Posts Tagged With: Forgiveness

It’s a Matter of Perception



I took this photo of a footprint in the sand at the beach a week ago. When I went back and looked at it, instead of looking like an impression of a footprint in the sand, it looked more like a raised footprint built up in the sand. I am not a photographer and can’t explain why it looks so different in the picture than it did in person. It is all about perception.

How often is our perception of a person or a situation skewed by our personal perspective? Too often we look at a person or situation and decide why someone acted a particular way or why a situation turned out a specific way. When we do so, we are ascribing motives and variables than may not exist and our perception may be a bit off.

What if instead of looking for people’s motives, we look at the person; really look at the person the way God looks at us? What if instead of deciding why something has turned out a certain way, we ask God to help us see a situation from His viewpoint? God looks at us and sees His Son. As believers, we are forgiven for our sins because of Christ’s death on the cross. God sees Christ’s perfect sacrifice instead of our sin.

What difference would it make in your relationships if you saw the people in your life as God’s children whom He loves instead of the person or people who hurt your or frustrate you? It is really all a matter of perception. We choose to see others as human with the same sinful nature we have and choose to forgive them or choose to judge them. 

What a different year we could experience in 2014 if we chose to see others and situations from God’s perspective rather than our own limited perspective! Ask the Lord to open your eyes to see others and situations the way He does and be willing to show them the love of Christ you have been shown by your Heavenly Father.


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What Not to Do


Paul spends a lot of time spelling out the kinds of activities and behavior that are not becoming for the people of God. 

Ephesians 5:3-7

But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving. For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person—such a person is an idolater—has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient. Therefore do not be partners with them.

It is easy for us to read a passage like this and quickly decide the first couple of behaviors don’t really apply to us and skim over the rest. However, this is precisely what Paul is warning against. Paul wants the people to look carefully at how they are living their lives and recognize their sin as sin. He isn’t doing this to simply give us a list of things we aren’t supposed to do but to help us maintain our spiritual health. 

Paul knew the cost of sin to one’s spiritual health and their relationship with the Lord. Remember prior to His blinding encounter with the Lord, his purpose was to find believers and persecute, imprison and kill them. Our sins may not seem as severe as those, but in the eyes of the Lord, sin is sin. It is not categorized into big sins and little sins. The idea of categorizing sin comes from us as a way for us to minimize our sin. We do a lot to justify and rationalize our sins. For example, the term “a little white lie”, is something we have come up with in order to minimize the fact that lying of any kind is a sin.

As we approach the weekend, spend some time rereading this passage. Slow down and read it carefully rather than skimming over it. See if the Lord reveals to you that any of the sins listed in this passage apply to you. I think all of us would be hard pressed not to be able to at least relate to the sins of greed, idolatry and problems with our words. Allow the Lord to help you recognize your sin for what it is and help you turn from it and seek His forgiveness. Then follow that with a time of praise and thanksgiving because He loves you enough to show you ways you are distancing yourself from him through your sin. 

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Walk out Your Faith


Paul continues to tell the people about the kinds of behavior they need to rid themselves of and closes off the passage with ways they should behave instead.

Ephesians 4:28-32

28 Anyone who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work,doing something useful with their own hands, that they may have something to share with those in need.

29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

As Paul closes out this fourth chapter of Ephesians, he is very clear about the type of activities and attitudes we need to rid ourselves of. Paul not only talks about what we need to get rid of but what we need to replace them with. In verse 28 Paul reminds us that we are not to steal. He then follows it with specific instructions of what to do instead of stealing – to work, not just to provide for ourselves, but in order to have surplus to share with those in need. How well do you share your abundance with those in need? We work hard to provide for our families and to have the things we want, but do we have too much? Do we share with those in need?

Paul again addresses our speech. He not only tells us to not let unwholesome talk come from us but adds that our words should build others up. What was your speech like this past week? Did your words tear people down or build people up? When we continue to live our old lives and old ways of satisfying ourselves versus living our lives for Christ, we grieve the Holy Spirit.

Verse 31 gives a laundry list of attitudes we should be rid of if we are living into our new creations in Christ. Paul doesn’t just admonish us in this passage, he builds us up by encouraging us in verse 32 to live lives that are pleasing to the Lord. He tells us to be kind and compassionate. Who in your life needs to experience your kindness and compassion today? Who in your life needs to experience your forgiveness? Walk out your faith today by showing kindness and compassion, using your words to build up another and by forgiving others the way Christ forgives you.

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The Danger with Anger

In today’s verses Paul addresses anger and how we are to deal with it.

Ephesians 4:25-27

25 Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body. 26 “In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27 and do not give the devil a foothold.

Paul starts off this passage with some practical ways of living out their new lives in Christ. He first addresses the need to be honest with one another. Any time we choose to exaggerate, distort or lie, we are hurting the body of Christ. We always have a choice in what we say to one another, we can choose to speak the truth or not. With our new lives in Christ, we are called to speak the truth.

Next, Paul addresses the concept of anger. Anger can be a dangerous emotion because if it is not dealt with and settled, it will turn into a root of bitterness in your heart. “Paul’s advice is sound, because the longer we postpone mending a quarrel, the less likely we are ever to mend it.” Paul recommends not letting the sun go down while remaining angry so the anger isn’t carried over into the next day without being addressed.

When we choose to hang onto our anger and allow bitterness to take root in our hearts, we are giving the devil a foothold. The enemy wants nothing more than to prevent us from living the lives God has for us. He can easily do that if we allow our anger to fester.

Are you holding onto any anger? Do you have bitterness your heart? Pray for the Lord to reveal to you areas where you have not resolved your anger. We all get angry at times, but we need to not allow our anger to cause us to sin and not allow our anger to turn to bitterness. We are called to forgive and to seek forgiveness. Who do you need to forgive? Who do you need to seek forgiveness from?

  • Scripture from
  • Quote from “The Letters to the Galatians and Ephesians”, The Daily Study Bible, William Barclay, Westminster Press.


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Who is Lord of your Life?

Ephesians 3:8-13

 Although I am less than the least of all the Lord’s people, this grace was given me: to preach to the Gentiles the boundless riches of Christ, and to make plain to everyone the administration of this mystery, which for ages past was kept hidden in God, who created all things. 10 His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, 11 according to his eternal purpose that he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord. 12 In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence. 13 I ask you, therefore, not to be discouraged because of my sufferings for you, which are your glory.

Paul was charged with making the mystery made known. Remember the mystery was discussed back in verse 6 and refers to God providing an opportunity for salvation for the Gentiles through Christ. Paul says this was “accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord”. I think it is easy for us to accept Jesus as our Savior. We graciously accept the salvation He offers. We are thrilled to be called children of God and are so grateful He provided forgiveness for our sins.

However, I am not sure we all graciously accept Him as the Lord of our life. Jesus is referred to as Christ, Jesus Christ, God’s Son and our Lord. Seeing Him as our Lord requires more from us than seeing Him as our Savior. Allowing Jesus to be the Lord of our lives requires us to lay down our plans, desires and agendas and a willingness to pick up His. It requires us being patient and waiting on Him to reveal His plans for our lives. Do you accept Jesus as the Lord of your life? Do you submit to His plans for your life? Are you willing to wait on Him?

As we approach the weekend, take some time to really examine the lordship of your life. Are there areas where you have submitted your life to Jesus? Are there other areas you are trying to control and withhold from Jesus? Ask the Lord to reveal areas of your life that need to be submitted to Him and then follow through with obedience and submit to Him.

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