Tuesday, February 28, 2017

The Unforgiving Servant

You’ve been forgiven by God an unimaginable debt of sin. You are required by God to forgive the miniscule debt of the sins against you.  

February’s Awakening, Day 28

God forgives talents; we cannot forgive pence. God forgives a hundred thousand; we cannot forgive a hundred (Matthew 18). We look that God should forgive us, and we will not forgive others.

 —Thomas Manton

In the presence of God, nothing stands between Him and us—we are forgiven. But we cannot feel His presence if anything is allowed to stand between ourselves and others.

 Dag Hammarskj√∂ld

There is only one person God cannot forgive. The person who refuses to come to him for forgiveness.

 —Author Unknown 

When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross. Colossians 2:13–14 NIV 

The Parable of the Unforgiving Servant

“Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand bags of gold [talents] was brought to him. Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt. “At this the servant fell on his knees before him. ‘Be patient with me,’ he begged, ‘and I will pay back everything.’ The servant’s master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go. “But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred silver coins [denarii]. He grabbed him and began to choke him. ‘Pay back what you owe me!’ he demanded. “His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay it back.’ “But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt. When the other servants saw what had happened, they were outraged and went and told their master everything that had happened. “Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’ In anger his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed. “This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.” Matthew 18:23–35 NIV  (Bold brackets—NKJV)

            “The Parable of the Unforgiving Servant” should be sufficient evidence in and of itself as to the dire importance of forgiveness and our sincere forgiveness from the heart towards all humanity. But let’s take a closer look so we don’t miss the significance of what Jesus is telling us here. The talent was an ancient unit of weight used for a variety of measures, but especially measures of precious metals, namely gold and silver. The value of the talent varied from culture to culture and varied throughout time. Today, we can only approximate the value of the talent in the time of Jesus to be somewhere between 57–75 pounds of weight, with the upper limit being the value most often referenced. In ancient times one talent of gold approximated 20 years of wages for the common worker. The denarius was a Roman silver coin roughly equivalent to the Greek drachma coin, and was the typical wage for one day’s labor.

            It should be apparent in the parable that God is the King or Master, and we are the servants. The burden of our sin is analogous to the amount of monetary indebtedness we owe to our King. Let’s use some current values to put these figures in perspective. The current value of gold is $1,237 per ounce and the current value of silver is a mere $18 per ounce. In the example, Jesus tells us that our indebtedness of sin is roughly equivalent to 10,000 talents of gold. Using 75 pounds per talent, that’s 750,000 pounds of gold, or 12,000,000 (12 million) ounces, and at $1,237 per ounce, equals $14,844,000,000 (almost 15 billion dollars). Even using the ancient standard of one talent of gold is 20 years’ wages, we would need to work 200,000 years to pay back the debt. Either way we look at it, it is an impossibility for us to overcome (remember: sin is the immovable object)—yet our Master has forgiven it all and more with no questions asked or requirement in return except that we forgive others equally well.

            In contrast, the servant required a fellow servant to pay to him his debt owed in full with no recourse or mercy shown. The amount owed was 100 denarii, or 100 days of labor. The weight and value of the typical silver denarius also varied throughout history, but in the time of Jesus it was probably equivalent to approximately 4 grams or 0.14 ounce of silver, which would value one denarius at $2.52 (a day’s wage), so the servant’s total indebtedness to the other servant was a mere $252 by today’s standards. Even though the value of gold and silver is much higher now than in ancient times, the relative proportions would still be the same. Billions of dollars compared to hundreds of dollars and 200,000 years of labor compared to 100 days of labor.

             And if you still don’t think this is serious and significant, you better read those last few lines of the parable again.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Forgotten Is Forgiven

Forgiving is not reliving—its forgetting.

February’s Awakening, Day 27

Forgiveness is not an occasional act: it is an attitude.

 —Martin Luther King, Jr

Forgotten is forgiven.

 —F. Scott Fitzgerald
The sinner of today is the saint of tomorrow. Wherefore, unmindful of the sins and shortcomings of our neighbors, let us look to our own imperfections, surely forgetting what God has forgotten: sins truly repented, which God has forgotten, we have no business to remember.

 —Meister Eckhart 
Once a woman has forgiven her man, she must not reheat his sins for breakfast.

 —Marlene Dietrich  

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. Romans 8:1–2 NIV

            When God forgives our sins, He keeps no record of them nor holds them against us, but has removed them from us as far as the east is from the west and has cast them into the depths of the sea, never to be retrieved. Most assuredly, God expects the same from us, concerning both the sins that we have committed and those sins others have committed against us. In both circumstances, we are not to live continually in them, but we are to forget what is behind and move ever forward. We cannot continually punish and condemn ourselves or others for that which God does not condemn and has freely and completely forgiven.

            To say in your heart, “I forgive, but I’ll never forget,” simply means you have done neither. Forgetting does not mean that the event has been wiped clean from your memory, but that the event no longer has any control over you and no longer initiates any negative physiological, emotional, or mental response within you. It becomes as any other event in your life—it just happened—an unfortunate event, but now neutralized such that it causes no continual ill will or negative response within you. You have released it and as such have neutralized all its negative effects in your life forevermore. Yes, at times exceedingly difficult, but wasn’t it enough to live through it once—do you really want to relive it continually?  Truly forgiving and forgetting is the first step to healing and wholeness, and yes, it will oftentimes take the power of God to free you and release you.  

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Loving Forgiveness

Those who are truly secure and strong forgive. Those who do not forgive are prisoners of themselves.

February’s Awakening, Day 26

We pardon in the degree that we love.

 —La Rochefoucauld 

A person’s ability to forgive is in proportion to the greatness of his soul.

 —Author Unknown 

To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover the prisoner was you.

 —Author Unknown 

Whoever would foster love covers over an offense, but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends. Proverbs 17:9 NIV 

Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?” Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times. (Or seventy times seven) Matthew 18:21–22 NIV 

            Forgiveness requires an understanding and compassionate heart, a merciful mind, agape love, and a level of spiritual maturity. Doing what’s in the best interest of the other is doing what’s in the best interest of self. Sometimes, forgiveness may be extremely difficult and painful and take some time to manifest. But to not forgive is certainly more damaging to self than it is to the offender. If the offense is ever before you in your mind, then you are certainly the prisoner who needs to be set free.

Not only are we commanded to simply forgive, we are commanded to forgive and forgive and forgive—as many times as the offense occurs. This doesn’t mean that we can’t initiate healthy boundaries and institute beneficial reprimands, but the offense itself should never control us—we must control the effect it has upon us. Forgiveness, tempered with good judgment and wisdom, setting appropriate boundaries, instituting appropriate reprimands as necessary, and freeing yourself from the bondage of those offenses will go a long way in obtaining the elusive tranquility of a peaceful and harmoniously balanced life. If we understand these basic principles of forgiveness, we realize why God has set such an importance upon it—it is for our own well-being and peace of mind.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Forgive and Give

You have the power within you to set yourself free. Are you forgiving and giving?

February’s Awakening, Day 25

To err is human, to forgive, divine.

 —Alexander Pope  
Love truth, but pardon error.


Two works of mercy set a man free: forgive and you will be forgiven, and give and you will receive.

 —Augustine of Hippo 

Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” Luke 6:37c–38 NIV 

            Freedom is a most wonderful thing—but it is never free. To gain freedom means that you must release from yourself everything that binds you and holds you captive. Laying your sin down at the Cross is the first step, followed by equally forgiving others just as you’ve been forgiven. Harboring ill will towards another is just another form of self-imprisonment. Cease it, release it, and you’ll re-piece together your life. Giving freely of yourself in time, talents, and resources will also bring a high level of gratification and tranquility into your life. To forgive and give are powerful forces that you control, and just as you sow, so shall you reap. To gain you must give, to be forgiven you must forgive—that’s the wonder and power of God’s economy—and in God’s economy, forgiving and giving will always win.

Friday, February 24, 2017

The End Never Justifies the Means

“It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” Throughout every step of your life have you done the right thing, in the right way, in the eyes of God and man?

February’s Awakening, Day 24

As we forgive, we achieve the right to be forgiven.

As we forgive, we increase our capacity for light and understanding.

As we forgive, we live beyond the power of the adversary.

 —Robert L. Simpson  

Doing an injury puts you below your enemy;

Revenging one makes you but even with him;

Forgiving it sets you above him.

 —Benjamin Franklin 

Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. Romans 12:14–21 NIV   

For we know him who said, “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” and again, “The Lord will judge his people.” It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. Hebrews 10:30–31 NIV

            As believers, we have a very high standard and level of character and integrity to live by. Is your life a true reflection of God and all that is good? Are your intentions pure, righteous, and always acting in the best interest of others? Has everything you’ve done and accomplished been so in an exemplary and noble fashion? Have you rejoiced in the victories of others who have received when you were slighted? Have you truly forgiven those who have wronged you and have seemingly gained much at your expense with no apparent consequence to them?

            Do not compromise or demean your character to the lowest level of the most despicable, obnoxious, abrasive personality that you know or that your mind could fathom. Do the right thing regardless and let God righteously balance the scales. Forgiveness is one of the most freeing and releasing attributes that you can display and always live comfortably with. At some point, God will make it right. You don’t want to be that person who falls into the hands of the living God—for it is a dreadful thing.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Healing Forgiveness

Have you received the cure for everything that ails you? Are you spreading the cure to everyone you meet?

February’s Awakening, Day 23

The practice of forgiveness is our most important contribution to the healing of the world.

 —Marianne Williamson 

The quality of mercy is not strain’d,

It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven

Upon the place beneath: it is twice blest;

It blesseth him that gives, and him that takes.

 —William Shakespeare, “The Merchant of Venice”

When you forgive, you in no way change the past—but you sure do change the future.

 —Bernard Meltzer 

He told them, “This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. Luke 24:46–47 NIV  

“Blessed are those whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the one whose sin the Lord will never count against them.” Romans 4:7–8 NIV 

            Since the greatest malady that affects all mankind is sin, it logically follows that the single most important cure for all ailments is forgiveness and the healing of the destructive and devouring nature of sin. Our bodies are dying and decaying every day from the effect of sin which has invaded and taken up residence in every cell of our being. It takes the precision of the hand of the Master Physician to remove each particle of the offending agent of sin from within us. The scalpel of His forgiveness is the only cure for the resistant malignancy that has spread and overtaken us. Thankfully, His cure is perfect and leaves no scar, yet the prior effects from the ravages of sin remain. But that will not always be so.

            Just as it is essential for us to receive His healing mercy and grace of forgiveness, it should be apparent that we need to extend that same measure of forgiveness towards all people of all the world. God has commanded us to do so and to spread His Good News. Harboring ill will towards another serves no useful purpose to us, and in fact, it damages us and controls us just like the sin we’ve just been freed from. Make a conscious effort to change the future of the world—forgive others as you’ve been forgiven.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Irresistible Forgiveness

Are you vibrant and alive partaking of the irresistible force of forgiveness, or are you crushed and dead under the immovable weight of your sin?

February’s Awakening, Day 22

The symbol of the religion of Jesus is the cross, not the scales.

 —John Stott   

The glory of Christianity is to conquer by forgiveness.

 —Author Unknown 

We are most like beasts when we kill, most like men when we judge; most like God when we forgive.

 —Author Unknown 

If you, Lord, kept a record of sins, Lord, who could stand? But with you there is forgiveness, so that we can, with reverence, serve you. Psalm 130:3–4 NIV 

For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it. James 2:10 NIV

God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. 2 Corinthians 5:21 NIV 

let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Hebrews 10:22 NIV   

            Christianity is all about forgiveness at the Cross, not about the balance scales weighing good deeds against bad deeds. Any religion weighing good against the bad is doomed to fail as the weight of one sin in God’s eyes is infinite. The measuring rod that God uses is His absolute holy perfection, and breaking just one rule breaks and undermines them all. Using a scientific analogy, one sin becomes the immovable object of infinite mass such that no counterweight or application of any force can remove or move it. No measure of good deeds can bring the balance scales into alignment—the weight of the sin is immovable. In physics this dilemma is called the “irresistible force paradox,” or “what happens when the irresistible force meets the immovable object?” The answer in our reality is that by definition there is no solution as both an immovable object (our sin) and an irresistible force (good deeds sufficient to cancel the sin) cannot coexist. For us, our sin remains immovable. In God’s reality, however, there actually is an irresistible force that removes the immovable weight of our sin—it’s called forgiveness. Forgiveness must come from God and the Cross—in our humanity alone, the scales of righteousness will never balance—sin will always win.  

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

What’s Left at the Cross Is Forgotten

When God forgives you, you need to forgive yourself too. Are you continually revisiting past sins long forgiven and forgotten by Him? Sever that chain, free yourself, and move forward—learning from those mistakes and becoming increasingly better.

February’s Awakening, Day 21

Forgiveness does not mean the cancellation of all consequences of wrongdoing. It means the refusal on God’s part to let our guilty past affect His relationship with us.

 —Author Unknown

I will love you, O Lord, and thank you, and confess to your name, because you have forgiven me my evil and nefarious deeds.

 —Augustine of Hippo 

God has cast our confessed sins into the depths of the sea, and He's even put a “No Fishing” sign over the spot.

 —D. L. Moody 

Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all his benefits—who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. The Lord works righteousness and justice for all the oppressed. The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor his anger forever; he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us. Psalm 103:2–6, 8–12 NIV   

Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of his inheritance? You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy. You will again have compassion on us; you will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea. Micah 7:18–19 NIV

            It should be comforting to know that from God’s perspective, once our sins are forgiven they are truly forgotten and not revisited. As far as the east is from the west and cast into the depths of the sea, they are removed from us and never counted against us. That is the purest form of forgiveness, bestowed upon us by God through His grace for all those who come to the Cross. Each day is fresh, the slate is wiped clean, and is a new start. God does require us to have a repentant heart and turn from our sins, for He knows the damage that sin creates in our lives. Even though we are forgiven, we still must always face the consequences of our sins and poor choices. God does not allow sin to stand between us if we are truly repentant, but He does not cancel the consequences. We should be ever grateful of His forgiveness and willfully do our best to avoid those pitfalls of sin. 

Monday, February 20, 2017

Emptied of Sin, Filled with Righteousness

Are you visiting the foot of the Cross frequently? To be filled with righteousness you need to be emptied of sin.

February’s Awakening, Day 20

Look once again to Jesus Christ in his death upon the cross. Look and try to understand that what he did and suffered, he did and suffered for you, for me, for us all. He carried our sin, our captivity and our suffering, and did not carry it in vain. He carried it away.

 —Karl Barth

Thou must be emptied of that wherewith thou are full, that thou mayest be filled with that whereof thou art empty.

 —Augustine of Hippo 

Forgiveness is the answer to the child’s dream of a miracle by which what is broken is made whole again, what is soiled is again made clean.

 —Dag Hammarskjold 

Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. John 8:34, 36 NIV

For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin—In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness. Romans 6:6, 11, 13 NIV 

            Our lives are filled and overflowing with sin, but we do not need to remain in that disparaging state. Christ has carried away all our sin, pain, sorrow, and shame and has set us truly free. What was broken is made whole again and what was soiled is now made pure and clean. We can now empty ourselves of all those burdens and encumbrances which have kept us in bondage and be filled fresh and anew with Christ’s righteousness and peace. It is a daily trip that we must take to the foot of the Cross and lay our baggage of sin down and be emptied of it. We must reach to Him to fill us to overflowing with His holiness and walk each day in it. The Cross of forgiveness must be visited daily or we will soon be overtaken by our sinful selves again, stuffed to the brim and needing a complete transfusion of His forgiveness and righteousness. But that’s what the Cross is all about—come and be emptied and filled with Him.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Scarlet and Crimson Become White as Snow and Wool

His love brings us forgiveness. The stain of sin’s red becomes a pure and holy white.

February’s Awakening, Day 19

Forgiveness is the divine miracle of grace.  The cost to God was the Cross of Christ.

 Oswald Chambers, “My Utmost for His Highest”

Once God preached to me by a similitude in the depth of winter. The earth was black, and there was scarcely a green thing or a flower to be seen. As I looked across the fields, there was nothing but barrenness—bare hedges and leafless tress and black earth, wherever I gazed. All of a sudden God spoke, and unlocked the treasures of the snow, and the white flakes descended until there was no blackness to be seen, and all was one sheet of dazzling whiteness. At the time I was seeking the Savior, and not long before I found Him, and I remember well that sermon which I saw before me in the snow: “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.”

 —C. H. Spurgeon

“Come now, let us settle the matter,” says the Lord. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool. Isaiah 1:18 NIV

In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding, he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, Ephesians 1:7–9 NIV  

            Forgiveness is the most wonderful gift of grace that God could possibly lavish on us. Love and forgiveness go hand in hand. Just as love originates with God toward us, so too does forgiveness come from God. Without forgiveness, we would have no hope of reconciliation with God and would forever be lost and stricken from His presence. Sin separates us from the holiness of God and it is only the sacrifice of Christ on the Cross that allows us to be washed clean of the stain of sin and be reunited in our good standing with God. Salvation and forgiveness are given freely to all those who believe in God’s saving grace through Christ—neither are deserved nor can be earned or acquired in any other way than our faith and belief in Jesus as our Lord and Savior. Because of His love for us, God forgives us and provides the way back to Him through His one and only Beloved Son. Grab hold of His free gift and enter into His presence and glory forever.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

May Your Love Be Ever Increasing

Are you spreading love and kindness everywhere you go, or just snarls, scowls, and glares?

February’s Awakening, Day 18

Spread love everywhere you go: First of all in your own house…let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier. Be the living expression of God’s kindness; kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile, kindness in your warm greeting.

 —Mother Teresa 

Love is always open arms. With arms open you allow love to come and go as it will, freely, for it’ll do so anyway. If you close your arms about love, you’ll find you are left only holding yourself.

 —Leo Buscaglia  

We ought always to thank God for you, brothers and sisters, and rightly so, because your faith is growing more and more, and the love all of you have for one another is increasing. 2 Thessalonians 1:3 NIV

            As God’s envoys here on earth, it is our responsibility to spread His love and kindness to everyone, everywhere we go. It is truly amazing what a simple smile can do to brighten someone’s day. Even more so, smiling is healthier for us and causes us to put on a whole new attitude. Wear that attitude, service with a smile towards all mankind, and you’ll reap innumerable benefits and blessings in return. Love with open arms, letting it pass freely from your heart to those you meet and you’re guaranteed that love will find its way back to you too. Love and kindness are contagious and powerful forces that each one of us has access to. Choose each day to take off the game face and put on the kindness face—if you do, you’ll win at life’s game too, and enjoy the journey so much more and so will everyone around you. 

Friday, February 17, 2017

Take Not Love for Granted

Anything worthwhile requires much effort to obtain it and even harder work to keep it.

February’s Awakening, Day 17
The most precious possession that ever comes to a man in this world is a woman’s heart.

 —Josiah G. Holland 

When I have learnt to love God better than my earthly dearest, I shall love my earthly dearest better than I do now.

 —C. S. Lewis 

To love is to be vulnerable.

 —C. S. Lewis 

He who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favor from the Lord. Proverbs 18:22 NIV   

            Two things are certain—there are no guarantees in love, and loving is a full-time job. Knowing well and practicing this precept well will not mend a broken heart, but it will sure help to prepare you and make certain you work hard at this elusive entity called love. Take no relationship for granted. Remember that not only is love a deep feeling and commitment towards another, it is continual and willful action displayed for the person’s best interest. Acting in the other person’s best interest is acting for your best interest too. You cannot ever command control over another person with love, it must be completely willful and free, or it is not love at all. All you can do in love is to give it. You must know and always accept the fact that returning love back to you is solely in the other person’s court.
Unfortunately, in this life, change is certain and love for another may wax and wane and come and go. Realizing that effort must be put forth each day within a relationship will go a long way in preventing the dissolution of that relationship. Honestly, many good relationships fail because one or both individuals become weary at the work required and give up. Both parties must understand that if the relationship is viable and healthy, it must be continually cultivated to remain as such. A good relationship is a 50–50 endeavor, but you better make sure you put forth a 100% effort on your part. Love makes us vulnerable and love can be painful, but we must

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Love Becomes One

We’ve all probably had Divine encounters, but a Divine appointed match made in heaven is a most marvelous thing.

February’s Awakening, Day 16

The most wonderful of all things in life, I believe, is the discovery of another human being with whom one’s relationship has a glowing depth, beauty and joy as the years increase. This inner progressiveness of love between two human beings is a most marvelous thing, it cannot be found by looking for it or by passionately wishing for it. It is a sort of Divine accident.

 —Sir Hugh Walpole 

In real love you want the other person’s good. In romantic love you want the other person.

 —Margaret Anderson

Immature love says: “I love you because I need you.” Mature love says “I need you because I love you.”

 —Erich Fromm 

“For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” Ephesians 5:31 NIV 

            Love and our interpersonal relationships can grow and blossom if we continually put forth effort to cultivate them. But just like the best of gardens, if we ignore our love and those relationships they will soon be overtaken by weeds or die from lack of care. It is truly a wonderful thing to experience the years go by and find love ever strengthening and the garden more beautiful and the harvest grander each year. When two can intertwine together in true love they have a very special relationship indeed—oneness together and with God is a glorious thing never to be taken for granted.

            Love may start out immature, as an attraction or infatuation, but there is always the opportunity for love to grow and mature into the perfect union of oneness. It doesn’t always work out this way, but when that bond strengthens and solidifies and becomes one, it is the grandest of all Divine blessings.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Love Chooses to Overlook

Love says, “Before you recount all the flaws of others, make sure you look in the mirror first and count all yours.”

February’s Awakening, Day 15

Love is not blind, it sees more not less;

But because it sees more it chooses to see less.

 —Author Unknown
Whoever loves, allows themselves willingly to be corrected, without seeking excuses, in order to be freer in love.

 —Hadewijch of Brabant

Love is not love

Which alters when it alteration finds.

 —William Shakespeare, “Sonnets”

 Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.

1 Peter 4:8 NIV

            Real love sees all the flaws of the one loved in all aspects of their true nature, but chooses not to emphasize or bring attention to them but to promote and acknowledge all that is positive. Real love is not vindictive, condescending, or critical, but is protective, encouraging, and uplifting. Love should always be honest but with compassion, respectful but helpful, instructive but in positive ways. Love doesn’t promote self at the expense of another, nor does it ever reveal personal intimacies for public consumption. Love is ever forgiving and most importantly, forgetful of the wrongs received and the negatives displayed, and love refuses to continually bring to mind or voice those same issues. Real love never uses itself as leverage to gain something for self. Love is always understanding and never condemning. Love has enormous power to influence when used appropriately and has the unique ability to bring about the positive change that nothing else could do.

            So I ask you, does this love describe your love? If you want to be loved like that then you must first love like that. Rejoice in your ability to love and do not be sorrowful in what you receive. Love as if you’ve never been hurt and love as if your next breath depended upon it.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Book 1 Is Done!

“Renew My Heart, O God—Daily Devotions for Healing Your Heart,” is finally done and off to the printer! We are now in the production phase and the book will be printed in both hardcover and paperback versions, and will soon be formatted into digital eBook as well (Amazon Kindle, Barnes & Noble Nook, and Apple iBook). The print version is 6” by 9” and 466 pages. It will take another 4-6 weeks before it is formally released and available online and in major bookstores. During this time, Christian Faith Publishing and I will be putting together publicity and marketing materials, including a short book trailer video and my personal author web page on their website.

A heartfelt thank you to everyone for your continued following, prayers, and support! I sincerely hope that you are also currently enjoying the Posts and Blogs of Book 2 of the Renew Devotional Trilogy: “Restore My Spirit, O God—Inspiration for Regaining What’s Been Lost.” This has been a remarkable journey for me and I am thankful and humbled that I may be the hands that God has used to bring these words to all who would thirst for Him. To Him be all the glory!

I will certainly apprise everyone when the book is officially released and available!

Prayers and blessings,


Love Never Fails

Love never fails, but it is essential that you keep it flowing. Don’t let life bleed you dry.

February’s Awakening, Day 14

Love never claims, it ever gives; love never suffers, never resents, never revenges itself. Where there is love there is life; hatred leads to destruction.

 —Mahatma Gandhi

Joy is love exalted; peace is love in repose; long-suffering is love enduring; gentleness is love in society; goodness is love in action; faith is love on the battlefield; meekness is love in school; and temperance is love in training.

 —D. L. Moody

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.

1 Corinthians 13:4–8a NIV

This is agape, the vertical love between God and mankind and the horizontal love between our brothers and sisters of humanity. This is the ideal love, the true love—that by which the Father sent His one and only Son to be our saving grace through His sacrifice on the Cross. True love binds all our noble characteristics together and allows them to work in a concerted unison. Love is the ingredient that works within and throughout every aspect of our thoughts, words, actions, and emotions to bring clarity, balance, and temperance to our entire human existence. Love also helps to keep all those not so noble characteristics that we possess, in restraint. Love gives us stability and equilibrium to make appropriate choices throughout this treacherous journey of life. It is like the life-giving blood within us, ever flowing, renewing, and restoring, and without love, just like our blood, we would soon perish and die.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Willingly Surrendered

Unlimited in its power and scope, irresistible in influence, indestructible in its character, impossible to force or coerce, unavailable for sale, undaunted by circumstance, and in infinite supply to meet the demand—it’s called love.

February’s Awakening, Day 13

Love is the only service that power cannot command and money cannot buy.

 —Author Unknown 

Love is the doorway through which the human soul passes from selfishness to service and from solitude to kinship with all mankind.

 —Author Unknown 

Increase my capacity for love and decrease my impulses to throw stones, actual or mental.

 —George Appleton

Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Romans 12:9–10 NIV

When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” John 8:7 NIV 

“Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Luke 6:37 NIV

            Love cannot be forced, coerced, or bought. True love is only given freely. God gave us free will so that we could love Him back on our own accord, not as a robot programmed unknowingly to respond in a desired and appropriate way. Love is sincere when it puts the best interest of another first, with all due honor and respect. True love is not manipulative, judgmental, nor condemning, but always gracious, merciful, understanding, and forgiving. It does not embrace or condone evil, but it serves to compassionately bring wrong into the light. Love is not wielded as a sword, it is submissively surrendered. Although it may sound or seem as if love is weak, it is the most powerful, most motivational, and most influential force that exists in the human experience.  Love can propel and enable you to do what no other force could possibly bring about. It was not ropes and spikes of iron that held Christ to the Cross, it was love.