February 26, 2013

Can You Forgive Yourself?

'Forgive yourself' is one of the catch phrases of today, but is this Biblical?

The Bible often talks about forgiving others but no where does it talk about forgiving ourselves.

"So watch yourselves. "If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him. If he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times comes back to you and says, 'I repent,' forgive him."  
                                                                                           Luke 17:3-4



I love Liz Curtis Higgs. She is such a grace filled woman of God and I love her books and teachings. She has such a heart for God. I recently read a post HERE about forgiveness on her blog, which really spoke to me and I thought I'd share about it here.

She starts with this:

"However noble it sounds, “Thou must forgiveth thyself” is

1) not in the Bible, 
2) not something God asks us to do, and 
3) not possible."

This is something I've struggled with understanding, as so many Christians talk about forgiving themselves. I find it a little bit confusing. Should I be forgiving myself when God has already forgiven me? Am I even capable of forgiving my own sins? When I read Liz's blog post on forgiveness it helped me understand the power of forgiveness which can only be given by God.

Liz says here:

"Only Jesus has the power to forgive sins. And his forgiveness is enough. Enough to cleanse us, heart and soul. Enough to set us free."

and here:

"Waste no energy on trying to forgive yourself, beloved. God’s grace is sufficient. God’s forgiveness is enough."

God's forgiveness is enough, His grace is sufficient.

I highly recommend you going to Liz's site and reading her whole post, where she shares the Biblical story of the paralyzed man who was lifted down from the roof of the house Jesus was speaking at. (Mark 2:1-12) A powerful story of God's forgiveness.

You can read the whole post here: Embrace Forgiveness

Lord,

Help us not to be deceived by worldly catch phrases that may led us away from Your truth. Help us believe your words, your promises and trust in You alone. We can rest in You.

Thank-you for your graceful servant Liz Curtis Higgs. I've learnt so much from her, most of all that I can come to You no matter what, You love beyond our understanding. Bless Liz Lord and continue to bless others through her.

I love You...thank-you for forgiving me, thank-you that Your grace is sufficient and Your forgiveness is enough.

February 22, 2013

if

I am afraid to speak the truth, lest I
        lose affection,
    or lest the one concerned should
        say, 'You do not understand,'
    or because I fear to lose my
        reputation for kindness;
if I put my own good name before
       the other's highest good,
then I know nothing of Calvary love.
 
                                    Amy Carmichael

February 18, 2013

Amazing Grace in the life of William Wilberforce

This book, written by John Piper, is a short intro into the extraordinary life of William Wilberforce. It is broken up into these six chapters:

1. His Early Life
2. 'God Has Set Before Me Two Great Objects'
3. A Multitude of Christlike Causes
4. Extraordinary Endurance
5. The Deeper Root of Childlike Joy
6. The Gigantic Truths of the Gospel

Before the Civil War, which ended slavery in America, there was a brave man who fought for the freedom of the slave in England.

William Wilberforce was a member of the British Parliament between 1787-1833. He worked diligently for years to defeat slave trading as well as slavery in England and with God's help, he accomplished both.

Wilberforce said of his purpose in parliament:

"The grand object of my parliamentary existence...If it please God to know me so far may I be the instrument of stopping such a course of wickedness and cruelty as never before disgraced a Christian country."

John Piper says of Wilberforce:

"He was not a political pragmatist. He was a radically God-centered Christian who was a politician." 

Wilberforce was a wealthy man and when he became a Christian his view on money and power completely changed.

 Piper says here:

"One of the first manifestations of what he called 'the great change' - the conversion - was the contempt he felt for his wealth and the luxury he lived in...Seeds were sown almost immediately at the beginning of his Christian life, it seems, of the later passion to help the poor and to turn all his inherited wealth and his naturally high station into a means of blessing the oppressed."

Wilberforce said of riches:

"Considering them as in themselves, acceptable, but, from the infirmity of our nature, as highly dangerous possessions; and we are to value them chiefly not as instruments of luxury or splendor, but as affording the means of honoring our heavenly Benefactor, and lessening the miseries of mankind."

In the forward written by Jonathan Aithen, it states:

"The extraordinary tenacity he displayed over forty-six years of legislative warfare before the slave trade was abolished was an epic of Parliamentary perseverance."

Forty-six years! Now that is perseverance. What keep Wilberforce going? John Wesley (the great Methodist preacher) wrote to Wilberforce in 1791:

"Unless God has raised you up for this very thing, you will be worn out by the opposition of man and devils. But if God be for you, who can be against you."

The book continues:

"...in 1800, on his forty-first birthday, as he rededicated himself to his calling, he prayed, 

'Oh Lord, purify my soul from all its stains. Warm my heart with the love of thee, animate my sluggish nature and fix my inconstancy, and volatility, that I may not be weary in well doing.' 

God answered that prayer, and the entire Western world may be glad that Wilberforce was granted constancy and perseverance in his labors, especially his endurance in the cause of justice against the sin of slavery and racism."

Piper talks about Wilberforce's source of joy which gave him the endurance to carry on in his fight. Saying here:

"There is a deeper root of Wilberforce's endurance than camaraderie. It is the root of childlike, child-loving, self-forgetting joy in Christ."

He later quotes Wilberforce:

"My grand objection to the religious system still held by many who declare themselves orthodox churchmen...is, that it tends to render Christianity so much a system of prohibitions rather than of privilege and hopes, and thus the injunction to rejoice, so strongly enforced in the New Testament, is practically neglected, and Religion is made to wear a forbidding and gloomily air and not one of peace and hope and joy."

How many people think of Christianity as a system of do's and don'ts? When in fact the gospel is full of peace, hope and joy!


Piper says here of what Wilberforce saw of the nominal Christians of his day:

"He saw that the nominal Christians of his day had the idea that 'morality is to be obtained by their own natural unassisted efforts: or if they admit some vague indistinct notion of the assistance of the Holy Spirit, it is unquestionably obvious on conversing with them that this does not constitute the main practical ground of their dependence.' They don't recognize what constitutes a true Christian - namely, his renouncing 'with indignation every idea of attaining it by his own strength. All his hopes of possessing it rest altogether on the divine assurances of the operation of the Holy Spirit, in those who cordially embrace the Gospel of Christ.'

Piper ends his book with the gospel and how Wilberforce lived his life by it. He ends it with this:

"The joy of the Lord became his strength (Neh. 8:10). And in this strength he pressed on in the cause of abolishing the slave trade until he had victory.

Therefore, in all our zeal today for racial harmony, or the sanctity of human life, or the building of a moral culture, let us not forget these lessons: Never minimize the central place of God-centered, Christ-exalting doctrine; labor to be indomitably joyful in all that God is for us in Christ by trusting his great finished work; and never be idle in doing good - that men may see our good deeds and give glory to our Father who is in heaven (Matt. 5:16)."

In 1807 slave trading was abolished, but it wasn't until 1833, 26 years later, that slavery itself was outlawed. Three months later Wilberforce went to be with the Lord. The mission God had called him too had been accomplished and now he is enjoying his reward. : )

Buy it HERE on Amazon



February 15, 2013

if

I refuse to allow one who is dear to
        me to suffer for the sake of Christ,
if I do not see such suffering as the
       greatest honor that can be
       offered to any follower of the
       Crucified,
then I know nothing of Calvary love.

                                     Amy Carmichael

February 13, 2013

My daughter went to Africa


My daughter went to Africa.
 
I was reluctant to let her go. But I found out God's peace is so much greater than my fears. And His plans for her so much bigger than mine. She's home safe and sound now but came back with a love for the children of Africa. She started sponsoring her first little one and by sharing her stories of these precious ones we have added another child to our sponsor list as well.

While in Africa she had sent me an e-mailed telling me that the social worker she was working with was previously a Compassion child. (My daughter had been serving with a different organization).

What were the chances!

I was so excited!!!

My daughter got to see first hand what a difference, not just our money makes, but how much our letters mean to the children.

Now being out of the Compassion program, the social worker, is helping others and making a difference in her community. And my daughter has made a life long friend.

Open your mouth, judge righteously, And plead the cause of the poor and needy. Proverbs 31:9


My daughter saw children who barely had enough food to eat, yet they were sharing their food with their friends who were not part of the program, leaving themselves with not enough food for themselves.

We must speak out. We must plead their cause. Will you serve?


Linking with Compassion International: Blog on Child Poverty


 

February 11, 2013

Liebster Blog Award

I want to thank Brittany over at The Book Wyrm Chronicles for nominating my blog for this award. Thank-you Brittany!


I am to write 11 random facts about myself then answer 11 questions Brittany asked. Then pass it on to 11 blogs, which I think I'll leave open for everyone. So if you would like, feel free to answer these questions as well. So here goes:

11 Random Things:

1. I don't know how to drive a standard and I have no desire to learn.
2. I love real flowers in the house.
3.I much more enjoy one on one conversation than being in a big group of people at a party.
4. I have naturally curly hair.
5. I used to work for the yellow pages as a teen.
6. I love talking to God and do it everywhere. : ) 
7. I enjoy watching hockey, well mostly just the playoffs. : ) Go Canucks Go!
8. I thought about homeschooling but never had the patience to try it. Now I'm glad I didn't because some of my children's best friends were found at school. They all have awesome friends!
9. I'm a bit of a book hoarder. I will get to them all someday, I promise. : )
10. I love all kinds of styles of music...classical, Broadway, country, soundtracks, jazz, R&B, rock, pop. I mostly listen to Christian music in all these genres.
11. I want to see the northern lights up close one day. They look so beautiful in pictures.

The 11 Questions:

1. Do you have any pets?
Yes, a cat named Whiskers. Isn't he cute? : )


2. What are your top 5 favorite movies?
You'll notice a theme here. I'm a bit of a romantic girly girl when it comes to movies. : )

    Pride and Prejudice
    Sound of Music
    Ever After
    Leap Year
    Les Mis

3. Do you play a musical instrument?
No

4. Why do you run a blog?
Check out the tab on top of my blog labeled 'About TOB'

5. What are some of your favorite activities?
     Reading...I know you're shocked : )
      Gardening
      Walking
      Blogging
      Spending time with my family



6. If you could have one wish that would come true what would it be?
That my children grow in Christ and serve Him all their lives.

7. What are 5 of your favorite books?
Check out the tab on top of my blog labeled 'Favorite Reads'

8. Do you enjoy playing video games?
No

9. What is your favorite car?
I think the early 60's corvette's are super cool. :)

10. Have you ever traveled to a foreign country?
Does the U.S.A. count? : ) (I'm from Canada)

11. If you could visit anywhere in the world where would you go?
Europe

February 8, 2013

if

I cast up a confessed, repented, and
        forsaken sin against another,
   and allow my remembrance of that
       sin to color my thinking and
       feed my suspicions,
then I know nothing of Calvary love.

                                     Amy Carmichael

February 5, 2013

More than a Carpenter

This would be an excellent book to give to someone who has questions about Christianity.

It's described here:

"It is a hard-headed book for people who are skeptical about Jesus' deity, his resurrection, his claims on their lives. Why is it that you can talk about God and nobody gets upset, but as soon as you mention Jesus, people often want to stop the conversation? Why have men and women down through the ages been divided over the question, "Who is Jesus?" 


Josh McDowell has done his homework. He had spent time in Europe searching to disprove Christianity and instead came back with a Savior he couldn't deny! That was over 50 years ago and since then he has shared Christ with millions of people.


Here are some questions he addresses in this book:

What makes Jesus so different?
Lord, Liar, or Lunatic?
What About Science?
Are Biblical records reliable?
Who would die for a lie?
What good is a dead Messiah?
Did you hear what happened to Saul?
Can you keep a good man down?
Will the real Messiah please stand up?
Isn't there some other way?

I found Josh McDowell answered these questions historically, intelligently and Scripturally.

I especially loved the chapter, 'Who would die for a lie?' So I thought I'd share a little from this particular chapter.

He starts it with this:

"Since the Christian faith is historical, to investigate it we must rely heavily upon testimony, both written and oral.

There are many definitions of 'history,' but the one I  prefer is 'a knowledge of the past based upon testimony.' If someone say, 'I don't believe that's a good definition,' I ask, ' Do you believe that Napoleon lived?' They almost always reply, 'Yes.' 'Have you seen him?' I ask, and they confess they haven't. 'How do you know, then?' Well, they are relying on testimony.

This definition of history has one inherent problem. The testimony must be reliable or the hearer will be misinformed. Christianity involves knowledge of the past based upon testimony, so now we must ask, "Were the original oral testimonies about Jesus trustworthy? Can they be trusted to have conveyed correctly what Jesus said and did? I believe they can be.

I can trust the apostles' testimonies because of those twelve men, eleven died martyrs' deaths on the basis of two things: the resurrection of Christ, and their belief in him as the Son of God. They were tortured and flogged, and they finally faced death by some of the cruelest methods then known:

1. Peter - crucified
2. Andrew - crucified
3. Matthew - the sword
4. John - natural
5. James, son of Alphaeus - crucified
6. Philip - crucified
7. Simon - crucified
8. Thaddaeus - killed by arrows
9. James, brother of Jesus - stoned
10. Thomas - spear thrust
11. Bartholomew - crucified
12. James, son of Zebedee - the sword"

Josh continues here:

"The response that is usually chorused back is this: 'Why, a lot of people have died for a lie; so what does it prove?'

Yes, a lot of people have died for a lie, but they thought it was the truth. Now if the resurrection didn't take place (i.e., was false), the disciples knew it. I find no way to demonstrate that they could have been deceived. Therefore these eleven men not only died for a lie - here is the catch - but they knew it was a lie. It would be hard to find eleven people in history who died for a lie, knowing it was a lie."


He then goes on to explain three factors... "in order to appreciate what they did"

"First, when the apostles wrote or spoke, they did so as eyewitnesses of the events they described."

Here Josh gives us scripture to show they were eyewitnesses:

Peter: "For we did not follow cleverly devised tales when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitness of his majesty." 2 Peter 1:16

John: "What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we beheld and our hands handled, concerning the Word of life - and the life was manifested, and we have seen and bear witness and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was manifested to us - what we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also, that you also may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ." 1 John 1:1-3

Luke: "In as much as many have undertaken to compile an account of the things accomplished among us, just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and servants of the Word have handed them down to us, it seemed fitting for me as well, having investigated everything carefully from the beginning to write it out for you in consecutive order." Luke 1:1-3


"Second, the apostles themselves had to be convinced that Jesus was raised from the dead."

When Jesus was arrested the Bible says: "Then they all forsook Him and fled." They were scared, they had lost faith and hope in Him. When they heard he had risen they were skeptical. Thomas wouldn't believe until he saw Jesus with his own eyes.

Josh says of Thomas once he saw Jesus for himself:

"Thomas later died a martyr's death for Christ. Was he deceived? He bet his life he wasn't."

Peter denied knowing Jesus, 3 times after His arrest. But after the resurrection he went boldly into Jerusalem and preached that Jesus was the Christ and had risen!

Josh says here of Peter:

"Was he deceived? What had happened to him? What had transformed him so dramatically into a bold lion for Jesus? Why was he willing to die for him?"

And then there was James, the brother of Jesus. He wasn't one of the original 12 disciples but later was recognized as an apostle. He didn't believe Jesus claims of being the Christ as John 7: 5 says: "For even His brothers did not believe in Him." 

Josh says here:

"For James it must have been humiliating for Jesus to go around and bring ridicule to the family name by his wild claims."

And yet James was found preaching in Jerusalem after the resurrection!

Josh continues here:

Eventually James died a martyr's death by stoning at the hands of Ananias the high priest(Josephus). Was James deceived? No, the only plausible explanation is 1 Cor. 15: 7 "...then He appeared to James."

"Third, the bold conduct of the apostles immediately after they were convinced of the resurrection makes it unlikely that it all was a fraud. They became bold almost overnight." 

Josh quotes an unknown author:

"On the day of the crucifixion they were filled with sadness; on the first day of the week with gladness. At the crucifixion they were hopeless; on the first day of the week their hearts glowed with certainty and hope. When the message of the resurrection first came they were incredulous and hard to be convinced, but once they became assured they never doubted again. What could account for the astonishing change in these men in so short a time? The mere removal of the body from the grave could never have transformed their spirits and characters. Three days are not enough for a legend to spring up which would so affect them. Time is needed for a process of legendary growth. It is a psychological fact that demands a full explanation. Think of the character of the witnesses, men and women who gave the world the highest ethical teaching it has ever known, and who even on the testimony of their enemies lived it out in their lives. Think of the psychological absurdity of picturing a little band of defeated cowards cowering in an upper room one day and a few days later transformed into a company that no persecution could silence - and then attempting to attribute this dramatic change to nothing more convincing than a miserable fabrication they were trying to foist upon the world. That simply wouldn't make sense."

You may notice a theme here...resurrection. : )

Without the resurrection of Jesus Christ, there is no Christianity.

His life, death and resurrection are the source, the reason and the meaning of Christianity. It's Jesus that Christians believe in, trust in and put our hope in.

Each chapter of this book was full of great insights and thought-provoking  questions and answers. When I read a book like this I do alot of underlining!

This one is definitely worth the read for either the person searching, the new christian, or the christian who wants to know how to share the gospel in an intelligent and loving way with non-believers.

Once in awhile I add a song to my posts and usually I go searching for one that fits the theme. I often listen to K-Love as I put my posts together, and as I was writing this one, this song by Matt Maher came on...I got goose bumps.

Christ is risen. : )


Buy it HERE at Amazon




February 1, 2013

if

there be any reserve in my giving to
        Him who so loved that He gave
        His Dearest for me;
if there be a secret 'but' in my
       prayer,
     "Anything but that, Lord,"
then I know nothing of Calvary love.

                                      Amy Carmichael

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...