Monday, April 14, 2014

THE SEVEN LAST SAYINGS (JESUS SPEAKS TO THE FATHER)

1."Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do."
 
Gospel of Luke 23:34
 
Beginning Prayer:
Father God, as this Word goes forth, please send it straight to our hearts, so we will never forget what You did by sending Your Son Jesus to die for our sin.  Bless these Words to fall on good grounds, so that all would bring forth good fruit in their season. Thank You for the opportunity to share Your Word about our Savior Jesus Christ.  In Jesus' Name, Amen!
 
Subject:  Jesus Speaks to the Father
 
Scripture:  "Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots."
 
Word of Interest:   Forgive
// 1. To grant pardon for or remission of (an offense, debt, etc.); absolve.
2. To give up all claim on account of; remit (a debt, obligation, etc.).
3. To grant pardon to (a person).
4. To cease to feel resentment against: to forgive one's enemies.
5. To cancel an indebtedness or liability of: to forgive the interest owed on a loan.
 
 
Words of Encouragement: 
One of the thorniest and most difficult things we humans are ever called upon to do is to respond to evil with kindness, and to forgive the unforgivable. We love to read stories about people who have responded to hatred with love, but when that very thing is demanded of us personally, our default seems to be anger, angst (dread or anguish), depression, self-righteousness, hatred, etc. Yet study after study shows that one of the keys to longevity and good health is to develop a habit of gratitude and let go of past hurts. Want to live a long, happy life? Forgive the unforgivable. It really is the kindest thing you can do for yourself. Your enemy may not deserve to be forgiven for all the pain and sadness and suffering purposefully inflicted on your life, but you deserve to be free of this evil. As Ann Landers often said, "hate is like an acid. It damages the vessel in which it is stored, and destroys the vessel on which it is poured."  Jesus speaks to the Father on the behalf of human. Jesus is asking for forgiveness, He is showing His Father's heart. These were the unforgivable, the hardhearted, and self-righteous people in His time. God desire us to live this kind of life. Pray for forgive, and then forgive too.It makes sense that the first word of Jesus from the cross is a word of forgiveness. That's the point of the cross, after all. Jesus is dying so that we might be forgiven for our sins, so that we might be reconciled to God for eternity. But the forgiveness of God through Christ doesn't come only to those who don't know what they are doing when they sin. In the mercy of God, we receive his forgiveness even when we do what we know to be wrong. God chooses to wipe away our sins, not because we have some convenient excuse, and not because we have tried hard to make up for them, but because he is a God of amazing grace, with mercies that are new every morning.
As we read the words, "Father, forgive them," may we understand that we too are forgiven through Christ.  As John writes in his first letter, "But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness" (1 John 1:9). Because Christ died on the cross for us, we are cleansed from all wickedness, from every last sin. We are united with God the Father as his beloved children. We are free to approach his throne of grace with our needs and concerns. God "has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west" (Ps 103:13). What great news!

Questions for Reflection
Do you really believe God has forgiven your sins?
Do you take time on a regular basis to confess your sins so that you might enjoy the freedom of forgiveness?
Do you need to experience God's forgiveness in a fresh way today?

Song of praise: 
It's the hardest thing to give away
And the last thing on your mind today
It always goes to those that don't deserve

It's the opposite of how you feel
When the pain they caused is just to real
It takes everything you have just to say the word…

Forgiveness
Forgiveness

It flies in the face of all your pride
It moves away the mad inside
It's always anger's own worst enemy
Even when the jury and the judge
Say you gotta right to hold a grudge
It's the whisper in your ear saying 'Set It Free'

Forgiveness, Forgiveness
Forgiveness, Forgiveness

Show me how to love the unlovable
Show me how to reach the unreachable
Help me now to do the impossible
Forgiveness, Forgiveness
Help me now to do the impossible
Forgiveness
It'll clear the bitterness away
It can even set a prisoner free
There is no end to what it's power can do
So, let it go and be amazed
By what you see through eyes of grace
The prisoner that it really frees is you

Forgiveness, Forgiveness
Forgiveness, Forgiveness
Show me how to love the unlovable
Show me how to reach the unreachable
Help me now to do the impossible
Forgiveness
I want to finally set it free
So show me how to see what Your mercy sees
Help me now to give what You gave to me
Forgiveness, Forgiveness
 
Ending Prayer: Father God, forgive us our debts, as we forgive those who have trespassed against us. Help us to walk in forgiveness as Jesus did when He was dying for us on the cross.  Gracious Lord Jesus, it's easy for me to speak of your forgiveness, even to ask for it and to thank you for it. But do I really believe I'm forgiven? Do I experience the freedom that comes from the assurance that you have cleansed me from my sins? Or do I live as if I'm "semi-forgiven"? Even though I've put my faith in you and confessed my sins, do I live as sin still has power over me? Do I try to prove myself to you, as if I might be able to earn more forgiveness? Dear Lord, though I believe at one level that you have forgiven me, this amazing truth needs to penetrate my heart in new ways. Help me to know with fresh conviction that I am fully and finally forgiven, not because of anything I have done, but because of what you have done for me. May I live today as a forgiven person, opening my heart to you, choosing not to sin because the power of sin has been broken by your salvation.  All praise be to you, Lord Jesus, for your matchless forgiveness! Amen.


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