It’s hard to forgive

No one ever said forgiveness would be easy. In my years of ministry I have been betrayal, leveled by criticism and felt the disdain of those who should (are commanded to) love me. I’m sorry, I’m far too human, and when I recall these events I can still feel the sting of tears in my eyes, the ache in the heart. Yet we are commanded to love our enemies: “But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you” (Matthew 5:44).

Now that’s hard. Forgiving is hard.

Yet we are commanded to forgive. Repeatedly. Continue reading “It’s hard to forgive”

The God of new beginnings: the new birth’s cleansing

The letter of 1 Peter reminds God’s people how God has enabled us to have a new life and what we can expect from this new beginning. While its opening verses reveal that the new beginning God provides enables us to have hope for tomorrow, when we step further into the letter we discover that it also transforms who we are today! Continue reading “The God of new beginnings: the new birth’s cleansing”

Her name is Norma

Her name is Norma McCorvey. Just a few years ago she was baptized into Christ. It became a national story, with interviews by ABC News and other media outlets.

Normally the faith response of a single mother in Dallas, Texas does not warrant national attention. She came to Christ bruised and beaten by life’s cruelties. Today the Lord Jesus is binding the bruises, and pouring salve on to the wounds, for that is what he does. Continue reading “Her name is Norma”

Do I have to forgive the unrepentant?

At some level we understand that the Christian is obliged to forgive. “If you do not forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly father will not forgive your trespasses,” Jesus warns us (Matthew 6:15). So not to forgive means not to be forgiven.

But what about the unrepentant? Do I have to forgive my enemy when he does not admit his guilt, when he does not seek my forgiveness? Continue reading “Do I have to forgive the unrepentant?”

Like the Lord, despise the shame

Some people have no shame, when they ought to show it. “The righteous person hates anything false, but the wicked person acts in shameful disgrace” Proverbs 13.5. Are there any more wicked than religious figures preaching false doctrines, creating their own kingdoms, living in dissolution, and loving the attention, power, titles and diplomas?

Then there is that sinner who is so overcome by his shame that he fails to come forward and confess his sin. Instead of drawing closer to God, he allows shame to drive him away from the Lord. Jeremiah has it right on this one: “Let us acknowledge our shame. Let us bear the disgrace that we deserve. For we have sinned against the Lord our God …” Jeremiah 3.25. Continue reading “Like the Lord, despise the shame”

Taking it for granted

One of my favorite lines in hymns comes from the great Scandinavian anthem “How Great Thou Art.”

“And when I think, that God his son not sparing
Sent him to die, I scarce can take it in,” (Karl Boberg).

I “get” the attraction of the first two verses. Many of us live in urban areas and feel harried and harassed. We long for the times we can gaze at the stars on a clear night, or on a mountainside, the breeze blowing gently and the birds “singing sweetly in the trees.” Continue reading “Taking it for granted”

The ancestry of Jesus

“This is the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah the son of David, the son of Abraham…” (Matthew 1:1 NIV).

Genealogies. Most do not find these the most exciting part of scripture to read. When the Reader’s Digest, known for publishing condensed versions of books, brought out their Condensed Version of the Bible, guess what they left out? One of the obvious was the genealogies – after all, who wants to read these? Yet these serve a purpose, both in life and in scripture. Continue reading “The ancestry of Jesus”

The promises and their impact

Decades have passed since I made some promises to a young lady in two different languages. Those promises announced my marital commitment and intended faithfulness to my young bride. At that time, I slipped a tangible symbol of my vows upon her finger to remind her of what I had promised.

God has also made some promises and provided us with a tangible reminder of them. However, he has offered the greatest promises ever – promises offering hope, identity, peace and holiness. Furthermore, unlike us, God is always faithful to his promises. We can know and rest assured God will deliver. Continue reading “The promises and their impact”