MIRACLE GROW

December 10, 2018

Miracle Grow

Maturity is a relative term rather than an absolute one. In fact, maturity is a process rather than a fixed condition.

A certain degree of emotional maturity is possible even for unbelievers, since the sin nature has areas of strength as well as areas of weakness. You may know some non-Christians who are quite unselfish in certain areas of their lives, as with their spouses, their children, their relatives, or their in-laws. They may be extremely gracious and kind toward neighbors, business associates, or people in the community. They may show great compassion toward the needy and underprivileged. But when you get to know them well, you will usually find that they also have glaring areas of immaturity and selfishness.

When a person accepts Jesus Christ as his personal Savior, another factor is introduced into his life. In addition to his sinful ego, with its strengths and weaknesses, the Lord Jesus Christ indwells him in the Person of His Holy Spirit. A person’s entire disposition now depends upon whether self or the Spirit is in control. Since the Holy Spirit is the only Person who can keep every expression of self in control, our relationship with Him becomes the single most important factor in our progressive development. We refer to this development as spiritual maturity rather than merely as emotional maturity. The two are similar, except that while emotional maturity relates primarily to the development of our human personality, spiritual maturity also recognizes the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives and relates to our growing relationship with Him.

We have learned that a Christian is either spiritual or carnal to the degree that the Holy Spirit or his own sinful flesh controls his life. It is interesting to note that the Apostle Paul compares carnality to babyhood. He wrote to the Corinthians “as unto carnal, even as unto babes.” The reason some Christians act immaturely is because their fleshly natures are in control of their lives. In other words, they are carnal. Since there is a parallel between carnality and immaturity, we can assume that there is also a parallel between spirituality and maturity. The spiritual Christian shows evidence of growing up, of spiritual adulthood.

Even a new believer can be relatively mature. We sometimes refer to a very young child as being mature for his age. We mean that he is showing unusual evidences of development. Maturity involves growth, and we are to continue growing spiritually throughout our Christian lifetime. There is no such thing as sinless perfection in this life—simply continuing growth.

Spiritual growth takes place only as the Holy Spirit controls our lives. As we submit to Him, He takes charge of more and more specific areas of our lives; we thus become increasingly capable of building a happy marital relationship. Let us examine several specific characteristics of maturity.

(1) A mature person accepts himself as God made him. He feels neither inferior over his shortcomings nor egotistical about his strengths. He knows that his body, his brains, and his abilities were given to him by God for God’s own purposes. He is therefore neither inflated with pride over his successes nor unduly discouraged by his failures. A serious inferiority complex can produce tremendous tension in a marriage. A person who demands constant reassurance to bolster his sagging ego can drive his spouse to distraction. Likewise, a haughtier-than-thou egotist who constantly belittles his mate to enhance himself can produce the same tragic effect. Both reactions are childish, but God will help a person overcome them if he willingly depends on the indwelling Spirit. When a Christian learns to accept himself humbly for what he is as God made him, he will soon learn to accept others as they are too, and that will constitute a giant step toward establishing a happy home.

(2) A mature person profits by his mistakes and by the suggestions of others. Immature people try to find excuses for their failures. They blame them on other people or on God. When they are criticized, they take it as a personal affront, striking back with an angry defense like, “Well, you’re not so great, either!” Emotional babies are more concerned about protecting their own egos than in growing. On the other hand, a mature person graciously accepts criticism, honestly evaluating his life in the light of God’s Word and depending on the Holy Spirit to bring about the desired changes. He sees suggestions from other people as a part of God’s plan for bringing him to maturity.

Such an attitude will help relieve another area of tension in marriage. Instead of reacting to some suggestion with, “You never appreciate anything I do,” the mature person will say something like, “Thank you for your suggestion, dear. With the Lord’s help, I’ll try to improve that.” Of course, the mature person will also be careful how he makes suggestions. He will wait for the proper time, maintain an attitude of love and appreciation, and accompany his suggestion with words of commendation and encouragement.

(3) A mature person adjusts to things he cannot change. One of the most practical prayers ever uttered was, “Lord, give me strength to change what can be changed, grace to accept what cannot be changed, and wisdom to know the difference!” It is an unhappy fact that while most married couples love each other, many marriage partners simply cannot stand the little idiosyncrasies which they see in their spouses; they thus continually try to change their mates. Those irritating habits seem to send them into orbit, and as they allow the faults to prey on their minds they soon lose sight of the fine qualities that attracted them in the first place. The result is a deepening bitterness that destroys not only their marriages but their own personal lives as well. This is both childish and sinful. The fruit of the Spirit is longsuffering; that is, a willingness to bear patiently with the provoking traits in others. The Holy Spirit will produce that grace in us if we will let Him.

Some people who cannot accept reality flee to the unreal world of wishes and imagination. When the cold fact dawns on them that the person they married is not the matinee idol they created in their minds, they withdraw sullenly into a world of dreams, thereby crushing all hopes of improving the relationship. Mature Christians, on the other hand, find their deepest satisfaction in the Lord. They are thus able to accept the real world and the people in it as part of God’s plan for helping them grow.

(4) A mature person accepts unpleasantness, disappointment, or distress with calmness and stability. He recognizes that his life is in God’s hands—that everything God allows is purposeful and good. The mature person therefore maintains his self-control when things do not go his way. There is calmness and control when a husband brings home news of a transfer to some far-off city or when a wife calls the office to say she ran into the rear of another car!

Sometimes the tiniest things irritate us and cause us to act selfishly and immaturely. One survey showed that the most common complaint of husbands and wives against each other is an irritable disposition. We let trivial things “get to us” and upset us; then we react either by losing our tempers or by clamming up and pouting. In the course of my marriage counseling I have heard some fantastic accounts of immature behavior among professing Christians, such as husbands who threw objects around the house or others who hit their wives and shoved them around. I learned of one man who lay on the floor and kicked and screamed like a baby, and of another who put his fist through the wall in an angry rage over something his wife had done! If our lives are ever to glorify God, we need to grow up by allowing the Holy Spirit to take control of our lives. He will then display through us His fruit of self-control.

Though the preceding examples mentioned only husbands, the wives are by no means guiltless. I have listened to husbands describe kicking and screaming wives or, more commonly, moody and unpredictable mates. There is nothing more discouraging for a husband than to come home after a taxing day at work to find his wife stewing and churning about some petty aggravation which poisons the family atmosphere throughout the entire evening. Solomon must have had this experience. “A dry crust eaten in peace is better than steak every day along with argument and strife.” “Better to live in the desert than with a quarrelsome, complaining woman.” “A nagging wife annoys like constant dripping.” The continuous dripping of water was a form of oriental torture—not a very flattering simile! Irritability becomes a way of life, a habit pattern. We need to yield to the Holy Spirit and grow up.

(5) A mature person accepts and fulfills his responsibilities. Maturity involves dependability. Unfinished jobs, broken promises, and unfulfilled good intentions are examples of undependability. An immature person cannot happily perform the tasks for which he is responsible. He grumbles and complains, finding no satisfaction or enjoyment in a job well done. Housewives grumble because life is dull and routine. Working mothers long to be full-time homemakers. Men hop from job to job in quick, haphazard decisions that fail to include their wives. Some men overlook the common courtesy of phoning their wives when they cannot come home at the expected time. The fruit of the Spirit is faith, a word meaning “faithfulness” or “dependability.” We need to yield to the Spirit and grow up to faithfulness!

(6) A mature person finds his greatest satisfaction in making others happy. We will never find happiness by simply looking for it. The more we look, the more frustrated and disappointed we become. Selfishly seeking our own enjoyment yields nothing but unhappiness. Unselfishly living for the good of others brings rich returns, a lesson which most marriage partners still need to learn. When we trust the Spirit of God to make us so unselfish that we live solely for the happiness of our mates, asking for no favors in return, the enjoyment we receive will be unbelievably abundant. Every time you trigger a conflict in your marriage relationship, ask yourself, “Now why did I do that?” You’ll probably have to admit that you did it for your own enjoyment or convenience. Apologize and redirect your words or acts for the good of your mate. Do not even imply that your mate should do the same. Before long you may discover that your mate is responding with a new consideration too!

Now this costs something. In fact, it costs everything. But mature people are willing to give everything, then patiently wait for the Lord to work. It is only babies and children who demand what they want when they want it. They live for the here and now, insisting on their own way in every situation. Mature people often forego immediate personal pleasures so they can bring ultimate enjoyment to others. Paradoxically, this is what brings genuine happiness to the giver, too!

This vital lesson takes time to learn. We all feel we have a right to indulge our selfishnesses occasionally. We’ve been doing it for years, so why change now! But the more frequently we respond to situations in the control of the Holy Spirit, the easier the practice will become and the more quickly we will mature. “When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things.”

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Remember Rita K in your prayers, thyroid cancer.

Remember Dave I, he’s decided its time to stop the cancer treatments and live life on his schedule, not the doctors.

Pray for Robin M, a child of the 60’s that has never grown up, pray she sees her need for a Savior.

Karey P, salvation

Andrea and Todd, good Christian couple, he needs to find better work.

WHERE DO I FIT?

December 9, 2018

Chess_board_opening_staunton

Where do I belong? What am I to do? How can I change the world? God has a plan for your life. You may think you have no talent, nothing God could use, but He made us all unique and we can be used in ways that we would never imagine.

 We tend to think of these as modern questions, but people have been asking them since the beginning of time. In earlier ages, though, the answers were often limited and easier to discover. For example, the 12 tribes of Israel were arranged in a way that allowed everyone in the community to know their place and how they would faithfully follow the commands of the Lord (see Nu 2:34).

  The people of Israel were a community that had their essential meaning in relationship to God and to one another. But ever in the community was the continuing stress on the individual to know where he belonged in the larger grouping.

  We, too, find our essential meaning in relationship to God and to one another. Here are a few places we should look to help us discover how we as individuals can find our place to serve our communities:

  ➤ Look at your gifts—The first place we should look is to the specific gifts the Spirit gives us to build up the church. Every gift is important for building up the body of Christ. As Paul says, “There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord” (1Co 12:4–5).

 ➤ Look at your resources—What resources do you have at your disposal? The resources we have can often be a clue to how we can serve. You might have transportation—whether a single bicycle or a fleet of semi-trailer trucks—that helps you recognize the ability to deliver goods to those in need.

 ➤ Look at your context—The tribe of Simeon didn’t have to go to the tribe of Asher to find neighbors to serve. Every community has people who need our help. God might lead us to help those far away, but he often puts us in a specific place so we can help those nearby. Our closest neighbors are often the ones we are called to serve.

God bless from scumlikuschurch@gmail.com

So our prayer for today is to be open to God using you, sending you, who knows what wonderful thing could happen next.

THE SATISFIED HEART

December 7, 2018

shout

“If (since) ye, then, be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above” (Col. 3:1).

  Our Father may cripple our earthly standing in order to strengthen our spiritual state, but He will never detract from our spiritual state in order to enhance our worldly standing. Never. “The world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world” (Gal. 6:14). (Understanding Suffering by GW, 1978)

It is not only that the Lord Jesus is the object of my heart, but I find that the One I love has made me the object of His heart! A great day for the soul. People are ready to say how they love Him, but how far can they say that they are conscious of His love for them; that they so prize it, that it is the greatest secret of their heart?

When the Lord Jesus’ love is before you, you find this love is drawing you from darkness to light. He begins by showing His desire for your spiritual advancement, and not by advancing you in earthly position. It is beautiful to see that the work of true love is to set aside darkness, or whatever would interfere with our association with Him.

And now the name it and claim it group teach because we are looking for something on earth, therefore this group today tends to judge of His love by earthly gifts and favors down here. (I really shouldn’t say ‘now’ it’s really not that modern anymore, that these false prophets of richness and wealth and health still manage to blind the masses with claims that all can be theirs. (someone needs to look up Napoleon Hills’ work, to get a good idea of positive confession age, or even Norman Vincent Peale, ok, i’m showing my age).

Most growing believers rightly maintain that all must come from the Lord; but instead of taking their actual position of being dwellers in heaven, and coming from there to earth, they only look up to heaven for help as to their walk on earth; and their thoughts and labors are always influenced and dictated by the state and order of things on earth, and instead of seeking the mind of the Lord as learned in heaven, they are occupied with the blessings of man on earth.

  “Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God “ (Col. 3:2, 3).

Joel Osteen and his ilk probably have cut this verse of the bible out of their version.  You may never see riches, nor have health, no fame, no adoration. But you are rich in the secret places with God. The treasure of a blessed heart, a peaceful soul, and satisfaction.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Pray for Laurie M, next week, Monday, knee surgery

Pray for Richard Perales, SR and JR. the mom continues to be shocked (in a good way) the changes in their lives since we have been praying for these two. )

Pray for Karey P and her husband to find the real Jesus, not the JW version.

a prayer with weight

December 6, 2018

not ashamed

If our prayers are but habit, or rote, then we have failed to pray effectively. According to Puritan pastor John Preston, “God takes our prayers not by number but by weight.”

If 90% of human communication in person to person dialogue is by physical cues, then how much is the weight of our prayers measured by our physical posture; i.e. the groaning, sighing, laying prostrate upon the floor, have you torn your garments, thrown ashes, if the God who lives inside our being is affected by posture, then why do we pray so casually?

Why would we read the prayers of others and think they are greater than our own. Is prayer better if done 5 times a day because of ritual?

Weight vs. number, heart vs. rote, maybe we’ve grown bored with praying and the lack of answers because it doesn’t really mean anything. If we are only praying because we are told that’s what Christian’s do.

Should prayer become a circus act, ‘prayer du Solei’ that’s not what I’m recommending, but maybe we should stop the steering wheel prayer, the now I lay me down to sleep, the quickie, whatever term you want to use and think about the physical act of prayer, literally.

God bless

Physical prayer requests taken at scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Good reading “the theology of the Puritans” the edited version, only 1500 pages long. Now you know how they prayed so long. One puritan author wrote over 100 books on the “love of God”

Kittle’s theological dictionary, 65 pages on the word love

Deep thinking develops deep prayers? Maybe, maybe not. But great desires do birth great prayers. I know that you will pray more if you desire to pray more. That desire is placed there by God. Like Brother’s Lawrence great book, “practicing the presence of God” the key word is practice. Guitar lessons, piano lesson, karate lessons, you get my drift, the more we practice the better we get at anything including prayer.

Pray for Marilyn A, depression

Pray for Barbara D, her slow growing cancer isn’t so slow any more.

Pray for Mona, new job. Great demands

Pray for Butch, he’s blind in one eye and is now having trouble with his good eye.

This Ground

December 4, 2018

  “Ye have died, and your life is hid with Christ in God” (Col. 3:3).

  When we rely upon and cater to the old man, that ground produces “the works of the flesh” (Gal. 5:19–21). But as we abide in the risen Lord Jesus, that new ground of our position, His life will be manifested in “the fruit of the Spirit” (Gal. 5:22, 23).

 God’s Word declares that we are ‘dead indeed unto sin,’ but nowhere does it say that we are dead in ourselves. We shall look in vain within to find death there. We have died to sin; not in ourselves, but ‘in Christ,’ and our death with Him is as sure as His death, and since we died with Him it is impossible for His death to be certain and ours uncertain.

 We were crucified with Him because we were in Him (Gal. 2:20). We are raised in Him (Eph. 2:6); we are complete in Him (Col. 2:10); we are blessed with all spiritual blessings in Him (Eph. 1:3); the entire work regarding us is not done in us but in the Lord Jesus—the Father has done all in His Son. If you stand on the ground of what the Lord Jesus is (abide), you will find in your growth that all that is true of Him is becoming true of you; but if you remain on the ground of what you are in yourself, you will find that all that is true of the old man is true of you in life and walk.

The purpose of Paul, in Romans Six, is to show how completely the believer is identified with the Lord Jesus when ‘He died unto sin.’ To enter fully into the meaning of that death is to see that He has emancipated us from any further dealings with our old master, sin. The believer is privileged thus to take his position in the risen Lord Jesus, who is now ‘alive unto God.’ From that ground he is henceforth to regard sin.

  “Stand fast, therefore, in the liberty with which Christ hath made us free” (Gal. 5:1).

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

We have a really long prayer list today

Pray Andrea and Todd, finances

Karey P, salvation

Olivia, lyme’s disease, this can be as bad as any cancer

Richard Perales, SR and Jr. salvation

Stan R, stomach cancer

Sherrie, our prodigal girl

Paul C our prodigal guy

Mel L, Parkinson

Charmaine, alcoholism

Randy H, finances

Terry K, sever arthritis

Larry D, dementia

Sally H, burn out, emotionally, mentally, everyway

Jeff H, newly married and found out he has an STD, wife is denying anything

Virginia Mc. Wants to go home to Jesus.

Matt W, severe upper respiratory infection

Whew. Forgive me if I forgot any one.

Julian

December 1, 2018

Which calendar shapes your life?
If you’re a student (or a parent) the school calendar has a profound influence on your life. Much of your schedule will revolve around the semesters, spring and summer breaks, and other events that fill the year. Similarly, if you’re a worker your year might revolve around tax day, national holidays or fiscal-year planning.

Throughout history, people have aligned their lives around a communal schedule. For the Hebrews, the calendar centered on the appointed festivals of the Lord (see Lev 23:2), which included the Sabbath, Passover, and the Festival of Weeks, among others. (which also is calendar of all the major events of Christ’s life)

The Christian church followed a similar pattern, centering their calendar on feast days such as Epiphany and Christmas. The Gregorian calendar, the most widely used civil calendar, was even created in 1582 to make scheduling of Easter more consistent. Today, many churches follow the pattern of the Puritans, who believed following the Christian year calendar (also called the liturgical or church calendar) violated their liberty of conscience (many Puritans refused to celebrate any holidays besides the Lord’s Day).

But even if your particular tradition doesn’t follow the Christian calendar, here are two reasons you might want to observe it for your own spiritual benefit:
1. To center our focus on Jesus—Instead of having our calendar focus on national holidays or sports seasons, the Christian calendar shifts our focus to the key events in the life of Jesus.

“The Christian Year is fundamentally a way to sanctify time and define our lives according to the unfolding narrative of redemption by structuring the year around the central redemptive acts of God in the Messiah.”
2. To reorder our spiritual lives—The Christian calendar can serve as a helpful framework for our spiritual disciplines. By ordering our lives around the major seasons of the Christian year, our focus shifts from the temporal to the eternal. Spiritual formation activities, such as prayer and Bible reading, are easier to fit into a calendar that emphasizes Christ.

So there is a topic you may never thought of before in your spiritual walk.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

keep praying for Richard Perales, SR. and JR. his mom says that the changes occuring in them has been incredible.

Housekeeping note, questions, comments, prayer requests, send to our email address please.

Pray for Todd B, severe spinal degeneration.

 

Stay my soul on Him

November 30, 2018

Resurrection-Doubting-Thomas

“In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you” (1 Thess. 5:18). For the last two months, I’ve been really trying to live up to this verse, easy in theory, tougher in reality.

  Relief from pressure may seem merciful, but support in the pressure produces growth and maturity.

There is a greater blessing for us than relief; there is the Father’s support, for it imparts to you an acquaintance with Himself which relief does not. Relief makes one more satisfied with things here. I have known some who could tell you of a long list of mercies, most touching, truly proof of the tenderness of God.

Thank God, we all know something of His tenderness. But then there is a greater blessing, namely, that He does not remove the pressure, but raises you above it, so that, though you are not relieved, you are better off than if you were merely relieved, because you know His heart who supports you in the pressure. You have made a deep acquaintance with your Father, and your heart is more attached to Him.

 It is not getting away from our circumstances, our environment, our associations, that we need, but the need for our Lord Jesus’ likeness where we are. The Father placed us there, permitted the trials for a purpose, and He stands ready to bring us out into a life of liberty, if we will stand with Him in trust and endurance while He works it out.”

Have you asked to be made like your Lord; that it might be ‘not I, but Christ’? Have you longed for the fruit of the Spirit, and have you prayed for patience and love? Then fear not the stormy tempest that is at this moment sweeping through your life. A blessing is in the storm, and there will be a rich blessing in the ‘afterward.’

  “The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms” (Deut. 33:27).

Steady on, stay the course, there are plenty of slogans of that ilk, but they pale to the bible verses God lays in our heart in the darkest hour of the soul.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Pray for Richard Perales, dad and son, great changes have come into their lives, pray the see the hand of God.

Pray for Karey P, that she sees the need for salvation and that Jesus is the only way.

Pray for Xonia, recovering from a hernia surgery. She’s doing better than anyone expected.

Pray for Steve L, dealing with his mom’s downward spiral.

Pray for all the families we know that have been touched by dementia.

WHAT RINGS YOUR BELL?

November 28, 2018

growth marks

What rings your bell?

I used to do church growth seminars.

The one thing I tell pastors is don’t jump on the band wagon and do what mega church next door is doing.

Don’t imitate another pastor’s style, whether it be how he preaches or what he wears (really).

And just because the person in your church that gives the most money, that doesn’t give them any rights to dictate anything.

I had a pastor that came to me because the largest giver in church didn’t like the way he would preach a sermon. So he gave him tapes of his favorite preacher and told him to preach like that guy did.

I told him to either burn the tapes or ask the guy to leave. Good news the guy repented and became a follower not a bulldozer.

I’ve mentioned this before, but the most important part of church is the sermon, not the music leader, or singing off the wall. It’s the pastor’s prayer life.

If as a pastor, you are where you need to be in praying and bible study and faithful in your pastoral duties. It is God who determines what type of church you will have. Be satisfied with that.

I’ve conducted exit interviews for various churches and I will tell you one thing..

You can’t please everyone. So be yourself.

Second most important thing I can tell you as a pastor, don’t sacrifice your family for the church.

Well that’s my rant for today, been awhile so I feel entitled.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Pray for your pastor, before you criticize.

John-Wayne-p15

I’ve mentioned this before but want to revisit the situation. This seems to be a frequent conversation with new folks coming to church. I always ask them where their from, how did they happen to visit us. And this is the gist of the conversation.

I can walk into any bar or tavern. And say; “I’m cheating on my wife, my taxes, my boss, I’ve shot the neighbor’s cat and I just found out my mistress is HIV positive.”

And someone will come over and by me a drink. Or someone will come over and say; “I know what you’re saying.”

But have any failure in a Christian environment and well they shoot horses don’t they.

Mercy, forgiveness, reconciliation, brotherhood, fraternity, grace, support, join AA because you may not get it from church.

Doesn’t seem to happen. It’s seems the membership for church is perfect people getting saved and leading perfect lives. Don’t dare tell them your past, you’ll find yourself not asked for dinner after the Sunday service.

Yet Jesus live and visited with the worst of his day, sinners. He laughed with them, broke bread with them and invited them to know Him better.

How can we expect a body of believers to grow intimate with each other when we hide our past, keep secret our current struggles and shove out anyone that fails?

So by pretending to be perfect we become false. And the brother or sister in Christ is afraid to share their struggles and failures, because on Sunday morning everyone is lying and saying, “all is well” and “I’m just fine.”

We don’t have an actual church plan in place to help the brother or sister to restoration, just condemnation and forced out of fellowship.

There must be a balance in church, yes, the mature believers acknowledging the less mature and their failures. And the saint that falls, needs support not an exodus.

Let’s pray that we as believers are gentler, more forgiving, and willing to acknowledge we are forgiven but still fall short of perfection.

There may be a time for the rod, but we are to quick to use it.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Pray for Barbara D, her battle with cancer is taking a great toll.

Pray for Gwen that is struggling financially.

Pray for Lisa M, that she realizes people are more important than numbers

Pray for Karey, a Jehovah Witness member, she seems to realize that she is not a true believer in Christ, but is open to learning more.

I FORGIVE YOU

November 26, 2018

christ on cross

In relation to forgiving others, there are always two dimensions involved: the Godward or vertical element, and the manward or horizontal element.

In relation to God: All sin against others is first of all a sin against God because it is a transgression against the law of God to love one another. Therefore, when we sin against another human being, we must first confess the sin to God.

In relation to men: In the horizontal relationship, we have a dual set of obligations: those of the offended party (the one sinned against), and those of the offending party (the one sinning against another).

THE OFFENDING PARTY

THE OFFENDED PARTY

Vertical responsibility—Confess to God the sin against the other party

Responsibility—Forgive the offending party

Horizontal responsibility—Ask forgiveness and seek reconciliation with the person offended. This can include making restitution.

Responsibility—If necessary for unity, healing, restoration, etc., go to the offending party to seek reconciliation and restoration.

The offended party, as a forgiven person in Christ, has a two-fold obligation. First, he or she is to show the same unqualified forgiveness they received from Christ. This is the point of the parable of the unforgiving servant in Matthew 18:23-35. Second, if the offending party does nothing, then in obedience to Scripture and for the purpose of unity, restoration, and healing, the one offended should go to the offending party to correct the problem even if it means rebuke (Luke 17:3-4). If the offending party does not repent, then the offended party may need to follow the procedures of Matthew 18. This, however, never means the right to harbor resentment or anger.

If God by His grace and mercy has forgiven us such an enormous debt, one we could never pay because of our own sinfulness, how much more shouldn’t we forgive others the debts or sins against us as mere fellow-servants regardless of how much we have been hurt. What we suffer cannot compare to what Christ suffered for us. But forgiving others is never to be viewed as a work by which we seek forgiveness for our own sins because our debt is too great for any of us to pay by what we do.

On the part of the offending party the obligation is also twofold: First, to deal with the wrong done by repentance or confession before God. This reestablishes the vertical relationship. Then go to the offended party and correct the problem by asking their forgiveness and by doing the right thing as called for by the circumstances. Compare the following passages on forgiveness: (Cf. also 18:21-35; Luke 17:3-4; and 1 Peter 3:7.

Ephesians 4:31-32 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. 32 And be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.

Matthew 5:23-26 “If therefore you are presenting your offering at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your offering there before the altar, and go your way; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering. 25 “Make friends quickly with your opponent at law while you are with him on the way, in order that your opponent may not deliver you to the judge, and the judge to the officer, and you be thrown into prison. 26 “Truly I say to you, you shall not come out of there, until you have paid up the last cent.

Matthew 6:14-15 “For if you forgive men for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 “But if you do not forgive men, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions.

Principles to keep in mind:

  • Failure to forgive demonstrates our unwillingness to treat others on the same basis of grace that God has treated us. We must be willing to extend forgiveness as freely to others as God has freely extended it to us (Matt. 18:21-35; Eph 4:32).

  • Failure to forgive others stems from our failure to turn the matter over to the Lord and trust in His sovereign purposes and control. The Lord who rested totally in the Father’s love and plan is our perfect example in this (1 Pet. 2:21-25).

  • Failure to forgive others keeps the Lord from forgiving us, not because our act of unforgiveness becomes the basis for our own forgiveness, but because unforgiveness, like any known sin, stands as a barrier to fellowship. The basis for our forgiveness is always the cross and Christ’s presence before the Father as our advocate (1 John 1:9-2:2). It is important for us to understand, however, that failure to forgive others is not only sin, but a sin which is a contradiction to the heart of the gospel message (cf. Matt. 5:23-24; 1 Pet. 3:7; Ps. 66:18).

  • Failure of people to forgive one another results in a sick church—one without the power and blessing of God on it’s ministry and life.

Forgiveness is paramount in order to keep bitterness at root in your heart.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Remember Olivia in your prayers, that she carries to full term and her health is ok, pray that the medication she takes will not have any side effects.

Pray for Richard Perales, to find the Lord.

Pray for Paul K, help him to deal with his mom’s declining health.