Forgiveness and Inner Healing

‘Who forgives all your iniquities’ Psalm 103:3 NKJV

The Psalmist wrote, ‘Who forgives all your iniquities, who heals all your diseases.’ Notice which comes first: the consciousness that all your sins are forgiven precedes the healing of all your diseases. Note also the words ‘all your iniquities’. Some of us are comfortable with receiving partial forgiveness, but we refuse to allow God’s forgiveness to touch some dark areas we can’t let go of, and that we refuse to forgive ourselves for. Whatever those mistakes may be, allow God to forgive all your sins, and receive healing for all your diseases. Let the past go. Let the mistakes go. Allow yourself to be free, and learn to forgive yourself by receiving with an open heart God’s total and complete forgiveness. Stop hurting yourself, because Jesus was hurt for all your sins. Stop beating yourself up, because Jesus took all your beatings at the cross. Stop punishing yourself, because Jesus has received all the punishment due on your behalf. It’s time to stop asking yourself if you’ve done enough to earn God’s forgiveness and acceptance. They are undeserved – they cannot be achieved by struggle and self-effort; they can only be received by faith. If you gave someone you loved a birthday gift and they insisted on paying for it, how would you feel? Hurt? Upset? That’s how God feels when you try to ‘earn’ His forgiveness, healing, and righteousness. The more you let the waterfall of God’s grace and forgiveness wash over you every day, the more you’ll receive His health for your body and His soundness for your mind.

This is reproduced with kind permission from United Christian Broadcasters (UCB) Word for Today. Copies can be obtained from them at UCB Operations Centre, Westport Road, Stoke on Trent, ST6 4JF
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‘At Home’ in God’s Love

‘Make yourselves at home in my love’ John 15:9 MSG

When someone says, ‘Make yourself at home’, it means you’re welcome and accepted. And that’s what Jesus means when He says, ‘Make yourselves at home in my love.’ You never have been and never will be loved by anyone as much as God loves you. The reason you have such a hard time grasping that concept is that you have nothing to compare His love to. Nothing could make God love you more than He does right now, and nothing could make Him love you less. The great irony is that we spend our lives trying to earn His love, when it can only be received by faith. John says: ‘What marvellous love the Father has extended to us! Just look at it – we are called children of God! That’s who we really are. But that’s also why the world doesn’t recognise us or take us seriously, because it has no idea who he is or what he’s up to’ (1 John 3:1-2 MSG). You may have grown up with parents who withheld their love, or weren’t capable of expressing it. God doesn’t do that. Throughout Scripture He keeps saying, ‘I love you. I love you. I love you!’ CS Lewis wrote: ‘God created us to be the objects of His love! Sometimes our actions make us unlovely, but we’re never unloved. And because God loves us – we have value. And nobody can take that value away. God’s love revealed at Calvary fastens itself onto flawed creatures like us, and for reasons none of us can ever quite figure out, makes us precious and valued beyond calculation. This is love beyond reason. And this is the love with which God loves us.

This is reproduced with kind permission from United Christian Broadcasters (UCB) Word for Today. Copies can be obtained from them at UCB Operations Centre, Westport Road, Stoke on Trent, ST6 4JF
They can be reached on 0845 6040401 or at http://www.ucb.co.uk

Things Cut Off, Things Cut Back

‘So (you) will produce even more fruit.’ John 15:2 NLT

Jesus said the vine dresser ‘cut off every branch… that doesn’t produce fruit, and he prunes (cuts back) the branches that do bear fruit so they…produce even more.’ Notice two things:

1. God cuts some things off. ‘What kind of things?’ Things you’re comfortable with but that stand in the way of your progress. Things He hasn’t chosen for you. Things that will bring you trouble. Things that refuse to change. Things that have served their purpose.
2. God cuts some things back. A fruit tree that’s just been pruned certainly doesn’t look its best. And when God starts cutting back certain things in your life in order to redirect your energies, for a while you may not look so good either. Sometimes this means letting go of things you thought would always be there, or reprioritising your life, making do with less for a while, or not being able to explain to your loved ones why you’re going through the pruning process. But life-giving sap flowing into a barren branch with no potential for fruitfulness is a waste! And so is time, attention, and energy taken from first things and given to second and third things. Understand this: God knows what needs to be cut off in your life, and He knows what needs cut back. And although you may not understand what He’s doing, pray: ‘Send whoever You will and take away whoever You will. I’ll praise You when they come and I’ll praise You when they go, because Your approval is my reward and Your purpose is my reason to live.’

This is reproduced with kind permission from United Christian Broadcasters (UCB) Word for Today. Copies can be obtained from them at UCB Operations Centre, Westport Road, Stoke on Trent, ST6 4JF
They can be reached on 0845 6040401 or at http://www.ucb.co.uk

You Can Start Again

‘A bruised reed he will not break, and a smouldering wick he will not snuff out.’ Matthew 12:20 NIVUK

Aren’t you glad that God is a mender and not a discarder? With Him, broken lives don’t have to be the end of the story. He’s often been called the God of the ‘second chance’. How short-sighted is that? If we got only two chances we’d all be miserably, hopelessly lost. But instead He’s the God of the ‘seventy times seven’! (see Matthew 18:22.) In Greek, seven represents infinity. So He’s the God of unlimited grace. As long as you humbly acknowledge your failure and desire to start again, He will enable you. The ‘reed’ referred to in today’s verse is a shepherd’s makeshift flute that had withered, cracked, and become worthless. The smouldering ‘wick’ no longer gave light and was considered useless. Both represent people set aside as damaged good and rejected by others. But Jesus is committed to mend and heal, not break or quench those who have failed. He desires to give us a fresh start regardless of our failures. The truth is that we all fail! As Adam’s descendants, messing things up comes naturally and effortlessly to us. Abraham lied and put Sarah at risk. Jacob was a cheat and self-promoting con artist. Moses determined to do things his own way and ended up a fugitive. David was an adulterer and a conspiratorial assassin who betrayed a faithful friend. Peter turned his back on Christ. Yet God used each of them to accomplish His will. And He will use you too, because ‘where sin abounded, grace abounded much more’ (Romans 5:20 NKJV). So you can start again.

This is reproduced with kind permission from United Christian Broadcasters (UCB) Word for Today. Copies can be obtained from them at UCB Operations Centre, Westport Road, Stoke on Trent, ST6 4JF
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Shame-based Thinking

‘Let God change the way you think.’ Romans 12:2 CEV

When you’ve been abused, it undermines your self-worth. You think, ‘if someone did that to me, there must be something wrong with me.’ You feel like your soul is soiled; like you’re ‘damaged goods’. But you’re not! These two scriptures are from God’s lips to your heart: ‘I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness, I will build you up again and you…will be rebuilt’ (Jeremiah 31:3-4 NIV). ‘Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past…I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland’ (Isaiah 43:18-19 NIV). What happened to you was bad, but you are not bad! Today God says: ‘Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the Lord your God’. (Isaiah 43 1-3 NIV). Shame and depression go hand in hand. And while doctors can prescribe medication for depression, there’s no remedy for shame – except the medicine of God’s word. So instead of believing your thoughts and emotions, stand on God’s word regardless of how you feel. Being ashamed of who you are is like being perpetually punished – except you’re doing it to yourself. What’s the solution? ‘Let God change the way you think’.

This is reproduced with kind permission from United Christian Broadcasters (UCB) Word for Today. Copies can be obtained from them at UCB Operations Centre, Westport Road, Stoke on Trent, ST6 4JF
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Put Away the Measuring Stick

‘If you, Lord, kept a record of sins…who could stand?’ Psalm 130:3 NIV)

We live in a results-oriented society where we’re rewarded for our performance in school, in sports, and on the job. But God doesn’t think like that. His thoughts and ways are far above ours (see Isaiah 55:8-9 MSG). He’s not impressed by ‘empty rituals…He wants you to listen to him!’ (1 Samuel 14:22 MSG). Feelings and emotions are powerful, but they’re seldom objective. And when you base your worth as a Christian on your performance as a flawed human being, the enemy has a field day. Satan is called ‘the accuser of our brethern’ (Revelation 12:10 KJV); he wants you to run a checklist of your failures and mistakes. That way he can torment you by reminding you of all the times you lose your temper, criticise, fail to speak up for what’s right, or let a misconception go unchecked to make yourself look better. David said if the ‘Lord, kept a record of sin…who could stand? Even the most disciplined believer has areas where he or she struggles and fails. It’s why we need God’s grace and forgiveness 24/7. ‘He’s never surprised when, despite our best intentions, we fall short. Reimar Schultze says: ‘God doesn’t measure us by our performance, but by our love for Jesus. Indeed, in the Kingdom of God our love for Jesus is our performance. Everything else is secondary. Desire to be with Him, to abide in Him, to keep in fellowship with Him, to please Him, is what our Master longs for.’ So put away your measuring stick and be glad God’s not grading you based on your performance, but on Christ’s performance.

This is reproduced with kind permission from United Christian Broadcasters (UCB) Word for Today. Copies can be obtained from them at UCB Operations Centre, Westport Road, Stoke on Trent, ST6 4JF
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Today God is with You

‘But they were not able to recognise who he was’ Luke 24:16 MSG

When you face a crisis it’s easy to lose perspective. It happended to two of Christ’s disciples on the Emmaus Road. Discouraged about His death, they were ‘going over all these things that had happened. In the middle of their… questions, Jesus came up and walked along with them. But they were not able to recognise who he was’ (vv 14 – 16 MSG). When you take your eyes off Jesus, you start to feel helpless about your situation. Dr Michael Youssef says: ‘Facing a major crisis, I tend to be the kind of person whose vision becomes blurred. My perceptions are shot. My contemplations are one-sided. I often shut out the very people who can deliver me, just like the two disciples… Their vision was blurred about the person who was walking with them and talking to them. The one whose death they were mourning was alive… but they didn’t realise it because their focus was on the wrong thing’. But everything changed the minute they recognised Jesus. ‘Within the hour they were on their way back to Jerusalem. There… the two… told… how Jesus had appeared to them as they were walking along… and how they had recognised him as he was breaking the bread’ (vv 33-35 NLT). Note the words ‘within the hour’. In an instant they went from fear to courage, pain to joy, and despair to hope. Paul wrote, ‘I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened’ (Ephesians 1:18 NIV). When you stop focusing on the problem and fix your eyes on Jesus, you get 20/20 vision and you’re filled with hope.

This is reproduced with kind permission from United Christian Broadcasters (UCB) Word for Today. Copies can be obtained from them at UCB Operations Centre, Westport Road, Stoke on Trent, ST6 4JF
They can be reached on 0845 6040401 or at http://www.ucb.co.uk