We’re Forgiven

Because God is Just and Merciful 

Even if we feel unforgivable, God has chosen to forgive us.

We’re forgiven. If God is the Judge and if He has forgiven us, then we are forgiven. It’s a fact. We still have to deal with the consequences of sin, in this life, but we are ultimately forgiven. Ultimately free.

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Let’s look at an example. If someone is convicted of a crime, he (or she) is held responsible under the laws of our state, our country. They may face jail time. Probation. Community service.

That’s justice.

But even if we’re convicted of a crime, we might receive pardon. We might get to leave jail “early” and go on probation. The judge could pardon us, and we might even be forgiven by the people whom we had wronged.

That’s mercy.

Obviously our justice system is NOT perfect, since it is run by imperfect people. But God is perfectly just. He’s also perfectly merciful.

God is a just Judge because He punished our sin. Our collective sin, as humans, is SO serious that the punishment is death. God could either sentence us to death, or He could have Someone Else die in our place. He chose to send Jesus to die for us. So, Jesus took our guilt.

Once Jesus died for our sin, God’s justice was satisfied. The sin was paid for — in full. We don’t have to pay — now. We don’t have to be separated from God.

This means that God is merciful. He forgives us because He LOVES us. He gave mercy to us. We didn’t deserve it, because we were guilty of sin and rebellion against His holy standards and laws. But we get mercy because God gives mercy. God gives us hope, and He tells us to be just and merciful – like Him (Micah 6:8).

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God’s justice and mercy guarantee our forgiveness, salvation, and reconciliation with Him if we choose to trust and follow Him!

Today, Let’s choose to put our hope in Him.

~ Helo

 

God Provides

“God provides. God takes care of us. God will meet our needs!”Christians often say these things. We’ve heard them over and over again, haven’t we?

But sometimes, we still ask — “Does God really, TRULY provide?” 

Yes.

God is good and sovereign. God provides. Yet people sometimes lack what they need. I’m talking about basic human needs like shelter, food, water, safety, and work. I’m talking about basic needs like friendship. Physical health. Emotional comfort.

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How can this be?

One answer is that God provides through the Church. I capitalized “Church” because I’m referring to individual Christians, our local churches, and Christians throughout the world — everyone who loves and trusts Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. He works with us to meet people’s needs. He says to love Him and love people (Matthew 22:34 – 40). To love people is to help them, meet their basic needs, uplift and encourage them.

So, we have a role to play. We get to work with our Heavenly Father to help others.

Another answer is that God does miracles. If you’ve read previous blogs or my book, then you’ve heard some of my story. I survived a vicious brain tumor, defying all medical odds — it was a miracle, and I can only conclude that God miraculously and mercifully healed me. He answered prayers for physical healing. He provided. 

Sometimes, it’s not like that… some people receive physical healing in this life, while others suffer and die. If you’ve suffered like that, or if you’ve lost a loved one, I am so sorry. I don’t completely understand why. But…

The thought of Heaven gives me hope.

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I believe that things won’t always be so difficult. What I mean is this: God promises to meet all needs — someday Jesus will come back, and there will be Heaven on earth (Acts 1:11). According to the Bible, there won’t be any more sickness or death. There won’t be mourning or crying. There will be perfect peace. There is hope, even if today is really hard.

Today — or in a while, God may send someone along to provide something that you need. He might also put you in a position to love and serve someone else. Be on the lookout. 

Praying with you, Helo

When We Need Comfort: “Tender Loving Care”

As a mother, I’ve comforted my children in a lot of situations. I call this “TLC” — tender, loving care. Mothers are familiar with children needing TLC when sad… and we care for them. We can’t prevent all of their pain, i.e. scraped knee, because they have to learn and grow and take risks. To borrow a common metaphor, our kids are like birds who eventually leave the nest. But we always love to comfort them when they’re sorrowful, or to celebrate with them about milestones in their lives.

God cares for us like that, but at a cosmic level.

When we’re sorrowful, the best possible comfort comes from God. 

He loves us, and that love is so comforting!

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If you’re feeling at all overwhelmed by all this, remember that He helps us. He has commanded us to meet people’s needs. He also helps us to obey the command because He loves us, and them. He is glad when His children are proactive, choosing to serve others, and He helps us along the way.

When you look to meet others’ needs, you’ll probably have to make some sacrifices — time, energy, money. You can depend on God for help. 

God has “prepared in advance” many good things for us to do (Ephesians 2:10), and we do them by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:1-10). He provides patience, gentleness, and other character traits — “fruits of the Spirit”— that we really need if we’re going to serve others well (Galatians 5:22-23). God has even called Himself our “Helper” (Psalm 46:1).

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If you and I were face to face, with a cup of coffee in hand, here’s what I’d say: “You are loved. You can be strong, help others, and use your talents and resources to make a difference.”

I realize that you might have serious needs yourself. I’d say, “Let’s pray for help and encouragement t— for a miracle.” Let’s pray that our good, strong Father would help us and “give us today our daily bread” (Matthew 5:2-12).

If you’re wanting ideas, here are some practical needs that you could possibly meet today, or this week:

Practical needs

  • Say you’re standing in line to buy groceries, and the young mom in front of you is a little short on cash. Offer to cover the balance so that she doesn’t have to choose between buying apples or buying carrots.
  • Think of a way to help a child in your life (i.e. maybe one of your kids’ buddies is in need of a safe, fun place to play or do homework — and your home could be that place).
  • Donate — don’t throw away — those old but clean, usable clothes that you never wear anymore (spring cleaning, anyone?).

Emotional and spiritual needs

  • Text a friend who needs encouragement.
  • Pray about something that you see in the news before you change the channel.
  • When you ask somebody “how are you?” … really listen to the answer!

    May God’s love comfort you today. ~ Helo

What Gives Us Peace and Joy – If we feel like hope is hidden?

Jesus promised peace. He appeared to His followers, the disciples, after His resurrection. He explained the Gospel to them, and told them to go and make more disciples. He reminded them of the “Greatest Commandment” — love God wholeheartedly — then gave the “Great Commission” to preach the good news and to serve people lovingly (Matthew 22:34-40).

Jesus explained, “I have told you these things, so that in me, you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). But if Jesus promised to leave behind peace and joy, then why do we still experience so much pain? 

He wasn’t necessarily promising “world peace” — the absence of war — or “peace and quiet” — the absence of noisy distractions. He was promising to be present with us.

His presence is our peace. His presence is our joy. Hope is found in Him.

His presence is a gift that gives us peace.

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I can only imagine the joy God feels when He welcomes us into a relationship with Him. We get to accept his Grace — His immeasurable hope, peace, and joy. Sometimes, I feel like I don’t deserve to receive this gift.

And I don’t. But that’s the very definition of Grace: unmerited favor. God’s love is so great that He generously grants us peace and joy.

Jesus is called “the Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6). He expects His people to be peacemakers, too. For example, in the famous “Sermon on the Mount,” Jesus was teaching people about who God is, what He does, and how we should live if we love and follow God. He said, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God” (Matthew 5:9).

This is joyful news! We get to be part of God’s mission to rescue, redeem, and restore.

So, we should pursue peace and joy. But that’s hard to do sometimes, right? Think of a conflict that you had this week, or even today — a hard or hopeless conversation with a loved one, a friend, or a co-worker, perhaps.

You had to try to “get on the same page” and see things from the other’s “point of view” while still communicating your opinions, dreams, and aspirations. You didn’t want to disregard the dreams and hopes of the one in front of you. Communicating, collaborating — that’s a type of peacemaking. And it can be hard.

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When it’s hard… when it feels painful to seek peace and joy … why should we keep trying? 

Jesus gave us a mission. He’s on mission with us. He is present, and His peace gets poured into us and then conveyed to others. We might not “feel” peaceful, but let us not lose heart! Jesus is present with you, and His presence is the only true peace and authentic joy.

Picture this: Jesus is near. Accept His love and trust that He is with you.

Oh, how He loves us!

Hope in Him, Helo