When your religion is perfectionism Part 4

Take time to read Romans 4 again and meditate upon it today. Today’s article is the final one on the religion of perfectionism. In other words, a religion of perfectionism is having a religion that is dependent upon me being flawless and sinless.

What then shall we say was gained by Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh? For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness.” Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due. And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness, just as David also speaks of the blessing of the one to whom God counts righteousness apart from works: “Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered; blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not count his sin.”
(Romans 4:1-8)

The person “who does not work” here in Romans 4 means the person who did not work everything perfectly under the law. Paul is not saying you don’t have to obey God. Grace is not a license to sin and live how we please (Read Romans 6). What he is saying is that David sought to live by God’s law, and it was clear he loved God’s law (Psalm 119). However, David found himself in need of grace because of his breaking of God’s law. He could not “work” his way to salvation. David was in a wretched and broken state before God (Psalm 32 and 51). So when God said to David, “Your sins are forgiven,” (2 Samuel 12:13), David could praise God with the knowledge of how blessed he was to be forgiven by God. David, even in the Old Testament, was saved by grace through faith, not by perfectly keeping the Law of Moses. David and Abraham were “counted” as “righteous” because they trusted in God. Their righteousness was from God, not from their flawless adherence to the Law.

Think of how this heart of living under grace and walking in trust of a loving Father will transform how you see everything. If you are walking by grace through faith, knowing God shelters you with His mercy as you seek to walk beside Him, how will you then begin to see others in your life? How then will you see your spouse? What will that do for how you parent your children? Will this change how you see your brothers and sisters in your congregation? Does this living under grace and walking by trusting a merciful and kind Father transform how you deal with people at work? You see, it changes everything. Our whole beings are transformed by grace, and only then can we truly love and accept the people around us (Romans 15:7).

Here is one final passage:

Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people. For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another. But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. The saying is trustworthy, and I want you to insist on these things, so that those who have believed in God may be careful to devote themselves to good works. These things are excellent and profitable for people.
(Titus 3:1-8)

When your religion is perfectionism Part 3

Take time to read Romans 4 again and meditate upon it today. We are continuing our focus on the religion of perfectionism. In other words, a religion of perfectionism is having a religion that is dependent upon me being flawless and sinless.

So for today, consider a few questions:

Think about it, do you really believe that Jesus went through all that agony at the cross so that you could live your life in constant uncertainty and spiritual torment?  Our Lord did not suffer so that you and I would live a life without hope, joy and peace. Jesus did not present Himself flawless before God so that we could drive ourselves and others mad trying to be flawless.

When you think of God and the Judgment Day, what comes to mind? Think of that day when you will see God face to face. What thoughts come to your head? If all you have is fear and anxiety about that, then please consider how your thinking about God (and yourself) needs to change. “For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control” (2 Timothy 1:7). God wants His people to have confidence, peace and no fear regarding the day of judgment. 1 John 4 is very plain about that.

Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. We love because he first loved us.
(1 John 4:15-19)

What is your motivation for your works for God? Two Christians can do the very same deeds and works, but have two very different motivations for them. One does them out of gratitude for God’s grace, and another is trying not to get zapped so he can “somehow” make it to heaven. Striving to be holy like God should be a motivation borne out of deep love for God. This motivation is nothing like working to be flawless to “earn” salvation from God (Titus 2:11-15; 1 Peter 1:13-25).

One final article on this to come tomorrow, Lord willing.

When your religion is perfectionism Part 2

Take time to read Romans 4 again and meditate upon it today. We are continuing our focus on the religion of perfectionism. In other words, a religion of perfectionism is having a religion that is dependent upon me being flawless and sinless.

God is holy and just. He demands obedience. The Bible is plain on that. I think many of us know that very well. But that is not the whole picture of the Bible. The God of the Bible, Old Testament and New Testament, is also a God of grace, mercy and lovingkindness. Here are some passages to help us remember other aspects of God’s nature and how it is connected to our salvation, joy and peace.

It is His goodness/kindness that should also lead us to repentance.

Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?
(Romans 2:4)

It is His grace that teaches us to live godly lives and do good works for God.

For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works. Declare these things; exhort and rebuke with all authority. Let no one disregard you.
(Titus 2:11-15)

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
(Ephesians 2:8-10)

It is the blood of Jesus Christ that cleanses you from all sin today, not the list of good deeds you were able to check off today. It is the blood of Jesus that brings you near to God, not your ability to do it all by the book.

But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.
(1 John 1:7)

But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.
(Ephesians 2:13)

It is Jesus’ righteousness, not yours, that will save you.

Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men. For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous.
(Romans 5:18-19)

…and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith (Philippians 3:9)

It is the peace of Jesus Christ freely given to you at the cross. In Jesus is the peace, not in your perfect law-keeping.

for He himself is our peace… (Ephesians 2:14) 

I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”
(John 16:33)

Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
(Romans 5:1-2)

More to come tomorrow, Lord willing.

When your religion is perfectionism Part 1

Take time to read Romans 4. Meditate upon it today. We are going to focus for a few days on the religion of perfectionism. In other words, a religion of perfectionism is having a religion that is dependent upon me being flawless and sinless.

In order to please God with a religion of perfectionism, you have to be completely perfect. Flawless. Sinless. Perfection. And if you are able to pull that off (which you won’t), then God owes you a debt. It is no longer salvation by grace through faith. When your religion is perfectionism, it affects every aspect of your being, including your relationships.

To whom do you turn when you have a theology of perfectionism? Well, you will turn to God, but how do you see Him? Is He always angry at you? Are you trying constantly to apologize to keep Him from punishing you in His wrath because you will never be good enough?

You could turn to religion, doing all kinds of great works, but why are you doing them? Are you doing these works out of a response to God’s grace, or are you trying to earn God’s favor? Are you doing these works to evoke positive responses from people so you can feel approved and accepted?

This might hit home for you. I know a lot of people, including myself, who  struggle with this. If that is the case for you, you need to rethink your theology. This kind of religion is a soul-crushing, burdensome, suffocating, anxiety-causing form of Phariseeism. That’s not what the Bible teaches at all. That’s not the God of the Bible, Old Testament or New Testament!

The apostle Paul had the law, and his heart’s desire was to keep it. But in what condition did he find himself? Broken, wretched and in need of deliverance. Why? Because he could not have peace with God (nor with himself) by keeping the law flawlessly. The moment you mess up once you have ruined your chances. The deliverance and freedom from condemnation came through Jesus, not through Paul.

So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin. There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. (Romans 7:21 – 8:4)

Yes, we are commanded to keep God’s commandments (John 14:15). Yes, God demands holiness (1 Peter 1:16-17), there is no doubt. And yes, we do work to please God out of reverence and godly fear (Hebrews 12:28-29), but that is not all! That is not the complete picture!

More to come tomorrow, Lord willing.

I am going to Heaven!

Another lesson from Benjamin Lee’s meeting with us was titled “I’m going to Heaven”.  In teaching the lesson, he referenced a sister in Christ and how she lived with this attitude.  If you asked her…she would tell you and because she believed it she lived it and that made a difference on others.  The same is true for us as fathers, grandfathers, uncles, brothers…as men influencing children in our home, community, church…in our lives.  If we live with this faith, that we are going to heaven, then our children will see it and it will give them encouragement, confidence, and belief in their own lives.

In order to live this way, there are some questions we must keep working through our minds and help our children work through their minds.  These questions are good checks for us as we work toward our goal of Heaven.

1.  What will we need to get to Heaven?

We will get to Heaven through salvation and that salvation comes from God’s grace.

23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, 26 to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. (Romans 3:23-26; NKJV)

And though there are many things that demand our attention, we need to be in God’s word (Psalm 119:105) which is a lamp to our feet and we need to be obedient to it and God’s commandments (John 8:31-32—Truth makes us free; Galatians 5:4—But we can fall so we need to stay obedient).

2.  What help might we need to make our goal of Heaven?

In addition to God’s grace, His word and our obedience; we will need the edification, fellowship and help of our brethren.  The local church is a source of help as we make our way from earth to Heaven.  We see many examples of being joined to and strengthened by local brethren in the first century church.  (Acts 2:42-47; 9:19, 26; Philippians 1:1)

3.  How long will it take us to reach Heaven?

The rest of our lives!  Our journey is a marathon, not a sprint and it won’t always be on even ground.  Which is why we need God, we need our brethren and we need constant reminders.  We need to take time daily and think about Heaven and how awesome it will to be home.  How often do we truly do that?  We need it just like we need God’s grace, Word, and His people.  There are going to be challenges (Galatians 2:1-14) and we have to remember that our journey is about progress and not perfection.  We are perfected in Jesus Christ and that takes time and will take the rest of our lives.  But we can confidence in our end goal just as Paul did (2 Tim 4:6-8) no matter what phase of our life we are in.

4.  Finally, why do we want to this goal? Why do we want to go to Heaven?

I will leave you with that question but let me encourage you by the words of my nine year old daughter.  She answered this question before Ben did…and she leaned over to her mom and her answer was “Because that is where God is!”  Amen.

Stand Still–Stand Firm

David writes in Psalm 18 about the words he sang on the day God delivered him from all his enemies and the hand of Saul.  David writes:

1 I will love You, O Lord, my strength.  2 The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; My God, my strength, in whom I will trust; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold3 I will call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised; So shall I be saved from my enemies.  (Psalm 18:1-3; NKJV)

Peter, after being arrested for preaching the gospel and speaking to the Sanhedrin says of Jesus… 11 This is the ‘stone which was rejected by you builders, which has become the chief cornerstone.’ 12 Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:11-12; NKJV)

I thought of these verses in thinking about what kind of husband and father to my daughter I want to be.  There are a lot of different challenges to being a good Godly husband and father.  One of the most challenging for me is to know what the right thing is to do for my wife or my daughter at any given time.  What I want to do is rescue them from whatever is troubling them.  I want to be the knight in shining armor, the fixer, the “man”.  But I will tell you, this approach often has unforeseen consequences and the disappointment I feel when I get it wrong is crushing at times…and if nothing else confusing and can lower my confidence in myself and what God wants me to do.  In the worst case, I get angry and blame my wife or my daughter for not getting me or appreciating me…me, me, me.

What I think about in this context about these verses is this.  If I believe that God is my rock, my fortress, my stronghold and His Son Jesus is the chief cornerstone of my salvation, then I need to stand upon that Rock and be strong for my wife and my daughter.  If I holdfast to God and receive from Him the love, grace, mercy, forgiveness, longsuffering, strength, peace…if I get all these spiritual blessings and more from Him and know that He is with me and will not forsake me…then I am free to just stand there or said another way I am free to just “be there”.  As I stand solidly on my faith and demonstrate the firm ground under my feet in Jesus, my wife and my daughter will take notice.

Standing on solid ground, I can be there for them to lean on when they need me.

Standing on the Rock of Jesus, I can stand firm if they need to climb up, lay down, and rest or just get a hug or a warm touch.

Standing firm in God, I can be an example they can look to or point to in difficult times and be encouraged.

If I am standing with Jesus, I will be what God wants me to be for my wife and my daughter.  It isn’t about what I am getting from my wife or my daughter, but what I get from my Abba Father and Elder Brother that matters.  When I get that spiritual strength through faith and abiding in Jesus, I then can give of myself in a way that is most beneficial to my wife, my daughter and my family.

Sounds crazy, but give it a try.  The next time things are going crazy, the house is hectic, there is more to be done than hands to do it…just stand still with Jesus and holdfast to Him as you hold onto her and that will make an eternal difference.

The Mere Existence of a Prophet

The LORD, the God of their fathers, sent persistently to them by his messengers, because he had compassion on his people and on his dwelling place.
(2 Chronicles 36:15)

Last Thursday, we observed the simple fact from the Old Testament that the mere existence of a king in Israel reflected the heart of the people of Israel. They had rejected God as their King, so God gave them the king they wanted (1 Samuel 12:12).

In contrast, let’s observe the flip side of the coin: the mere existence of a prophet reflected the heart of God for the people of Israel.  It was pretty bad in Israel. God’s people (and their kings) had wholesale rejected God. That is the setting. But did God just give up and walk away? No.

Take a moment to ponder the above passage from 2 Chronicles 36:15. Here are a few brief points from verse 15:

Because he had compassion.

What was God’s heart? Compassion. We may think the prophet was only there to call in coordinates for God’s next bombing raid. That was Jonah’s thinking, and God had a whale of a job trying to correct Jonah’s attitude. James and John had this same mentality and Jesus rebuked them as well (Luke 9:55). God’s ways are not our ways, thankfully (Isaiah 55). He sees souls that are broken, souls in need of restoration and redemption. He sees people and relationships, and he longs for us to come home.

God’s messengers sent a message from God’s heart.

The prophets are messengers sent to pour out God’s heart to the people. The messages of the prophets are pretty simple: Repent, Remember, Return, Restore, Redemption.

God’s messengers were sent persistently.

Because God loved them and had a deep compassion for them, he didn’t just try once or twice, He sent loads of prophets over hundreds of years! Those prophets were mocked, despised, rejected and murdered, yet God sent more and more. Again, the prophet was a symbol for the heart of God – because God loved, God sent the prophets.

God’s people.

Again, verse 15 says “his people.” This reflects that God cared more about the relationships and the people. To God, they were worth it.

So, what about you and me? If the mere existence of a prophet reflected the heart of God for Israel, what is reflected in my heart when others disobey God and are not walking with Him? Does my heart align with God’s heart of compassion, persistence, and a desire for reconciliation?

Safely Abide and Pray

In John 15, Jesus tells us to “Abide in Me.”  Like a branch connected to a vine…be connected and draw nourishment and bear fruit.  Our words will be His words and as we ask of Him it will be granted to us and in that God is glorified.  Love.  The love the Father has for the Son is the love the Son has for us and we love Him by abiding in Him and keeping His commandments.

All of this demonstrates a safe place with Jesus standing at the door calling us in to abide with Him.  When safely in, Jesus wants us to talk like Him and act like Him…obedient and to the glory of God.

So from our safety in Jesus, I invite you to take some time, turn in your bible and read Psalm 91.  Meditate on it and take God’s words given to us by inspiration and pray them on behalf of your home, your children, your grandchildren, and the children of our family in Jesus.

I offer you my version and leave you to yours.

“Dear Heavenly Father, me and my household have made You our dwelling place, the Most High, who is our refuge. I trust that because of this, no evil shall be allowed to befall me and my children, no plague can come near my home. For You will command angels concerning us to minister to my family.  On their hands they will bear me up lest I strike my foot against a stone. I will tread on the lion and the adder; the young lion and the serpent we will trample underfoot. As a father of the children You have blessed me with, I rest upon your promise: “I will rescue those who love Me. I will protect those who trust in My name. When they call on Me, I will answer; I will be with them in trouble. I will rescue and honor them. I will reward them with a long life and give them My salvation.  In name of my Savior, Jesus Christ, Amen.”

Only Steps Away

28 Then one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, perceiving that He had answered them well, asked Him, “Which is the first commandment of all?” 29 Jesus answered him, “The first of all the commandments is: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 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. 31 And the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” 32 So the scribe said to Him, “Well said, Teacher. You have spoken the truth, for there is one God, and there is no other but He. 33 And to love Him with all the heart, with all the understanding, with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love one’s neighbor as oneself, is more than all the whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.”  34 Now when Jesus saw that he answered wisely, He said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” (Mark 12:  28-34; NKJV)

Today the sermon at South Macomb was a continuation of our working through the four gospels and focused on lessons in Mark 11 and 12.  There were many points to be made but I wanted to focus on a section found in chapter 12.  I encourage you to read the chapter as I am not going to lay down much background but want to focus on this encounter between Jesus and the scribe.  I want to attempt to paint a picture in your mind that was given today and then keep that image in our mind as we work through this week.

The image I want to paint is of a safe place, a dangerous place, and someone caught in the middle.  You might have your own version of this, but I am going to offer one of my own.  Imagine you are in a building and a battle rages outside with gunfire and explosions all around.  There is a group who is safe in their reinforced concrete bunker, with no windows and made to survive the kind of chaos and destruction going on.  They are safe, but someone cracks the door to see what is going on and notices a young man running down the street…unarmed, confused, scared, looking for shelter…to be safe and live.  The one looking out also notices he is wearing the wrong uniform…the uniform of the enemy.  Even more, the one looking is wearing the wrong uniform in the eyes of the man outside…the clothes of his enemy.  But the one inside calls out to him anyways…beckons him to come and be safe.  He hears the call and he sees the caller and even starts making his way to the door.  He is hesitant and unsure what to do as he gets closer.  What if it is a trap?  Even though the bunker gets him out of the gun battle going on outside and everything he has been taught about fighting tells him this is a secure place…how does he know what is inside is safer than outside?  Still the call goes out to him, encourages him, tells him it will be safe.  Others from inside gather with the one and join and shout this same message of safety…of friendship…of hope.  He comes closer and it is clear he really wants to live and wants to be safe and wants to believe that he can be inside the bunker.  He is right there…just a couple more steps and he will be in and safe and can live.  Everyone calls to him but he stops…he looks at them…they want to grab him but the bullets are flying and they can’t quite reach him…if only he would take one more step…but he stops.  Now he is out in the open and all the danger of the situation is upon him though he is only a step or two from safety…he is unsure, and he hesitates.  Surely he was about to come those two steps…they sure want him to…but a bullet hits its mark and he is gone.  It is too late…he was so close to safety…the caller was there to save him…they had a place for him to be safe…they called out to him…they wanted him with them…but his hesitation…his lack of faith in the caller’s intentions, their actions, and the offer left him just a couple steps too far from being saved.

I know you get the point.  So let me just end today with this.  I want us to look at these kinds of situations from three perspectives this week.  Jesus is the one calling out.  We are the ones who join with hHim to encourage.  Those in the world or those of our brethren who are astray are the man in harms way.  You saw that coming right?  But don’t stop there.  Take another look.  Jesus is still calling out, our brethren are still joining in the call, but are we the man in harms way?  That could be a likely scenario…right?  Could it be that it depends in any given situation or stage of our lives or the lives of others?  Read chapter 12.  Paint this image in your head.  Meditate and pray about what we can do about those 2 last steps…whether we are in harms way or with Jesus calling others to safety.  Take some time and work that over in your head and heart and let’s see what we can learn and apply this week.  I love you all…and thankfully Jesus loves us more.

Don’t be Afraid to Forgive Your Kids

Did you ask God yesterday or today to forgive you for something you knew you shouldn’t have done or have been admonished for doing in the past?  Did you really mean it?  Were your really sorry for what you did and committed to not doing it again?  I know I did.  I know we all find ourselves before our loving, merciful, longsuffering Father knowing we have violated His rules, hurt Him, or strayed from the straight path He has laid out for us.  So what?  Why start here?

I start here because I am not providing this same blessing to my children.  There are probably a lot of reasons for that but as we have been talking about…a lot of times my own insecurity or fear of the trajectory of my kids’ life is taking when considering their actions or decisions.  I want them to be safe…first and foremost spiritually and when I see them going or catch them in the far country, I am guilty of going straight to angry and sometimes that takes away any opportunity for them to say “I’m sorry” or ask for my help.  Certainly, I am expected to discipline my children, but I am not talking about constructively leading my children.  I am talking about being for them what I find in my Abba Father and Elder Brother…graceful, merciful, longsuffering, forgiving, loving, providing security, help…all of the tremendous blessings I have in Jesus.

So that is the thought for today.  How can we better forgive our children so that we can be a positive part of the solution?  Again, we should all endeavor to get ahead of trouble and teach our children to avoid it…but when they don’t…can we forgive them, love them, and take them by the hand as they stand up and get themselves back on the path they should be on?

Jesus demonstrated it.   (I Pet. 2:21; Phil. 2:3-5; Luke 23:34).  Jesus gave us the example.  Our Father forgives us daily.  We have our examples and they are worth following for our own sake and the sake of our children.

We have been forgiven. God, in Christ, has forgiven the sins of the Christian (Eph. 4:32). As Christ has forgiven us, then we should forgive others (Col. 3:13) and our kids need it so that they can feel safe and we might find opportunity to teach them and model a forgiving heart.

We must pattern our forgiveness after the forgiveness God has granted to us. It must be accompanied by actions which befit true forgiveness.  Forgiveness involves a kind attitude—abandoning all animosity and hatred. All bitterness, anger, wrath, clamor and evil speaking should be put away (Eph. 4:31). We can’t hold grudges.  We are the adult.  We have to act it.

We are going to have to forget.  Of course, we are not able to just erase it from our mind, but we can avoid holding our children accountable to something if they have come to use for forgiveness and with a true heart toward not doing it again.  Our forgiveness granted should be the end of the matter and we should assume the best of our kids to do their best moving forward.  God is for us.   He is for them.  We are in this together with our kids and I know forgiving isn’t always the first thing I think to do but when I can get that right I see a softened heart looking for my leadership and that is an awesome opportunity.

Like you, I have spent my children’s entire lives protecting them and providing them every advantage.  In the end, the best advantage they have is a life lived with Jesus.  That is our best advantage and if we are freed up in that security we can stand to forgive and love…just like our Abba Father forgives and loves us.