Tag: Forgiveness

How To Move Forward In Life

Isaiah 43:18 ESV
Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old

God does not want us to be stuck in the past. The problem with always focusing on the past is that it hinders us from looking forward. When we focus only on the issues in the past, we fail to concentrate on the objectives we need to accomplish in the present and on the goals we need to complete in the future. When the past is crippling us, we must learn how to move forward in life.
Sometimes we can be stuck in the hurts of the past; sometimes we don’t want to forget the bad experiences we had with others; sometimes we are afraid of our past failures and therefore we fear the future and we fear the unknown.
However the problem with allowing the past to control you is that remembering the past can sometimes paralyze you and hinder you from moving forward in your life.

Forget The Former Things, Consider The New
In Isaiah 43:18, God instructs us to FORGET the former things. Perhaps in your own life there are things that are holding you back which you need to forget if you are to move forward in your life.
Perhaps you need to stop holding onto your past failures. Failures are a part of life and as long as we are imperfect people, we will at times fail or make mistakes. What is important after we have failed, is that we should LEARN from our specific failures and mistakes so that we do not repeat the same mistakes. It is said that Thomas Edison the inventor of the light bulb failed over 1000 times before he successfully invented the light bulb. Clearly this man did not give up because of his failures nor did he allow his past failings to stop him from moving forward towards his goal. In relation to his many prior failures, Edison was quoted as saying that he found over 1000 ways of how NOT to make a light bulb.

In Isaiah 43:18, God also instructs us not to consider the “things of old”. Perhaps you need to find a new way of achieving your objectives. Perhaps you need to start seeing your challenges in a different way. Perhaps you need to be more innovative. It is said that CHANGE is the only constant.
Albert Einstein said “We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.”

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Isaiah 43:19 ESV
Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.

Focus On What God Is Doing
God our Creator knows that remembering the former things or considering the things of old will only serve to paralyse us from moving forward, therefore He instructs us to forget the former things. We must not let the past experiences in our lives hinder us.
Rather our eyes and perception must be focused on God. Our objectives must be focused on God’s plans. Our plans and God’s plans must be aligned if we are to succeed.
If you are to succeed, you must not rely on your own strength, but you must rely on God’s strength. In Isaiah 43:19, God says that it is HE who will make a way in the wilderness. God also says that it is HE who will make rivers in the desert.
Perhaps you feel like you are in the wilderness. Perhaps you feel lost, alone and afraid in your wilderness. From today, rely on God to make a way in your wilderness.
Perhaps you feel like you are in the desert. You feel thirst, dry and have nothing to sustain you. From today allow God to make rivers in your desert by trusting, obeying and having faith in Him. Don’t let the failures of your past prevent you from trusting in God and moving forward in your life.

Philippians 3:12-14 ESV
Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me His own. 13 Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

 

What is True Repentance?

Matthew 4:17 ESV
From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

One of the main themes of Jesus’ message was the message of repentance. The reason why Jesus preached about repenting was because He knew that if people are to have a true relationship with God and if people are to be true followers of God, then repentance is very important. A person cannot be a true follower of Christ or of God’s Kingdom unless he/she sincerely repents.
Therefore – what is repentance? What should we repent from? How do I know if I have repented? Why should I repent?

WHAT IS REPENTANCE?

  • Biblical repentance is sincere change. Repentance involves is a complete and sincere change from thinking, believing and doing that which was wrong and sinful in God’s eyes – to thinking, believing and doing that which is righteous and good to God.
  • Biblical repentance is not just intellectual or of the mind. It is also a change of attitude, a change of the perception, a change of direction – so that a person no longer walks in an ungodly direction but they walk in God’s direction pertaining to a given area in his/her life
  • Biblical repentance turns from the devil to Christ; from sin to good; from darkness to light; from deception to truth; from condemnation to salvation.
  • The fruit of sincere repentance are evident in the true believer’s behaviour or actions. Biblical repentance leads to a changed life or lifestyle.

Acts 26:20 ESV
But declared first to those in Damascus, then in Jerusalem and throughout all the region of Judea, and also to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, performing deeds in keeping with their repentance.

2 Peter 3:9 ESV
The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.

Matthew 3:8 ESV
Bear fruit in keeping with repentance.

Luke 5:32 ESV
I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.

 

 JUDAS versus PETER on REPENTANCE

Matthew 27:3-5
Then when Judas, his betrayer, saw that Jesus was condemned, he changed his mind and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and the elders, 4 saying, “I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.” They said, “What is that to us? See to it yourself.” 5 And throwing down the pieces of silver into the temple, he departed, and he went and hanged himself.

Biblical repentance is more than just saying “I’m sorry”. Biblical repentance goes further than feeling remorse, but it requires deliberate change to not do the thing that you are sorry for doing.
Judas knew that he had sinned and felt remorse or sorry for having betrayed Jesus. However, Judas did not repent. If he had repented, he would not have tried to resolve his issue by committing another sin in the process; he would not have hung himself but would have found a way to return to Christ and thereafter follow Christ sincerely. Biblical repentance must lead you to reconcile with God.
In contrast, Peter who denied Jesus 3 times out of fear of persecution (read Mark 14:66-72), later felt sorry for having denied Christ, then Peter repented and later boldly and courageously spoke the message of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Through out the book of Acts, Peter spoke boldly about Christ without fear of persecution. Therefore Peter’s repentance changed his behaviour from one of fear to that of courage. (Acts 4:13 – Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated, common men, they were astonished. And they recognized that they had been with Jesus)

FI3 - repent

WHAT SHOULD PEOPLE REPENT FROM?

2 Chronicles 7:14 ESV
If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.

Biblical repentance requires that people repent from anything that displeases God. This for example includes the following:

  • All kinds of sin and sinful habits
  • All kinds of wickedness
  • Any type of poor or bad attitude
  • Anything that rejects God and rejects the nature of God

Galatians 5:19-24 ESV
Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, 21 envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

 

WHY SHOULD I REPENT?

1. Repentance leads to salvation. Let us remember that salvation is by grace and not by our own works. However we must understand that our decision to repent is evidence that we desire to receive God’s free gift of salvation through Christ Jesus. (Acts 2:36-39 – Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.” 37 Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” 38 And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.)
When Peter preached his sermon at Pentecost, he wanted the people to change their mind about Jesus whom they had crucified. In other words, he wanted them to repent about their perception of Jesus and receive Him and accept Jesus as Lord and Christ in their life.
John MacArthur stated the following : “It has often been said that repentance and faith are two sides of the same coin. That coin is called conversion. Repentance turns from sin to Christ, and faith embraces Him as the only hope of salvation and righteousness. That is what conversion means in simple terms. Faith and repentance are distinct concepts, but they cannot occur independently of each other. Genuine repentance is always the flip side of faith; and true faith accompanies repentance”
(2 Peter 3:9 ESV – The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient  toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.)

2. Biblical Repentance leads to change in behavior & obedience to God. It is impossible to repent in one’s mind and this repentance not be followed by a change in action. In Luke 3:8 and Matthew 3:8 John the Baptist called people to repent and that there must be evidence of their repentance. John mentioned that people must “bear fruit in keeping with repentance” – an indication that sincere repentance leads to obedience and that repentance is more than just a mental or intellectual change. (Acts 26:20 ESV – But declared first to those in Damascus, then in Jerusalem and throughout all the region of Judea, and also to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, performing deeds in keeping with their repentance.)

3. Repentance leads to seeing life from God’s perspective and not from our own perspective. When we repent, it reflects that we are ready to deny our personal opinions; our personal philosophies; our personal agenda in order to follow the values and principles of God. Repentance from sin acknowledges that we are wrong and that God is ALWAYS right. Biblical repentance acknowledges that only God’s perspective is true and that we must align our thoughts and actions to God’s will and not our own will. (Acts 3:19 ESV Repent therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out)

 

GOD FORGIVES

Whenever we sin, God is just and faithful to forgive us. We too must through Christ be faithful to not return to our sin, by repenting from wrong doing and endeavor to sincerely follow way of the Lord.
1 John 1:9
If we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us and to cleanse us from every wrong.

 

DO YOU WANT TO BE A CHRISTIAN or A FOLLOWER OF JESUS CHRIST???

1. ACKNOWLEDGE: “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). “God be merciful to me a sinner” (Luke 18:13).
You must acknowledge that you are a sinner and that you therefore need Jesus in your life.

2. REPENT: “Unless you repent you will all likewise perish” (Luke 13:3), “Repent therefore and be converted that your sins may be blotted out” (Acts 3:19)
Repenting means: to change your mind; a sincere turning away, in heart, mind and action;
Therefore God wants you to repent of sinful values and of sinful living. God wants you to decide to
follow Him and to make Jesus the Lord of your life.

3. CONFESSION: “If we confess our sins. He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). “That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9)
God is a forgiving God. God will forgive any sin that you have done because Jesus died for ALL your sins and to set you free from the bondage of all types of sin in your life.

4. BELIEVE: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).
You must believe that ONLY Jesus can save you and restore your relationship with God. You must believe that Jesus is the ONLY way by which you can have everlasting life and escape from eternal separation from God. You must believe that Jesus died on the cross for you and resurrected from the grave.
“He came to His own, and His own did not receive him, But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name” (John 1:11-12)
By faith, You must receive Jesus as Your Lord & Savior and therefore; you become a child of God; you become born again; you become a Christian; you restore your broken relationship with God

 

Why Not Make Your Eternal Decision NOW?

We become born again Christians by GRACE through FAITH or TOTAL TRUST in Jesus Christ as our Lord & Savior (Galatians 3:26) & (Ephesians 2:8,9). Salvation is a FREE gift received through FAITH in Christ.

PLEASE NOTE: You can choose to pray in your own words. This prayer is a sample prayer and it is only an EXPRESSION of your faith, belief & trust in Jesus. Salvation is by GRACE through FAITH or BELIEVING in Christ Jesus as your Lord & Saviour.

“Lord Jesus, I thank You for Your love. I thank You that You died on the cross for me and resurrected so that I may have life through You.
I confess Lord that I have sinned against You and today I ask You to forgive me of all of my sins, past present and future.
I repent of all of my sins and I ask You to cleanse me Jesus.
Thank You for forgiving my sins.
From this moment, come into my life Lord Jesus & take full control of my life. I want to follow You Jesus and I want to follow Your ways. Save me and from today, make me the person You want me to be.
I receive You Lord Jesus right now by faith. I trust You as my Lord and Savior – Amen”

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How To Overcome Evil with GOOD

How do you overcome evil with good. How can you show the love of Christ in a bad relationship? Have you ever been offended by somebody so much that you felt that the best option was to revenge? So therefore if somebody harms you, should you harm them back? If somebody insults you, should you retaliate by finding a way to insult them too?

Matthew 5:38-39 NKJV
“You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I tell you not to resist an evil person. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also

Matthew 5:43-44 NKJV
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you,

According to Jesus, if we are to overcome evil with good, there are 4 things we must do.
These 4 things that Jesus mentions in Matthew 5:43,44 are the following:

  1. We Must LOVE
  2. We Must BLESS
  3. We Must DO GOOD
  4. We Must PRAY

Jesus Himself extended this same love and grace to us through His death on the cross. Despite the fact that we were sinners, God demonstrated His love for us through the death of Christ for our sins (Romans 5:8).
Also as Christ was crucified on the cross He prayed for those who hated Him saying “Father forgive them for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:24).

Therefore God is not only good to those who love Him but He is also good to those who despise Him. Matthew 5:45 says “… for He (God) makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust”.

Therefore the goodness and love of God is extended to everyone.

Jesus basically taught us that no matter how badly other people may treat us, we MUST ALWAYS respond to them in LOVE and we must NEVER respond to anyone with bitterness, unforgiveness, revenge and hatred.
Jesus taught that if your neighbor hates you and if you want to defeat your neighbor – then you must LOVE him. If you hate your neighbor just because he hates you too – it would cause more hatred to fester – and NOTHING good comes out of hatred.
Hatred is an emotional characteristic of the devil, but LOVE is the character of God. So when you LOVE, you are imitating the very nature of God, but when you hate you are imitating the devil.

Matthew 5:46-48 NKJV
For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so? Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.

When you become a child of God you are called to a Godly standard of living. You are called to imitate God’s nature through Christ and His teachings. You are called to live according to the principles of the Kingdom of God and NOT according to the standards of the world.
Jesus taught that there is a very CLEAR DIFFERENCE between the children of God and the world. Therefore as children of God in our relationships, we should aim in Christ to not react or respond by the values and principles of the world.

Romans 12:17-21 NKJV
Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. Therefore “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; If he is thirsty, give him a drink; For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.”
Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

So the next time somebody offends you, don’t revenge; don’t hate, but respond the way Jesus has taught you – by showing LOVE.

 

Our Father … Forgive Us Our Sins

Luke 11:2-4 NKJV
So He said to them, “When you pray, say: Our Father … And forgive us our sins,”

We all know that nobody is perfect. Only God is perfect.
Therefore we are all capable of making mistakes and of sinning against God. After all, it is because of sin that Jesus became the perfect sacrifice so that through Him, we may overcome sin and have a personal relationship with God.

Whenever we pray, Jesus taught us that we should ask God to forgive us of our sins. Whenever we don’t confess our sins to God, we will swell up with pride and become conceited. However when we confess our sins to God whenever we sin, we are always reminded and humbled that we need God and only God through His Son Jesus is able to cleanse us from all sin.

Therefore regarding God’s forgiveness we must understand the following when we pray and confess:-

  1. If we confess our sins, God is just to forgive us (If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9-10 NKJV)
  2. If we do not confess our sins and if we do not admit our sins, we presume to make God a liar (If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us. 1 John 1:10 NKJV)
  3. God will not remember not recall our sins in Christ when we genuinely confess and ask for His forgiveness (As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us. Psalm 103:12 NKJV)
  4. There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ. You do not need to continue feeling guilty after you have confessed your sins (There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. Romans 8:1 NKJV)
  5. When God forgives you, then you become thoroughly cleansed (“Come now, and let us reason together,” Says the Lord, “Though your sins are like scarlet, They shall be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They shall be as wool. Isaiah 1:18 NKJV)
  6. God’s love for us compels Him to forgive. Love is the reason why Jesus came – so that we may not be condemned, but so that we may be forgiven. (For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. John 3:16-17 NKJV)
  7. If we want God to forgive us, then we too must also forgive other people who have wronged us. (Matthew 6:14-15 “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”)

TODAY. Remember whenever you sin, remember to confess to God and He will always forgive you.

Pray For Your Enemies

Do you know of anyone who dislikes you? Are you being persecuted even though you have done nothing wrong? Are there people in your life who are just trying to do anything in their power to make sure that you don’t succeed? What are you doing about it?
Is it right to pray for the damnation of our (human) enemy? Should we pray AGAINST them or should we pray FOR them? What does Jesus say?

Matthew 5:43-48 NKJV
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.‘ But I say to you, LOVE your enemies, BLESS those who curse you, DO GOOD to those who hate you, and PRAY for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, THAT YOU MAY BE SONS OF YOUR FATHER IN HEAVEN; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so? THEREFORE YOU SHALL BE PERFECT, JUST AS YOUR FATHER IN HEAVEN IS PERFECT.

Jesus clearly says we should LOVE, BLESS, DO GOOD and PRAY for our enemies or persecutors.
But why would Jesus command such a thing? It’s not an easy thing to love and do good to those who persecute us. But remember that the Lord knows everything and that He is wise.

WHY YOU SHOULD LOVE YOUR ENEMIES

  1. Jesus wants you as a Christian to be different from the world. The world teaches that you must “love your neighbor and hate your enemy”. GOD teaches that you must not only love your neighbor – but you must ALSO love your enemy – because to do so shows that you are “sons of your Father in Heaven”
  2. Jesus Christ the begotten Son of God came to earth to save and die for the sins of ALL people INCLUDING those people who shouted “Crucify Him! Crucify Him!” just before He was nailed to the cross (Luke 23:20-22). Jesus was being persecuted yet He was innocent. Out of LOVE, Jesus died for US ALL WHILE WE WERE YET SINNERS (Romans 5:8 NKJV). Therefore, though we deserved damnation to hell, God by His love, mercy and grace sent His Son to die for us so that we may have eternal life. Shouldn’t we show the same love to those who are lost?
  3. While Jesus was hanging on the cross for our sins; experiencing the most excruciating pain known to man He cried “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do…” Luke 23:34 NKJV. Jesus was the perfect example of a man who whilst experiencing great pain and persecution which had been caused by others, could still PRAY to the Father and ask the Father to forgive the very people who were crucifying Him on the cross.
  4. When you LOVE, BLESS, DO GOOD and PRAY for your enemies it shows that you have FORGIVENESS in your heart. It means that you are not ruled by a spirit of bitterness and hatred. “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” Matthew 6:14-15 NKJV
  5. As a Christian you are supposed to BE LIKE Jesus. You must be a VESSEL TO HELP THOSE WHO ARE LOST – EVEN YOUR ENEMIES. In Luke 9:53-56 we learn that the Samaritans at a village would not receive Jesus and so James & John asked Jesus if they should “command fire to come down from heaven and consume them, just as Elijah did”. Jesus had to rebuke them for wanting such a thing to happen to other people and so Jesus responded by saying “You do not know what manner of spirit you are of. For the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives but to save them.”

JESUS DOES NOT DESIRE THAT YOU PRAY THAT MEN’S LIVES BE DESTROYED. JESUS DESIRES THAT YOU PRAY THAT MEN’S LIVES BE SAVED – INCLUDING YOUR ENEMIES.

• There was a man named Saul in the book of Acts 9:1-19. He used to persecute and kill Christians. One day as Saul came near Damascus, Jesus appeared to Saul and said “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?” Saul had no idea that when he persecuted Christians, he was also persecuting Jesus. Nevertheless Jesus didn’t want to destroy Saul even though Saul had persecuted so many Christians. Jesus wanted to save Saul and to use Saul for God’s glory. So Saul was blinded when Jesus appeared to him and he couldn’t see for several days. Jesus appeared to a man called Ananias to go and find Saul so that he may pray for Saul. Now Saul of course was already well known for his persecutions against Christians and Ananias didn’t understand why the Lord Jesus was asking him to go and pray for Saul, an enemy of Christians. The Lord then told Ananias the plans that He had for Saul and of course Ananias obeyed and Saul got his sight back.
Saul later got his name changed to Paul. This is the same Paul (Saul) who wrote most of the New Testament in the Bible through the inspiration of God.
What’s my point? Like Ananias we need to obey the Lord Jesus and pray for our enemies, for Jesus may have a plan for them. We are NOT called to pray for the DESTRUCTION of people, but we are called to PRAY FOR their SALVATION. It is an act of LOVE.

I’m not saying it’s easy. Jesus praying to the Father: “Forgive them…” whilst hanging on the cross wasn’t easy. I’m not saying be naïve and let people take advantage of you. I’m simply saying obey Jesus, be more like Jesus and let the Spirit of God teach you to love and do good in every situation.

Romans 12:14-21 NKJV
Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion.
Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,”* says the Lord. Therefore “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; If he is thirsty, give him a drink; For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.”* Do not be overcome by evil, but OVERCOME EVIL WITH GOOD.