Friday, September 30, 2011
How to Extend God’s grace to others. Matthew 10:8 “Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received, freely give.”
True/False questions to think about:
A person should not be forgiven until he asks for it.
Forgiveness includes minimizing the offense and minimizing the pain caused.
Forgiveness includes restoring and trust and reuniting a relationship.
You haven’t really forgiven until you’ve forgotten the offense
When I see someone else hurt, it is my duty to forgive the offender.
All these statements are false.
WHAT FORGIVENESS IS NOT:
It isn’t conditional
It isn’t minimizing the seriousness of the offense
It isn’t resuming a relationship without change (demonstrated repentance; restitution; rebuilding)
It isn’t forgetting what happened
It isn’t my right to forgive when I wasn’t the one that was hurt
WHAT FORGIVENESS IS:
It is remembering how much you’ve been forgiven. Ephesians 4:32 “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” Much forgiven, much appreciated.
It is relinquishing my right to get even. Romans 12:19 “Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay,’ says the Lord.” Grace is not ‘fair’ in our eyes.
It is responding to evil with good. Luck 6:27, 28 “But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.” This is possible only with God’s power.
It is repeating the process as long as necessary. Matthew 18:21,22 “Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, ‘Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?’ Jesus answered, ‘I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.’” (that’s not a concrete number – it signifies forgiving as often as it is needed)
There once was a man who had a dog he disliked. One day the dog fell into a dry well. The man looked down the well and decided to leave the dog there, so he started shoveling dirt onto the dog. The dog felt the first shovelful of dirt hit him and stood up and shook it off. Again and again the man tossed dirt down the well . Each time the dog shook it off and stepped up on top of the growing mound of dirt. Eventually, the mound of dirt reached the top of the well and the dog stepped out. When someone dishes dirt on you, shake it off and step up.
Tuesday, September 27, 2011
Here is the second in the "Grace" series
Lamentations 5:19-22 (Prayer of Jeremiah) “You, O Lord, reign forever; your throne endures from generation to generation. Why do you always forget us? Why do you forsake us so long? Restore us to yourself, O Lord, that we may return; renew our days as of old unless you have utterly rejected us and are angry with us beyond measure.”
What causes believers to fall away from Christ?
1. Overconfidence. Mark 14:27-29 “’You will all fall away,’ Jesus told them, ‘for it is written: I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered. But after I have risen, I will go ahead of you into Galilee.’ Peter declared, ‘Even if all fall away, I will not.’”
2. Laziness. Mark 14:37 “Then He returned to His disciples and found them sleeping. ‘Simon,’ He said to Peter, ‘are you asleep? Could you not keep watch for one hour? Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.’”
3. Fear of disapproval. Mark 14:54a “Peter followed Him at a distance, right into the courtyard of the high priest.”
4. Convenience. Mark 14:54b “There he (Peter) sat with the guards and warmed himself at the fire.”
Why doesn’t God reject believers when they fall away?
1. Because His love is unconditional. Lamentations 3:23 “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions (mercies) never fail.”
2. Because salvation isn’t based on my performance. Titus 3:4-5 “But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit.”
3. Because Jesus has already taken my punishment. I John 2:2 “He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.”
4. Because Jesus understands my human weakness. Hebrews 4:15 “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin.”
5. Because God doesn’t hold on to grudges. Psalm 103:9,10,13 “He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor His anger forever; He does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities….As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear (are in awe of) Him.”
What should believers do when they fall away?
Repent and turn to the Lord. Jeremiah 15:19 “Therefore this is what the Lord says: ‘If you repent, I will restore you that you may serve; if you utter worthy, not worthless, words, you will be my spokesman. Let this people turn to you, but you must not turn to them.’”
Monday, September 26, 2011
I went back and realized I'd not given you the sermon notes on the first few sermons in the series on Grace. Here is the first sermon, Saving Grace.
Psalm 145:8-9 “The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love. The Lord is good to all; He has compassion on all He has made.”
What is Grace? It is love in action. Mercy is not getting what I deserve; Grace is getting what I don’t deserve.
G – God’s gift to me. Romans 3:23-24 “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.”
R –Received by faith. Ephesians 2:8-9 “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith --and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-- not by works, so that no one can boast.”
A-Available to everyone. Romans 4:16 “Therefore the promise comes by faith, so that it may be by grace and may be guaranteed to all Abraham’s offspring—not only to those who are of the law but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham. He is the father of us all.” Romans 10:13 “for, Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
C-Comes through Christ. John 1:17 “For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.” Romans 5:15 “But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man (Adam), how much more did God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many.” Grace is free but it is not cheap. It cost Jesus suffering and death before He arose again.
E-Extended throughout eternity. Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Heaven will be a place of reunion, reward, reassignment and removal/release.
How will you respond to God’s Saving Grace?
Saturday, September 24, 2011
Earlier this year I (mostly) stopped most of my exercise - I was grieving a few things, but especially the loss of my dear Mother. God ministered to me, directly and through friends, and I finally resumed cardio on a more regular basis. But I hadn't resumed strength training, and my muscles were shouting at me for the failure.
I felt guilty about not doing strength training, and hated the fact that I was losing strength because of it, but it wasn't until the last week or so that I resumed what I knew I should be doing. A week doesn't sound like much, but it was an important first step in the right direction.....you know, one step at a time. First I resolved to strength train, then I began.
I don't want you to think that I believe I've arrived anywhere; I'm just resuming my journey. But I'm pleased with myself for doing what I've known all along I should be doing, and the fact that I started (again) makes me stronger mentally. My muscles are getting a workout, which is good in itself, and I'm stronger in resolve for actually doing it. I've spent a long time going up and down a few pounds....a loooooong time....but I'm back to trying harder to change my lifestyle for the better.
To show how my thinking has changed since I've been on Spark People: one of my DD's recently was told by her dr to lose weight. She knew she needed to, but what the dr said has spurred her on to making changes in her food intake. She keeps using the word 'diet' - even when she means 'food intake' as opposed to the restrictive idea of dieting. I found myself telling her to not think of 'dieting' because that smacks of restrictions and deprivation. I told her to think of it as food intake or nutrition or some other term that sounds more positive. Thinking positively about those changes makes them more palatable. (Listen to me preaching Haha)
I still want to lose about 25 pounds or so. But instead of thinking of the long haul, I'm reflecting on the little things I'm doing on the journey, and being thankful (and not a little pleased with myself) for those baby steps. Each one makes me stronger - mentally, physically, even emotionally.
So if you're having a hard time with losing and re-gaining those few pounds, or your scale just doesn't move downwards (!) take heart, hang in there, take a baby step, then another, then another. And remember, just because the scale isn't moving downwards doesn't mean you aren't succeeding. Muscle weighs more than fat, and good habits are still good. So eat that healthy food and exercise, and I will too. We'll all be better for it.
Friday, September 16, 2011
I'd gained a single pound before leaving on vacation, but didn't report it on SP because I wasn't sure if it was water weight or not.
Well, for the first time ever, EVER, I didn't gain any weight while on vacation, in fact, I lost a half-pound. I take my (small) victories where I can.
I did my usual time cleaning the kitten room yesterday, and today I spent over and hour on the treadmill, in two sessions. Good for me!
Ok, that's enough patting myself on the back. We got home from vacation Wednesday eve, so went grocery shopping today and stocked up on healthy food: red peppers, two kinds of fresh fruit, other healthy snacks, good food for preparing meals. And now that I'm home again, I'm getting back into a healthy exercise routine. Of course, I DO miss running on the storm-packed sand of that beautiful beach, and those evening walks on the beach with my DH.......Oh well, there's always trade-offs and maybe we'll go to a beach again next summer.
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