8 The Lord is compassionate and gracious,
slow to anger, abounding in love.
9 He will not always accuse,
nor will he harbor his anger forever;
10 he does not treat us as our sins deserve
or repay us according to our iniquities.
11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his love for those who fear him;
12 as far as the east is from the west,
so far has he removed our transgressions from us. (Source)
Psalms 103: 12 reminds us that God forgives fully and removes our sins from us as far as the East is from the West. This truth came up recently when I met a friend to discuss the bible studies that we had both done separately over the BSF break, her Hebrews and me, James.
A theme that separately came up for each of us is belief and how it is also possible for us as believers not to take God at His word and put in caveats that are not there OR that limit our overall ability to enjoy the time spent with Him. And this way, practice unbelief. In my specific case, this came through in the area of prayers. For others in my life, I am able to pray big prayers and believe on their behalf that God is who He says He is and that He can do what He said He will but somehow somehow in my case my faith is muted and I doubt that He will do what He said He can. So my pal rightly asked me: “what’s that about?” And in that moment, I was reminded of the verse that exhorts fathers not to provoke their children to anger by how they treat them (Ephesians 6: 4 NLT).
We often approach God based on our earthly experiences rather than step out of those and experience Him as the eternal Father who loves perfectly. Who has been perfectly revealed through His son Jesus Christ (Heb 1:3) and His living word (the Bible).
This contrasts with the devil who speaks from both sides of his mouth. On the one hand he is the father of all lies (John 8:44) and in the other, the accuser of brethren (Revelation 12:10). However, we also know that Jesus has fully overcome the world on our behalf and though we will have trouble we should take heart and have peace (John 16:33). This means that I can overcome this burden of shame and this fear of intimacy with Christ due to past sin by entrusting my all to Him and believing fully in Him. Additionally, I know that Revelation 12:11 talks of overcoming the accuser through the words of our testimony. By what we declare and what we state can we be renewed and overcome his lies about us, God’s children.
Questions to Ponder
- In what ways do you struggle to take God fully at His word?
- What are some of your personal life experiences that hinder the development of a childlike faith in God the Father?
- How will knowing this truth of Christ now impact how you approach Him in faith?
Lord we thank you that you are eternal yet unchanging, that your word is true and that you can swear by none but yourself which further encourages our faith in you. Forgive me where I have doubted your word in how I have acted, thought or spoken. Help me always to trust in you ( in the following specific areas of my life ) and believe even when my old self wants to doubt. Teach me how to hold onto my faith unswerving and this way to bring glory and honour to you. I thank you that you are a good Father who gives good gifts to His children and who forgives us fully and does not hold our past sins against us.
Posted in books, Heart matters, life
Tagged about me, bible god, Bible Study, Book of James, BSF International, devotions, female friendship, friendship, God, relationship
It is quite funny how we can pick to do something and then later find that God had actually purposed for us to learn from that experience. Well, I picked James as I had just finished doing John and wanted something light for the BSF break. How very wrong I was as James turned out to be the very thing I needed to continue with the lessons learnt from the Book of John.
What character traits of God did I see?
- God as sovereign, ordering all my plans and in control of my future.
- God as Judge. Reading James 5, I learnt that the coming of Christ is imminent and that in all my plans I have to remember the eternal plan for mankind’s salvation.
- God as transformer who is able to change me from my fallen self through to the daughter that He would have me become.
What actions/thoughts do I need to stop?
How has the study encouraged me?
- I was encouraged by the fact that by abiding in Christ and remaining in His words and teachings, I will grow. This was brought out through the likening of God’s word to a mirror. (James 1: 22 – 25)
22 Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. 23 Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror 24 and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25 But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.
So be encouraged!!
Encourage your group members to choose a verse or passage of the Bible that illustrates:
- A way they would like to grow in Christlikeness.
- A promise they need to remember.
- An attribute of God’s person they want to know more deeply.
- A precept they want to apply to an area of struggle, pain, or temptation.
And, to be clear, Jesus does encourage. He offers words of strength to the weary and comfort to the hurting. In a world where we so often feel we don’t measure up, we need his encouragement daily. By focusing on only part of his message, however, I’m concerned that we’ve reduced Jesus to a spiritual cheerleader. And, in turn, that’s what we’ve become to one another. We offer words of affirmation, but not rebuke; words of forgiveness, but not repentance. We rightly celebrate his grace, but often forget to mourn our sin.
Take your thoughts captive and examine them closely. Bring them into submission. Consider the fruit. Then fight back with gospel truths. This is how we go to war.
What can we do when we’re unmoved by God’s love and the gospel’s power?What can we do when we’re unmoved by God’s love and the gospel’s power?
You can have the best spouse on the planet and enjoy the most fulfilling sex life imaginable, and still this fact remains: if our hearts are not satisfied in God, they will never be satisfied. Spouses can be wonderful helpers, but they are sorry saviors. The best way to have a blessed sex life is to delight in the God who gives the gift. Jesus is always better than any gift he gives you, including sex in marriage.
Posted in books, Heart matters, home, life, marriage
Tagged Africa, baking, Being Black, Bible Study, book club, Cape Town, coffee, culture, death, hospitality, ice cream, Inspiration, Kampala, motherhood, natural hair, Uganda
Posted in Heart matters, home, marriage, working
Tagged Africa, Bible Study, bible verses, Ethiopia, fatherhood, Kenyan elections, marriage, motivation, Nigeria, photography, prayer, Salvation, travel, working
This week I am grateful for so many little things of a personal nature to me.
- My two little nephews – one is 8 years old and the other is just over a month old. With all the talk of a royal baby, it’s hard not to be grateful for the two that are related to me.
- Feeling more and more integrated with the new team at work and being involved in office banter.
- Had two difficult conversations that went very well actually.
- After three weeks of planning, I FINALLY MADE IT BACK TO GYM!
- Went to St Georges Parktown this past Sunday. Love that Church.
- The opportunity to participate in a very practical and uplifting bible study with a friend in Nairobi.
- Job 37:14: Listen to this, Job; stop and consider God’s wonders
So what caught your eye this past week?