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Matthew 6:14‭-‬15 For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

On the surface, it looks like we have to forgive others in order for God to forgive us. That’s why it’s important to read in context, remember who Jesus was speaking to, and when He was speaking to them.

When Jesus made this statement, He was talking to His disciples who were living under the Law of Moses. Under the Law, people had to earn their blessings and forgiveness through works. One of the works to receive forgiveness was to forgive others.

Although it’s extremely beneficial to forgive others and it’s a command given by God, in the New Covenant, forgiving others is not a requirement to be forgiven by God. Making it a requirement dilutes the sacrifice of Jesus. It’s essentially saying Jesus’ sacrifice wasn’t enough for God to forgive us and that we must forgive others to receive total forgiveness, which is not true.

God’s forgiveness towards us comes through His grace, which means it can’t be earned. It has nothing to do with us and everything to do with Jesus. Ephesians 1:7 says, in Him (Jesus) we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace.

Again, it’s extremely beneficial and a command to forgive others, but if we haven’t forgiven a person, God’s not holding that over our heads. We won’t go to hell if we die and didn’t forgive someone. Our unwillingness to forgive is a sin, but that sin has been paid for through the sacrifice of Jesus. When we receive Jesus as Lord and Savior, God has completely forgiven us of all our sins.

And I will forgive their wickedness, and I will never again remember their sins.” When God speaks of a “new” covenant, it means he has made the first one obsolete. It is now out of date and will soon disappear. -Hebrews 8:12‭-‬13 NLT

Hebrews 11:5 NLT It was by faith that Enoch was taken up to heaven without dying—“he disappeared, because God took him.” For before he was taken up, he was known as a person who pleased God.

Enoch was known for pleasing God?

What are you known for? Are you known because of your profession, because of your cooking, or because of your demeanor? Are you known for being a trouble maker, being a negative person, or a loud mouth?

As believers, we want to be known for things that reflect the character of God. What traits define the character of God? Loving, forgiving, friendly, giving, extending grace and mercy, peaceful, honest and more. Whatever the scriptures say about God, in context, is what we should be striving to be known for.

We may have been known for something negative in our past, but displaying the characteristics of God consistently can change people’s views of us. Be known to reflect the character of God.

Isaiah 40:8 NLT The grass withers and the flowers fade, but the word of our God stands forever.”

God’s word stands forever. It doesn’t matter how old we are, how long we strayed from God, or how many sins we’ve committed, God’s promises in His word still remain.

The only thing that stops God’s word from coming to pass in our lives is our unbelief. If we feel like we’re too old or unworthy to receive a certain promise, it won’t come to pass. But if we move beyond our past, our age, or any other disqualifications the devil presents and choose to believe God’s word, we’ll have what He said.

Every promise in God’s word is still available to every born-again believer. It stands forever and it’s still available for the taking. So, take it.

Ephesians 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.

Jesus has made us righteous (Rom. 3:22), Jesus has made us holy (1 Cor. 1:30), God has forgiven all our (past, present, and future) sins through Jesus Christ (1 Pet. 3:18), and all of God’s promises have been approved through Christ Jesus (2 Cor. 1:20). We don’t have to earn or work for any of these things. All we have to do is receive them by faith.

These free gifts are clear in scripture, but some believers can’t grasp receiving something for free. They think they have to work for (and some would rather earn) what Jesus died for. There are two primary reasons why people can’t simply receive everything Jesus sacrificed His life for.

  1. Pride
    They don’t want to accept anything for free. When someone can say they prayed 5 hours a day, fasted 40 days, and read 4 chapters a day, they’ll feel worthy to receive forgiveness or favor. They’re proud of their accomplishments and feel like they should be rewarded for their efforts.
  2. Pedestals
    While they’re feeling proud of their efforts, they’ve also built a pedestal to stand on to look down on others. They can say they’re better than someone else because of what they’ve done. This makes them feel good about themselves.

Neither pride nor pedestals honor the sacrifice of Jesus.

Stop rejecting something God wants you to freely receive. Rejecting God’s gift is disrespectful. We’re letting Him know we don’t appreciate the full sacrifice of Jesus. Let’s get our minds off ourselves and place them on what Jesus has already done for us. It’s Jesus’ efforts and not our own.

1 Peter 2:24 NLT He personally carried our sins in His body on the cross so that we can be dead to sin and live for what is right. By His wounds you are healed.

We read and hear about stories of miraculous instantaneous healing. We’ll get inspired about stories of a person who was sick one day, they believed God’s word, and the next day they were completely well. Every believer would love an instantaneous healing, but that’s not always the case.

God’s word says we’re healed. How health in our physical bodies happens is totally up to Him. When our bodies are under attack, we can be healed instantaneously, but we can also be healed by the wisdom God gives doctors. We can treat certain symptoms through medication until our bodies respond to God’s word.

If we’re so focused on getting healed or receiving any promise of God miraculously, we may stop believing if it doesn’t happen the way we think it should happen, or we can miss God providing an answer to our prayers by other means.

The end goal is health. How it happens shouldn’t matter. If we believe God’s word and it happens in a day, great, but if it takes time, doctors, treatments, or medicine that shouldn’t shake our faith. It’s still by His stripes we are healed.

Inspired by Charles Capps

James 4:5 NLT Do you think the Scriptures have no meaning? They say that God is passionate that the spirit he has placed within us should be faithful to Him.

When we get born-again, our spirits become alive. Prior to our salvation, our spirits are dead. As born-again believers, our spirits (or the real us), should be devoted to God. Like a faithful husband to a wife, our spirits should be faithful to God.

Faithfulness to God means we’re doing things His way. We’re loving when we don’t feel like it, we’re forgiving, we’re giving, we’re trusting Him when we don’t understand, etc. Anything God instructs us to do in His word or through His Spirit, we should be doing. Of course we may miss the mark at times, but His grace will always welcome us back.

This is a relationship with God and any relationship requires faithfulness. We show our faithfulness to God by doing things His way instead of the world’s way.

Luke 6:38 NLT Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full—pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back.”

Giving was implemented by God. It’s a way to show our love and appreciation. When we love and appreciate someone, instinctively we want to do something or give to that person. It’s the same way with God. We’re grateful for all He’s done, so we give.

Giving was designed to get something to us. There are so many scriptures in the bible that let us know when we give anything (time, talent, or money), God guarantees we’ll get it back. In most cases, He promised to give us more than we gave. This is a spiritual law. It works regardless if we’re saved or not. When we give, it absolutely must be returned back to us.

Giving is also designed to get something from us. Giving is designed to get our hearts (Matthew 6:21). God wants our hearts (our trust). When we obey God and give to whoever or whatever He tells us to give to, we’re exercising our trust in God. We may not know why He wants us to give to a particular organization or person, but as we obey, we’re letting God and ourselves know that we trust Him over our logic and emotions.

While everyone else is being stingy and hoarding their resources, let’s beautify the world and be givers.

Acts 5:20 “Go to the Temple and give the people this message of life!”

The angel of the Lord instructed the Apostles to give this message of life. What is this message of life? We find out later in the chapter. It’s teaching the message of Jesus Christ.

Jesus is our liberty, our righteousness, our sanctification, our redeemer, our forgiveness, and our Savior. We’re nothing without Jesus. We’re everything because of Jesus.

If you’re listening to messages involving guilt, shame, condemnation, and obedience to the law for justification, you’re listening to a message of death. We can see this based on 2 Corinthians 3:6 which says, who also made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.

Law-based teaching leads to condemnation and death, but the Spirit whom we received through Christ is life-giving. Ephesians 1:13 says In Him you also who have heard the Word of Truth, the glad tidings (Gospel) of your salvation, and have believed in and adhered to and relied on Him, were stamped with the seal of the long-promised Holy Spirit.

Through the Holy Spirit we’ll get our do’s and don’ts, but none of this will impact our eternity. Our belief in Jesus and what He accomplished for us makes us justified in the sight of God.

Life of a believer is simply obeying God by way of the Holy Spirit. WHATEVER God tells us to do, just do it.

If He tells us to apologize, give our child a hug, call someone back, buy a gift for someone, go to bed, or stop eating something, just do it. It’s not always don’t do something. He may tell us it’s okay to watch that rated R movie or have that second piece of cake. We just want to do our part by asking Him.

Complications occur when we do what we want to do instead of what God wants us to do. When that happens, we may experience natural consequences or problems we could have avoided.

Understand that God knows everything and He knows what’s best for us. Our ways may seem simpler and it may feel good to our flesh, but it will lead to destruction (Prov. 14:12).

We may not experience any problems or consequences after doing it our way a few times. That’s God grace and mercy keeping us from problems. Don’t get comfortable with doing it your way because eventually that “my way” approach will spread to other areas, and one day you’ll look up and realize your life is full of problems resulting from bad decisions.

Whatever God tells us to do will align with His written word. Obey it and experience the abundant life and truly represent the Kingdom of God.

Ezekiel 36:27 And I will put My Spirit in you so that you will follow My decrees and be careful to obey My regulations.

Psalm 103:17 But the love of the Lord remains forever with those who fear Him. His salvation extends to the children’s children.

God’s love lasts forever. It’s not going anywhere. It doesn’t matter if we missed the mark 20 times a day, killed a man, or have been dishonest all our lives. God’s love is available to those who fear Him.

The fear that’s being referred to in this scripture is reverence. It doesn’t mean to be afraid of God. Some still feel we need to have a “healthy fear” of God. There’s no such thing. All afraid-fear is anti-God (2 Timothy 1:7). We don’t need to be afraid of our loving God.

Unlike His love, His salvation has remained for a long time, but it won’t last forever. God sent Jesus over 2000 years ago. He’s expecting us to make Jesus Lord to receive salvation. He’s not only desiring for us to make Jesus Lord, but for our children and grandchildren to do the same. This is a limited time offer. Jesus is returning soon. When He returns, salvation is off the table. Make Jesus Lord to receive salvation while there’s still time.

Psalms 34:12‭-‬14 NLT Does anyone want to live a life that is long and prosperous? Then keep your tongue from speaking evil and your lips from telling lies! Turn away from evil and do good. Search for peace, and work to maintain it.

The not-so-secret to a long and prosperous life is found in God’s word. When we tell the truth and don’t speak evil, we’ll experience a long prosperous life. We know the difference between the truth and a lie, but what does it mean to speak evil? Speaking evil is speaking anything contrary to God’s word.

In the Old Testament, God told the children of Israel that the land in Canaan was promised to them. Moses had twelve men explore the land. The land was occupied by giants. When they returned, ten of the twelve came back saying they couldn’t take the land because of the giants, but two believed they could conquer it. The men who said what was contrary to God’s word are known for speaking evil (Numbers 13:32).

When we say things like we’re sick, we’re depressed, or we can’t make it, we’re speaking evil. And what we say will come to pass (Proverbs 18:21).

If we want a long and prosperous life, tell the truth and only speak things that align with God’s word.

Hebrews 13:3 Remember those in prison, as if you were there yourself. Remember also those being mistreated, as if you felt their pain in your own bodies.

Prisoners are seen as outcasts of society. Unless we have a close friend or relative that’s incarcerated, we really don’t think about prisoners. As usual, God goes against society and human nature by instructing us to remember them.

Prisoners need the same thing we all need. They need to know about God’s absolute never changing love for them. They need to know about His grace and mercy. They need to know God cares for them. They need to know about God’s turnaround program where He causes everything to work for our good. Prisoners need to know every promise before they went to prison is still available while they’re in prison. With God, all things are possible.

Some of them have done some evil things, but hating them for it won’t make things better. They need love from us. They need to know someone is praying for them. Let’s not forget, we have the authority to cancel every demonic influence in each prisoner so they can fully submit to God.

Spend time with, give to, and pray for prisoners. Even if you don’t know them, a sincere prayer could be the difference maker.

Hebrews 13:1 NLT Keep on loving each other as brothers and sisters.

There will be a lot of things that try to stop us from loving each other. There are political views, a misunderstanding, a difference in opinion, intentional hurt, and more. The more we allow the devil to influence our thoughts towards that person, we could eventually stop loving that person. We’ll feel like they don’t deserve our love based on what they did or their views. This shouldn’t be.

No matter what a person does, it’s our responsibility to love. We don’t love them because we feel like it or they’re deserving of our love. We love them because we’re instructed by a loving God to love.

It takes God’s supernatural step by step instructions to love someone who has hurt us to the core. As long as we’re open to putting God first above our feelings, He’ll show us how to overcome that hurt and love.

When other people are choosing not to love, let’s do our part and love.

Matthew 8:17 This fulfilled the word of the Lord through the prophet Isaiah, who said, “He took our sicknesses and removed our diseases.”

Jesus took our sicknesses and removed our diseases. If He took them, we don’t have them anymore. Since we don’t have sickness or disease anymore, we’re left with divine health. We are healed.

Someone may say they’re battling cancer or have a cold now. That may be a fact, but facts can change. The truth is we’re not battling to get well. We’re fighting the good fight of faith to maintain our health (1 Timothy 6:12).

We fight to maintain our health by believing and speaking things that align with God’s word. We can’t go around saying how sick we are and how bad we feel and expect to get better. No matter how we feel, we must continue to believe and confess we’re healed (1 Peter 2:24).

As the Holy Spirit leads, we may be instructed to do something to rebel against that sickness or disease. It may have been a struggle to walk without getting tired, but if God instructs us to walk to rebel against the symptoms of sickness, do it.

No matter what they say or how you feel, trust and believe that by His stripes you are healed.

Isaiah 26:21 NLT Look! The Lord is coming from heaven to punish the people of the earth for their sins. The earth will no longer hide those who have been killed. They will be brought out for all to see.

If this scripture is taken out of context, believers will think God will punish us for our sins. This leads people into thinking they must be flawless or else God will punish them with sickness, early death, car crashes, etc. They’ll try to be righteous through their works instead of relying on the righteousness we receive through Christ.

This scripture above is Isaiah prophetically speaking about unsaved individuals. Unsaved people have chosen to reject the payment of sins. By them rejecting the payment for sin (Jesus’ sacrifice), punishment is still owed to them.

Isaiah 53:6 says, all of us were like sheep that had wandered off. We had each gone our own way, but the Lord gave Him the punishment we deserved. Those who are saved (made Jesus Lord and Savior) have accepted the payment for sin. They believe (or should believe) that our punishment was put on Jesus.

That’s why in the next chapter, God boldly states through Isaiah, “Just as I swore in the time of Noah that I would never again let a flood cover the earth, so now I swear that I will never again be angry and punish you (Isaiah 54:9).

For believers, the punishment has already been paid. For unbelievers, punishment is still owed to them. So, stop thinking God is about to punish a believer for sin. The payment for sin has been dealt with. Unbelievers, receive the payment for sin and the righteousness through Jesus (Rom. 3:21-31).

Isaiah 26:8 NLT Lord, we show our trust in You by obeying your laws; our heart’s desire is to glorify Your name.

Although we’re not under the law, the principle in this verse is still the same. Obedience to God shows our trust in Him.

When we forgive someone who has hurt us, we’re showing our trust in God’s plan to heal our hurts. When we give to the Kingdom of God, we show that we trust in God and not money. As we follow an illogical plan God specifically gave to us, we show our trust in God to make us successful.

Anything God instructs us to do in His written word (in context) or by His Spirit is an opportunity for us to display our trust in Him. Let’s trust the Lord and do good because our heart’s desire is to bring Him glory.

Giving to ministers is one of the most controversial topics in the body of Christ. Ministers have been bashed for requesting funds from their congregation. They have been seen as crooks and been called pimps in the pulpit. People who give have been called mindless sheep and other hurtful names for giving their money to “the preacher.”

Giving to the man or woman of God, who is teaching us the word of God, is biblical. See below.

Galatians 6:6 AMP The one who is taught the word [of God] is to share all good things with his teacher [contributing to his spiritual and material support].

Paul instructs the body of Christ to support the ministers of God. For us, most of the time, it’s through money. Because money can have such a hold on people, Paul provides a biblical principle in the next verse. He says, “You will always harvest what you plant.” -Galatians 6:7 NLT

Whatever we give, is what we’ll receive. In Ephesians 6:8, God attaches His name to this principle. It says the Lord will reward each one of us for the good we do.

Giving to the Kingdom of God and to ministers is scriptural and it has a promise attached. If ministers take the time and energy to feed our spirits, out of generosity, we should reward their efforts with a financial contribution. We do it with waiters at restaurants, we do it with entertainers, and with athletes at sporting events. We can and should do the same thing for teachers of God’s word.

Galatians 6:1 Dear brothers and sisters, if another believer is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path. And be careful not to fall into the same temptation yourself.

When we see another believer miss the mark or live a lifestyle that dishonors God, it’s not for us to tell them how bad they are, lie and tell them God is upset with them, or tell them they should be ashamed of themselves.

When we see them going down the wrong path, it’s our responsibility to gently correct them and persuade them to do things God’s way. God’s way is in God’s word. It’s not our opinion. Correct thoughts, actions, and behaviors are in God’s word.

How gentle should we be? The Holy Spirit will tell us this. A gentle way for one person may be different from another.

What if they don’t change or respond in a hostile way? That’s not our responsibility. Whether they respond well or not, we pray that the words we speak will impact their minds in the hopes that they’ll do things God’s way.

Be a good friend, family member, or coworker and gently correct those who the Spirit leads you to correct.

Today, there’s a group of people, believers included, who claim they don’t want to “force religion” on their children. I agree with not forcing religion on them, but they take this opportunity to not tell their children anything about God. They claim they want their children to discover God for themselves. This is foolish, unwise, and illogical as a parent.

We have no problem forcing them to believe that 1 + 1 = 2. We have no problem forcing them to believe that C A T spells cat. But when it comes to God and establishing a relationship with Him, we want to leave that up to them. How is that beneficial? As parents, it’s our responsibility to teach our children about establishing, maintaining, and building their relationship with God. It’s a great opportunity to teach them the word of God. We’re not forcing religion on them. We’re giving them the key to success.

Let’s not follow the pack that allows their children to discover God whenever they’re ready. This leads to confusion and unbelief about God. Let’s show them the way to a loving God through Jesus Christ.

“So commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these words of mine. Tie them to your hands and wear them on your forehead as reminders. Teach them to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up. -Deuteronomy 11:18‭-‬19

Isaiah 54:9 NLT “Just as I swore in the time of Noah that I would never again let a flood cover the earth, so now I swear that I will never again be angry and punish you.

God swore He’ll never be angry with nor punish us. This is before Jesus. God swore this before Jesus became our Savior and died on the cross for our sins. If He swore this in the old covenant, how safe are we from God’s punishment and anger in the new covenant???

God’s NOT punishing us with sickness for making wrong choices. God’s NOT punishing us with car crashes for sins we’ve committed. God’s not causing negative events to happen as a form of punishment. The Word clearly states, He WILL NEVER PUNISH US.

Don’t forget the anger part. A lot of people feel God’s blessings are tied to His mood or disposition towards us. Some think if we don’t make Him angry, we’ll get a blessing. But if we do something wrong, some feel like His anger will withhold a blessing. It’s clear. GOD WILL NEVER BE ANGRY WITH US. His blessings are received by faith, not by how He feels about us from one moment to the next.

For us, in the new covenant, He only sees us righteous, holy, and forgiven through Jesus. Receive the truth that God WILL NEVER be angry with nor is He punishing us.

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Scriptures of the Day

November 2022
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