BY ELLEN MARTIN
Sometimes it is easy for us to think that we are past God’s grace. Sometimes we think that we have sinned too many times. Can God really forgive me even though I have sinned so much? How can God forgive me when I have wronged Him so badly?
1 John 1:5-7 says this:
“This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.”
Jesus cleanses us of all sin. Not just some, but all. All of us have pasts. We all have experiences that we rather not reflect upon. There is hope for us in that Jesus can cleanse us from sin. All sin.
Daniel Foster | @danielfoster07
Unless you've been living under a rock the last few months, chances are you have heard Justin Bieber's new hit single "Love Yourself". If you haven't heard it, go give it a listen. The song itself has really nothing to do with this post, however the title, "Love Yourself", really got me thinking about those words. Do you love yourself? Like actually love yourself? Loving yourself is not a topic spoken very often among churches. Loving Jesus, loving others, these are where we tend to spend most of our time focusing, but we often neglect ourselves.
I'd like for you to read this verse with me:
"Jesus said to him, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.'" Matthew 22:37-39
Matt Coker | @BackRowOnline
Before joining the leadership at my church’s Celebrate Recovery program, I was a small group leader at a Celebrate Recovery held in a different church in town. I lead a group called “Integrity of the Mind,” a group of men who want to build up their sexual integrity and develop a healthy view of women and get a handle on any sexual habits or addictions.
When I took the group over, the group had four people in it, and it had been that way for the better part of the two years or so that the group has existed. But after I was asked to share my testimony, we quickly rose to having 15 people in the group.
The leaders of that Celebrate Recovery had really been pushing this group, because they felt lead that this was an area that many men in the program found themselves in. And it had taken hold of many people, who were deciding to be real men.
About a month after I gave my testimony that year, a man walked into the group and sat down. As we do with each new person, we asked him to tell us why he feels he needs to join our group. He told us of his womanizing, his objectifying of women, and so on, and that he finally came to a realization that this is hindering his walk with God and his happiness in life.
Then he turned and looked at me and said something I didn't expect.
Janice EIcholtz | @JanJanMom
John 8:3-11 is one of my favorite references to the teachings of Christ in the Bible. What basically happens is that a whole group of Pharisees come to Jesus with a woman who is actually caught in the act of adultery. The penalty, for her at least, was to be stoned to death. They asked, "What shall we do with her?" Jesus answered that one who had not sinned should cast the first stone. Eventually, all of her accusers vanished.
Why is this my favorite teaching? It reminds me. Reminds me that I deserve punishment, but I am forgiven. It reminds me not to be quick to stone someone else for their sins. The message of Christ is mercy. God is love and God is mercy. It is HIS WILL that NONE should perish.
Okay, so there is the story. What does it mean? Sometimes, I think we learn scripture, can quote it even... but it never actually sinks into our hearts. I'm asking you to let those things sink in your heart.
I consider these my Christian guidelines, along with the MAJOR command: Love your neighbor as yourself. So, now, a real life application for me: