30 Days With Wesley – Day 19: The Path To Forgiveness

Green Path(Optional Reading: 1 Peter 4:8-11)

“Above all, show sincere love to each other, because love brings about the forgiveness of many sins.” 1 Peter 4:8

In life, we occasionally create these things call “unforgivables.” These are the things that we whisper under our breathe aloud, saying things like: “If he does that to me… I’ll never forgive him.” or “If she even says that to him one more time… I’ll never forgive her.” These are our unforgivables. Many of our unforgivables can be very serious things that have lead to broken relationships and broken families. Possibly even the loss of a loved one.

Jesus calls us to a life of forgiveness. Jesus forgave us of a great debt, therefore we are called to turn and forgive those who have hurt us. I don’t want to make it seem like I am saying that forgiveness is easy. I understand that people are facing individuals who have caused pain and loss on a huge level. Forgiveness might not come quickly to those situations, but I do believe that Jesus desires for us to move towards forgiveness. One step at a time.

Peter lays out the very first steps to beginning on the path of forgiveness in 1 Peter 4. It all comes down to love. If we can begin to show sincere love to those who have wronged us, we are taking a step towards forgiveness. It is all about baby steps. This sincere love can take on many forms. It might mean you pray for the person who hurt you. It might mean you talk to him. Or it might just mean you choose not to wish harm upon her that day.

God, may we live with sincere love for those who need forgiveness in our lives. May we be Christ to them today. May we daily take another step on the path to forgiveness.

Our Father in heaven,

hallowed be your name,

your kingdom come,

your will be done,

on earth as in heaven.

Give us today our daily bread.

Forgive us our sins

as we forgive those

who sin against us.

Save us from the time of trial,

and deliver us from evil.

For the kingdom, the power,

and the glory are yours,

now and forever.

Amen.

Advertisements

30 Days with Wesley – Day 14: Loving Revenge

30 Days with Wesley(Optional Reading: Romans 12:13-21)

There is a law of the land that we all live by. There are many different elements that make up this law. Thing like; don’t spit into the wind, don’t drink coffee right after drinking orange juice (I learn that one awhile ago. Don’t try it), and toilet paper should always roll over not under. Ok, those might not be huge laws but there is one law of the land that many people today live by: An eye for an eye.

Sometimes, we live in an early elementary age way of thinking. If someone was a jerk to me, I’m going to be a jerk to them. The difference is, we become more malicious as adults. We hold grudges, we talk behind someone’s back or even belittle someone’s value as an individual. If you are wanting to be someone who is follows the teachings of Jesus, we have to begin to look at our enemies in a different way.

Paul writes in Romans, “If possibly, to the best of your ability, live at peace with all people. Don’t try to get revenge for yourselves… Don’t be defeated by evil, but defeat evil with good.” (Romans 12:18-19, 21)

Jesus calls people to a life of loving revenge. These two word might not seem like they should go together, but they can. Paul paints a beautiful picture of loving revenge. “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him a drink.” (Romans 12:20).

When someone mistreats us, Jesus calls us to seek out an act of loving revenge. May we love those who hate us. May we pray for those who persecute us. May we not be defeated by evil but defeat evil with good. 

Our Father in heaven,

hallowed be your name,

your kingdom come,

your will be done,

on earth as in heaven.

Give us today our daily bread.

Forgive us our sins

as we forgive those

who sin against us.

Save us from the time of trial,

and deliver us from evil.

For the kingdom, the power,

and the glory are yours,

now and forever.

Amen.

30 Days With Wesley – Day 12: What Hurts You Should Be Wrong To Me

stumbling-block(Optional Reading: Romans 14:1-21)

Freedom in Jesus is not to be taken lightly or treated with disrespect. Paul writes about freedom in chapter 14 of Romans. Specifically, Paul is writing about the freedom to eat anything. Christians were not limited to eating only vegetables or only certain meats. Jesus came and fulfilled the law of Moses and, in a way, freed Christians from a strict diet dictating law. This freedom must not be taken lightly though.

Paul continued in chapter 14 to lay out a law of love. This love is a love from Christ. Verse 7 and 8 states, “We don’t live for ourselves and we don’t die for ourselves. If we live, we live for the Lord, and if we die, we die for the Lord” (CEB). Our lives are God’s and we need to be living a life of love to those around us, as Jesus did.

This is where freedom comes into play. Paul says not to fight over what food is right or wrong for someone to eat. Rather love someone by not causing conflict or creating stumbling blocks for them. Paul writes, 

So stop judging each other. Instead, this is what you should decide: never put a stumbling block or obstacle in the way of your brother or sister… If your brother or sister is upset by your food, you are no longer walking in love. Don’t let your food destroy someone for whom Christ died. And don’t let something you consider to be good be criticized as wrong. God’s kingdom isn’t about eating food and drinking but about righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit.” (vs 13, 15-17 CEB)

Simply put, if it hurts someone, it should be wrong for us. If you know that your brother or sister in Jesus struggles with drinking alcohol and is trying to quick, we should not let our freedom in Jesus say… “Sorry but I am going to drink anyway.” When we respond this way, Paul says we are no longer living in love. It can be anything. If you friend is trying to give up smoking… sugar… video games… swearing… etc, you should lift them up and not create ways for them to stumble. 

As Jesus followers, we must live a life of love that is willing to sacrifice our freedom for the sake of others growing closer to Jesus. When we make this sacrifice, we find that we are truly becoming Christ-like in our love. 

Our Father in heaven,

hallowed be your name,

your kingdom come,

your will be done,

on earth as in heaven.

Give us today our daily bread.

Forgive us our sins

as we forgive those

who sin against us.

Save us from the time of trial,

and deliver us from evil.

For the kingdom, the power,

and the glory are yours,

now and forever.

Amen.

30 Days With Wesley – Day 10: Child of Light

hALOGEN(Optional Reading: 1 Thessalonians 5:2-6)

In 1 Thessalonians, Paul describes the church as “children of light.” He goes on to explain how we have come out of the darkness (sin) and dwell in the light of Christ. As Christians, we need to ask ourselves, are we living as Christ’s children of light?

Many years ago, I took my youth group to a youth conference. During one of the messages, the speaker spoke about temptations and our struggle with sin. The key point was the same as the word plastered many times on his shirt. FLEEEEEE! As I was reading this passage in 1 Thessalonians this morning, the image of this speaker’s shirt and him yelling the word “FLEE” kept coming to my mind. 

As children of the light, do we sometimes spend too much time on the outskirts of the light? Do we look into the darkness wondering, “What if I just let my toes be in the darkness, but the rest of me will be in the light?” Instead, shouldn’t we turn to the sources of our light and seek to be fully immersed in Christ’s light?

Jesus calls us to a life of holy living. A life that seeks to be centered in the light and a life that FLEES all temptations of darkness. This is a choice we must make every day and at every moment of our lives.

God help us to live in the light. May you continue to transform and purify us and let us become ambassadors of your light into this world.

Our Father in heaven,

hallowed be your name,

your kingdom come,

your will be done,

on earth as in heaven.

Give us today our daily bread.

Forgive us our sins

as we forgive those

who sin against us.

Save us from the time of trial,

and deliver us from evil.

For the kingdom, the power,

and the glory are yours,

now and forever.

Amen.

30 Days With Wesley – Day 7: The Journey That Counts

path-of-recognition(Optional Reading: 2 Peter 1:10-11)

Have you ever heard the phrase, “It’s not the destination that matter. It’s how you get there that counts.” Christian living is a journey. It is a process that we go through of becoming purified and made new in Jesus. For me, I do not like when Heaven is used as a reason to become a Christian. People say things like, “Well you don’t want to go to hell… so you should be a Christian so you can go to heaven.” This is still true but I think we get caught up on the destination and sometimes forget to focus on the journey.

2 Peter 1:3-11 states: 

“By his divine power the Lord has given us everything we need for life and godliness through the knowledge of the one who called us by his own honor and glory. Through his honor and glory he has given us his precious and wonderful promises, that you may share the divine nature and escape from the world’s immorality that sinful craving produces.

 This is why you must make every effort to add moral excellence to your faith; and to moral excellence, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, endurance; and to endurance, godliness; and to godliness, affection for others; and to affection for others, love. If all these are yours and they are growing in you, they’ll keep you from becoming inactive and unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. Whoever lacks these things is shortsighted and blind, forgetting that they were cleansed from their past sins.

 Therefore, brothers and sisters, be eager to confirm your call and election. Do this and you will never ever be lost. In this way you will receive a rich welcome into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and savior Jesus Christ”

Christianity is about becoming like Jesus in our lives. It is about living out the Lord’s prayer. The journey of Christian living is about God transforming our lives into a new creations so that we bring God’s Kingdom to earth in our daily interactions with people around us. Christianity is not about getting our golden ticket into heaven and then sitting on our hands and waiting until we die. That doesn’t sound like a very fulfilled life (John 10:10).

As a Christian, heaven is our final destination. But I believe we need to live a life where heaven is the reward for the Jesus shaped life that we live here on earth. Heaven is not a goal, heaven is a reward. So, lets live to bring God’s Kingdom today.

 

Our Father in heaven,

hallowed be your name,

your kingdom come,

your will be done,

on earth as in heaven.

Give us today our daily bread.

Forgive us our sins

as we forgive those

who sin against us.

Save us from the time of trial,

and deliver us from evil.

For the kingdom, the power,

and the glory are yours,

now and forever.

Amen.