Eternal forgiveness is God’s choice

Recently I read a post about the death penalty. There were comments to the article: shooting is too good for them, use a rope, and put them in a running car in a garage. These comments made me sick. So I did some research most is based on a study done by Samuel Gross University of Michigan.  He spent a long time combing through records dating back as far as 1973. It stated that they could be fairly certain that 4% of the inmates executed where innocent.  They also said this is probably inaccurate because of the criminal justice system has imperfections- meaning innocent lives are in prison all the time. Innocent people are found guilty of murder. Logic dictates if people sentenced for murder are innocent that people found guilty of  other crimes are innocent as well. (Lopatto, E; How Many Innocent People Are Sentenced To Death?; Apr 29, 2014)- Sorry if this is not sited correct.

One of the arguments for eliminating the death penalty is forgiveness. Jesus’ death and resurrection offers forgiveness. Mark 3:28-29: 28 Truly I tell you, people can be forgiven all their sins and every slander they utter, 29 but whoever blaspheme against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven; they are guilty of an eternal sin.”  Jesus said the only unforgivable sin is blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. Which is a whole other topic- blaspheme means to speak in opposition.  Yes, even murders can be forgiven. Unless, of course, they Blaspheme the Holy Spirit.

Another argument was John 8:2-11: The story of an adulteress brought before Jesus and he did not condemn her because he chased away all of her accusers by simply stating that you cannot condemn her unless you are innocent. Who but Jesus is innocent? Something perhaps forgotten by our justice system and people who are pro-death penalty should consider. Are you without sin? then how can you condemn someone else to death?  Of Course, there are people out there that are certain that they are without sin.  I know because I used to be that Christian. I thought- I am a good person I do not …. I am a Christian.  Being a Christian does not mean that you are without sin. It just means your sins are forgiven. This of course does not mean you should deliberately sin (Romans 6, covers this topic).  I also contend that sometimes we sin and it is not our intention.  Romans 3: 23-34: 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. Through accepting Christ as our savor and Lord- confessing that we are sinners- can we have salvation.  So the arrogant Christian- yes they are still Christians even though they are arrogant- will think How have I sinned?  The truth took me some time to learn. Just by my arrogance, I am sinning. The truth is when we think in that manner, we are acting as if something we did won our salvation- true accepting Jesus is what we did- that is not what I am referring: I mean that somehow through my own acts, I continue to gain salvation. Salvation is a onetime deal- Unless- I fall away from God and denounce God as Lord and Savior-, which I do not do. Jesus is the Savior!   Forgiveness on the other hand is constant. I constantly ask God to forgive me of my sins daily.  Daily  I ask God to help me in areas where I sin.  Therefore based on the fact that only Jesus can forgive sins. – Okay we can forgive people of sins committed against us- however ultimately it is the forgiveness from Jesus that brings us to heaven. John 14: 6: ¨Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.  Which brings us to the main point since only Jesus can provide eternal forgiveness – judgment of these souls is his responsibility not ours.  Are you not glad the responsibility is not yours.  Think about it- do you want to decide who goes to Hell? Thank you Jesus for keeping this responsibility off my shoulders.  Remind me when I am judgmental that it is your job and not mine. No matter what a person claims to be, they are still God’s creation and as that it is God’s choice as to where they spend eternity, or whether they should die.  In Ecclesiastics, we are reminded that God gives and takes away – Ecclesiastics 5:18-20: 18 This is what I have observed to be good: that it is appropriate for a person to eat, to drink and to find satisfaction in their toilsome labor under the sun during the few days of life God has given them—for this is their lot. 19 Moreover, when God gives someone wealth and possessions, and the ability to enjoy them, to accept their lot and be happy in their toil—this is a gift of God. 20 They seldom reflect on the days of their life, because God keeps them occupied with gladness of heart.

John 8:

2 At dawn, he appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them. 3 The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group 4 and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. 5 In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.

But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. 7 When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.

9 At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. 10 Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”

11 “No one, sir,” she said. “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”

 

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Peter, a man- felt unworthy

Luke 5: 1-9: I love how Peter followed Jesus’ instructions. He said (Okay, because you say so).  Peter and his partners had been fishing all night they were expert fishermen.  I really like How Peter said Jesus- We have been fishing all night – but because you say so I will do as you tell me.  I like it for a few reasons.  One of those being it lets me know it is okay to discuss things with God. He says do this and it is okay to say Hey but God …  Here is the important part- AS LONG AS I FOLLOW HIS DIRECTIONS. God is omnipresent, and all knowing. He is wiser than I am.  He knows what needs to be done and how to do it in order to be successful.  I really love that I can discuss it with him, because it helps me wrap my head around whatever it is he is telling me to do.  Then at the end Peter tells Jesus that he, Peter, is unworthy to be near Jesus.  How often I have felt unworthy to do anything for the Lord’s Kingdom.  But that is just it, God sees the end, whereas we see the pre-game. We see only how it looks to be in the planning stage.  We like to say I can’t, I am not worthy- all the things Peter said. Meaning I am not odd.  I am not completely insane or not following God. I am just like Peter – human- unworthy- yet will to be a vessel for God’s Kingdom.

1Now it happened that while Jesus was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret        (Sea of Galilee), with the people crowding all around Him and listening to the word of God; that He saw two boats lying at the edge of the lake, but the fishermen had gotten out of them and were washing their nets. He got into one of the boats, which was Simon’s, and asked him to put out a little distance from the shore. And He sat down and began teaching the crowds from the boat. When He had finished speaking, He said to Simon [Peter], “Put out into the deep water and lower your nets for a catch [of fish].” Simon replied, “Master, we worked hard all night [to the point of exhaustion] and caught nothing [in our nets], but at Your word I will [do as you say and] lower the nets [again].” When they had done this, they caught a great number of fish, and their nets were [at the point of] breaking; so they signaled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both of the boats [with fish], so that they began to sink. But when Simon Peter saw this, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, and “Go away from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord!” For he and all his companions were completely astounded at the catch of fish which they had taken; 10 and so were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners.

 

It is a pain day- No matter there is Joy

Psalm 29: 10-11: I am claiming this promise for today.  It is a pain day- a day when for whatever reason, I woke up in pain. My back hurts, my legs ache. My fingers do not want to move, and my ankles do not want to turn. Fortunately, I do not have very many days such as this. Generally, the pain is at the end of the day and I am able to sleep it away. However, last night, it was hot in the house, and I was reluctant to turn on the AC. As a result, I did not sleep well. These days happen. However, today I am claiming the strength promised in these verses- there is too much to do to allow pain to be in charge. I am claiming the peace promised in this verse. There is too much to do to allow the pain to take over. After all, it is sent by the evil one to derail me from what needs to be done. Is it my work I want to do, or is it working for the Lord. If I do it from a point of joy, it is for the Lord. Ecclesiastics 9: 7: Go, eat your bread with joy, and drink your wine with a merry heart; For God has already accepted your works.  When we do our work with gladness in our heart it is good.

10 The Lord sat enthroned at the Flood, and the Lord sits as King forever. 11 The Lord will give strength to His people; The Lord will bless His people with peace.

Do you keep the “Jesus tab” open?

Galatians 5:1, Ephesians 6:14:

Have you ever waivered? We all have had points when our faith waivered.  When we were not sure, God was going to take care of us. To be there for us.  It is like a little dog that wants to be by your side every second of the day.  They just want to sit in your arms.  They are afraid you will go away leave them alone –never to return.  Sometimes we are not paying enough attention. Because unlike us, God is Omnipresent. We get busy stuck in the things of this world. We are on “Run” mode- stuck in the passing gear. However, even though we can be absent from the side of our small pet – the one who feels we are their world. Kinda like how we feel about Jesus – when we stop –when we are honest about it. God is never absent from our side. He is always there. While we in our finite beings cannot be there constantly for our pets, our children, our spouses- we have to work and do things. God, who is omnipresent is there and we can feel him if we just reach out. If we just take a few seconds and stop. Yes- you have to stop. But the wonderful things is most of the time, it really does not take much time to feel the warm presence of God. It is not the same as my small dog; she has to be sure I am not leaving before she relaxes. With God, we can stop feel God and know it is okay to keep doing. Some days require more stopping than others- the busier the day- the more effort I have to make to feel God. Oh and it is one of those things that takes practice. There are probably people reading this who have been where I am, have to make strong effort but now through practice all they have to do is pull God up in their head- like opening a web page. God is a tab always open. Me I have to click on the link.  Maybe you are where I have been have to boot up the computer- one of those old ones that takes time to boot up. Maybe we even have a “dial-up” internet connection. The point is that it takes practice to have the “tab” that is God open. When the tab is open, we can quickly switch to it.  Oh and think of salvation as this, we are a new computer with Jesus as the OS (operating system). With Jesus as the OS, we never get tired- (Isaiah 40:31).  In other words, we are not fragmented, as long as we practice staying focused on Jesus. As soon we click on Jesus, he starts chucking out the “bad sectors”. This way we are able to stand firm, strong enjoying one of the fastest OS available keeping the “Jesus” tab open running constantly in our hearts.

Galatians:

1 Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.

Ephesians:

14 Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness

 

For God’s Kingdom or yourself?

Proverbs 15: 6-9: As I read this, I thought Lord why is it the wicked seem to prosper?  I realized we are not living for today. We are living for eternity.  The truly wicked rejecting God will not see eternity in heaven. It will not make a difference how much money we have on earth. It will not make a difference how much money we earn. What God will look at is what we did with that money. Did we use our money to help the poor? Did we give money to the church so that the church could use it to spread the word?  How did we use the money God gave us? Did we waste it on ourselves?  Did we use it wisely?  There are many ways we could use the money. However, it is our responsibility to take care of what God gave us. It does not end with money; it includes all of our talents. We need to use everything God gave us wisely.  Not necessarily for gain in this world, but for God’s kingdom.

In the house of the righteous there is much treasure, But in the revenue of the wicked is trouble.The lips of the wise disperse knowledge, But the heart of the fool does not do so. The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord, but the prayer of the upright is His delight. The way of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD; But He loves him who follows righteousness.

Are We Haughty or Humble????

James 4: 13-16, Ecclesiastes 4: 9-12: This is why when we make plans it is important to include the Lord. Plans of men go astray.  We often think that we are doing this all by ourselves. We earned this money. When in all actuality, we can only do what God leads us to do.  We need to remember it is God who gives us the strength. We do whatever we do through the Lord. As we learn to lean on Him, to trust Him to provide our strength, we find life is easier. My biggest trip fall is being haughty. I tend to think more of myself than I should.   It tends to happen easily when things come easily. I have to guard my thoughts against this thinking. I have to watch in order to not fall.  Even this week, after I had come so far, I tripped; telling a dear group of friends essentially that I am smarter.  When in all actuality, I am not smarter. I do not process a greater ability to understand than anyone else does. We all have our strong points, mine is gathering knowledge from books. The truth is I am very poor at the application end. I might be able to quote facts, however, when it comes to application; I need guidance.  That is where the Lord pushes me- the application part. He gives each of us a special something, and then we have to lean on the Lord to apply it. To use our talents in the best way, we lean on Jesus and depend on understanding through the Holy Spirit. So if you are good on application, but poor at the gathering of knowledge part, you align yourself with a knowledge gather.  Then together you become a better tool for the Lord’s work than one alone. (Ecclesiastes)

James:

13 Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit”; 14 whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. 15 Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that”. 16 But now you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil.

Ecclesiastes:

Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor. 10 For if they fall, one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls, for he has no one to help him up. 11 Again, if two lie down together, they will keep warm; but how can one be warm alone? 12 Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him. And a threefold cord is not quickly broken.

The word is “ENJOYMENT”

Ecclesiastics 3: 12-13: Yesterday, the word was conciliation. Today the word is ENJOYMENT. We are supposed to enjoy the fruit of our labors. In other words, it is okay to have some fun. While it is true that all fun and no work brings poverty, nothing is served from sitting in the house all day not ever doing anything fun.  I am not saying spend the rent money on a vacation. What I am saying is plan a little fun into every week. There should be something that you can do; it does not need to cost a lot of money. Maybe a family bike ride or walk in the park. Maybe order a pizza and have it delivered to the park. Use your imagination and something will open up. I suggested outdoor things because I love the outdoors. Maybe you prefer the movies. I know I had a bit more to say with the word “Conciliation” I used the whole chapter when only a couple of verses applied. I feel enjoyment is an easier word. But we just have to take some time to do something fun in our week, probably even day. Something fun in every single day.  Do not feel guilty because you had some fun. As long as what you are doing is not against God’s word, it is expected. I do not think God expects me to be serious all the time. Sometimes he expects me to be jovial. Why is this important? IT DRIVES WAY THE BLUES. Being serious all the time is depressing.

 12 I know that nothing is better for them than to rejoice, and to do good in their lives, 13 and also that every man should eat and drink and enjoy the good of all his labor—it is the gift of God.

Conciliation

Ecclesiastics 10:  Conciliation- the act of soothing away anger.

Wisdom:  The passage says that conciliation pacifies great offences.    A soft word turns away wrath. I have trouble with using soft words; well I used to have trouble.  It has taken months of concentration a couple of years actually. Which really isn’t too bad, I had been using angry words all my life. That is because there was not much happiness in my life.  We were poor to the point of almost homeless poor, often hungry poor. It is hard to be happy when you are hungry. I did not wear nice clothes, they were full of patches, and they were clean but well worn. Often my clothes did not fit very well. As a result, I was frequently the bunt of ridicule. This combination does not make a happy child. I carried the anger into adulthood. This behavior is not easily eradicated. It is difficult to change your demeanor from an angry person to a person that is able to remain calm and ignore insults.  It has taken years for me to figure out how to dress. It has taken years for me to change my pattern to a pacifier rather than someone who reacts to anger. The more I read the Bible, the more I realize being a pacifier, controlling my anger; is Biblical. It is just like everything else, practice makes perfect. I work hard to keep control of my tongue.  The one place I excelled. I have the gift of words. I understand words and languages come easy. I quickly learned to turn the insults to the state of my appearance into complex taunts carefully crafted to make the recipient feel stupid not just stupid completely and utterly ridiculous. This was a poor use of my talent. Since then I have realized God expects me to use this talent to make people feel better. To help people understand that how they feel is not abnormal. Everyone struggles with something greed, anger, or feeling worthless…, the list is endless. The thing is when we give into these feelings, we give into poor choices, or temptation; we lose and the evil one wins. We are not being wise and therefore not successful. Remember success has absolutely nothing to do with money.  It has to do with wining the spiritual battle between the evil one and us.  Sometimes it is about money. But most of the time, it is about doing the right thing.

1Dead flies putrefy the perfumer’s ointment, (Putrefy- to cause something to rot) And cause it to give off a foul odor; So does a little folly to one respected for wisdom and honor. 2 A wise man’s heart is at his right hand, But a fool’s heart at his left. 3 Even when a fool walks along the way, He lacks wisdom, And he shows everyone that he is a fool. 4 If the spirit of the ruler rises against you, Do not leave your post; For conciliation pacifies great offenses.5 There is an evil I have seen under the sun, As an error proceeding from the ruler: 6 Folly is set in great dignity, While the rich sit in a lowly place. 7 I have seen servants on horses, While princes walk on the ground like servants.

8 He who digs a pit will fall into it, And whoever breaks through a wall will be bitten by a serpent. 9 He who quarries stones may be hurt by them, And he who splits wood may be endangered by it. 10 If the ax is dull, And one does not sharpen the edge, Then he must use more strength; But wisdom brings success.

11 A serpent may bite when it is not charmed; The babbler is no different. 12 The words of a wise man’s mouth are gracious, But the lips of a fool shall swallow him up; 13 The words of his mouth begin with foolishness, And the end of his talk is raving madness. 14 A fool also multiplies words. No man knows what is to be; Who can tell him what will be after him? 15 The labor of fools wearies them, For they do not even know how to go to the city!

16 Woe to you, O land, when your king is a child, And your princes feast in the morning! 17 Blessed are you, O land, when your king is the son of nobles, And your princes feast at the proper time— For strength and not for drunkenness! 18 Because of laziness the building decays, And through idleness of hands the house leaks. 19 A feast is made for laughter, And wine makes merry; But money answers everything.

20 Do not curse the king, even in your thought; Do not curse the rich, even in your bedroom; For a bird of the air may carry your voice, And a bird in flight may tell the matter.

 

 

Continue reading “Conciliation”

Why are there Fatherless Children?

Ephesians 5: 27-29: For a very long time, churches and society have focused on the first part of this passage; it is after all longer. I think this is partially to blame for the state of society today.   The past few decades, society has focused on woman being equal to men.  (We still do not have it correct)  Genesis 2: 18: God created woman as a helper.  It does not say subordinate, it says helper, a partner. We have forgotten how men are supposed to treat wives. In Ephesians, it says Husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. This does not mean that just because you are the head you should hit us. No!  Do you hit your own body?  Do you not take care of your own body?  Then what about your children? Do you ignore, neglect, and refuse responsibility for them? Expect your wife to do everything? We just do not get is right as the Bible tells us.  Wives and Children should be cherished.  They should be treated as you treat yourself. How do I extend this to the children?  Jesus tells us that we are supposed to be like children. (Matthew 2:18-14) and he said to bring the children to him (Luke 18:16).  Jesus cherished the children- so should we. Jesus often spoke to women. Ephesians tells men to treat their wives as themselves.                                1 Corinthians 11:3. In today’s society, there is an abundance of men who were raised to think I am in charge, I get to do whatever I want. The problem is this is not correct thinking, it is certainly not Biblical. We are all supposed to emulate Jesus. Jesus respected women and children. God is our father and it says he will never leave nor forsake us. (Deuteronomy 31:8).  So if we are supposed to emulate Jesus, who will never leave us; then why do we think it is okay to leave our families?

27and to present her to Himself as a glorious church, without stain or wrinkle or any such blemish, but holy and blameless. 28 In the same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 Indeed, no one ever hated his own body, but he nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church.…

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