Unforgiveness | Bitterness | Deception

When we have unforgiveness in our life it changes the way we see reality. It even distorts how we see ourselves. When we have unforgiveness it feels like the whole world owes us something. When we have unforgiveness we are defined by what someone did to us or didn’t do for us. When we forgive we defined by what Jesus did for us. Unforgiveness even affects things that have nothing to do with the reason why we may have unforgiveness in the first place. Unforgiveness in one area of our life leads to bondage and deception in other areas of our life. Unforgiveness quickly turns into bitterness. Bitterness is poison to our soul, and it’s poison to those who hear and listen to us. Have you ever heard or said something that was right but felt totally wrong? That may be because it’s coming from a bitter root. If we want to move forward we must forgive. The only one unforgiveness holds hostage is us. Our future depends on us forgiving and letting the past go. If we let the past go it will let us go. Whether we are forgiving ourself or someone else, forgiveness is a key that opens up the doors to our destiny.

Relationships 

There is a reason why a high percentage of American’s are lonely. The National Science Foundation reported in its General Social Survey that unprecedented numbers of American’s are lonely. One study based on 1500 face to face interviews found that more than a quarter of the respondents had no one with whom they could talk about their personal troubles or triumphs. If family members are not counted, the number doubles to more than half of Americans who have no one outside their immediate family with whom they can share confidences. Why is this so? The answer to that question is no doubt a multi-layered one, one which would by itself occupy many articles and research data. But I want to make a simple observation from my own experience. Relationships are difficult, and generally speaking those relationships which can handle the weight of the deeper discussions of life are the most difficult of all.

Yet it is this very business of relationships to which the follower of Jesus is persuasively called upon to give their most serious attention. Peter speaks to this in 1 Peter 1:22: “Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for each other, love one another deeply, from the heart.” Pay attention to the weightiness of Peter’s words “sincere love for each other, deeply from the heart.” When I read those words I find them staggering because it describes a quality of relationship that seems so rare, and if the Social Survey mentioned in the first paragraph is true it is rare for most of the adult population of the U.S. And I suspect it is also rare among Christian people.It is the challenge of trust, vulnerability and the necessary persistence over time which close friendship requires that makes it a work which many of us simply will not carve out sufficient time to make a reality. Os Guinness notes “Life fired at us point blank becomes the survival of the fastest. As a Kenyan saying goes, “Westerners have watches, Africans have time.” This is one of the great temptations of our era the temptation to yield to the notion that there simply isn’t enough time to build these kinds of relationships. And it is not only the appearance that sufficient time isn’t available to take our relationships deeper  but there are numerous issues which close quarter relationships inevitably bring us face to face with conflict, and the need to communicate about these inevitable frictions that emerge when we seek close friendship with one another. It’s much easier to simply keep your distance. Let things remain superficial and lighthearted.

Yet scripture makes clear that there is something critical to our spiritual growth which is tied to our relationships, “as iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” (Proverbs 27:17) In the economy of God, the challenges which occur in our relationships are essential to brining about growth in our character and the quality of our love growth which comes only in this way. It is therefore no exaggeration to say from the vantage point of Scripture that the quality of life in which we must grow is precisely in the area of relationships. According to John’s recollections it was among the last things Jesus said before he was arrested and then executed: John 13:34-35 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

This is one of the reasons why Christianity doesn’t have much appeal to lonely Americans, hungry for friendship. For when Westerners think about depth, Christianity is too often not the place where searching people turn for that substance. Yet, one of the most common images of the church in the New Testament is family, as though God intended for those who might have suffered with poor family life an opportunity to recapitulate the family experience with brothers and sisters who sincerely and from the depths of their hearts love one another. Could this have been what Jesus had in mind when he made love a cornerstone of what was to characterize his movement? A movement of friendships rooted in the Divine friendship?

By : Scott Pursley

Scott Pursley is a Psychologist and the Lead Pastor of Christ Fellowship in Cranford, NJ. Click here to visit the website of Christ Fellowship.

Perspective is Everything 

Our perspective is what we perceive about reality. The cold hard truth about that is either we are correct or we are deceived. Our perspective is where we operate from. Our perspective determines how we relate to others, ourselves and our circumstances.

Jesus of Nazareth, according to the scriptures, was the rightful heir to the throne of King David. Although Jesus was not a citizen of Rome he did pay taxes. Even though he paid taxes he did not receive a fair trial. The Roman guards came to get Jesus at night when he was out of the sight of the masses. There was nothing just about his trial or his sentence. Not only was he the rightful heir to the throne of David, he was completely innocent. While he was hanging on a cross one of the men hanging next to him looked at Jesus and said, “Lord remember me in your kingdom.” (Luke 23:42). The perspective of that man was correct. Although Jesus was in the same circumstances as him, he knew that he was guilty and that Jesus was innocent. He looked at a naked Nazarene and saw a king. This same man knew that he deserved to be on the cross. He assumed responsibility for his actions. He acknowledged Jesus as Lord and that acknowledgement gave him access to paradise.

The other thief did not have the right perspective. He said to Jesus, “If you are the Christ save yourself and us.” (Luke 23:39). This thief looked at Jesus and did not see a savior or a king. This thief failed to understand that he was not a victim of Rome, he failed to take responsibility for his actions, and he failed to see who Jesus really was. Perspective is everything. If we want to see reality correctly we must first assume responsibility for our actions. Second, we must acknowledge our need for Jesus. Third, we must ask him, in prayer, to have mercy on us and remember us in his Kingdom.

Reality

Reality for some is more like a nightmare. For the rest of us it is uncomfortable and at times painful. Reality is like getting on the scale and weighing yourself after a cruise. It’s like looking in the mirror after you have spent the day in bed with the flu. It’s like checking your credit card balance when you have debt and your no interest for 12 months credit card just went up to 24.99%. Reality is something we all have to deal with no matter how much we may try to run from it. We are not our facebook account, we are certainly not the picture we just posted of ourself on Instagram with multiple filters on it, trying to do whatever we can to hide who and what we really are. We are all those pictures in our phone that never made Instagram. Honestly the filters on Instagram are good, the ones on snap seed are even better but we must remember that we are the person before the filter. If we are going to have meaningful relationships we must remember that those relationships start with us first being real with ourselves. We can only be as real with others as we are with our self. Invest some time today being honest with yourself because you are valuable. Stop, think, reflect and make the necessary changes that will help you become who you are supposed to be. So you can do what you are supposed to do. So you can help those you are supposed to help. #YouMatter

Friend or Foe?

On Christmas Eve December 24th, 2015 We See Jesus Ministries went to deliver Sawyer clean water filters to Canaan, Haiti. Canaan became a city after the earthquake that shook Haiti on January 12, 2010. Now more than 150 families have access to clean drinking water. Toward the end of our time on Christmas Eve the crowd got frustrated and restless. There was abit of screaming as well. As we were getting ready to leave the man in the picture hit Luckner’s arm and grabbed about 8-10 buckets and started walking off with them. Also someone else grabbed about 5 buckets and started to walk off with them as well. Then Brandon Thomas and I ran after the two men and we both ripped the buckets out of their hands. I am glad Brandon was ride or die. It was only by the mercy and grace of God that this situation didn’t get really ugly. We told the people we will come back tomorrow and give more filters out then. Later I spoke to my Dad about what happened. Before he was a Christian he was from the street. He said something to me I will never forget. He said, “buddy, if you would have gotten robbed you couldn’t go back to that neighborhood because if they rob you once they will rob you every time.” It was a very tiring and frustrating time. I learned that I must never allow their desperation to become my frustration. So we prayed and forgave the people who tried to steal from us. But we were determinded to give to them, not to be robbed by them. 

On Christmas Day December 25th, 2015 we returned back to Canaan, Haiti. The man in the picture who tried to steal from us the day before apologized to us the next day. He went from stealing from us to being our security guard. As we were walking through the neighborhood he said, “don’t worry you are in my neighborhood, nothing will happen to you.” He went from being a perpetrator to a protector. That really was a crazy day. As we returned back to the church to get more water filters to pass out, our Haitian team members told us that the crowd was throwing rocks at the church. Then we called the police and they drove around the corner to come help calm the crowd down. So the police, the young man in the picture and a few of his friends helped us complete the Canaan, Haiti clean water project. I didn’t anticipate the crowd getting that wild, but I was reminded again why we are working in Haiti. Poverty leads to desperation and desperation can easily become violent. I am thankful that God protected my family and our team. It could have got really ugly fast. The power of the gospel is manifested when you love your enemies. The transforming work of gospel is manifested when love looks fear in the face and says no. Remember this, you can’t love people you are afraid of. Perfect love casts out all fear.

Prisoners of Hope

In this blog you will find 8 reasons why you can have hope. If you are a believer in Jesus you are a prisoner of hope. In fact you are possessed by promise that is both now and forever. If you are not yet a believer in Jesus just know, he believed you were worth dying for. You are valuable to Jesus. No matter what you have done, no matter what you haven’t done. No matter what has been done to you, no matter what hasn’t been done for you. Jesus is saying to you, “come to me.” Again it doesn’t matter if you are a believer or a gay atheist, or even a terrorist. Jesus is saying to you, “come to me.” Everyone is invited, there is room in his house, there is food at his table. Your repentance (change of mind) is required, all you have to do is acknowledge your need for Jesus and immediately you have access to hope. If you are breathing there is hope. Hope has a name it’s – Jesus. In this life there are ups and downs, good times and bad times. Just know that in the roller coster of real life there is hope. Hope is an anchor to your soul. It gives you emotional stability. Emotional stability makes life worth living. Hope means you can live above your circumstances, it means your challenges don’t have to control you. 

When you have wept until you can’t weep anymore just remember one day God will wipe every tear from your eyes. When you feel like a square peg in around hole and you’re walking through life trying to find your place, just remember that Jesus himself has prepared a place for you in his Fathers house. When you have dieted, exercised and have tried your hardest and done your best and you can’t lose those last 10 extra pounds just remember that one day you will receive a new body, one that is incorruptible. I think that means no pimples or stretch marks, not sure on that one. When you can’t reconcile why planet earth is so dysfunctional remember God will make all things new. I am not saying this so that you don’t try your best in this life. I am not saying this because I believe that you are a victim who can’t have victory. I am just reminding you that we have ultimate hope that trumps the temporary and is eternal. We also have hope in this life which is the anchor for our soul. Below you will find 8 reasons why you can and should look at tomorrow and forever with hope. 

Hope in this life.

  1. Jesus will never leave you or forsake you. (Matthew 28:20)
  2. Jesus will keep you by his power. (1 Peter 1:5)
  3. Jesus will finish the work he began in you. (Philippians 1:6)

Ultimate hope, hope in the life to come.

  1. You will receive a new body. ( 1 Corinthians 15:52-54)
  2. God will wipe away every tear from your eyes. (Revelation 21:4)
  3. There will be no more pain, no more sorrow and no more death. (Revelation 21:4)
  4. Jesus himself has prepared a place for you in Father God’s house. (John 14:2-3)
  5. There will be a new heaven and a new earth. (Isaiah 65:17)