God spoke to Prophet Jeremiah, “I know the plans I have for you…Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” ( Jer.29:11 ). Question, how can we know God’s plan for us? God reveals Himself through the bible, prayer and fellowship with other believers (church). He reveals Himself through the ups and downs of life and the joys and agonies of our daily living. The key is for us to consciously set apart our lives for Him, in line with the much loved Hymn “Take time to be holy, speak oft with thy Lord”. I know some of you are going through some hard times, but I want to assure you that God’s plan still remains to give you hope and a future! He sees your tears and understands you groans.
‘Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins against us’. This is a Prayer close to the heart of every believer. When someone you have offended forgives you then you are free from the dull and self-diminishing pain of guilt. On the other hand when you step out and forgive someone who has offended you, however hard it is, you have reconciled your life with love and spared the other person from the corrosion of bitterness and hurt. It’s a win win for both parties, a life of freedom and peace. This becomes possible when we channel the forgiveness of Christ that radiates from the cross, where you and I fully assimilate the fact that we are forgiven and restored!!
If the forgiven person does not become forgiving and the loved person does not become loving then we have to pause and introspect. We as believers carry in us the nature of Christ, authenticated by his presence, His Spirit living in us. As Paul tells the Galatians, The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such these is no law. Yes a daily surrender of ourselves goes a long way in our spiritual progress and takes a big weight of our shoulders!
Joshua 10:25 Joshua said to them “Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Be strong and courageous. This is what the LORD will do to all the enemies you are going to fight.”
Matthew 5:16 says “let your light shine before others”. I love the stain glass windows in our Church. I have heard a story of a little girl who wondered what saints would look like. Her mother took her to a large church and showed her the stain glass windows with scenes from the Bible. When she saw those scenes she shouted, “Mammy now I know what saints look like. They are people who let the light shine through them”. The Bible calls believers Saints, meaning we are consecrated, holy, sacred. We are set apart for his glory. In most cases we may need to be still and allow the ‘Son’ to shine through us. When we surrender our lives to Jesus, maybe even without us realizing it, the rich colors of his compassion, mercy, joy, peace and sacrificial love shines through us….and it may just happen, when others look at us they see JESUS.