Monthly Archives: February 2014

TRUE FORGIVENESS:

TRUE FORGIVENESS: Acquired from the Scripture man website, written by: Rev Paul R. Schmidtbleicher, Th. B, Th.M.

Prepared for the National Teaching Pastors Conference
January 1998
Introduction:

Forgiveness is a broad term. The Scriptures present two major subdivisions: the forgiveness of God and the personal forgiveness of one another. Although the forgiveness of one another is founded in the forgiveness of God, personal forgiveness is the emphasis of this study. There have been volumes written on and about the forgiveness of God. Unfortunately, there has been much less written about personal forgiveness between believers. Forgiveness seems to settle into two extremes.

The first extreme becomes a wide open forgiveness where the forgiveness is an overlooking of sin and sinful behavior based upon stand-alone interpretations of passages like Matthew 18-21-22 and Colossians 3:13.

Matt 18:21-22 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.” (NKJ)

Col 3:13 bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. (NKJ)

The other extreme becomes a half-hearted forgiveness where believers do speak to one another, but there is no restoration of trust, interchange, nor commerce like that that existed before the offense. This, I believe, is based upon a defective view of forgiveness in which the offending sin of the guilty person has not been fully addressed.

This study is an attempt to try to present a (I hope) balanced view on forgiveness between believers.

God’s Forgiveness: A Foundation

God’s forgiveness of the believer’s sins is one marvelous provision of eternal salvation. According to the believer, he simply receives the forgiveness of God for all past sins at the point of salvation. Yet, it is much different for God. Dr. Louis Sperry Chafer has written:

Forgiveness on the part of one person toward another is the simplest of duties, whereas forgiveness on the part of God toward man proves the most complicated and costly of undertakings. As seen in the Bible, there is an analogy between forgiveness and debt and, in the forgiveness that God exercises, the debt must be paid – though it is paid by Himself – before forgiveness can be extended. Thus it is learned that while human forgiveness only         remits a penalty or charge divine forgiving must require complete satisfaction for the demands of God’s outraged holiness first of all.1

Although Dr. Chafer takes human forgiveness to be rather simple, he clearly presents the high cost of divine forgiveness. Payment or restitution for sin in the death of Christ was necessary. Furthermore, divine forgiveness is received because of faith in Christ – “faith alone in Christ alone.” Some scriptures call upon man to repent such as Acts 3:19 and Acts 26:20.

Acts 3:19 Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, (NKJ)

Acts 26:20 [Paul declared] . . . throughout all the region of Judea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent, turn to God, and do works befitting repentance. (NKJ)

Here, the clear meaning of repent is not a separate step in securing salvation and the forgiveness of sins, but a change of mind from unbelief to belief. Repent is the translation of the Greek word METANOIA (metanoia) which means “a change of mind.” Dr. Robert Lightner sees this use of repent in salvation not as a separate step, but as included in believing.

The word repentance means a change of mind. Because of the confusion . . . many make repentance a separate and additional condition of salvation. This is not true in the Word. There is no question about it: repentance is necessary for salvation. However, Scripture views repentance as included in believing and not as an additional and separate condition to faith. All who have trusted in Christ as Savior have changed their minds regarding Him         and their sin. (Of course it would be impossible to change one’s mind without trusting the Savior.)

According to scriptural usage repentance is almost synonymous for faith. Paul said he declared to both the Jews and the Greeks “Repentance towards God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.”2

Zane C. Hodges, taking a slightly different view, also does not see repentance as a separate condition to salvation, nor as the other side of the same coin of faith as does Lightner. Hodges sees repentance as one of several ways used by God to prepare the sinner to accept the free gift of salvation.3

For the believer who sins after salvation, the Scripture makes it clear that the forgiveness of God is based upon a change of mind (repentance) that confesses agreement with God that the offense is sin (Acts 8:22, 1 John 1:9).

Acts 8:22 [To Simon the magician] Repent therefore of this your wickedness, and pray God if perhaps the thought of your heart may be forgiven you. (NKJ)

I Jn 1:9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (NKJ)

Therefore, what is basic to God’s forgiveness of the sinner is both the restitution made by Jesus Christ on the Cross – His Atonement – and our willingness to change our minds about Christ (unbeliever) and believe or change our minds about the sin (believer) and confess it. In both cases a basic change of mind or metanoia type repentance as a part of belief or confession plays a part in receiving the forgiveness of sins from God.

On the other hand it is most important to realize that God’s forgiveness has never been an “overlooking” of sins and trespasses. God, as the ultimate victim of all sin, has received restitution in the death of Christ.

The forgiveness of God or receipt of a pardon4 from God is based upon this restitution for sins having been made by Jesus Christ. From the earliest mention of forgiveness as it relates to the Lord, our sins have never been discounted nor overlooked. We are forgiven because restitution has been made. Though God made the restitution for us, it was still required to obtain God’s forgiveness. To put it the opposite way: without the restitution payment of Jesus Christ, there would be no forgiveness!

The Forgiveness of God and the Forgiveness of Man

The biblical teaching on forgiveness is divided into two categories: (1) Religious Forgiveness before God, and (2) Civil Forgiveness before men. Example Verses: Religious – Colossians 1:14; Civil – Colossians 3:13.

Col 1:14 In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:

Col 3:13 Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.

Religious forgiveness involves maintaining the vertical relationship between the believer and the Lord. As seen in Colossians 1:14, it is gained at salvation through the restitution payment made by Christ’s death. It is maintained through the confession of sins by us and the cleansing of sins by God (1 Jn 1:9).

Civil forgiveness involves the maintaining of horizontal relationships between people – the real emphasis of this study. Some sins by their very nature involve other persons and are against people. They are offended by our offenses. When this is the case, religious forgiveness must include civil forgiveness. The horizontal relationship is to be reestablished as a part maintaining our vertical relationship with the Lord. As shall be shown, civil forgiveness is to be sought,         once an offense has occurred by the offender, through a change of mind metanoia repentance and restitution when required.

Forgiveness from the Viewpoint of the Offender

The Offender is first considered because it is the hoped that the reader who sins will not allow an offense to lay and fester, but will seek out and take the correct Biblical action to resolve the problem before God and also before man.

The Victimless Offense

The victimless offense is actually a misnomer. God Himself is the victim of all our sin. Examples would be mental attitude sins or sins that never actually reach out to offend another person. However, all sin does offend God and He becomes the ultimate victim (Rom 3:23; 8:7)

Rom 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, (NKJ)

Rom 8:7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. (NKJ)

Because God is victimized by our private and personal sins, we are to confess our sins to Him (1 Jn 1:9) and gain His forgiveness. Our agreeing with God in confession involves seeing our sin and acknowledging it as He sees it. This brings God’s forgiveness. He has not overlooked our sin nor simply excused it, but has applied the restitution payment paid by His Son on the Cross (1 Jn 1:7) to forgive our sin. The result is that the vertical relationship is restored. By definition         nobody but God was offended by our sin. Therefore, confession before the Lord ends the matter.

Offenses with Victims

This type of offense involves sinning against other persons. Others are somehow affected by our sin and thereby offended. We have “trespassed” against both God in our vertical relationship and against others with which we share a horizontal relationship in this category of sin. Therefore, forgiveness must restore the horizontal relationship with persons sinned against and also the vertical relationship with God – both civil and religious forgiveness must be sought.

An Alternate View:

At this point some propose5 that the believer ONLY needs to confess an offense to God and be forgiven without any need to seek civil forgiveness nor to resolve the horizontal relationships offended.

The claim is made that the death of Christ brings forgiveness before God (religious) AND before men (civil) without any further resolving or restitution between men. The proponents argue that every sin and crime need only be confessed to God for total forgiveness. The victim is required to forgive based solely upon the forgiveness that they have personally received in Christ. This view is proposed from faulty interpretations of passages like Ephesians 4:32 and Colossians 3:13.

Eph 4:32 And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ forgave you. (NKJ)

Col 3:13 bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. (NKJ)

If this view is carried to its logical end, the victim MUST FORGIVE and be restored with the perpetrator (restored in horizontal relationship) solely upon the forgiveness of Christ. Thus:

(1) The thief steals, confesses to God, and is supposedly totally forgiven – tough luck for the victim who has lost real property.

(2) The slanderer libels, devastates his target, confesses to God, and is supposedly totally forgiven – Tough luck again for the victim with a ruined reputation. As should be quickly surmised, this is NOT BIBLICAL.

The basic arguments against this view involve the fact that the death of Christ made payment or restitution for the sins of men BEFORE GOD satisfying His victimization in all sin. Satisfying man’s victimization demands pursuing the issues of civil forgiveness yet to be presented. God’s righteousness and justice were satisfied (propitiated) by the death of Christ so that men can receive God’s (religious) forgiveness as well as eternal salvation.

Also, God’s payment or restitution as an included party in the sins of one man against another was covered by the death of Christ, but sins against society and against one another require civil restitution for forgiveness before God and men. Thus:

(1) The thief steals, realizes his sin, confesses to God and the victim, makes restitution, and is forgiven by God. He is also required to be forgiven by men. God was compensated in the death of Christ. The victim was compensated by restitution.

(2) The slanderer libels and devastates his target, realizes his sin, confesses to God and the victim, makes restitution, and is forgiven by God. He is also required to be forgiven by men. God was compensated in the death of Christ. The victim is compensated by the restitution.

This is the OVERVIEW of the basic principle that must be detailed from the Scriptures. Those who hold that confession to God alone is all that is necessary for forgiveness remove the basis for criminal law. They also remove the basis of restitution to victims. Some holding this view include in their logic a faulty interpretation David’s prayer of confession in Psalm 51 where he states, “Against Thee, Thee only, have I sinned, . . .”6 God is pictured as the only one to whom confession must be made thus avoiding the command of James 5:16 to “confess your faults to one another” which should be interpreted as following the normative process of civil forgiveness in the confession of the sin(s) of the offender to the offended parties.7

What an Offender Does to be Forgiven

Having outlined an overview of what an offender should do when involved in sin against another, the Scriptures are now set forth.

Since one of the proper uses of the Old Testament is “for our example” (1 Cor 10:11), the foundation for what an offender should do to seek forgiveness includes the examples of God’s Law. Leviticus 6:1-7 presents clear guidelines about the principles involved when one sins against God and another person.

Lev 6:1-7 And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying:

2 If a person sins and commits a trespass against the LORD by lying to his neighbor about what was delivered to him for safekeeping, or about a pledge, or about a robbery, or if he has extorted from his neighbor,

3 or if he has found what was lost and lies concerning it, and swears falsely– in any one of these things that a man may do in which he sins:

4 then it shall be, because he has sinned and is guilty, that he shall restore what he has stolen, or the thing which he has extorted, or what was delivered to him for safekeeping, or the lost thing which he found,

5 or all that about which he has sworn falsely. He shall restore its full value, add one-fifth more to it, and give it to whomever it belongs, on the day of his trespass offering.

6 And he shall bring his trespass offering to the LORD, a ram without blemish from the flock, with your valuation, as a trespass offering, to the priest.

7 So the priest shall make atonement for him before the LORD, and he shall be forgiven for any one of these things that he may have done in which he trespasses.” (NKJ)

The situation involves a sin against the Lord that is also a sin against another person. There are victims involved. God is first set forth as the ultimate victim of all sin. This scenario also includes persons who are victims. The pattern for forgiveness set forth includes the offender seeking religious forgiveness with God to restore the vertical relationship through the required trespass offering. It also includes seeking civil forgiveness and restoring the horizontal relationship         through a change of mind (metanoia) repentance, confession and restitution.

The offenses mentioned include both minor, lying, false swearing (v.2,3), lessor categories (“any of these things” v.3) to major offenses, robbery (V.2), and extortion (v.2).

The requirement is that the offender who is guilty of the sin (1) come before the Lord (v.6), (2) Acknowledge the sin by a mind changing repentance and confess it8 (v.6-7), (3) Make restitution (v.5), and then (4) receive final forgiveness from God (v.7).

The offense here is not viewed as outright criminal activity. If it was, the restitution would at least be double as per Exodus 22:1-4. The restitution here involved restoration plus an added payment of twenty percent. Under this formula, forgiveness is granted by God and is also to be granted by the victim.

Forgiveness means “to discharge, dismiss, acquit, let loose from; to remit a debt or sin, to pardon.”9 Forgiveness does not mean that the offense will be forgotten. Jay Adams explains further what is involved:

Forgiveness means no longer continuing to dwell on the sin that was forgiven. Forgiveness is the promise not to raise the issue again to the offender, to others or to himself. Brooding is a violation of the promise made in granting forgiveness.10

Furthermore, as the principles of forgiveness are followed, there is

“. . . the establishment of a new relationship between the offender and God and between the offender and the offended party (parties).. . . enmity and alienation are replaced by peace and fellowship.”11

The offender is forgiven. The estranged relationship is restored and peace should prevail. The former offender has not only been forgiven by the grace of God, but has taken the required action to seek to make restitution to the victim.

It must be noted that where tangible property is involved, the principle is straightforward as in the above example. However, in intangible areas where a reputation has been damaged, a confidence or trust violated, or the sin has driven a wedge between believers, the restitution may only be in an apology or restitution that requires the offender to retrieve the maligning or gossip before all involved. In the latter case, this should be sufficient. In the former case, the offender         can only make restitution by exhibiting “fruits worthy of repentance” (Matt 3:8) over a period of time. On the other hand, the victim must forgive the offender before God and leave things in His hands while seeking reconciliation.12

A second Old Testament passage that addresses what an offender should do to obtain forgiveness is found in Leviticus 5:15-16.

Lev 5:15-16 If a person commits a trespass, and sins unintentionally in regard to the holy things of the LORD, then he shall bring to the LORD as his trespass offering a ram without blemish from the flocks, with your valuation in shekels of silver according to the shekel of the sanctuary, as a trespass offering.

16 And he shall make restitution for the harm that he has done in regard to the holy thing, and shall add one-fifth to it and give it to the priest. So the priest shall make atonement for him with the ram of the trespass offering, and it shall be forgiven him. (NKJ)

At issue is sin that is unintentional against the “holy things” of the Lord. These “things” might be seen as the properties of the Lord. When this happened, the Lord Himself required both the trespass offering for the sin to resolve the vertical estrangement that the sin had caused between himself and the Lord and a restitution payment in restoring the “holy thing” plus twenty percent. The restoration and additional compensation resolved the horizontal         estrangement of the offender from the priest who was the Lord’s personal representative in the matter.

Based upon the (1) Confession of the sin, (2) The offering representing the atonement of Messiah to come, and (3) The restitution payment, forgiveness was to be granted with all its ramifications discussed above.

An Interesting Application: If forgiveness that victimizes others normally includes some manner of restitution that is seen as restoration of the “thing” plus twenty percent, it certainly would cause many to think twice before setting out to sin against other believers. On the other end, for the victim, seeing restitution plus twenty percent would go a long way toward motivating one to forgive “seventy times seven.”

That believer which borrowed your car and returned it dented, would do better to return it restored with credit for a few tanks of gasoline. He would have gone the extra mile seen in the above examples and you would have little trouble forgiving – really forgiving – and letting him borrow the car again!

Jesus’ Teaching on Forgiveness for the Offender

One passage stands out in the Lord’s teaching on forgiveness according to the offender, Matthew 5:23-24.

Matt 5:23-24 Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you,

24 leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. (NKJ)

Here, the offender is pictured as attempting to worship and serve the Lord. However, as an offender, there is a sin, an offense that stands between himself and another. Because of the order of procedure, the logical assumption is to assume that the offense also stands between the offender and God. In other words, the vertical relationship has been violated by the sin as well as the horizontal relationship. Both civil as well as religious forgiveness are to be sought.

Bringing a “gift to the altar” assumes the desire by the offender to be reconciled with the Lord. In terms of Romans 6:13, the offender has decided to “yield his members as instruments of righteousness to God.” He has acknowledged his sin to the Lord with the desire of forgiveness from the Lord.

Yet, the Lord instructs the offender to “first be reconciled to your brother and then come and offer your gift.” The obvious conclusion is that as in the Old Testament example of Leviticus 6:1-7, civil forgiveness is to be sought as a part of God’s religious forgiveness. Both the horizontal estrangement with the person(s) offended needs to be addressed and also the vertical estrangement (unresolved sin) with the Lord.

Biblical Examples of Offenders Seeking Forgiveness

Except for those seeking salvation forgiveness there are few examples of offenders seeking forgiveness. Two examples in the Old Testament and two examples in the New Testament shall be set forth of an offender seeking forgiveness.

Pharaoh: The first example is the Pharaoh of Egypt who when faced with the plague of locusts asked forgiveness of both the Lord and of Moses who represented Israel in Exodus 10. Because of Pharaohs’ refusal to let Israel go, God sent the locust plague. In the severity of the plague, Pharaoh quickly realized his trespass. He approached Moses for forgiveness.

Exod 10:16-17 Then Pharaoh called for Moses and Aaron in haste, and said, “I have sinned against the LORD your God and against you. 17 Now therefore, please forgive my sin only this once, and entreat the LORD your God, that He may take away from me this death only.” (NKJ)

Pharaoh, as an unbeliever, recognized the trespass was against both God and man. He confessed his sin to Moses asking for his forgiveness and also asking Moses to entreat God for His forgiveness.

It is obvious that the restitution offered to the Lord and Moses was a reconsideration of letting Israel leave Egypt. Moses and the Lord forgave, removing the plague. However, Pharaoh later refused the restitution and would become subject to more plagues.

Exod 10:18-20 So he went out from Pharaoh and entreated the LORD. 19 And the LORD turned a very strong west wind, which took the locusts away and blew them into the Red Sea. There remained not one locust in all the territory of Egypt. 20 But the LORD hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he did not let the children of Israel go. (NKJ)

Abigail: The second example is Abigail who sought to take the blame for the evil of her husband, Nabal, who had railed upon David. As David, in anger, would seek to take vengeance, Abigail came to David in the name of the offender, Nabal, asking forgiveness with gifts of restitution.

1 Sam 25:18 Then Abigail made haste and took two hundred loaves of bread, two skins of wine, five sheep already dressed, five seahs of roasted grain, one hundred clusters of raisins, and two hundred cakes of figs, and loaded them on donkeys. (NKJ)

1 Sam 25:27-28 And now this present which your maidservant has brought to my lord, let it be given to the young men who follow my lord. 28 Please forgive the trespass of your maidservant. For the LORD will certainly make for my lord an enduring house, because my lord fights the battles of the LORD, and evil is not found in you throughout your days. (NKJ)

Although nothing is mentioned of confession to the Lord, certainly the horizontal relationship that had become estranged was addressed with (1) Confession, (2) Seeking forgiveness, and (3) Restitution.

The Prodigal Son: The major New Testament example is that of the prodigal son (Luke 15:11-32). The most familiar parable begins with the younger son obtaining and wasting his inheritance on “riotous living” (v.13) and on prostitutes (v.30). As he runs out of money and begins to reap the results of the terrible decisions he has made, he realizes he has sinned. He has a metanoia mind changing repentance and realizes that he has sinned against God and also         against his father.

Luke 15:18-19 I will arise and go to my father, and will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you, 19 and I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Make me like one of your hired servants. (NKJ)

The son realizes his sin has vertical (man to God) and also horizontal consequences (man to man). It is assumed that at that moment of repentance he probably confessed his sins to God and determined to return to his father with the offer of the minimal restitution. He would return to his father to become as a hired servant.

In this example, the father – a picture of our Heavenly Father – a victim in this offense, accepts the repentance, but refuses the restitution. He fully restores his son solely based upon the repentance and the offer of restitution he made.

Luke 15:21-22 And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight, and am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ 22 But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet. (NKJ)

The Attitude of Zacchaeus: A second New Testament example is that of the attitude portrayed by Zacchaeus in Luke 19:1-10. As Jesus comes to Jericho, this short rich tax collector climbed a tree to see the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus, seeing the desire and faith of Zacchaeus, would choose to stay in his house. Zacchaeus was overjoyed though there were others who would criticize Jesus for being a guest in the house of a sinner.

Evidently Zacchaeus heard the simple message of the gospel that would be “faith alone in Christ alone.” His great joy in having fellowship with Jesus may very well speak of his salvation. As the complainers label Zacchaeus “a sinner,” Zacchaeus proposes what he would do to show forth the fruits of his salvation.13

Luke 19:8-9 Then Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord, I give half of my goods to the poor; and if I have taken anything from anyone by false accusation, I restore fourfold.” 9 And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because he also is a son of Abraham; (NKJ)

The attitude portrayed by Zacchaeus was that if he had been an offender in any of his tax collecting activities, he desired to seek forgiveness. His seeking forgiveness would be based upon (1) Seeing that he had made a “false accusation” [Repentance]; (2) Acknowledging it [Confession]; and (3) Seeking forgiveness with a fourfold restitution.

Conclusions for Offenders Seeking Forgiveness

1. In a victimless offense, God is still the victim of all sin and forgiveness by confession needs to be sought. (1 Jn 1:9)

2. In offenses where others are victimized, the offender must realized that both vertical estrangement with God and horizontal estrangement with the offended persons has occurred. Both religious and civil forgiveness must be sought. Scripture seems to precondition religious forgiveness upon seeking (even if not received) civil forgiveness. Lev 6:1-7; Matt 5:23-24.

3. The offender seeking forgiveness should confess the offense to all involved starting with God and seek to make restitution plus an additional amount to the persons involved. Lev 5:15-16; Lev 6:1-7; 1 Sam 25:27-28.

Forgiveness from the Viewpoint of the Victim

Most of the Scriptures that deal with the topic of forgiveness address it according to the believer who has been wronged or victimized by the sin of another.

If the offender would follow the Biblical guidelines and do what is right before the Lord, estrangement issues would be easily handled and peace and fellowship would follow. However, because of continued sin that is rampant, offenders often fail to do what is right until various pressures are brought to bear.

Just as the offender’s sin has ramifications with God and also the victim, the granting of forgiveness involves both God and the offender. A survey of the New Testament passages that deal with person to person forgiveness clearly reveals that as believers we are commanded to be forgiving and to forgive. The remainder of this study will seek to glean some details.

Granting Religious Forgiveness: Forgiving an Offender Before God

Whenever an offense has occurred from the smallest to the greatest and we are the victim, the immediate step of forgiveness is due before God. Although our victimization was not caused by God, but by sin, God, by allowing it has chosen to use it somehow in our lives. In keeping with the realization that in God’s all-encompassing plan, “all things work together for good” (Rom 8:28) and “in everything give thanks” (1 Thes 5:18), our approach         to God is the first step in granting forgiveness. In fact, God demands that we release the offender to Him by prayer forgiveness (Mark 11:25-26 and Rom 12:19).

Mark 11:25-26 “And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses. 26 But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses.” (NKJ)

As the victim of an offense, we can either react or turn it over to the Lord. The Lord commands us to forgive, releasing the offense and the offender to Him. The forgiveness spoken of here is before the Lord in prayer. In context, the Lord is teaching on prayer. One aspect of being the victim of some offense is the immediate retaliatory sins14 that pop into the mind – mental attitude sins – toward the offender. These sins must be handled. The Lord commands us to forgive. This forgiveness involves a releasing of the offender, the offense, and our victimization into the hands of the Lord. It is further explained by coupling this idea with Romans 12:19.

Rom 12:19 Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. (NKJ)

The offender and the offense is to be RELEASED to the Lord for Him to handle. He is to be relied upon to “repay” out of His own plan for the offender and His vengeance. Our attitude before the Lord is to have forgiven and released the offense. In the words of Jay Adams, previously cited:

Forgiveness means no longer continuing to dwell on the sin that was forgiven. Forgiveness is the promise not to raise the issue again [here complaining to God], to others or to himself. Brooding is a violation of the promise made in granting forgiveness.15

In releasing the offense and the offender to God by this act of vertical forgiveness or our granting religious forgiveness, the Lord can then forgive our sins. I take this as God’s forgiveness of our immediate or lingering reaction sins toward the offense and the offender. The same is to be said for similar contexts in which God’s forgiveness of us is based upon our forgiving of others (Matt 6:12,14,15; 18:35; Mark 11:25,26; Luke 6:37; 11:4)

When the Lord couples His forgiveness of us with our forgiveness in prayer – our granting of religious forgiveness – He is not conditioning our eternal forgiveness of sins upon being forgiving. Louis Barbieri has said:

Though God’s forgiveness of sin is not based on one’s forgiving others, a Christian’s forgiveness is based on realizing he has been forgiven (cf. Eph 4:32). Personal fellowship with God is in view in these verses (not salvation from sin). One cannot walk in fellowship with God if he refuses to forgive others.16

Therefore, to summarize, the first step in granting forgiveness is the granting of religious forgiveness before God by forgiving the offense and the offender through turning the whole matter over to the Lord for His action and vengeance if necessary.

One of the best examples of this happening was with David and Nabal in 1 Samuel 25. Nabal offended David. David reacted and would seek to take his revenge. Abigail, wife of Nabal, interceded for her husband and convinced David to turn the offense and the offender over to the Lord. Because Nabal would continue unrepentant, the Lord ends striking him dead in His vengeance.17

Finally, religious forgiveness is often the only type of forgiveness that can be granted toward unbelievers. They are forgiven by the victim before the Lord and left in His hands as unbelievers whom God’s loves and who are in need of the gospel. We deal with these unbelievers with the same desires to see their salvation and cautions as we would deal with any other unbelievers at various levels of communication and commerce18.

Granting Civil Forgiveness: Personally Forgiving an Offender

The process of granting forgiveness comes next. The Lord commands us as believers to forgive one another as we have received the forgiveness of our sins in Christ (Eph 4:32; Col 3:13).

Eph 4:32 And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ forgave you. (NKJ)

Col 3:13 bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. (NKJ)

The granting of civil forgiveness is not simply an overlooking of the sin(s) of the offender, but is to follow a clearly laid out process that is found in both Matthew 18:15-17 and Luke 17:3-4. The account of Luke seems to summarize19 best the process and will be presented first.

Luke 17:3-4 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. (NKJ)

The process of civil forgiveness is set forth in four steps in Luke 17:3, (1) The offense, (2) The rebuke; (3) The opportunity to repent; (4) Forgiveness (civil).

(1) The Offense: An offender has committed a trespass against another and has sinned against him. Because we are dealing with forgiveness according to the victim, the assumption is made that the offender HAS NOT realized his sin or has opted not to deal with his sin in terms of the victim as previously presented. Therefore, there is a wall, an estrangement that now stands between believers. The Lord desire us to be at peace with one another (Heb 12:14) and be reconciled         to one another (Matt 5:24). Therefore, the offense cannot be overlooked or allowed to stand unchallenged. The results would be an ongoing non biblical estrangement.

(2) The Rebuke: If the offender has not sought to resolve the matter, it falls upon the victim to take the next step. The Scripture says, “Rebuke Him.” Rebuke in the original is EPITIMAO epitimao, and is a command. It is a summary statement of the three stage process of Matthew 18:15-17 that says “go and tell him” and uses the original word elegcho meaning “to reprove.”

The word “reprove” ELEGCHO (elegcho) is a strong word that may mean “to bring to light, expose, convict, or convince someone of something.”20 In the Matthew context it speaks of showing the offender his fault. The most biblical and loving thing one can do for a sinning brother is to rebuke him by confronting him with the truth of his sin and the solution for his sinful conduct.21 Proverbs 27:5-6 says, “Open rebuke is better than love carefully concealed. Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful. (NKJ)

The word “rebuke” EPITIMAO (epitimao) of Luke 17 is also a strong word meaning “to rebuke, reprove, censure,” and also “to speak seriously, warn to prevent an action or bring one to an end.”22

Thus it shows that the process of civil forgiveness demands a confrontation in love with the offender. This is not optional, but required. The details and possible stages of such a confrontation are detailed in the Matthew 18:15-17 account.

Matt 18:15-17 Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother. 16 But if he will not hear, take with you one or two more, that ‘by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.’ 17 And if he refuses to hear them, tell it to the church. But if he refuses even to hear the church, let him be to you like a heathen and a tax collector.         (NKJ)

In this account there are three possible stages to work toward the goal of repentance, forgiveness and restoration. The first stage is a rebuke in private. This may be attempted a second time as Titus 3:10 suggests. If the offender does not respond with “hearing you” (repentance), then a rebuke before witnesses is the second stage. Stage one is totally private. Stage two is semi-private.23 If the offender still refuses to “hear them” (repent), then it goes to the third stage that is, “tell it to the church.”24

At any of the stages of Matthew 18, repentance is the desired result. If the offender repents, the final step of forgiveness is to be forthcoming as presented in Luke 17:3. On the other hand if he will not hear “even the church,” Biblical sanctions have to be taken for the benefit of both the church body and the unrepentant offender. Let us assume repentance first.

(3) The Repentance: Repentance is the original word metanoia that carries the basic idea of a change of mind and attitude. “Repentance involves a change of attitude toward sin followed by a corresponding change of action.”25 Civil forgiveness is coupled with repentance that includes the offer of restitution. For the victim it is coupled with the verbal repentance including the offer of restitution by the offender and is not dependent upon fruits, completing restitution, or anything else.26

Therefore, at the most basic level a true change of mind metanoia repentance is to be the desired result of the rebuke. The offender truly “hears” of his sin and sees it as both God and the victim see the sin. When he confesses this change of mind to the offended victim in the spirit of James 5:16 “confess your faults one to another,”27 he is to be forgiven.

(4) Forgiveness (Civil): At this stage of the summary procedure found in Luke 17:3-4, religious forgiveness (the vertical) has already been accomplished as the victim has released the offense and the offender to the Lord God and turned any “vengeance” over to Him. The forgiveness step is an effort to reestablish the horizontal relationship of person to person to allow for restoration, peace, and fellowship.

Thus, based upon repentance, civil forgiveness is to be granted by the victim.28

Luke 17:3-4 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. (NKJ)

“If he repents, forgive him.” Jesus would summarize what should be the normal RESULT of the repentance of the offender – the victim is REQUIRED to forgive leaving any “fruits,” suggested restitution, or what follows in the hands of the Lord. Jay Adams rightly observes that this may be the hardest step, even beyond the confrontation, for the victim.29 The disciples of the Lord also would have a very hard time with what Jesus would teach.

Jesus would continue to relate His teaching of Luke 17:4. If the offender sins seven times a day and returns to the victim with a metanoia mind changing repentance, he is to be forgiven. There is no mention of “fruits” nor anything else that has to precede the victim granting civil forgiveness to the offender. The responsibilities of “fruits,” restitution, and the like, are left between the Lord and the offender to be carried out. The victim is NOT         called upon to “police” the actions after repentance.

The disciples had a HARD TIME with this is evidenced by the discourse that followed.

Luke 17:5 And the apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith.” (NKJ)

The Lord would go on to explain that it DOES NOT take much faith, but simple obedience to do what He was commanding to be done about forgiveness.

Luke 17:6 So the Lord said, “If you have faith as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be pulled up by the roots and be planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you. (NKJ)

In other words, it does not take much faith. If you had the grain of a mustard seed, trees and mountains could be moved.

Jesus would then go on to illustrate this point with a parable, the Parable of the Unprofitable Servant.

Luke 17:7-10 And which of you, having a servant plowing or tending sheep, will say to him when he has come in from the field, ‘Come at once and sit down to eat’? 8 But will he not rather say to him, ‘Prepare something for my supper, and gird yourself and serve me till I have eaten and drunk, and afterward you will eat and drink’? 9 Does he thank that servant because he did the things that were commanded him? I think not. 10 So likewise         you, when you have done all those things which you are commanded, say, ‘We are unprofitable servants. We have done what was our duty to do.’ (NKJ)

The point of Jesus’ parable is to say that though a servant has worked all day obeying his master and comes in to dinner, his duties are not done until he prepares dinner for his master. His master will not invite him to eat immediately, but require him to fulfill his duty to prepare the master’s dinner. The servant will do his duty, prepare the master’s dinner, and then sit to eat. The servant does not receive special thanks for doing what was commanded. He does what is his         duty.

In the same way Jesus was saying that it does not take faith; it does not take feeling; nor any other thing to simply OBEY and do what God has commanded. He has commanded that if the offender verbally exhibits repentance, OUR DUTY is to grant civil forgiveness and forgive him.

If we only do what is our duty, we are still considered unprofitable servants. If we take steps beyond our duty, perhaps like the father of the prodigal son, then we become more “profitable servants.”30

The unfortunate fact that makes this view of how a victim should grant repentance so hard is that we want justice! – justice as we see it. What is often forgotten is that the offender also has responsibilities in obtaining forgiveness as shown in the earlier examples. His responsibilities have been placed into the hands of the Lord and the potential for His vengeance if they are ignored. In personal situations except for criminal law, the Lord has promised to handle offenders         who do not fulfill their side of the forgiveness principles. We must leave these things in His hands.31

Joseph: A Biblical Example of a Victim’s Forgiveness

If ever there was a man who had been wronged by his family, it was Joseph. He had been hated by his brothers, almost murdered by them and finally sold by them into slavery. In all this Joseph did not hate his brothers. When he finally met them, in his position as second to Pharaoh, he would test them to see if they had had a change of mind about what they had done to him. Joseph used his younger brother, Benjamin, Jacob’s new favorite, to test the brothers that sold him into         slavery. Upon seeing their concern for Benjamin, Joseph would treat them as family. After Jacob/Israel would die, Joseph was told the wish of his father that he forgive his brothers (Gen 50:16-17).

Gen 50:16-17 So they sent messengers to Joseph, saying, “Before your father died he commanded, saying, 17 ‘Thus you shall say to Joseph: “I beg you, please forgive the trespass of your brothers and their sin; for they did evil to you.”‘ Now, please, forgive the trespass of the servants of the God of your father.” And Joseph wept when they spoke to him. (NKJ)

Joseph would rebuke his brothers (Gen 50:20), they would repent and offer themselves as the servants of Joseph (Gen 50:18). Based upon their words (not their servitude) Joseph would forgive his brothers (Gen 50:19-21).

Gen 50:18-21 Then his brothers also went and fell down before his face, and they said, “Behold, we are your servants.” 19 Joseph said to them, “Do not be afraid, for am I in the place of God? 20 But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive. 21 Now therefore, do not be afraid; I will provide for you and your little ones.”         And he comforted them and spoke kindly to them. (NKJ)

In approaching his brothers Joseph offered a strong rebuke in Genesis 50:20 when he told them, “you meant evil against me.” Yet, in the plan of God, the Lord used this evil for the ultimate benefit of Joseph, Israel, and even Egypt.

Furthermore, the brothers gave a solid indication of their change of mind repentance even offering themselves as servants in restitution.

Finally, Joseph would forgive them based upon their response to the rebuke and what they said. He would leave the details of their future actions in the hands of the Lord.

When the Offender Does Not Repent

What does a victim do about forgiveness when the offender rejects the rebuke and will not change his mind and repent – even all the way up to the third stage of Matthew 18:15-17?

The victim has followed the principles on forgiveness before the Lord, releasing the offender and the offense to the Lord – religious forgiveness in the vertical relationship with God. Still, the horizontal relationship is unresolved.

At this point Matthew 18:17 states, “But if he refuses even to hear the church, let him be to you like a heathen and a tax collector. (NKJ)” The victim is to consider the unrepentant offender as a nonbeliever. There is a separation that needs to take place in obedience to Scripture and for the benefit of the unrepentant offender. He is treated as nonbeliever because he is not walking as a believer. He is to be “loved” in the same way Jesus loved sinners         and publicans, but he is no longer to be related to as a member of the body of Christ. This is not a “shunning,” but a separation from Christian fellowship.32

The status of forgiveness is that before the Lord the victim has forgiven (vertically) the offender. The offender has thrown up the wall of separation from personal forgiveness by unrepentance thus blocking the horizontal forgiveness. It must be stressed that it is NOT the victim who is being unforgiving, but the offender who is at fault. This is much the same situation that God finds Himself in when we sin and do not confess. We stand in a state of unforgiveness before God.         Is this God’s fault? Absolutely not! It is the fault of the offender. The victim must understand this and continue to urge repentance to the offender.

Paul and the Corinthian Church: An Example

A congregation member in Corinth was living in gross immorality and would not be corrected. At the urging of the Word of the Lord through Paul, he was to be separated from and put out of the assembly. He stood as unforgiven until he would repent (1 Cor 5:1,5,13)

1 Cor 5:1 It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and such sexual immorality as is not even named among the Gentiles– that a man has his father’s wife! (NKJ)

1 Cor 5:5 deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus. (NKJ)

1 Cor 5:13 But those who are outside God judges. Therefore “put away from yourselves the evil person.” (NKJ)

This principle is designed to “pressure” an offender into seeking restoration by repentance. The Corinthian congregation member, treated in this manner, must have repented and acknowledged his sin to the Lord and to those involved so that forgiveness could be extended and he could be accepted back into the congregation (2 Cor 2:6-8).

2 Cor 2:6-8 Sufficient to such a man is this punishment, which was inflicted of many. 7 So that contrariwise ye ought rather to forgive him, and comfort him, lest perhaps such a one should be swallowed up with overmuch sorrow. 8 Wherefore I beseech you that ye would confirm your love toward him. (KJV)

The basic framework upon which forgiveness by the victim to the offender is built is the change of mind of the offending party.

Conclusion

In summarizing the conclusions on personal forgiveness, separate principles apply to an Offender and to a Victim.

The Offender is to (1) Acknowledge his sin to the Lord; (2) Go to the victim(s) acknowledge his sin, his change of mind, and propose restitution; (3) An offender following these guidelines is forgiven by the Lord and should be forgiven by the victim(s). If the victim refuses to forgive, the victim is now living in disobedience to the Lord.

The Victim is required to (1) Forgive before the Lord and release the offender and the offense to the Lord. (2) He is to go to the offender with the purpose of confronting him with his sin – Rebuke. (3) If the offender changes his mind and says so in repentance, he is to be forgiven. (4) If the offender does not repent through all three stages of Matthew 18:15-17 (In private, Before witnesses, Before the Church), he is to be set outside the fellowship and remains unforgiven         by his (the offenders) actions (like we are before God when we do not confess sin). (5) If and when repentance takes place, he is to be forgiven.

Final Note

Forgiveness is basic and restores fellowship among believers. Forgiveness does not necessarily restore positions. Under Mosaic Law, a murderer or an adulterer could be forgiven and still executed as the temporal consequence for the sin. The same is true for positions of spiritual leadership as seen with Moses (Nu 20:11-12), Aaron (Nu 20:23-28) and the apostate Levites of Ezekiel 44:10-16 who, as spiritual leaders, obviously must have repented of their sin, but lost their positions.         Forgiveness is a first step to restore fellowship while other Biblical factors are to be brought to bear on restoration to various positions including leadership.33

 

Posted by: Edith L Tunsil, 2/23/14, from the Scripture man website: Written by Rev, Paul R. Schmidtbleicher, Th. B, Th. M.

 

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Written By:  Edith L Tunsil  2/16/ 2014.

LOVE: IS POWER !!!

 

      In one of my earlier articles, I wrote about love. It was titled:  ”Where Is The Love? Love Is The Answer.  However, now after writing that article, I recognize that much more needs to be brought out in this area.   Love is the most important part of a Christian’s life,  it’s what you should concentrate on and “Press yourself” more to make it  first place in your life.  The Godly spirit of Love “Should be embedded so deeply in you, that nothing can separate you from this POWERFUL GIFT , that God has given you.  Keep in mind, that “GOD IS LOVE”: that is why God gave us this law as the first of the “Ten Commandments”.

Defining Love Biblically God’s Own Definitions of Love (c)2000 Rev. Paul R. Schmidtbleicher, Th.B.,Th.M.
Part I The Basics Introduction: Much has been spoken and written about the subject of “love.” The greatest statement about “love” is the “Great Commandment.” Its two commands revolve around practicing “love.” The Great Commandment is found in several places. Matthew 22:37-40 is one of the most complete presentations.

Matt 22:37-40 Jesus said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40 On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.” (NKJ)

Most never even come close to understanding and keeping the “Great Commandment.” This is because most tend to redefine love in terms of their own emotional ideas or even worse, the “Hollywood” portrayals of “love.” As Jesus presented this “Great Commandment,” He personally believed that it was the summation of all the commandments found in the Law and the Prophets.          The Lord God defines “love” succinctly in His Word. Any human understanding of “love” MUST BE FOUNDED ON God’s Own definition.
Scriptures: John the Apostle is known as “the apostle of love” (John 13:23). He understood Biblical “love” better than most. The Lord used John as the primary human author in His Word to define “love.” Consider and ponder what God says through John:

John 14:15                If you love Me, keep My commandments.(NKJ)
John 14:21                He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.” (NKJ)
John 14:23                Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him. (NKJ)
John 15:10                If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. (NKJ)
I John 2:5                But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him. (NKJ)
I John 5:2                By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and keep His commandments. (NKJ)
I John 5:3                For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome. (NKJ)
II John 1:6                This is love, that we walk according to His commandments. This is the commandment, that as you have heard from the beginning, you should walk in it. (NKJ)

All these Scriptures have one MOST IMPORTANT detail in common. They all relate God’s definition of “love” to (1) Knowing and (2) Keeping His commandments. All “love” begins here!          The preceding Scripture quotes were placed in the order of their occurrence in the Bible. However, two of these passages directly define love:

I John 5:3                For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome. (NKJ)                II John 1:6                This is love, that we walk according to His commandments. This is the commandment, that as you have heard from the beginning, you should walk in it. (NKJ)

The love of God = that we keep His Commandments (1 John 5:3) and Love = walking according to His commandments (2 John 1:6) Summary Therefore, the most basic definition of “love” from the standpoint of God Himself involves knowing and keeping His commandments. This means that we cannot love God with all our heart, mind, and soul until we know Him, know His commands and begin to practice them by “walking in the Spirit.”          The loving of our neighbor is similar as there are numerous commands given by the Lord that are directed towards one another. As Christians, it is up to us to practically learn how God commands that we treat one another and then begin to practice those commands by “walking in the Spirit.” Such things as:

            -Not speaking evil of our neighbors (Ephesians 4:31)             -Not being bitter towards our neighbor             -Resolving anger with neighbors             -Not gossiping with or about neighbors             -etc.

are examples of some of the commands given to us by the Lord that, when kept, enable us to “love our neighbor as ourselves.”
Conclusion          Fulfilling God’s commands “to love” first involves knowing the Lord God through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. From there we are to come under the hearing of God’s Word so that our faith will grow (Romans 10:17). Learning God’s Word builds faith, believing what we learn and “walking in the Spirit” enables us to apply these things to be “Doers of the Word” and thus “love” God and our neighbors thereby fulfilling the “love commands.”
Part II Building Upon the Basics – 1 Corinthians 13 God’s Extended Definition of Love          Once the “basics” are understood, the Lord has given us a very detailed definition of the boundaries and parameters of our love in 1 Corinthians 13. This chapter, in its entirety, has been called the “Love Chapter.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-8a gives us sixteen defining aspects of love. We want to survey and reflect upon those principles in Part II.

1 Cor 13:4-8 Love is patient, love is kind, and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, 5 does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, 6 does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 8 Love never fails;…..(NAS)

Love is the giving of ourselves. Here are the details as to how we are to do it in very practical ways. The foundation of this study is built upon Matthew Henry’s excellent treatment of this chapter in his commentary. It should be consulted for further study.
1 Corinthians 13:4 Aspects 1 – 5

4 Love is patient, love is kind, and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant,

1. Love is patient – The old English says of this phrase: “Love is long suffering” — The original word MAKROTHYMEI, includes the idea of patient forbearing. We give of ourselves in love to endure evil, injury, and provocation, without being filled with resentment, indignation, or revenge. Love takes power over the angry passions of our sin natures, and furnishes with a persevering patience, that should rather wait and wish for the reformation and growth of a person rather than fly out in resentment of his conduct. Love given will put up with many slights and neglects from the         person it loves, and wait long to see the effects of such patience
2. Love is Kind – The original word, CHRESTEFETAI, means kind, gentle behavior. Love is courteous and obliging. The heart of love is large and her hand open. Love is ready to show favors and to do good. She seeks to be useful; and not only seizes on opportunities of doing good, but searches for them. This is the general character of love. Love is patient under injuries, and inclined to do all that can be done in kindness.
3. Love Does Not Envy – Love suppresses envy: The original word encompasses both envy and jealousy. Love does not express itself in envy nor jealousy. It is not grieved at the good of others; neither at their gifts nor at their good qualities, their honors nor their estates. If we love another we do not envy their position or prosperity in life, nor are we displeased with it to destroy it. In expressing love, we should share in it and rejoice at it. The prosperity of those to whom we wish well should never grieve us. Our positions in life are established by the Lord in connection with our         obedient responses to Him. Love gives in that it remains free of envy.
4. Love Does Not Brag (Vaunt itself) – The believers who are seeking to give true Biblical love do not compete for the applause and admiration of others. Instead, it will, in honor, prefer one another, (Romans 12:10). Such a love will do nothing out of a spirit of contention or vain-glory, but in lowliness of mind will esteem others better than themselves, (Philippians 2:3). True love will give us an esteem of the other person, and raise our value for them. Doing this will also limit our esteem of ourselves, and prevent self-conceit and arrogance. The original word as translated into the         Syriac means that Biblical Love does not raise tumults and disturbances. Biblical Love seeks to calm angry passions, instead of raising them.
5. Love is not Arrogant (Puffed up) – The original word speaks of being conceited or proud. Biblical love is not displayed by thinking that we totally understand the other person; that we can read their minds and actions; and that we can predict what they will do in the future. This is conceit and arrogance. On the other hand, Biblical Love is modest, expecting change, and awaiting the expression of the true mind, thoughts, and actions of the one who is loved.
1 Corinthians 13:5 Aspects 6-9

5 does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered,

6. Love Does not act Unbecomingly (unseemly) – Biblical Love is careful not to pass the bounds of decency. The original word, ASCHEMONEO, speaks of defying moral and mannerly standards. Biblical love gives by not acting ill-mannered or rude. It does nothing indecorous, nothing that in the common account of men is base or vile. It does nothing out of place or time; but behaves towards all men as becomes their rank and ours, with reverence and respect to superiors, with kindness and condescension to inferiors, with courtesy and good-will towards all men. Biblical Love is not for breaking         God’s order, but for keeping up the distinction God has made between men and women and all in their orders .
7. Love Does Not Seek its Own – This is the principle of the unselfish nature of Biblical Love. It does not desire nor seek its own praise, or honor, or profit, or pleasure. The love of self, in some degree, is natural to all men. It enters into our very constitution. A reasonable love of self is made the measure of our love to others when Jesus commanded that, “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” This principle does not mean that Biblical love destroys all regard to self. It does mean however, that a Biblical love is to be defined by giving and not by taking. By our very         nature we are largely “takers.” Biblical love involves our making continual decisions to be givers of ourselves to those to whom we express Biblical Love. It is, “What can I do to serve you;” rather than, “What is in it for me.”
8. Love is not provoked – Biblical love gives by making decisions that do not seek to irritate. The idea of the original word, PAROXYNETAI, is to stimulate in a negative way, to irritate or to upset. Biblical love seeks NOT TO DO THAT. It involves decisions that corrects a sharpness of temper, sweetens and softens the mind, so that it does not suddenly conceive, nor long continue, a vehement passion. It is not quick tempered.
9. Love does not take into account a wrong suffered (thinks no evil) – The aspect here is giving by making decisions NOT TO GET EVEN. Many times our actions are dictated by an effort to make another PAY or to somehow get even in little revenge schemes of the heart. Biblical love is not soon, nor long, angry. It is never mischievous, nor inclined to revenge. It does not suspect evil of others. Biblical Love does not reason out evil, charge guilt upon the other by inference and innuendo, when nothing of this sort appears open. love makes decisions to not be apt to be jealous and suspicious.         It seeks to hide faults that appear, and draw a veil over them, instead of hunting and raking out those that lie covered and concealed. It makes decisions to never indulge suspicion without proofs, but will rather incline to darken and disbelieve evidence against the person it affects. It will hardly give into an ill opinion of another, and it will do it with regret and reluctance when the evidence cannot be resisted; hence it will never be forward to suspect evil. It will not make the worst construction of things, but put the best face that it can on circumstances that have no good appearance.
1 Corinthians 13:6 Aspects 10-11

6 does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth;

10. Love does not rejoice in unrighteousness (iniquity) – Biblical Love takes no pleasure in doing injury or hurt to anybody. It does not think evil of any, without very clear proof. It wishes ill to none. It does not wish hurt or wrong against the object. Biblical love does not make the sins and failings of others a matter of its delight. It does not rejoice in doing harm and mischief. Biblical love makes decisions to respond to the failings of others with compassion rather than sport and entertainment. Decisions are made to extend help and restoration.
11. Love rejoices with the truth – Biblical love rejoices over expressions and applications of God’s Truth. It rejoices in seeing justice whether blessing for obedience or discipline for disobedience. Biblical love decides to rejoice over the prevailing of truth: the truth conquering sinful men, the principles of God’s Word applied in a life, and a life changed to conform to God’s Word. It rejoices in the prosperity of those following truth, in well-doing, and in the growth of faith within the object loved.
1 Corinthians 13:7 Aspects 12-15

7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

12. Love bears all things – The original word, STEGO, means “to cover, keep silent about, keep confidential.” It also carries the idea of “enduring,” or “putting up with.” Biblical love will make good choices to be aware of the nature of the object loved and keep the faults of such a one confidential. Biblical love make decisions to protect unless duty demands revelation. This aspect of Biblical Love involves allowing the loved to expose his or her faults without making them public. Protection, unless other Biblical duties demand differently, is granted. The         believers love seeks first to protect rather than publish.          On the other hand, Biblical love makes choices to pass by and put up with injuries, without indulging anger or cherishing revenge. It will be patient upon provocation, and long suffering. The lover will endure for the beloved many slights, injuries, hurts, and slights by making decisions to bear such things for the sake of the beloved.
13. Love believes all things – Biblical love makes decisions not to be suspicious until the evidence is overbearing. Biblical Love entertains a good opinion of them when there is no appearance to the contrary. It seeks to believe well when there may be some dark appearances, if the evidence of wrong is not clear. Biblical Love is apt to make the best of every thing, and put on it the best face and appearance. It will judge well, and believe well, as far as it can with any reason, and will rather stretch its faith beyond appearances for the support of a good opinion. It is involved with         the benefit of the doubt.
14. Love hopes all things – Love hopes for the best in all of the objects of love. Conscious decisions are made to look for the best, encourage and exhort for the best in all men. This is tempered by the knowledge of sin and yet the person exercising Biblical love seeks the positive appearance rather than the negative appearance.
15. Love Endures all things – The original word carries the idea of “standing one’s ground.” It is a military word that means to hold on regardless of the assaults, the barrages, and the troubles faced in any love relationship. Love is learned. Part of love are the decisions to give regardless of what is sometimes received. In the end, truly applied Biblical Love can win out.
1 Corinthians 13:8a Aspects 16
16. Love never fails – God’s simple statement on the power of Biblical Love should be believed and applied to all situations where we are facing trial and troubles. It will never fail!
Conclusion          Love is first of all a knowing and obeying God’s Commands. As this is practiced love grows from that to be based upon decisions within to give of ourselves. As we make such decisions to give, honest and true feelings will develop. Unfortunately, our concepts of love have been clouded by a feeling oriented society and a feeling oriented Christianity. Let us embrace the Lord’s Own Definitions and truly LOVE!

The first Commandment tells you just how important Love is to God.  God said in { Deuteronomy 6: 5 } ” THOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD THY GOD WITH ALL THY HEART AND WITH ALL THY SOUL AND WITH ALL THY MIGHT.  THESE WORDS, WHICH I COMMAND YOU THIS DAY, SHALL BE IN YOUR HEART. ” THIS IS THE FIRST AND GREATEST COMMANDMENT. 

Love is a small word, but it has UNLIMITED POWER.  All through the bible, you read about how Jesus walked in love and how he expressed tremendous affection for his fellow man, while he lived here on earth.  Jesus showed love, when he performed many acts of kindness and miracles for countless numbers of people.  He healed the sick, gave sight to the blind, restored hearing to the deaf, caused the lame to walk, healed many women, cast out demons, fed many people, raised the dead.  Most of us have knowledge of the event where Jesus raised “Lazarus From The Dead”, { John 11:38 – 44 } but there’s more:

Jesus healed a Roman Officer’s servant { Luke 7: 1 – 10  Good News Bible Today’s Version }: Soon after the servant was healed, The bible tells of, How Jesus Raises A Widow’s Son from the dead: { Luke 7:11- 17 }:

      Jesus went to a town named “Nain”, accompanied by his disciples and a large crowd.  Just as he arrived at the gate of the town, a funeral possession was coming out.  The dead man was the only son of a woman who was a widow and a large crowd from the town was with her.  When the Lord saw her, HIS HEART WAS FILLED WITH PITY FOR HER AND HE SAID TO HER “DON’T CRY.” Then  he walked over and touched the coffin and the men carrying it stopped.  Jesus said, “YOUNG MAN! GET UP, I TELL YOU!  THE DEAD MAN SAT UP AND BEGAN TO TALK AND JESUS GAVE HIM BACK TO HIS MOTHER.

The people were all filled with fear and PRAISED GOD.  “A great prophet has appeared among us!” they said; God has come to save his people!”  This news about Jesus went out through all the country and the surrounding territory.  The people saw the LOVE Jesus had for them.

Jesus left us the guide that we should follow: To love one another and treat our brothers and sisters as we would ourselves: { John 13: 34 } “A NEW COMMANDMENT I GIVE UNTO YOU, “THAT YOU LOVE ONE ANOTHER; AS I HAVE LOVED YOU, THAT YOU ALSO LOVE ONE ANOTHER.  BY THIS SHALL ALL MEN KNOW THAT YOU ARE MY DISCIPLES, IF YOU HAVE LOVE ONE TO ANOTHER.  If our brother or sister is down and having a hard time, we as Christians should “Reach Out To Them” And Give A Helping Hand, in any way we possibly can.  Let me clarify, that the Love I’m writing about is not just Romantic Love, but the “God Kind Of Love.”  This is: “ UNCONDITIONAL LOVE “.

{ Romans 12: 9  The GNBTV }:  Love must be completely sincere.  Hate what is evil, hold on to what is good.  LOVE ONE ANOTHER WARMLY AS CHRISTIANS AND BE EGAR TO SHOW RESPECT FOR ONE ANOTHER.  WORK HARD ON IT, DO NOT BE LAZY.  SERVE THE LORD WITH A HEART FULL OF DEVOTION.  LET YOUR HOPE KEEP YOU JOYFUL, BE PATIENT IN YOUR TROUBLES AND PRAY AT ALL TIMES.”  SHARE YOUR BELONGINGS WITH YOUR NEEDY FELLOW CHRISTIANS, ASK GOD TO BLESS THOSE WHO PERSECUTE YOU YES, ASK HIM TO BLESS, NOT TO CURSE.

Some of you might say:  How can I walk in a spirit of Love, with so much evil around me?  With all the negative reports you hear about and read about in the news.  It almost seems like, if there was no “bad news, there would be no news at all”.  This is why we have God’s words to live by and to guide us.  ALWAYS USE THE BIBLE AS YOUR ( MANUEL FOR LIFE ), DO NOT CONCENTRATE ON THE THINGS OF THE WORLD, CONCENTRATE ON THE THINGS OF GOD.  MAN’S WAYS ARE NOT GOD’S WAYS, DO NOT TRUST YOUR OWN DECISIONS WHEN YOU HAVE QUESTIONS, GO TO THE BIBLE AND FOLLOW IT’S GUIDANCE.

As Christians, sometimes we feel “Spiritually weakened” by so much Negativity, but Brothers and Sisters for these reasons, is why we” MUST PRESS FORWARD IN LOVE MORE NOW THAN EVER”, especially with the way things are in the world today.  It may not be easy sometimes, but “WITH GOD ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE { Matthew 19: 26 } We must fight against all negative things with the God Kind Of Love In Our Hearts, NOT ONLY FOR OTHERS, BUT LOVE YOURSELF ALSO.  That’s right, examine yourself within, how can you express love to God and others, if you don’t have the right spirit of love in you?

Written By:  Edith L Tunsil,  2/16/2014, ( The Definition Of Godly Love, taken from “The Scriptureman” Website. )

 

 

 

THE TEN COMMANDMENTS:

         

Are The 10 Commandments Still Important For Today?

 

I thought I would draw up this article for all of you in order to give you a complete list of the 10 commandments. Most Christians do not have all of them memorized.

 

I will give you the specific verse from Scripture where the 10 commandments are being given to us by the Lord, along with some of the additional statements that God makes under some of these commandments that you usually do not see on the little tablets of the 10 commandments at your local Christian bookstore.

 

Before I give you this verse, consider one thing. Even though the 10 Commandments are from the Old Testament, all of these commandments still apply to everyone in this day and age.

 

No exceptions! I call each of these commands “stone commandments.”

 

 

The fact that God the Father would manifest 10 specific commandments on a tablet of stone tells me that He is very serious about these specific commandments!

 

 

This was one big huge event when it happened in the story of Moses. The fact that God would go this far in manifesting these special 10 commandments on a real live tablet of stone tells me that these commandments should never be taken lightly or for granted.

 

Most Christians have heard about these Ten Commandments while going through grade school and high school and the story as to how they all came about. As a result, I feel that many Christians take these special  commandments for granted and really do not realize the power and authority that is on these special commandments.

 

 

The 10 commandments come to us from Exodus 20:1-17. Here is the verse:

 

1 –  And God spoke all these words, saying: “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. You shall have no other gods before me.

 

 2-  You shall not make for yourself any carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them.

For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate me, but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.

 

 3 - You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain.

 

 4 - Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your manservant, nor your maidservant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates.

For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.

 

5 - Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God is giving you.

 

6 – You shall not murder.

 

7 – You shall not commit adultery.

 

8 – You shall not steal.

 

9 -You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

 

10 – You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor’s.”

 

The above 10 commandments don’t need any explanation. They mean exactly what they are saying. It’s quite amazing how many of these commandments are being broken on a regular basis, even by Christians themselves.

 

If you look very closely at each of these commandments, they really do cover a broad spectrum as to what God is expecting from each one of us.

 

These 10 commandments are good, basic, moral laws that will help keep us out of trouble with ourselves, family, friends, and neighbors. God knows what is best for all of us and He simply wants all of us to stay out of trouble in order that we may be able to live in peace and harmony with one another.

 

The fact that God would go so far as to have these basic 10 commandments manifested on a stone tablet really tells me they are very important, and that each Christian should know what they are and do their best to abide by them with the help of the Holy Spirit.

 

Feel free to pass this list of the 10 commandments onto your friends and family.

          MORE:  ABOUT THE “TEN COMMANDMENTS:

 

THE “TEN COMMANDMENTS”, ARE VERY CONTROVERSAL AND ONE OF THE MOST DISCUSSED SUBJECTS IN THE BIBLE: SINCE THE DEATH OF JESUS CHRIST ON THE CROSS, WE ARE BLESSED TO HAVE {“ THE GRACE OF GOD  “} 

The Ten Commandments, are the laws given to Moses,The Prophet, at Mt Sinai, located in the Old Testament of the bible.  Moses, called together all the people of Israel and said to them, “People of Israel, listen to all the laws I am giving today.  Learn them and be sure that you obey them:  At Mt Sinai, the Lord our God made a covenant, not only with our fathers, but with all of us who are living today.  There on the mountain the Lord spoke to you face-to-face from the fire.  I stood between you and the Lord at that time to tell you what he said, because you were afraid of the fire and would not go up the mountain.

The Lord said, “I am the Lord your God, who rescued you from Egypt, where you were slaves:

        THE TEN COMMANDMENTS:

1)   “Thou shall have no other Gods before me, You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest commandment.  { Exodus 20:2-3 }

2)   “You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above.  { Exodus 20:4-6 }

3)   “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain”, for the Lord will hold you guilty, who takes his name in vain”.  { Exodus:20-7 }

4)   “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.  Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God, IN IT YOU SHALL DO NO WORK”. { Exodus 20: 8- 11 }

5)   “Honor your Father and Mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God is giving you”.  { Exodus 20: 12 }

6)   “Thou shall not kill ” ( murder )  { Exodus 20: 13 }

7)   “Thou shall not commit Adultery”   { Exodus 20: 14 }

8)   “Thou shall not Steal”   { Exodus 20: 15 }

9)   “Thou shall not bear false witness against your neighbor “ ( tell the truth. )   { Exodus 20:16 }

10)  “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house, you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, nor his male servant, nor his ox, nor his donkeys, nor anything that is your neighbor’s.  { Exodus 20: 17 }

 Moses told the people: These are the commandments the Lord gave to all of you, when you were gathered at the mountain.  When he spoke with a mighty voice from the fire and from the thick clouds, HE GAVE THESE COMMANDMENTS AND NO OTHERS.  Then he wrote them on two stone tablets and gave them to me.  The Commandments are still the laws of God and they haven’t changed. 

God knew these laws would be difficult for us to keep 100%.  Therefore, he gave us Jesus, who through his sacrifice on the cross gave us “GOD’S GRACE” MERCY AND FORGIVENESS, SO THAT WHEN THESE LAWS ARE BROKEN, WE WOULD KNOW IN OUR HEARTS AND MINDS “WE ARE FORGIVEN.” THAT DOES NOT MEAN ( WE SHOULD NOT TRY TO LIVE BY AND TRY TO KEEP GOD’S COMMANDMENTS, WHICH WERE INTENDED FOR OUR GOOD FROM THE VERY BEGINNING.)  WE SHOULD ALWAYS “THANK GOD” FOR HIS EVERLASTING GRACE, THROUGH JESUS CHRIST OUR LORD AND SAVIOR, A-MEN.

Written By:  Edith L Tunsil , 3/1/2014,

 

 

 

 

SOME SCRIPTURES TO HELP YOU WITH YOUR JOURNEY THROUGH LIFE:

                         A PRAYER FOR HELP: 

             { Psalm: 35   ” The Good News Bible, Today’s Version }

Oppose those who oppose me Lord and fight those who fight against me.  Take your shield and armor and come to my rescue.  Lift up your spear and war ax against those who pursue me.  Promise that you will save me.  May those who try to kill me, be defeated and disgraced!  May those who plot against me, be turned back and confused!  May they be like straw blown by the wind as the angel of the Lord pursues them.  May their path be dark and slippery, while the angel of the Lord strikes them down!

Without any reason they laid a trap for me and dug a deep hole to catch me, but destruction will catch them before they know it; they will be caught in their own trap and fall to their destruction.  Then, I will be glad because of the Lord; I will be happy because he saved me.  With all my heart I will say to the Lord, “ there is no one like you.  You protect the weak from the strong, the poor from the oppressor.”  Evil people testify against me and accuse me of crimes I know nothing about. 

They pay me back evil for good and I sink in despair, but when they were sick, I was in mourning for them; I deprived myself of food; I prayed with my head bowed low, as I would pray for a friend or a brother.  I went around bent over in mourning, as one who mourns for his mother, but when I was in trouble, they were all glad and gathered around to make fun of me; strangers beat me and kept striking me.  ( like those who would mock a cripple, they glared at me with hate.)

How much longer Lord, will you just look on?  Rescue me from their attacks; save my life from these lions!  Then, I will thank you in the assembly of your people; I will praise you before them all.  Don’t let my enemies, those liars, gloat over my defeat.  Don’t let those who hate me for no reason, “smirk” with delight over my sorrow.  They do not speak in a friendly way; instead they invent all kinds of lies about peace-loving people.  They accuse me, shouting, “we saw what you did!”  But you, O Lord, have seen this. 

Don’t be silent Lord; don’t keep yourself far away.  Rouse yourself, O Lord and defend me; rise up my God and plead my cause.  You are righteous O Lord, so declare me innocent; don’t let my enemies gloat over me.  Don’t let them say to themselves, “we are rid of him! that’s just what we wanted!”  May those who gloat over my suffering, BE COMPLETELY DEFEATED AND CONFUSED.  May those who claim to be better than I am, BE COVERED WITH SHAME AND DISGRACE.

May those who want to see me acquitted, shout for JOY and say again and again, “ HOW GREAT IS THE LORD!  HE IS PLEASED WITH THE SUCCESS OF HIS SERVANT.”  THEN I WILL PROCLAIM YOUR RIGHTEOUSNESS AND I WILL PRAISE YOU ALL DAY LONG.

 

              A PRAYER OF PRAISE: { Psalm: 27  The Good News Bible }

The Lord is my light and my salvation; “I will fear no one.”  The Lord protects me from all danger; “I will never be afraid.”  When evil people attack me and try to kill me, they stumble and fall.  even if a whole army surrounds me, I will not be afraid; even if enemies attack me, “I WILL TRUST GOD.”  I have asked the Lord for one thing; one thing only do I want: TO LIVE IN THE LORD’S HOUSE ALL MY LIFE, to marvel there at his goodness and to ask for his guidance. 

     In times of trouble he will shelter me; he will keep me safe in his temple and make me secure on a high rock.  Therefore, I will triumph over my enemies around me.  With shouts of joy, I will offer sacrifices in his Temple; I will sing, I will praise the Lord.  Hear me Lord, when I call to you, be merciful and answer me.  When you said, “Come worship me,” I answered, I will come Lord.  Don’t hide yourself from me. 

Don’t be angry with me; DON’T TURN YOUR SERVANT AWAY.  You have been my help; don’t leave me, don’t abandon me, O God my savior.  My father and mother may abandon me, but the Lord will take care of me.  Teach me Lord, what you want me to do and lead me along a safe path, because I have many enemies.  Don’t abandon me to my enemies, who attack me with lies and threats. 

I know I will live to see the Lord’s goodness in this present life.  TRUST IN THE LORD.  HAVE FAITH DO NOT DISPAIR, TRUST IN THE LORD.

PRAISE FOR GOD’S GOODNESS { Psalm: 34 }

I will always thank the lord; I will never stop praising him.  I will praise him for what he has done; may all who are oppressed listen and be glad! Proclaim with me the Lord’s Greatness; let us praise his name together.  I prayed to the Lord and he answered me; he freed me from all my fears.  The oppressed look to him and are glad; they will never be disappointed.  The helpless call to him and he answers; he saves them from all their troubles.  His angels guards those who honor the Lord and rescues them from danger.

Find out for yourself how good the Lord is.  Happy are those who find safety in him.  Honor the Lord, all his people; those who obey him have all they need.  Lions go hungry for lack of food, but those who obey the Lord lack nothing good.  Come, my friends and listen to me and I will teach you to honor the Lord.  Would you like to enjoy life?  Do you want long life and happiness?  Then, keep from speaking evil and telling lies.  TURN AWAY FROM EVIL AND DO GOOD; STRIVE FOR PEACE WITH ALL YOUR HEART.  The Lord watches over the righteous and listens to their cries; but he opposes those who do evil, so that when they die, THEY ARE SOON FORGOTTEN.

The righteous calls to the Lord and he listens; HE RESCUES THEM FROM ALL THEIR TROUBLES.  The Lord is near to those who are Discouraged; HE SAVES THOSE WHO HAVE LOST ALL HOPE.  Good people suffer many troubles, but the Lord saves them from them all; the Lord ”Preserves” them completely; not one of their bones is broken.  “EVIL WILL KILL THE WICKED”( They will destroy their own ).  THOSE WHO HATE THE RIGHTEOUS, WILL BE PUNISHED.  The Lord will save his people; those who go to him for protection will be spared.

                               TRUE WORSHIP { Psalm 50: 1-23 }:

The Almighty God, the Lord, speaks; he calls to the whole earth from east to west.  God shines from Zion, the city perfect in it’s beauty.  Our God is coming, but not in silence; a raging fire is in front of him, a furious storm around him.  He calls heaven and earth as witnesses, to see him judge his people.  He says, “gather my faithful people to me”, those who made a covenant with me by offering a sacrifice.” 

The heavens proclaim that God is righteous, that he himself is judge.  Listen, my people and I will speak; I will testify against you, Israel.  I am God, your God.  I do not reprimand you because of your sacrifices and the brunt offerings you always bring me.  Yet, I do not need bulls from your farms, or goats from your flocks; all the animals in the forest are mine and the cattle on thousands of hills.  All the wild birds are mine and all living things in the fields. 

If I were hungry, I would not ask you for food, for the world and everything in it is mine.  Do I eat the flesh of bulls or drink the blood of goats?  Let the giving of thanks be your sacrifice to God and give the Almighty all that you promised.  Call to me when trouble comes; I will save you and you will praise me.  God says to the wicked, “why should you recite my commandments?  Why should you talk about my  covenant? 

You refuse to let me correct you; you reject my commands.  You become the friend of every thief you see and you associate with adulterers.  You are always ready to speak evil; you never hesitate to tell lies.  You are ready to accuse your own relatives and to find fault with them.  You have done all this and I have said nothing, so you thought that I am like you. 

Now I reprimand you and make the matter plain to you. ” Listen to this, you that ignore me, or I will destroy you and there will be no one to save you.  Giving thanks is the sacrifice that honors me and I will surely save all who obey me.”

( More to come, To Be Continued )

 

 

 

 

how to be strong and maintain your strength:

HOW TO BE STRONG AND MAINTAIN YOUR STRENGTH:

                          { Psalm 24: 1-2  KJV }
                TO YOU O LORD, I LIFT UP MY SOUL.
                O MY GOD I TRUST IN YOU.
The bible verse above, is the verse I chose to “meditate on” while I write this article, because I realize that the devil does not want me to open your eyes and reveal, how the words of God will give you strength and keep you strong. His job is to try to stop me, by making me think “Negative thoughts” and feel, what I’m writing is in vain,  that no one will be helped or benefit from anything I have to say. Of course, we all know the devil is a liar and a deceiver, “A Trickster Of The Mind.” Through the power of God’s words ( the bible verse above ) I have already “Shut The Evil Down”. My mind has been “preset” to focus on God’s words only, leaving no room for evil to enter in, nor dwell.
 I prepared my weapon against evil and sought the “Kingdom Of God First”, during the morning, before I started my day or began writing. This is what we as Christians “must learn” to do everyday. You must put God’s words into action at all times, with all things not just know what to do, but do it. The bible tells you in { Matthew 6: 33, KJV }: “Seek ye first the Kingdom Of God, and his righteousness; and all these things will be added unto you.  This is the Christian way of becoming strong and maintaining strength.
Also, God tells you, do not be concerned about tomorrow; it will have enough concerns of it’s own. There is no need to add to the troubles each day brings. When you “Arm Yourself” with the words of God, you should be fully aware from that point on, evil spirits will try to attack you and defeat you, with the intensions of making you forget that ”You’re standing on God’s solid rock” and NO HARM, can happen to you. You don’t have to worry, because God has you in his protective care. Don’t forget, Christians walk by Faith, Not By Sight: { 2nd Corinthians 5:7 }.
 When or if you start to feel weak, doubting, discouraged, or confused, “Don’t Focus On That”, KEEP REPEATING that bible verse over and over, as many times as you need to and don’t let go. Trust God’s words to defeat the enemy and keep your mind at peace, no matter what.  Always keep the “Armor Of God” ( His words ) present with you day and night. Teach this process to your children and loved ones, so they will be strong and benefit with the  peace of God in their lives.
 Let this become a “Habit”.  All habits are not bad, especially when they are centered in the path of righteousness. Habits are: (1) Patterns of behavior acquired by frequent repetition. (2) They are also, a customary manner of practice.
{ Psalm  91: 1- 16, KJBV }
He that dwells in the secret place of the most high, will abide under the safety of the “Almighty”. I will say of the Lord, he is my refuge and my fortress: ( a strong fort, a fortified place, a permanent strong post ) my God; in him will I trust.  Surely he will deliver you from the snare (trap) of the fowler ( hunter) and from the noisome pestilence. He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will  trust:  His truth will be your shield and protection.
You should not be afraid for the “Terror by night; nor for the Arrow” that flies by day; nor for the plagues that strikes in darkness; nor for the destruction that comes at noonday.  A thousand will fall at your side, and ten thousand at your right hand; but none will come near you.  God will give his Angels charge over you, to keep you safe in all you do. ” They will lift you up in their hands, lest you dash your foot against a stone.” God says, you will call upon him; and he will answer you, he will be with you in trouble; He will deliver you.  With long life he will satisfy you and show you his salvation.
Earlier in paragraph number four, I mentioned about “THE ARMOR OF GOD.”  let’s look more into what God says about this subject and what it has to do with being Strong And Maintaining Strength.
{ Ephesians 6: 10 – 20 }: THE WHOLE ARMOR OF GOD:
Finally, build up your “strength” in union with the Lord and by means of his mighty power.  Put on all the armor that God gives you, so that you will be able to stand up against the” devil’s evil tricks.” For we are not fighting against Human Beings, but against the wicked spiritual forces in the heavenly world, the rulers, authorities, and cosmic powers of the dark age.  So, put on God’s armor now!  then when the evil day comes, you will be able to resist the enemy’s attacks; and after fighting to the end, you will still hold your ground.
So, stand ready, with truth as a belt tight around your waist, with righteousness as your breastplate, and as your shoes the readiness to announce of the good news of peace.  At all times carry faith as a shield; for with it you will be able to put out all of the burning arrows shot by the evil one.  Accept Salvation as a helmet, and the word of God as the sword which the spirit gives you.
Do all this in prayer, asking for God’s help.  Pray on every occasion, as the spirit leads you.  For this reason KEEP ALERT AND NEVER GIVE UP; pray always for all of God’s people.  Always be bold about speaking the gospel, in Jesus name.
Written By:  Edith L Tunsil  2/10/2014.

YOU CAN MAKE IT IF YOU DON’T QUIT, PRACTICE “ENDURANCE”:

      Endurance, is the ability to continue in a certain manner and maintain your position, under stress, pressure, or any condition.  It is essential for Christians to learn how to endure, by practicing the use of God’s words everyday, all through the day and night.  You must “Practice” this, it is not a process that you would do one time and it covers you for the rest of your life.  When a situation, problem or anything  presents itself, especially if it is negative, you first must perceive that as an attempt of the devil trying to bring worry, stress, confusion and take away your “Peace Of Mind.”

     Endurance is not just for when something is wrong, or something of unimportance comes into existence, it is also essential for maintaining good things that are working, as well. Sustaining or maintenance of anything takes determination, organization and self control.  Example:  a person that is over weight, will get the best results when they have a plan that has been orchestrated and prepared specifically for them.

      That plan may contain several foods for them to eat and physical activities the individual does not want to deal with, but in their heart and mind, they know it is the best for them in order to accomplish their goal. They realize, they have to give it all they have, “so to speak” to enhance their outer beauty and inner beauty along with acquiring better health as the result of the process.  God’s words in the bible tells you how to eat, what to eat, so this example is in many ways a spiritual reality also.

     HOW TO ENDURE WHILE USING GOD’S WORDS IN ALL SITUATIONS AND CIRCUMSTANCES, FOR YOUR LIFE AND YOUR LOVED ONES LIVES.  

     There is a poem I learned when I was very young, it’s called “IF” written by, Rudyard Kipling.  Surprisingly, I can remember after all these years, it had a profound impact on me.  It states:  ”IF” you can keep your head while those around you are losing theirs, then, you are a man my son.”  When Jesus was being taken to the cross to be crucified, he didn’t beg for help, or breakdown like the average person would have done in that “awful situation”, all the time knowing he was going to his death.  ( Our Lord bore that cross, showing no sorrow or weakness. )

      How GREAT Jesus was, going through so much agony and pain, still he said “Father, Not My Will, But Thy Will Be Done.”  Jesus, showed “TREMENDOUS ENDURANCE” through his suffering, when he expressed compassion” for the man that was on another cross next to him, after the man acknowledged Jesus to be the ”True King” and he  said to the man “Today you will be with me in paradise.” All through the times of the life of Jesus on the earth, you will find many events and stories to relate to, that will help encourage you with all things you might encounter in life.

To endure is similar to a step by step process.  ( 1 )  Examine the problem, situation trial etc., Pray about it  ( 2 )  Go to the bible and find a scripture that relates to the problem, that helps you feel comforted, read it, speak it or write it down on paper if you want, so you won’t forget.  ( 3 )  Put the scripture you chose into ACTION, by accepting it in your spirit, do as it says you should do, or just keep it present in your thoughts and WAIT FOR GOD TO WORK. 

      You may feel like there is nothing happening, but don’t concern yourself with “How you feel.”  Your feelings can be “deceitful.”  KEEP YOUR FOCUS ON GOD’S WORDS YOU CHOSE FROM THE BIBLE, TRUST GOD TO HELP YOU “OVERCOME, CONQUER AND DEFEAT.”  The result will be much better than you could ever expect or imagine.  The example I gave, is one I developed from how I relate to events in my life, but you might want to construct your own, do what works for you, as long it is within the “Will Of God”

The bible tells us in { I Chronicles 16: 34 )  King James Bible Version: O give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good; for his mercy endures forever.

{ Psalm 30: 5  KJBV }  For his anger endures but a moment; in his favor ( goodness ) is life, WEEPING MAY “ENDURE” FOR A NIGHT, BUT JOY COMES IN THE MORNING.

{ Hebrews 12: 2 }  Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith; who for the JOY that was set before him “endured” the cross, despising the shame, and is now sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

{ Matthew 24: 13 }  He that shall “endure” unto the end, the same shall be saved.

{ Romans 9: 22  The Good News Bible }     The same is true of what God has done.  He wanted to show his anger and make his power known, but he was very patient in “enduring” those who were the objects of his anger, who were doomed to destruction.

{ Psalm : 100   KJBV }   Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands.  Serve the Lord with gladness; come before his presence with singing.  Know ye that the Lord he is God; it is he that have made us and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the  sheep of his pasture.  Enter into his gates with thanksgiving and into his courts with praise; be thankful unto him and bless his name.   FOR THE LORD IS GOOD; HIS MERCY IS EVERLASTING AND HIS TRUTH ENDURES TO ALL GENERATIONS.

{ Psalm 106 : 1 }   PRAISE YE THE LORD, O GIVE THANKS UNTO THE LORD; FOR HE IS GOOD; FOR HIS MERCY “ENDURES” FOREVER.

{ James:12-1 }   Blessed is the man that “Endures” temptation; for when he is tried, HE SHALL RECEIVE THE CROWN OF LIFE, WHICH THE LORD HAS PROMISED TO THEM THAT LOVE HIM.

     There are many things in life that may appear to be to hard to do at times, but when we do the best we can with truth, honesty and righteousness, God will always be with you to carry you through, because he loves you. THEREFORE, DO NOT GIVE UP AND DO NOT QUIT, THOSE WHO “ENDURE” THROUGH THE TRIALS AND TRIBULATIONS , WHICH THE LORD SAID WE WOULD HAVE IN THIS WORLD, WILL RECIEVE THE JOY AND CONTENTMENT THAT GOD’S PROMISES SAYS WE SHALL HAVE.  May God forever bless you all in Jesus name.

 

Written By:  Edith L Tunsil ,  1/ 31/2014.