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A Return On Investment
Have you ever put your hard-earned money in an investment that resulted in a partial loss or total failure?
Early in our marriage, Judy and I invested a large sum of money in a venture that we were sure to make a great return. Many of our friends were also convinced this was a money-maker, so literally hundreds of thousands of dollars were invested from people in the Grand Rapids area. All of us were excited about how this new opportunity could make life economically easier.
Then the bombshell exploded and the company went bankrupt, leaving each investor with nothing but a piece of paper with an empty promise.
I am a very forgiving person and can overlook people’s mistakes and shortcomings. However, I find it more difficult to trust people when they refuse to take responsibility for their actions.
I grew up in a family of five children. Mistakes and bad decisions were always forgiven, but excuses were not tolerated.
When Dad told us to complete a work project, he expected us to do it. If it was not completed, he wanted to know why. If our reasons made sense he gave extra time to complete the project, but if we gave him excuses it resulted in extra work. More excuses equaled more work!
Last week I had cataract surgery in my right eye. Four-and-a-half years ago I had the same surgery in my left eye. It’s amazing how my sight has changed with these two simple eye procedures. Within a short period of time my right eye will adjust properly and I will see clearly.
Blurred vision definitely affects how you see the physical world.
Focus for our spiritual life is also very important. Our sight must not be blurred by temporal issues, but rather clearly viewed through the eyes of eternity. What we focus upon determines our success in life.
For example, if we focus upon problems and negative events our energy will be depleted and fear will be a side effect. On the other hand, those who focus on solutions will enjoy the benefits of increased energy, creativity and joy.
Acts 1:6 – 7
Then they gathered around him and asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom of Israel?” He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority.”
The disciples still focused on the physical resurrection of the country of Israel rather than the kingdom of God. Their eyes were fixated on the temporal not the eternal. God’s plan in Christ encompassed the world, (John 3:16) where his reign would rule in the hearts of all people who receive him as Lord and Savior.
Last week I watched a special program sponsored by Joni and Friends concerning disabled people in Haiti. Joni Eareckson Tada hosted the program.
Her ministry to handicapped people is a direct result of her own tragedy. She was paralyzed from her shoulders to her feet from a diving accident in 1967. Joni developed a strong spiritual center as a young woman and used this event to build a larger platform to influence others for Christ. She became better rather than bitter. She learned to focus on what she could do rather than on the limitations from her accident. She became an amazing painter by gripping the paintbrush with her teeth and using her neck muscles to move the brush to create beautiful paintings.
She also became a great speaker and created a ministry to encourage handicapped people. Over the years she has expanded her ministry to foreign countries, like Haiti. Using her ministry’s resources, she provides wheelchairs to crippled people, and uses these acts of kindness to give the gospel of Jesus Christ to them.
She is an amazing woman who lives in the light of eternity. Heaven is real and exciting for her because someday she will enjoy a new body and be freed from all limitations.
I also recently read about another person, who focused only on himself. Christopher Coleman was a former Marine and pastor’s son. He was convicted of killing his wife and two sons on May 5, 2009, in the family’s lakeside home in Columbia, Illinois. He feared his affair with his wife’s long-time friend would cost him his $400,000 per year job as the security chief for the Missouri-based Joyce Meyer Ministries.
His case, with a mix of religion, adultery and violence, caused him to do the unthinkable. He will be incarcerated for the rest of his life dealing with the nightmares from his actions. He had a bright future, but destroyed it with selfish, sinful choices.
What are you focusing on today? Are you looking at the opportunities or deficits? Solutions or problems? Temporal or eternal issues?
Clear focus creates 20/20 vision for daily living.
Develop eternal focus!
This time of year we are hearing a lot about tornadoes touching down in various parts of the country. The devastation left behind this horrible force is heartbreaking.
On one newscast, they reported that an entire town had been wiped off the map in a few minutes. These people had put years into building homes and communities with churches, schools and parks and perhaps were even feeling a sense of safety, comfort and accomplishment for all their efforts and dedication.
Then in a moment, suddenly all their hard work and possessions were gone, only memories in their mind remained, because family pictures and treasured items were destroyed. The saddest news was to hear of a loved one who was taken from them. Things can be replaced over time, but our loved ones can't.
It's in these times that I am once again reminded of the temporary things in our lives that can often distract us from what is really valuable and irreplaceable.
A few years ago there was a movie out about tornadoes called Twister. Dedicated men and women actually put their lives in danger as they studied the manifestation of nature’s temper tantrum and tried to devise methods to lessen or stop its destructive force.
We are living in the season of 'Spiritual Storms and Twisters'. We need to study the scriptures in order to know God's strategy to silent this destructive storm. This 'Spiritual Twister' of deception and ungodliness wants to destroy all that is righteous and holy in our personal lives, families and country.
Wanting to live a life of truth and love according to God’s word and the foundations on which our country was founded, is becoming increasingly harder. God gave us commandments on how to live, because He wanted to keep us free of disease and evil, yet that has been twisted in such a perverted way, that people choosing to live a godless life aren't content in just living it. No! There is an evil force driving them and that evil force wants to impose godless views and practices on everyone.
Standing up for what is right has been twisted into what is called hate crimes. We are called to Love All people, but to hate sinful practices, because of its destructive results on our fellow man.
This ‘Spiritual Twister’ has formed because of the cold, evil force of darkness coming headlong against the hot, righteous force of the Kingdom of God. The only way we will neutralize or silence this horrific Twister, is by joining together the Word of God with our prayers of intercession and throwing this combination into the center of the storm.
Other countries have been hit by this ‘Spiritual Twister’ leaving it in a state of spiritual and economic devastation. Children are sold for wicked pleasures, women are treated brutally and good men are killed and tortured for their faith. I believe that God is rallying His people in America to Rise Up and use the only weapons that will stop this 'Spiritual Twister'.
Joel 2:1 Blow the trumpet in Zion; sound the alarm in My holy mountain!
II Corinthians 10:3-5 says that our weapons are Mighty Through God!!!
Ephesians 1:15-23 is a prayer for Spiritual Wisdom.
Hebrews 10:19-25 - Using our Faith and the power of God’s Love and Joining together is vital...as we see the Day approaching!
Howard Hemmila, 1943 (18-years-old)
Honor is a powerful word. When we honor someone we put value on them. Father's Day is a wonderful opportunity to remember our biological and spiritual fathers by showing honor with acts of thoughtfulness and words of appreciation.
I want to honor my deceased father, Howard Hemmila. Dad left us on June 2, 2011, at 4:30 am. His funeral was on June 5, and gravesite committal on June 6, which was my mother's birthday. That was a hard day for our family, but especially for my mother. September 7 of that year my parents would have been married 65 years.
Dad grew up in a loveless home. His biological father, Abraham Hemmila, was killed in a car accident when Dad was 2 1/2-years-old. My grandma was alone taking care of two young boys. She married quickly so her boys would have food and a roof over their heads.
She married a crude, rough man named Isaac Point, who was 20-years older than her. He had already raised seven children and had experienced the death of his wife. When he met my grandma it was quite a picture of two opposite people.
Grandma came from a somewhat sophisticated city family, and Isaac came from a hard-working, agricultural background. Isaac was also an atheist so whatever spiritual input my grandma gave my dad, Isaac would renounce and show his disgust.
Dad endured this loveless atmosphere through reading and the outdoors. He enjoyed the woods, hunting, fishing and gardening. Later in his retirement he attended the University of Minnesota master gardening program to become a certified Master Gardner. Dad enjoyed the bounty of fresh fruits and vegetables and the beauty of trees and flowers.
He and Mom were high school sweethearts and married after Dad was discharged from the Navy. In a relatively short time four boys and one girl were added to their family.
The early years were a little rocky because there was no spiritual center in their lives. This all changed when I was 10-years-old, Dad and Mom both received Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior. The love of the folks at Cloquet Gospel Tabernacle reached out to our family so that we could accept the love of God through Jesus Christ.
Dad changed remarkably over the years. Jesus gave him the ability to love our mom, his family and others. The older he got, the sweeter he became. He loved his family and he made it clear to us kids the difference between his wife and our mother. He loved Mom and made sure he told her daily how precious she was to him and his family. Each grandchild that spoke on Dad's behalf at his funeral remarked how much Grandma was loved by Grandpa. He passed down to his children, grandchildren and great grandchildren the precious gift of love.
My prayer for my life is that I will love my wife, Judy, the same way Dad loved Mom. Thank you, Dad, for such a great example to follow.
Dad had many other great qualities that I do not have room to mention in this post. If I wrote about his amazing qualities, this post would turn into a book.
The picture I have included is of my father when he was in the Navy, when he was young and vibrant. Today he is enjoying Jesus and the wonders of heaven. He is not old, but forever young. I am so thankful I will see him again in eternity.
Some of you will identify with my comments and others will not. I know some of you experienced pain and shame from your fathers. Others have grown up without fathers. This is truly a deficit because fathers bring purpose and identity to their children. The absence of a father-figure lays a huge burden on young men and women. However, I have good news for you: my dad was raised by an unloving step-father but became loving because he was reparented by our Heavenly Father and fatherly models within his church. There is only one perfect father - God himself.
Though my father and mother forsake me, The Lord will receive me.
II Corinthians 6:18
I will be a father to you and you will be my sons and daughters, says The Lord almighty.
Let's honor our biological fathers and father-figures and pay special tribute to our Heavenly Father who loves us with an everlasting love. (Hebrews 13:5)
Happy Father's Day!
This has been the year of graduations for our grandkids. Josh graduated in May from Cornerstone Christian University, Bethany from Hillcrest Academy Christian School and entered a nursing program the end of May, and Amanda also graduated in May with honors from Tri-Unity Christian School and will be attending Cornerstone University in the fall.
We are so proud of them and it's been fun cheering them on since they were small. We were especially moved and challenged as we listened to the principal read the Creed that Amanda's class had written in the sixth grade.
Tri-Unity Class of 2014 Creed:
We, the class of 2014, declare ourselves to be a holy generation that fears God. Together we shall be a shining light unto the world and be good examples to the young and the old. Our class will be humble and will always fight for what is right. We promise to witness to the unsaved, and we commit ourselves to respecting all authority. We want to be known as a class that stands strong for God and will encourage others in their faith. We will be on fire for God and have the mind of Christ. We will hide the Word in our hearts and be bold witnesses for Jesus. We may be small, but we have a huge hunger for the things of God. We're not just cute; we are dangerous! Things happen when we pray! We pray that God will use us to be a generation that prepares the way for Christ's return.
Wow! This was one of the most powerful statements I had ever heard...and to think 6th graders wrote it...is even more amazing.
Angela Thomas shared a story at our last Women of Faith event, of her two young sons deciding to run a race with adults. She cheered her sons on at the Finish Line as they struggled to finish.
I loved it when she told how they fell into her arms from exhaustion, and she held them close and kissed them all over their face and said, "You did it!! I'm so proud of you!! You finished the race!"
The youngest (finishing about 45 minutes after the others) said, "Mom, I never want to do that again."
He experienced at a young age, what many of us face. Life can be hard and it takes faith in God to maintain the strength to endure the pain as we run our race in life and we can't look back or at other runners...we must keep looking ahead to the One who is waiting for us at the Finish line.
2 Timothy 4:7
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.
Hebrews 12:1-2 (Judy Version)
Let's throw off Anything that weights us down: hurtful words, failures, the enemy’s accusations & discouragement, any sin or habit that's trying to hold us back...And let's Run with Endurance! We can do this! Jesus, our example, has given us all the faith we need. He set His heart and mind on the Joy at the end of His race.
I truly believe He just wanted to hear these words from His Father, "Well done, Son, You finished Well, come and take Your place by me.”
My goal and prayer for you is, Lord, by the power of Your Spirit, We Will Finish Well!
Photo: Tirza van Dijk
This is a wise saying that has guided my life: Whoever you hang out with determines your destiny.
Another way of describing this statement is: Whoever you allow to influence you will be the type of person you become.
We can’t avoid negative, self-absorbed people, but we can prevent them from infecting our lives. Martin Luther said, “We can't prevent birds from flying about our head, but we can prevent them from nesting in our hair.”
Recently, Alan Ross from Glasgow, Scotland, visited our church. Alan teaches churches about prophetic ministry and uses his prophetic gift to encourage them. He was at Crossfire Church for only one service, but the affects of his ministry are positively being felt today.
Alan is gentle, firm and uplifting. His purpose is to partner with local churches rather than to bring attention to himself or his ministry; he came to serve Crossfire Church. The strength behind his prophetic gift is a yielded life to Jesus.
Alan stayed in our home for a few days and we had the opportunity to become friends. Judy and I listened attentively as he shared about his spiritual journey and gave insights from his ministry over the last eighteen years, spanning some twenty countries. Both of us felt we were in the presence of a mature man of God. Alan gave us a deeper desire to become more like Christ.
We just came back from Minnesota where our granddaughter, Bethany, graduated from Hillcrest Academy. Four years ago her parents made a critical and sacrificial decision to enroll Bethany and her two brothers into Hillcrest. Financially it was a big sacrifice but the rewards were to be far greater. All the children have benefitted from the strong academic and relational opportunities offered by the school.
Hillcrest also has its foreign students from South Korea and Norway staying in dormitories. Bethany’s best friend is from Korea, which has caused her to have a worldview of life. Bethany also has a strong church family that has supported her over the years.
I watched her at her commencement as she participated in the songs of worship. She closed her eyes and lifted her hands with thankfulness and tears of joy. The little girl I enjoyed over the years is now a wonderful woman of God.
Her friends from school and church family showed their love and support by attending her open house party. Over 150 people demonstrated their love for her and her family by greeting her personally and presenting her with gifts of encouragement. Some stayed for hours enjoying the delicious food prepared by the family and the rich fellowship of relationship. This event created an important memory for Bethany to build upon for her future.
All of us need people in our lives like Alan Ross. They make our lives better and give us desire to be more godly. We also need encouragement from institutions like Hillcrest Academy, and the church Bethany attends. We need to hang around growing and caring people who inspire us to do our best.
As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.
Do your relationships sharpen you or make you dull? Do they push you up or bring you down?
Proverbs 13:20 instructs us to…
Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm.
Cherish the wise people in your life and have the courage to let go of foolish relationships.
Walk with the wise!
Memorial Day is a time for reflection. We are reminded of the sacrifice of those who have served our country to preserve our freedoms. It is for those who have given so much. I want to give a special tribute for those serving in our armed forces.
Memorial Day also is a time to remember our family history. My parents visited the grave sites of their deceased family members each Memorial Day.
Graves were not cared for like they are today. Family members were responsible for upkeep. Dad would mow the grass and Mom would make sure the graves were decorated with flowers and beautiful plants. Often, both would tear up as they opened doors of memory to their past. Their silence and tears were responses of thankfulness for those who have sacrificed their time, energy and finances for them.
At times like this, I would put my arms around my parents to console them. I would then ask questions about their family history. Both told me stories about their family tree which helped me understand more about our family and ultimately myself.
We live life at a fast pace. We get addicted to an adrenaline rush, moving from one thing to another. Memorial Day is a great opportunity to remember our loved ones.
Our granddaughter, Bethany, will be graduating from high school this weekend. As I reflect upon Bethany, I realize how quickly time has passed by. I remember taking care of her as a baby as she crawled from one room to another, exploring our house. Now, she is a beautiful young lady graduating from high school and entering the nursing program at the local junior college.
I will also get the opportunity to enjoy the company of my 87-year-old mother, sister, brother-in-law, niece and my two sons and their families. Laughter, love and tears will be natural expressions in our conversations. The memories we share are the glue that bonds us together.
As we prepare to go to Bethany’s graduation, I am overwhelmed by God’s grace and goodness. All of our children are serving the Lord as well as our grandchildren.
It all started with my parents giving their lives to Christ when I was only in grade school. They laid a foundation for me to build upon and now four generations have been positively affected. Our sons and daughters are responsible people and wonderful parents. Our grandkids are smart, tender, loving and very good looking! (I’m rather prejudiced because grandfathers are given this freedom!)
All this did not just happen in an instant; there were many helping hands and words of encouragement that were passed on in each generation.
On this Memorial Day weekend I want to encourage you to remember your spiritual family tree. Thank God for those who have encouraged you in your spiritual journey. If you came from a background void of spiritual foundation, then get excited for the spiritual house you are building that will affect your future generations.
The apostle Paul wrote many letters to churches in the New Testament. Many people came to Christ because of his efforts. They were his spiritual children.
In Philippians 1:3, he says, “I thank my God every time I remember you.”
Let’s remember those who have invested in us and rejoice in the investment we have made in others. Let’s be committed to pray for all of our family members to have a personal relationship with Jesus. Then death will not be termination for our loved ones, but rather transition to live forever and ever.
Enjoy this special time!
A few years ago I was traveling as the Tour Pastor for 'The Revolve Events', a Christian event for young girls, which was birthed out of the Women of Faith Organization. The night before our event, God laid on my heart the importance of 'Being Real'.
I've always loved our devotional times together before each event and on this day, as the team sat down around me, I sensed something special happening in the room as I shared with them what the Lord had impressed upon my heart about 'Being Real'.
My prayer the night before was, "Father, help me Be Real".
In my heart I heard this response. "You must first know the POWER of BEING...BEING in Me and Me BEING in you."
I remembered the scriptures in John 15 about abiding in the Vine. Then, this began to just flow from my pen as a personal declaration and I would like to share it with you.
By BE-lieving His Word...I Know I am His BE-loved.
I have BE-come the Righteousness of God through Christ Jesus.
I BE-long to my Heavenly Father and the family of God through the Blood of Jesus.
Everything is BE-coming New in my life...BE-cause I am a New Creation.
His plans are so far BE-yond my Dreams.
I can BE-gin to rise Higher in my understanding of Him...BE-cause He goes BE-fore me and stands BE-side me.
He is BE-neath me...My Rock on which I stand.
He is BE-hind me...My Rear Guard.
I can BE Real BE-cause HE Is!!!
HE is BE-yond Description! BE-yond Words! BE-yond Comprehension!
HE is Be-yond this World! BE-yond Hatred! BE-yond Evil! Be-yond Impossibilities!
BE-yond Failure! BE-yond Fear!
Oh, to Rise to Where He Is! BE-yond Myself! Oh, that My Lord would BE More Real to Me than my Greatest Reality!
More Real than Pain or Grief! More Real than the Greatest Pleasure I've ever Known on this earth!
More Real than what I can Touch or See! More Real than my Senses are to me.
I know now that when the Love of Jesus is Real to me...His Love is what truly Transforms me...Into 'BEING REAL'.
Webster's dictionary states 'Real' as True, Genuine, Not Artificial, or Counterfeit.
The Word of God says in Colossians 2:17b "Reality is found IN Christ."
R.T. Kendall recently wrote an amazing book, Holy Fire. He shares a story about a British couple who were sent by their denomination to be missionaries in Israel some years ago. They were given a home to live in near Jerusalem.
After being there for a few weeks, they noticed that a dove had come to live in the eave of the roof of their home. They were thrilled; they took it as a seal from God on their being in Israel. But they also noticed that the dove would fly away every time they would slam a door or get into an argument with each other.
“How do you feel about the dove?” Sandy asked Bernice.
“It is like a seal from the Lord on being in Israel,” she replied.
“But have you noticed that every time we slam a door or start shouting at each other, the dove flies away?”
“Yes, I am so afraid the dove will fly away and not come back,” she said.
“Either the dove adjusts to us, or we adjust to the dove,” Sandy concluded.
They both knew that the dove was not going to adjust to them. They mutually agreed they would adjust to the dove. The decision changed their lives, just to keep a bird at their home!
The dove is a shy, sensitive bird. But the Holy Spirit, depicted as a dove in each of the four gospels (Matthew 3:16; Mark 1:10; Luke 3:22; John 1:32) is a thousand times more sensitive than a turtle dove.
John the Baptist knew that Jesus was the Messiah because he had been told to look for the Dove to come down on a particular man. There is more! He was not only to see the Spirit come down as a dove, the dove would remain on Him. In fact, the word remain is mentioned two times in John 1:32-33. The Dove never flew away from Jesus because He never grieved the Spirit.
When the heavenly Dove came down on Jesus of Nazareth, He felt completely at home. It is as though the Dove said, “I like it here. I am staying here.”
The Holy Spirit was at home with the Lord Jesus.
This truth has challenged Judy and me. We have made it a goal to make sure the Dove rests on us, our relationship and our home. The Holy Spirit is sensitive and He will only be comfortable in a peaceful, forgiving and wholesome atmosphere.
Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.
Grieving the Spirit means “the Dove flies away.” It doesn’t mean we lose our salvation, but it does mean the anointing diminishes, that is, the sense of His presence is gone.
Grieving the Spirit is the easiest thing in the world to do.
Ephesians 4:29 & 31 describe how we grieve the Spirit: unwholesome talk, bitterness, rage, anger, brawling, slander and malice.
Verse 32 shows us how to let the Dove remain on us and our home:
Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
When the Holy Spirit comes down on us there is literally nothing like it in the world. The peace! The joy! We want time to stop! Love overwhelms us! We don’t want to hear a phone ring or a knock at the door! If only it would last forever.
As long as it lasts, you will find yourself calm and instilled with a deep, holy peace.
How do you let the Dove remain? The answer is quite simple, find out what grieves the Holy Spirit and don’t do that.
True growth in your spiritual life is measured as the time-gap between sin and repentance. In other words, how long does it take you before you realize – or admit – that you sinned?
If you can narrow the time-gap to seconds you are often able to sense the wings of the Dove flapping and ready to fly off – and you stop yourself. Don’t finish that sentence! Don’t write the letter! Don’t make the phone call!
Nothing is worth grieving the Spirit. Let the Dove remain.
I used to think survival was a weak term. I liked overcomer so much better. It just sounded more victorious...you know...stronger, I guess. As I walked through the journey of breast cancer...I never thought of myself as being a breast cancer survivor, that just sounded so frail and weak to me. So, I continued to say, "I'm an overcomer," - that made me feel stronger and I believe I was actually declaring my own outcome, which is good and scriptural.
But I think I could have also missed something very valuable. Yes, I was speaking by faith for my future, which is what the Word of God says to do, but I think there was still a 'Present Tense', an in-the-moment experience that I needed to acknowledge and learn from.
When the title theme, From Survival to Revival, for the Women of Faith season was shared, it really caught my attention and I found myself studying both terms. So now when I look at this term 'Survival'...I see it much differently.
As I read about survivors, I thought about the courage and strength that it takes to keep an 'I'm Not Gonna Give Up' attitude. I've watched films made from real life stories of people who survived what seemed impossible odds. No matter what journey we are on in life, I can promise you at one time or another you are going to need a Courageous Heart and an 'I'm Not Gonna Give Up' attitude.
A survivor is one who has made it through a very difficult circumstance in life...and that’s great! But they are usually exhausted, often too weak to function like they normally had before this challenge occurred.
Survival is the end of that particular traumatic experience. It's at that point that we breathe a sigh of relief. But our strength can be totally depleted and we may even collapse under the weight of the circumstance.
I have seen boxers revived with smelling salts after being knocked out because of a bad blow to the head or severe exhaustion. The trainer grabs some smelling salts and puts it directly under their nose. They are awakened quickly! It's like they snapped out of a deep slumber. They shake their heads and try to regain full consciousness, as they struggle to their feet.
We can fall into complacency in our everyday life. We can receive a verbal, physical or emotional hit and feel knocked to our knees. That's when we may need smelling salts.
A Spiritual Revival has the same effect on our life as 'Smelling Salts'. The Spirit of God Awakens us and revives us from exhaustion and a sleepy, I'm-too-tired-to-go-on attitude.
My hope for all of us is that God will bring us those 'Supernatural Smelling Salts', and Wake us Up! Survival is the end of a very difficult experience, but Revival is the beginning of a greater experience!
I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
Awake, awake, Deborah! Awake, awake, break out in a song!
Photo: Art Wave Web Design
"A fence" - can come in all colors...types...heights...styles and lengths. They are used to either keep things in or out, but they are always used to separate.
When the kids were younger we had a pool in our backyard; by law we were required to put up a fence. When we built the fence, we choose it carefully. We wanted to see beyond our property, so we put up one you could see through and over, it seemed almost invisible...but it still fulfilled its purpose - it kept people out and we remained separated.
Have you ever been in a situation when someone said or did something to offend you or someone you care about? When that happens to me, I know I have a choice to make. If I choose to take up an offense, I can almost picture myself being handed this huge, heavy barbed wire fence to carry everywhere I go. What a weight...what a burden. Ouch!
And what a dumb thing to carry around! Carrying an offense is simply carrying unforgiveness. I don't know about you, but that's just way to heavy and potentially painful for me.
It's amazing to me how easily we can all be deceived into thinking we are doing the RIGHT thing by taking up an offense for a friend or even ourselves, when God’s word is so clear about this danger. If we are willing to listen...we can hear the Spirit of God say, "Hey! Put that thing down before you get hurt or hurt a bunch of other people!"
Unforgiveness is like that barbed wire fence - no matter what side you are on...you or a person you know, is bound to run into it sooner or later and someone is going to get hurt. Oh, sometimes it has the appearance of the nice neighborly invisible fence that you can see over and even wave to them occasionally, but the fence is still there saying the same thing, “Keep Out!"
There's one big problem with that...it keeps the Grace of God out too. You know that there's just one thing to do! Forgive! Then all 'De-Fences' are down! Works for me and it will for you!
For if you forgive others…your heavenly Father will also forgive you.