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ODJ: Awareness & Forgiveness

July 2, 2016 

READ: Luke 7:36-50  


Her sins—and they are many—have been forgiven, so she has shown me much love (v.47). 

In 1947, Major and Mrs. Ian Thomas opened Capernwray Hall in England to their first Bible school students. What makes this event extraordinary was the fact that the first students were German. Only 2 years earlier, not only had England and Germany been at war, but Major Thomas had fought in the conflict! His ability to forget the past but also to offer the hand of friendship and the love of Jesus to citizens of a former enemy nation is a beautiful example.

In Luke 7, Jesus also provides a beautiful example of what it means to forgive the ‘worst’ of people (in the world’s eyes at least). He reveals the importance of knowing that each one of us is lost in our fallen spiritual state, if we’ll only realise it.

The “immoral woman” showed pain and penitence as she anointed Jesus (vv.37-38). Due to her own feelings of unworthiness, she would not even face the Lord, but knelt behind Him. Then, in humility, she kissed His feet and placed “perfume on them”. Furthermore, the perfume she poured out was very expensive, but her tears revealed that she didn’t think the price was high enough for such a sinner as herself. She prostrated herself at Jesus’ feet, hoping for but not expecting forgiveness.

In contrast, the religious leader elevated himself not only above the woman but also above Jesus, assuming that he could see what Jesus couldn’t (v.39). He was blind to his dead spiritual state and therefore couldn’t repent of his condition. His pride made him completely unaware.

Major Thomas could extend forgiveness and love to others because he knew what Jesus had done for him. The fuel for forgiving others springs from our awareness of how much we’ve been forgiven by God.

—Russell Fralick

365-day plan: Matthew 6:19-34

MORE
Read Matthew 18:21-35 and consider what it means to forgive as Jesus has instructed. 
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How has the grace of God changed your view of those dealing with sin? What does it mean to forgive someone as God has forgiven you? 

(Check out Our Daily Journey website!)

ODJ: Free to Forgive

June 12, 2016 

READ: John 10:22-30 


No one can snatch them from the Father’s hand (v.29). 

p>As a child growing up near the ocean, I did a great deal of boating. Weekends weren’t complete unless we rounded up friends and family and spent at least an afternoon on the water.

I vividly remember one occasion when a boat we were boarding wouldn’t start. It took nearly an hour of tinkering before the engine started. When it finally did, the driver was so excited he pulled away and made it far down the channel before he realised that he’d left his wife standing on the dock! Rather than laugh off his mistake, his wife was furious. Several years later, she’s still angry with her now ex-husband for what he did that day. So sad...

It’s not easy to forgive when we’ve been intentionally or unintentionally hurt. But throughout life, following our Saviour’s example, it’s vital for us to regularly choose to extend God’s forgiveness when we’ve been offended.

In her book The Quiet Place, author Nancy Leigh DeMoss draws from John 10:28 as she writes, “We so often find ourselves chafing against second causes—those people, circumstances and events that seem to be wrecking our lives, making things so difficult and unbearable for us. But ultimately, we are not in the hands of other people and their sinful designs. We are not in the hands of chance or circumstance.” DeMoss goes on to share that because of Jesus’ sacrifice and the forgiveness He made possible, we can experience salvation and the reality that no one can “snatch” us from His loving hands.

Our heavenly Father, who is “more powerful than anyone else” (v.29), provides the identity and security we need by His divine power and promises. As we accept His love and forgiveness, we’re free to truly love and forgive others.

—Roxanne Robbins

365-day plan: Matthew 2:1-12

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Based on Mark 11:25, is there someone you need to forgive today? 
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How does experiencing identity and security in God make it easier to forgive people who have hurt you? How has God’s forgiveness changed your heart? 

(Check out Our Daily Journey website!)

ODJ: unfailing love

February 14, 2016 

READ: Micah 7:14-20 


You will not stay angry with your people forever, because you delight in showing unfailing love (v.18). 

A friend of mine got divorced after her husband left her for another woman. Years later I was talking with her father when the subject of their broken marriage came up. “That’s when [vulgar word] was still around,” he said. “That’s what I like to call him: [vulgar word].”

I remember the conversation not only because of the salty vocabulary, but because—despite his faith in God—he seemed to revel in hate and bitterness. In contrast, an attribute of God that absolutely captivates me is found in Micah 7:18. “You delight in showing unfailing love,” the prophet says. Micah prophesied to Israel and Judah during some of their darkest days. The nations’ rulers were unjust and wicked (3:9-10). Their priests were greedy and corrupt (3:11). It became so bad that they actually planned evil deeds— inciting God’s discipline (2:1-5). Yet even in this, Micah said that God delighted in loving His children. The prophet proclaimed that God would “trample [their] sins under [His] feet and throw them into the depths of the ocean!” (7:19).

There have been times when I’ve struggled with sin and felt too tainted to be God’s child. During those seasons, I’ve prayed the words of Micah 7:18-19 and clung to His unfailing love. On other days, when someone has hurt me emotionally, I’ve prayed that God would help me resist bitterness and show unfailing love—even to my enemies (Matthew 5:44).

All of us have been entangled by sin at some point, and all of us have also been mistreated by another. Wherever you find yourself today, remember that God is always ready to show kindness to repentant sinners. It’s not a burden for Him; it’s His desire, His delight. He forgives offenders and blesses the hurting (Psalm 130:1-4; Luke 6:20-22).

—Andy Rogers

365-day-plan: Exodus 19:1-25

MORE
Read 1 John 1:9 and consider what it means to know and reflect God’s loving, forgiving heart. 
NEXT
Have you ever felt that even God couldn’t love you? Consider praying the words of Micah 7:18-19 today. 

(Check out Our Daily Journey website!)

ODB: Turn Off the Scoreboard

February 11, 2016 

READ: Ephesians 4:25-32 

Forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

Ephesians 4:32

 

At his son’s wedding reception, my friend Bob offered advice and encouragement to the newlyweds. In his speech he told of a football coach in a nearby town who, when his team lost a game, kept the losing score on the scoreboard all week to remind the team of their failure. While that may be a good football strategy, Bob wisely advised, it’s a terrible strategy in marriage. When your spouse upsets you or fails you in some way, don’t keep drawing attention to the failure. Turn off the scoreboard.

What great advice! Scripture is full of commands for us to love each other and overlook faults. We are reminded that love “keeps no record of wrongs” (1 Cor. 13:5) and that we should be ready to forgive one another “just as in Christ God forgave you” (Eph. 4:32).

I am deeply grateful that God turns off the scoreboard when I fail. He doesn’t simply forgive when we repent; He removes our sin as far as the east is from the west (Ps. 103:12). With God, forgiveness means that our sin is out of sight and out of mind. May He give us grace to extend forgiveness to those around us.

— Joe Stowell

Lord, thank You for not holding my sins against me and for granting me a second chance. Help me today to forgive others just as You have so freely forgiven me.


Forgive as God forgives you—don’t keep score.