August 11, 2017
Today’s Text and Thought of Encouragement:
“I am with you alway.”
“O my soul, set not thine affections upon rusting, moth-eaten, decaying treasures, but set thine heart upon Him who abides forever faithful to thee…Put thine all in Christ: set all thine affections on His person, all thy hope in His merit, all thy trust in His blood, all thy joy in His presence, and so thou mayest laugh at loss, and defy destruction…Go, sorrowing one of affliction, tell thy secrets to the Friend who sticketh closer than a brother. Trust all thy concerns with Him who never can be taken from thee, who will never leave thee, and who will never let thee leave Him, even ‘Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, and today, and forever.’ ‘Lo, I am with you always,’ is enough for my soul to live upon.”
Charles Haddon Spurgeon
Today’s Study Text:
“If thou, Lord, shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand? But there is forgiveness with thee.”
“A ‘Whole’ Lot of Love” Part 4
“Whole” - 1) containing all components; 2) not divided or disjoined; 3) sound and healthy; 4) constituting the full amount; 5) a complete entity.
What does forgiveness mean to me?
Is there something in my life for which I need forgiveness?
Is there someone in my life whom I need to forgive?
“He who cannot forgive another breaks the bridge over which he must pass himself.”
During my early twenties, when I appeared to those around me to lose my “spiritual footing,” there was no one who suffered more from watching me wander aimlessly on a destructive path than my dad.
My father was orphaned at the age of 6 months and when he met my mother, her family gave him the stable footing he lacked growing up in a “foster home.” My mother and my sister and I were the joy of my father’s life. Having children and a wife that he adored and protected was his life’s goal.
So watching one of his children struggle in her life, as you can imagine, was extremely painful to this over-protective dad who longed to shelter his children from every pain and sorrow life might dish out.
During this time, to say our relationship was strained, would be an understatement. The problems we experienced, I freely admit, were most generally of my causing.
Thankfully, with prayers and love, I found myself drawn back to the path of God’s choosing for my life, and as time went by, the rift that had developed in my relationship with my father was healed.
It was several years later that I got a call from my mother. My parents were in Dallas and she was nearly hysterical when I heard her voice. “Something has happened to Daddy. I think he may have had a heart attack. The ambulance is taking him to the hospital.”
Over the next few days, we found out that the initial assessment was correct. My father had sustained a major heart attack. My sister and I made plans immediately to fly to Dallas and within a few hours, we were at our father’s bedside in a Coronary Care Unit at Baylor University Hospital.
It was heartbreaking to see my strong dad lying in bed. His skin was so pale and cold. His face looked older than his 53 years.
It was the first time I had seen my athletic, healthy father appear so vulnerable. And a wave of guilt swept over me like nothing I had experienced before.
When I got back to the room where “we girls” were staying, I buried my head in a pillow and wept uncontrollably. I felt in my heart that I had caused this heart attack. I was certain my rebellion had broken my father’s heart – and I made a decision right then and there to set things right.
Early the next morning, before anyone else was awake, I got up and walked to the hospital to my dad’s room.
For nearly an hour I sat by his bedside, watching him sleep. When his eyes opened, he smiled and asked, “What are you doing here so early, Dorothy?”
I walked over and sat down on the edge of his bed, not wishing to disturb him. I took his big hand, so often used to take care of his family, and I held it tightly in mine.
“Daddy,” I began to sob, “I caused this! I made you have this heart attack.”
Silence. And then the biggest smile I had ever seen crossed my dad’s face. ‘No, you didn’t honey,” he said. “You have never in your life brought me anything but the greatest joy.”
“Daddy,” I continued, “You know that isn’t true. Remember when I _______ ? And don’t you recall when I _____________? And what about the time I didn’t speak to you for over a week. I caused you this pain – I know it.”
My dad looked at me and said something I will never forget as long as I live. “Dorothy, I don’t have any recollection of those events you just told me about. None at all. I think you are absolutely perfect – and always have been.”
At that moment, I found out personally, what forgiveness is all about. “Blessed is she whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered” (Psalm 32: 1, N.I.V.).
I found out that I had a clean slate with my dad! As The Message puts it so touchingly, “Count yourself lucky, how happy you must be – you get a fresh start, your slate’s wiped clean” (Psalm 32: 1, The Message).
When the paralyzed man came to Jesus, many on the outside looking in thought he just needed physical healing. What he actually longed for most was internal healing for his scarred emotions and forgiveness for his broken-down spiritual life. And so Jesus said: “Man, your sins are forgiven” (Luke 5: 20, Amplified Bible). Like a thick cloud, his sins were blotted out. They were tossed into the deepest part of the sea. He wasn’t just forgiven by Jesus, this man’s past failings were forgotten. Never to be brought up and thrown in his face. Never to serve as a reminder of his past.
For just like my earthly dad did for me, our Heavenly dad looks at us and says: “I can’t even remember what you’re talking about. You’ve always been perfect in my eyes.” This, my friend, is because the Son is standing in my place and yours – and He is perfect! And this is what forgiveness is all about. What a way to celebrate a new day in your life and mine!
“I’ve wiped the slate of all your wrongdoings, there’s nothing left of your sins. Come back to me, come back. I’ve redeemed you.”
The Message Bible
“As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.”
New King James Version
“For when the Lord forgave all sins, He made an exception of none.”
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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