Today’s Text and Thought of Encouragement:
“God is in the midst of her, she shall not be moved; God shall help her, and that right early.”
“Who sticketh to God in stable trust
As Zion’s mount (she) stands full just,
Which moveth no whit, nor yet doth reel,
But standeth forever as stiff as steel!”
Scottish Version of
Psalm 125: 1
Today’s Study Text:
“And she said to Elijah, ‘What have you against me, O man of God? Have you come to me to call my sin to remembrance and to slay my son?’”
1 Kings 17: 18
“Learning To Forgive Yourself – and Others, Too!”
“The ultimate remedy for living beyond guilt and shame is abiding in the protective love of Christ. All of our earthly maladies find respite in Him.”
Prescription For Living Beyond
Has there been a time in my life when I committed a mistake and found it impossible to forgive myself?
How has being “unforgiving” to myself affected my relationship with others?
When I can’t forgive myself, does it make it more difficult for me to forgive other people in my life?
“God weeps over us when shame and self-hatred immobilize us.”
“O God, You know my folly and blundering; my sins and my guilt are not hidden from You.”
Psalm 69: 5
If ever there was an individual in the Bible who had reason to feel they had messed-up big time, it would be David. He was a philanderer, who decided he would take another man’s wife into his bed and then kill the man when his wife became pregnant with David’s baby. Yes, this was certainly someone who understood what it meant to foul up. However, what makes this story even more despicable, is that apparently, at first, David thought his acts of treachery could be hidden, not only from the people in his nation, but even from his heavenly Father.
What we learn from David’s life is that not only does God see all we do, He also understands the basis for our folly. He recognizes our blunders even before we do. As David himself came to realize, “My sins and my guilt are not hidden from You.”
Maybe it is the self-awareness that we all come to discover, when we put our relationship with our heavenly Father first and foremost in our lives, which pulls back the curtain on those hidden areas of our lives that we believe we can keep covered-up.
This appears to be what happened in the widow’s home in Zarephath. After experiencing the gracious kindness of Elijah’s God, the widow began not only to trust the God of heaven and earth, she also recognized clearly that Elijah was His servant.
But when tragedy struck the widow, all of a sudden, a flood of painful memories surged over her life. And I ask you, “Has this ever happened to you?” Trouble comes down on your head and you think to yourself, “Well, I knew this day would come. All my mistakes have come back to haunt me!”
This is exactly how I think the widow felt. We know this because she expressed her feelings very directly to Elijah. First, we find she knew he was a holy man for she addressed him as, “O man of God.” There’s no doubt she respected Elijah and his God. But just as likely, knowing that Elijah was a godly person, this may only have reinforced her belief that the mistakes of her past were a roadblock to any current blessings.
Unfortunately, this is an error we all make at times. And it is an error I’m so thankful Jesus repeatedly addressed and confronted when He came to earth. It didn’t matter if you were a woman caught in adultery -- He would come to your rescue. It didn’t matter if you had been married five times and now were living with guy number six -- He would meet you at a well in the hot noon day sun and send you away with an overflowing heart. And if you were a woman who hadn’t been touched for eighteen years because the religious establishment deemed you unclean, Jesus wouldn’t mind if you touched Him. The fact is, no mistake of the past could keep anyone from Jesus -- no matter how unsavory or heinous the sin was. And if you don‘t believe me, just ask David who found his heavenly Father’s merciful forgiveness able to cover the darkest past.
Whatever it was in the widow of Zarephath’s life which became a barrier, Elijah’s kindness in taking her son in his arms only showed the way our Father takes us in His arms when the guilt and shame of some past sin rears its head, making us feel undesirable and unacceptable. I love these beautiful words by Oswald Chambers, words each of us would do well to remember when our past blocks the plans God has for our future:
“The most marvelous ingredient in the forgiveness of God is that He also forgets, the one thing a human being can never do. Forgetting with God is a divine attribute, God’s forgiveness forgets.”
I ask you, “Who are we to continually condemn ourselves for past misdeeds that our Father has forgiven and forgotten?”
There is one other critical element evident when we accept God’s forgiveness and it is expressed by Jesus in the Lord’s Prayer -- “Forgive us our transgressions as we forgive others who have transgressed against us.”
Once we come to the amazing realization of just how much has been wiped clean in our own lives, it puts a completely different viewpoint on how we treat others who, like ourselves, have fallen. As Thomas Fuller so correctly reminds us: “(She) that cannot forgive others breaks the bridge over which (she) must pass (herself); for every (person) has need to be forgiven.”
It was a forgiven past that Elijah came to show the widow of Zarephath. For nothing this woman had ever done stopped God from doing for her, “Abundantly, above, all that she could ask or think,” and that included raising her son from the dead! What a merciful and forgiving heavenly Father we have!
“We need not climb up into heaven to see whether our sins are forgiven; let us look into our hearts, and see if we can forgive others. If we can, we need not doubt but God has forgiven us.”
No Looking Back
“This one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”
Philippines 3: 13, 14
“No looking back! It might but mean disaster!
No sad regrets o’er costly choices made!
The costlier path was chosen for the Master –
It was for HIM the sacrifice was paid.
No looking back on what may seem lost treasure, -
At gilded joys, which, seen, were yet not known:
Joys more abiding, and in fuller measure,
Will yet be thine, when earth-born joys have flown.
No looking back, save on the way He led thee;
Beholding, now, His goodness more and more;
Reviewing all the means by which He fed thee,
The hearts, the loves, the lives that were His store.
No looking back! Just forward to the Glory;
With joyous hope with glad, expectant face;
To find, when He unfolds life’s finished story,
Wealth, -- wealth unfading, -- and an honoured place.”
J. Danson Smith
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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