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Sunday grace

Forgiveness. Unforgiveness. I am confronted with it this morning in my morning quiet time.

And a person comes to my mind, someone who hurt me with her words, a wound that was deep. I struggled to find healing for it. I struggled to forgive.

Daily sometimes I said it to myself. “I forgive her. Lord, please do a work of forgiveness in my heart.” I willed to let the offense go, but I need a higher power to removed the pain and heal the laceration of my heart. Forgiveness is a divine attribute, not a human one.

Christ in me is the only way it can happen.

I have surmised that when I think of the offense and it does not hurt anymore, then forgiveness is complete in me. So why this morning am I thinking of it once more with a twinge of discomfort?

I’m not sure. Perhaps it is the enemy of my soul trying to torment me. Perhaps it is because someone else has upset my apple cart and gotten under my skin, making me want to retaliate. Forgiveness is once again required.

Tempting me to hold onto grudges and offenses are his prime tool. Keeping hurts alive is where a root of bitterness finds a way into my soul. And Scripture warns me not to be ignorant of satan’s tricks.

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

So once again, I affirm my desire to forgive. How can I do otherwise? I have been forgiven much. I have no right to withhold it from another.

“Lord, I forgive _________ once again. Do the work of forgiveness in me, mending my heart and giving me a complete recovery.”

I don’t want to carry the burden any longer. I don’t want to be locked into a prison of my own making. I want to be free.

I have been given much grace. I will give grace as I have received it. In Jesus name. For He forgave me fully and pefectly.

Amazing.

Sunday grace.

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Sunday grace

I walk in the stillness of the dawn and the early morning fog, the faint sound of a train in the distance. The day begins fresh and clean with mercies fresh from the Father’s hand.

Leaves and branches are strewn on the pavement and grassy fields, the results of a blowing wind and rain the evening before. The dead have clung to trees too long. The violent tugging loosed them. They needed to go. They were lifeless.

I’ve had some dead branches fall away this week, burdens, grief and emotions I clung to long enough. They needed to go. They were lifeless and sapping the life from me.

Moments in Scripture pull me back from my self focus, to the One who is the central focus of all of existence. Of life itself. The Father invites me to lay down my heavy load, to come and find forgiveness and rest.

I respond to His invitation, confessing my sin, feeling His embrace. He wipes away the tears and wipes the slate clean again.

I am the beloved of God, not because I have much to offer but because He offers all. Though I fall and fail, His love is unfailing and catches the fallen.

In returning I find Sabbath.

Sunday grace.

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Hosea 14:1-2

 

Sunday grace

“Let the morning bring me word of Your unfailing love, for I put my trust in You.”

Yesterday was an Alexander’s terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.  In my own mind.

I let my emotions rule my thoughts.  I allowed the cares of this life to press down on me.  I gave in to the unsatisfied longings of an aching heart and invited myself to my own little pity party.

It was not my best day.

I lay my head on my pillow with a confession, “Lord, please forgive me.”

Today, I rise up and sit with the the Psalmist for awhile.  He echos my thoughts, my emotions, my memory of yesterday.

Lord, hear my prayer,
    listen to my cry for mercy;
in your faithfulness and righteousness
    come to my relief.

I spread out my hands to the only One righteous, the only One able, the only One faithful enough to take me as I am and change me little by little when my progress seems so slow.

He is loving and forgiving even on my worst day.

Yes, the morning brings me word of His unfailing love.  I will put my trust in Him.

Show me the way I should go, Lord, for I entrust my life to You.

Because today there is grace for my need.

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Sunday grace

Sometimes I forget how heavy it is to carry around old hurts, like that extra twenty pounds I am always wanting to lose.  It impedes my progress.  It also blocks my vision and troubles my spirit.

Jesus came to set me free from the guilt and condemnation of my own past.  It is for freedom that I have been set free.  To walk in the beauty of grace unencumbered.

Then why do I hold onto offenses, nurse unforgiveness, and let things fester too long?  I don’t know why.  What I do know is freedom from guilt and freeing others from my own expectations lighten my load so that I can walk unfettered along my journey.

So this morning, as the Word speaks truth to me and I bow my head to pray, I do what I have done so many times before. I repent.  And I forgive.  They go together.

It is for freedom I have been set free.  I want to walk in it every day.  My path will be straighter, my vision clear, my load lighter.

Sunday grace, friends.

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Letting go in the new year

January ignites something in me.  Clean out.  Sort through.  Cast off.  Organize what’s left.  It compels me to look in every drawer and every closet.  It’s amazing, or maybe not, how much can accumulate in a year.  More clothes than I can wear.  Gadgets a plenty.  Books I haven’t had time to read.  And let’s don’t even talk about the junk drawer.

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It’s a freeing experience to fill the box for Goodwill and let things go.  I see space when I open the closet, the drawer, and that is a good feeling.

So it shouldn’t really surprise me that as I am reading 1st John preparing for a Bible study soon to begin, the tender nudging of the Holy Spirit wants to open an area in my life.  It’s something I’ve been dealing with for too long. Struggling to let it go.  Wanting to be free of it but still clinging to the “I’ve been wronged” part of it.  My so-called righteous indignation that I was accused falsely, that my motives were questioned stirs up hurtful words and cutting remarks from years ago.

I thought I was over it.  Apparently not.

The clever enemy who knows my weak points, prods with reminders.  “Remember that time . . . ”  And I give in and pull it out, examine it and let it stir up old feelings.  The junk drawer of my life.

So tender are Jesus’ whispers, reminding me this is not the best use of my life.  Old feelings are taking up room where He wants the fresh breezes of the Spirit to flow freely.

When confronted with Truth, what else can I do but bow the knee.  And so I confess.  Again.  God wants me to experience the full forgiveness.  Freedom.  It’s something only He can completely provide.

So I pray to forgive once again.  I confess and ask for His healing work in me.  I cling to the assurance of John’s beautiful words:

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

I’m done with this clutter in my heart.  I clearly expect there will be more promptings to deal with other areas.  God works like that, taking me as I am but never willing to leave me there.

I want a clean heart.  I want space for the good work of God in me.

A fresh start for the new year.  It’s a good way to begin again.