Forget What Lies Behind

Landscape Arch Utah

Christians’ goal, our goal, is to press on towards Christ-likeness.

In order to press on, we must forget what lies behind. We must not rest on past successes or let past sins haunt us. We thank God what whatever successes we’ve had. We must confess and repent of our past sins.

We must get with it.

Forgetting what lies behind can be harder than it sounds.

In Philippians, Paul enumerates the reasons he had to put confidence in the flesh, but then said that he was found in Christ because of Christ’s righteousness which is through faith in Him. He counted the past as loss, as rubbish. (Philippians 3)

I am much more apt to have trouble forgetting my sins.

I have to remind myself of two things.

One, when I came to saving faith, my sins were forgiven. And not only that, God put them behind His back, forgetting them, and doesn’t act on them. (See God Forgets Our* Sins.)

Two, I remind myself of God’s promise: If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9)

We must forget what lies behind. We must not let anything in the past (good or bad) interfere with doing the good works God has for us to do (Ephesians 2:10)

Press on!

God Forgets Our* Sins

God forgives

God forgives our* sins when we come to saving faith; when we repent and believe in Jesus Christ.

When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions, having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and he has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. (Colossians 2:13-14)

Christ took the wrath we deserved.

And then God forgets

You have cast all my sins behind Your back. (Isaiah 38:17)

As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us. (Psalm 103:12)

God doesn’t remember

Of course, God doesn’t forget in the human sense, but He choses not to remember, not to act on our forgiven sins.

And their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more. (Hebrews 10:17)

God sets us free

So if the Son makes you free ,you will be free indeed. (John 8:36)

Rejoice!

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*See Becoming a Child of God.

Alas!

A Jewish lady and I talked about spiritual matters when we shared a physician’s waiting room. Just as she was standing to respond to the nurse’s call, she said: “I know there is no forgiveness.”

Alas.

I did not see her again, and I pray someone will talk to her about forgiveness in Christ.

It is ONLY through Jesus Christ that we can be saved

There is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved. (Acts 4:12)

There is no other way. The Day of Atonement, with God’s prescribed temple sacrifices, does not exist. We cannot live perfect lives to “earn” eternal life. It is only through God’s mercy that some are saved.

But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved) … For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. (Ephesians 2:4-5, 8-9)

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Father, help us tell others about You, about salvation through Your Son, Jesus Christ. Help us live lives that demonstrate Your holiness. Please help us make the most of the opportunities You give us.

They Did Not Know

Fog! The Gulf of Mexico is out there beyond the buildings! And the Laguna Madre in the foreground.

The Book of Judges contains one awful story after another. But they started well.

Israel served the LORD all the days of Joshua and all the days of the elders who survived Joshua, and had known all the deeds of the LORD which He had done for Israel. (Joshua 24:31)

But then, there arose another generation after them who did not know the LORD, nor yet the work which He had done for Israel. (Judges 2:10)

The fact that there arose a generation who did not know Yahweh nor the work He had done for them was sin. Israel was commanded to keep Yahweh’s words on their hearts, and to teach about Him and His mighty deeds.

These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up. (Deuteronomy 6:6-7)

But they didn’t obey, and the sons of Israel forsook Yahweh and did evil in His sight. (Judges 2:11; 10:13-14)

In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes. (Judges 21:25)

We are guilty too

Do our children know Yahweh and what He has done? Does our nation? Do we?

New Year’s Resolution

I propose we resolve to know Yahweh and what He has done. To meditate on Him. To teach others. Let us determine to seek Him with our whole hearts. Let us steadfastly study His word this year.

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Father, forgive us for not knowing You as we should Forgive us for not seeking after You as we should. Forgive us for not talking about You to others as we should. Help us deeply and consistently study Your word. Help us speak as You would lead us.

God With Us

Harry Durgin: Sunset behind Mauna Loa; Mauna Loa road (near 9,500′) 7 December 2021 – 5:15pm

Newborn Jesus, Mary’s son, was (and IS) eternal God.

Behold, the virgin shall be with child and shall bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel, which translated means, “God with us.” (Matthew 1:23)

Mary, as the song says, kissed the face of God.

An unbelieving friend says: “That’s incredible.” Well, yes, but it is true.

Great is the mystery of godliness

And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:14)

For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form. (Colossians 2:9)

By common confession, great is the mystery of godliness: He who was revealed in the flesh, was vindicated in the Spirit, seen by angels, proclaimed among the nations, believed on in the world, taken up in glory. (1 Timothy 3:16)

God took on flesh and blood

He had to be made like His brethren in all things, so that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For since He Himself was tempted in that which He has suffered, He is able to come to the aid of those who are tempted. (Hebrews 2:17-18)

Since the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil. (Hebrews 2:14)

Jesus, eternal God, is with us

Jesus proved He is God. He created, He healed, He controlled nature, He cast out demons, He served, He loved. He lived a perfect life.

As one of us, He grieved, He cried, He hungered, He thirsted, He hurt. He was tempted, but did not sin.

We do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. (Hebrews 4:15)

As the perfect Son of God, He sacrificed Himself, taking our punishment, so that we, who believe in Him, might live.

Christ in us

When we have repented and believe in Christ, we receive Him as Lord and Savior. We are in Christ and Christ in us.

In that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you. (John 14:20)

He is ever-present in our lives. He is truly God with us.

Merry Christmas!

See also (God is with us)

Devastation

tornado-noaa.jpg

I just watched video of the devastation in several states from tornados and straight winds. They don’t know yet how many people lost their lives, but it appears to be more than 100 in five states. Folks went to bed, or to work, but didn’t make it until the morning.

We have NO guarantee we will live to die peacefully at an old age.

We are warned

Jesus told a parable of a rich man who had so many crops he decided to build a bigger barn. He said to himself: I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years to come; take your ease, eat, drink and be merry.” (Luke 12:19)

It is not man who controls death, but our Lord Jesus Christ.

I was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of death and of Hades. (Revelation 1:18)

And God said to the rich man who was planning to build a bigger barn: You fool! This very night your soul is required of you; and now who will own what you have prepared? (Luke 12:20)

So is the man who stores up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God. (Luke 12:21)

We are warned.

Our Guarantee

For those who have received Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, we are guaranteed eternal life with God. We are guaranteed to be presented to the Father holy and blameless. Some of those who died in the storms went to glory.

Thank You!

Becoming rich towards God

If you don’t know your relationship with God, or worry about a loved one, take heed. See Becoming a Child of God.

For those who are in Christ: Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness. (Matthew 6:33)

It May Not Be As It Seems

On a recent walk I saw something odd on a branch of a tree. Was it an animal? Bird? Strangely formed leaves? When I got closer, I took a photo, and when I enlarged it…

We are warned about spiritual deception. Not everyone is as they seem!

Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.

People can disguise themselves as apostles of Christ.

Satan’s servants disguise themselves as servants of righteousness.

And there are many of those.

The Warning

Such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. No wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. Therefore it is not surprising if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness, whose end will be according to their deeds. (2 Corinthians 11:13-15)

Many deceivers have gone out into the world. (2 John 7)

Be Aware

Little children, make sure no one deceives you. (1 John 3:7)

Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know then by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn buses nor figs from thistles, are they? (Matthew 7:15-16)

Tips for Knowing Deceivers

They do not faithfully preach the word.

[The Bereans] examined the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so. (Acts 17:11)

They do not practice righteousness.

The one who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous. (1 John 3:7)

You will know them by their fruits. (Matthew 7:16)

They do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. (2 John 7)

For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is the deceiver and the antichrist. (2 John 7)

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Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy, to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen. (Jude 24-25)

Need Encouragement?

Need Encouragement?

This has been a hard nearly two years. I’m tired. You may be as well. Constant trouble generally leads to physical fatigue and, often, spiritual fatigue. 

God’s word speaks to us about this, and shows us what to do to be encouraged.

David was greatly distressed because the people spoke of stoning him, for all the people were embittered, each one because of his sons and his daughters. But David strengthened himself in the Lord his God. (1 Samuel 30:6

“Strengthened” is sometimes translated “encouraged.” David encouraged himself in Yahweh his God.

How do we encourage ourselves in the Lord? Here are seven sources:

God. God is a God of mercy, compassion, and lovingkindness. And you, if you have put your belief and trust in Christ, are His adopted child. You are sealed for eternity. Remember who He is and what who you are to Him.

Now may the God who gives perseverance and encouragement… (Romans 15:5

Christ. He died so that we may live. He constantly intercedes for us. He overcame the world so we can be of good cheer through this trouble. We are His family, His friends. Remember who He is and what you are to Him. 

The Holy Spirit. Because we have received Christ as Savior and Lord, we have the Holy Spirit dwelling in us and guiding us to all righteousness. Remember who He is and what you are to Him.

The Scriptures. Read. Study. Meditate on God’s word. 

Whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.  (Romans 15:4

Prayer. Pray for yourself. Ask others to pray for you (e.g., James 5:13). And pray for others as well.

Church. Be in a good church where you hear excellent exposition of God’s word, have godly leaders and can seek wisdom and advice.

Fellowship. Be in a community of believers. Have mature Christian friends. Be a friend to others. (e.g., Ecclesiastes 4:9-12)

… that I may be encouraged together with you while among you, each of us by the other’s faith, both yours and mine.(Romans 1:12

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Father, please help us grasp who You are and what we are to You. Please help us understand that You are sovereign over everything and everybody all the time, and that You bring good out of whatever happens in the lives of believers. Please give us mature Christian friends, and, likewise, help us be friends of others. Help us pray. Thank You for Your word. Help us walk in a manner worthy of You.

Forget Not His Benefits

Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless His holy name. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget none of His benefits. (Psalm 103:1–2

This Thanksgiving, let’s resolve to forget not His benefits.

Psalm 103 has a starter list:

            He pardons all your iniquities.

            He heals all your diseases.

            He redeems your life from the pit.

            He crowns you with lovingkindness and compassion.

            He satisfies your years with good things.

            Yahweh performs righteous deeds, and judgments for all who are oppressed.

And more!

You and I have our own lists of God’s benefits, both spiritual and earthly. I urge you, this Thanksgiving, to spend time remembering His benefits to you.

And be grateful.

TODAY is Part of His Glorious Plan!

Sunrise at home

God, Almighty God, through His providence, works all things according to His purpose, after the counsel of His will. 

We have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will.  (Ephesians 1:11)

Whatever is in your life today is part of His glorious plan.  Whatever.

Although we are responsible for our sins, for our own thoughts, words, and deeds, God uses them to accomplish His plan. (For example: Genesis 50:20)

We (Christians) have the enormous privilege of being adopted by God (Ephesians 1:5), friends of Christ (John 15:14-15), siblings of Christ (Matthew 12:50), indwelt by the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1:13-14), and serving our Lord (Ephesians 6:5-8).

We know that, for His children, He promises to work all things together for good (Romans 8:28).

Think about it!

We are beloved of God and part of His glorious plan. Whatever comes into our lives is controlled by God and will be used for our good and His glory. 

Let’s rejoice!

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Father, help us rejoice in Your Almighty, loving sovereignty. Help us be alert to how we might serve and glorify You this day.