried me the entire way!
Are you feeling lost, alone and heavy hearted? God's gift of provenient grace is yours. He is but a prayer away and anxiously waiting to hear from you!
Gracious Heavenly Father, how comforting to know your gift of provenient grace. Continue to walk with me, keep me safe and lead me as you would have me go. In your Holy Name...Amen.
Sunday, April 17 2011
“Because of the Lord’s great love, we are not consumed”
Mother always preached to me that I could accomplish anything that I set my mind to. Dad always spoke about hustle and about never giving up. Sound advice that usually benefited me, but not always practical.
To play in my neighborhood, meant you had to fight others, eventually. Once when it was my turn in the barrel, I had to fight the local bully. It was a mismatch. He kept knocking me down and I kept getting back up, time and again. After awhile friends were admonishing me to stay down, but I wouldn’t listen. Tired of beating me, the bully walked away. It was a futile battle, but I was too proud to quit.
Later in life, pride and ego would again work against me. By the early 1990’s, alcohol and drugs were the bullies that I fought. With onset at age fifteen, and using inconsequentially for years, ultimately these bullies controlled my life. My best efforts and treatment centers couldn’t save me from myself.
Then one night, feeling completely defeated, I quit fighting and surrendered. I fell to my knees and prayed like never before. The Lord heard me. He did for me what I couldn’t do for myself. He relieved me from the obsessions and compulsions of my addictions, but, He left me a lot of work to do. You may pray for potatoes, but you still better hoe the garden.
Jesus came into my life, blessing me with sobriety, but I had to make room for him. Even He can’t fill a vessel that is already full of itself. Striving for the necessary humility remains a “work in progress.” Thanks to my Lord and Savior, it has been seventeen years since my last drink, drug or cigarette, but I know it is only a daily reprieve, centered upon my spiritual fitness. The gratitude I have for the Lord’s grace is a powerful force in my life.
Lord, thank you for what you have given me, for what You have taken away, and for what is left.
Saturday, April 16 2011
When Jesus comes down from the hills into Jerusalem and enters the temple he gets very angry at what he sees. He releases the animals that are being sold in the temple as sacrifices and throws over the tables of the money changers. At first glance, this story seems to be about Jesus being upset with the commercialism that he has found at the temple, but it means something more. Christ has been preaching and teaching throughout the land, and his approach by the religious standards of the time is nothing if not radical. He has paid attention to and helped all of the “wrong kind of” people for that day and time. When Christ destroys what he has found in the temple he is opening the way for God’s new church which he, the Messiah embodies. Christ said “My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations.” He assured Godly non-Jews that they would be a part of God’s kingdom from this time forward. The leaders of the church fear Chris and his teachings because they see that people are responding to him. His message is that anyone can be a part of God’s new kingdom – there are no laws to navigate or hoops to jump through, you just have to believe in Christ and his message. The leaders fear this and want Jesus killed. The stage is set for what is to come in the following days.
This story makes me appreciate how anyone can come to our Lord regardless of who they are or what they are able to offer monetarily or otherwise. God’s Kingdom is open to all who believe.
Lord, as we approach the Holy week, make us mindful of the lessons that Christ taught us, and all of the sacrifices he made on our behalf. Our church is not just a building, but a community of faithful friends and families who we travel through this life with. Amen
Friday, April 15 2011
…ascending to Jerusalem… He sent two of the disciples, saying, "Go into the village opposite you…you will find a colt tied, on which not one yet has ever sat; untie it, and bring it here… if anyone asks you, "Why are you untying it?"…you speak, "The Lord has need of it."… those who were sent …found it just as He had told them…its owners said to them, "Why are you untying the colt?" And they said, "The Lord has need of it."…they brought it to Jesus… and put Jesus on it… the disciples began to praise God joyfully with a loud voice… And some of the Pharisees…said to Him, "Teacher, rebuke Your disciples", And He answered…"I tell you, if these become silent, the stones will cry out!" Luke 19: 28-40 (NAS)
This recounts Jesus triumphal return to Jerusalem. But it is not a simple description of "how He got there". He sent his disciples to bring a colt no one knew was there, to respond to an owner that no one knew would challenge them, he rode a colt that no one had ever ridden. When the authorities told him to stop, He said that if He stopped, the very stones beneath their feet would still fulfill the events.
Clearly, this was no common occurrence. Jesus was either able to foresee the future or, more likely, was in total control of everything and causing the events to occur. Either way the events were inevitable and unavoidable.
So, too, is the divine guidance available to us through the teachings of Jesus. If we will do as He tells us even when we don't understand (bringing the colt), accept Him as our savior (lay down our cloaks), and follow His teachings (walk behind the colt), then we too will gain the blessings of forgiveness and everlasting life.
Heavenly Father, thank you for the guidance that Jesus brings to us, for the directions He gives us, and for the blessings available to us through His love. In Jesus name we pray. Amen
Thursday, April 14 2011
"Hear my prayer, O Lord; listen to my cry for mercy. In the day of my trouble I will call to you, for you will answer me. Among the gods there is none like you, O Lord; no deeds can compare with yours. All the nations you have made will come and worship before you, O Lord; they will bring glory to your name." Psalm 86: 6-10
Knowing that God always hears and answers our prayers, no matter what we are praying about or asking him to do. He has been with me through all the peaks and valleys in my life. When my husband died of cancer at age 41, I prayed to have the courage and faith to guide myself and our children (then 8 and 11) in all the right ways. My family and friends walked with me every step of the way showing how God was answering our prayers.
Prayer has taken me through many health problems the last few years, but I've learned that through perseverance He gives you what you need each and every day. By praying that Thy will, not my will be done has helped my faith to become stronger and enrich my life. Lent is a time to reflect how Jesus Christ suffered, but his resurrection brings us the hope for life everlasting.
Heavenly Father please see my gratitude to you and help me be an example to others in living a truly faithful life. Forgive me for the wrongs I have committed. Please guide and direct my life in the way you want me to go. Bless all of those who believe in you. Amen
Wednesday, April 13 2011
Philippians 4: 4-7, 9
This scripture has been very significant in my faith journey. I was blessed to have been brought up in the church; in fact, I can’t remember when I did not go to church. Sundays were very special in our home. We would go to church, come home and have dinner and spend the day visiting with family. I believe my faith level today is because of the faith foundation based on this scripture that was laid for me by the church and my family.
I miss the fellowship and blessing of being with my church family since I rarely get to attend worship on Sunday. But, even at my age, which is nearer to 102 than 101.......I continue to read scripture and other devotionals and pray daily .Because I continue to learn and grow in my faith, I often laugh with my cousin and say apparently God isn’t finished with us yet!
Jesus tells us we can lift our wings and be free from fear and worry and not be anxious about anything, if we live with, lean on, and listen to the One who gives us these words of scripture. The only way we can do so is to trust ourselves wholly to Him and do what He says. He whispers “fear not”, He says “don’t worry” and so...oldsters in Christ (as well as the rest of you), dare to live.
Tuesday, April 12 2011
“Create in me a clean heart, oh God, and renew a right spirit within me.” Psalm 51:10
A year ago, Rosalie Dalton asked me to do a children’s sermon for the January worship service, and at the time we were preparing to leave on vacation and my grandfather had died and I just didn’t think I would have time that week to think of something so I said “not this time, catch me next time around”.
Well that Sunday, when I was reaching for the hand sanitizer before communion, God clearly said to me “your hands may be clean, but what about your heart? I would have carried you on this one. You let fear and anxiety fill your heart and not let me use you to share my message with the children”.
God was right---that’s exactly what I had done. I asked Him to forgive me and have carried the children’s sermon that I did on February 6, 2011 in my heart until I got a call from Rosalie this year.
This time I said “sure!”, and knew exactly what God was going to say through me.
As you are preparing to meet the Risen Christ, think about the “germs” that keep you from serving Him and ask Him to create in you a clean heart.
Monday, April 11 2011
“Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars”
As an elementary teacher, I face many challenges each day. I begin my mornings in prayer and scripture so I can be prepared for the path that Jesus has put before me. Jesus made a huge sacrifice for me, so my return sacrifice is my life dedicated to Him. I ask God to open me, use me and let the light of Christ shine through me to others. As the going gets tough and I’m in the middle of stressful situations it is easy for me to grumble.
Complaining or being disgruntled can put out that light. I have come to understand that we can’t ask God to open us and use us for the glory of His kingdom and then turn around and start grumbling. I now work hard to focus and center myself on Christ, asking for wisdom and strength from the Holy Spirit.
If we put our faith and trust in Him, He’ll bless us with an overwhelming inner peace that comes from Christ. Are you letting your light for Him be put out by grumbling and complaining, or is your light burning brightly like a shining star for His sacrifice for you?
I give you praise and thanks for putting up with me as you mold me to be more like Jesus, my Savior. Thanks for your gift of your Son, and forgive me when I grumble at the tasks you have placed before me. I want to be your light unto the world, just as Jesus is the light unto my world.
In Jesus’ name I pray,
Sunday, April 10 2011
“Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it.”
I don’t know about you, but this is one of my favorite verses in the Bible. In fact, for the initial meeting of the group F3, I thought and pondered what verse and message the Lord laid on my heart to share when starting a new group in the church focused on Family, Fellowship and Faith. This verse always sticks out in my mind when I think of children and families.
I was raised Southern Baptist with a grandfather as a minister. He raised twelve of his children in the way and knowledge of the Lord. My other grandfather was a deacon, song leader, lay minister and Gideon of the church. Likewise, my Father and Mother both are still very active in their church. I feel very blessed to have a rich heritage of God’s Word. With that being said, I feel a huge responsibility in leading my own children to Christ with the love and help of my husband Marshall.
We moved to the Lima, Ohio area in 2000 and we were looking for churches. We started at South Side in the summer of that year. On September 11, 2001 I was watching Blue’s Clues with Alex, then just a tiny tot. Marshall calls me from his job and says, something terrible has happened. As we all know, it was 9/11. I remember that when I changed the channel, both Alex and I witnessed the 2nd plane crash and cause devastation as well. At that moment, Alex said “Mommy, we need to get on our knees, and pray for the families and mean people”. It was cute, but also thought provoking. That evening we attended South Side’s special 9/11 service.
We don’t know what kind of impact we have on children but we have a responsibility. I work in the child care industry and I feel that the Lord has also laid it upon my heart to work with the youth and children of the church.
I pray that we all can have an impact on the children of our church and of our community to further their knowledge of Christ. After all, it is our responsibility.
Saturday, April 09 2011
I am the one who cut a path through the mighty ocean. I sent an army to chase you with chariots and horses; now they lie dead, unable to move. They are like an oil lamp with the flame snuffed out. Forget what happened long ago! Don't think about the past. I am creating something new. There it is! Do you see it? I have put roads in deserts, streams in thirsty lands. Every wild animal honors me, even jackals and owls. I provide water in deserts--streams in thirsty lands for my chosen people. 21I made them my own nation, so they would praise me. Isaiah 43:16-21 (CEV)
It is very easy to be caught up in the hustle and bustle of day to day living. In our modern day culture there, are so many different people and events, bidding for our time, talent, and resources. All of these things often distract us from what should be the most important thing in our life--our relationship with God. By nurturing and growing in our relationship with God the Father, through his son, our Lord Jesus Christ, we are strengthened.
The Prophet Isaiah reminds us in today’s scripture lesson that God has not only delivered his people through countless challenging situations, but that he has, and still is, helping us during all of life’s difficult moments. Interestingly enough, Isaiah goes one step farther with his prophetic claim. He informs us that God isn’t simply satisfied to “cut a path through the mighty ocean” for us as he did for the ancient Israelites, but instead, he is “creating something new” for his chosen people. During this Lenten season, may we be constantly aware of, and grateful for, this “something new” that God has given us in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Dear Heavenly Father, we humbly give thanks for the endless love you pour out upon all of your creation. May we never take for granted the perfect expression of this love--the gift given us on Calvary’s cross. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
Friday, April 08 2011
One Thursday morning in May, I left the house for some volunteer service at the hospital. When I returned back, my world had changed forever, or so it seemed. A message blinked on the answering machine, my health provider had scheduled a reevaluation of some recent test results that were inconclusive. I approached the next round of tests with much optimism. You know how when you’re little and ask for a special gift on your birthday or Christmas, you pray and hope for it and never get it? Well, this was that same type of situation. Sometimes you don’t get the answer you hoped for.
The doctor tried to break the news as gently as possible; you have invasive carcinoma (cancer). My soul sprang a leak and tears flowed out. You don’t have to keep up a spiritual front that equates tears and doubt. When we cry, our bodies function according to God’s design..and we embrace the “perks” he offers to relieve our ache and stress. What a wonderful gift when family and friends cry with you. Somehow those tears seem to have a power to comfort and heal. You don’t have to grin and bear it, or cry alone.
Big wet tears are a part of the rich human experiences. They often tell what words will not or cannot express. They are not willing waters from a faucet to be turned on or off at will, but the natural drops from a heart being too full to be contained, whether or not during times of distress or with great joy. Tears are of the heart and where there is heart can be found a tear.
Jesus’ with His sacrificial love, accepts all the broken pieces of our hearts and He stitches those pieces back together. The moisture of tears softens and makes flexible His thread of healing in our lives. When your circumstance seems so hopeless that you can’t see your way through, take another look through your tears. They may prove to be telescopic!
Louisa May Alcott wrote, “Sometimes when we least expect it, a small cross proves a lovely crown.
O Jesus, our Christ, somewhere there is someone who is trying to put their fears aside, fight their tears back and not feel the bitter ache. In the end, their love is strengthened to you, trusts in you, and breathes prayer in your name. May each of us have sense of your nearness, through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
Thursday, April 07 2011
"Grow in grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ." 2 Peter 3:18
The most wonderful thing that can happen to any of us is to experience Jesus Christ personally. You can hear about Him and never know Him.
When I was a little girl my dear Mother introduced me to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. She guided me down His path by taking me to Sunday School and Church, by reading Bible stories to me and telling me how much God loved me. I learned to pray and I will be ever grateful to her for this teaching.
Our home was often filled with music (especially with hymns) when Mother sat down to our piano. My sister and I sang together and sometimes at church. One of my favorite hymns was "In the Garden". "He walks with me and He talks with me" gave me a lot of faith that Jesus was a presence in my life.
The hymn, "Just as I Am" means much to me also. It brought me to Him and I was baptized and He is my Savior who still walks and talks with me every day! By taking time for a daily conversation with Jesus you learn to know and love Him.
So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in Him, rooted and built upon Him. Be strengthened in the faith as you were taught and overflow with thankfulness.
Wednesday, April 06 2011
Luke 15: 1-8
Jesus taught his disciples with parables. His followers were common people---fishermen and carpenters. These stories show how valuable one of their possessions was in their life. They were willing to search for the lost item at the neglect of their other valuables.
Lent is a time of looking at values in our lives. We still lose material things, relationships, time and money. Most business locations, schools and churches have a location for lost and found items. When we lose things we try to remember where we were and check those locations to find our stuff. Many times we do find our lost item. Rarely do we neglect everything we have to regain what we lost.
What have you lost? What was your reaction to this event? What did you learn from this experience?
What have you found? How did you celebrate the recovery of the item or relationship? Did you tell your friends and family about what you found?
Our Father, we know that you love us in all situations. May we know your presence in our lives and may our values be keeping with your teachings. Amen
Tuesday, April 05 2011
“Verily, verily, I say unto you, except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone, but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.” John 12:24
Cecil B. DeMille told a friend of his experience one day as he sat reading near a pond in the woods of northern Maine.
“I laid aside my book and looked down into the water. There in a world of mud were water beetles. I watched one crawl upon a (gunwale), stick the talon of his leg into the woodwork and die. I returned to my reading.
In about three hours I noticed my water beetle. His back was cracking open. As I watched out of the back of that dear (beetle) I saw another crawling form; a moist head, then wings, then a most beautiful dragonfly. It flew and hovered over the surface just a few inches from the water beetles beneath. They did not know I was there.”
“Up from the grave he arose, with a mighty triumph o’er His foes. He arose a victor from the dark domain to live forever with His saints to reign.......”
Our Father and Our God, we thank you for Jesus and his promise of eternal life. Amen
Monday, April 04 2011
The Lord said to Joshua, “Today I have rolled away from you the disgrace of Egypt.” And so that place is called Gilgal to this day. While the Israelites were camped in Gilgal they kept the Passover in the evening on the fourteenth day of the month in the plains of Jericho. On the day after the Passover, on that very day, they ate the produce of the land, unleavened cakes and parched grain. The manna ceased on the day they ate the produce of the land, and the Israelites no longer had manna; they ate the crops of the land of Canaan that year. Joshua 5:9-12
This scripture reminds me of the day I was suddenly out of a job after 30 years. I was suddenly on my own, out of my ‘comfort zone”. I hadn’t told my wife yet. What was I going to do now? I closed my eyes and asked God if I had made the right decision. I decided to talk to a friend who was the manager of a local meat market. There was another man in the office when I arrived. I told him what had happened and the man offered me a job. The man was the owner of the market and had stopped to tell my friend that he needed to find a meat cutter as the previous person had just quit. The owner was going to wait another day to talk to my friend, but decided to stop in that day. I started to work the next day.
After the visit, I sat in my car and thought about the events of the day. Lose one job and get another the same day! I said a prayer of thanks to God for solving a problem before it became one. Once again, God showed me He was with me when I felt alone. So it is today, the first day of the rest of our lives. We are ill-prepared or confidently ready and God never lets us be alone.
We look back and see signs of Your presence in our lives. We look back and see those times and places when You did for us what we could not do for ourselves. Today as we face the challenges of our lives, keep us mindful of Your presence and the gifts You have given us that allow us to make our way in the world.
In your Heavenly Name We Pray
Tarry E. M
Sunday, April 03 2011
You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you, in a dry and parched land where there is no water. I have seen you in the sanctuary and beheld your power and your glory. Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you. I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands. I will be fully satisfied as with the richest of foods; with singing lips my mouth will praise you. On my bed I remember you; I think of you through the watches of the night. Because you are my help, I sing in the shadow of your wings.
I cling to you; your right hand upholds me. Psalm 63:1-8
Psalm 63 is a reflection of what we honestly forget a lot of the time. Everyone goes through hard struggles, and troubles that we strive to overcome. But, a lot of us forget to look to the lord for help. This past year my family has gone through some difficulties dealing with health and financial issues. There were many times in the course of this year that I looked to God to talk to and find comfort in. He acted as if he had my hand every step of the way, and he never left my side. Because he will lift me up, and I realized that when I put all my struggles or problems toward him he lifted them because I know he is my God.
Have you ever had a problem, and you’re so stressed out and you just don’t know what to do about it? Have you ever thought once that God feels what you’re going through, and he is there? Because he is there, he will always be there, weather you realize it or not. You have to praise him, sing to him, or pray to him. Let him know, that you believe he is your God, your one true God. His love is unconditional and better then anything you have ever felt. He is your escape, and he will never let you fall.
Dear heavenly father, you are great, and you are strong, and you are all powerful. You are my support, my rock, and I put all my struggles and worries on you. You are my true God with all the love in the world to wrap me in, and to hold me close. I will never stop praising you, because you are a great God. Please Lord help us be guided to be closer to you and to help us know you will always be there for us in good and bad times. Thank you Lord for all of you power and love you have shown to us. In God’s name we pray, Amen.
Saturday, April 02 2011
Isaiah 40: 28-31
In Isaiah 40:28-31, Isaiah tells us to remember what we have always been told. “The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth.” Our Lord will never desert us. He never gets too tired to take care of our needs (that’s 24-7). God is truly our comforter; He gives us strength and power when we need it. Not only does He give us just enough to get by. God gives us abundance. We can soar like eagles, never get weary and we are always strong of character. How like a loving God to go beyond the basic and give unconditional love and power to his children (us).
I can think back in my life (and I’m sure you can too) to times when I faced something I thought I would not survive: the loss of a loved one, the near fatal accident of a child, the loss of a job or the betrayal of a friend. This list could go on and on. But think back what happened when you reached your lowest point. One small incident happened to give you hope. It might have been that a friend called, someone brought food or offered to go to the store for you. These are not coincidences. These are examples of God using others to do his work. God misses nothing, absolutely nothing.
How blessed we are to have someone who takes care of our every need. I know I am blessed and I know you are also.
Enjoy your day and life. Go soar like an eagle.
Friday, April 01 2011
“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.” Matthew 6: 14-15
“The best things in life are free.” This saying holds much truth. How much money have you spent in the past week on things that make you feel good or that get rid of your stress for a little while? How about in the past month? Past year? I bet that it's more than you would care to admit. Forgiveness, the foundation of Christianity, is the ultimate bargain stress-reliever.
Spite and resentment provide a playground for the Devil to influence our lives. The two trickle into the empty spaces of our heart, spaces void of joy, until those spaces begin to overflow and flood throughout our bodies. The resulting consequences are a hurt, negative mentality, physical lag, and according to the above verse, the loss of our eventual eternal spiritual well-being. Whether you like it or not, all degrees of forgiveness are necessary: from the little boy who broke your window last week to the best friend who lied to you. Forgiveness is the gift our Father gave us, and He intends for us to share it with our brothers and sisters. It was free two thousand years ago, and it's still free today.
“Like acid destroys the vessel that hosts it, so can hatred destroy its host.”
Lord, you have given me a brain to rationalize and a heart to love; help me to use them in the manner for which they were meant. Cleanse me of any ill-feelings and unrighteous intentions. Amen.