Saturday, February 27, 2016

Pleasing God Series - Quit Cursing


Some of the greatest mountains we face are mountains in our mind. As well, some of our greatest challenges are of our own making. And, what we believe and say about ourselves and our situations makes all the difference. For this reason it is vital that we guard our hearts with all diligence, (Proverbs 4:23), our lives depend on it!

This morning I would like to encourage you to quit cursing. It pleases God when we stop cursing ourselves and others. Let me begin by reading:

Romans 12
1  I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.
2  And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and
acceptable and perfect will of God.

Thoughts produce words – better said – Words come from thoughts. We may not be able to fully harness our words unless we can first control our thoughts. Jesus said it this way:

Luke 6:45  "A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.

James 3: 2  For we all stumble in many things. If anyone does not stumble in word, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle the whole body.

We should all strive to be perfect and to exercise a reasonable amount of self control. In fact, self control is a greater asset than one might realize. Self control, it turns out, might just be a byproduct of filling our mind with the right stuff!

At any rate, people end up saying what they think – maybe not to everyone but certainly to themselves and eventually to someone else.

Problem is, when we think in terms of curses, we tend to curse.

Romans 12:14  Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 

Oh yes, curses are real! God would not have given us instructions to not curse others unless He believed our cursing actually had power to harm others.

Numbers 22 tells the story of Balaam who was a prophet during the time of Moses. God gave strict instructions to Balaam to not curse the Israelites. In fact, an angel of the Lord stood ready to kill the prophet because he did not want any curse words coming from the prophet spoken against the children of Israel. Evidently curse words hurt … even when we speak them about ourselves!

Proverbs 4
20  A man’s stomach shall be satisfied from the fruit of his mouth, From the produce of his lips he shall be filled.
21  Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it will eat its fruit.

Numbers 14:28  "Say to them, ’As I live,’ says the LORD, ’just as you have spoken in My hearing, so I will do to you:

It’s not only what we say about ourselves but also what others may be saying about us. As well … what we say about others it also important!

Isaiah 57:17  No weapon formed against you shall prosper, And every tongue which rises against you in judgment You shall condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, And their righteousness is from Me," Says the LORD.

Remember – It will please God if you will just quit cursing! How can you do this? Fill your mind with the good Word of God! Think on the best you can imagine God can do. Renew your mind and renew your life!

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Pleasing God Series – Exit Please!

Pleasing God
        Series – Exit Please!

Have you ever been addicted to something you wanted but knew you shouldn’t have? Addicts come in all shapes and sizes, colors and kinds, and ages and stages of life. It’s not easy to admit that you struggle with something and that sometimes it pulls you to think or act insanely. The thought of being addicted seems foreign to many people and yet most of the people I know have experienced some level of addiction.

When a person is drawn to obsessions and can’t control their thoughts or direct them to another subject or when they compulsively speak or act in a manner they always later regret … that person needs help. Addictions can be of the sort that they are completely hidden from other people or even socially acceptable to the point that repetitive failures go unnoticed by close friends and family until it’s too late and irreparable damage is done.

I don’t want you to think I am only referring to the heroine or crack cocaine type addicts … addictions come in many forms. Some people struggle with and lose self control when faced with particular foods, others with shopping, hording, anger, sex, weight loss, gambling and even obsessions over germs, smells, numbers, uneven lines, crooked pictures or dollar bills all being sorted and turned just the right way.

It is accepted that not all obsessions, compulsions or addictions have the same level of negative impact on society as do some of the more highlighted addictions like alcohol, tobacco, porn or drugs. Nonetheless, for the individual who struggles and suffers repetitive failures, any loss of self control is threatening and only adds to their pain and the cycle.

This morning we are going to review the true story of a young man who became obsessed and did not handle it well. This particular young man had everything to live for and was positioned and expected to do well in life. He was from a very wealthy and influential family who provided him with everything life could afford. Some might imagine he was merely captivated but that’s exactly what addictions do, they take us and hold us captive.

The Encarta Dictionary of the North American English Language defines “Addicted” as the state of being physiologically or psychologically “Dependent”. I do not minimize the damage caused to individuals and families by the harmful drug and alcohol addictions some of us have faced however I do hope to see each one of us embrace the truth for whatever circumstances, situations, substances or state of mind you currently face that drives you to depend on things that only serve to hurt you and others. Today I hope to give you some simple steps to help you recover yourself in the name of Jesus! This story will also help you help others as well.

So, without regard as to the type of addiction, obsession, compulsion, bad habit or loss of control we might be dealing with, let’s survey today’s story and find the remedy God is offering to us right now. It is quite possible that you can take the lessons learned today and help yourself and someone else this week. We will be reading from 2 Samuel 13.

The year is about 1000 BC – during the time of King David. The city is Jerusalem. And the young man’s name is Amnon; he is the first born son of King David and as such, heir to the throne of Israel.

2 Samuel 13  NLT
1  Now David’s son Absalom had a beautiful sister named Tamar. And Amnon, her half brother, fell desperately in love with her.
2  Amnon became so obsessed with Tamar that he became ill. She was a virgin, and Amnon thought he could never have her.
3  But Amnon had a very crafty friend—his cousin Jonadab. He was the son of David’s brother Shimea.
4  One day Jonadab said to Amnon, “What’s the trouble? Why should the son of a king look so dejected morning after morning?” So Amnon told him, “I am in love with Tamar, my brother Absalom’s sister.”
5  “Well,” Jonadab said, “I’ll tell you what to do. Go back to bed and pretend you are ill. When your father comes to see you, ask him to let Tamar come and prepare some food for you. Tell him you’ll feel better if she prepares it as you watch and feeds you with her own hands.”
6  So Amnon lay down and pretended to be sick. And when the king came to see him, Amnon asked him, “Please let my sister Tamar come and cook my favorite dish as I watch. Then I can eat it from her own hands.”

11  As she was feeding him, he grabbed her and demanded, “Come to bed with me, my darling sister.”
12  “No, my brother!” she cried. “Don’t be foolish! Don’t do this to me! Such wicked things aren’t done in Israel.
13  Where could I go in my shame? And you would be called one of the greatest fools in Israel. Please, just speak to the king about it, and he will let you marry me.”
14  But Amnon wouldn’t listen to her, and since he was stronger than she was, he raped her.
15  Then suddenly Amnon’s love turned to hate, and he hated her even more than he had loved her. “Get out of here!” he snarled at her.
16  “No, no!” Tamar cried. “Sending me away now is worse than what you’ve already done to me.” But Amnon wouldn’t listen to her.
17  He shouted for his servant and demanded, “Throw this woman out, and lock the door behind her!”

The rest of the story confirms what most often happens when we lose control and give in to our fleshly obsessions. We can never satisfy the appetites of the flesh by giving in, by compromising or by losing control. There is a better way … Amnon could have been a king!

What should Amnon have done instead of acting on his fleshly lusts? Here are Four Steps I believe can be taken to help each of us deal with those things that try to draw us away from God’s best for our lives:
1.   Resist – Just say no! This is the first step we should take with any temptation whether it is for the first time or the 101st time. Many small temptations can be stopped in that first moment with a “No!”
2.   Get Help – Confide in a family member, friend or counselor. Make certain you choose someone who won’t simply support or enable you to go the wrong way. Choose your support group with care.
3.   Take the Exit – That’s what Tamar asked of Amnon “Talk to the King” – God will never allow more to come upon us than we are able to bear but will with each temptation provide a way of escape. Pray!!! Take the Exit … Just take the exit – There is a better Way!
4.   Repent and Recover – If you fall, every time you fall, repent and recover! Amnon knew he was wrong and he realized the advice he received from his friend was the wrong advice but Amnon never repented … and it cost him his father, his family and his future.
Additional Notes: 
Not everyone who helps you get what you want is your friend.

1.   Resist – Sometimes the reason people have so much trouble resisting the devil is because they have not yet submitted themselves to God.

James 4:7  Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.
a.   Saying “no” to ourselves is a personal responsibility
b.   Jesus said it would be better to judge yourself than to be judged

2.   Get Help – There is safety in the multitude of counselors. However, we should not run with those who spread mischief. (Proverbs) Get the right kind of help!

1 Corinthians 15:33  Do not be deceived: "Evil company corrupts good habits."

3.   Take the Exit – Even Balaam’s donkey knew an exit when he saw one. Don’t get so locked into the course that you can’t see the danger ahead and take an exit. The young rich ruler did not let his past or his present determine his future … he took the exit!

Luke 15:17  "But when he came to himself, he said, ’How many of my father’s hired servants have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger!

1 Corinthians 10:13  No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.

4.   Repent and Recover – There is always a right thing to do … Especially when you’ve just done the wrong thing!

Psalms 51:4  Against You, You only, have I sinned, And done this evil in Your sight — That You may be found just when You speak, And blameless when You judge.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Healing Part 5 - The Name

        Part 5 - The Name

Proverbs 18:10  The name of the LORD is a strong tower; The righteous run to it and are safe.

Philippians 2  NKJV
5  Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus,
6  who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God,
7  but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men.
8  And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.
9  Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name,
10  that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth,
11  and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

The Name …

Acts 3
1 ¶  Now Peter and John went up together to the temple at the hour of prayer, the ninth hour.
2  And a certain man lame from his mother’s womb was carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful, to ask alms from those who entered the temple;
3  who, seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple, asked for alms.
4  And fixing his eyes on him, with John, Peter said, "Look at us."
5  So he gave them his attention, expecting to receive something from them.
6  Then Peter said, "Silver and gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk."
7  And he took him by the right hand and lifted him up, and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength.
8  So he, leaping up, stood and walked and entered the temple with them — walking, leaping, and praising God.
12 ¶  So when Peter saw it, he responded to the people: "Men of Israel, why do you marvel at this? Or why look so intently at us, as though by our own power or godliness we had made this man walk?
16  "And His name, through faith in His name, has made this man strong, whom you see and know. Yes, the faith which comes through Him has given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all.

Colossians 3:17  And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.

Joel 2:32a  And it shall come to pass That whoever calls on the name of the LORD Shall be saved …

James 5
14  Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord.
15  And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.

If it had not been for the Lord who was on our side …
Psalms 124:8  Our help is in the name of the LORD, Who made heaven and earth.

Acts 4:12  "Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved."

John 15:16  "You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you.

John 14:13  "And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.

John 14:14  "If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Pleasing God Series – Truth

Pleasing God
        Series – Truth

Luke 4
18  "The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me, Because He has anointed Me To preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives And recovery of sight to the blind, To set at liberty those who are oppressed;
19  To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD."

Jesus came to Proclaim and Deliver

Why? Because The devil came to Deceive and Imprison

Lies hold us captive – Truth sets us free …
·        The devil wants to tell you a lie and put you in prison.
·        Jesus wants to tell you the truth and deliver you from prison.
·        Who are you going to believe?

The devil tells you the reason you don’t have a better life is because you don’t have enough money.
·        But the Bible says - Luke 12:15  A man’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses.

The devil tells you the reason you aren’t happy is because of all the bad things that have happened to you.
·        But the Bible says - Habakkuk 3
17  Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls:
18  Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation.
19  The LORD God is my strength, and he will make my feet like hinds’ feet, and he will make me to walk upon mine high places.

The devil wants you to believe that God is your problem.
·        But the Bible says - Job 2:9-10
9  Then Job’s wife said to him, "Do you still hold fast to your integrity? Curse God and die!"
10  But he said to her, "You speak as one of the foolish women speaks. Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity?" In all this Job did not sin with his lips.

The devil wants you to believe you won’t have enough.
·        But the Bible says – Philippians 4:19 And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

The lies of the devil imprison men and hold them captive in fear – the truth of God will set men free.

The devil will tell you that you can’t do it … you can’t make it!
·        But the Bible says – Philippians 4:13  I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
·        John 8:44 tells us that the devil is a liar and when he speaks, he speaks for himself and not for God because there is no truth in him.  But thank God …

1 John 3:8  … For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil.

Jesus came to destroy the lies of the devil by proclaiming the truth and setting the captives free. Without regard as to what the devil may have been saying or what lies you have believed, the Bible says:

John 8:32  "And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free."

God is pleased when you know the truth … this is the truth!

Deliverance is a miracle
1.   Purchased by God
2.   Paid for with the blood of His Only Son
3.   Given to the Children of God
4.   Received by faith

Additional Notes:

2 Corinthians 6:2  For He says ... " Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.

Today is the day that you can decide to stop believing the lies of the devil and start believing the Truth of God’s Word. Jesus came to set the captives free. Freedom and deliverance belong to the Children of God.

If you are a Born Again Believer in Jesus, you are a Child of God and you have the Truth living inside you. The Holy Spirit will be a continual guiding light in your life. The faith you have in Jesus will bring many challenges in life but God will see you through each one and bring you to victory after victory.

Every time the devil tries to put you in some prison remember that he is a liar and that the Truth has set you free.

If you are not yet a Believer in Jesus who is the Son of God and the only Savior of the world –
1.   Have an honest talk with God and ask Him to tell you the truth.
2.   You don’t have to take my word for it but don’t take anyone else’s word either.
3.   Your eternity is important enough for you to know for yourself.

Jesus came to give us:
·        Light; Life; and Love
While satan is spreading:
·        Darkness; Death; and Hatred

Don’t be deceived into serving the god of hatred, darkness and death.

But also realize … just being good and for all the good and fluffy stuff like save the oceans and whirled peas won’t get you to heaven. No amount of good makes God. Only a relationship with the one Creator of the Universe through His only Son Jesus can secure a person’s eternity. There is a God and you can know Him. Ask Him to reveal Himself to you today!

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Healing - The Reason He Came Part 4 - The Truth

        The Reason He Came
        Part 4 – The Truth

John 14:6  I am the Way, the Truth and the Life, no man comes to the Father but by Me.

Jesus is the Truth and He came from heaven to earth so that mankind could see, hear, know and follow the Truth. Because … if any person knows and follows the Truth they will be set free from:
1.   Eternal Death
2.   The Hell of this Life

The devil, who is the prince of the darkness of this world, tries his best to hide the truth from our eyes; argue the truth in our ears; confuse the truth in our minds; and distract us from following the truth.

Sad to say not everyone who hears the truth believes the truth. Not everyone believed Jesus was telling the truth.

Matthew 13:58  Now He did not do many mighty works there because of their unbelief.

What Is The Truth

Hebrews 13:8  Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

Malachi 3:6  "For I am the LORD, I do not change …”

Psalms 89:34  My covenant I will not break, Nor alter the word that has gone out of My lips.

Numbers 23:19  "God is not a man, that He should lie, Nor a son of man, that He should repent. Has He said, and will He not do? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?”

Exodus 15:26 "If you diligently heed the voice of the LORD your God and do what is right in His sight, give ear to His commandments and keep all His statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you which I have brought on the Egyptians. For I am the LORD who heals you."

Exodus 23:25  "So you shall serve the LORD your God, and He will bless your bread and your water. And I will take sickness away from the midst of you.”

Deuteronomy 7
9   Therefore know that the LORD your God, He is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and mercy for a thousand generations with those who love Him and keep His commandments;
14  You shall be blessed above all peoples; there shall not be a male or female barren among you or among your livestock.
15  And the LORD will take away from you all sickness, and will afflict you with none of the terrible diseases of Egypt which you have known, but will lay them on all those who hate you.”

Psalms 103
2  Bless the LORD, O my soul, And forget not all His benefits:
3  Who forgives all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases,

Psalms 107:20 He sent his word, and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions.

The Truth is …
Jesus came to save us from an eternity in hell and from the hell of this life. Sicknesses and diseases are straight from the pit of hell and Jesus took our infirmities and sicknesses, pain and sorrows to the cross and then to the grave. Divine healing is a forever settled truth and no sickness has a right to claim the health of a child of God.

Isaiah 53
4  Surely He has borne our griefs And carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed Him stricken, Smitten by God, and afflicted.
5  But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed.

The Reason He Came …

1 Peter 2:24  who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness — by whose stripes you were healed.

The Eternal Curse of Man
·        Hell and Eternal Damnation

The Temporal Curse of Man
·        Sickness; Pain; Worry; Fear; Poverty; Shame

Jesus cared so much for both the Temporary Needs of man and the Eternal Needs of man that He not only died for our eternal sins but He also suffered for our temporal needs.

Both the Eternal Salvation of our Soul and the Temporal Healing of our Body takes our Faith in God to be remedied. 
·        Faith as a Force – active and dynamic – a powerful offensive weapon
·        Faith as a Shield – steadfast and unmovable – a strong defense

Ephesians 6:16  above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one.

Faith is both a force and a field. I believe faith is best used as a shield against sickness and disease as we live a righteous and holy life in accordance with the scriptures and make our professions of faith to cover us as a shield. I think it is better to keep the enemy from getting to us than to deal with the problems afterwards. In many cases Faith works better as a shield than it does as a pair of tweezers … however … faith has the power to do both.

Anyone will tell you that preventive medicine is the best approach to living a long and healthy life. Doctors recommend we take flu shots, exercise, eat right, get vaccinations, visit the dentist regularly, get yearly blood tests, after certain ages have other screenings and procedures just to help insure we won’t get sick or that in hopes we can take the advantage against any problems which might want to attack our health and rob us of time, energy, money and perhaps life.

I stand behind the preventive approach to health not only from a medical standpoint but from a spiritual standpoint as well. I believe it is important to take our daily God’s-pills (Gospel) and have our regular Spiritual Checkups to insure we are not leaving ourselves open to some of the enemies who want to rob us of time, energy, money or life.

We can use our faith in the Word and Will of God to fight against sickness, infirmity, disease as well as other curses, to appropriate healing for ourselves and others. We fight the good fight of faith. (Divine Healing)

As well, we can use our faith in the Finished Work of Jesus as a shield to stand against these same curses to keep them unable to successfully attack. (Divine Health)

In both cases we fight the good fight of faith or stand in faith from a position of Divine Justice. The fact that Jesus paid the price for our healing and health, both now and forever, is settled. Sickness has no more legal claim on the Believer. We have an all knowing Judge, (God); an all powerful Advocate, (Jesus); a great cloud of witnesses, (Patriarchs & Saints both in Heaven and Earth); a final decree, (The Word); innumerable enforcers, (Holy Angels); and someone to comfort us, teach us and guide us through the process who will never leave us nor forsake us and who has unlimited resources at His disposal, (The Holy Spirit). I’d say we ultimately win on every case and each appeal. On top of all of that we are right and the devil is wrong and we are all family and the devil is a known liar and thief.

Divine Justice demands our appeal be heard, the evidence be weighed and the case settled in favor of Pardoned Believer. 

What can we do to participate in our miracle?

James 5
14  Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord.
15  And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.
16  Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.

There are also some other things we can do that agree both with the Word of God and the medical practice to help prevent sickness and also help us to recover from attacks as well.
·        A Merry Heart (does good like a medicine)
·        Stressful Relationships (contention and continual drops of water)
·        Wounded Spirit (dries up the bones)
·        Bitterness and Unforgiveness (Don’t forgive, won’t be forgiven)
·        Unrepentant (stiff-necked; stubborn; rebellious)
·        Anger (does not work the righteousness of God)
·        Take no pleasure in the infirmities of your enemies
·        Critical spirit; Judging  (Judge not … with the same measure …)
·        Sowing and Reaping (When Job prayed for his friends …)

This sets us up for Our Next Topic in this Healing Series …
        The Power of Confession

Monday, February 8, 2016

Pleasing God Part 4 – Forgive

Pleasing God
        Part 4 – Forgive

Luke 17
3 "Take heed to yourselves. If your brother sins against you, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him.
4  And if he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times in a day returns to you, saying, ’I repent,’ you shall forgive him."

“Take heed to yourselves” … Why did Jesus say, “take heed to yourselves”?

During the past 60 years I have discovered some truths about forgiveness.
·        Forgiveness is not the measure of the person being forgiven but rather the measure of the person who is forgiving.
·        When we forgive someone it says nothing about them but everything about us.
·        What you say about someone else says everything about you.
·        Forgiveness may not change the other person but unforgiveness will change you.
·        An unforgiving heart can make a person mentally, physically and spiritually ill.
·        Forgiveness and restoration are two separate issues.
o   Forgiveness is the responsibility of the offended person
o   Restoration is largely dependent on the offender
·        People who harbor anger, bitterness and resentment build a prison for only one person - themselves.

For these reasons Jesus instructed His followers to take heed to themselves and make sure they were forgiving. In the book of Matthew Peter came to Jesus for clarification and asked:

Matthew 18
21  Then Peter came to Him and said, "Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?"
22  Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.”

You see, forgiveness is a God-given right. Forgiveness is not earned and it must be paid for by the person who has been hurt or offended. Forgiveness to set both the forgiver and the forgiven free whether or not the offender changes or is sorry or even knows they are forgiven. When we forgive we turn things over to God.

As well, there is a very strong connection between us forgiving others and we being forgiven ourselves. Jesus taught us about forgiveness by saying:

Matthew 6  KJV
9  After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.
10  Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
11  Give us this day our daily bread.
12  And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
13  And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.
14  For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you:
15  But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

Later Jesus instructed us further by saying:

Luke 6:37  Judge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.

Remember: When you forgive someone it is not the measure of the person you are forgiving but rather the measure of God in you!

The Bible teaches three elements of forgiveness. I understand them as:

1.   To release the debtor - απολυω apoluo ap-ol-oo’-o
2.   To forego the debt - αφιημι aphiemi af-ee’-ay-mee
3.   To forget the debt - αφεσις aphesis af’-es-is

When someone sins against us or does us harm, hurts us or trespasses against us in some way, we are called to release them over into the hands of God for His discretion; His disposition; and/or His vengeance. It is not our place to judge, condemn or harbor reproach. We are instructed to forgive them by turning them over to God instead of exacting our own brand of vengeance against them, maligning them or allowing bitterness to grow in our hearts and minds which only gives way to further injury.

Sin, the classic sin which is most often thought of and spoken of in the Bible, is committed against God and God alone. God is the One Who gave the law and set the standards of righteousness and He is the only One Who can forgive sin in the such a way that pays for and forgets sin. The best we can do is to turn the matter over to God. That’s forgiveness …

This concept is not much different than when a person takes the law into their own hands attempting to exact punitive damages or incarcerate a neighbor for some infraction they feel worthy of punishment. True justice is out of our hands and can be obtained only from the hand of God. For this reason the Bible tells us to forgive and release that person to God.

When we forgive we turn others over to God and do our best … We:
1.   Do not judge them in our own hearts
2.   Do not condemn them with our own words
3.   Do not slay them with our own hands

The First Step in forgiveness it to declare it to God out loud. Some of you took that First Step this morning … now, what must you do from here?

Three Steps to Forgiveness
1.   Say it out loud to God and ask God to help you.
2.   Don’t nurse it; curse it; or rehearse it … let it go.
3.   Repeat steps 1 & 2 as often as needed.

This will please God. Believe me He knows how hard it can be to forgive … but He’ll help you. We are not going to leave you without some tools that will help along the way as well. Forgive … it gets better from here on.