The Power of Forgiveness

The Power of Forgiveness

Today, let us reflect on the profound beauty of forgiveness. In our journey as Christians, forgiveness stands as one of the cornerstone teachings of our faith. It’s a theme woven throughout the scriptures, a central message echoing from the lips of our Savior, Jesus Christ.

In Matthew 6:14-15, Jesus teaches us, “For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” These words are not merely a suggestion but a powerful mandate for us to embrace forgiveness in our lives.

Yet, we acknowledge that forgiveness can be one of the most challenging acts we undertake. When we’ve been wronged, hurt, or betrayed, extending forgiveness can feel like an impossible task. But herein lies the transformative power of our faith.

As we look to the life of Jesus, we see the ultimate example of forgiveness. From the cross, in the midst of unimaginable suffering, Jesus uttered the words, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34). In this moment, Jesus not only forgave those who crucified Him but also extended forgiveness to all humanity, past, present, and future.

Through forgiveness, we experience liberation – liberation from the burden of bitterness, resentment, and anger that weigh heavy on our hearts. It doesn’t mean that the pain magically disappears, but it means that we refuse to let that pain define us or dictate our actions. Forgiveness allows us to break free from the chains of hurt and step into the abundant life that Christ promised us.

Moreover, forgiveness is not just a gift we offer to others but also a gift we receive from our Heavenly Father. As we extend forgiveness to those who have wronged us, we open ourselves to receive the boundless grace and mercy of God. It is through forgiveness that we experience the transformative power of God’s love working within us, healing our wounds and restoring our souls.

So today, let us embrace the radical act of forgiveness. Let us choose to release the grip of unforgiveness and extend grace to those who have hurt us. In doing so, we not only reflect the love of Christ but also participate in the profound miracle of redemption. May our hearts be filled with the peace that surpasses all understanding as we walk in the footsteps of our Savior, forgiving as we have been forgiven.

Let us pray:

Heavenly Father, we thank you for the gift of forgiveness. Help us to extend grace to those who have wronged us, just as you have extended grace to us. Fill our hearts with your love and compassion, that we may be agents of reconciliation in a broken world. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.

May the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Amen.

Oh, how He loves us!

Oh, how He loves us!

Written By:  Amanda O’Reilly who attends Oasis Church of the New River Valley and sings with Reverb Worship.  Find more of here writing here: www.musingmojo.wordpress.com or  follow her here: www.facebook.com/aoreilly2

He is jealous?  For ME?

Think about that for a minute.  Really think about how THE Creator of the universe, the Father of our salvation, the very same God who spent time with Adam and Eve, the same God who sent HIS son to die for us… He’s jealous for you!

Wow.

So often, we sing songs about how big His love is for us, how much He cares, how much He wants us to go into deeper waters to trust Him.  Question…  Do we ever really THINK about those words?  Bigger question…  Do we BELIEVE those words?

Give some honest thought to that.

Our day to day lives are filled with SO MUCH stress, so much tugging and pulling to do everything and be everything to everyone.  We get weighed down with anxiety and stress and all that junk really starts to cloud our minds.  Maybe it’s just me?

Anyway…

I recently was BLESSED to take my Emmaus journey.  What a blessing!  To be able to take three days to be with like-minded folks focused on our amazing, great big God was absolutely everything my heart needed.  It was all I had hoped it would be… a beautiful time where I was able to refocus on Him and his amazing and unconditional love for us.

I’ll begin with this…

So, God has blessed me with really letting me hear Him through music.  Those lyrics that we sing really allow me to hear Him and to be in His throne room with him as if He is speaking directly to ME.

We sang several songs throughout our journey to Emmaus of course.  It was amazing being able to worship with my sisters (and a few brothers!) together.  Several songs stood out, one being – as you may have guessed it… Crowder’s “How He Loves”.

I’ve sung that song I don’t know how many times.  This was different.  I was really trying to hear Him speak to me.  I was yearning for it.  “God, PLEASE.  I’m here.  I want to feel Your presence.  I want to SEE Your face.  Speak to ME.”

That first night, I spent quite a bit in silent meditation and prayer.  At several points, I just spoke those words above over and over – again, meditating on words from this song and others.  You see, prior to Emmaus – life was stressful.  (Well, hello there understatement!)  It’d been a crazy year of transition after transition.  So, Emmaus was SO needed.  It’s so true how things happen in HIS timing, right?  I was “supposed” to go a year or so prior – but “somehow”… it didn’t work out.  This time, I was able to build a relationship with a different sponsor and met some Jesus-lovin’ folks that I wouldn’t have gotten to meet otherwise (shoutout to my “Mama” here!).

I started thinking about all the junk that had transpired, not just the past year – but much longer than that… how He was always there.  He was there when I felt like no one was.  He was there, fighting for me, crying with me during hard times, yearning for me to lean on Him.  Sometimes I did, other times, in my own pride… I tried to do it myself.  He was still oh so faithful and never left me.  He never forgot about me.  He was there, with open arms.  He may have been thinking “I told you so.”, but He never made me feel less than.

Agape.

He loves us SO big.  SO unconditionally.  He loves us in such a way that NOTHING we do, NOTHING can change how He feels about us.  It’s a sacrificial, unconditional form of love that truly beats all odds.  Wow.  The same God who created the Heavens and Earth loves me like that?  Really?

Can I be honest here?  So many times, I feel unworthy.  Those stinkin’ happenings in life REALLY get to me.  I mean, they may or may not be getting to me as we speak.  But ya’ know… God has MY back!  Life can really make us feel like we are nothing.  Stress with kids?  Job?  Family?  Feeling friendless?  Finances?  Marriage?  Maybe it’s all of the above.  For many people, it is.  I’m currently feeling a few of the above.

We can’t let the enemy win our hearts by allowing him to invade our thoughts.

Man, it sounds simple – but it can be easier said than done!  So, what do you do?  For me, I go to those songs.  Those lyrics that are scripturally sound (something that is very important to me) and that align with my beliefs really help me get through those thoughts of unworthiness.  Here lately, it’s been “He is jealous for me…”

No matter how low, how down, how alone, how useless, how whatever I feel… I remember that He loves me as I am and He loves me FIERCE!  He has my back!  That same God who’s done such great and mighty things goes before me in battle and he will never leave me.  I can rest assured that I am not alone, because He lives in my heart!

Friends, I beg of you… know that YOU ARE LOVED.  I mean it.  No matter your mistakes… You’re loved.  God thinks you are PRECIOUS.  You were made in His image… you’re beautiful and valued and cherished beyond belief.  When you feel any amount of “less than”… know that you’re worth more than all the treasures of this earth.

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Surviving Difficult Times

Surviving Difficult Times

From Devotional Reading Plans through The Bible App:  Chasing The Light by Dave Adamson
for more devotional reading plans, visit www.bible.com and sign up for a reading plan of your choice.

This is an acacia tree in the desert of Israel. This tree has been designed by God to survive decades of intense heat and drought. It can survive tough circumstances because it has a deep root system to sustain it during the hardest of times. Even during a time of drought, this tree is still able to bless local residents by providing shade during the day and wood for fire at night.

This is the tree the prophet Jeremiah had in mind when he wrote, “Blessed is the one who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream” (Jeremiah 17:7-8, NIV). God has specifically designed the acacia to survive difficult times, and He has designed you to be like the acacia—to survive the harshest of circumstances and bless others through hard times. But this only happens when the foundations of your faith are deep.

Are you going through a tough time today? Are you in the middle of a drought? I believe God wants you to develop deep-rooted trust and faith in Him—not just to survive your own circumstances, but to also bless others around you with your confidence in God.