Category Archives: Forgiveness

Keep Swimming

If you have seen the children’s movie Finding Nemo, you are familiar with one of the main characters in the film, a female fish by the name of Dory. Dory had a mantra which she recited throughout her journey, it was “just keep swimming, just keep swimming, swimming, swimming”.

dreamstime_xs_473663Dori lacked short-term memory skills, and though her handicap made for some hysterically funny scenes, it might have been her demise if she had not found a way to keep herself in the flow of life. Fortunately, Dory kept swimming.

Having struggled with a bad cold for the past few days I woke up after a second restless night and told myself to, “just keep going”. There are times in life when putting one foot in front of the other is all you’ve got.

The same is true when we go through periods of worry or stress. In those times the mind gets clouded and it can be difficult to think. Creativity is stifled, physical strength depleted; again we just keep…

At some point in Dory’s life she must have made a decision to press on despite her limitations. She could have conceded to the fact that the people who make it in this world are the smart and quick-witted ones. She could have succumbed to a wake of popular opinions stating that she would never amount to much. But Dory stayed remarkably optimistic. She was faith-filled and just kept swimming; she chose to make her life count.

A quick internet search would give us a long list of people who, against all odds, kept their faith and overcame what appeared to be the impossible in their lives. The Bible tells us that faith is a belief in what we do not see, and the evidence of that faith is to receive what we have believed for.

Still there are those who lack faith in their purpose for being. Even Job who was a prayerful and holy man said, “Why did I not perish at birth, and die as I came from the womb?”

Our economic, societal, and domestic problems can be tremendous. We can wish even to die, but the fact is every person on earth has been born for a significant purpose. Job ultimately chose not to give up and he was rewarded by God for his faithfulness. So too were Abraham, Jacob, Joseph, David, Esther, Ruth, Nehemiah, Mary, John, and so many others; the list is endless.

Thomas Edison said, “Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.” Our lives were meant to count. It says in the book of Proverbs that the godly may trip seven times, but he will get up again.

God gives His people divine buoyancy. So, when you face life’s torrents beloved, have faith in the One who made the waters and …keep swimming!

Psalm 95:5 NIV The sea is his, for he made it, and his hands formed the dry land.

Isaiah 43:1-4 NIV But now, O Jacob, listen to the Lord who created you. O Israel, the one who formed you says, “Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you. I have called you by name; you are mine. When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you. For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior. I gave Egypt as a ransom for your freedom; I gave Ethiopia and Seba in your place. Others were given in exchange for you. I traded their lives for yours because you are precious to me. You are honored, and I love you.

Proverbs 24:16 NLT The godly may trip seven times, but they will get up again.

Orig Posted by Donna M Dougherty at 2/9/2010 11:46 PM

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The God of Grace

Some people have difficulty believing in a God who was killed on a cross.  In biblical times they thought, “This Jesus cannot be a king, and He certainly isn’t God; He is more likely a wrongdoer, a criminal. Crucify Him”!

Mankind is capable of considerable error.  We fail, and we judge one another’s weakness; we fear, and we judge one another’s fate.

one crossThe religious minds of the day could not accept Jesus’ message because it did not agree with their belief system.  He professed to be their Messiah, yet He did not establish the earthly kingdom that the Jews of that day expected.  In fact Jesus became an offense to them by what He said and did.

John 1:17 says, “For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ”.  Jesus was the message of grace to a graceless crowd.  They had only known the law.  So His sentence and execution were easily justified.

They tried to use the scriptures to discredit Him.  Deuteronomy 21:22-23 states, “If a man guilty of a capital offense is put to death and his body is hung on a tree you must not leave his body on the tree overnight.  Be sure to bury him that same day, because anyone who is hung on a tree is under God’s curse …”

This scripture was indeed written about Jesus, but as a matter of truth, not for purposes of condemnation.  It was written about the amazing sacrifice that He would make.  The sin placed upon Jesus when He hung on the cross did make Him accursed.

Even God the Father separated Himself from Jesus when He was on the cross.  We read of Jesus’ distressing cry in Matthew 27:46 when He recognized the Father’s discontent; the Father was repelled and wrathful in the face of such vile and evil darkness.

As Jesus writhed on that cross He wrestled with all the powers of evil; something only God could do.  The atmosphere must have been teeming with dark spiritual activity … and then, in probably the most powerful moment on earth, He died.

Jesus truly was the God who was killed on a cross! You can believe! Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Corinthians 1:3)

Acts 15:11 NLT We believe that we are all saved the same way, by the undeserved grace of the Lord Jesus.

Romans 6:17 AMP For sin shall not (any longer) exert dominion over you, since now you are not under Law (as slaves), but under grace (as subject of God’s favor and mercy).

Orig Posted by Donna M Dougherty at 4/4/2010 12:54 AM

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Stop the Bleeding

In the book of Genesis we read that God instructed Jacob to gather his wives, Rachel and Leah, and their children, and leave his father-in-law’s homeland. Laban had been unfair to Jacob over the course of several years and now God was sending Jacob to the land of Canaan.

As Jacob and his family were making their covert departure from Laban’s camp, Rachel took her father’s gods. It was believed that the gods carried prosperity and protection, so when Laban discovered that both his family and his gods were missing he pursued them. Jacob, not knowing that Rachel had the gods, challenged Laban to search his possessions.

Laban began his search, but before he entered the tent of Rachel she hid the gods beneath her saddle and sat on it. She lied persuasively to her father, claiming that she was in that time of the month and could not stand up. Thoughtfully, Laban believed her and departed from Jacob’s camp without his possessions.

In a conversation with Jacob just prior to leaving their homeland, Rachel and Leah spoke angrily about Laban. We read it in Genesis 31:14-16 as follows, “Do we still have any share in the inheritance of our father’s estate? Does he not regard us as foreigners? Not only has he sold us, but he has used up what was paid for us. Surely all the wealth that God took away from our father belongs to us and our children…” Laban’s daughters were hurt and offended by their father’s poor treatment of them, and they felt cheated out of their inheritance.

stopbleedingRachel especially compounded her heartache when she found it within herself to steal and deceive. She let the emotional impact of her unresolved hurt predispose her toward a chain of self-justified sin.

Forward to this century and we see marked evidence of these same dynamics. Negative behavior, real or perceived, has had a degenerative effect on countless relationships. If unresolved, such conditions breed more hurt and these excessive emotions hemorrhage all over our personal worlds. The more that we let our emotions bleed, the more that these destructive patterns will form; the result being a succession of self-serving behavior. As they say, “hurting people, hurt people”.

So how do we stop the bleeding? The answer is in the principle of forgiveness. You may shake your head in dismay saying, “You have no idea what has been done to me… are you kidding, I cannot forgive that person… how can forgiveness make this pain go away… and ultimately, why should I forgive, I don’t want to let the person off the hook!”

In my own journey toward forgiveness, I made these very statements. I know first-hand that they flow unreservedly from a wounded heart. But remember, the principle of forgiveness was established by God for our sake. He wants us to be whole, so He will see to it that our concerns and objections are addressed or overcome. Jesus gets it.

He chose to forgive those who humiliated Him, ripped the skin off His back, stabbed Him with thorns, put nails through His flesh and mocked His kingship. He knows what has been done to you and He identifies with your needs. Hebrews 4:15-16 tells us, “We don’t have a priest who is out of touch with our reality. He’s been through weakness and testing, experienced it all—all but the sin.

So let’s walk right up to Him and get what He is so ready to give. Take the mercy, accept the help. Rachel carried an emotional load into her future as disconcerting as the gods that she would forever have to hide. I urge you beloved, do not do the same. Apply forgiveness to your situation and with Jesus’ help you can… stop the bleeding.

Proverbs 20:22 NIV Do not say, “I’ll pay you back for this wrong!” Wait for the LORD, and he will deliver you.

Matthew 6:14 NIV For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.

Romans 12:18-20 NIV If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”

Orig Posted by Donna M Dougherty at 9/6/2009 3:57 PM

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National Day of Prayer

38652129_sbThis week, on May 7th, we observe the National Day of Prayer in America.  Established in 1952 by President Harry Truman and the U.S. Congress, this event is in its 57th year!

It is a blessing to consider the scores of people who pray throughout the country on that day.  It is a time when unity and the purposes of God are advanced, and the plans of the enemy are pushed back.  I add the prayer that is written below to the millions that will be boldly proclaimed, or silently breathed, on this powerful day.  I will be honored if you pray it with me.

FATHER we thank You for Your amazing grace that truly saved us from an eternal hell.  Your selflessness has delivered us from a life of bondage and endless suffering.  How could we repay You?  We cannot.  When we spend time with You we see glimpses of Your heart – Your thoughts – and we become very aware of who we are; how unworthy.  But yet at the same time we are stunned by the way that You love us no matter who we are, or what we do.  Full of gratitude and worship Father, we bow before You.

JESUS, we do not come to You with fluffy prayers, or eloquent words.  We do not come with a system, or a laundry list of needs.  We do not come because we expect You to perform or because You owe us anything.  We come to You because of who You are and because You have the words of life.  We come to You because You know the intents of our hearts and we empty ourselves before You for the needs of many.

We honor You as the Most High God, the One who died to prove His love, the One worthy of our lives, and the One who will never forsake us.  We regret that we have forsaken You.  We have sinned; wash us Lord with the blood spilled at Your cross. Cleanse us from human filth and selfish intents.  Purify us Lord, and give us ears to hear and eyes to see so that we can pray according to Your will.

HOLY SPIRIT, we vow to listen for Your promptings, Your direction.  We thank You for abiding so richly and faithfully within our frail tabernacles.  Thank You for never giving up on us; for seeing us through and empowering us to run this race. We honor You Lord, we desire more of You, and we seek to reflect Your love and Your power on the earth.

For the people, for the people, we cry for the needs of the people all over this world!  Such suffering, devastation, war, terrorism, sickness, oppression, broken families; sin is rampant and so many do not have the hope that You offer.  So many fear, so many do not know that they can find peace in the midst of it all. So many do not know You.

God, we plead with you today for the people.  Drop a blanket of deliverance over us all.  Release the captives from emotional, spiritual, and physical bondage.  Intervene dear Lord in the injustice and tyranny that abounds and comfort the lonely, desperate, and afraid.  As we live under Your covering, teach us quickly how to help the poor, how to feed the hungry, and how to reach the lost.  Motivate us Lord by revealing more about Yourself and Your heart’s cry to love people better, to put ourselves aside, so that we can be effective and reach beyond our human opinions and limitations.  Save, save, save the people Lord!

Lover of our souls, You deserve our faithfulness, You deserve our time, our resources, our very lives and we give ourselves to You again in this moment. Mobilize your people across the earth; let us hear the voice of our Commander; dispatch Your warriors.  We will go where You send us, and do what You ask.  We will be Your hands and feet.

We stand in Your presence willing to fight for what is right, we rebuke the enemy from coming near, and we contend for those who cannot contend for themselves.  We pray for protection from the evil one and we throw ourselves, our churches, our families, our cities, our states, our leaders and officials, our nation and our world on Your mercy!  Help us great God.

Thank you.  Mere words are not enough to express our gratitude, or your magnificence; we invite you to look upon the intent of this prayer – written across our hearts.  WE LOVE YOU FATHER, SON, AND HOLY SPIRIT, WE LOVE YOU.  May Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven!  In JESUS’ name we pray. Amen.

2 Chronicles 7:14 NLT Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land.

Orig Posted by Donna M Dougherty at 5/2/2009 8:24 PM

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