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But now, O Jacob, listen to the Lord who created you. O Israel, the one who formed you says, “Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you. I have called you by name; you are mine. Isaiah 43:1 (NLT)

It’s time to move on. Yes, it was devastating when the career you loved and gave your life to was snatched from your hands. But that career, much as you loved it; good as you were at it; financially secure as it made you, wasn’t you. You were created by a loving God, a merciful God. A God that has plans for you to prosper you in ways money, status and security can never give you.

It’s time to move on. You were hurt by the words that were spoken, and rightfully so. They were calloused, unloving, angry words. And it hurt even more since the words were spoken by a ‘Christian’, maybe even a thoughtless pastor. It wasn’t fair. It wasn’t right. But hurting people, hurt people. Words don’t determine who you are regardless of who speaks them. That is, of course unless that person is your heavenly Father. He calls you by name. In Biblical terms that’s far more than a greeting. It’s the most intimate of terms reflecting a deep passion, a deep love. What does he say about you? He ransomed you. He paid the price for you. You are his.

It’s time to move on. Yes you failed. You failed miserably. Again. You couldn’t have seen it coming. From all appearances it was a good marriage. Now that person you pledged to love for the rest of your life has betrayed you and even if you could forgive and forget, reconciliation is impossible. They are gone.

Or, perhaps worse yet, you are the one who crossed the line. It was a line you never thought you’d cross. Now, you wear the scarlet letter on your chest. Others may not see it, you do. Life may be better now in many ways, but the ‘A’ on your chest still speaks of guilt and failure. Everyone sees the pain of the person jilted by love; few see the pain of the person who walked. But God does. God’s forgiveness isn’t defined by your sin, but by his great undeserved grace.

It’s time to move on. The Father says, “But now…”

The past is the past. Whatever it is that’s causing your pain, let him remove the guilt. Let him anoint you with the healing salve of his love and forgiveness. Allow him into those deepest recesses of your soul to bind the wounds that have held you captive. You are ransomed. The past no longer has any right to ownership. You are free to move on in his grace and power. It’s time to move on, not through your own power but the power of His Holy Spirit who comes to you to guide, strengthen and empower you.

PRAYER: Father God. There are so many that are hurting today. So many who are entrapped by their past. Draw them to yourself. Empower me to be a tool of their healing through prayer, forgiveness and Christ’s love. Amen.


As he says in Hosea: “I will call them ‘my people’ who are not my people; and I will call her ‘my loved one’ who is not my loved one,”Romans 9:25 (NIV)

“I can’t love them after what they did to me. This was too much. How can I love someone I can’t trust anymore? I can forgive anything, but infidelity? Not this time. It’s over”

These words are said time and time again. Not word for word of course but in essence one of the hardest things to forgive is when someone cheats us, lies to us or breaks a vow to us. It attacks the very foundation of any relationship.

That’s why grace is so amazing to me. None of us would find it easy to love someone who we knew to be unfaithful. In fact few are able to do that. Yet that is exactly what God did for us.

The prophet Hosea was called by God to bring the word of restoration toIsrael. God often used life examples to bring others to himself. The Old Testament prophets were known to do some pretty outlandish things to draw attention to them so that they could draw attention to the message God had for them.

Hosea was no exception. Hosea was married to a woman who left him to openly live with other men. God sent him to find her and bring her back to him as his beloved. A tall order for anyone in any time, to love someone who you know will scoff at that love and go back to a life of adultery.

The family life of Hosea is a startling reminder to us that God’s relationship with us is based on his love for us and not on our ability to ‘love him back’. He knew when he chose us that we’d fail him, but he loved us anyway.

Human love can’t comprehend that. Our concept of love is built on the ability of the loved one to be able to return that love to the giver of love. We, in our human condition are unable to do that. But, as the Apostle Paul writes, “Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift.” The free gift of salvation is given us with full knowledge what we are unable to return that love and are completely undeserving of it.

Regardless of where you are in life, no matter how many times you’ve failed him. Your Father loves you and wants you to return to him.

PRAYER: Father there are so many times I’ve failed you. So many times I’ve sought after other gods, other things to satisfy this longing in my soul. Forgive me for my waywardness. Thank you for your unselfish love for me in spite of my ability to return that love. Amen.


I have given you an example to follow. Do as I have done to you. John 13:15 (NLT)

“And Jesus had compassion…”

Those words spring up throughout the ministry of Jesus while he was on earth. He had compassion on the woman caught red-handed in bed with a man she wasn’t married to.

He had compassion on the parent whose child had just died or was very sick.

He had compassion on the rich young ruler who, tried as he might, just couldn’t do what was necessary to receive the gift of eternal life. He just couldn’t let go.

He had compassion on the traitor who sold out to the enemy and, as a result, was a social outcast.

He had compassion on the person so steeped in religion that he couldn’t comprehend the simple steps it took to receive eternal life.

He had compassion on those who were his closest friends and yet were more concerned about their own status than they were their brother.

He had compassion on the guard that beat him nearly to death and then pounded huge spikes into his already pain-filled flesh.

“He had compassion….”

Why did Jesus have compassion on so many people that rejected him, either openly, or unintentionally? What drove him so such lengths to give his very life for the very people who thought they took it from him?

Jesus had compassion because he knew the Father and knew that the Father was, in his very essence, compassion. That is what drove Jesus to reach out to the weak, the frail, the sick and the rebellious. And that’s what drives Jesus to reach out to you. Not a single deserved the touch of Jesus compassion. Not a single person can repay him for what he did. Neither can you.

Jesus says to us, “Follow my example”, and when he does so he is asking…commanding us rather, to show compassion in the same way that he did.

Our reaction to those around us is a reflection of our view of God. If we see a god of revenge we will seek justice rather than mercy. If we see a god of anger we will respond to those who have hurt us in anger. If we see an unforgiving god we will refuse to forgive those who have hurt us. But if we see a God of compassion, we will respond to those around us as Jesus did.

PRAYER: Father, once again I am humbled as I approach your throne today. I confess that it is easy to show compassion to those I don’t know, or those who are like me and who are kind to me. It’s hard to show compassion to the ‘bad people’ around me, yet that is what you would do. Fill me today with the power from your Spirit to show compassion to those who need it the most. Thank you for the example you gave us in Jesus. In his name I pray, Amen.

 


Whoever walks in integrity walks securely, but whoever takes crooked paths will be found out. Proverbs 10:9

He was caught red-handed. There was no way to hide it now. It was in the open. His integrity lay in a shattered heap on the ground. How would he face his family? How would he face the family of the person he killed? What would happen with his faith? Would God act swiftly and with revenge? All his years of waiting, running, fighting for what was right was destroyed in an instant.

He felt anguish, guilt, fear, shame and, interestingly, relief. I’m talking about the story of David and Bathsheba. Here he was, King of Israel and caught in a lovers triangle. He’d slept with another man’s wife and got her pregnant. He had her husband murdered to try to cover up his crime. He ran, but he couldn’t hide.

Before we are too hard on David we need to look at our own lives. Maybe it isn’t adultery and murder that plague us. It could be anger, lust, addictions of any kind, doubt, or envy. We may be able to hide those things for awhile. Some of us get good enough to hide them for years! There are a few that are able to live their entire lives fooling other people. But even if we can fool everyone else, we will still have internal consequences to deal with.

Sociologists and psychologists tell us that many emotional, physical and spiritual issues in a person’s life can be traced to one thing: guilt or unresolved guilt. Guilt is a powerful force that can affect us in every aspect of our lives. We do things to try to cover up that guilt, but those things make matters worse. We grow fearful of what other people may think so we live in fear.  We blame others or try to drown our sorrows in new relationships, drugs and alcohol or some other activity. We run in fear of being found out because we don’t want to suffer the shame or consequences. The things we do to try to hide our ‘secret lives’ only make matters worse and take a devastating toll on our personal lives and relationships.

People who finally ‘come clean’ often express a feeling of relief. They don’t have to hide anymore. They can get the support they need for the healing process and their entire outlook on life changes for the better. Coming clean may mean we have to confess some things publicly, but most importantly it means being honest with God and with ourselves. He is the only one who can heal us of our wounds. Confession of our struggle isn’t a sign of weakness but of strength.

Regardless of what you are struggling with today, Jesus can offer you the healing you need. He doesn’t expect you to clean yourself up first. He won’t be critical when you fall (again and again). Jesus knows the root cause of our actions when no one else does. He isn’t about making us feel guilty; Jesus wants to make us feel clean.

PRAYER: Dear Jesus, I thank You for knowing the struggle I go through every day. I’m afraid of being caught. I’m losing sleep. I feel completely out of control. I even doubt your existence at times because the pain is so bad. Forgive me for failing so many times. Help me to have the courage to change what I need to change so I can live in integrity. Amen.


You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance. Psalm 32:7

He was caught red-handed. There was no way out. He was without excuse, without defense, and, in a word: GUILTY. He’d tried other hiding places. He’d tried to cover-up his weakness. He’d tried to blame others. But nothing worked.

As King David looked back over his life he remembered a time when he wallowed in guilt and pain. He describes his pain. His whole body groaned with agony. He was losing sleep. He was beaten and bruised emotionally. Perhaps it was shortly after the whole affair with Bathsheba. No doubt the guilt was based on the affair itself, the murder that followed and finally being exposed for the sinner he was and the death of the baby he’d fathered illegitimately.

As he sits down to write Psalm 32, David likely describes his feelings as he went through this most difficult time of his life. As he relives the pain he remembers that in the midst of his failure, his place of refuge was the very one who he’d failed: God.

It was his faith in God and God’s willingness to forgive his sin that brought David the healing his aching emotions needed to continue on. Consequences still had to be endured. There would always be scars and always be those who would remind him of his failure. But during those times he knew he could always run to the waiting arms of God for comfort, safety and salve for his wounded soul.

The same is true for each of us as we travel life’s journey. We will encounter those times when our soul groans within us. We may try to escape the pain. Some have tried drugs and alcohol or other addictive behavior. Others have tried new relationships, different careers or playing the blame game to cover their own pain. But nothing works. Often, if not always, attempts to heal ourselves only add to the pain.

Life events can leave us battered and bruised, wounded and scared and seemingly unable to go on. That’s when Jesus becomes our perfect hiding place. It doesn’t matter if the wounds you are enduring right now are a result of your own poor choices or the evil acts of another person. Nothing in this world can soothe the wounds we encounter in life like the healing salve of Jesus’ unending love and forgiveness.

David yearned for the peace and contentment of honest living. He longed to be able to return to a life without fear, without lies, without the shadows of his past constantly haunting him. He found relief in the same place each of us can, in the arms a loving and forgiving God. He earnestly waits for you to come to him.

PRAYER: Holy Father. You know I didn’t sleep again last night. You know the agony and pain my body is in. I’m tired of running. I’m tired of trying to hide in places that only further reveal my failure to follow you. Please forgive me for the times I’ve refused to follow you and chosen my own way. I’ve hurt others, I’ve hurt myself and I long for the healing I can only find in you. Help me this day to hide in your arms of love, forgiveness and healing. Amen.

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