VIDEO No Limit to Forgiveness

I acknowledged my sin to You, and my iniquity I have not hidden. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,” and You forgave the iniquity of my sin. Psalm 32:5

Most nations have in their legal systems periods of prescription—more commonly referred to as “statutes of limitations.” Such statutes specify the time within which charges must be brought against someone accused of committing a civil or criminal crime, the purpose being to ensure a speedy resolution of the charges for the sake of the accused.

Thankfully for us, there is no statute of limitation for when sin must be confessed in order to receive God’s forgiveness. Let’s say you sin and fail to confess it to God, then ten years later you come under conviction about that sin. Is it too late to confess it? Has God’s grace period run out? Certainly not! No such limitation exists. King David waited almost a year before confessing his adultery and complicity in murder to God—and he only confessed then because he had been found out (2 Samuel 11 – 12). But God still forgave him.

Don’t wait to confess your sins to God. He is ready and willing to forgive all who come to Him (1 John 1:9).

The way to cover our sin is to uncover it by confession.  Richard Sibbes


Psalm 32 • Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven

A Risky Detour

Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season.  2 Timothy 4:2

What a waste of time, thought Harley. Her insurance agent was insisting they meet again. Harley knew it would be yet another boring sales pitch, but she decided to make the most of it by looking for an opportunity to talk about her faith.

Noticing that the agent’s eyebrows were tattooed, she hesitantly asked why and discovered that the woman did it because she felt it would bring her luck. Harley’s question was a risky detour from a routine chat about finances, but it opened the door to a conversation about luck and faith, which gave her an opportunity to talk about why she relied on Jesus. That “wasted” hour turned out to be a divine appointment.

Jesus also took a risky detour. While traveling from Judea to Galilee, He went out of His way to speak to a Samaritan, something unthinkable for a Jew. Worse, she was an adulterous woman avoided even by other Samaritans. Yet He ended up having a conversation that led to the salvation of many (John 4:1–26, 39–42).

Are you meeting someone you don’t really want to see? Do you keep bumping into a neighbor you normally avoid? The Bible reminds us to be always ready—“in season and out of season”—to share the good news (2 Timothy 4:2). Consider taking a “risky detour.” Who knows, God may be giving you a divine opportunity to talk to someone about Him today!

By:  Leslie Koh

Reflect & Pray

Whom might you meet today? How might there be an opportunity to talk about Jesus? How can you go out of your way to share the good news in a bold but loving, sensitive way?

Jesus, teach me to see the doors You’ve opened for me to share Your love, and give me the courage to tell others about You

Our Great and High Priest

Hebrews 7:23-28

When you feel convicted about a particular sin, how do you react? Do you mourn with regret for days? Many Christians act as though God’s desire is for them to continually wallow in guilt, but this could not be further from the truth.

We saw yesterday that the Old Testament sacrifices had to be repeated over and over. Why? Because those animal offerings were only a temporary substitute for the perfect sacrifice God required. The New Testament tells us that the once-for-all, fully sufficient, substitutionary atonement has been accomplished—it took place when God’s own Son died on the cross in our place. As the hymn lyrics state, Jesus truly “paid it all.”

In the old system, a high priest took an animal into the temple and offered it as a sacrifice to God on behalf of the sinner. Christ, however, entered heaven itself and presented His life to the Father as the perfect atoning sacrifice (Heb. 9:13-14).

This means that the work of forgiveness is done. If you are in Christ, then His sacrifice has already paid for your sin. So, when the Holy Spirit brings conviction, address the sin and move on. Do not cling to burden of unforgiveness that Jesus has lifted from your shoulders.

The Redeemed!

“Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.” (1 Peter 1:18-19)

How glibly we use the terms redeemed, redemption, and ransom. But what do they mean, and more importantly, what did Christ’s act of redemption mean?

Three Greek words and their derivations are used in the New Testament to denote various aspects of this truth. In our text, “redeemed” comes from lutroo, which means to set free, buy back, or ransom. Christ’s innocent blood, sacrificed for us, bought us back. “By his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us” (Hebrews 9:12).

Redeemed from what? From slavery to sin. Jesus taught, “Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin” (John 8:34). Thankfully, “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law” (Galatians 3:13). The Greek word here is exagorazo, meaning to buy up, to ransom from the market place (i.e., agora), which could be called “the slave market of sin.” He ransomed us, He redeemed us from the horrors of slavery to sin by His death on the cross.

The final word is apolutrosis, “to ransom in full.” He has paid the full penalty! “It is finished” (John 19:30), He said as He died. In Him alone “we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace” (Ephesians 1:7).

Each of us needs to appropriate His plan, “for all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus” (Romans 3:23-24). JDM

Unity Does Precede Blessings

With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

—Ephesians 4:2-3

 

Unity of mind on the part of the people of God precedes the blessing. I have often heard people pray, “Oh Lord, send the Holy Spirit that we may become a united people.” That is all right except it is precisely backward. The Holy Spirit comes because we are a united people; He does not come to make us a united people. Our prayer should be more like, “Lord, help us to get united in order that the blessing might flow and there might be an outpouring of oil and dew and life.”…

This teaches us that unity is necessary to the outpouring of the Spirit of God. If you have 120 volts of electricity coming into your house but you have broken wiring, you may turn the switch, but nothing works—no lights come on, the stove doesn’t warm, your radio doesn’t turn on. Why? Because you have broken wiring. The power is ready to do its work with all the appliances in your home, but where there is broken wiring, you have no power. Unity is necessary among the children of God if we are going to know the flow of power.   SAT086-087

Lord, help us to get united in order that the blessings might flow. Amen.

 

Confront with Kindness

Be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.

—2 Timothy 4:2

 

It is quite natural, and even spiritual, to feel sorrow and heaviness when we see the professed followers of Christ walking in the ways of the world. And our first impulse may easily be to go straight to them and upbraid them indignantly.

But such methods are seldom successful. The heat in our spirit may not be from the Holy Spirit, and if it is not then it can very well do more harm than good….

In this as in everything else Christ is our perfect example. A prayerful, face-down meditation on the life of Christ will show us how to oppose with kindness and reprove with charity. And the power of the Holy Spirit within us will enable us to follow His blessed example. OGM110-111

The baptism of the Holy Spirit will always bring a spirit of love…and…sweetness and charity toward all men. HS377

 

Christ’s Prayer for Us

John 17:17

 

When John Knox was dying and his wife brought the Bible to his bedside, she asked what she should read. “Read where I first cast my anchor—the 17th of John,” he replied. Early or late, one may cast an anchor in these profound depths and be sure the anchor will hold.

Here we are permitted one of Scripture’s rare glimpses of communication between members of the Godhead. Here we have the sinless Son of Man, who comes not by grace (as we must) but by right. A sacred hush hangs over John 17; one wants to take off his shoes on this holy ground.

The anguish of Gethsemane and the agony of Calvary will follow within hours, and Jesus knows it, but His peace is undisturbed.

But when a man has access to God, what shall he request? Sadly, some of us do not seem to know. Our prayers are, as a result, for things—a far cry from the praying in which our Lord engages.

For our sakes He “sanctifies” Himself (John 17:19). The term here means not to cleanse—Jesus did not need any cleansing—but to consecrate, to dedicate to the divine purpose. His coming was for us; His dying was for us; His praying is for us as well. To think—Jesus spent time in costly caring for me. Robert McCheyne said,

“If I could hear Christ praying for me in the next room, I would not fear a million enemies. Yet distance makes no difference. He is praying for me.”

The heart of this Calvary-eve appeal is that we believers might be sanctified (John 17:17, 19). The “uttermost salvation” made available through such intercession is not only quantitative—salvation for all time and eternity—but qualitative—a complete salvation, a pervasive cleansing of the whole personality, a sharing in the wholeness of the divine nature limited only by the finitude of the man who receives it. Jesus is earnestly asking that for me, every day. The purpose of the cross is not only to pardon, but to purify.

If Jesus, in such an hour of crisis, asked the Father to sanctify me, ought I not to seek it for myself? May I not make His prayer my prayer, with assurance that God will answer?

Jesus’ prayer, breathing out its blessing, is my assurance that this may be my experience, yes—shall be!

Edward Read, Burning, Always Burning

 

VIDEO As White as Snow, Crushed By Guilt

Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.  Psalm 51:7

Most people love a “white Christmas”—a blanket of fresh snow that has gently fallen like a silent white shroud. But why is snow white when it’s actually just made of crystals of ice? The reason is, when light waves of different frequencies (colors) hit the ice crystals, they are reflected off the snow so all the colors blend to create “white”—the color that results when all color frequencies are combined.

While the writers of the Bible may not have understood the science of white snow, they understood this: Snow was the whitest, or purest, thing they knew. Pure white snow doesn’t have any marks or stains or blemishes, and thus they equated the image with sinlessness and holiness. Daniel saw the Ancient of Days wearing a garment “white as snow” (Daniel 7:9). John saw Jesus with hair “as white as snow” (Revelation 1:14). When we see our sin, we know we need to be made as “white as snow” (Isaiah 1:18).

The more we see the holiness of God, the more we become aware of our need to be made pure as well (Psalm 51:7).

The purer your habits, the closer to God you will come.  Ravi Zacharias


Psalm 51 – John Piper

Making Peace with Trouble

In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. John 16:33

 

We were almost home when I noticed it: the needle of our car’s temperature gauge was rocketing up. As we pulled in, I killed the engine and hopped out. Smoke wafted from the hood. The engine sizzled like bacon. I backed the car up a few feet and found a puddle beneath: oil. Instantly, I knew what had happened: The head gasket had blown.

I groaned. We’d just sunk money into other expensive repairs. Why can’t things just work? I grumbled bitterly. Why can’t things just stop breaking?

Can you relate? Sometimes we avert one crisis, solve one problem, pay off one big bill, only to face another. Sometimes those troubles are much bigger than an engine self-destructing: an unexpected diagnosis, an untimely death, a terrible loss.

In those moments, we yearn for a world less broken, less full of trouble. That world, Jesus promised, is coming. But not yet: “In this world you will have trouble,” He reminded His disciples in John 16. “But take heart! I have overcome the world” (v. 33). Jesus spoke in that chapter about grave troubles, such as persecution for your faith. But such trouble, He taught, would never have the last word for those who hope in Him.

Troubles small and large may dog our days. But Jesus’ promise of a better tomorrow with Him encourages us not to let our troubles define our lives today.

By:  Adam R. Holz

Reflect & Pray

What does it look like for you to surrender your troubles to God? What might you use as a prompt to remind yourself to offer up your anxieties to Him throughout the day?

Father, troubles never seem far away. But when they’re close, You’re even closer. Please help me to cling to You in trust today.

The Need for a Sacrifice

Hebrews 10:1-4

Have you ever read about sacrifice in the Old Testament and wondered what it was for? The only payment for sin is death (Rom. 6:23), and the Lord graciously allowed animals to be offered as a substitute for human lives. So people regularly brought sacrifices to God as atonement. However, it was only a temporary solution and had to be repeated often.

In order for mankind to be eternally freed from the guilt of sin, God required that the once-for-all sacrifice had to be completely pure (Lev. 22:20). What’s more, it could not be an animal. After all, the guilt belonged to man; therefore, the world was in need of a perfect and sinless person to be offered.

What an impossible situation: Man was responsible to pay the price, but God alone was capable of sinlessness. The only possible solution was for Jesus Christ—who was wholly God and wholly man—to offer His life on our behalf. Unlike the blood of bulls and lambs, Christ’s blood was a fully sufficient one-time payment for all sin.

This is why we say that we’re saved by the blood of Christ. Jesus did what we could not—He set us free from our sins. Consider the immensity of the sacrifice He made on your behalf. Have you thanked Him lately?