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Friday, July 10, 2015

Well-watered garden
A well-watered garden on an Amish farm.
The rains this summer have been frequent
and abundant.
The gardens are vibrant and green and for that we are very thankful.

"The Blessing Of Forgiveness"

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"Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered" (Psalm 32:1). "In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace, which He lavished upon us" (Ephesians 1:7,8).

For some time we've noticed our washing machine was leaking water. It was just a slight leak for several months and we had been keeping an eye on it. But when I was out of town last week whatever was wrong went really wrong and Brooksyne had a "major" flood. She had to remove a lot of items that got soaked, dried them out, and of course we had that musty smell we both so enjoy. NOT really!

After confirming the leak when I got home it was evident we needed a new washer.
Based on the serial number we determined this Sears washer, which the previous owner left when we bought the home, was at least 34 to 40 years old so we really can't complain! We purchased a new washer and it was delivered yesterday.

New washer and dryer 7/9/15
To save money I installed it myself and thought I was doing pretty good. After hooking everything up I had to make an adjustment to make it level. We ran a load of wash and I went back to work. Sometime through the cycle I heard Brooksyne scream, "STEPHEN", which in our house usually means something is wrong.

I ran into the laundry room to find it flooded with water gushing out all over. It turns out that after leveling the machine I forgot to place the drain hose back in! So, once again, we worked hard to get all the water up, set up the fans again, and get everything dried out. Brooksyne dealt with a flood and all the clean-up twice in a little more than a week. I was blessed when she declared, "You're forgiven."

Forgiveness from other humans is a real blessing and essential in any long-lasting relationship, especially marriage. However, today let us consider the much bigger and far more important blessing of God's forgiveness. God extends forgiveness to all who confess and repent of their sins. An excellent example of this can be seen in the life of the Psalmist, David.

His sin with Bathsheba is recorded in 2 Samuel 11 & 12 and Psalm 51 is David's written confession when Nathan rebuked him. Nathan's rebuke to David included the pointed judgment, "You are the man!" which finally led to David's confession, "I have sinned against the Lord." This led to his seeking forgiveness and you can read his written confession in Psalm 51. It is a Psalm of repentance that we can all read and personally apply to our own lives.

Nathan pronounced God's forgiveness when David made his brief confession in 2 Samuel 12, "The LORD has taken away your sin" (v.13). But apparently David in contemplating his sin then wrote his plea for mercy in Psalm 51. "Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions" (51:1,2). In V. 10 we come to the familiar passage sung in many circles where David earnestly prays, "Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.  Do not cast me from Your presence or take Your Holy Spirit from me.  Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me" (51:10-12).

"Blessed is he whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered." Whether David wrote this before or after the events of 2 Samuel 11 is immaterial for we  live in constant need of forgiveness, coming short in one way or another of the glory of God.

Erwin LutzerBible teacher Erwin Lutzer (who happens to be one of our many favorite Bible teachers) observes: "When the mask of self-righteousness has been torn from us and we stand stripped of all our accustomed defenses, we are candidates for God's generous grace." As we empty ourselves of that which stands between us and God we can once again experience the blessing of God's forgiveness.

The blessedness of forgiveness remains the promise to all who earnestly come to God in belief, confession and repentance. It's at the very heart of God's salvation offered to the human race.  Accept this generous grace today and proclaim with the Psalmist, "But with You there is forgiveness" (Psalm 130:4).  When God forgives He removes the sin and restores the soul! 

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying man Daily prayer: Father, I pray that You would wash me so that I will be whiter than snow. Hide Your face from my sins which are great and dishonor You so much that I can't bear for You to look upon them. Blot out all my iniquity. O Lord, open my lips and my mouth that will enable me to declare Your praise.  It isn't the burnt offering that You delight in but the sacrifice of my broken spirit; it is a broken and contrite heart that You desire in me. As I come to You in humility and brokenness of spirit You restore to me the joy of Your salvation much like the new fallen snow that covers the earth. Thank You for being merciful and forgiving. In the name of Jesus I pray. Amen.

Brooksyne and I both warmly recall visits to our grandparents, especially during the summer. Mine lived in a tiny town in southwest Missouri and hers in the mountains of northwest Arkansas. Years ago I came across this illustrative story set in a similar situation. Apart from the lesson perhaps it will prompt some warm memories!

Johnny was a little boy who was visiting his grandparents on their farm. He was given a slingshot and he practiced in the woods, but he could never hit the target. Getting a little discouraged, he headed back to his grandparent's house for dinner. As he was walking back he saw his grandma's pet duck. Just out of impulse, he let the slingshot fly, hit the duck square in the head, and killed it. He was shocked and grieved.

In a panic, he hid the dead duck in the woodpile, only to see his sister watching. Sally had seen it all, but she said nothing. After lunch that day Grandma said, "Sally, let's wash the dishes." But Sally said, "Grandma, Johnny told me he wanted to help in the kitchen." Then she whispered to him, "Remember the duck?" So Johnny did the dishes. Later that day, Grandpa asked if the children wanted to go fishing and Grandma said, "I'm sorry but I need Sally to help make supper." But Sally just smiled and said, "Well, that's all right cause Johnny told me he wanted to help." She whispered again, "Remember the duck?" So Sally went fishing and Johnny stayed to help.

After several days of Johnny doing both his chores and Sally's he finally couldn't stand it any longer. He came to Grandma and confessed that he had killed the duck. Grandma knelt down, gave him a hug, and said, "Sweetheart, I know. You see I was standing at the window and I saw the whole thing. But because I love you, I forgave you. I was just wondering how long you would let Sally make a slave of you."

Whatever is in your past, whatever you have done and the enemy keeps throwing it up in your face (lying, debt, fear, hatred, anger, unforgiveness, bitterness, etc.) whatever it is, you need to know that Jesus Christ was standing at the window and He saw the whole thing. He's just wondering how long you'll let the enemy make a slave of you. He wants you to know that He loves you, and if you have repented and accepted the free gift of salvation, you are forgiven. The great thing about God is that He not only forgives you, but He forgets. Remember that Jesus is at the window.

George Blizzard 7/9/15
Last night our friend George Blizzard came over. We had planned to take a bike ride but a massive storm passed through and we lost power in our dining room right while we were eating. Ester was pleased to provide a battery powered LED Brooklyn Lantern and saw it as an adventure. Thankfully the storm passed and we soon got back our electricity for a more pleasurable dining experience.

Two more photos from our trip through the "Big Valley" on Tuesday.

Big Valley horse and buggy

Amish horse and open cart

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Create in Me a Clean Heart"  Video 
Keith Green

"Forgiveness"  Video 
Matthew West

"I'm Forgiven"  Video  The Imperials (A popular song when we were young!)  Video  Another version of same song by the Gaither Vocal Band

"I'm Forgiven"  Video 
Chris Tomlin (Different song than above with same title)

"Blessed Be God"  Video Scripture Memory Songs

"His Marvelous Light" (1 Peter 2:9-10)  Video  Scripture Memory Songs

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.

Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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