Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Forgiving Our Offenders

I have been slooowly going through a study called, "Seeking Him, Experiencing the Joy of Personal Revival," by Nancy Leigh DeMoss and Tim Grissom. I am consistently inconsistent, so there are many days that I don't do the study, mostly for variety's sake, and many days that (I will confess) I just don't make the time I should for a quiet time. Praise God for grace!

Anyhow,  I have quoted from this wonderful study before, and ran across a few paragraphs this morning that struck me as too good to keep to myself! I pray it helps you walk out forgiveness as God leads you to obedience.

"Remember that God does not hold us responsible for the wrongs others have done to us; He only holds us responsible for how we respond to what others do to us."

"As Christ has forgiven you, fully forgive each offender. Remember that forgiveness is not a feeling; rather, it is a choice and an act of the will. It is a commitment to clear the other person's record and never to hold that offense against him again.

"Keep in mind that emotional healing may involve a process, but actual forgiveness can be extended in a moment. Don't wait to forgive until you feel emotionally healed from the wound; instead, choose to forgive and let God begin the process of true healing in your life." 

"Verbalize to the Lord your forgiveness of each of the individuals [that have hurt you]. 'Father, as you have forgiven me, so I choose to forgive [person] for [name the offense].' "Pg. 185

May you know the freedom and peace of God's forgiveness in your life towards you, as well as experiencing His power in allowing you to walk in forgiveness towards others!

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At the Intersection of Creation and Evolution: A Dream

The alliterating story below is based on a dream I had several years ago. Please contact me for permission to reproduce.

Darkness devours me.

I am enveloped in emptiness.

Are my eyes open or are they closed? I strain against this shroud of night and still see nothing.

What is this place?

An image illuminates in front of me. A large, leafy tree streaks past and vanishes.

It deserts me to the darkness again.

In a moment, more images appear. A rapid succession of snapshots and thoughts clamor before my eyes and mingle in my mind.

I see seedlings. Several supple shoots have emerged before me and then swiftly stream away.

“The first trees on earth were not seedlings”, my mind observes. “They were not created as small insignificant saplings.”

That thought is rapidly replaced with a vision of a man.

He’s maybe 30; he is muscular and needs to shave.

He fades away.

In his place I see an infant.

A tiny bundle of pink skin upon a soft blanket flickers briefly in my brain.

“Man was created with age,” is the next statement I hear. “Adam did not begin his life as a baby, he began as a grown man.”

The voice seems like my own.

The thoughts do not.

Reeling before me now is a blur of rivers, forests, mountains and even layers of the earth. It is like a movie rushing rapidly before my retina.

The soundtrack of this epic is proclaiming a peculiarly plain concept:

“The earth was created with age. Creation and evolution are not in total opposition. There is a reason that science finds the earth to be quite old: it was made that way.”

Thoughts continue to tumble through my mind; pictures parade before me. I listen in amazement to what seems to be puzzlingly profound and yet rather apparent all at once.

“Adam was created as an adult. Trees and plants were made fully grown.”

I suddenly feel quite certain that, if I were to chop down some of the trees that had been spoken into existence, I would find a range of rings running through their trunks.

“The earth was brought to life with age built into it… just like Adam. He did not begin life as an infant. The earth came into being with what it would need to sustain the life that was created. It was old when it was young. The world was
made with maturity; it was also produced with purpose.”

These thoughts are thrilling. Why had I not seen this before? It seems so simple. Obtusely obvious. Had others not observed this correlation? If they had, why wasn’t it being candidly conveyed?

In the span of thirty seconds I have been ravaged by a radical revelation. I feel the weight of its worth resting on me; it is tantamount to tangible.

I am neither a theologian nor am I a scientist. I don’t claim that the ethics of evolution are completely compatible with the Bible’s account of creation. But certainly Science can come concurrent to creation and affirm our faith with facts.

Of course, the Omnipotent Originator of the Universe is exceedingly elusive to what our mind could ever envision. Above what science could ever extensively elucidate.

Accordingly, creation is confounding too. Each diverse discovery deems it more marvelous to grasp. Many scientists have reluctantly relented to the theory of Intelligent Design.

That’s why, alongside those facts, we also need faith.

Lying inexplicably at the intersection of those two essential elements is an exceptional endowment: the intermittent insight of our dreams.