When my husband and I hiked in Kings Canyon, we got off the trail on one of the hikes. We weren’t sure when or how we departed from the route shown on the map, but we got into progressively rougher terrain and ran into more obstacles. We wondered, “Is this really the trail?”
Finally we decided to turn around, ask God’s help, and try to find our way back to a place we recognized. When we found the trail again, we thanked God, went back to the trail head, and looked for a hike that was more clearly marked.
As a follower of Jesus, I sometimes get off the path where He is leading. I find the going rougher and the obstacles greater as the Holy Spirit keeps prodding me to return to the right way. I’m so glad God doesn’t leave me alone, but instead calls me back into His light!
I used to get bogged down in hopeless regret when I made a seemingly big mistake or had grievously sinned. First John 1:9 assures me that God forgives and cleanses me as soon as I confess my sin and turn back to Him. However, I can’t go back in time and live those days the way God had planned. That righteous path is blocked for me.
Recently, thoughts on Jeremiah 18:3-11 encouraged me about that. There God says He can do with the people of Judah as the potter did with the pot he was making. It didn’t turn out as he had hoped, so he returned it to a lump and made a different vessel.
“O Israel, can I not do to you as this potter has done to his clay? As the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are you in my hand (Jeremiah 18:6 New Living Translation).”
Because of God’s goodness and mercy, He plans a different route for me to go where I can honor and glorify Him again. That righteous path will be just as wonderful as “Plan A.” Not only that, “Plan C” would be just as marvelous as Plan A or B. Likewise, His plans D, E…Z, AA, AB, and on to infinity will be equally amazing. In God’s multifaceted, infinite wisdom, He makes each one of His “paths of righteousness” perfect.
I don’t want to fail or sin or in any way damage this vessel God is working on. But I do. And God, with His unlimited creativity and grace still has great plans for me to take part in as soon as I return to Him and His way. Indeed, “He leads me in paths of righteousness for His name’s sake (Psalm 23:3).”
Goodbye, Hopeless Regret. Hello, Joy in the Lord!
© Tricia Opitz Nov. 20515-Nov. 2016 https://triciajots4jesus.wordpress.com/
Picture credit: –”Potter in Rabka 03″ by User:Piotrus – my photos. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Potter_in_Rabka_03.JPG#/media/File:Potter_in_Rabka_03.JPG
“God overrules human sin for His glory and the ultimate good of mankind.” –from the devotional booklet “Our Daily Bread,” 11-19-14, note on Genesis 50:15-21.
I love it that God overrules sin for His glory and our good! I can just see a courtroom. Mr. Sin stands up with an objection to good and right. But God is the judge. The gavel comes down, and God, being far more powerful than sin or Satan, says with all authority, “Overruled.” Then God proceeds to bring good out of the evil. (Romans 8:28—“ And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” New Living Translation)
God (through Paul) tells us to overcome evil with good (Romans 12:21). As we do, we’re being like our Father God. So I want to pray the prayer of St. Francis of Assisi which says:
“Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy.
“O, Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love; For it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; it is in dying that we are born again to eternal life.”
One of the things Pastor Tom talks about here is the fact that the cross is JUSTICE for sin. “Jesus, by his suffering, has endured what sin deserves–all sin. …You can’t just…say ‘it doesn’t matter.’ You can’t say, ‘You’ll make it up next time you’re re-incarnated.” Nor can you say, “Do your best, and God forgives the rest.” No, sin must be accounted for. Justice must be done. Excellent sermon.
God’s grace is free to us, but it was not free to Him. It was very costly. It is free in the same sense that a diamond is free to the girl who is getting engaged. It is freely given, but it cost the giver a great deal. And like the diamond engagement ring, it is offered not just as a trinket, but as an invitation into a lifelong relationship that will change the course of our future forever.
To listen to the sermon, click the play button:
To download, right click on the link (or do whatever you do on a Mac) and save it to your computer: Download Easter Message 2015
LIFE FROM DEATH
On Good Friday, we remember the crucifixion of Jesus – how we was killed by torture on a Roman cross. On Easter Sunday, we celebrate his resurrection – the fact that he…
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Excellent sermon by Pastor Tom.
Healing in this life, or making this life better somehow, is ultimately meaningless unless we respond to Jesus in faith. Jesus is focused on the eternal person, the spiritual person. That’s where his priority is, and I think that is where our priorities should be also.
To listen to the sermon, click the play button:
To download, right click on the link (or do whatever you do on a Mac) and save it to your computer: Download Matthew Part 30
Matthew #30 . Matthew 9:1-8
This time, we will take the incident with the paralyzed man and his friends. Mark and Luke include the detail that the paralytic man’s friends couldn’t get him through the crowd, so they lowered him from the roof to set him in front of Jesus. Once again, there is no reason to assume that this contradicts Matthew. Matthew often omits details supplied by Luke…
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What a great sermon by Pastor Tom! I especially appreciated his comment about praying for people who don’t claim to be Christians: He prays that they will become desperate for the forgiveness and grace they can have in Christ alone. And I say Amen.
It has never made sense to me to try and get people who do not trust Jesus to live according to His teachings. Many Christians condemn where they should not, and fail to correct where they should.
To listen to the sermon, click the play button:
To download, right click on the link (or do whatever you do on a Mac) and save it to your computer: Download Matthew Part 21
Matthew #21 . Matthew 7:1-6
“Do not judge, so that you won’t be judged. For with the judgment you use, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye but don’t notice the log in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ and look, there’s a log in…
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This is an excellent sermon by Pastor Tom. http://revth.wordpress.com/2014/04/18/why-crucifixion/
I think his closing remarks are powerful: He says that God’s grace is free to us, but it wasn’t free to God. He compared it to a diamond engagement ring being free to the girl who receives it, but it still costs a lot. And when a girl accepts an engagement ring, she’s accepting the marriage proposal. She’s entering a new relationship. Likewise, accepting God’s grace means giving your life to Jesus, committing to Him forever and entering a growing relationship with Him.
A powerful blog post by Tanya about what Jesus did for us.
God Speaks I Listen
Oh how He loves you and me
We all know why Jesus did what He did…but do we know at what cost to Himself?
Jesus prayed to His Father before He was crucified…..
Like 22: 41-44 He withdrew about a stone’s throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed, 42 “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” 43 An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. 44 And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.
Mathew 26:36-39 Then cometh Jesus with them unto a place called Gethsemane, and saith unto the disciples, Sit ye here, while I go and pray yonder.
37 And he took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and very heavy.
38 Then saith he…
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Psalm 38:4 and 18 “My guilt overwhelms me —it is a burden too heavy to bear…. 18 But I confess my sins; I am deeply sorry for what I have done.” New Living Translation
In a recent sermon, the pastor said that when we practice, sometimes we get it right, and sometimes we get it wrong, but we get better. I thought of a few particular times in my life when I “got it wrong”—very wrong. I had caused hurt to others that I felt greatly sorry about and wished I could go back and make right. Of course I can’t, and I’ve often let Satan beat me up with those memories.
Now Romans 8:1 says that there’s no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who walk according to the Spirit and not according to the flesh (body). I used to think, Well, but when I get it wrong, I’m not walking by the Spirit. When I did those things I regret so much, I was just acting out of my own self-centeredness, not because of following Jesus. But, if practice means that sometimes I get it wrong, and sometimes I get it right, but I’m getting better, then I’m learning by practice. So there’s no condemnation when I mess up, even really blow it, because I’m in Christ Jesus, and I’m practicing living in accordance with Holy Spirit direction. I’m not saying that I don’t need to ask for forgiveness for my wrong-doing—I do. However, I don’t have to let guilt kick me around anymore.
I’m still sad about those things I did that caused damage, but I can learn from them. I can keep on practicing following Jesus. What a relief!
Lord Jesus, when memories come back to me I’ll bring each one to You.
–Where there is sin, let me turn from it.
–If there’s a lesson, I want to learn it.
–When it drives me closer to You, then I yearn for it.
–If You speak a word to me through it, may I discern it!
And by Your grace I’ll take Your yoke on me and learn of You and find rest for my soul. (Matthew 11:29)
Here’s an excellent post by Joe Quatrone, Jr.
Witnessing to Muslims: Why Did Jesus Have to Die?.
In his list of recent blog posts, he includes a link to “Does Jeremiah 29:11 Still Apply Today?” (http://joequatronejr.wordpress.com/2012/06/04/does-jeremiah-2911-apply-today/ ) which is another good post I read. Quatrone notes 3 things to consider in answering the question.
Hope you’ll take a look at both of these.
DADDY TIME!. Another great sermon by Pastor Tom. He’s doing a series on the book of Galatians. Excellent series.