What If There’s No Apology?

Daily Devotional: Day 33

“And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit. And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep” (Acts 7:59-60, KJV).

Forgiveness is empowering. It’s liberating. And it’s refreshing. We are where we are because of the Father’s love and forgiveness. Without forgiveness, there’s little difference between us and the rest of the world. Moreover, our ability to offer forgiveness is a key indicator of the depth of our relationship with Jesus. Today’s Scripture passage will help us to address an important question about forgiveness: What if someone wrongs me and will not apologize? Must I still forgive? If Jesus is your model, then the answer is, “yes.” Apology or no apology, you forgive from your heart, and better still, you pray for the offender. When you do this, you’re identifying with Jesus, as every Christian should. And each time you align your life with that of Jesus, you reinforce your Christ-like identity and you rise to new heights of victory over evil. This delights your Father in heaven!

Contrary to what the world would have us believe, forgiveness doesn’t make you weak. In fact, forgiving others – whether they apologize or not – is a sign of strength. You should feel happy about it. Don’t let the Devil use shaming tactics to make you feel that you’re weak for letting forgiveness prevail. Take a look at the Bible passage for today. It’s about Stephen, the first Christian to be put to death for his faith. With the consent of Saul (Paul), Stephen was stoned to death for defending the Gospel of Christ. Stephen prayed that Jesus would forgive the sin of his killers. That takes supernatural strength. Stephen’s focus was on Christ all the time (See Acts 7: 55-56). You see, when your focus is on Jesus, there’s nothing you can’t forgive. Moreover, you wouldn’t need an apology in order to forgive from your heart. Jesus is the key to everything. When you take your eyes off Jesus, the Christian life would seem impossible; but the truth is, with Christ you can do all things. Whether people apologize or not, forgive them from your heart and pray that God would have mercy on them. You can do this, not because of your own strength, but because your Father’s merciful spirit is at work in you. (Visit Charis Temple’s church website for more inspiring Bible based messages).

Pray:

Daddy, thank you for your kindness toward me. I bless you for your mercies. I am who I am today because of your love. Thank you for pouring your love into my heart and for washing my sins away. Enable me to extend mercy unconditionally. In the Name of Jesus. Amen. (Enjoy this song by Crystal Yates, Micah Tyler, and Joshua Sherman).

For further study: Luke 6:35-37

Pastor Steve

Website: http://www.charistemple.com

 

 

490 and Counting

Daily Devotional: Day 32

“Then Peter came to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven” (Matthew 18:21-22, KJV).

Let’s do the Math: 70*7 = 490. This is the number of times Jesus wants us to forgive the person who sins against us. In the preceding verses (Matthew 18: 15-20), Jesus had been teaching about how to deal with a brother who offends us. The context suggests that Peter’s question in verse 21 was a follow up to that teaching. For Peter, 7 seemed to be the maximum number of times one needed to forgive. He was probably hoping that Jesus would agree with him. But Jesus had a different number in mind: 490. Here we see the difference between man’s standard of forgiveness and God’s standard of forgiveness. It’s unlikely that anyone would sin against you 490 times. However, hypothetically, if someone did sin against you 490 times, you wouldn’t know about this number unless you were keeping a score. It’s much easier to keep a score up to the 7th time. But 490 is a different story. If you went through the trouble of counting someone’s sins up to the 490th time, it’s probably a sign that you have a lot of free time. Again, that is nearly impracticable. So, what’s Jesus telling us?

 Jesus wants us to understand that forgiveness isn’t about a number. Forgiveness is about love. And you can’t count love; you can only live it. When you start counting forgiveness or wrongdoing, you’re not walking in love. Forgiveness isn’t accounting; it’s a way of life. Jesus has loved us radically, and he wants us to love others the same way (See John 15:9). He has forgiven us radically; and he wants us to forgive others radically as well. Radical love keeps no score of wrong. The Father himself loves us so much that he does not count our sins (See Romans 4:6-8). If you truly know what Jesus has done for you, forgiving others wouldn’t be a burden. Today, let go anything you’re holding against someone. Set yourself free from that person by forgiving him or her. You can do all things through the Lord who strengthens you.

Pray:

Daddy, I thank you for forgiving me all my sins through the blood of Jesus. Thank you for teaching me to be like you. Thank you for teaching me not to count others’ sins, but to forgive and let go. With you on my side, I can wholeheartedly forgive all who offend me. Glory to you, in the Name of Jesus. Amen.

For further study: Hebrews 10:1-18

Bet on God

Daily Devotional: Day 26

And David said unto Gad, I am in a great strait: let me fall now into the hand of the LORD; for very great are his mercies: but let me not fall into the hand of man” (1 Chronicles 21:13, KJV).

One day, possibly out of presumption, King David ordered that the Israelites be numbered. This move, the Bible says, was provoked by Satan. God responded in anger and determined to punish the King. David, therefore, had to choose from one of three punishment options. Option A: Three years of famine. Option B: Three months destruction by David’s enemies. Option C: Three days of pestilence over the land. Classic case of “Pick your poison.” Which of these options would you choose if you were in David’s shoes? Today’s Bible verse tells us that David chose option C. What is significant isn’t David’s choice per se, because each of the options came with a heavy price. The highlight of David’s choice is his reason for choosing option C. Given the choice between falling into the hands of man versus falling into the hands of God, David chose the latter. Essentially, David said that he would rather suffer at the hands of God than suffer at the hands of men. And his reason was that very great are the Lord’s mercies. In other words, in David’s opinion, God – even in his anger – is exceedingly more merciful than any man. David was right about God. In the middle of the pestilence, the Bible says that God repented and terminated the punishment. This incident has valuable lessons for our relationship with the Father.

Your opinion of God is very important. Don’t take it lightly. Who you think God is, has consequences for your life. No matter how bad your situation is, be sure to bet on God’s great mercies. Man will only take you so far. Even your most trusted friends can abandon you when you’re down. God is delighted when you think good thoughts about him. He loves it when you think of him as very great in mercies. At a difficult time in his life, David magnified the mercies of the Lord over his failures. Would you bet your life on the mercies of your Father? Make it a habit to speak, imagine and expect that the mercies of your Father shall prevail over every misfortune in your life. 

Confess:

 Morning by morning, my Father’s mercies are new upon me. It’s my privilege to sing of his faithfulness now and for all eternity. No matter what happens, there’s one thing I know: my Father’s goodness and mercies shall follow me all the days of my life. In the Name of Jesus. Amen.

For further study: Psalm 118:1-29

In his mercies,

Pastor Steve