Are You Guarding an Empty Tomb?*

Are You Guarding an Empty Tomb?*

It is Finished!

There were soldiers that guarded Christ's tomb. And for them this was not just "another day at the office," because this time the death of the "Criminal" presented new problems: would the followers come to steal His body? Would He actually do what He said and come back to life? (I'm not so sure the officials really worried about this last possibility, do you?)

So the stone ... and so the guards! Until...

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Lenten Meditation: Forgiveness Revisited

Lenten Meditation:  Forgiveness Revisited

I used to think that the struggle to forgive was itself sinful...as well as the horrible feelings I had in the whole thing.  But I've come to realize that the struggle and the feelings are all part of the human condition on this earth.  Perhaps they are rather temptations to the sin of unforgiveness.

Here are the five points that Lewis Smedes writes in his bookShame and Grace.  I pray these points will be helpful to you as well.

Read More

Lenten Meditation: a Word of Forgiveness

Lenten Meditation:  a Word of Forgiveness

Alexander Pope (1688-1744), English poet, once said,To err is human; to forgive, divine.

So true...but we humans more readily echo what someone else has said,

To err is human, but to get even? THAT is divine.

We struggle so, with forgiving our offenders!  Perhaps that's why we are amazed and awestruck to realize that Jesus' first words from the Cross were ones of forgiveness.

Read More

Lenten Meditation: Forgiveness Revisited

Lenten Meditation:  Forgiveness Revisited

Several years ago, I met with a group of moms to explore one of our Lord's first words from the Cross: Father, forgive them for they do not know what they are doing. Luke 23:34

As our discussion went on, we talked about the struggle we all have to forgive our offenders.  I shared a short section from a book that years before had an incredible impact on me in the area of forgiveness.

I used to think that the struggle to forgive was itself sinful...as well as the horrible feelings I had in the whole thing.  But I've come to realize that the struggle and the feelings are all part of the human condition on this earth. 

Read More

Lenten Meditation: a Word of Forgiveness

Lenten Meditation:  a Word of Forgiveness

Alexander Pope (1688-1744), English poet, once said,To err is human; to forgive, divine.

So true...but we humans more readily echo what someone else has said,

To err is human, but to get even? THAT is divine.

We struggle so, with forgiving our offenders!  Perhaps that's why we are amazed and awestruck to realize that Jesus' first words from the Cross were ones of forgiveness.

Read More

He's Alive! Still!

Empty tomb, Peter & John running
Empty tomb, Peter & John running

Peter's story...and ours?* He's Alive!

The gates and doors were barred All the windows fastened down I spent the night in sleeplessness And rose at every sound

Half in hopeless sorrow And half in fear the day Would find the soldiers breakin’ through To drag us all away

And just before the sunrise Heard something at the wall The gate began to rattle And a voice began to call

Hurried to the window Looked down into the street Expecting swords and torches And the sound of soldier’s feet

There was no one there but Mary So I went down to let her in John stood there beside me As she told us where she’d been

She said they’ve moved Him in the night And none of us knows where The stones been rolled away And now His body isn’t there

We both ran toward the garden Then John ran on ahead We found the stone and the empty tomb Just the way that Mary said

Empty tomb, peter
Empty tomb, peter

But the winding sheet they wrapped Him in Was just an empty shell And how or where they’d taken Him Was more than I could tell

Well, something strange had happened there Just what I did not know John believed a miracle But I just turned to go

Circumstance and speculation Couldn’t lift me very high ‘Cause I’d seen them crucify Him Then I saw Him die

Back inside the house again The guilt and anguish came Everything I’d promised Him Just added to my shame

When at last it came to choices I denied I knew His name Even if He was alive It wouldn’t be the same

Suddenly the air was filled With strange and sweet perfume Light that came from everywhere Drove shadows from the room

Jesus stood before me With His arms held open wide And I fell down on my knees And just clung to Him and cried

He raised me to my feet And as I looked into His eyes Love was shining out from Him Like sunlight from the skies

Guilt in my confusion Disappeared in sweet release And every fear I’d ever had Just melted into peace

He’s alive, He’s alive He’s alive and I’m forgiven Heaven’s gates are open wide

empty tomb
empty tomb

He’s alive, He’s alive He’s alive and I’m forgiven Heaven’s gates are open wide

He’s alive, He’s alive He’s alive and I’m forgiven Heaven’s gates are open wide He’s alive, He’s alive, He’s alive

* Thanks to Frank Viola for sharing this song on his blog Beyond Evangelical

Lenten Meditation: Embrace Forgiveness, Embrace Life!

Until you rest in the finality of the cross, you will never experience the reality of the resurrection, which is Christ living in and through you!Unless you rest in the fact that Jesus did it all, you’ll be so busy trying to pay off your debt – atone for your sins – that you’ll never grow and enjoy the personal relationship that Christ has provided for you. Bob George, Growing in Grace

it is finished
it is finished

The total payment has been made.  The slate is wiped clean!

We are lavishly loved and forever forgiven in Him!

So we can quit trying to earn what we already have in Christ. We can live the abundant life the Lord has promised...the resurrected, indwellingChrist living it through us...as us, not as someone we admire or think we should be like.

Let the truth of this song wash over you...live the life the Lord has given you...Him living through you!

 

The Power of the Cross

Oh, to see the dawn of the darkest dayChrist on the road to calvarytried by sinful men, torn and beaten thennailed to a cross of wood

This the pow'r of the crossChrist became sin for ustook the blame, bore the wrath we stand forgiven at the cross

Oh, to see the pain written on your facebearing the awesome weight of sinevery bitter thought, every evil deedcrowning your bloodstained brow

This the pow'r of the crossChrist became sin for ustook the blame, bore the wrathwe stand forgiven at the cross

Now the daylight fleesNow the ground beneathquakes as it maker bows his headcurtain torn intodead are raise to life"finished" the victory cry

This the pow'r of the crossChrist became sin for ustook the blame, bore the wrathwe stand forgiven at the cross

Oh, to see my name written in the woundsfor through your suffering I am freedeath is crushed to deathlife is mine to livewon through your selfless love

This the pow'r of the crossson of God slain for uswhat a love, what a costwe stand forgiven at the cross

Lenten Meditation: Forgiven to Live...and Forgive

Until you rest in the finality of the cross, you will never experience the reality of the resurrection, which is Christ living in and through you!Unless you rest in the fact that Jesus did it all, you’ll be so busy trying to pay off your debt—atone for your sins—that you’ll never grow and enjoy the personal relationship that Christ has provided for you.

Bob George, Growing in Grace

FATHER FORGIVE THEM

FATHER FORGIVE THEM

Embracing our total forgiveness by our Lord Jesus Christ and His atoning death on the cross for every sin,

one by one,

all of them,

what we have done and will do,

and, not only that, who we are apart from Him...

...is essential for life, that is, the life of God in us!

Yes, the living, resurrected Christ indwellingour spirit made new...

This is basic to forgiving others, because in reality, we can't do it on our own...but the forgiving indwelling Lord can and does, as we live from His life!

So whether we have been blatant sinners in the same category as the prodigal son...

...or subtle, pride-filled sinners a la elder brother,

Jesus has forgiven us!

Embrace that forgiveness today, dear friend, and live!

And forgive...by the indwelling, forgiving Christ! Amen!

I will be their God,    and they shall be my people...for they shall all know me,    from the least of them to the greatest.For I will be merciful toward their iniquities,    and I will remember their sins no more. Hebrews 8:10-12 ESV

Reconciliation...why so hard?

For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself,no longer counting people’s sins against them. And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation. 2 Corinthians 5:19 NLT

I've been shocked lately...truly dumbfounded!

Why?  Because of friends (really, all of us) who have built walls instead of bridges because of real or imagined offenses!

My husband John knows of my disbelief, amazement, and struggle about a certain important, long-time, but now estranged, relationship in my life.  So when having his devotions the other day and coming upon this verse in the book of Proverbs, John eagerly shared it with me.

An offended friend is harder to win back than a fortified city.     Arguments separate friends like a gate locked with bars. Proverbs 18:19 NLT

Yow! ...harder to win over than a fortified city!  I have to ask the question, Why?

Why is it almost impossible to reconcile with offended friends?

And I'm talking Christian friends...not just unbelievers!

Even when one side of the conflict takes Jesus' words seriously,

So if you are presenting a sacrifice at the altar in the Temple and you suddenly remember that someone has something against you, leave your sacrifice there at the altar. Go and be reconciled to that person.  Then come and offer your sacrifice to God. Matthew 5:23-24 NLT

But as the saying goes,

It takes two to tango.

And more importantly, as God says through the apostle Paul,

If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Romans 12:18 NIV

So I guess here's the point, despite the grief and loss of it all...

...after doing what we can do, leave it with the Lord and continue to love, forgive, and extend grace.

Shortly after posting a link to this blog on facebook, my friend Janice responded there and gave me permission to share her thoughts. This really puts reconciliation in perspective:

Jan, my heart resonates with your desire for reconciliation...I've come to understand that...reconciliation is at the heart of the gospel and God's heart in that He is obsessed with our reconciliation with Himself, to the extent of giving up His only Son to the cross, in our place, to make it possible for us to be reconciled to Him for all time! Perhaps, God means for us to understand what it is for Him to offer reconciliation and see it rejected. His heart is always grieved, but He allows us the choice to receive it or reject it!

Amen, dear Janice, and thank you for sharing God's heart for reconciliation.  May this be ours also! Amen.

And that's all, folks!

(By the way, as always, I'd love to hear your thoughts and experiences...and yes, wisdom...even below in the comment section.)

Lenten Meditation: a Word of Forgiveness

Alexander Pope (1688-1744), English poet, once said, To err is human; to forgive, divine.

So true...but we humans more readily echo what someone else has said,

To err is human, but to get even? THAT is divine.

We struggle so, with forgiving our offenders!  Perhaps that's why we are amazed and awestruck to realize that Jesus' first words from the Cross were ones of forgiveness.

And these words came after hours of suffering:  agony in Gethsemane, betrayal, arrest, abandonment and denial by his own, illegal trial after trial, scourging, mocking, carrying His cross.

Then as He was being nailed to and raised on that same cross, He said,

Father, forgive them for they do not know what they are doing. Luke 23:34

Jesus seemed to have a special love for those who betrayed and abused Him.  Think about it...Judas, He called "Friend"; Peter, He had already interceded for and later restored; the deserting disciples, He loved still; His rejecting nation, He wept over; and now this angry mob and these vicious executioners, He forgave.

And aren't we all in that list?  Put yourself there and realize that when Jesus was suffering and dying, He was forgiving you and me:  all our evil deeds -- past, present, and future;  all the evil that dwells in our flesh -- the self-sins: self-righteousness, self-pity, self-confidence, self-sufficiency, self-admiration, self-love, and a host of others that make up the self-life (AW Tozer, Pursuit of God).

And sin separates us from God...so we need Christ's forgiveness.

For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit... 1 Peter 3:18

And sin also separates us from one another...and that's where the struggle comes in.  Here's a question that I've been pondering:

Did Jesus struggle with forgiving as we do? Or could it be because of our self-sins that we struggle so? What do you think? (You can weigh in below in the comments if you'd like.)

Here are a few of my thoughts:  Maybe that was part of what went on in Gethsemane.  Jesus struggled there with the will of the Father, but He surrendered Himself to it:

“Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.” And there appeared to him an angel from heaven, strengthening him. Luke 22:42-43

In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence.  Although he was a son, he learned obedience through what he suffered.  And being made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him... Hebrews 5:7-9

When we struggle with forgiveness, we need exactly what Jesus needed...surrender to the Father's will and purpose, even in our hurt and pain.  As we go through the decision as well as the process (because for most of us, it's both), we can remember the loving and forgiving Christ who lives within.  He will forgive and love through us if we let Him (that's called faith).

A few years back, I was struggling with forgiving in a certain situation.  I asked the Lord to give me a picture of Himself in my mind and heart when I felt offended, rejected, left out, or neglected.  Immediately what came to me was a picture of Jesus' face as He was dying on the Cross and speaking the words,

 

Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.

Are you struggling with forgiveness, dear brother or sister?  Fill your mind and heart with the forgiving Christ.  Invite Him into the hurt and surrender to the Father's child training.  He will love and forgive through you as you trust Him.

And be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.  Therefore, be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love just as Christ also loved you, and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma. Ephesians 4:32-5:2

Amazing Love

I’m forgiven because You were forsaken, I’m accepted, You were condemned. I am alive and well, Your spirit is within me, Because You died and rose again.

Chorus Amazing love, How can it be That You, my King, should die for me? Amazing love, I know it’s true. It’s my joy to honor You, In all I do, I honor You.

You are my King Jesus You are my King You are my King

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RaPFTFvs8rQ[/youtube]

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Bible Students:

The New Covenant was inaugurated through the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. Jesus instituted the Lord's Supper (Communion) to remember this new covenant in His blood.  Luke 22:14-20 Basic to all the New Covenant promises is forgiveness of sins. Read through Hebrews 8:6-12. List the promises/provisions of the New Covenant.  Be sure to note the reason all these are possible in verse 12.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Explore the Greek words for forgiveness:

  1. aphiemi, aphesis= to send forth or away; to let go from oneself This is the word used in Luke 23:34. "The expression 'to forgive sins' or to remit sins means to remove the sins from someone. Only God is said to be able to do this (Mark 2:10).  To forgive sins is not to disregard them and do nothing about them, but to liberate a person from them, their guilt, and their power."  Spiro Zodiates, NT Word Study Dictionary. See also Romans 4:7; 1John 1:9, 2:12; Ephesians 1:7-8
  2. charizomai = to show someone a favor, be kind to; to give or bestow something willingly; derived from charis, "grace" "The most common meaning peculiar to the NT is to pardon, to graciously remit a person's sin (Col 2:13)...also to forgive someone, be gracious   to (Eph 4:32; Col 3:13)."  Zodiates.
  3. apoluein = to release, pardon a prisoner, release a debtor. See Luke 6:37, Matt 18:27
  4. paresis = to disregard, a passing over, an overlooking of faults.  See Romans 3:25

Recommended Reading:

Lewis B. Smedes,  Shame & Grace. Chapter 17 ("Coming to Terms with Our Shamers") has very helpful thoughts on forgiveness.  Smedes has also authored a book, Forgive & Forget.  I haven't read it, but it might be worth looking at by clicking on the link.

A beautiful, "hands on" forgiveness devotional by Ann Voskamp

Kingdom Academy

shepherdess and sheep
shepherdess and sheep

Do not be afraid, little flock, for the Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom.  Luke 12:32

I look at the framed picture hanging on the wall in my bedroom. It's a classic painting of a shepherdess with her sheep.  And I remember my preschoolers 1998 and their moms.

I think of the privilege I have had to be that shepherdess pointing them to the Chief Shepherd, Who Himself also is the Good Shepherd.  Jesus is the Great Shepherd...and Guardian of their souls and mine!

So when it was my turn to lead teacher devotions that year, I knew I had to share about my preschoolers.  They had become my Kingdom Academy... not primarily because they learned so much spiritual truth through me, but because they taught their teacher (a.k.a. shepherdess) about the simplicity of devotion to Christ.

There were many ways they taught me.  But I'll just share three...the simplicity of prayer, the simplicity of forgiveness, and the simplicity of blessing.

Prayer

Early in the year, I taught the children the Bible story of the storm at sea and how Jesus came, walking on the water, to His disciples who were in the boat.  I explained that Jesus got into the boat when the disciples invited Him in.  Then He calmed the storm and rode with them the rest of the way to shore.

I then told the children that our classroom was our "boat."  We could invite Jesus into our classroom to be with us.  One of the children said, "Well, let's do it right NOW!"  And he burst into prayer!

tree huggers
tree huggers

So there in the hallway, I laid my hands on them one by one and prayed over each in turn...unique words and blessings for every child.  I wish I had journaled the blessings...alas! I didn't :(

But what I'll never forget are the eager little faces...as each child waited his turn to be blessed!  No dry eyes for me...and a lesson learned in the value of blessing others!

So dear sweet ones, I bless you and say that your lives are full of promise...as you face your futures, walking with your Savior.  Honor HIM, for He is worthy!

Carson
Carson

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.  Jeremiah 29:11

I Am A Promise I am a promise I am a possibility I am a promise with a capital “P” I am a great big bundle of potentiality And I am learnin’ to hear God’s voice And I am tryin’ to make the right choice I am a promise to be anything God wants me to be.

Brian
Brian

I can go anywhere that He wants me to go I can be anything He wants me to be I can climb the high mountains I can cross the wide sea I’m a great big promise you see!

I am a promise I am a possibility I am a promise with a capital “P” I am a great big bundle of potentiality And I am learnin’ to hear God’s voice And I am tryin’ to make the right choice

Andrew
Andrew

I’m a promise to be anything God wants me to be Anything God wants me to be!


Lenten Meditation: Forgiveness...Revisited

Today I met with a group of moms to explore our Lord's first words from the Cross: Father, forgive them for they do not know what they are doing. Luke 23:34

As our discussion went on, we talked about the struggle we all have to forgive our offenders.  I shared a short section from a book that years ago had an incredible impact on me in the area of forgiveness.

I used to think that the struggle to forgive was itself sinful...as well as the horrible feelings I had in the whole thing.  But I've come to realize that the struggle and the feelings are all part of the human condition on this earth.  Perhaps they are rather temptations to the sin of unforgiveness.

Here are the five points that Lewis Smedes writes in his book Shame and Grace. I pray these points will be helpful to you as well.

Consider forgiveness as a personal drama with five scenes [I love that Smedes doesn't express them as "steps" but rather as an unfolding "story"]:

Scene One:  We blame the [offender]. We hold him or her accountable.  If we do not hold people accountable for what they did to us, we will not forgive them.  We may indulge them, perhaps, as if it did not matter much, or we may excuse them, as if they could not help doing what they did.  But we will forgive them only if we hold them responsible for what they did to us.

Scene Two:  We surrender our right to get even. We take our natural right to a balanced account--a right to fairness, mind you, that is all, only what we deserve--we take it in our hands, look it over, consider its possibilities, and then surrender it [to the Lord, I might add].  We agree to live with the score untied.

Scene Three:  We revise our caricature of the person who [offended] us. When we taste our resentment, we roll it around our minds the way we roll a sour lozenge around on our tongues, and we taste it, our minds draw a caricature of our [offender].  We turn him into a monster who is what he did to us.  We see him; we feel him; we define his whole person in terms of how he [offended] us. However, as we move with the forgiving flow, we gradually change our monster back into the weak and faulty human being he is (or was), not all that different from ourselves.

Scene Four:  We revise our feelings As the frozen tundra of resentment melts, a tendril of compassion breaks through the crust.  Sorrow blends with anger.  Sympathy softens resentment.  We feel emerging in our consciousness a hesitant desire for the other person's welfare.

Scene Five:  We accept the person who [hurt us]. In the last scene of the drama, we offer our [offender] the grace that God has offered us.  We not only pardon him; we also accept him.  We take him back into our lives as a fellow member of the human race.  Chances are that we are not able to restore the special relationship we had before.  But if we cannot be reconciled, it will not be our resentment that prevents it.

Dear friends, may the Forgiving Christ so fill our vision and our lives that He lives His forgiving life through us...one "scene" at a time.

[Note:  The brackets represent where I changed the words shamer/shame to alternate words.]

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You may also want to read an excellent sermon by Dr. Smedes, entitled "Five Things Everyone Should Know About Forgiving."

Here's a summary of the "five things": (but you will want to read the entire sermon)

1. Forgiving is the only way to be fair to yourself after someone hurts you unfairly. 2. Forgivers are not doormats; they do not have to tolerate the bad things that they forgive. 3. Forgivers are not fools; they forgive and heal themselves, but they do not have to go back for more  abuse. 4. We don’t have to wait until the other person repents before we forgive him or her and heal ourselves. 5. Forgiving is a journey. For us, it takes time, so be patient and don’t get discouraged if you backslide have to do it over again.

Lenten Meditation: a Word of Forgiveness*

Lent
Lent

Alexander Pope (1688-1744), English poet, once said,

To err is human; to forgive, divine.

So true...but we humans more readily echo what someone else has said,

To err is human, but to get even? THAT is divine.

We struggle so, with forgiving our offenders!  Perhaps that's why we are amazed and awestruck to realize that Jesus' first words from the Cross were ones of forgiveness.

Unknown-5
Unknown-5

And these words came after hours of suffering:  agony in Gethsemane, betrayal, arrest, abandonment and denial by his own, illegal trial after trial, scourging, mocking, carrying His cross.

Then as He was being nailed to and raised on that same cross, He said,

Father, forgive them for they do not know what they are doing. Luke 23:34

Jesus seemed to have a special love for those who betrayed and abused Him.  Think about it...Judas, He called "Friend"; Peter, He had already interceded for and later restored; the deserting disciples, He loved still; His rejecting nation, He wept over; and now this angry mob and these vicious executioners, He forgave.

And aren't we all in that list?  Put yourself there and realize that when Jesus was suffering and dying, He was forgiving you and me:  all our evil deeds -- past, present, and future;  all the evil that dwells in our flesh -- the self-sins: self-righteousness, self-pity, self-confidence, self-sufficiency, self-admiration, self-love, and a host of others that make up the self-life (AW Tozer, Pursuit of God).

And sin separates us from God*...so we need Christ's forgiveness.

For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit... 1 Peter 3:18

And sin also separates us from one another*...and that's where the struggle comes in.  Here's a question that I've been pondering:

Did Jesus struggle with forgiving as we do? Or could it be because of our self-sins that we struggle so? What do you think? (You can weigh in below in the comments if you'd like.)

Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane, Giambattista Tiepolo 1750
Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane, Giambattista Tiepolo 1750

Here are a few of my thoughts:  Maybe that was part of what went on in Gethsemane.  Jesus struggled there with the will of the Father, but He surrendered Himself to it:

“Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.” And there appeared to him an angel from heaven, strengthening him. Luke 22:42-43

In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence.  Although he was a son, he learned obedience through what he suffered.  And being made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him... Hebrews 5:7-9

When we struggle with forgiveness, we need exactly what Jesus needed...surrender to the Father's will and purpose, even in our hurt and pain.  As we go through the decision as well as the process (because for most of us, it's both), we can remember the loving and forgiving Christ who lives within.  He will forgive and love through us if we let Him (that's called faith).

A few years back, I was struggling with forgiving in a certain situation.  I asked the Lord to give me a picture of Himself in my mind and heart when I felt offended, rejected, left out, or neglected.  Immediately what came to me was a picture of Jesus' face as He was dying on the Cross and speaking the words,

Jesus on cross
Jesus on cross

Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.

Are you struggling with forgiveness, dear brother or sister?  Fill your mind and heart with the forgiving Christ.  Invite Him into the hurt and surrender to the Father's child training.  He will love and forgive through you as you trust Him.

And be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.  Therefore, be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love just as Christ also loved you, and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma. Ephesians 4:32-5:2

Amazing Love

I’m forgiven because You were forsaken, I’m accepted, You were condemned. I am alive and well, Your spirit is within me, Because You died and rose again.

Chorus Amazing love, How can it be That You, my King, should die for me? Amazing love, I know it’s true. It’s my joy to honor You, In all I do, I honor You.

You are my King Jesus You are my King You are my King

*Many thanks to pastors and friends at Abiding Christ Church for generously sharing your congregational Lenten study, The Last Seven Statements from the Cross. I've borrowed some of the titles and thoughts from that study.

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reading the Bible
reading the Bible

Bible Students:

The New Covenant was inaugurated through the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. Jesus instituted the Lord's Supper (Communion) to remember this new covenant in His blood.  Luke 22:14-20 Basic to all the New Covenant promises is forgiveness of sins. Read through Hebrews 8:6-12. List the promises/provisions of the New Covenant.  Be sure to note the reason all these are possible in verse 12.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Explore the Greek words for forgiveness:

  1. aphiemi, aphesis= to send forth or away; to let go from oneself This is the word used in Luke 23:34. "The expression 'to forgive sins' or to remit sins means to remove the sins from someone. Only God is said to be able to do this (Mark 2:10).  To forgive sins is not to disregard them and do nothing about them, but to liberate a person from them, their guilt, and their power."  Spiro Zodiates, NT Word Study Dictionary. See also Romans 4:7; 1John 1:9, 2:12; Ephesians 1:7-8
  2. charizomai = to show someone a favor, be kind to; to give or bestow something willingly; derived from charis, "grace""The most common meaning peculiar to the NT is to pardon, to graciously remit a person's sin (Col 2:13)...also to forgive someone, be gracious   to (Eph 4:32; Col 3:13)."  Zodiates.
  3. apoluein = to release, pardon a prisoner, release a debtor. See Luke 6:37, Matt 18:27
  4. paresis = to disregard, a passing over, an overlooking of faults.  See Romans 3:25

Recommended Reading:

Lewis B. Smedes,  Shame & Grace. Chapter 17 ("Coming to Terms with Our Shamers") has very helpful thoughts on forgiveness.  Smedes has also authored a book, Forgive & Forget.  I haven't read it, but it might be worth looking at by clicking on the link.

a holy experience button
a holy experience button

A beautiful, "hands on" forgiveness devotional by Ann Voskamp