Forgiveness is as much for you as it is for the one you are forgiving. What you hold on to, you allow to hurt you over and over again. I need this today. Hopefully it will help someone else too. Let it go and forgive.
Posts Tagged ‘grace’
Tags: amok, amokarts, arts, cartoon, comic, creacher, creative, forgiveness, grace, ministry
Tags: amok, amokarts, consequences, forgiveness, God, grace, Jesus, sin
Today my message will be on David and Bathsheba. It’s a story of grace and it’s a story of consequences. Most people equate grace with the removal of consequences and this is completely and utterly wrong. Science tells us for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. I believe this could be equated with sin and it’s consequences. Sometimes we receive grace from the consequences of our actions, most of the time we don’t.
David sinned with Bathsheba, that was bad enough, but the attempt to cover his actions placed him on a slippery slope to an eventual murder. The prophet Nathan confronted David with a parable, a symbolic story to show David what he’d done. David not realizing he was hearing a parable, pronounced his own judgment declaring what should be done to a man who did such a thing. “The man deserves to die,” David said. That was in fact what David’s sin deserved at that time in history, maybe even today. Instead David, when he realized he was the man in question, confessed and received grace and was forgiven.
That being said, the consequences still came to call. Everything God said would happen to David, still happened. Consequences are not a sign that God has removed his grace, as a matter of fact it’s just the opposite. God allows us to experience the consequences of our actions by His grace. Consequences are designed to turn us back to him, to bring us to a place of repentance, because it’s in repentance that we turn to Jesus and find grace and forgiveness.
Consequences are not a sign that God has given up on you, they’re a sign that you are on the wrong track and need to turn back to God. Remember sin and God are on opposite ends of a continuum. To turn to one is to turn away from the other. Consequences are designed to turn us back to grace.
Tags: amok, amokarts, art, arts, Bible, creative, God, grace, Illustration, Jesus, ministry, painting
Romans 5:6-8 says You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. 7 Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Isn’t that a beautiful image. We see God’s grace and Jesus’ sacrifice and our salvation as a demonstration of God’s love, but what put Jesus on the cross? God’s love? Of course but we also see Jesus died for the ungodly.
Jesus died for sinners. He died for you and me because we are sinners and sin separates us from God. God’s love for us put Jesus on the cross, but our sin was the reason He needed to go there. Our sin put Him on the cross just as surely as if we had held the hammer and drove the nails through His hands and feet. That’s the reality. We killed our savior and every time we choose sin it’s as if we drove the nails again. I know this might feel like a beating but I have to establish this first.
Too many Christians forget this point and when we forget it, we get proud and we forget about the grace we’ve received and when we forget we’ve received it, it makes it very difficult for us to give it.
When we forget grace, we either cheapen it or we withhold it. Let’s look at withholding it. In Matthew 6, Jesus taught his disciples to pray. We call it the Lord’s prayer, but really it should probably be called the disciples prayer, a prayer all Christ followers should take to heart. Now I could do a whole sermon on this prayer but for today I want us to lock in on verse 12. Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. Do you see what Jesus is doing here? It’s a little strange, but it’s as if Jesus is teaching us to pray to God, giving Him a loophole on forgiveness. Work with me on this for a second. This statement is conditional. He doesn’t just say “God forgive me.” He says “God forgive me the way I forgive others.” How are you doing with that? See this is where it gets tough. What condition would your soul be in if you were forgiven based on your forgiveness of others? Anyone else a little scared? check verses 14 and 15. 14 For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins. All this forgiveness is really hard. I can almost hear people thinking “but Dave you don’t know what He or she did to me…” or “you don’t know what he put me through…” And before we go any further, I want to remind you, I struggle with this too and this is hard for me too, but I have to ask you this question and I ask it of myself too.
Does any of the things they did to you compare to driving nails through your hands and feet? Did any of them hang you on a cross and leave you for dead? Because that’s what you and I did to Jesus. I mean as He hung on that cross I believe He knew you and I and the things we would do that put Him there and He cried out “Father forgive them for they don’t know what they’re doing.” That’s the grace we have received and it’s the grace we are called to give. Just like in this painting. We see two bloody hands one holds the bloody nail, the other the bloody hammer. Both are guilty in the death of the Savior, and this is what it’s like when we forget grace and withhold grace and point fingers. We ignore our guilt and focus on another’s sin and that helps neither of us. When we accept God’s grace and we forgive and extend grace, we acknowledge our own guilt and we point the way to grace for others. Isn’t that what we’re called to do? You’ve received grace freely isn’t it time to give grace freely?
Tags: amok, amokarts, arts, creative, God, grace, grace to endure, ministry, Paul
When we talk about God’s grace, we often think of Jesus dying on the cross for our sins and that is a very big part of it, but there is another kind of grace. It’s the grace God gives us to allow us to endure our most difficult moments. Join us as Pastor Dave Weiss shares about a time when his was at the end of his rope and maybe his ministry and the wise counsel he got from the Word of God in 2 Corinthians 11 and 12.
Tags: amok, amokarts, facebook, grace, Love
Okay that may have been a little extreme. Facebook has been a pretty powerful ministry tool for me that has allowed me to connect with a lot of people. It’s also been the source of considerable pain lately.
You see one of the things it also does is allow me to see glimpses into the lives of people I really care about, people I’ve invested a tremendous amount of my life in. Being able to keep up is great, but sometimes I see them going in a direction that really breaks my heart.
I see them getting plastered, I hear they’ve walked away from the faith I tried so hard to teach them and I wonder if I in some way failed them. It’s really hard and it hurts.
But here’s the thing. If I sit and wallow and blame myself for their decisions, it’s as bad as if I claimed credit for their accomplishments. Instead I have to do what I’ve always done, love them, pray for them and do what I can to help. From there I have to trust them to the God who loves them more than I do.
The best way to be defeated is to feel defeated. Trust God and do the next right thing. Hating Facebook is a waste of time. Instead I should be grateful. At least through it, I know how to pray…
And if you’re reading this and you think you might be part of the reason I posted this, know that I still love you and I care about you and I will no matter what and that my love for you pales in comparison to the God who put me into your life.
Tags: 2 Corinthians 11, 2 Corinthians 12, amok, amokarts, arts, creative, endurance, enough?, grace, Matthew West, ministry, Paul, strong, sufficient grace
If you ever want to feel like a wimp read 2 Corinthians 11. I did at one of the toughest times in my ministry and it left me wondering if I should just give up and do something else. Fortunately God intervened and taught me something new about grace.
We always think of grace (at least when it comes to God and faith) as this idea that Jesus came and died for our sin so that instead of condemnation for our sins we get heaven and grace. That is the first and foremost kind of grace, but there is another, the grace to endure.
I was at one of the lowest points in my life and the lowest point in my ministry. People were abandoning my church in droves, which is especially tough when you are already small, I had experienced a health scare and we were under attack besides. In the midst of it I read 2 Corinthians 11 in which Paul talks about all the incredible stuff he endured in his ministry, beatings, shipwrecked 3 times, persecution and on and on. I began to feel incredibly weak by comparison. Always remember in the Christian life and in creativity, comparison will either make you feel proud or worthless, neither of which is helpful.
I was crying out to God in prayer and feeling very weak. Why can’t I be like Paul? And it was then that God showed me this other kind of grace.
If you look at 2 Corinthians 11 more closely, it’s not really a listing of Paul’s accomplishments and it’s not really bragging. Paul says over and over again that he’s talking like a fool. Context is important. The first couple verses of the chapter tell us that Paul’s ministry is under attack. False teachers have come in and tried to discredit him and undermine this new church. Paul is using this listing of his accomplishments to show the people that it is foolish to tout your own accomplishments and that it’s really God who deserves the credit. And that’s the grace I’m talking about here. You see Paul didn’t endure all that stuff because He was tough, he was able to endure it because God gave Him the grace to endure it.
Go to the next chapter, and you’ll see this really played out. After listing all these horrific things he endured by God’s grace, you’ll notice that he had an affliction that seems minor by comparison to all he’d endured and yet three times he BEGS God to take this away. And God says no. Paul calls it His thorn and he says it’s there for one purpose, to keep him humble. It’s something Paul can’t triumph over. It’s something God needs to help Him with. It’s something He needs grace to endure.
In 2 Corinthians 12 9 and 10 we see God’s response to Paul. 9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
We all have our thorns. We all have our weaknesses and things we don’t like about ourselves (I’m not talking about sin here, if you’re in sin, repent and you will receive grace). When you feel weak, (and this is a common affliction for creatives as to really do what we do we have to try many new things and fail often) don’t get down on yourself and don’t get down on God. Ask God to show His strength in your weakness and give Him glory when He does. The grace to endure is amazing but it can only be seen when we are in trials, experiencing things we don’t really want to experience. It’s important in those times look for His grace.
This song illustrates the concept wonderfully. It’s Matthew West’s Strong Enough.
Tags: amok, amokarts, arts, creative, forgiveness, grace, jean valjean, Les Miserables, ministry, redemption
From the film, Les Misérables, the story of a heartless convict named Jean Valjean who is transformed by a single act of mercy; a powerful illustration of God’s forgiveness, mercy, desire and power to change the heart of a sinner into a heart like Jesus.
What could you change with a little grace? Who could be changed by a little grace?
Forgive as you have been forgiven.
Tags: amok, amokarts, arts, Bible, continuum, creative, God, grace, Illustration, Jesus, life continuum, ministry, repentance, sin
Sometimes we make life out to be so darn complicated and when it comes to right and wrong, good and evil, sin and righteousness, it’s not difficult at all. I got this illustration on my prayer walk one morning and I think it sets it up very nicely:
(Can’t see the illustration? Click here)
For the believer (at least) it’s pretty much this simple—God and sin can’t coexist. Therefore sin and God, good and evil, righteousness and sin are opposite sides of the same line, the same continuum. This means to go to one is to turn your back on the other. The two paths will never meet. To turn to God is to turn away from sin and to turn to sin is to turn away from God. Yes it really is that simple.
The problem is that we (even the strongest believers) find ourselves going in the wrong direction and often and that is NOT okay. Praise be to God there is a solution. He gave it to us when He gave us His Son Jesus Christ. Remember life is a continuum, you’re headed either in one direction or the other. So if you find yourself headed in the wrong direction, all you need to do is turn around. That turning around is called repentance.
Which direction are you headed? If you’re going in the wrong direction, the solution is really easy.
Tags: amok, amokarts, arts, black friday, creative, gift, grace, Love, ministry
I made this video last year but I think it bears repeating…
I go out every year to shop on Black Friday. I love being out among the throngs of people, but it’s clear every time that some people are missing the point. Nearly every year I hear on the news of someone being trampled to death for the opportunity to save a few bucks on a gift. Please don’t get it wrong. The gifts are to remind us of THE gift, so don’t stress yourself out or spend yourself into oblivion or make yourself miserable. Instead remember who you are, a child of God, remember why you are a child of God, (because of Jesus) and what we celebrate (God giving Jesus to us!) This celebration is all about the ultimate blessing. We who are Christians have already received the greatest gift. Conduct yourselves accordingly and be a bringer of joy!
Tags: amok, amokarts, arts, ben zander, creative, creativity, education, grace, Hempfield church of the Brethren, Kent Rice, ministry, smoke
My friend, Kent Rice from Hempfield Church of the Brethren posted this video of a message he did at church. While this is not a visual art video, it’s definitely an illustration. Kent is gifted in the areas of writing and drama. He portrays inmate 803211 a very angry man who experiences God’s grace. The video is called SMOKE.How would you express grace?