Repentance and Forgiveness

Regarding the past transgressions of public figures, some people make statements like “God called David a great leader and a man after his own heart. Don’t judge only their past. Forgive and see the good.”

Forgiveness is indeed central to gospel. Jesus did say that in order for us to be forgiven we must forgive those who sin against us.

Adam, Eve, and the Serpent

Let us not forget however that repentance is also important. In order to be forgiven we need to acknowledge our sin and repent. God brings our sins to light, either privately or publicly, for the very purpose that we may repent and be cleansed through His mercy.

God’s judgment and mercy work together so that sin may be cleansed and reconciliation achieved.

Let’s take a closer look at David’s heart.

When David sinned and tried to keep it secret, God sent the prophet Nathan to judge him (2 Samuel 12:7-12).

When confronted, David acknowledged his sin and repented. However, there were still consequences for his sin.(2 Samuel 12:13-15).

David’s prayer of repentance for the sin is recorded in Psalm 51.

This is an example of how through repentance and forgiveness, our Heavenly Father delivers us from the power of evil.

If the heart is not cleansed through repentance, the result is denial, defiance, and lies. A person acting from such a heart is still not free from the power of evil.

It is good to be just and loving, but please don’t use the Bible to excuse sin.

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Public authority and civic responsibility

Responding to those who quote Paul ‘s words such as “be subject to the governing authorities” in Romans 13:1-7 in order to deflect criticism of the unrighteous words and actions of Donald Trump, his adminitstration, and other elected or appointed officials:

Thomas R. Schreiner says:
“This text is misunderstood if it is taken out of context and used as an absolute word so that Christians uncritically comply with the state no matter what is being demanded. What we have here is a general exhortation that delineates what is usually the case: people should normally obey ruling authorities. The text is not intended as a full-blown treatise on the relationship of believers to the state.”

Also, Charles D. Myers Jr. writes:
“The Apostle Paul’s admonition to “be subject to the governing authorities” (13:1a) on the grounds that “those authorities that exist have been instituted by God” (13:1c) has caused much needless suffering and much misery even in the 20th century. This passage seems to lend support to ,existing government, regardless of how tyrannical or how corrupt, and any governmental policy, however repressive or unjust. This passage has been invoked by Christians to put down revolt, support war, and justify genocide. In fact, many Christians in Hitler’s Germany appealed to this text as the decisive biblical warrant for obedience to the Nazi regime. And it has been regret over the Church’s alignment with the Nazi regime that has forced a reconsideration of these verses, particularly by German biblical scholars.”

As a citizen, I am subject to the authorities, but that does not mean that I need not criticize them. In fact, as a citizen and a person of faith it is my civic duty to exercise my conscience and use my rights of free speech and assembly to speak out against iniquity. Also, as a citizen, it is my responsibility to use the legal powers granted to me to censure or remove unfit people from office.

The Bible is full of examples of righteous people standing up to oppose leaders who are abusing thier position. To give just one example, “When Ahab saw Elijah, Ahab said to him, “Is it you, you troubler of Israel?” 18 And he answered, “I have not troubled Israel, but you have, and your father’s house, because you have abandoned the commandments of the Lord and followed the Baals.” 1 Kings 18:17-18.

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The Solution to the World’s Problems

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Advice to students graduating from high school in 2018

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Living and breathing in God

When our heart/mind experiences the love of God through the Holy Spirit, the natural spontaneous response is to offer thanks and praise. The natural response when one is experiencing the loving kindness of God is to love God in return. The more we love God in gratitude, praise, surrender and commitment, the more we are capable of experiencing God’s love to a greater degree. The more we experience God’s love and forgiveness, the more we desire to show that love by loving, serving and forgiving others. The more we express God’s love in service and the more we forgive others, the more we experience God’s love.

We live in a reciprocal relationship of love between God and ourselves and also amongst ourselves and others. When we live this way we are living, moving, and breathing in God.

Our physical bodies live and breathe air. When we live in the Spirit in loving relationship with the source of all Being and others, our souls live and breathe in God.

Thank you God for your loving kindness.
I praise you for your awesome wonder.
Thank you God for your forgiveness. Thank you for helping us to wash our robes.
I surrender to your love.
I forgive others their sins, their debts, and their trespasses just as you have forgiven me.
Help me to discover your kingdom within.

Thank you God for your loving kindness.
We praise you for your awesome wonder.
We thank you God for your forgiveness.
With the help of your Holy Spirit we will sin no more.
We will forgive each other and seek reconciliation.
We surrender to your love.
Guide in those situations where we can be of service to you and to others.
Please give us wisdom and help us to know, experience, and understand the truth as much as we are able.
Let your Kingdom come in the midst of us on earth as it is in heaven.
We are your offspring. You are our loving parent.
Let us live and breathe in God.

Amen

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Praise, gratitude, supplication, and commitment

I added in another verse so this worship song would include Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. I was moved when I heard Johnny Cash sing Depeche Mode’s song, “Everybody needs their own personal Jesus, Someone who cares, someone who’s there.” It was a valuable reminder and counsel for me. If you want to open the door to the Father and receive the love and guidance of the Holy Spirit, then humble yourself to Jesus, read his words, and do what he says.

A Song of Praise and Offering

Father

Heavenly Father
El Shalom
Teach us the way of peace

Heavenly Father
El Shaddai
We offer praise to you

We want to be your true sons and daughters
Building your Kingdom on Earth

We want to feel your Holy Spirit
Giving our hearts new birth

Son

Thank you Jesus
Holy Messiah
For showing us the Way

Thank you Jesus
Son of God
In your Holy Name we pray

Teach us to live as brothers and sisters
Sharing the Kingdom within

We want to be your true disciples
Living our lives freed from sin

Holy Spirit

Holy Spirit
Heavenly Dove
Fill our hearts with your love

Holy Spirit
Wonderful Counselor
Send us wisdom from above

We want to be your true sons and daughters
Bringing your Kingdom on Earth

We want to see your bright shining presence
Filling the world with new birth

Refrain

We praise you
We give you thanks
For all your wonder
For all of your power
For all of your glory
For all of your mercy
We offer our lives to you

Conclusion

Heavenly Father
Lord of Love
We give our hearts to you

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A Song of Worship

A Song of Worship

Heavenly Father
El Shalom
Teach us the way of peace

Heavenly Father
El Shaddai
We offer praise to you

We want to be your true sons and daughters
Building your Kingdom on Earth

We want to feel your Holy Spirit
Giving our hearts new birth

Holy Spirit
Heavenly Dove
Fill our hearts with your love

Holy Spirit
Wonderful Counselor
Send us wisdom from above

We want to be your true sons and daughters
Bringing your Kingdom on Earth

We want to see your bright shining presence
Filling the world with new birth

We praise you
We give you thanks
For all your wonder
For all of your power
For all of your glory
For all of your mercy
We offer our lives to you

Heavenly Father
Holy Spirit
We give our lives to you

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