Posts Tagged ‘Luke 6:38’

Freely give: What does it mean?

August 22, 2018

Romans 8--32

The Verse of the Day for August 22, 2018 brings to mind that God is the ultimate “Giver.”

Romans 8:32 (Revised Standard Version):

He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, will he not also give us all things with him?

The King James Version renders the verse this way:

He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?

The Lord Jesus Christ uses a similar expression regarding giving  as part of the instructions he gives when he empowers and commissions the Twelve:

Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give.

Giving freely or liberally is also to be characteristic of those who reverence God, as described in Psalm 112:9

They share freely and give generously to those in need.

In fact, the entire psalm provides a striking portrait of the believer:

Psalm 112 (New Living Translation)

Praise the Lord!

How joyful are those who fear the Lord
and delight in obeying his commands.
Their children will be successful everywhere;
an entire generation of godly people will be blessed.
They themselves will be wealthy,
and their good deeds will last forever.
Light shines in the darkness for the godly.
They are generous, compassionate, and righteous.
Good comes to those who lend money generously
and conduct their business fairly.
Such people will not be overcome by evil.
Those who are righteous will be long remembered.
They do not fear bad news;
they confidently trust the Lord to care for them.
They are confident and fearless
and can face their foes triumphantly.
They share freely and give generously to those in need.
Their good deeds will be remembered forever.
They will have influence and honor.
10 The wicked will see this and be infuriated.
They will grind their teeth in anger;
they will slink away, their hopes thwarted.

The Verse of the Day reminds us that as the supreme giver, God practices the very principles that He implements.  As a liberal giver par excellence, our Father gives, withholding nothing.  Without question, He is generous and extravagant in His giving. As the supreme expression of giving, God applies the very principles that He establishes.  Jesus Christ teaches this foundational principle in Luke 6:38:

Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.

The essence of this principle is poetically expressed in this excerpt which opens with a poem by John Oxenham, followed by an original stanza:

Love ever lives,

Outlives, forgives,

And while it stands

With open hands, it lives.

For this is love’s prerogative:

To give and give and give.

 

He who lives and never gives,

May live for years and never live.

But he who lives and lives to give

Shall live for years and years and years

With more to give and give and give.

Giving is a demonstration or manifestation of love. It has been said that you can give without loving, but you cannot love without giving. Whenever we think of love and its connection with giving, we think of God who demonstrated or manifested His love as revealed in one of the most quoted Bible verses of all time: John 3:16:

16 For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

This verse relates to Romans 8:32, in that we also ask, “If God is willing to give the greater, would he withhold the lesser?”

Verse 32 is part of the section of Romans 8 that lets believers know that with God there is no accusation as verses 32-34 reveal:

32 He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?

33 Who shall lay anything to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth.

34 Who is he that condemns? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us.

Though the adversary of souls, the accuser of the brethren, brings railing accusations against us day and night, Jesus Christ, our advocate, intercedes for us. As such, he is the consummate expression of love that the Verse of the Day speaks of so clearly.

Here is a musical rendering of Romans 8:32:

Every day should be Forgiveness Day

June 25, 2018

Daisies are floral symbols of forgiveness.

Forgiveness Day takes place on June 26, a time set aside to forgive and to be forgiven. Often overlooked, this designation spotlights forgiveness, a vitally important concept not only in Christianity but one with universal implications as well. My forthcoming book Not Just a Survivor—More than a Conqueror recognizes forgiveness as an often forgotten spiritual component of the healing process in responding to a life-threatening disease, such as cancer. Chapter 7 discusses both aspects of forgiveness, examining notable examples from the Bible, as well as my personal application of the principles of forgiveness. In addition, the book discusses some of the benefits that come: to those who practice forgiveness, both in terms of improved mental and physical health. Here is an excerpt

What does it mean to forgive?

To forgive means: to send away, dismiss, set free; to acquit by a verdict; to give no punishment to the guilty person and to view the guilty person as if he is innocent. Another definition means to let loose or set at liberty (a debtor). Dr. Arch Hart has said, “I forgive when I give up my right to hurt you because you hurt me.”

Simply put, to forgive is to love, and to love is to forgive. Remember, however, that “You can give without loving, but you cannot love without giving.” I learned this firsthand in a very graphic way when late one night after getting off from work, I was accosted by a man who demanded that I give him my wallet. As I reluctantly complied, do you think I loved giving him my wallet? Nonetheless, I complied with his demand that I “give.” As I recall, when I went to my car, hurt and humiliated, I prayed and asked God to forgive the man who was in such desperate straits that he resorted to robbery.

Literally to forgive means to “give for.” You give to those who choose not to give. John Oxenham expresses a profound truth about love and giving:

Love ever lives, outlives forgives,
And while it stands with open hands it lives,
For this is love’s prerogative:
To give and give and give.

You actually could keep adding “and give” to last line ad infinitum. For such love expresses endless giving.

Jesus Christ, of course, is the quintessential example of forgiveness. As he is dying on the cross, having been brutalized and humiliated beyond any atrocious behavior inflicted upon any mortal, among the last words spoken by the Lord are recorded in Luke 23:34:

“Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”

Some of the lyrics to the original song “Please Forgive Me” reinforce this truth.

God first gave to us so that we might live.
We give to others when we learn to forgive.
Jesus, our example so perfect and true,
Said, “Father, forgive them; they know not what they do.”

I forgive you. I forgive you.
I forgive you. I forgive you.
I forgive you this time. I forgive you each time.
I forgive you.

When we practice forgiving, we apply the principle of “giving and receiving.”

Luke 6:38 relates this principle:

Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.”

When we forgive, we also recall another expression of truth by Jesus who said, “It more blessed to give than to receive.” In a situation where one person offers forgiveness and another receives forgiveness. Who is more blessed? I often say, “When you choose to give, you cannot lose, but when you choose not to give you cannot win.” In his book Total Forgiveness, R. T. Kendall states,

“Forgiveness is not total forgiveness until we bless our enemies—and pray for them to be blessed. Forgiving them is a major step; totally forgiving them has fully been achieved when we set God free to bless them. But in this, we are the first to be blessed, and those who totally forgive are blessed the most.”

When it comes to abounding in God’s grace and abiding in His will in the area of forgiveness:

I Choose to Forgive

I choose to forgive and to release from payment,
To clear the account and forego the debt once more.
Though rightfully owed to me, I choose to forgive,
To be gracious, in spite of the ingratitude.
My desire is to be kind and tenderhearted;
Even as God for Christ’s sake has forgiven me,
I rise to the occasion of the Word of God.
Not keeping a record of any wrongs suffered,
I seek to walk in the footsteps of the Savior.
As Joseph, in compassion, assured his brothers
What Satan meant for evil, God fashions for good,
Widen my vision to see a much more grand scope:
May I also see all things working together
For the good, even in perilous times as these.

When it comes to “forgiving and being forgiven,” individuals should not have to wait until the 26th of June. Ideally, every day should be Forgiveness Day.

Listen to “Forgiveness,”a powerful song by Matthew West:

Today’s post is another excerpt from a chapter of the forthcoming book. Not Just a Survivor—More than a Conqueror. Go to lonnelledwardjohnson.com and subscribe to get more publication details. You can also get more details here at Dr. J’s Apothecary Shoppe. Stay tuned.

Reap what you sow

January 21, 2017

galatians-6-7-9

Taken from Galatians 6:7-8, the Verse of the Day for January 21, 2017 strongly admonishes believers as to how they should conduct themselves:

Galatians 6:7-8 (AMPC)

Do not be deceived and deluded and misled; God will not allow Himself to be sneered at (scorned, disdained, or mocked by mere pretensions or professions, or by His precepts being set aside.) [He inevitably deludes himself who attempts to delude God.] For whatever a man sows, that and that only is what he will reap. For he who sows to his own flesh (lower nature, sensuality) will from the flesh reap decay and ruin and destruction, but he who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.

Verse 9 provides a finishing word of encouragement:

And let us not lose heart and grow weary and faint in acting nobly and doing right, for in due time and at the appointed season we shall reap, if we do not loosen and relax our courage and faint.

This passage refers to one of the universal, spiritual principles of life: “sowing and reaping.” A parallel passage is found in 2 Corinthians 9:6:

6 [Remember] this: he who sows sparingly and grudgingly will also reap sparingly and grudgingly, and he who sows generously [that blessings may come to someone] will also reap generously and with blessings.

In other places in the Bible this same principle of reciprocity is called “giving and receiving.” Jesus Christ emphasizes the magnitude of following this principle:

Luke 6:38(NLT)

38 Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full—pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back.”

While the application of these principles is often set within a financial context within the Church, the underlying principle of reciprocity is universal, relating to all categories of life. As believers when we give of our time, energy, and effort toward reading and studying Word of God and applying the principles that we discover, we will reap the benefits in all aspects of our lives.

It has been said that our thoughts are seeds to our words and deeds. Philippians 4:8 remind us of where and how we should direct our thoughts:

8 And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.

In thinking about principles of sowing and reaping along with giving and receiving, I recall a related poem written in celebration of my birthday:

I Sing in My Garden

Oh, sing unto the LORD a new song!
Sing to the LORD, all the earth.
Sing to the LORD, bless his name;
Proclaim the good news from day to day.
Psalm 96:1-2

I sing in my garden and reap the good,
The bounty of living seventy-four years.
Each note seems to evoke a stream of tears
That fall, not because of some somber mood
But flow from a heart filled with gratitude.
The folk song of the farmer thrills my ears
Each time plowing, planting or harvest nears.
I compose my song, having understood
Lyrics I did not know when I was young,
When life was uncertain, my song unsure.
Now from my green garden I garner truth.
A song of conviction flows from my tongue.
I am seasoned and strengthened to endure,
Knowing the best lines are yet to be sung.

Daniel Winans offers this closing reminder you “Reap What You Sow”:

Beyond race relations:honor one another

July 21, 2016

Romans 12--10

From the Amplified Bible comes the Verse of the Day for July 21, 2016

Psalm 119:30:

I have chosen the faithful way; I have placed Your ordinances before me.

Here is the verse in the Good News Testament:

I have chosen to be obedient; I have paid attention to your judgments.

In addition to looking at the Verse of the Day, today’s post also examines the concept “It’s all about relationships,” the theme from a conference attended three years that related seven principles that can be universally applied to “launch, challenge, and grow relationships.” These principles that can be universally applied in achieving and maintaining successful relationships, but they can also be specifically applied in an area of race relations, a critically important area in America today.

These seven principles are related to verbs that connote action when specifically applied in terms of what should be done to “one another,” a phrase that is used 31 times in the Scriptures. The reciprocal pronoun used in the plural carries the notion of a group of people acting upon themselves, i.e., upon one another. For example, we are to “love another and so forth. . .”

1) Love

2) Honor

3)  Forgive

4)  Encourage

5)  Admonish

6)  Serve

7)  Make peace

Earlier this week a blog post discussed the first of the seven principles, “Love one another,” and today we will talk about the second:

Honor one another

The idea of honor is a very important concept in the Word of God where to honor means to respect, to esteem, to have high regard for, and to reward. It also translated to place value on, respect, to place esteem upon, to esteem; to prefer—to go before, to lead, to be intentional.

Apostle John Testola notes that “Honor produces an exchange,” in that when we give honor, we receive honor in return. This is essentially the principle of giving and receiving. Of course, we always receive in greater measure than we give. Luke 6:38 reveals this universal principle:

Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.

Although this verse is often used in terms of the financial resources that we give, it has wider implications which would include the giving and receiving of honor. We are encouraged to give honor to whom honor is due.

Just as honor generates honor in greater measure, so likewise is the converse true. As Apostle Testola also mentioned, “Dishonor produces an exchange,” in that “a lack of honor produces a curse.” He explained that “God releases based on the bridge of honor that has been built.”

Another principle taught by Dr.Tetsola related to the statement: “Honor is about value.” The Apostle went on to explain that to “value is to hold in high esteem in your sight.”  He said, “What you don’t value, you don’t honor. . . You never sow into anyone’s life you don’t value.” Honor, he explained, is a genuine expression of the heart. You cannot offer what is not in your heart to give.

Apostle Tetsola elaborated upon the principles discussed by stating that associated with honor is the “process of welcoming the person you honor in your heart, whereby you celebrate their anointing and receive the individual with gladness.” He calls this the “process of acceptance.”  Certainly these principles could be applied in the area of interracial relationships whereby each party would honor the other, just as we are reminded in Romans 12:10:

The Holman Christian Standard Bible puts it this way:

Show family affection to one another with brotherly love. Outdo one another in showing honor.

This video clip reiterates the message:

Finally, from the Book of Proverbs comes these words of wisdom regarding honor:

Proverbs 15:33:

The fear of the LORD is the instruction of wisdom and before honor is humility.

The title of the following is taken from the closing phrase of this verse.

Before Honor is Humility       

“Our honor activates the honor

that is in the heart of God.”

Apostle John Tetsola

 

“Before honor is humility,” says the Lord.

We honor each other according to the Word,

Not withholding honor to whom honor is due.

We follow these precepts, for the Word of God is true,

Giving life, sharper than any two-edged sword.

 

 

We honor one another and walk in one accord.

Where honor abounds God’s favor shall be restored.

When you give honor, honor is given to you.

“Before honor is humility.”

 

 

The power of this precept cannot be ignored.

All those who bestow honor have great reward.

We must give honor in all that we say and do,

Pressing toward the mark for the prize, we continue

Striving for the perfection we all are moving toward:

“Before honor is humility.”

We summarize the second principle of building and sustaining relationships in the area of race relations:

To place value on, respect and hold in high esteem:

Giving preference, we take the lead–we are intentional;

With genuine affection we honor one another.

In closing, listen to “For the honor” by Elevation Worship

Anointing of honor

May 24, 2016

Romans 12--10

The Verse of the Day for May 24, 2016 examines the intertwining of love and honor as revealed in Romans 12:10. Here are three renderings of this verse expressed as an imperative sentence or a request:

Romans 12:10:

Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; [New King James Version]

Be devoted to one another with [authentic] brotherly affection [as members of one family], give preference to one another in honor; [Amplified Bible]

Show family affection to one another with brotherly love. Outdo one another in showing honor. [Holman Christian Standard Bible]

Spoken word poet, Amena Brown reads selections from Romans 12, from The Voice, a new Bible translation, from which the Verse of the Day was taken.

The Verse of the Day and its connection with love and honor also brings to mind a teaching by Apostle John Tetsola, who discussed three keys to “The Anointing of Honor”

  • “Our honor activates the honor that is in the heart of God.”
  • “Honor produces an exchange.”
  • “Honor is about value”

“Our honor activates the honor that is in the heart of God.” He went on to explain that there is no activation of power without the activation of honor. “Everything in scripture hinges upon this principle.” As believers we are exhorted to “give honor where honor is due.” We begin with God to whom all glory and honor are due. When we honor God and, in turn, we honor one another, we release honor upon ourselves in return, which leads us to the second point:

“Honor produces an exchange,” in that when we give honor, we receive honor in return. This is essentially the principle of giving and receiving. Of course, we always receive in greater measure than we give. Luke 6:38 reveals this universal principle:

Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.

Although this verse is often used in terms of the financial resources that we give, it has wider implications which include the giving and receiving of honor. We honor God by giving of our time, our talent, and our treasure.  The teacher went on to explain that “God releases toward those who serve Him based on the bridge of honor that has been built.”

The third principle gleaned from the teaching related to the statement: “Honor is about value.” To value is to hold in high esteem in your sight.  Said the teacher, “What you don’t value, you don’t honor. . . You never sow into anyone’s life whom you don’t value.” Honor, he explained, is a genuine expression of the heart. You cannot offer what is not in your heart to give. Honor is more than lip-service, as Isaiah 29:13 reminds us:

Therefore the Lord said:  “Inasmuch as these people draw near with their mouths and honor Me with their lips, but have removed their hearts far from Me, and their fear toward Me is taught by the commandment of men,

The teaching concluded with a statement indicating that honor is the “process of welcoming the person you honor in your heart, whereby you celebrate their anointing and receive the individual with gladness.” This is called the “process of acceptance.”

Later after reviewing my notes, I was inspired to complete the following poem that captures the essence of the message:

The Anointing of Honor

 The fear of the LORD is the instruction of wisdom;

and before honor is humility.

Proverbs 15:33

 

“Our honor activates the honor

that is in the heart of God.”

Apostle John Tetsola

 

“Before honor is humility,” says the Lord.

We give honor to those who minister the Word,

Not withholding honor to whom honor is due.

We follow these precepts, for the Word of God is true,

Giving life, sharper than any two-edged sword.

 

We honor one another and walk in one accord.

Husbands and wives—symbolic of a three-fold cord—

Must cherish honor, appreciate its value:

“Before honor is humility.”

 

The power of this precept cannot be ignored.

All those who bestow honor have great reward.

We must give honor in all that we say and do,

Pressing toward the mark for the prize, we continue

Striving for the perfection we all are moving toward:

“Before honor is humility.”

We conclude with “For the Honor”—featuring Chris Brown and Elevation Worship:

Sowing and reaping

January 21, 2016

Galatians-6-7-9

The Verse of the Day for January 21, 2016 discusses one of the immutable principles of life: sowing and reaping:

Galatians 6: 7-8 (NKJV):

7 Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. 8 For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life.

2 Corinthians 9:6 reiterates this same principle:

But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.

The original expression of this principle is known as “Seedtime and Harvest” which goes back to Jehovah’s words to Noah following the flood in Genesis 8:22:

“While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, winter and summer, and day and night shall not cease.”

This concept is expressed another way in terms of “giving and receiving,” particularly within the context of financially contributing to the work of the ministry within the Church, as revealed in Philippians 4:15 (NKJV):

15 Now you Philippians know also that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church shared with me concerning giving and receiving but you only.

Verse 7 of 2 Corinthians 9 also makes reference to giving following the mentioning of sowing and reaping:

7 So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.

Giving is another expression of the universal principle whose application reaches far beyond an agricultural context, as revealed in Luke 6:38(NKJV)

38 Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.”

Whether we refer to the principle of “seedtime and harvest” or “giving and receiving” or as the Verse of the Day indicates, “sowing & reaping,” we are reminded that each individual on earth determines his or her own destiny: whatever an individual sows that individual shall also reap. Think about this: “Thoughts are seeds to your words and deeds.” With this in mind, we are always sowing and reaping, in thought, in word, and in deed.” Our discussion also brings to mind to mind this poem:

To Serve and To Sow

Those who sow in tears shall reap in joy.
He who continually goes forth weeping,
Bearing seed for sowing, shall doubtless come again
with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.

Psalm 126:5-6

We learn to serve and to sow with a joyful heart,
To pour from the fountain of our soul and to give
All our strength to the Lord’s work and to do our part
To complete each task, to build that the Word might live,
For only deeds done for the sake of Christ remain.
The legacy of God’s will fulfilled lives beyond
The brief journey of our days filled with joy and pain,
This precious token of our covenant, the bond
Of devotion to the Master, perfected love
Shed abroad in our hearts, enfolded in His peace
That passes understanding, flowing from above.
As we plant and water, our God gives the increase.
Freely we have received that we might come to know
The love of God, as we learn to serve and to sow.

Listen to “Those Who Sow in Tears Shall Reap in Joy” by Esther Mui, Christian Praise Worship Song based on Psalm 126, source of the introductory passage of “To Sow and to Serve.”

Forgiving one another

May 11, 2015

Ephesians 4_32The Verse of the Day for May 11, 2015 encourages believers to forgive one another:

Ephesians 4:32 (KJV):

And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you

Colossians 3:13 offers this reminder in the Amplified Bible:

13 Be gentle and forbearing with one another and, if one has a difference (a grievance or complaint) against another, readily pardoning each other; even as the Lord has [freely] forgiven you, so must you also [forgive].

This verse also brought to mind a previous blog entry entitled “Forget the past: Choose to forgive” which I have reposted:

In a prophetic word of exhortation Bobby Conner speaks of “The grace to forgive past disappointments” and refers to situations in our past whereby we have experienced the pain of disappointment. In such instances we recognize that we have been “brokenhearted” once again,

Conner mentions that “the Hebrew word translated brokenhearted is shabar, an extremely vivid and powerful adjective that means maimed, crippled, wrecked, crushed, quenched, and violently ruptured.” He goes on to say, “We can take courage by understanding that the Lord’s very purpose in coming, as He Himself declared early on, was to “bind up the brokenhearted” (Isaiah 61:1), to heal our disappointed hearts and restore hope to our innermost being. He understands deeply that we are brokenhearted by sin and failures and He has compassion for our souls.

When we are confronted with past disappointments and failures where the wounds that we thought were fully healed become painful once more, we must let go of the past and choose to forgive: By choosing to forgive those who have hurt you, betrayed you, left you or wronged you. And choose to forgive yourself for your reactions to these injustices or for your own betrayals. You let go of the past by believing that God will restore to you anything and everything that was taken, including love, relationships, time, money, dreams, hopes, talents.

What does it mean to forgive?

To forgive means: to send away, dismiss, set free; to acquit by a verdict; to give no punishment to the guilty person and to view the guilty person as if he is innocent. Another definition means to let loose or set at liberty (a debtor). Someone has said, “I forgive when I give up my right to hurt you because you hurt me.”

Literally to forgive means to “give for.” You give to those who choose not to give. This poem by John Oxenham expresses a profound truth about love and giving:

Love ever lives, outlives forgives,

And while it stands with open hands it lives,

For this is love’s prerogative:

To give and give and give.

You actually could keep adding “and give” to last line ad infinitum. For such love expresses endless giving.

Jesus Christ, of course, is the quintessential example of forgiveness. As he is dying on the cross, having been brutalized and humiliated beyond any atrocious behavior inflicted upon any mortal, among the last words spoken by the Lord are recorded in Luke 23:34:

“Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”

Some of the lyrics to the song “Please Forgive Me” reinforce this truth.

God first gave to us so that we might live.

We give to others when we learn to forgive.

Jesus, our example so perfect and true,

Said, “Father, forgive them; they know not what they do.”

I forgive you. I forgive you.

I forgive you. I forgive you.

I forgive you this time. I forgive you each time.

I forgive you.

When we practice forgiving, we apply the principle of “giving and receiving.”

Luke 6:38 relates this principle:

Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.”

When we forgive, we also recall another expression of truth by Jesus who said, “It more blessed to give than to receive.” In a situation where one person offers forgiveness and another receives forgiveness. Who is most blessed? I often say, “When you choose to give, you cannot lose, but when you choose not to give you cannot win.” In his book Total Forgiveness, R. T. Kendall states,

“Forgiveness is not total forgiveness until we bless our enemies—and pray for them to be blessed. Forgiving them is a major step; totally forgiving them has fully been achieved when we set God free to bless them. But in this, we are the first to be blessed, and those who totally forgive are blessed the most.”

When it comes to abounding in God’s grace and abiding in His will,

I Choose to Forgive

                

I choose to forgive and to release from payment,

To clear the account and forego the debt once more.

Though rightfully owed to me, I choose to forgive,

To be gracious, in spite of the ingratitude.

My desire is to be kind and tenderhearted;

Even as God for Christ’s sake has forgiven me,

I rise to the occasion of the Word of God.

Not keeping a record of any wrongs suffered,

I seek to walk in the footsteps of the Savior.

As Joseph, in compassion, assured his brothers

What Satan meant for evil, God fashions for good,

Widen my vision to see a much more grand scope:

May I also see all things working together

For the good, even in perilous times as these.

Matthew West captures the essence of this virtue in the powerful song “Forgiveness”:

Views on sowing and reaping

January 21, 2015

Galatians-6-7-9

The Verse of the Day for January 21, 2015 is taken from Galatians 6:7-8 (NLT)

Don’t be misled—you cannot mock the justice of God. You will always harvest what you plant. Those who live only to satisfy their own sinful nature will harvest decay and death from that sinful nature. But those who live to please the Spirit will harvest everlasting life from the Spirit.

Galatians 6:9-10 goes on to say:

And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.

10 As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.

The passage speaks of the universal principle of sowing and reaping. This same concept brings to mind God’s promise to Noah after the flood:

Genesis 8:22 :

While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.

Another expression of this principle is the Law of Giving and Receiving revealed in Luke 6:38 (NLT)

Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full—pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back.”

Whether you refer to “sowing and reaping” or “seedtime and harvest” or simply “giving and receiving,” we are always applying those immutable principles in our lives.

While reflecting on the Verse of the Day, I happened to think of one of the poems originally composed on my birthday. The words remind me of where I am and what I am doing at this present time, as think on the Word of God and see its personal application, as

 

I Sing in My Garden

Oh, sing unto the LORD a new song!

Sing to the LORD, all the earth.

Sing to the LORD, bless his name;

Proclaim the good news from day to day.

Psalm 96:1-2

 

I sing in my garden and reap the good,

The bounty of living seventy-two years.

Each note seems to evoke a stream of tears

That fall, not because of some somber mood

But flow from a heart filled with gratitude.

The folksong of the farmer thrills my ears

Each time plowing, planting or harvest nears.

I compose my song, having understood

Lyrics I did not know when I was young,

When life was uncertain, my song unsure.

Now from my green garden I garner truth.

A song of conviction flows from my tongue.

I am seasoned and strengthened to endure,

Knowing the best lines are yet to be sung.

One of verses to one of my favorite hymns is taken from the verse 22 in Genesis 8: which speaks of

Summer and winter, springtime and harvest,

Sun, moon and stars in their courses above.

Join with all nature in manifold witness

to thy great faithfulness, mercy and love.

I would like to close our devotional with this hymn, as I recall the faithfulness of God. . . our God is faithful—“full of faith”—faithful to His Word: “Great is Thy Faithfulness.” Aled Jones sings the verse that I am referring to.

Let go of the past: Choose to forgive

November 18, 2013

The Verse of the Day for June 10, 2014 encourages believers to forgive one another:

Forbearing one another and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. Colossians 3:13 KJV

Here is the verse in the Amplified Bible:

13 Be gentle and forbearing with one another and, if one has a difference (a grievance or complaint) against another, readily pardoning each other; even as the Lord has [freely] forgiven you, so must you also [forgive].

This verse brought to mind a previous blog entry on Dr. J’s Apothecary Shoppe entitled “Forget the past: Choose to forgive” which I have re-posted :

hands 2

In a prophetic word of exhortation Bobby Conner speaks of “The grace to forgive past disappointments” and refers to situations in our past whereby we have experienced the pain of disappointment. In such instances we recognize that we have been “brokenhearted” once again,

Conner mentions that “the Hebrew word translated brokenhearted is shabar, an extremely vivid and powerful adjective that means maimed, crippled, wrecked, crushed, quenched, and violently ruptured.” He goes on to say, “We can take courage by understanding that the Lord’s very purpose in coming, as He Himself declared early on, was to “bind up the brokenhearted” (Isaiah 61:1), to heal our disappointed hearts and restore hope to our innermost being. He understands deeply that we are brokenhearted by sin and failures and He has compassion for our souls.

When we are confronted with past disappointments and failures where the wounds that we thought were fully healed become painful once more, we must let go of the past and choose to forgive. Conner asks, How do we do this?

“By choosing to forgive those who have hurt you, betrayed you, left you or wronged you. And choose to forgive yourself for your reactions to these injustices or for your own betrayals. You let go of the past by believing that God will restore to you anything and everything that was taken, including love, relationships, time, money, dreams, hopes, talents.”

What does it mean to forgive?

To forgive means: to send away, dismiss, set free; to acquit by a verdict; to give no punishment to the guilty person and to view the guilty person as if he is innocent. Another definition means to let loose or set at liberty (a debtor). Someone has said, “I forgive when I give up my right to hurt you because you hurt me.”

Literally to forgive means to “give for.” You give to those who choose not to give. This poem by John Oxenham expresses a profound truth about love and giving:

Love ever lives, outlives forgives,

And while it stands with open hands it lives,

For this is love’s prerogative:

To give and give and give.

You actually could keep adding “and give” to last line ad infinitum, for such love expresses endless giving.

Jesus Christ, of course, is the quintessential example of forgiveness. As he is dying on the cross, having been brutalized and humiliated beyond any atrocious behavior inflicted upon any mortal, among the last words spoken by the Lord are recorded in Luke 23:34:

“Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”

Some of the lyrics to the song “Please Forgive Me” reinforce this truth.

God first gave to us so that we might live.

We give to others when we learn to forgive.

Jesus, our example so perfect and true,

Said, “Father, forgive them; they know not what they do.”

I forgive you. I forgive you.

I forgive you. I forgive you.

I forgive you this time. I forgive you each time.

I forgive you.

When we practice forgiving, we apply the principle of “giving and receiving.”

Luke 6:38 relates this principle:

Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.”

When we forgive, we also recall another expression of truth by Jesus who said, “It more blessed to give than to receive.”  In a situation where one person offers forgiveness and another receives forgiveness. Who is most blessed? I often say, “When you choose to give, you cannot lose, but when you choose not to give, you cannot win.” In his book Total Forgiveness, R. T. Kendall states,

“Forgiveness is not total forgiveness until we bless our enemies—and pray for them to be blessed. Forgiving them is a major step; totally forgiving them has fully been achieved when we set God free to bless them. But in this, we are the first to be blessed, and those who totally forgive are blessed the most.”

When it comes to abounding in God’s grace and abiding in His will,

I Choose to Forgive

I choose to forgive and to release from payment,

To clear the account and forgo the debt once more.

Though rightfully owed to me, I choose to forgive,

To be gracious, in spite of the ingratitude.

My desire is to be kind and tenderhearted;

Even as God for Christ’s sake has forgiven me,

I rise to the occasion of the Word of God.

Not keeping a record of any wrongs suffered,

I seek to walk in the footsteps of the Savior.

As Joseph, in compassion, assured his brothers

What Satan meant for evil, God fashions for good,

Widen my vision to see a much more grand scope:

May I also see all things working together

For the good, even in perilous times as these.

 

Matthew West captures the essence of this virtue in the powerful song “Forgiveness”: