Posts Tagged ‘restoration’

  

“My child, don’t reject the LORD’s discipline, and don’t be upset when he corrects you.” (Proverbs‬ ‭3:11‬ ‭NLT‬‬)

Just when you thought that you’ve heard it all…

According to a report in the International Business Times on 8.28.15, two sisters in India, one of whom is only 15-years-old, have been “sentenced” to rape as “punishment” after their brother had an affair with a married woman. An unelected all-male village council in Baghpat district, Uttar Pradesh, ordered that Meenakshi Kumari, 23, and her teenage sister will also be paraded through the streets naked, with blackened faces, as they are made to pay the price for their brother’s alleged transgressions. And this is the norm for how this council has operated for years. Ugh

According to our text, God does bring punishment for sinful behavior, but never a heinous thing like this! Our God is a loving Father that desires for all His children to do right, like a good Dad should. While His correction fits the sin, it has an ultimate goal: not to bring suffering, but restoration of relationship. 

Good parents and right government should both have fair and firm corrective policies. You can’t love without it, otherwise you are only enabling. But I’m grateful that our wonderful Father cares enough to do it the right way and bring our hearts back home! You are loved! 

  

But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.” (Romans‬ ‭5‬:‭8‬ NLT)

June of 1986 was when Jesus died for me. A rebellious Church kid, the raised-right child of solid Christian workers, I wanted so badly those things that were denied me. So, on the night that school got out for Summer Break, I went to a party and rejected God. As my Mom and brother carried me in the house, reeking of alcohol, smoke, mud, and vomit, too drunk to stand, I hit bottom. Jesus died to save me that night. 

Many moments of failure dot the rugged landscape of my life, just as it does yours. But that was the lowest. This Sunday, I’ll be dressed in a suit, sharing the love of Jesus from a pulpit to whoever will listen, having the privilege to be a rural church Pastor. But none of my part of the Christ Life would have happened had I not acknowledged my low state that night, realized how lost I was, and been willing to turn my failed life over to a Savior that wanted the best for me, not to beat me with condemnation. 

As you prepare your heart for this weekend that we celebrate God’s great love for a people that don’t deserve it, remember that you are loved. It’s a love that will never quit and will always be reaching for you. Life won’t get better as long as we are in charge, just splattered with new messes. Let God have your life now so that your new & better life can begin! You are loved! Happy Easter! 



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.” (Acts‬ ‭3‬:‭19‬ NKJV)

In December 1977, Paul Harvey shared a story about Harry Bane of Lake Oswego, Oregon. Harry apparently desired to be in better health, so at a suggestion, Harry took up jogging. He tried it, but not long after he quit. What would detour Harry off his path to better health? He said the wind kept putting out his cigarette. Truth is sometimes stranger than fiction…

When we recognize the need for better spiritual health and then come to God, we cannot pick & choose what we will embrace and what we won’t, specifically dealing with our sins. All sin has got to go. We cannot think that God is appeased by our efforts to get rid of one bad habit or sin. All sin must be crucified! Our repentance is not for a certain issue or temporary moment, but has to develop into a lifestyle: “Repent…and be converted…”

Only God can help us die to sin’s temptation daily. John Owen reminds us, “It is man’s duty to kill sin, but not in his own way. The Spirit alone kills sin in believers. He has promised to do it, and all other means without Him are empty and vain.” Be willing to let all sin go, then let God do it. Complete surrender leads to complete freedom! You are loved today! 



In all, 1,760 priests returned [from Babylonian captivity]. They were heads of clans and very able men. They were responsible for ministering at the house of God.” (1 Chronicles‬ ‭9‬:‭13‬ NLT)

The Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church was constructed in Berlin in the 1890s. In 1943, the allied forces sent in an air raid, mass bombing much of Berlin in an attempt to eradicate the evil Nazi regime. The sad collateral damage of the air raid was the church’s destruction. It’s ruins stood as a war memorial. A new church was built there in the 1960s to keep the ministry going. 

Sometimes good people suffer because of the misdeeds of others, just as priests were taken off to Babylon during the exile. Whether children in a divorce, citizens caught in a gang crossfire, or the masses that lost their retirements in the Enron debacle, collateral damage occurs. It may seem that God is unfair and uncaring, but He isn’t. Just as Life circumstances tear us down, God is the Master Rebuilder!

If Life as brought some destruction your way, come to God for rebuilding. Just as God brought His people back to their homes from Babylonian captivity, and He has brought ministry back to Berlin, so God will turn your circumstances around! Trust your life into God’s restoring hands! You are loved today!

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But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart. Nevertheless I tell you the truth.” (John‬ ‭16‬:‭6-7‬ NKJV)

In times of crisis, the Bible has given me hope. When I have grieved a loss, it’s words have brought me comfort. As a pastor, I also have the privilege of dispensing these same words of life to others that are going through similar circumstances. But could God also bring tough words into our lives? You bet!

When the Lord speaks words of conviction into guilty ears, our heart breaks because we know we’ve done wrong. When the Holy Spirit wisely reveals to us that tough times are a’coming, we cringe at the unseen. To understand these tough words of God, you must understand the context from which He speaks to us: Out of the great love of His heart. He doesn’t aim to hurt us but to draw us to Himself, so that nothing, including sin, can separate us from intimacy with Him.

True love will speak the tough truths to you. I love, but I’m not great at it. That’s why I’m grateful for a loving Savior who can correct all of us the right way. Don’t be discouraged, just correctable. It always leads to blessed places! You are loved today!

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I will obey your decrees. Please don’t give up on me!” (Psalms‬ ‭119‬:‭8‬ NLT)

By the time the 2007 NFL football season kicked off, disappointed fans of the New York Giants were ready for a change, especially after losing their first 2 games early on. And then things did change! After going all the way to a Super Bowl championship, people in New York were glad that they didn’t give up on their team, even after years of struggle.

Any time that we fall short of the mark for God, which is usually daily, we are afraid that God might give up on us, moving on to a “better grade” of followers. But God doesn’t and with good reason: He understands your imperfections and knows what you are truly capable of. Where we see failure, God sees the chance to bring growth and strength into your life, as well as the lives you can touch.

Be careful about writing yourself off as a spiritual failure. What happened yesterday, last week, or last year doesn’t matter anymore. Live today with the desire to honor God and do right. If the Enemy would take you back for failing, then how much more will God, who loves you with an infinite love! Let today be different! You are loved!

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For the gifts and sacrifices that the priests offer are not able to cleanse the consciences of the people who bring them.” (Hebrews‬ ‭9‬:‭9‬ NLT)

I walked up to the grocery store counter with some flowers they had on a display cart. As the cashier scanned its code, she asked if it was for a birthday or anniversary, to which I replied that it was neither. She looked at me with an undisguisedly pathetic look. “So, what’d you do?” “Nothing”, I replied. As I was leaving, she simply shook her head and left her parting shot: “No one is innocent. Good luck with whatever you did!” (GUY 101: Flowers don’t fix everything!)

In this verse, when people brought their offerings of sacrifice to the temple, it was to atone for sin. But if the heart is not broken for its wrong doing, the sacrifice means nothing! God isn’t interested in penance, He desires repentance. Big difference! For when a person is truly sorry, then God has the ability to lead them in a right and better path, being able to forgive and restore.

If you have done things wrong, always be willing to make it right, whether with God or another person. Gifts and kind words are nice, but nothing resolves falling short like saying “I’m sorry.” Make things right and then buy flowers! You are loved!