Christian Devotions

Posts tagged ‘Father’

Forgiveness and Reconciliation

And when Joseph’s brethren saw that their father was dead, they said, Joseph will peradventure hate us, and will certainly requite us all the evil which we did unto him.

And they sent a messenger unto Joseph, saying, Thy father did command before he died, saying,

So shall ye say unto Joseph, Forgive, I pray thee now, the trespass of thy brethren, and their sin; for they did unto thee evil: and now, we pray thee, forgive the trespass of the servants of the God of thy father. And Joseph wept when they spake unto him.

And his brethren also went and fell down before his face; and they said, Behold, we be thy servants.

And Joseph said unto them, Fear not: for am I in the place of God?

But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.

Now therefore fear ye not: I will nourish you, and your little ones. And he comforted them, and spake kindly unto them.  ~~  Genesis 50:15-21  (KJV)

Forgiveness and reconciliation give us great difficulty. In the first place, they are not the same thing. You can have forgiveness without reconciliation. But you cannot have reconciliation without forgiveness.

Joseph’s brothers were afraid that Joseph was being kind to them only for their father’s sake. So when Jacob/Israel died, they needed to find out what Joseph’s attitude would be toward them. So they – the offenders – went to Joseph – the offended – with their apology. And Joseph forgave them and was reconciled to them.

Forgiveness is something you do for yourself. Holding a grudge takes time and energy and effort. It makes you unhappy because you dwell on the offense, not on the present joys you may have. Worst of all, however, holding a grudge puts you at odds with God. Not a pleasant place to be.

You can forgive unilaterally. The offender need not ask for forgiveness.

Reconciliation is another matter. It involves a recognition of the offense from both the offender and the offended. It requires forgiveness. And it requires a rebuilt sense of trust between the offender and the offended.

Joseph had seen the remorse of his brothers, first when they came to Egypt to purchase grain and in the intervening years between their dad’s settling in Egypt and his death seven years later. We have a tender reconciliation scene in which Joseph indicates his forgiveness of this brothers as well as his desire that they be provided for.

Can you recall an offender that you haven’t forgiven? Is there someone with whom you need to be reconciled? What steps can you take to remedy these issues?

Father, God,

You have commanded us to forgive. Give us the strength and stamina to forgive, even when there has been no apology. Grant us the faith to put our reconciliations into Your hands.

In Jesus’ most precious name.
Amen.

Delegation of Authority

Focus verses: John 5:30-47 and Mark 3:13-19

There is a foundational principle in today’s reading. All authority comes from God. Jesus spoke of God’s authority as being superior to His own while he was incarnate on earth.

He did nothing on earth that He did not see the Father doing in the heavenlies. All He did was to please the Father.

Jesus knew that His time on earth was limited and that peoples’ vision was limited to the earthly. Therefore, He appointed the apostles – the twelve – to go and do as He told them. He gave them authority to preach and power over demons. He could not have done that had the Father not delegated that authority to Him.

The lesson for us in these verses is that we have only the authority that God delegates to us. If we are to know what He allows us to do, we need to be reading His word all the time. We need to spend time in His presence. We need to become a temple of the Holy Spirit, so that He can whisper in our ears all day long.

That immediate communion with the God-head that the Holy Spirit provides is key to our living a Christ-like life.

Father, God,

Keep us aware of our position in Your kingdom. Imbue us with Your Holy Spirit, that we may be in constant communion with You, whether kneeling in sanctuary or scrubbing toilets. We would, like Brother Lawrence, practice the presence of God. Help us stay close to You.

In Jesus’ most precious name.
Amen.

Prepare To Meet Your God

Focus verses: Amos 4:12, 13

Amos was a shepherd, not a scholar. He speaks in plain language, but his speech is a warning and judgment upon Israel.

The most frightening words of today’s reading, however, are these: “Prepare to meet your God, O Israel.”

People who do not ordinarily give God a second thought frequently turn to Him when things go desperately wrong in their lives. The old saying “there are no atheists in foxholes” was coined during a war. When one’s life is on the line, it is comforting to think that someone in authority cares about it.

But Amos lists a series of calamities that befell Israel, and the people hardened their hearts and did not return to the Lord. He implies that the Lord brought these calamities on the people for the purpose of turning their hearts toward Him, but this stubborn and stiff-necked people thought they knew best.

Meeting the Lord, face to face, when one has not served Him, when one has given lip service only, when one has left Him out of one’s life, can be a scary thought. Imagine meeting this all-powerful stranger!

We should spend our entire lives preparing to meet our God. Reading His word, praying, serving, praising, relying on Him for our every breath. Those are the preparations to meet our God. If we do this, when the time comes to meet Him face to face, we will be greeting a loving, doting, benevolent Father, not some impersonal stranger.

Father, God,

Help us to spend more time with You in our busy days. Teach us what You would have us know about Yourself. Grant us an awareness of our total dependence upon You.

In Jesus’ most precious name.
Amen.