Tag Archives: Forgiveness

2 Kings 17; Titus 3; Hosea 10; Psalm 129-131

For some reason, especially this year, I’ve been trying hard to be perfect. I know that trying my best and working hard aren’t bad. But more and more recently, whether it’s messing up on the piano or not getting something at dance class, I’ve found that I keep getting angry at myself when I make mistakes. And I’ve also been anxious before lessons, because I worry that the teacher isn’t going to think I’m good at the thing if I don’t get it right away.

It’s kind of the same thing with sin. I either try too hard (or don’t) to be good, and when I fail I’m annoyed with the results.

Samaria Falls to Assyria

Then the king of Assyria invaded the entire land, and for three years he besieged the city of Samaria. Finally, in the ninth year of King Hoshea’s reign, Samaria fell, and the people of Israel were exiled to Assyria. They were settled in colonies in Halah, along the banks of the Habor River in Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes. This disaster came upon the people of Israel because they worshiped other gods. They sinned against the LORD their God, who had brought them safely out of Egypt and had rescued them from the power of Pharaoh, the king of Egypt. (2 Kings 17:5-7 NLT)

I said, ‘Plant the good seeds of righteousness, and you will harvest a crop of love. Plow up the hard ground of your hearts, for now is the time to seek the LORD, that he may come and shower righteousness upon you.’ (Hosea 10:12 NLT)

The people of Israel’s continuous sins against God caused Samaria to fall. God had warned them to stop, but they didn’t. Their actions led to their downfall.

This makes me think of all the times my actions have led to my downfall. For the people of Israel it was worshiping other gods; for me it’s what I say to others.

LORD, if you kept a record of our sins, who, O LORD, could ever survive? But you offer forgiveness, that we might learn to fear you. (Psalm 130:3-4 NLT)

But—“When God our Savior revealed his kindness and love, he saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He washed away our sins, giving us a new birth and new life through the Holy Spirit.” (Titus 3:4-5 NLT)

I know I don’t have to do good things to get into heaven. But while I’m here, I really want to grow closer to God and try to do what’s right!

Dear God,

Thank you for today’s reading. It really helped me to realize how much you don’t like it when I sin. And because of Jesus I can be forgiven for all that I’ve done. For now and in the future I hope to be at least a little bit better at watching what I say, since it’s my biggest downfall. I know I don’t have to be perfect at everything. So even though I will still work hard, please help me to at least watch what’s going on in my heart so I won’t think I’m better than others. Amen

Lanie (llilly2017)

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1 Samuel 16; Romans 14; Lamentations 1; Psalm 32

Saul is rejected.

Now the Lord said to Samuel, “You have mourned long enough for Saul. I have rejected him as king of Israel, so fill your flask with olive oil and go to Bethlehem. Find a man named Jesse who lives there, for I have selected one of his sons to be my king.” (1 Samuel 16:1, NLT)

Paul admonishes believers.

10 So why do you condemn another believer? Why do you look down on another believer? Remember, we will all stand before the judgment seat of God. (Romans 14:10, NLT)

A nation mourns.

Jerusalem, once so full of people,
    is now deserted.
She who was once great among the nations
    now sits alone like a widow.
Once the queen of all the earth,
    she is now a slave.

She sobs through the night;
    tears stream down her cheeks.
Among all her lovers,
    there is no one left to comfort her.
All her friends have betrayed her
    and become her enemies. (Lamentations 1:1-2, NLT)

 

I read through Psalm 32 and find joy in a Father God who removes the burden of sin and guilt and forgives freely–what love!

For you are my hiding place;
    you protect me from trouble.
    You surround me with songs of victory. (Interlude)

The Lord says, “I will guide you along the best pathway for your life.
    I will advise you and watch over you.
Do not be like a senseless horse or mule
    that needs a bit and bridle to keep it under control.”

10 Many sorrows come to the wicked,
    but unfailing love surrounds those who trust the Lord.
11 So rejoice in the Lord and be glad, all you who obey him!
    Shout for joy, all you whose hearts are pure! (Psalm 32:7-11 NLT)

Lord, you look to the heart. You desire repentance and a turning to you. I want to walk always in truth. Thank you that you will guide, advise, and watch over me (too!). My joy and gladness is in you!

Courtney (66books365)

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Joshua 8; Psalm 139; Jeremiah 2; Matthew 16

I thought a week off from routine would restore me. Now, a second week closing, I feel myself slipping into hermit mode. I pulled up Psalm 139 to read, and I cried. This is a Father’s loving hand upon a daughter’s head. He is right here with me. He knows me best. Even when I slip into hermitting, He comforts me in this new territory of angry grief. He does not abandon me.

(All of Psalm 139, NLT, because it is so good. Emphasis mine.)

O Lord, you have examined my heart
    and know everything about me.
You know when I sit down or stand up.
    You know my thoughts even when I’m far away.
You see me when I travel
    and when I rest at home.
    You know everything I do.
You know what I am going to say
    even before I say it, Lord.
You go before me and follow me.
    You place your hand of blessing on my head.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
    too great for me to understand!

I can never escape from your Spirit!
    I can never get away from your presence!
If I go up to heaven, you are there;
    if I go down to the grave, you are there.
If I ride the wings of the morning,
    if I dwell by the farthest oceans,
10 even there your hand will guide me,
    and your strength will support me.
11 I could ask the darkness to hide me
    and the light around me to become night—
12     but even in darkness I cannot hide from you.
To you the night shines as bright as day.
    Darkness and light are the same to you.

13 You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body
    and knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!
    Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.
15 You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion,
    as I was woven together in the dark of the womb.
16 You saw me before I was born.
    Every day of my life was recorded in your book.
Every moment was laid out
    before a single day had passed.

17 How precious are your thoughts about me, O God.
    They cannot be numbered!
18 I can’t even count them;
    they outnumber the grains of sand!
And when I wake up,
    you are still with me!

19 O God, if only you would destroy the wicked!
    Get out of my life, you murderers!
20 They blaspheme you;
    your enemies misuse your name.
21 O Lord, shouldn’t I hate those who hate you?
    Shouldn’t I despise those who oppose you?
22 Yes, I hate them with total hatred,
    for your enemies are my enemies.

23 Search me, O God, and know my heart;
    test me and know my anxious thoughts.
24 Point out anything in me that offends you,
    and lead me along the path of everlasting life.

 

A friend shared some hurtful things going on in her life, and by all accounts, her anger is justified. But I saw what it was doing to her and those around her. I said, “I get it. I’d be mad too. But how long is enough? How long (of being angry) will make you feel better? I hate to see you work yourself into a pit that’s hard to get out of.”

The words spoke into my life as well. At the time, I couldn’t bring myself to say it, because it can seem so unfair–but maybe the antidote for anger is forgiveness. Because the thing about anger, can it ever be satisfied–especially in circumstances where there is no justice? Some things can’t be taken back or fixed. Anger is like a hot coal being tossed into hands. How do (we) let go when memory sears?

Oh, Lord, point out the offenses. Lead me.

24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross, and follow me. 25 If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it. 26 And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul?] Is anything worth more than your soul?” (Matthew 16:24-26, NLT)

Lord, I would be so utterly lost without your word, your love, your forgiveness. Thank you for loving me so much, that even in the angry grief, you don’t leave me. You tell me to get back on my feet and follow you.

Courtney (66books365)

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Leviticus 5; Psalms 3-4; Proverbs 19; Colossians 3

Leviticus 5 describes a sliding scale for sacrifices; the wealthier the repentant sinner, the more expensive the sacrifice. The sacrifice needed to make a significant economic impact upon the one offering it and the cost of restitution was somewhat dependent upon the infraction (Leviticus 5:16). Sin had a price which took the form of livestock, birds and grain.  Blood flowed continually at the altar. The sin of the people kept the priests busy.

Five times in chapter 5 the author of Leviticus repeats, “…the priest shall make atonement on your behalf for the sin that you have committed, and you shall be forgiven.” Repentance, forgiveness and restitution matter to God, the sinner and the community. The process is physical and burdensome, but also seems limited. What about  sins committed that one might have a blindspot to? What then?

“Who can say ‘I have made my heart clean; I am pure from my sin?’ ” Proverbs 20:9

I am powerless to break the power of sin and death on my life. Guilt is wall between God which I am unable to scale, but God the priest bows low to provide the cleansing sacrifice— lower than one could ever imagine. He sends his pure and sinless Son, Jesus to do what all my personal sacrifices can never do. The blood of Jesus flows so that I am forgiven. Jesus brings the wall down so that I  may stand in the presence of the Holy One of Israel.

Confession and repentance are even more important business in the light of what Jesus did on my behalf. God forgive me for ever taking the sacrifice of his Son for granted.

When I Survey the Wondrous Cross  by Isaac Watts

When I survey wondrous cross,                                                                                                       On which the Prince of glory died,
My richest gain I count but loss,
And pour contempt on all my pride.
Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast,
Save in the death of Christ my God!
All the vain things that charm me most,
I sacrifice them to His blood.
See from His head, His hands, His feet,
Sorrow and love flow mingled down!
Did e’er such love and sorrow meet,
Or thorns compose so rich a crown?
Were the whole realm of nature mine,
That were a present far too small;
Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all.

Kathy

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Exodus 29; John 8; Proverbs 5; Galatians 4

Jesus returned to the Mount of Olives, 2 but early the next morning he was back again at the Temple. A crowd soon gathered, and he sat down and taught them. 3 As he was speaking, the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in the act of adultery. They put her in front of the crowd.

4 “Teacher,” they said to Jesus, “this woman was caught in the act of adultery. 5 The law of Moses says to stone her. What do you say?”

6 They were trying to trap him into saying something they could use against him, but Jesus stooped down and wrote in the dust with his finger. 7 They kept demanding an answer, so he stood up again and said, “All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!” 8 Then he stooped down again and wrote in the dust.

9 When the accusers heard this, they slipped away one by one, beginning with the oldest, until only Jesus was left in the middle of the crowd with the woman. 10 Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?”

11 “No, Lord,” she said.

And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.”

John 8:1-11 (NLT)

The compassion and forgiveness that Jesus displays here always surprises me, but it shouldn’t.  That is his character: one of unconditional love and forgiveness.  I wonder how often I am quick to assume that Jesus would shun me or punish me for the way I behave when in reality his reaction would be one of grace and forgiveness.  Jesus, help me to fully dwell in and understand your character.  Forgive me for being quick to superimpose my misconceptions about you in my life.

In the end you will groan in anguish
    when disease consumes your body.
12 You will say, “How I hated discipline!
    If only I had not ignored all the warnings!
13 Oh, why didn’t I listen to my teachers?
    Why didn’t I pay attention to my instructors?
14 I have come to the brink of utter ruin,
    and now I must face public disgrace.”

Proverbs 5:11-14 (NLT)

There are often mornings I wake up for work, too tired to do anything but drag myself out of bed 15 minutes before I have to go and get myself ready.  On those days, I get to work on time, but I miss out on the valuable time I can have with the Lord if I get out of bed even 30 minutes early.  God wants to meet with me on those first quiet and precious hours of my morning and if I miss them, I am less aware of God’s presence throughout my day.  Waking up early takes discipline, but, oh, it is so worth it in the long run.  Lord, teach me discipline so that I might grow in you and feel your presence in a deeper way in my daily life.

But when the right time came, God sent his Son, born of a woman, subject to the law. God sent him to buy freedom for us who were slaves to the law, so that he could adopt us as his very own children.And because we are his children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, prompting us to call out, “Abba, Father.” Now you are no longer a slave but God’s own child. And since you are his child, God has made you his heir.

Galations 4:4-7 (NLT)

I. LOVE. THIS. PASSAGE.  There is so much freedom and joy in it!  God sent his son to face the pain and the anguish of death and that bears much deep sorrow, but there is incredible hope in it also!  God did this for a reason; he did so to adopt me as his own child.  I am part of God’s family and because of that I never again have to worry about being captured and controlled by sin.  I am an heir to the throne of THE king and that is something to sing and dance about (cue dance party music)!  Lord, thank you so much that you have not only saved me from sin but you have adopted me as your own child.  Thank you so much for allowing me to be a part of your treasured family.  Teach me to truly know and believe that I am yours everyday forever, especially in the deepest depths of my darkest day.

 

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Exodus 20; Luke 23; Job 38; 2 Corinthians 8

Help me, Lord, to remember well.

Help me to remember your life-giving rain, your power over the waves, your beauty in the sunrises, your mystery in the stars. (Job 38)

Help me to remember your jealous love for me–your want of my love and your promises to love me back. (Exodus 20)

Help me to remember Christ’s humility on the cross–his submission to your will–to take on my sin and die in my place, and not just my sin, but everyone’s. That my offenses and offenses against me aren’t a burden for me to carry, and the cross is the place to lay them down. And in that is all the sadness; and in that is all the joy; and in that is all your glory. (Luke 23)

Help me to remember you know what I need. You know it before I even ask. Help me to live a generous life in time, talent or treasure–oh, but especially in eager love. (2 Corinthians 8)

Sometimes my focus is on what I have to do today, tomorrow, next week. Sometimes my focus in on past hurts that cut deeply, the memories cut fresh and I wonder if they can ever heal. Sometimes my focus is of loss or overwhelm or wondering why–answers beyond my reach and understanding.

Father God, thank you for loving me as you do. I am looking for you everywhere today. I want you to be my focus. I’m trusting you for healing and peace. I’m trusting you for strength and guidance. Thank you, God, for your word in my hands and in my heart.

Courtney (66books365)

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Genesis 27; Matthew 26; Esther 3; Acts 26

Jacob deceives and receives Esau’s blessing. Judas wants to know how much he’ll get to betray Jesus, and then looks for ways to do so. Peter and the others deny Jesus and scatter. Haman’s desire for power and recognition fuel his hatred at Mordecai’s resistance to bow down–a hatred whose end goal is an annihilation of a people. Paul recounts his days of opposition to Christ and his followers–and how his obedience to Christ now makes him the target.

Betrayal. Anger. Hatred. They all lead to deaths of sorts.

  • 41 From that time on, Esau hated Jacob because their father had given Jacob the blessing. And Esau began to scheme: “I will soon be mourning my father’s death. Then I will kill my brother, Jacob.” Genesis 27:41, NLT
  • At that same time the leading priests and elders were meeting at the residence of Caiaphas, the high priest, plotting how to capture Jesus secretly and kill him. Matthew 26:3, NLT
  • When Haman saw that Mordecai would not bow down or show him respect, he was filled with rage. He had learned of Mordecai’s nationality, so he decided it was not enough to lay hands on Mordecai alone. Instead, he looked for a way to destroy all the Jews throughout the entire empire of Xerxes. Esther 3:5-6, NLT
  • 19 “And so, King Agrippa, I obeyed that vision from heaven. 20 I preached first to those in Damascus, then in Jerusalem and throughout all Judea, and also to the Gentiles, that all must repent of their sins and turn to God—and prove they have changed by the good things they do. 21 Some Jews arrested me in the Temple for preaching this, and they tried to kill me.” Acts 26:19-21, NLT

A meal and a kiss in the Old Testament (from Genesis 27, parts of 17-27, NLT).

17 Then she gave Jacob the delicious meal, including freshly baked bread.

So Jacob took the food to his father, and Isaac ate it. He also drank the wine that Jacob served him. 26 Then Isaac said to Jacob, “Please come a little closer and kiss me, my son.”

27 So Jacob went over and kissed him.

A meal and a kiss in the New Testament (from Matthew 26, parts of 20 through 49, NLT).

20 When it was evening, Jesus sat down at the table with the Twelve. 21 While they were eating, he said, “I tell you the truth, one of you will betray me.”

22 Greatly distressed, each one asked in turn, “Am I the one, Lord?”

23 He replied, “One of you who has just eaten from this bowl with me will betray me. 24 For the Son of Man must die, as the Scriptures declared long ago. But how terrible it will be for the one who betrays him. It would be far better for that man if he had never been born!”

25 Judas, the one who would betray him, also asked, “Rabbi, am I the one?”

And Jesus told him, “You have said it.”

26 As they were eating, Jesus took some bread and blessed it. Then he broke it in pieces and gave it to the disciples, saying, “Take this and eat it, for this is my body.”

27 And he took a cup of wine and gave thanks to God for it. He gave it to them and said, “Each of you drink from it, 28 for this is my blood, which confirms the covenant between God and his people. It is poured out as a sacrifice to forgive the sins of many. 29 Mark my words—I will not drink wine again until the day I drink it new with you in my Father’s Kingdom.”

And later, in the garden of Gethsemane … 48 The traitor, Judas, had given them a prearranged signal: “You will know which one to arrest when I greet him with a kiss.” 49 So Judas came straight to Jesus. “Greetings, Rabbi!” he exclaimed and gave him the kiss.

I sit with these words. The bread. The wine. The blessing. The sacrifice.

Lord, you have the mighty power of forgiving sin–your love the sacrifice, broken and poured out. I sit with you today in wounding and in want, handing over the broken pieces, Lord.

Courtney (66books365)

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