Monday, April 18, 2022

Paint It Red


As much as I hate to admit it, sometimes I can let a grievance I have with someone linger too long in my mind.  While I know I should let it go, I find myself replaying the situation over and over in my mind, leading me to get upset all over again.  During this Easter season, the Lord has been impressing on my that when one of these recurring thoughts come to me, I need to paint it red.


Ephesians 1:7 - In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that He lavished on us. 


Things to think about:

·       Human relations have been marred by real and perceived slights since the beginning of time.

·       Maybe there is a situation you are dealing with right now where you have been hurt by someone else and you’re having trouble letting it go.

o   FACT: Whatever we feel aggrieved by, it pales in comparison to how we have fallen short with God

·       While our verse in Ephesians is true that we have forgiveness of sins, the story doesn’t stop there

o   Colossians 3:13 says, “Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. “

·       You will recall the story Jesus told of the unmerciful servant in Matthew 18:21-35 about the man who was forgiven of a debt of ten thousand bags of gold and yet he refused to forgive someone who owed him a paltry sum of money.

o   “Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’  In anger his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed.  “This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.”

·       This past weekend we remember the great debt we were forgiven of by the death of Jesus on a cruel Roman cross.  His blood was spilled for my debt.

·       As part of the renewal of my mind, I am asking God to give me a paintbrush dipped in His blood to cover over the minor offenses I sometimes hold on to.

o   Once that debt has been covered with the grace and mercy I was shown, I am refusing to try and remove the paint.  Rather I want to focus on His blood shed for me to help me forgive as I have been forgiven.

·       How about you?  Do you need to start a painting project too?

Monday, April 4, 2022

Don't Worry, Be Happy


We recently looked at four things that can be hang-ups in our faith – death, guilt, bitterness, and worry.  For me, worry is my #1 hang-up and I find it has the ability to rob me of my joy.  While today’s verse will probably not be new to you, for me it’s one I need to constantly keep in the forefront of my mind.


Philippians 4:6-7

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.


Things to think about:

·       Worry is the feeling of an impending negative event or loss that we have no control over. 

o   I will lose my health

o   I will lose a loved one

o   I will not have the means to support myself and family

·       Apparently, it’s pretty common to worry because our verse begins by telling us to not be anxious about anything. We dwell on future events we have no control over and in the process forfeit joy and happiness in the present.

o   That’s a terrible trade! 

o   Moreover, I find the underlying stress of worrying about things makes me grumpy and unpleasant to be around

·       Romans 12:2 tells us, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”

o   My mind needs an overhaul.  I need to learn to stop focusing on What I have no control over and turn my thoughts to Who has dominion over everything

§  Romans 11:36 - For from Him and through Him and for Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever! 

§  We’re encouraged to bring everything to God in prayer and the good news is everything is under His control

·       There’s another clue in our text that offers a way to refocus my thinking

o   …“with thanksgiving…”

o   It’s pretty hard to be negative when we have an attitude of gratitude

o   I have found in recent days that gratitude and worry have a very difficult time coexisting.  Being thankful crowds out anxiety.

·       The payoff is what I’m after – Peace

o   And not just any peace but a supernatural kind that surpasses all understanding, guarding both my mind and heart

I’m not there yet but as I give to God the things that weigh me down, I do find that His burden is light and it gives me more capacity to stop thinking about me and thereby be able to give more to loving Him and others.