I Pinky Promise

PinkyPromise3When you and I were children, there was a saying we’d often hear. I’m going to say the first half of the saying and let’s see if you know the 2nd half:

“Cross my heart and (hope to die)”
What was that child saying?
They were saying they’d made a promise, and if they were to break that promise they would expect something bad to happen.

Actually, the original phrase is a little longer:
“Cross my heart and hope to die. Stick a needle in my eye.”

The only thing kids could think of that was worse than dying was sticking needles in their eyes – and I would tend to agree. Kids understand the importance of promises. In fact parents have learned that they need to be very careful what promises they make to their kids.

When I really want someone to promise me something I put up my pinky and say, “I Pinky Promise?” If the other person wants to make the promise, they will put up one of their pinky fingers and connect it with my pinky finger and shake on it and say, “I pinky promise.” If they “pinky promised,” in my mind, they would keep their promise. But often they didn’t.

As my girls were growing up I learned that if I told them that…
• I was going to do something for them
• I was going to take them someplace
• I was going to get something for them.
and then (for whatever reason) I didn’t do that, you know what they’d say to me?
BUT YOU PROMISED!

As children we learned that promises are important and need to be kept. God understands that and so He has repeatedly told us throughout the Bible that if He makes a promise He’ll keep it. And in the Bible one of the most significant kind of promises God made were called “Covenants”.

God has made many promises or covenants with us. But, unlike people in our life, he keeps his promises. God has “Pinky Promised” all of us many promises and He is true to His promises!

1 Corinthians 1:20 NIV
For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God.

Hebrews 10:23
Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.

A promise is a declaration of some benefit to be granted.

The Webster’s Dictionary gives us this: One’s pledge to another to do or not to do something specified, narrowly, a declaration which gives to the person to whom it is made a right to expect or to claim the performance or forbearance of a specified act.
Ground for hope, expectation or the assurance, often specified of eventual success.
That which is promised—To engage to do, give, make, obtain: to make to another a promise of; also, to give one’s promise to assure as “He will go, I promise you.” To show or suggest beforehand.

The word “promise” is used more than 100 times in the Bible, there are other terms implying the same thought. The Old Testament is a record of God’s promises to patriarchs, kings, prophets, Israel, lowly saints, and to the world at large. The Hebrew noun, []dither, is generally rendered “word,” but “promise is found in…

1 Kings 8:56
According to all that He promised: there hath not failed one word of all His good promise.

Nehemiah 5:12 – 13
That they should do according to the promise.

Another Hebrew word for “promise” is omer, meaning “saying.” This is the term used in “Doth his promise fail for evermore?” (Psalms 77:8) Also, Psalm 68:11 “The Lord gave the word.”

Psalm 105:42 RV
He remembered his holy word. (Holy saying)

This reminds us that God’s Holy Word is always a Holy promise (a pinky promise). From cover to cover of the Bible it is filled with God’s promises for us. One could say it is God’s promise book for all people.

2 Timothy 3:16a NKJV
All Scripture is given by inspiration of God…

It’s divine promises must be God-breathed, and therefore impossible of not being fulfilled. Knowing this information makes me say farewell to any doubt and trust my God fully and completely.

Furthermore, His promises are backed by His faithfulness which runs like a golden thread through His Word. All writers of the Bible magnify God for His unfailing faithfulness to all generations. That’s a pinky promise if I ever saw one!

Deut. 7:9
Know therefore that the Lord thy God, He is God, the faithful God, which kept covenant and mercy with them that love Him and keep His commandment to a thousand generations.

Hebrews 10:23
He is faithful that promised.

1 Thess. 5:24 “Faithful is he that calleth you, who will also do it.

God’s faithfulness, then, is our special ground of encouragement as we apply His promises.

Lamentations 3:23
Great is Thy faithfulness.

Looking just at the names of God, each one designates a promise:

-El Shaddai – Lord God Almighty
-El Elyon – The Most High God
-Adonai – Lord, Master
-Yahweh – Lord, Jehovah
-Jehovah Nissi – The Lord My Banner
-Jehovah-Raah – The Lord is my Shepherd
-Jehovah Rapha – The Lord that heals
-Jehovah Shammah – The Lord is there
-Jehovah Tsidkenu – The Lord our righteousness
-Jehovah Mekoddishkem – The Lord who sanctifies you
-El Olam – The everlasting God
-Elohim – God
-Qanna – Jealous
-Jehovah Jireh – The Lord will provide
-Jehovah Shalom – The Lord is peace
-Jehovah Sabaoth – The Lord of Hosts

Let me pick one of those names, Jehovah Jireh, and share a promise:

Philippiains 4:19
My God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

Let’s look at one of God’s promises and dissect it today:

Psalm 34:17 NKJV
The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears, And delivers them out of all their troubles.

“The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears…

One of the biggest advantages of being righteous is the privilege of crying out to God or calling out His name with the assurance that He will deliver us. It is a privilege to call upon God; a privilege of prayer. There is no blessing superior.

Can you imagine what a world this would be if we couldn’t cry out to God for help? How sad, how helpless, how wretched if there were no God for the guilty, the helpless, the broken, the suffering, or the sinner to call to.

More scripture on calling out to God.

Isaiah 65:24
It shall come to pass that before they call, I will answer; and while they are still speaking, I will hear.

Psalm 91:15
He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him and honor him.

Psalm 145:18 – 19
The LORD is near to all who call upon Him, to all who call upon Him in truth. He will fulfill the desire of those who fear Him; He also will hear their cry and save them.

Jeremiah 33:3
Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.

…And delivers them out of all their troubles.

He often delivers them from trouble in this life.
He will deliver them literally from all trouble in the life to come.

The promise is not that they shall be delivered from all trouble on earth, but the idea is that God is able to rescue them from trouble here; that he often does it through prayer; and that there will be, in the case of every righteous person, a sure and complete deliverance from all trouble here after.

There are a few verses that go along with Psalm 34:17.

Psalm 34:6
This poor man cried out, and the Lord heard him, And saved him out of all his troubles.

The word “poor” here does not mean “poor” in the sense of a want of wealth, but “poor” in the sense of being afflicted, crushed, forsaken, desolate. The word “miserable” would better express the idea than the word “poor.”

…And the Lord heard him – That is, heard in the sense of “answered.” He regarded his cry, and saved him.

Psalm 34:19
Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all.

This is not to say the righteous have more afflictions then the unrighteous. But the righteous do have suffering and trials. The good news is that God sustains us in our trials. He supports us and makes beauty from ashes. He turns trials into triumphs!

As a Christian, we are never alone in the middle of any trial. God is always with us. Even when we go through deep waters, we are not alone.

Isaiah 43:2 NLT
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.

Isn’t it amazing to realize all these verses are actually promises from God to help us in our everyday life? I love it! God tenderly holds us with these verses to reassure us that we have help in all situations. They are “Pinky Promises” from God that He never ever stops fulfilling!

I am excited for this new series we are embarking on. I need to get the promises of God in my heart and I believe you do too. We will grow and learn as we look as some powerful promises together.

Let me leave you with a quote from Dwight L. Moody:

“Take the promises of God. Let a man feed for a month on the promises of God, and he will not talk about how poor he is. You hear people say, ‘Oh, my leanness! how lean I am!” It is not their leanness, it is their laziness. If you would only read from Genesis to Revelation and see all the promises made by God to Abraham, to Isaac, to Jacob, to the Jews and to the Gentiles, and to all His people everywhere — If you would spend a month feeding on the precious promises of God — you wouldn’t be going about complaining how poor you are. You would lift up your head and proclaim the riches of His Grace, because you couldn’t help doing it!”
Dwight L. Moody

Your sister,

Pastor Kris Belfils
www.KrisBelfils.com
www.HopeFellowshipSpokane.com
www.KrisBelfils.WordPress.com

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Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus in 2016

Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus in 2016

Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus WPThis is a pivotal time. It is a transition time. A lot has happened in 2015. I am sure as you place a mental calendar in front of your mind’s eye you could tell me all kinds of things that happened in your life each month. Some good and some bad. Now we are in 2016. A new year.

This past year has been a journey for us all. For some the road has brought joy, for others pain. We look and see a broken world. As we gaze at all the craziness around us our hearts can feel uncertain. Fear of the unknown can set in. We can look at 2016 and feel anything but secure. We wonder if HOPE is losing. We have been talking about HOPE since the end of September. My heart was to get it in our spirit to the point no matter what we go through or what the future holds, we can face it with the Hope we have in God and His promises. As this new year begins, what do we do? We are to:

TURN OUR EYES UPON JESUS!

LOOK FULL IN HIS WONDERFUL FACE

AND THE THINGS OF EARTH WILL GROW STRANGELY DIM

IN THE LIGHT OF HIS GLORY AND GRACE

The author of “Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus,” Lilias Trotter, wrote:  It is easy to find out whether our lives are focused, and if so, where the focus lies. Where do our thoughts settle when consciousness comes back in the morning? Where do they swing back when the pressure is off during the day? Dare to have it out with God, and ask Him to show you whether or not all is focused on Christ and His Glory. Turn your soul’s vision to Jesus, and look and look at Him, and a strange dimness will come over all that is apart from Him. – Lilias Trotter

We are embarking on a new year. Now is the time for New Beginnings. Now is the time to release all the bad that has happened in 2015 and let it go. Forgive who you need to forgive. Let go of events or circumstances that brought despair or destruction. Leave it in 2015. Leave it at Christ’s feet. Walk into 2016 strengthened by these things instead of allowing them to overtake you. This new year is a year of breakthrough and change. We are moving forward, holding God’s hand, and our heads up knowing we are not alone.

We serve a God of endings and beginnings. We cannot have a new beginning without something coming to an end. In this case, it’s 2015. Turning our eyes upon Jesus and looking into His wonderful face will protect our hearts from any despair or downheartedness. We need this! You and I need to protect our hearts from falling into any trap the enemy, satan, wants to use to bring disillusion and confusion.

Turning our eyes upon Jesus is a command in Scripture.

Hebrews 12:2a NKJV

looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith

Hebrews 12:2a Amplified Bible

[looking away from all that will distract us and] focusing our eyes on Jesus, who is the Author and Perfecter of faith [the first incentive for our belief and the One who brings our faith to maturity],

The Bible tells us to look and to fix our eyes on Jesus. Make this be your New Year’s resolution for 2016. No matter what, you keep your eyes on Jesus. No matter how many bills you have to pay; Keep your eyes on Jesus! No matter all the things that can go wrong; Keep your eyes on Jesus! No matter what tries to distract you; Keep your eyes on Jesus. No matter how many disappointments you may encounter; Keep your eyes on Jesus. Know that []a disappointment can sometimes be a divine appointment in disguise! 

Our prayer should be:

Lord, I keep my eyes on You! I know you are good to me. I know You are watching over me. You are working all things for my good this past year and the year to come. I let go of my desires, or what I think should happen, and focus on You and Your desires. I want what You want. I will do what You want me to do. I just know I need you desperately, always in my life. I soak in Your love. I soak in Your goodness. 2016 is going to be an amazing year because You have brought it to me! Thank you for Your peace and assurance that I am standing on solid ground when I keep my eyes on You!

Delayed Gratification

As we turn our eyes upon Jesus and stay focused, it keeps us on the right path. Being on the right path and walking forward in all that God brings us to do, we will receive a gratifying reward.

There is the principle of delayed gratification. We can see this principle at work in our own lives. There are times when we must give up the good to obtain the best.

•If one of our resolutions is to lose weight, we give up certain foods so that we might lose weight.

•Students give up a night out with friends to study for final exams.

•A young man gives up dinner and a movie because he is saving to buy a new car.

There is sacrifice involved. One pleasure is sacrificed so that a higher one might be achieved. It is amazing what we can sacrifice or give up if we really want something or really want to do something. There is a higher level of delayed gratification that involves enduring pain to receive a reward.

This is why athletes lift weights at 6:00 a.m., while their friends are still in bed. They give up sleep, in order to win a championship.

This is why aspiring pianists practice for hours when they might be watching TV or playing video games. They put in the hours in the hope that some day they may play for thousands.

In all these things there is a pain involved, but it is pain endured for the sake of the joy that comes when the goal is reached.

What has your year been like? God spoke to me that this past year we have endured. We have given up much. We have sacrificed much. We have been faithful at Hope Fellowship. The Lord impressed on my heart that 2016 will be the year of reward…. the gratification of the sacrifices we have made.

I want to share personally in my life some sacrifices to allow you to see possibly in your life something similar and to know that this delayed gratification of not seeing the results we want right away will be worth it all when God brings His rewards with Him!

Personally: My family and I are here every Sunday and Friday nights serving you. All the surgeries, and all the health issues I endured in 2015. All the tears shed in 2015 for the lost, broken, and for Hope Fellowship. All the hours spent counseling, encouraging others, and training my staff. All the time spent in prayer for Hope Fellowship and those who attend. All the sermons prepared, and worship sets planned and played. All the studying and preparing. All the graphic design and computer work… God is bringing a reward, gratification, and transition into the new He has waiting in my life!

Now turn that onto you. What have you sacrificed this past year? What have you gone through and still kept your faith. What did you obey day in and day out that God required? Obedience brings blessing! God is telling you today that YOU WILL have much reward for your efforts. He sees all and is a rewarder to those who diligently seek Him.

Hebrews 11:6 Amplified Bible

But without faith it is impossible to [walk with God and] please Him, for whoever comes [near] to God must [necessarily] believe that God exists and that He rewards those who [earnestly and diligently] seek Him.

Please don’t give up in doing good. We will receive a reward. People go to work to receive a reward in the form of a paycheck. There are so many examples of preparing and doing things, that in time, will produce something of value.

Galatians 6:9 NKJV

And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.

That is why keeping our eyes on Jesus throughout the year keeps our focus where it should be. This helps us to keep on keeping on in spite of our circumstances. It reminds us that God is fighting for us and our situation is not going unnoticed. God sees our situation and He is MIGHTY to save! He is in the “saving business!” It is His speciality.

It is amazing the benefits we receive when we turn our eyes upon Jesus and keep our gaze there. Distractions grow strangely dim, they can’t help it. Nothing compares to the light, the powerful love God pours into us when our focus turns to Him.

So, keep your eyes on Jesus. Don’t be distracted by the things of the world.

Keep running. Don’t look back. Fix your eyes on Jesus and run with all your might for the finish line. Rejoice in Who you are looking at.

T. E. Marsh wrote on the fullness that is in Christ Jesus.

This a paraphrase of what he wrote:

•In Christ there is full acceptance, therefore do not doubt Him.

•In Christ there is peace, therefore trust Him.

•In Christ there is life, therefore abide in Him.

•In Christ there is blessing, therefore delight in Him.

•In Christ there is light, therefore follow Him.

•In Christ there is power, therefore wait on Him.

•In Christ there is all truth, therefore learn from Him.

•In Christ there is grace, therefore receive from Him.

•In Christ there is joy, therefore rejoice in Him.

•In Christ there is unlimited wealth, therefore depend on Him.

•In Christ there is strength, therefore lean on Him.

This is Who you are looking at! All these attributes and so much more. This is real hope for the new year. Everything we need, we have in Christ.

He has all the hope, all the love, all the acceptance, all the grace, all the power, all the strength, all the wisdom, all the patience, all the guidance, all the encouragement, all the joy, all the endurance, all the gentleness, all the forgiveness, all the determination, all the strength, and all the blessing that we need.

The Lord Jesus has already run the race for you. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, and we will run well. Keep your eye on the prize, Jesus, in 2016 and beyond.

Today, if you haven’t placed your gaze upon Jesus, now is the time. Set yourself up to look in the right direction. There is no better place to stare at then in the light of His glory and grace!

Pastor Kris Belfils

www.KrisBelfils.com

www.HopeFellowshipSpokane.com

www.KrisBelfils.WordPress.com

Parables of Lost Things – The Father and the Lost Son

Parables of Lost Things – The Father and the Lost Son

Parables - Lost and Found Mini SeriesWords are powerful. With our words we can speak life or death. With our speech we can put people in bondage or set them free. With the words we think or say we can bring healing or torment. James talks about the tongue being a rudder that steers the whole ship, or a bit in the horse’s mouth.

James 3:2 – 12 (Amplified Bible)
“For we all often stumble and fall and offend in many things. And if anyone does not offend in speech [never says the wrong things], he is a fully developed character and a perfect man, able to control his whole body and to curb his entire nature. If we set bits in the horses’ mouths to make them obey us, we can turn their whole bodies about. Likewise, look at the ships: though they are so great and are driven by rough winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the impulse of the helmsman determines. Even so the tongue is a little member, and it can boast of great things. See how much wood or how great a forest a tiny spark can set ablaze! And the tongue is a fire. [The tongue is a] world of wickedness set among our members, contaminating and depraving the whole body and setting on fire the wheel of birth (the cycle of man’s nature), being itself ignited by hell (Gehenna). For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea animal, can be tamed and has been tamed by human genius (nature). But the human tongue can be tamed by no man. It is a restless (undisciplined, irreconcilable) evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless the Lord and Father, and with it we curse men who were made in God’s likeness! Out of the same mouth come forth blessing and cursing. These things, my brethren, ought not to be so. Does a fountain send forth [simultaneously] from the same opening fresh water and bitter? Can a fig tree, my brethren, bear olives, or a grapevine figs? Neither can a salt spring furnish fresh water.”

We can take a look at one of the parable’s of Jesus to see how much power words really have. In the parable of the Prodigal Son, there are three characters. Each one speaks words and acts upon them.

Luke 15:11 – 32 (Amplified Bible)
“And He said, There was a certain man who had two sons; And the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the part of the property that falls [to me]. And he divided the estate between them. And not many days after that, the younger son gathered up all that he had and journeyed into a distant country, and there he wasted his fortune in reckless and loose [from restraint] living. And when he had spent all he had, a mighty famine came upon that country, and he began to fall behind and be in want. So he went and forced (glued) himself upon one of the citizens of that country, who sent him into his fields to feed hogs. And he would gladly have fed on and filled his belly with the carob pods that the hogs were eating, but [they could not satisfy his hunger and] nobody gave him anything [better]. Then when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father have enough food, and [even food] to spare, but I am perishing (dying) here of hunger! I will get up and go to my father, and I will say to him, Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; [just] make me like one of your hired servants. So he got up and came to his [own] father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was moved with pity and tenderness [for him]; and he ran and embraced him and kissed him [fervently]. And the son said to him, Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight; I am no longer worthy to be called your son [I no longer deserve to be recognized as a son of yours]! But the father said to his bond servants, Bring quickly the best robe (the festive robe of honor) and put it on him; and give him a ring for his hand and sandals for his feet. And bring out that [wheat-]fattened calf and kill it; and let us revel and feast and be happy and make merry, Because this my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found! And they began to revel and feast and make merry. But his older son was in the field; and as he returned and came near the house, he heard music and dancing. And having called one of the servant [boys] to him, he began to ask what this meant. And he said to him, Your brother has come, and your father has killed that [wheat-]fattened calf, because he has received him back safe and well. But [the elder brother] was angry [with deep-seated wrath] and resolved not to go in. Then his father came out and began to plead with him, But he answered his father, Look! These many years I have served you, and I have never disobeyed your command. Yet you never gave me [so much as] a [little] kid, that I might revel and feast and be happy and make merry with my friends; But when this son of yours arrived, who has devoured your estate with immoral women, you have killed for him that [wheat-] fattened calf! And the father said to him, Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours. But it was fitting to make merry, to revel and feast and rejoice, for this brother of yours was dead and is alive again! He was lost and is found!”

This is the story of The Prodigal Son.

Prodigal in the dictionary means, “Wastefully, or recklessly extravagant, giving or yielding profusely; lavish, lavishly abundant, profuse, a person who spends, or has spent his or her money or substance with wasteful extravagance.”

We act upon what we say:

1. Younger son spoke – Younger son dwelt on what was going to be his “someday.” He asked his father: “… give me the part of the property that falls [to me].”( Luke 15:12)

The younger son had been thinking about this for some time and planned on asking his father for what was rightfully his… but this only comes when the father has passed away.

Action of his words:

“And not many days after that, the younger son gathered up all that he had and journeyed into a distant country, and there he wasted his fortune in reckless and loose [from restraint] living.” (Luke 15:13)

He wanted to go out and live his own life the way he wanted to live it. His actions reflected what he was thinking and again he acted upon it. He spent his money recklessly extravagantly. This is being a prodigal.

2. He came to himself

He spoke words to himself again:

“How many hired servants of my father have enough food, and [even food] to spare, but I am perishing (dying) here of hunger! I will get up and go to my father, and I will say to him, Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; [just] make me like one of your hired servants.” (Luke 15:17-19 Amp)

Action of his words:

“So he got up and came to his own father.” (Luke 15:20 Amp)

He acted on his words and left for home. But this time he had “come to himself.”

We Come To Ourself

We come to our self when we realize we can’t make it on our own. We come to our self when we see that all our choices have made big mistakes in our life. We come to our self when we give up control and give it back to our Heavenly Father. We come to our self when we go to the Father and ask Him to forgive us of our wrong we have done.

We all need to “come to ourselves” from time to time. If we don’t we will lead ourselves astray. We will “self-destruct” without God! We, as sinners, are slow to come to our self and go back to God, but God is quick to run to us as He sees our brokenness and repentive heart.

3. The Father saw his son from a far off and ran to him.

The Father always was waiting and looking for the son to come home. He longed for him to be home. For the father to see him from a far off, you know he was constantly thinking about the way-word son and looking for his return.

God always has His eye on us, waiting for us to move towards Him!
You might feel far away from God.
You may have distance yourself from Him for some reason. Know this; God has his eye on you, waiting for you to draw near.

“I do not know that the prodigal saw his father, but his father saw him. The eyes of mercy are quicker than the eyes of repentance. Even the eyes of our faithWhy are you down in the dumps, dear soul? Why are you crying the blues? Fix my eyes on God— soon I’ll be praising again. He puts a smile on my face. He’s my God. (Psalm 42:5 MSG) are dim compared with the eye of God’s love. He sees a sinner long before a sinner sees Him…. He was resolve to come, yet he was half afraid. But we read that his father ran. Slow are the steps of repentance, but swift are the feet of forgiveness. God can run where we scarcely limp, and if we are limping towards Him, He will run towards us. The father “saw” his son. There is a great deal in that word, “saw.” He saw who it was; saw where he had come from; saw the swineherd’s dress; saw the filth upon his hands and feet; saw his rags; saw his penitent look; saw what he had been; saw what he was; and saw what he would soon be. His father saw him.” God has a way of seeing men and women in a way you and I cannot understand. He sees right through us at a glance, as if we were made of glass; He sees all our past, present and future.”
C.H. Spurgeon (wrote in a sermon on the Prodigal Son)

The Father had prodigal love towards his son as he was moved with pity and tenderness [for him]; and he ran and embraced him and kissed him [fervently]. (Luke 15:20)

Other translations read:

“… fell upon his neck and affectionately kissed him.” (New Testament In Modern English)

His father extravagantly kissed him and loved on him. He was waiting and anticipating his son to come home. I am sure the father always had his son on his mind. Any loving father would.

His father showed more extravagant love for his son as he said to bring the best robe (festive robe of honor) and put it on him; and give him a ring for his hand and sandals for his feet. This signifies kingship, authority, rule and reign. I am sure the son didn’t feel like he deserved it. He knew what he did and where he came from. His father gave him all that, and a fatten cow to eat, and celebrate the homecoming with his friends. We act upon what we say!

The father spoke: 

“Bring quickly the best robe (the festive robe of honor and put it on him; and give him a ring for his hand and sandals for his feet. And bring out that [wheat-] fattened calf and kill it; and let us revel and feast and be happy and make merry, Because this my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found!” (Luke 15:22 – 24 Amplified Bible)

When we stray it hurts the Father. The Father will mourn like someone is dead. He will ache in His heart until we come back like someone who has lost a precious jewel and longs to find it.

Action He took:

He lavished His love on the prodigal son and gave him even more than before! The Father sees you! He knows where you have been. He knows what you have done. He knows what you have spoken, and He knows your name!

We don’t have to worry about the past. God has wiped it all away the moment we repent. We don’t have to worry about our future because God has prepared ahead of time what we will need. All we have to do is trust God with our lives and allow Him to be the Father.

Anger and jealously will make us act first…

4. The older son’s actions:

“But [the elder brother] was angry [with deep-seated wrath] and resolved not to go in.” (Luke 15:28 Amp)

In this case, he took action before he spoke to his father. But his “actions spoke louder than words,” as the father pleaded with him to join in the celebration.

The older son spoke:

“Look! These many years I have served you, and I have never disobeyed your command. Yet you never gave me [so much as] a [little] kid, that I might revel and feast and be happy and make merry with my friends; But when this son of yours arrived, who has devoured your estate with immoral women, you have killed for him that [wheat-] fattened calf!” (Luke 15:29-30 Amp)

The older son spoke with jealously and anger. He didn’t understand why his father would lavish so much love on his younger brother after all the WRONG that he did. It didn’t make sense to him.

Mercy and grace never makes sense to someone who is not the receiver, only the one who receives.

When jealously and anger grips our hearts it paralyzes us. It makes us do things that are selfish. The older son was offended because all he could see is the “good” he had done and the “bad” his brother did.

Being critical or judgmental towards others is a sin. The older brother was just as guilty of wrong as the younger brother.

5. The father spoke:

“And the father said to him, Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours. But it was fitting to make merry, to revel and feast and rejoice, for this brother of yours was dead and is alive again! He was lost and is found!” (Luke 15:31-32 Amp)

This parable was spoken to the tax collectors and Scribes and Pharisees.

Luke 15:1-2
“Now all the tax collectors and the sinners were coming near Him to listen to Him. Both the Pharisees and the scribes began to grumble, saying, “This man receives sinners and eats with them.” (Luke 15:1-2 Amp.)

The church is likened to that of the older son. Maybe you have been a child of God most of your life. Do you get critical towards sinners? Do you cast a judgmental eye towards those that have fallen or that keep falling? We can get judgmental towards the lost ones that come in as they may not talk like us or walk like us. We can think of them as “less then” because of their past. This is sin! God wants us to let go of the judgment and celebrate the change in people’s lives. We need to rejoice over one lost sinner that comes to Jesus and treat them with respect and love. Love will always receive; jealously and judgment always pushes away.

What have you been speaking to yourself lately? Are they words of hope or discouragement? What have you been speaking about people lately? Are they words of hope or judgment?

Maybe you can relate more with the Prodigal son. Do you feel like you can’t come back to God because of your past? Do you feel lost and all alone? Do you identify with the prodigal son? Do you identify with the older brother?

God sees everything. He knows your name! We can come to God and ask for forgiveness no matter what we have thought, spoke, or have done. No matter what actions you have taken with your words, God is there waiting for you to embrace Him.

There is power in our words. Let’s do the right thing with our actions and run to God and experience His extravagant love He has waiting for you!

Prayer:
Lord, I need You. I am sorry for leaving You and doing my own thing, going my own way. Please run to me. I come back to you. I don’t deserve your acceptance, but I am so thankful you always give it to me. Today I turn from going my own way, and choose Your way. Thank you for Your forgiveness. Thank You for a new start. Amen!

Your sister in Christ,

Pastor Kris Belfils

www.KrisBelfils.com
www.HopeFellowshipSpokane.com
www.KrisBelfils.WordPress.com

God is Bigger Than My Emotions

God is Bigger Than My Emotions

GOD IS BIGGER THAN MY EMOTIONSI was traveling with some friends to a band practice. I wanted to allow one of them to sit in the front passenger seat and I sat in the back seat behind them. Shortly after traveling I started to get sick to my stomach. Within a few more minutes I needed to have the windows open and the heater turned off. I thought I was going to throw up. Finally we arrived to our destination and I ran into the bathroom as I felt like throwing up. Fortunately I didn’t.

Motion sickness has been a part of my life as far back as I can remember. Often I forget about it as I usually drive my own car or sit in the front passenger seat. But there was a time in my life, when I was growing up, that I would get motion sickness every time I traveled with the family. I would dread long trips in the car knowing I would be sick the entire time we were traveling. The only thing that would help me with my motion sickness is to have the car stop every once in a while and get out and walk around in the fresh air. I remember one time, after a women’s conference I spoke at, I was traveling in the back seat on the way to the airport. Sure enough I started to get sick to my stomach, and my traveling friend did too. My host said she knew exactly what I needed to make my stomach feel better. We stopped by her house and in a few minutes she came back with a handful of tootsie roll pops. My friend and I just looked at each other in bewilderment wondering how can a tootsie roll pop fix our motion sickness. We opened up one of the suckers and started sucking on them. To be truthful it really didn’t help, but it got our minds off of the sickness and gave our mouths something to do.

Being sick to our stomach is not a fun feeling. It pretty much takes away any strength we may have for the day. Sometimes being sick to our stomach can overtake us and stifle any activity we may want to do.

Thinking about motion sickness, and how it affects our lives, makes me think about our emotions and how they affect our lives. We can get emotional sickness if we are not careful. Emotional sickness is allowing our emotions to take over our practical thought life. God is bigger than our emotions and has given us the ability to have self-control and tame them.

If we allow our emotions to take over our lives we will be living in emotional sickness. Living in any kind of sickness for too long takes a toll on our bodies. Just like the physical manifestations that take place when we are sick, we can experience physical and spiritual manifestations when we are emotionally sick.

Emotional sickness can manifest in so many different ways. Do you find you are always asking for forgiveness because of hurting people’s feelings? How about isolating yourself because you think no one likes or loves you. Do you get mad easily over things that really are insignificant? Are people stepping back from you and giving you a wide birth? Do you always think about yourself and how things affect you? These all can be signs of emotional sickness.

HOW TO DEAL WITH EMOTIONAL SICKNESS

1. Learn to cry out all your frustrations to God

We have to remember that God is bigger than anything we are going through. God is big enough to vent or cry out our frustrations. Actually this is very healthy.

David cried out to God many times about what was going on in his life. Here are just a few verses expressing His cries:

Psalm 3:1 – 2 (NKJV)

“LORD, how they have increased who trouble me! Many are they who rise up against me. Many are they who say of me, ‘There is no help for him in God.’”

Psalm 4:2 – 3 (NKJV)

“How long, O you sons of men, will you turn my glory to shame? How long will you love worthlessness and seek falsehood? But know that the LORD has set apart for Himself him who is godly; the LORD will hear when I call to Him.”

Psalm 5:1 – 3 (NKJV)

“Give ear to my words, O LORD, consider my meditation. Give heed to the voice of my cry, my King and my God, for to You I will pray. My voice You shall hear in the morning, O LORD, in the morning I will direct it to You, and I will look up.”

Psalm 6:1 – 7 (NKJV)

“O LORD, do not rebuke me in Your anger, nor chasten me in Your hot displeasure. Have mercy on me, O LORD, for I am weak; O LORD, heal me, for my bones are troubled. My soul also is greatly troubled; but You, O LORD—how long? Return, O LORD, deliver me! Oh, save me for Your mercies’ sake! For in death there is no remembrance of You; in the grave who will give You thanks? I am weary with my groaning; all night I make my bed swim; I drench my couch with my tears. My eye wastes away because of grief; it grows old because of all my enemies.”

David cried out to God often and also found comfort in doing so. Another example is Moses. He cried out to God often and even changed the Lord’s mind. Moses cried out to God concerning the plagues in Egypt:

Exodus 8:12 – 13 (NKJV)

“Then Moses and Aaron went out from Pharaoh. And Moses cried out to the LORD concerning the frogs which He had brought against Pharaoh. So the LORD did according to the word of Moses. And the frogs died out of the houses, out of the courtyards, and out of the fields.”

Exodus 17:3 – 4 (NKJV)

“And the people thirsted there for water, and the people complained against Moses, and said, ‘Why is it you have brought us up out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and our livestock with thirst?’ So Moses cried out to the LORD, saying, ‘What shall I do with this people? They are almost ready to stone me!’”

Moses was not afraid to share what was on his mind to God.

Exodus 32:7 – 14 (NKJV)

“And the LORD said to Moses, ‘Go, get down! For your people whom you brought out of the land of Egypt have corrupted themselves. They have turned aside quickly out of the way which I commanded them. They have made themselves a molded calf, and worshiped it and sacrificed to it, and said, “This is your god, O Israel, that brought you out of the land of Egypt!’” And the LORD said to Moses, ‘I have seen this people, and indeed it is a stiff-necked people!’ ‘Now therefore let Me alone, that My wrath may burn hot against them and I may consume them. And I will make of you a great nation.’ Then Moses pleaded with the LORD his God, and said: “LORD why does Your wrath burn hot against Your people whom You have brought out of the land of Egypt with great power and with a might hand? Why should the Egyptians speak, and say, ‘He brought them out to harm them, to kill them in mountains, and to consume them from the face of the earth’?  Turn from Your fierce wrath, and relent from this harm to Your people. Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, Your servants, to whom said to them, I will multiply your descendants as the stars of heaven; and all this land that I have spoken of I give to your descendants, and they shall inherit it forever.’ So the LORD relented from the harm which He said He would do to His people.”

2. Learn to manage your emotions

When we are feeling a strong emotion, especially if it is anger or fear, we need to learn how to manage it. Emotions are not good or bad, they just are. God created us as emotional beings. So to try and “control” our emotions, or totally get rid of them is impossible. It just won’t happen. But if we learn to manage them we will have a better life. We need to learn to vent our emotions properly.

Don’t be easily affected by your emotions. If you are in the middle of a situation and need to make a decision, allow time to think before you act. If you make a decision, allow more time to pass and see if that decision settles in your spirit. If you are uneasy still about it chances are it is the wrong decision. But if it settles in your spirit and you have prayed about it and sense God’s peace, then walk in that decision.

We all are human and we all have emotions. Men and women alike have the same emotions. Both men and women experience emotional pain and frustration. It is how we handle our emotions that seems to separate men from women. As a general rule; women have a tendency to vent their emotions outwardly and men keep them inward. Yet there are exceptions to every case. Still both men and women have emotions and have to deal with them.

I admire my husband as he is even tempered and very seldom shows any negative emotions. But, on the other hand, it is often hard to know if he is happy with something too. Because I have been married to him for 30 years, I know him pretty well. I know when he is mad or happy by just watching his body language. I appreciate how he handles things when he is frustrated. Most of the time the average person wouldn’t even know he is frustrated.

Scripture tells us to guard our hearts because out of it flow life itself.

Proverbs 4:23 (Amplified Bible)

“Keep and guard your heart with all vigilance and above all that you guard, for out of it flow the springs of life.”

3. Learn to live your life according to the Word of God and not your feelings.

If we look at the verses after Psalm 3:1 – 2 we can see how David stood on God’s word and didn’t allow his emotions to take over:

Psalms 3:3 – 6 (NKJV)

“But You, O LORD, are a shield for me, my glory and the One who lifts up my head. I cried to the LORD with my voice, and He heard me from His holy hill. I lay down and slept; I awoke, for the LORD sustained me. I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people who have set themselves against me all around.”

He reminded himself of who God is and what he can do. David encouraged himself in the Lord all by remembering what God has done. That is where the Word of God can help us. Getting into the Word and finding appropriate scriptures to help us with any emotional situation is standing on solid ground.

4. Learn to trust in the Lord for everything. 

God is trustworthy. He has proven time and again His promises are true. He has shown throughout Biblical history His character and integrity. If God says it in His Word, believe it. There are so many scriptures in the book of Psalms alone that express how we can trust God. By trusting God, we learn to not be ruled by our emotions. It is a knowing in your heart that God is in control, and He will get you through any given situation.

Here are just a few verses on trust:

Psalm 5:11 – 12 (NKJV)

“But let all those rejoice who put their trust in You, let them ever shout for joy, because You defend them; let those also who love Your name be joyful in You. For you will bless the righteous, with favor You will surround him as with a shield.”

Psalm 7:1 – 2 (NKJV)

“O LORD my God, in You I put my trust; save me from all those who persecute me; and deliver me, lest they tear me like a lion, rending me in pieces, while there is none to deliver.”

Psalm 9:9 – 10 (NKJV)

“The LORD also will be a refuge for the oppressed, A refuge in times of trouble. And those who know Your name will put their trust in You, For You, LORD, have not forsaken those who seek You.”

We seek Him and He never forsakes us. This is a promise! You can look all through the book of Psalm and find verse after verse about trusting in God. If you have trouble trusting God, I encourage you to look and study the Word of God for yourself and find out what it says about trusting God.

The more we trust God, the more we won’t be swayed by negative thoughts in our minds. Thoughts will turn into strong emotions, and strong emotions will make us act. What thoughts are filling your mind right now? If you “feel” the need to act impulsively it is a sign that you are allowing your emotions to overtake you. It is a true symptom of emotional sickness.

To get rid of emotional sickness is part of revival because it frees us from the bondage our emotions can shackle us with. Emotions truly can prevent us from experiencing all that God wants to give us. Allow God to revive your emotions by healing your emotional sickness. Give God back control of your driver seat of your life and sit in the passenger seat and enjoy the scenery. Get ready for a adventurous ride of your life.

7 THINGS THE EMOTIONALLY STRONG DO

Emotionally weak people suffer tremendously. Being clingy or needy for love, acceptance or attention, they do things that they should not do and accept things that they should not. Inevitably, it generates in them a whole range of negative emotions (e.g. fear, anger, sadness, despair, guilt, doubt, depression, jealousy and shame) that slowly, but surely, destroys them from the inside out. Indeed, it is now well acknowledged that emotions greatly affect the way our body functions. Consequently, the emotionally weak suffer not only emotionally, but also physically.

In the end, even their spiritual well-being is impacted, which is very dangerous. It is therefore important to know what the emotionally strong do to live their life with power.

What are the 7 critical things the emotionally strong do?

  1. Emotionally strong people DO NOT BEG FOR LOVE

They receive all the love they need to function well as human beings directly from God. They know in their hearts that only their Father in heaven can love them with an uncontaminated and unconditional love. Additionally, they are aware of the fact that only He has their best interests at ALL times.

John 3:16  

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

Romans 8:37-39 

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Zephaniah 3:17

The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.

Continually receiving love from God, they feel accepted for who they are and experience strong feelings of self-worth. They are certain of their value and know that they matter, that they have a critical role to play in the overall plan of God for humanity. This makes their lives meaningful and truly worth living.

Filled with God’s love, they rapidly become givers of love, rather than takers of it. In other words, God’s love flows through them to others and nourishes them spiritually, emotionally, physically and mentally. When all is said, emotionally strong people do not beg for love: rather, they generously give love to others.

2. Emotionally strong people ARE NOT AFRAID TO LOVE OTHERS

They do not love others in order to be loved in return or be accepted by them, but simply because loving others is a key part of what defines them. And they love others, not as the world (or Hollywood) would like them to, but as God wants them to. Basically, they love others by treating them as they would have them do to them. This is the golden rule of love.

Mark 12:30 – 31 NKJV

And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. This is the first commandment. And the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.

Not being dependent on others for their love, joy – and I should add peace – they can love others without being afraid to be rejected or hurt. They know very well that not everybody will respond to their (unconditional) acts of love in a proper way. However, this sad fact does not prevent them from giving love as much as they can. They do not focus on those cases for which their love was not received, but solely on those cases for which their love was appreciated. Even if 99 percent of their acts of love produce no results whatsoever, they take great joy in the fact that the remaining 1 percent helped transform the lives of receptive people.

3. Emotionally strong people FORGIVE QUICKLY AND COMPLETELY

Acknowledging that they needed God’s forgiveness to be with God, they quickly forgive others. In fact, they do so whether or not people ask for their forgiveness. They know that it is not worth spending any amount of mental and emotional energy on evil pursuits, and that by holding grudges they end up hurting themselves even more.

Being wise, they eagerly activate the power of forgiveness in order to free themselves from the chains that Satan tried to put around their hearts and minds. They know that in the vast majority of the cases, people do things to them without really knowing what they do because they might be spiritually blind or unaware of facts.

Col. 3:13 The Message Bible

Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you.

4. Emotionally strong people DO NOT RETALIATE OR TAKE REVENGE

Rather than retaliate and take revenge, emotionally strong people let God defend them and render them justice in due course.

Romans 12:19 NLT

Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say, “I will take revenge; I will pay them back,” says the Lord.

They do not want to spread more hatred, animosity, bitterness, resentment, averseness and vindictiveness than already exist in this dark world. They know that they have already won the war against the powers of darkness thanks to what Jesus accomplished on the cross, and that God is the person best placed to render them justice for only He has a bigger view of things and of the evil forces that influence and deceive people.

I should add here that if we have been offended or hurt by someone, then it is also because we are not as strong emotionally yet as we should be. Indeed, the emotionally strong do not let their pride push them to be hurt by the behavior of people. We live in a dark world, and we are bound to be the recipients of sins committed by others against us. We cannot let those sins impact us so much that they destroy us through revenge and unforgiveness.

As Paul told us in Ephesians 6:12, we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities and spiritual forces. To combat sin, whether committed by others, or by ourselves, we should use the spiritual weapons that God put at our disposal: the belt of truth, the helmet of salvation, the shield of faith and the sword of the Spirit. (Ephesians 6:10-20)

Let me be completely honest with you now: if you want to take revenge personally or have been truly hurt by someone, then it shows that you care more about a situation than you should. Remember that you are not of this world anymore, and that this world, as we know it, will be completely destroyed before being totally recreated. Be detached from anything that this world can offer you, like an inflated ego, fame, and the like.

 

5. Emotionally strong people DO NOT ALLOW OTHERS TO BRING THEM DOWN

Being completely aware of who they are in Christ and of the immense value they have in the eyes of God, they do not let their worth depend on what others think of them. Their self-worth does not fluctuate, be it upwards or downwards. To put it differently, they are resilient to what people think or say about them, and this resilience helps them to continue to love others when they are the subject of criticisms, gossips and personal attacks.

Luke 6:32 NIV

“If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them.”

 

6. Emotionally strong people DO NOT FEAR THE FUTURE OR LIVE IN THE PAST

The emotionally strong know that God is their sole provider and that they will never be in want. They are also full of hope, and envision only a future dominated by victories rather than defeats. They do not dread anything, but look forward to the future with positive expectations.

They do not know all that the future holds for them, but they know without the shadow of a doubt:

Romans 8:28 NIV

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

They can only be in peace, having no reason whatsoever to look at the future with fear. Even death is not an issue for them, for they know that it is not the end of life, but the beginning of a new and better one, where there will be no more pain, nor crying, nor tears, nor sickness, any more.

Revelations 21:4 NKJV

And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.

As to the past, the emotionally strong can look at it without being impacted by it. Whether their past was glorious or filled with afflictions, defeats and pain, they know that when they gave their lives to Jesus, they became new creatures. They also understand that they have to live as a new creature, and thus in the present, in order to claim all the abundance that they are entitled to following the death and resurrection of their Lord, Jesus.

For them, the past is… all gone and must be left behind. They move, not backwards, but forward, and with high expectancy. They do not waste time analyzing the past or regretting some of their past decisions. Rather, they seek to acquire godly wisdom and to renew their thoughts for they know that it is the key to their continual transformation into the likeness of Christ.

7. Emotionally strong people DO NOT DO THINGS THEY DON’T WANT TO DO

They find out what they are good at and focus on their strengths. They are mentally strong and emotionally strong to say “No” when needed. This helps them reach their full potential.

Yes, we all have to do things we don’t like to do, but the emotionally strong never do things they do not really want to do. They are so filled with God’s love, Spirit and wisdom that they actually want to do the things that God commands them to do in the Bible.

They may not love every second of it, but they nevertheless enjoy being stretched and challenged because they know that it will bring them one step closer to being more like Christ.

Furthermore, they do not do things to win the approval of others, but simply to fulfill their passion, which is to express in practical ways God’s love to others. They may therefore volunteer to buy food for an elderly person, or to tutor a child, or to offer to babysit in order to give some parents a welcome break.

What’s more, with them, a “yes” means yes, and a “no” means no. This avoids them from making promises that they will not be able to keep. Furthermore, the emotionally strong do not gossip nor lie. They have no need to feel superior or to put others down, are not envious of the success, popularity, or talents of others, and do not need to be the center of attention. Having been saved, they want others to be saved or to sanctify themselves more. When in need, they turn to God. Period.

Conclusion

If you are currently emotionally weak, I urge you not to turn this characteristic into a crutch that you will keep holding onto for the rest of your life. And please quit making excuses for yourself or others. It only makes you more emotionally weak.

It does not matter where you come from, what you went through and the habits you had till your new birth, you can overcome your negative emotions and take captive your thoughts. Yes, you can. As a born-again believer, you are equipped with supernatural powers and abilities. If you stop nourishing your negative emotions (the ones that live in the old you) and start feeding the positive emotions that reside in the new you, soon you will develop an emotional strength that you did not imagine you had.

Believe in yourself and in the power that lives in you. If you have accepted Christ as your Savior and Lord, then you believe that He has been raised from the dead. Do you have that faith? Now, guess what? The same power that raised Jesus from the dead can help you win the fight against your emotional weakness. You have to believe that as well. If you do, and are ready to admit your emotional weaknesses and exercise your faith muscles, then you can embark on the road that leads to emotional transformation.

God is bigger than our emotions. You do not have to live the rest of your life emotionally weak. You can be the person that God created you to be. As you develop emotional strength, you will enjoy more abundance in your life and become a more powerful source of blessings for others.

All you need for your emotional transformation is already in the new you. Do you believe it? Will you then act upon this truth and belief? I hope so because you deserve a better life than the one you currently enjoy. Do not quit on yourself. Stand up spiritually and claim your emotional strength.

Your Sister in Christ,

Pastor Kris Belfils

www.krisbelfils.com

www.krisbelfils.wordpress.com

www.hopefellowshipspokane.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sources: Pastor Kris Belfils and Serge Roux-Levrat

Breastplate of Righteousness

Breastplate of Righteousness

Eph. 6:10 – 18

We are in a spiritual battle everyday. Soldiers would never go into battle without their armor, it would be a suicide mission if they did. How many missions have you gone into without being protected? God has given us His armor to put on daily. We put on His armor by; remembering what He has done for us, believing truth instead of lies, protected by His righteousness knowing we are right with God, walking in His peace, shielded by faith, wearing salvation, using the Word of God as a weapon, and praying always!

We are in the “Armor of God” series. We have learned how to “Stand Therefore,” and we have the “Belt of Truth” tightly around our loins. Today, let’s look at the next piece of armor we are to put on.

Eph. 6:14b NKJV

“…having put on the breastplate of righteousness,”

We can get a better understanding of this verse by looking at other translations of the Bible:

Amplified Bible“Breastplate of integrity and moral rectitude and of right standing with God.”

New Living Translation “Breastplate of God’s approval.”

Holman Christian Standard Bible “Righteousness like armor on your chest.”

Contemporary English Version“Let God’s justice protect you like armor.”

New Century Version“The protection of right living on your chest.”

“…the protection of right living on your chest.” I like that! We have to make a choice to live right or wrong. We have a choice to follow God’s Word and His Holy Spirit or to walk in the flesh and what pleases it.

Looking in the Strong’s Hebrew and Greek Definitions for some of the words or phrases used in these translations:

Righteousness means: “Virtue or quality of one who is upright, acceptable to God, purity, correctness in thinking, feeling and acting.”

Integrity: “Wholeness, innocence, without any evil motivation in the heart, ethically sound.”

God’s Approval – “To commend, to be pleased with, to be thought of as worth.”

Justice – “just; especially, just in the eyes of God; correct, righteous, innocent.”

The Breastplate

Why did Paul use the analogy of a breastplate?

1.  Breastplates protect the vital organs. 

The Roman soldier might have worn one of several types of breastplates. Depending on the particular design, the breastplate would extend from just below the neck to either the thighs or just below the stomach.

It was usually made out of some material into which had been sewn strips of leather and/or bits of tough material such as bones, hooves, metal, etc. Those in high rank might have a breastplate made completely out of metal, usually copper or bronze, that was hammered into shape to fit the individual.

The function of the breastplate was the same regardless of the particular type. It was there to protect the thorax (the literal Greek word here), that is, the portion of your body between your neck and legs.

2.  Breastplates protect the mind, emotions, and will.

In the Jewish culture they describe their emotions and feelings in terms of their vital organs.

Examples:

-The Hebrew word “‘racham,” which we translate as “compassion” or “tender mercies” is literally “bowels.”

Psalm 69:16 NKJV

“Hear me, O Lord, for Your lovingkindness is good; Turn to me according to the multitude of Your tender mercies.”

-The heart was used to symbolize the seat of volition, which is the ability to understand and make choices.

Proverbs 4:4 NKJV

“He also taught me, and said to me: Let your heart retain my words; Keep my commands, and live.”

Matthew 15:18 – 19 NKJV

“But those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies.”

The heart; also used (figuratively) very widely for the feelings, the will and even the intellect; likewise for the centre of anything (Strongs Hebrew and Greek Definitions H3824)

The Hebrew word for “kidneys” is translated in the KJV as “reins” and in the NAS as “mind” or “inner man” since that is what is actually being referred to.

Proverbs 23:16 KJV

“Yea, my reins shall rejoice, when thy lips speak right things.”

For example Proverbs 23:16 literally reads, “My son, if your heart is wise, My own heart also will be glad; and my ‘kidneys’ will rejoice, When your lips speak what is right.”

Why is this important? Because what Paul is talking about being protected by the breastplate of righteousness are your mind, emotions and will. Too often we fall into the devil’s traps because we make our decisions based on how we feel at the moment rather than on what is actually true and right.

Also, the breastplate of righteousness protects us when accusations arise against us and accuse us of false behavior or behavior from our past that we no longer walk in. There will be times when people, even fellow Christians, will bring up your past. Righteousness has delivered us from our sinful past. We are thankful for what Christ did to wash away our past mistakes. In doing so, we can stand tall in His righteousness knowing we are not that person any longer; we are clean and His righteousness covers us. We are in right standing with God and no matter what people say or think about who you use to be, you are righteous and holy in God’s sight. Wearing the Breastplate of righteousness covers it all. What a reminder of His great grace for us!

Righteousness

Righteousness must be our breast-plate. The righteousness of Christ is our breast-plate against the arrows of divine wrath. The righteousness of Christ is our breast-plate to fortify the heart against the attacks which Satan makes against us.

Righteousness is imperative to spiritual warfare.

Righteousness is represented by the breastplate because the breastplate covers the vital organs of the body, (Thus righteousness protects the soul and the conscience of the Christian.)

If the devil can strip the child of God of their sense of righteousness then he can wound their heart and conscience, and if this wound is not healed quickly certain spiritual death will result.

Let’s go back and revisit the Greek definition of righteousness, “Virtue or quality of one who is upright, acceptable to God, purity, correctness in thinking, feeling and acting.”

Isaiah 61:1 – 3

Isaiah 61:3 NKJV

“To console those who mourn in Zion, to give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they may be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified.”

God has given us beauty for ashes. He has made something beautiful of our lives after we have come to Him and received His Son as Lord and Savior. Not only that, but even after we sin and ask for forgiveness God makes us beautiful again.

We stand tall and forever beautiful because God has called us “trees of righteousness.” This is His planting. Trees signify strength and that which is truly beautiful. This is what God has made us to be.

Living in the great Pacific Northwest of the United States, especially Washington State, we are known for our pine trees. It is so beautiful to see a mountain side full of pine trees. They stand tall, show strength and beauty constantly. This is what we are as we wear the breastplate of righteousness. Every time you see trees, I pray it reminds you of God’s righteousness He has placed on and in you.

Isaiah 61:10 NKJV

“I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for He has clothed me with garments of salvation, He has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.”

God has covered each of us with the robe of righteousness, His righteousness shields, protects, and decorates all of us. This is God’s affection towards us! We are God’s ornaments shinning daily for Him.

Righteousness connotes deliverance (New Spirit Filled Life Bible notes page 947). Not only are we delivered from hell, our past shame and mistakes, but we are also ambassadors of His righteous or deliverance to the world. We have the answer to everyone’s problems; Jesus! Our breastplate should ring out to the world that there is hope for their life. It should say, “I’ve been delivered and so can you!”

“Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people.” (Proverbs 14:34).

It is not the nations numbers, military, politics, intellect, or being civilized that makes a nation great. True greatness of a nation, and condition of its future and progress are the people of the nation in their private, public, and international life who conduct themselves by the true will of God. Righteousness, good morals, and reverence for God exalts a nation. Sin is a disgrace to the people, it lowers them before God and man. It brings them down instead of exalting them. Let us be people who will shine for God and live right according to His Word, this will lift our nation up.

Pastor Kris Belfils

Matthew 6:33 NKJV

“But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.”

When we seek God first, and His kingdom, and His righteousness, we will be blessed and protected. I would love to tell you that once you receive Jesus Christ in your heart as Lord and Savior that you will never sin again, but that would not be true. Daily we need a Savior. Daily we need to put on the Breastplate of Righteousness to protect our vital organs of our mind, emotions, and will.

Matthew 5:6 NKJV

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.”

Hungering and thirsting for what is right, wanting what pleases God, is the beginning of right living.

Basically righteousness is being right with God. It is not something we do or earn. Our own self-righteous is faulty, unholy, and prideful. Isaiah 64:6  tells us that all our righteous deeds are as filthy rags before God.

Isaiah 64:6 NKJV

“But we are all like an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags; We all fade as a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.”

How many times have you felt superior to other Christians all because you haven’t sinned like they have? Maybe you think you would never do what they did. Be careful least you fall. It might be in the same sin you judge someone else in, or it might be in another area, all because you thought you were better then someone else. Sin is sin. There are no greater and smaller sins. Pride is sin; it is filthy, stinking, and retched and will separate you from God and possibly send you to hell. We cannot stand on our own self-righteousness.

I remember God showing me my filthy righteous one day. It was after I had made a mess of my life with sinful choices. I was walking through the consequences of my choices and trying to get right with God. I was praying and He showed me a pile of filthy rags. I even saw the stench rise from it. As I was praying I said to God, “Looks like we need to do some laundry.” But God said, “No, throw it all away.” I knew I needed to take on Christ’s righteousness that He died to give me. Then on another day I was driving in my car singing a worship song by Kathryn Scott:

Search me know me

Try me and see
Every worthless affection hidden in me
All I’m asking for is that You’d cleanse me Lord

Create in me a heart that’s clean
Conquer the power of secret shame
Come wash away the guilty stain of all my sin

Clothe me in robes of righteousness
Cover my nakedness with grace
All of my life before You now I humbly bring

As I sang the words; “Clothe me in robes of righteousness” I could see God covering me with a white robe. The sleeves went all the way to my wrists and the bottom of the robe went all the way past my feet. It covered me totally and all you could see was this bright shinny white robe on me. For the first time I truly saw myself clean, whole, and right with God. It was nothing I did. It was given to me through God’s mercy and grace. I received it by faith that day and have worn it ever since.

Our righteousness are as filthy rags. God’s righteousness is complete, covering everything in our life. We cannot do anything to add to it or take away from it.

Today, let’s put on the breastplate of righteousness and protect our heart from anything the enemy will try to hurl in our direction. God has given us powerful armor to wear everyday to defend and to offend the enemy. We are mighty warriors in Christ!

Your sister,

Pastor Kris Belfils

www.krisbelfils.com

www.hopefellowshipspokane.com

www.krisbelfils.wordpress.com

Fruit of the Spirit – Peace

Fruit of the spirit - Peace (blank)Gal. 5:22 NKJV

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.”

In this message we are going to look at the fruit of peace in our life. In today’s world, it is easy to not have peace. We can be in turmoil over so many things: Economy, our health, finances, people, jobs, family, church, relationships, and so much more.

The devil wants us to lose our peace and be in turmoil all the time. We have to fight for our peace. God wants us to be in His perfect peace 24/7.

Isaiah 26:3 Amplified Bible

“You will guard him and keep him in perfect and constant peace whose mind [both its inclination and its character] is stayed on You, because he commits himself to You, leans on You, and hopes confidently in You.”

The past few weeks God has been placing things in my path that either I can get upset about, and lose my peace, or I can react or deal with the situations in a calm manner and not lose my peace.

I was at the airport heading leaving for a speaking engagement. We arrived thinking we had a lot of time, but there was an extremely long line to check in and we had to weigh and check in our luggage. Even then, we needed to get into another long line to have our carryon bags x-rayed. Often I travel with my guitar equipment of cables, peddles, and my wireless microphone. I made the mistake of placing all that in one of the carryon bags. We were running late already, and they had to take the carryon with all my equipment and physically look it over, check for bomb residue, and re-Xray it again. I wish I could say I had peace and reacted well, but I was frustrated and edgy. I lost my peace until we finally got to the gate to wait to board our plane.

Many times on my trip it seemed an over abundance of circumstances would come up for me to get possibly get upset and lose my peace. Time and again, I would say out loud, “I will not lose my peace over this!” and would choose to relax instead of being in turmoil. I chose to keep my mind on the good instead of the bad when it was happening.

We have a choice to acquire peace and remain in it. Peace is one of the Fruit of the Spirit. It is already in us when we asked Jesus Christ into our hearts as our personal Lord and Savior. We need to allow the Fruit of the Spirit to develop in us daily.

It is not our circumstances that upset us, it is how we respond to them that can bring strife. We have to respond in the proper way. Let’s look at Isaiah again to get a better insight as to what to do to keep our peace.

Isaiah 26:3 Amplified Bible

“You will guard him and keep him in perfect and constant peace whose mind [both its inclination and its character] is stayed on You, because he commits himself to You, leans on You, and hopes confidently in You.”

One morning I woke up with this verse being spoken in my ear. I knew immediately God was speaking to me that I am losing my own peace just because I didn’t keep my mind and thoughts on Him. I started to think of the last few days of how stressed I was and I realized it was my fault because I allowed my mind to turn from God and onto my circumstances and I started to worry. Throughout the day I noticed how my thoughts would bring me to turmoil and I would have no peace, but this time, I was reminded of this verse God whispered in my ear that morning and it helped me to hold my peace instead of losing it.

We can live in perfect peace

Taking Isaiah 26:3 and breaking it down, we can learn a lot about how to live in perfect peace.

1.  Keep your mind stayed on God

a. How we think

We can put ourselves in turmoil just by the way we think. We have peace and then something comes up, either a circumstance or a thought in our mind, and we turn our focus totally on it instead of who God is in the situation.

Circumstances come and go, but God, and His faithfulness and goodness remains. We can choose to react in peace or turmoil.

There are times I have to say out loud about a thought; “That is not true!” or “That is a lie!” I would find that if I immediately say the opposite of what I am thinking in a Godly perspective, the thought had no power. “God has a plan and He is taking care of this!” “I can trust You Lord that you will provide.” “I leave this in Your hands God and believe good things will happen.”

How do you respond when things don’t go your way? Do you lose your peace over it? God wants us to have patience and self-control (I will be speaking on these fruit in the next few weeks). Far too often we lose our peace because we don’t control our reactions and we get all upset over something that we can’t change anyhow.

Worrying over something doesn’t bring change, it only loses our peace. I know because I have done this in my life, and still struggle in this area from time to time. A negative thought comes to your mind and you start to dwell on it and think about it and believe it will happen. Then you stress over it and talk about it to others.

b.  How we react

Our reaction to problems can bring strife and stress. Too often our reaction makes the problem worse. We can create a problem just by our reaction to circumstances. Choose your battles. When a situation comes up, think before you react or speak. Keep your big mouth shut! At least that is what I tell myself when I experience something that bothers me.

I was in Wal-Mart recently and my daughter and I were looking at and smelling the special lotions they had to possibly buy one. We were having a good time enjoying the smells when a Wal-Mart employee came up to us shaking her head and harshly said, “You can’t do that!” “You can’t smell the lotions because it might bother other customers.” I asked, “But how are we to know if we like one so we can buy it?” She said, “I think you can go to the pharmacy and they should have samples to smell.” Then she proceeded to explain in more and more detail why we were not allowed to smell the lotions. I could feel my flesh rising up within me and I wanted to tell her what I thought of her and her “policy.” I felt my peace leaving me, so instead of giving this clerk a piece of my mind, I chose to remain in my peace and said, “Okay, thank you.” and the clerk stopped talking and left. My daughter and I walked away and we talked about it. It was a good feeling to react in a peaceful way in front of her. I kept my peace and I taught by example how to react. If I reacted in the flesh, and allowed my emotions to run wild the Wal-Mart employee would have stayed with us and the situation would have gotten worse. I’ve seen people being escorted out of the store due to their bad behavior and I didn’t want that to be me. (What a thought of being kicked out of Wal-Mart of all stores!)

We can decide to change our behavior in a split second. We can choose our battles. We don’t have to react negatively to situations. Choose to keep your peace and keep your mind stayed on good things.

2.  Commit yourself to God

When we ask Christ into our hearts to forgive us of all the wrong that we have done, and to allow Him to have control, we have made a commitment. We are saying, “You have control of the steering wheel of my life now and I will follow and obey you.” It is a good thing to give God control. It brings peace. When we fight having our own way we will have turmoil.

Psalm 37:5 NLT

“Commit everything you do to the LORD. Trust him, and he will help you.”

We show we commit ourselves to the Lord by saying, “I don’t understand all that I am going through right now, but I know You are with me, and You will give me wisdom and help when needed.” I might understand everything, and my questions might not be all answered, but in my heart I know God is for me and has a plan. I can trust God in all situations that He will work it out for my good because I am His and I have committed my life to Him.

Committing your life to God means that you will obey His Word and His promptings. Obedience brings blessing. In this case the blessing is peace of mind, heart, and spirit.

3.  Lean on God and hope confidently in Him

Proverbs 3:5 – 6 Amplified Bible

“Lean on, trust in, and be confident in the Lord with all your heart and mind and do not rely on your own insight or understanding. In all your ways know, recognize, and acknowledge Him, and He will direct and make straight and plain your paths.”

Trying to reason everything out will take your peace away. We will have unanswered questions. We need to be aware that trying to reason everything out by ourselves is a problem. It is a serious matter that we need to deal with, just as Jesus dealt with it in the hearts of those who followed Him. Ask God to help you stop reasoning and being to live by faith, leaning on and trusting in Him and not on your own understanding.

There is a place with God that we have to be like a little child. Children, who are raised in a secure environment, will feel safe and often don’t understand everything, yet they know their parents love them and are watching out for them. They trust their parents. They don’t have to figure everything out, that is the parents job. This is true with our Heavenly Father. He is the one who figures things out. In fact, He already has and knows what we need. Committing ourselves to God and confidently hoping in Him brings peace. It is a faith thing, not a fact thing. Facts may scream at you that there is no hope, but faith arises in us and shouts “With God all things are possible!”

Peace, when your in the Kingdom, is not the absence of conflict, rather its the assurance that in the midst of conflict, the father has things under control.

Stop trying to figure everything out.

There is nothing in the Bible that says we are suppose to know everything. The more we try to figure things out the more confused we can get.

Get comfortable with saying, “I don’t know.” I don’t know, and if God wants me to know He will tell me, and until then, it is enough that He knows.

All this said

Everyday the enemy works to steal our peace. Because when we lose our peace, we start getting into emotions, and then we start making bad decisions, and say things we shouldn’t say. Then it goes from bad to worse. Follow peace.

Peace should rule like an umpire.

Col. 3:15 Amplified Bible

“And let the peace (soul harmony which comes) from Christ rule (act as umpire continually) in your hearts [deciding and settling with finality all questions that arise in your minds, in that peaceful state] to which as [members of Christ’s] one body you were also called [to live].  And be thankful (appreciative), [giving praise to God always].”

The umpire in a ball game decides if a player is “in” or “out.” Peace is to be the umpire that decides if something in your life should be in or out.

Let the peace of God rule like an umpire deciding with finality every question that arises. If any decision is not peaceful, chances are it is not God’s will.

1 Peter 3:10 – 11 Amplified Bible

“For let him who wants to enjoy life and see good days [good – whether apparent or not] keep his tongue free from evil and his lips from guile (treachery, deceit). Let him turn away from wickedness and shun it, and let him do right. Let him search for peace (harmony; undisturbedness from fears, agitating passions, and moral conflicts) and seek it eagerly. [Do not merely desire peaceful relations with God, with your fellowmen, and with yourself, but pursue, go after them!]”

Learn how to zip your lip. Don’t let every feeling you have fly out of your mouth. Self-control. No fruit of the spirit is called others-control. We can’t control others, only ourselves.

Search, seek for peace. Refuse to live without peace.

You want peace, but you have not done anything to get it. You blame your circumstances and people. Stop allowing this to happen. Remember it is a choice to be at peace.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to be around somebody that every time things don’t go their way they get mad, or the only way they have a smile on their face is if things go their way. Selfishness is a peace robber.

Peace With Yourself

Another peace robber is the lack of peace with yourself.

A lot of the problems with people is that they just don’t like themselves. They have a private war going on within themselves everyday.

If you ever want to enjoy peace in life you have to have peace with God and peace with others and with yourself (1 Peter 3:11).

You don’t like this about you and you don’t like that about you. This is personal war within.

How can you have more peace with yourself?

-Don’t always take an inventory of everything that is wrong with you.

-Face your faults, but don’t focus on them. (even your own faults and failures will distract you from growing in God.) Learn to talk back to the devil. He talks to you.

-Stop comparing yourself with others.

-Stop putting your confidence in outward things. Position. Work. Family. The creator of the universe loves you! If people don’t like you, maybe they have the problem and not you. If they don’t like you they miss out on a great relationship.

-Stop letting other people run your life and start being lead by the Spirit. You will never have peace with your heart and be bold enough to be lead by the Holy Spirit.

-Listen to what God says about you in His Word and not what people say about you.

-Let go of the past and press towards the future.

You can’t be at peace with people until you are at peace with yourself. How can you get along with others if you don’t get along with you?

You can’t give away what we don’t have. Jesus was full of peace and could speak to the storm. You can’t speak peace to the storms in your life if you are filled with turmoil. When you have peace then you can bring peace to situations everywhere you go. There is no greater witness to your children then to be peaceful in circumstances that are not peaceful.

Do you live in turmoil, anxiety, or strife? Learn to cast your cares on God and let him take care of it.

You can be peaceful in situations where you have no reason to be peaceful. Where common sense says you should be upset. We can do this over and over in our life.

There is hope for everybody to have the fruit of the spirit manifest in our life.

The Holy Spirit wants to teach us a brand new way to live

Do you want peace in your life?

The world is hard and bad, and likely to get worse. It is not our circumstances that upset us, it is how to respond to them in the proper way.

Have a goal to be peaceful everyday, even when the enemy tries to upset you.

No Peace = No Power

Pastor Kris Belfils

www.krisbelfils.com

www.krisbelfils.wordpress.com

www.hopefellowshipspokane.com

Overcome Or Be Overcome – Part 2 (Are You A Hoarder?)

UN-FORGIVENESS IS…

1. Un-forgiveness is Disobedience

2. Un-forgiveness gives Satan an advantage over us.

3. Un-forgiveness is Bondage.

4. Un-forgiveness is Poison.

Un-forgiveness is like taking poison and expecting the other person to die. Being mad at another person only hurts you. You might pull away from the other person thinking that you are punishing them, but you are really putting yourself in prison and drinking poison. Every time you think about what happened, instead of getting angry, start to pray for them.

Mat 5:44 KJV

“But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;”

Don’t hold on to feelings of bitterness and resentment and let them poison your future. Let go of those hurts and pains. Forgive the people who did you wrong. Forgive yourself for the mistakes you have made. You may even need to forgive God for allowing it to happen to you.

You will never be truly happy as long as you harbor bitterness in your heart. You will wallow in self-pity, always feeling sorry for yourself, thinking that life hasn’t dealt you a fair hand. You must let go of those negative attitudes and the accompanying anger. Change the channel of your thinking and start focusing on the goodness of God.

CHANGE THE CHANNEL

We all know how to use the remote control to change the channels on the TV. If we see something we don’t like, no big deal – we just flip channels. We need to learn how to mentally change channels when negative images of the past pop up in our minds unexpectedly. Unfortunately, when some people see those negative experiences on their minds’ “screens,” instead of quickly changing the channels, they pull up a chair and get some popcorn, as though they’re going to watch a good movie. They willingly allow themselves to relive all those hurts and pains. Then they wonder why they are depressed, upset, or discouraged. They wonder why they NEVER get over it. Learn to change the channel. Don’t let your mind or your emotions drag you down into despair. Instead, dwell on the good things God has done in your life.

How do we overcome un-forgiveness?

1. TAKE THE GARBAGE OUT ON A REGULAR BASIS!!!

Don’t allow this junk to fester. Don’t pet the pity monster or it will get bigger.

2. WALK IN LOVE

Un-forgiveness is the opposite of love. What legacy are you leaving behind when you die? When you pass away people will not esteem you and remember you fondly for being standoffish or filled with un-forgiveness. NO! They will remember you for the love and warmth you showed to them and others. Forgiveness is a choice; based on obedience of God’s command, that is clearly set forth in His Word… that we “walk in love”.

Think about being out in your yard, watering your garden and your flowers, and you get a kink in the hose… the water stops flowing. If you don’t water your flowers and plants, eventually they will die. Here you are, you have ten million gallons of water sitting in a water tower somewhere, but one little twist, a kink in the hose stops it from flowing.

Listen: We have all of God’s power, God’s blessing, and God’s grace, but a kink, a twist in your heart, of bitterness or un-forgiveness can stop it from flowing in your life. It is important that we get all of those areas free, and the river of life flowing at all times. We have to remember that; out of the heart flow the issues of life. Guard your heart, keep it with all diligence, Solomon said.

We know that Jesus dealt with the inner man, the “hidden man of the heart“, as Peter referred to it. Paul spoke of the inner man, guarding and keeping on the inside.

We are living in an hour where the Holy Spirit is saying: “walk in love.”

Eph 5:2  (KJV)

“And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling savour.”

I like how the Message Bible states this verse…

Eph 5:2 (MSG)

“Mostly what God does is love you. Keep company with him and learn a life of love. Observe how Christ loved us. His love was not cautious but extravagant. He didn’t love in order to get something from us, but to give everything of himself to us. We need to love like that.”

3.     WE FORGIVE OTHERS THROUGH GOD’S FORGIVENESS FOR US!

How can we forgive? Where do we get the strength? We get it through God’s forgiveness for us. He forgave through the death of His Son, Jesus Christ on the cross. Because He forgave us, when Jesus died and bore our sins and took our penalty, was crucified and buried and then raised from the dead, so that God could offer forgiveness and salvation to every person. This is our pattern, our example, and our help, through faith and obedience to forgive others.

Close your eyes right now. See Jesus on the cross crucified. Do you see his wounds? Can you see the effects of the beatings and lashes he took? Do you see the blood coming down off His forehead where the crown of thrones was placed? Do you see the nails in his hands and feet? Do you see the anguish and love on his face? Place the person who has wounded you into the wounds of Jesus. He died for your sins and those done to you. Have a conversation with the Lord, and choose to forgive “anyone” and “everyone” who has ever offended you. He may bring to your remembrance people who have hurt you and you have not yet forgiven. Speak out of your mouth, through faith, that you choose to forgive and let it go.

Whenever that person comes to your mind, and you think of how you were hurt or offended, or even destroyed, remind yourself that you have chosen to forgive, and each time it will get easier because the Lord will give you the strength. Once you have done this, and choose to walk in love through faith and obedience in the future, hold on to your chair because the Lord will begin to release all those things you have been believing Him for. Weed the garden of your heart and keep all things that are not of love far away from you.

Ephesians 4:31

“Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor (quarreling) and evil speaking be put away from you with all malice (malice gets into that area of hatred because of bitterness and resentment).” 

Notice these are all cousins, they are all related, and they are in the un-forgiveness family. Bitterness, wrath, anger, quarreling, evil speaking (talking ugly about people you are bitter against, you say vile things, slanderous reports, remarks that degrade) and malice (angry hatred) let it be put away (this means to get rid of it; get over it; deal with it; overcome it) it is a command from the Lord.

Eph. 4:32

“And become useful and helpful and kind to one another, tenderhearted (compassionate, understanding, loving-hearted), forgiving one another [readily and freely], as God in Christ forgave you.”

In verse 32, the Lord commands us to be kind toward one anothertenderhearted, and forgiving. So don’t just get rid of it, but put positive things in its place. Replace being bitter, angry, speaking evil, and unforgiving with love, mercy, grace, self-control, and forgiveness.

Ephesians 32, continues …as God in Christ forgave you.”

♥God was willing to forgive you before you even thought about repenting.

♥Jesus didn’t wait to die on the cross until after you decided to repent. He died on the cross long before you thought about repenting. He chose to forgive you.

♥If we choose to forgive, as God forgave us, then when are we actually going to forgive?

♥God’s forgiveness is based on His love. It is not based on that person’s response, actions, or repentance.

♥It doesn’t matter what that person does or doesn’t do in order to bring you to forgiveness. It is not about the other person and what they need to do.

♥It’s our being the bigger person and forgiving, that will allow restoration with people who don’t yet know how, or even deserve it.

♥You say “how can I forgive them, they don’t even want my forgiveness, they might not even be alive today.” It doesn’t matter, your choosing to love and to forgive is not based on their response, it is based on God’s love that is inside of you. It is based on what you need to do to be set free from the torment un-forgiveness brings.

♥Forgiveness is a decision not a feeling. We speak our choice to walk in love, and God will give us the strength to let it go. Even if you have to speak out that choice over and over again; “I choose to forgive!” it is better then holding it all in and ignoring it.

Remember you are walking in obedience to God when you choose to forgive. This pleases His heart, and the sin that separated you from God is gone and you become closer to Christ.

♥It wasn’t a suggestion, it wasn’t a pick and choose which person you want to forgive and who you will not; it was a command of God to put away anger, malice, strife, and get rid of it – and learn how to walk in love by keeping it out of your life.

4. BE UNDERSTANDING

We don’t know what that other person has gone through. Don’t say he doesn’t deserve your understanding. Don’t be quick to judge and condemn them in the court of your mind. There is always a reason behind every action. The real purpose in understanding is to help us see the difference between the sin and the sinner. Don’t try to understand the other person. Try instead to be understanding. Forgiveness brings restorations. We are commanded to dwell together in unity!

Psa 133:1-3 KJV

“Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron’s beard: that went down to the skirts of his garments.” 

The Bible says, even though you “understand all mysteries and all knowledge but have not love, you are nothing” (1 Cor. 13). Be understanding. This is what love is. Love is an open, listening ear. Love is a warm, accepting heart. Love is an understanding friend.

Col. 3:12 – 14 

“Accept life, and be most patient and tolerant with one another, always ready to forgive if you have a difference with anyone. Forgive as freely as the Lord has forgiven you. And, above everything else, be truly loving, for love is the golden chain of all the virtues.”

Again the Message Bible says it well…

Col 3:12-14 MSG

“So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you. And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It’s your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it.” 

Understanding doesn’t mean you agree with the other person or what they did. Understanding is not unconditional acceptance, but it is acceptance in any condition, in any situation.

5. LEARN TO VALUE OTHERS

All their strengths and weaknesses. No body is perfect! Don’t expect others to be perfect.

Look at that unforgivable person in your life. They are human. They are someone whom Christ died for. No one whom Christ died for can be my enemy. If I love God, how can I keep from loving my brother?

1 John 4:20-21 HCSB

“If anyone says, “I love God,” yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For the person who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And we have this command from Him: the one who loves God must also love his brother.”

Before you write off the other person stop and think…

♥No one is too low to be an object of God’s love.

♥No one (however evil) is excluded from the forgiveness of God – only if they choose to walk away from it.

♥No one can be considered worthless, when Christ—God Himself—died for them.

♥No one is unlovable—if God loves them, then God can love him through me!

CONCLUSION:

WHAT TRASH DO YOU HAVE?

We all are human. That means we are not perfect. There might be past experiences that have hurt us, or attitudes we’ve developed that are not healthy and need to change. There might be memories that we need to give to God and allow Him to heal, so He can bring closure and help you forgive and get beyond it. These “issues” are the trash that we need to empty from our hearts. They are issues in our life that have built up through time, which will only cause stench if we do not take care of them.

What is stinking in your life?

Are there areas that you have not given up to God? Are there people that you have not forgiven? Do you need to forgive yourself? Do you harbor bitterness, anger, or resentment? Do you have self-righteousness piled up like dirty rags? Do you have pride stinking in your life? Have you not given God control of your life totally and completely? Do you see how you’ve tried to manipulate people or circumstances? Do you have fear built up that paralyzes you? Maybe you are an approval addict and now you see it for the first time. Do you criticize or judge people? Do you always look at the negative or look for the negative report? Do you see your lack of trust for God and want to start learning how to trust Him again? Do you find yourself always complaining? Maybe you don’t have a forgiveness issue, but you have actions or attitudes that you need to change to be more like Jesus. We all have areas in our lives that need God’s tender touch to bring change. Be encouraged to lay down your desires and dreams and allow God to direct your every step.

THE TRASH WILL NOT GO AWAY BY ITSELF!

Wishing the trash would go out will not get the trash out. Hoping the trash would be gone will not get the trash out. Even ignoring the trash will not prevent it from stinking up our homes. This is the same in our spiritual lives. We can wish, hope, or even try to ignore the issues in our hearts that keep coming up, but it will never go away until we turn it over to the Master Garbage Man and let Him take it all away. You will be surprised and stand amazed at what God will do as you yield your life totally to Him. He has a plan for your life and He is just waiting for you to let Him have the steering wheel to take you places you’ve never dreamed before.

Can you think of any Trash that has been piling up in your life? No matter how much trash you have, God has a container bigger! The key is to put your trash out and leave it there. As you do, your life will smell fresher and look cleaner because the Master Garbage Man has come and taken away all the trash that you have left out for Him. You can trust God to take it all away. He is faithful. He will make something new and fresh out of something that was thrown away or forgotten. Then your trash will not overcome you but you will overcome the trash!!

Your sister in Christ,

Pastor Kris Belfils

www.krisbelfils.com

www.hopefellowshipspokane.com