Challenged to forgive I long to fully let the matter go – Yes, forgiveness is necessary – My wounds are fresh What would Jesus do? Forgive They are disregarding what’s best – Still, despite their actions I must forgive What would Jesus do? Forgive My hardness had to soften and yield to forgiveness – It’s best and the way of the Lord What would Jesus do? Forgive Peter betrayed Jesus, denied even knowing him – He cursed and denied his Lord – Thrice Peter did that What did Jesus do? He forgave him Christ Jesus, pure and innocent was put on a cross and crucified for doing his Father’s business – loving, teaching healing, and raising the dead – What did Jesus say? “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.”

He was kind Handsome Swept me off my feet I fell into his arms Then They came to arrest me Caught in adultery A deed against the law Punishable by Death As people throw stones Dragged into the middle of a crowd Some Man was speaking Interrupted I hid my face from Him Everyone found out what I had done There was nowhere to run My reputation tarnished My life about to be gone The Rabbi said not a word Simply wrote on the ground The crowd stood in anticipation I waited with no defense for myself He gave the command For the first stone to be thrown By the one who had never sinned In their own life before One by one they fled No stone was thrown My Lord stood there alone He saved me from the Law Because I was still alive He let me go Can a person’s life really change For the better He changed mine Because I’d received A Love and Forgiveness I neverContinue reading »

Millions of folks marveled at the strength of character demonstrated by Nelson Mandela who was incarcerated for twenty-seven years as a political prisoner. In 1985, he was offered a conditional release, which, on grounds of principle, he refused. His unconditional release was announced in 1990. It was indeed a grand view to see Mandela humbly but confidently walk outside to freedom for the first time in twenty-seven years! Globally, we profoundly admired the African man who went from prisoner to president. Mandela didn’t re-enter society with bitterness as an emotional attachment. He was firmly for reconciliation in his region, a region that had long been one of racial and economic turmoil and unrest. Worldwide, Mandela spread his message of the need for reconciliation. Yes, certainly, he made an international impact. Millions of folks hold deep love, respect and gratitude for the man, Mandela and the love, humility, respect, wisdom, and knowledge that he shared and demonstrated. Folks who haven’t lived through such circumstances have no in depth awareness of whatContinue reading »

Heartfelt thanks extend to those who lovingly engage in prison ministries. Confined “residents” certainly benefit from such care and attentiveness. The visits help to handle some of the mundane aspects of being incarcerated. Yep, the residents welcome escapes from their routines and standard operating procedures. Undoubtedly, prison ministries are worthwhile for the visitors and for the residents. Sharing and caring aids in all environments. Some residents don’t receive any other visitors and thus, they especially look forward to the times when prison ministry folks arrive to encourage and to share of God’s love. We have no idea how many people are in jails and prisons for crimes that they didn’t commit. My heart grieves for instances of that type. We’ve read and heard reports of legal defenses that succeeded in having convictions removed for innocent folks, some of whom spent years being held for what they’d been wrongly convicted of doing. Truly, we have no full fledged awareness of what their experiences were like. It’s indeed heartening to know ofContinue reading »

“God, forgive me for my judgments of others – how I think they must be unbelievers, or somehow weaker than I because they drink or smoke or raise Cain. If I would bother to strike up a holy conversation with others, I would really see the truth. Jesus said in the Lord’s Prayer ‘forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors,’ meaning in the same proportion to our willingness to forgive others. If we take this seriously, I think we would not be so cavalier with praying the prayer as if it were only words and not a request for mercy while holding on to unforgiveness.” Our Sunday School teacher once spoke about spiritual arrogance – thinking more highly of ourselves than we should (Romans 12:3 NIV), thinking we have cornered the market on spirituality and that our church is better than others or our doctrine is more biblical. That is a good word for us all. I am as guilty as any for thinking I know what theContinue reading »

Well, I had done it again, got busted with whatever lie I was telling at the time. Sometimes all it takes is one phone call or letter in the mail to bring down the house of cards. Why do I lie? I want to blame it on my extreme aversion to conflict. Of course, you know there really isn’t a valid reason to break a commandment no matter how you slice it. Deception often begets deception, and soon you have to be trying to see around corners and get to the mailbox first just in case, blocking unknown (or unwanted) phone numbers, and, above all, always answering the question “is everything okay? Everything paid up?” with words of affirmation, “oh, yeah, everything is fine.” All the while you are hoping to change the subject. It’s exhausting. In some cases, the obvious happens and you get caught, but sometimes you are working hard to correct some of the mess before it all blows up and you succeed; however, sometimes you justContinue reading »

I have often found a deathbed salvation hard to accept, especially those who have spent their earthly life doing every kind of evil, even rape and murder – even against those who are helpless and have no avenue of escape like children, but why? Well, they don’t deserve it. We feel superior to those hopelessly embroiled in lifelong sin. BUT. When we received salvation, carrying our (at the moment) lifelong sins, in that moment of admitting, Jesus pardoned all of our sins, wiping the slate clean as if we’d never sinned at all. Once we have been saved and made new, we no longer bear these crimes against God. We may still feel the weight of them, but we needn’t. How about the sins we commit after we have been pardoned? Do we treat them as the former – already forgiven? Surely not! Although we have been cleansed from the former, we now bear the current sins. We still have to ask, but it will be forgiven. What about theContinue reading »

Recently, we learned of yet another mass shooting, the likes of which have increased considerably. We certainly don’t understand the full scope of why people resort to such horrendous measures of cruelty and hatred. At present, the family members of the most recent victims of a mass shooting, in Oregon, likely feel that their grief is insurmountable. But we know that God heals sorrow. I can’t wholly imagine the heart pain that loved ones experience when their family members and friends are no longer present here for them to enjoy. And the pain is particularly enhanced when acts of violence remove those whom they love. Healing is a process and it often happens in stages. No two people grieve alike. My heart goes out to people who have losses to the family dynamic and the interruption of valued friendships. My thoughts extend to the children who will grow up without their parents. Their realities are significantly altered. Their fragile beings are shaken to the core. What a treasured relief thatContinue reading »

‘God now commands everyone everywhere to repent of their sins and turn to Him’ ~Acts 17:30 NLT We have all done wrong. Why do some Christians today say, “You sinned and you must repent?” It’s because in the Holy Bible, God says he hates sin. Ever since the man and woman sinned, it caused all of us to be separated from Him. The only way we can reconnect with God is by repenting: saying I’m sorry and turning away from sin: the wrong in our life. He loves us and he tells us to live the godly way by dying to self: not wanting to do the sins any more. Every day we live, people are losing hope, people are self-hurting themselves by cutting or have long term depression, some waste their lives doing things that wreck their bodies, many people even believe they will never amount to anything because of the wrong they did. The sins that we have done, it should never allow us to think we canContinue reading »

Amber and her family have moved to Evergreen Lane in Tampa, Florida. Geographically, they love it but emotionally their hearts are deeply attached to the east coast where extended family remains. Job duties called Trent, Amber’s father, to Tampa; responsibly, he answered the workplace need. In the laundry room, pony-tailed Monica, clothed in a red and white polka dot sundress, hums along with the low playing classical music on the radio. She taps her flip flop clad narrow foot to the tune of the soothing music. Smiling as she folds Trent’s assorted basketball uniform shorts, Monica thinks of his passion for the game. “That husband of mine loves his basketball nights.” Dressed snappily in her blue denim capris and tie-died tee shirt, lithe Amber enters the laundry room. “What’d you say, Mom?” She rests her three-fingered hand on the warm dryer. How’d that hand matter come to be? Amber was born minus her pinky and index fingers. Monica cheerfully answers, “Oh, I was absorbed about your dad and his basketballContinue reading »