Tag Archive for forgiveness

Must Have Clothes for Fall for Christian Women

This weekend we spent some time in New York City with our two oldest girls, my niece and my mother. Our hotel was smack dab in the middle of Times Square.

One thing I love to look at in the city is the vast array of clothing from casual to ultra dressy. When we walked up Fifth Avenue, the clothing was so upscale that I felt out of place. We were bombarded with advertisements about was in for fall. We were in the fashion capital of the northeast and the clothes were beautiful!

We went to see the Phantom of the Opera with the girls, and we all “dressed up.” We didn’t just wear our casual clothes or things we’d be embarrassed to be seen in. We dressed appropriately in something nice. (or as nice as it gets for us. lol)

Getting ready to see The Phantom of the Opera at the Majestic Theater in NYC

As followers of Jesus Christ, Ephesians 4 talks about our heart clothes–our MUST HAVE FASHIONS.

It says that we should put on certain heart attitudes and take off sinful ones.

Just like a dead person wears grave clothes that are decayed and corrupt, we should be embarrassed to be “dressed” like we are still dead in our sins as we represent Christ. In Christ, we have new clothes because we have a new nature and Christ’s righteousness belongs to us.

We need to put off our “dead life” and put on the clothes of our new life. Anything short of this is grieving the Holy Spirit and walking unworthy of the Lord.

Below are excerpts from Ephesians 4 with my comments in parenthesis:

I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace…

Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds.

They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity…

But that is not the way you learned Christ!—assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.

Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another. {Satan is the father of lies. Jesus is the truth. When you lie to someone, you are breaking down truth in the body of Christ and harming it.}

Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil. {Burning, residing anger is called murder in the NT. Satan is a murderer from the beginning and allowing anger to “settle” in you against another person gives Satan an open door in your life. Anger may come to us all momentarily, but “anger rests/settles in the bosom of fools.”}

Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need. {Work to give to the needs of others}

Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. {Corrupt communication tears down. God needs us to edify other believers and bring health and healing. Nothing good comes of corrupt talk.}

Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. {Anger leads to bitterness which is a lingering animosity towards someone. Wrath are heated emotional bouts and clamour is a heated, emotional verbal attack. Malice is a desire to do ill  or see ill come to another person. }

Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. {All of these heart attitudes are the exact opposite of the sins listed.  You can’t be angry when you have a tender heart toward someone. You can’t be malicious when you have a kind heart. You won’t participate in evil speaking about another if  you have a forgiving heart. The heart pretty much settles the course of your life.}

The “dead life clothes” look like the unbelieving world, yet many Christians spend YEARS walking around in them: lying, stealing, anger, bitterness, wrath, angry outbursts, slander, etc…

This is NOT how we have learned Christ. Christ’s ways are not THIS way.

PUT ON what looks like Christ: truth, kindness, tender hearts, forgiving spirits.

The heart determines the course of your life.  If we choose to sin by holding on to attitudes that God forbids, then we shouldn’t be surprised when life doesn’t go well for us. God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble, so humble yourself (by repenting of wrong actions and feelings) under the mighty hand of God, and He will help you. He is gracious like that and promises to do so.

Isn’t Christ worth it? Isn’t it better to put off the things that offend Him because they are the opposite of His nature, and to please Him? It’s not like He doesn’t have a claim on our lives–we are not our own, we are bought with a price–The precious blood of Jesus Christ.

 

AND, if you are a follower of Jesus Christ, and follow fashion at all,  THIS is the style that is IN and a MUST HAVE for fall 2012. :)

 

 

Grace When You’ve Blown It.

Have you ever really blown it?

I mean, really blown it? You fight with your spouse, or spew hurtful words to the kids you’ve spent your life nurturing and caring for. You wish you could reboot your day and start all over again and take it all back. But you can’t. You feel mean and ugly and disgusting inside.  You loathe yourself.

This is when you run for grace. To the cross of Jesus Christ. Because grace is for sinners like you and me.

On the cross, Jesus died for all of my ugliness. He took the payment I deserved.

The payment for sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ…

God loved me so much, that He gave His one and only Son,His spotless perfect Son, to die a death He didn’t deserve, so that I would not get what I had coming to me. I deserved hell because I was a God hater and a sinner by choice. I chose the  sin and loved the sin. But now there was no working the sin off. No paying for it myself. My good works can never undo my bad works.  You can choose the sin, but you can’t choose the consequences.
But…

Ephesians 2: 4-9

But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy,  made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions–it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.  For it is by grace you have been saved,through faith–and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God–  not by good works, so that no one can boast.

He died to save me from myself. All I have to do is cling. To trust Him and depend on Him for the grace and mercy He offers.

I am  a debtor. I am in awe of this amazing grace.

Do you have questions about whether you are right with God? Let me encourage you visit this site or contact me. I would love to talk to you about trusting in Jesus Christ.

Elements of a Sincere Apology

My last post recapped a Wall Street Journal article about insincere, ineffective apologies that people make. Today, I’ll  list the elements (according to Ms. Bernstein) of a comprehensive, hence effective, apology. Researchers agree that they include these eight elements:

  • Remorse- I’m deeply sorry.
  • Acceptance of responsibility- It was all my fault.
  • Admission of wrongdoing- I know I was wrong.
  • Acknowledgment of harm- I know I hurt you.
  • A promise to behave better- It will never happen again.
  • Request for forgiveness- Would you forgive me?
  • Offer of repair- What can I do to make this right?
  • Explanation- I was thinking this, but now I see I was wrong.

As Christians, we are to have a conscience “void of offense” toward God and others. When we wrong someone, either by word or action, we should not be able to rest until we make it right with that other person. Until we do, we cannot be right with God. Why? Because we have something on our conscience that we know is wrong, and yet, we are unwilling to make it right. We are too proud to make it right. The principle is that “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”

When I am unwilling to offer up a sincere apology to someone that I  have “wronged” I am minimizing my sin. It is not seeing it as God sees it.

God says “be ye kind one to another.” If I am unkind and then just shrug my shoulders and think “Oh, no big deal. They don’t seem like they’re mad at me so I’ll just pretend I never said it,” I am saying to God “I know you said _______, but it doesn’t apply to me. I  don’t care, so neither will you.”

When we fail to show remorse over our sin, it is not seeing God as He really is: holy, just, ready to avenge the oppressed. We think he is like we are: careless and callous about sin.

Read Psalm 50 for yourself, but these verses should especially give pause: 

19 “You give your mouth free rein for evil,
and your tongue frames deceit.
20 You sit and speak against your brother;

you slander your own mother’s son.

21 These things you have done, and I have been silent;
you thought that I was one like yourself.
But now I rebuke you and lay the charge before you.

We need to see our sin the way God does.

I love this excerpt from Roy Hession’s book “We Would See Jesus.” (ch.4)

“So, in like manner, Jesus says from the Cross, “See here your own condition by the shame I had to undergo for you.”  If the moment the Holy One took our place and bore our sins He was condemned of the Father, and left derelict in the hour of His sufferings, what must our true condition be to occasion so severe an act of judgment! The Bible says He was made in “the likeness of sinful flesh” (Rom.8:3), which means that He was there as an effigy of us. But if the moment He became that effigy, He had to cry, “My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?” (Matt. 27:46), what must God see us to be? 

It is plain that God was not forsaking the Son as the Son. He was forsaking the Son as us, whose likeness He was wearing. What is done to an effigy is always regarded as done to the one it represents. That derelict figure suffering under the wrath of God is ourselves, at our best as well as at our worst. There for all to see is the naked truth about the whole lot of us, Christian and non-Christian alike. If I cannot read God’s estimate of man anywhere else, I can read it there. In very deed, truth, painful and humbling, has come by Jesus Christ, enough to shatter all our vain illusions about ourselves. ” (emphasis mine.)

When we see the truth of our sin as it really is, by what Christ had to endure for us, and by the wrath that God poured out on Christ because of our sin, it will make us quick to offer up a sincere apology to God and to man.