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Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst? 17 If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person; for God’s temple is sacred, and you together are that temple.
-1 Corinthians 3:16-17
Forgiveness can be a gut-wretching, arduous and gargantuan decision but honestly ... the alternative is infinitely worse.
Choosing to be a bitter person will never place you on the road to joy and to healthy living. Holding on to offenses will only ensure that you are effectively locked out of the Kingdom of Joy.
Vengeful emotions and angry words always lead to a futile and ugly dead-end in life.
If you choose NOT to forgive ... you will never arrive at your intended destination.
If you choose NOT to forgive ... you ain't going nowhere ...
If you choose NOT to forgive ... you will never know the refreshing and rejuvenating effects of joy upon your life.
Unforgiveness will keep you tightly bound in emotional and spiritual chains the rest of your earthly days.
What is forgiveness? Forgiveness is simply when the innocent one lets the guilty one go free! What?! Where is the justice in that type of lifestyle? That doesn't seem fair at all!
Yep ... you got it right. Forgiveness isn't fair. Forgiveness is a gift of sacrifice and of dying to one's self.
Carol is an author and popular speaker at women's conferences and retreats, where she teaches the Word of God with great joy and enthusiasm. She hosts a daily radio program called, "Defiant Joy Radio", has written 5 books - "The Rooms of a Woman's Heart", "Defiant Joy!", "Holy Estrogen!", "No More Ordinary!" (which hit several of Amazon's best seller lists), and her most recent, “Refined … Finding Joy In the Fires of Life!”. She has also written several devotionals for the popular Bible app, YouVersion. She is the mom of 5 grown children, Marmee to 6 grandchildren and is married to her college sweetheart.
More of Carol McLeod: http://www.justjoyministries.com/
Well that's not quite as comfortable, is it?
We often want environments of grace to make us feel safe to be real and to help us open up to others, but if we are truly participating in an environment of grace then we must allow truth to be spoken. Do you listen when others tell you the truth about yourself? Are you inviting them in and letting them know it's safe to tell you the truth - even when it's not comfortable?
This is not easy, but it is vitally important for our maturity.
These posts first appeared on the TrueFace website or Facebook Page and are shared here with permission. TrueFace works to see hundreds of thousands of high-trust cultures of grace multiplied around the world. TrueFace pursues this vision by building and restoring trust in leaders and those who follow them. We do this by teaching leaders how to "trust God and others with themselves."
More of John Lynch, Bruce McNicol and Bill Thrall - TrueFace: www.trueface.org
Giving Thanks -
This devotional was written by Jim Burns
Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. —1 Thessalonians 5:18
Happy Thanksgiving! I love this holiday as it is especially well suited for Christians, for God has blessed us in so many ways through Christ. Yet, life at times is painful and it would not be a stretch to understand on this Thanksgiving Day why some people might feel like crying out, “Thanks for what?”! And if we are not careful, we can easily slip into a pervasive attitude of negativity. When we choose to focus on the bad experiences of our lives, our shattered dreams and on our losses, we can become ungrateful and take for granted the many blessings God has given to us, reducing Thanksgiving Day into just another family gathering and meal.
Christians have every reason to be thankful because Jesus Christ was willing to sacrifice his very life in order to set us free from the constraints of sin. Paul explained it this way: "But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us," (Romans 5:8). We have a special reason to adopt the attitude of gratitude, because we know that whatever comes, our times are in God's hands. It was Jesus who said, in effect, "So don't be anxious about tomorrow. God will take care of your tomorrow, too," (see Matthew 6:34).
It was the apostle Paul who said that we should "give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." But for many of us, the attitude of thankfulness does not come easily. We've learned from our past to complain our way through most circumstances.
In studying thankfulness, I've learned a very helpful idea: thankfulness is a key that unlocks your depressive emotions. You cannot be both thankful and depressed at the same time. They are opposite emotions. You can be sad, hurt, or angered and still be thankful; but you can't be depressed and still be thankful.
We can't make the decision about whether some of life's negative "stuff' is thrown our way; but we can decide to be thankful, even in the midst of a not-so-perfect world. Deciding to become a thankful person can transform your life!
Thankfulness is an attribute that transcends your circumstances. No matter what your circumstances, I believe there is reason to be thankful in them. Your circumstances may never change, but your attitude toward them can change and that will make all the difference. Today, may you truly experience a happy Thanksgiving!
1. Make a list of reasons you have to be thankful today.
2. Spend some time in prayer, giving God thanks for the items on your list.
Romans 5:8; Luke 17:11-18; Psalm 95
Jim Burns is President of HomeWord and Executive Director of the HomeWord Center for Youth and Family @ Azusa Pacific University. Jim speaks to thousands of people around the world each year. He has over 1.5 million resources in print in over 25 languages. Jim’s radio broadcast is heard on over 800 stations a day and heard around the world via podcast at HomeWord.com.
Some of his recent books include: Faith Conversations for Families; Teenology: The Art of Raising Great Teenagers, Closer: 52 Devotions to Draw Couples Together, Confident Parenting, The Purity Code and Creating an Intimate Marriage. Jim and his wife, Cathy and their three daughters Christy, Rebecca, and Heidi live in Southern California.
More of Jim Burns: www.homeword.com
The Value of Gratitude -
This devotional was written by Kelly McFadden
Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. —Psalm 100:4
The movie Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was released in 2005 and starred Johnny Depp as the famous Willy Wonka. In the movie, five lucky children were exclusively invited inside the chocolate factory. Veruca Salt, Augustus Gloop, Mike Teavee, Violet Beauregarde, and Charlie Bucket were the lucky five who found the golden tickets.
If you have seen the movie, you are probably aware that each of the children who entered had character flaws. Veruca was selfish and self absorbed; she thought that she deserved everything. Augustus was a glutton; he could not seem to stop overindulging, no matter what warnings were thrown his way. Mike had no respect for authority and a quick temper. He bullied his parents and anyone else who was around. Violet was highly competitive and would do anything to win, even if it meant being blue for the rest of her life. And then there was Charlie. What was he? Grateful.
People who are grateful are the people who you see walking around life with joy written on their hearts and shining through their eyes. These are the people who have learned to appreciate what they have been given and, normally, are not focused only on stuff or things. They are thinking about friends, family, loved ones. Take a look at what the Bible, in the book of Romans, says about the ungrateful.
“For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.” (Romans 1:21)
The Bible tells us that we come into the Lord’s presence when we are grateful and give thanks. It is gratefulness that softens each person’s heart, helping him or her to be aware of the blessings each has been given.
The character Charlie understood. He did not need all the money or all the chocolate in the world to be happy. He had a life overflowing with the love of those who were around him. He did not dwell on what he did not have, but focused on all he did have. He was grateful. Truly, it is those who are grateful, no matter their circumstances, which end up with uncountable blessings for eternity.
1. Make a list of 5 things that you are thankful for in your life.
2. Why does it sometimes get hard to be happy with what you have or your circumstances?
1 Samuel 25:37-40; 1 Thessalonians 5:8; Philippians 4:19
This devotional originally appeared in “HomeWord with Jim Burns” on Crosswalk’s Family Devotional section. For more information about HomeWord with Jim Burns devotionals, please visit us online.
More of HomeWord with Jim Burns: http://www.crosswalk.com/devotionals/homeword/