Posts Tagged ‘forgiveness’

My Dog Got Skunked

My dog, Maggie, can hear things that I can’t. Sometimes I think she is imagining things. Like the other night–she kept going outside barking and barking. I thought she was chasing cats. She hates cats! Well, then I heard her running and barking around the apple tree. Then I smelled that horrible scent of a skunk and I knew Maggie was in trouble.

Half asleep, I went to the family room where the doggie door is. Maggie ran in scared, really scared. I picked her up (big mistake). She had that smell on her and the smell got on me. In my slumber I dowsed her and myself with baby powder and went back to sleep. Frankly, the powder didn’t work. It smelled good at first but when I woke up, I realized we both got skunked, and so did our bed.

Getting skunked made me think how sin works. When I know I’ve done something that doesn’t please God, I am tempted to do some wonderful things (like using baby powder) so God won’t think about my sin. It doesn’t work that way. I found out that when I confess my sin, God is faithful to forgive me. Then I don’t have to worry about balancing the scale of doing good for every time I sin. The most important thing is that I pray for God to help me live for Him.

If you or your pet get skunked, don’t use baby powder. Here are some things you can do that will help:

  1. Don’t pick up your pet without first wrapping it in a towel and don’t let him/her touch anything in your house, especially your bed.
  2. Bathe your dog using some of these solutions: a peroxide/baking soda bath, orange bath, soda bath, fabric softener bath, or commercial skunk smell removers. Find prices and directions here: http://www.howtogetridofstuff.com/odor-removal/how-to-get-rid-of-skunk-smell/.

Application

Do you try to balance good deeds against wrong things you do? Remember this verse: If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9 NIV).

Prayer

Thank you, Lord Jesus, for your faithfulness and always being here to get the stink of my sin off of me. I love you. Amen.

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Joseph’s Coat of Many Colors

Jacob had twelve sons, but he loved Joseph the most and made a royal coat for him. He crafted strips of red and gold, blue and green, orange and brown into a beautiful robe with a golden sash. He decorated the front edges with rich embroidery. Joseph made his brothers jealous when he paraded in front of them wearing his coat of many colors. They wondered why Jacob didn’t make coats for each of them. As if that wasn’t enough, Joseph had dreams–big dreams. He dreamed that someday his whole family would bow down to him. This made his brothers angry with him, so angry they wanted to kill him. Instead they threw him in a dried up old well.

“Get me out of here!” Joseph cried. So they pulled him out and sold him to some Egyptian slave traders. In Egypt Joseph worked hard for a man named Potifer. The man trusted him with his whole household.

Joseph was tall and handsome and caught the eye of Potifer’s wife. She tried to seduce him but he ran away from her. She grabbed his robe, but he fled away from her, leaving his robe. The evil woman used it in a lie to her husband against him. Poor Joseph ended up in jail because of things she said. While he was in jail he interpreted the dreams of the Pharaoh’s cupbearer and baker. Three years later the Pharaoh had dreams that made him crazy. No one could interpret his dreams except for Joseph.

The Pharaoh’s dreams foretold of a coming famine. He respected Joseph so much that he made him governor of Egypt. Joseph harvested and stored the food during the seven good years and managed the food during the seven years when the fields yielded no grain and the livestock died. People had to come from many surrounding towns to Egypt to get grain for food.

Guess who showed up in front of Joseph. Yep! His brothers. He recognized them but they didn’t recognize him in his Egyptian clothes and headdress. Do you think Joseph forgave his brothers or took this opportunity to get revenge on them? Check back next week to find out.

What Happens After You Say Amen?

Jesus taught His disciples how to pray. He said, “Don’t pray like them.”
Some people during the time Jesus walked on earth liked to draw attention to
themselves. They prayed long prayers  and used big words. Jesus was not
impressed because they didn’t live like they prayed. As soon as they said,
“Amen,” they forgot all about God.

Sometimes I have done that. I’ve prayed for the homeless and hungry but failed
to reach out to them. I’ve prayed for the sick but failed to call or visit or even send a card. Today I had to ask God to forgive me and help me live more like I pray.

What happens after you say, “Amen”? If you have done as I
did, Jesus will forgive you too. He loves you and wants to be your best friend
forever. He will even help you live more like you pray. Just say His
name.

Lord Jesus, I pray for those reading how to pray, that they will experience your amazing love and pray sincerely for
those around them. Amen.

Best Friends

Peter lost his best friend. Has that happened to you? It’s not a good feeling. In fact it’s downright depressing. Peter saw his best friend, Jesus, mocked and spit upon, beaten and crucified. Peter remembered the days Jesus healed the sick and fed the hungry, cast out demons and restored life to Lazarus and Jairus’ daughter. He remembered being on the mountain with Jesus when Moses and Elijah showed up, but he didn’t remember what Jesus said about the coming days when He would suffer and die and rise to life again. Peter believed his best Friend would live forever, yet His body lay in a tomb.

Do you know what he did? He and his buddies did what they spent a lifetime doing before they ever met Jesus. They went fishing, and they fished all night. Back then they didn’t fish with rods and reels and fish finders. They fished with nets. Exhausted from working the nets all night, they didn’t catch any fish.

A voice came from shore early in the morning. “Friends, have you caught any fish?”

“No,” they answered.

“Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you’ll find some.” Can you imagine what they thought? Yet, when they cast their net to the right, they caught so many fish, they couldn’t pull the net into the boat.

John said to Peter, “It is the Lord.” Peter jumped into the water and swam to shore to meet Jesus. His friends followed in the boat, towing the net of fish. They found their Friend on the beach cooking a breakfast of fish and bread over burning coals. Just as He told them before He suffered, He rose from the grave.

“Bring some of the fish you caught,” Jesus smiled.

Peter climbed back into the boat. He and his friends counted 153 big fish, but amazingly the net did not break.

Did you catch it? Peter and his friends went back to the life they knew before Jesus, but He was right there with them. He promised them when He walked with them that He would always be with them. Even after Peter denied Him! Jesus forgave him. It is the same for you and me. Once we experience God’s amazing love, we cannot escape it. He is always with us whether in good times or bad. Like the best Friend Jesus was for Peter, He is that for you and me. We never have to go through sorrow or suffering, disappointments or pain without our Best Friend. He will never leave us alone. He will always be with us. He promised, and He keeps His promises.

Thank you, Jesus, for always being with us. Be our joy and strength today and forever so that others might be inspired to love you too. Amen.

What Did Jonah Learn?

God told Jonah to go to Nineveh and warn the people to repent or experience His wrath, but Jonah didn’t care about the people and went in the opposite direction. He found himself in a terrible storm aboard a ship, and then in the belly of a big fish. He cried out to God for forgiveness AND rescue and the big fish spit him out onto a beach. THEN Jonah went to Nineveh and did what he was supposed to in the first place. Amazingly the people repented to avoid God’s wrath, but Jonah wasn’t happy. He sat sulking outside Nineveh in the hot, scorching sun. Our merciful God caused a tree to grow up overnight to shade Jonah, but Jonah didn’t change his heart so God caused the tree to wither. THEN Jonah got really angry.

For those of you who know the story, have you ever wondered what happened after that? I did and I wrote a possibility. Let me know what you think by leaving a comment.

After God spoke, Jonah thought he heard leaves flutter on the vine, but the vine was dead. While he was still sulking, somebody tapped Jonah on the shoulder.

            “Mr. Jonah, you must be hot and thirsty,” said a Ninevite. “Here, I brought you some cool, refreshing water.”

            “Thank you,” said Jonah, “but why would you, a Ninevite, bring me a drink?”

            “Because, Mr. Jonah, you brought us an important message. You saved our whole town from destruction.”

            “Oh no! It wasn’t me. It was God Himself! His grace, mercy and compassion are for everyone.” Jonah didn’t have the heart to tell this kind, compassionate person that he never wanted to come to Nineveh.

            “But Mr. Jonah, you brought us His message. You said if we didn’t change, God would not show us mercy. If you hadn’t come, we would be as dead as all the people we killed. We didn’t deserve God’s mercy. We deserved His punishment.”

            Well, Jonah had to agree. He never thought God should save the Ninevites. He thought they should all perish for the terrible way they lived. Jonah had to admit there was something amazing about this man who brought him water. He didn’t have to show kindness to Jonah but God changed his heart.

            “Oh God!” Jonah cried. “Now I get it. Have mercy on me for my hard heart. Melt me and mold me by your Spirit to do your will—willingly. I don’t want to be stubborn any more. Teach me to love as you love. I am your servant.”