Emmanuel Our Friend

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Matthew 1:23 “Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a Son, and they shall call His name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us”

Every Monday morning, we start our week at Charis Bible College with live worship. I absolutely can’t wait for Monday mornings, what a way to start another great week. This past Monday, I arrived early and was sitting in the auditorium and the worship team was practicing a beautiful song, Rejoice Emmanuel! A good friend of mine, Emmanuel, was playing the key board. This brought the song to life for me. I thought to myself, that’s so awesome, Jesus was born to a virgin and she bore a Son and the name was “Emmanuel”, God with us.

Jesus is our Emmanuel. He’s our friend that is always with us and will never leave us or forsake us, never (Hebrews 13:5). He’s our ever present help in the time of trouble (Psalm 46:1). He abides in us, and we abide in Him, by the Spirit (1 John 3:24). He’s our friend that sticks closer than a brother (Proverbs 18:24). Contrary to what some religious people have said, He’s a friend to sinners (Luke 7:34). In Matthew 28:20, He said “I am with you always, even unto the end of the world”. So enjoy your forever Friend, your Emmanuel, God with you.

 

No More Law School

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Galatians 4:24 “Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us to Christ”.

I commend the students who, after four years of college, go on to law school. I mean, four years of studying, taking exam after exam, studying some more, and late nights is a lot of work. Yet they are determined go back and do it again at a whole nutha’ level!

So, now let’s talk about a different kind of “law school”. One of my favorite books in the Bible is Galatians. In this book the apostle Paul addresses Christians who welcome the good news of Jesus Christ when Paul is present, but after he leaves their city, others come right behind him and mix the good news of grace with the Jewish law, and they welcome that too.

Paul was strong in combating this mixture. He said in Galatians 3:1, “O foolish Galatians who has bewitched you that you should not obey the truth”. He explains to them in Galatians 4:24 that, yes, the law has a purpose, it was “our schoolmaster to bring us to Christ”. Then goes on to say in verse 25, “but after that faith is come we are no longer under a schoolmaster”. In other words, we are no longer under the law, we are no longer in “law school”.

A schoolmaster here means a servant to care for children until they become a mature son.As Christians, we are no longer servants but sons.We are not under the law but under grace.You can’t be under both law and grace.He exhorts us to beware of leaven, “a little leaven leaves the whole lump” (Galatians 5:9).Beware of mixture that focuses on what you must do and not putting the focus on what Jesus has done.No more law school folks.School’s out!Enjoy your endless grace summer!

 

Bad News Sold as Good News

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Matthew 6:15 “If you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins”

This is not good news. This is bad news that is intended to make us shake in our boots. It links God’s forgiveness to our own. It’s not grace, it is law. It’s something you must give to get. Why did the Lord preach law? Because some people will never value the gift of grace until the law has been allowed to do its condemning work. Some need to hear the bad news before they will appreciate the good news.

Romans 10:4, says “Now Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to all who trust in Him”. Maybe you’ve heard that God won’t forgive you if you have unforgiveness in your heart. Under the law that Jesus preached that was true. But the law keeping covenant was FULFILLED at the cross! In Acts 26:1, after the cross, He said forgiveness is a gift to be received! At the cross verbs became nouns! It is finished, you are forgiven. Now that’s the good news!

 

The Accepting Church

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Romans 15:7 NIV - “Accept one another, as Christ accepted you”.

Divine acceptance will change the world! But before it does, it must first change the church. The problem with a “mixed” grace message (mixing grace with the law or a works based message) is that it makes the children of God fearful of their Heavenly Father. It paints a frown on the face of love. Can you imagine God the Father frowning at Jesus? Of course not. Neither is He frowning at you.

In the old covenant they prayed for the day when the Lord would make His face shine upon them, be gracious to them, and give them peace. The awesome news is, we are living in that day, right now. He is looking you in the face and beaming with a galaxy sized smile. You are the apple of His eye. He rejoices over you with singing. When we get a hold of this, it will transform us into the “accepting church”.

Freedom is found in the Fathers acceptance, when you know that you are your Daddy’s delight. When you know that He loves you and accepts you, unconditionally. You are accepted in the Beloved. People who know that they are accepted, are more apt to accept others. Be free! “Accept one another, as Christ accepted you”.

 

Good Things Come to Those Who GO!

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1 Samuel 16:1 – “Now the Lord said to Samuel, “How long will you mourn for Saul, seeing I have rejected him from reigning over Israel? Fill your horn with oil, and go…for I have provided...”

You’ve heard the phrase good things come to those who wait. I agree, but sometimes good things come to those who GO! In 1 Samuel 16, Samuel was mourning for Saul who he had anointed to be king. But God had made a change. We have trouble sometimes with change.

The Lord said “How long are you going to mourn?” Perhaps God is asking you the same thing, or maybe, “How long are you going to live in regret?” Or, “How long are you going to try to relive the past?” Before you have a chance to answer, He declares “Fill your horn with oil and go”. There’s your answer. There’s your mandate.

In the same breath, He says, “For I have provided”. Two thirds of GOD is GO. Good things are waiting for you as you go. Have you ever tried to pick up spilled milk? You can’t. Stop trying.

I believe this message is for many people who are stuck in the past, or even stuck in the present. He’s saying to you today…”How long are you going to live in the past when I’ve moved on? I’m sending you. It’s time to make a change. Get going! I have provided!” Take a step forward. It’s your time for new beginnings.

 

The Grace Invitation

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Revelation 3:5 “I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life; but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels."

Before the foundation of the world, every person’s name was written in the Book of Life. On the cross, Jesus carefully counted the sin of all mankind to Himself, once and for all. Therefore, God is not counting sin against us. Instead, God is extending an invitation to all mankind to receive the sacrifice that Jesus made on the cross on their behalf. To receive Him as their Savior and forgiveness for their sin.

What is your name? Did Jesus die on the cross for your sin? Yes. Then your name is written in the Book of Life. What about the names of your relatives? Did Jesus die on the cross for their sin? Yes. Even though they may not be born again yet? Absolutely. Then their names are also written in the Book of Life. If unsaved people got their name written in the Book of Life when they got born again, then Jesus would need to die on the cross all over again for them.

However, Revelation 3:5 speaks of names being blotted out from the Book of Life. What does that mean? Let me explain it this way. God has extended an invitation to all mankind to receive Jesus as their Savior the same as a couple would extend an invitation to someone for their wedding. They prepare a guest list then send out the invitations. With the invitation comes a request for a response, an RSVP. For those that accept the invitation their names remain on the list. For those who decline, their name is removed (blotted out).

God has written the name of every person in the Book of Life. He extends an invitation for salvation. For those that accept, even up to the very second before their death, their names remain written in the Book of Life. Sadly, for those who decline and leave this earth without having accepted Jesus, their names are blotted out. 1 Timothy 2:3-4 says that it would please God if “all would be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth”.

How does a person receive God’s invitation? Through us! We have the privilege of sharing with every person we meet that God has already accepted them, that God sent His only Son to die on the cross for them because of His intense love for them. We get to tell them that God has their name is written in the Book of Life, and an open invitation is waiting for them to accept Jesus as their Savior and spend eternity with Him. We get to extend the “Grace Invitation”.

 

Staying at the Comfort Inn

Isaiah 40:1 Amplified Bible “Comfort, Comfort my people says the Lord”

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On my way to Charis Bible College this past August, I drove a full day then stayed my first night at the Comfort Inn. I mean, it wasn’t a five star hotel but it had all the necessities - nice room, pool, workout gym, and a nice hot breakfast. These were certainly a “comfort” to me! I like that word, comfort. It means an alleviation of pain, distress, worry. In Genesis 6:8 it says that “Noah found grace”. The name Noah means “comfort, rest, quietness”.

Putting this all together in Isaiah 40:1, he says “Comfort, Comfort”. That’s twice the comfort for…who? You and me! He has an open invitation for us to stay in the “comfort inn”, a place to receive rest, food, and provision for your journey! Declare that over the situations you are facing today, “Comfort Comfort!” Over your family, your church, your place of business, and everywhere you go. He’s the God of all comfort who comforts us in all of our trials! He gives restful increase. Make your reservation! It’s free!

 

Preparing or Repairing

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Psalm 77:6 “I will meditate with my heart, and my spirit ponders”

John Maxwell in his book Today Matters, said this “I believe that everyone chooses how to approach life. If you’re proactive you focus on preparing. If you’re reactive you end up focusing on repairing“. Preparation time is never wasted time. If you prepare your heart before you have that conversation, it’ll be fruitful. If you don’t you may have to “repair” what you didn’t prepare for! Preparing will actually save you time and energy, repairing takes a lot more time and could end up costing you some big bucks.

We’ve all had things that need to be addressed or conflict that needs to be dealt with. It’s so much better to prepare, get a good night’s sleep, and meditate with your heart. Your “heart” is not the organ that beats in your chest. Your heart is made up of your soul and your spirit. When we allow our soul to align with our spirit, we have good success. Psalm 77:6 says “and my spirit ponders”. I love that because our spirit knows all things and has in it the mind of Christ. So, the next time something important comes up, prepare, meditate with your heart, and take time to allow your spirit to ponder. OR, you can take double the time and effort repairing the situation. So which is it for you? Prepare or repair?

 

Come Away and Rest Awhile

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Mark 6:31 “come away ......and rest awhile”

Burnout is something that all of us face in one form or another in life. Burnout can look like: 1) overwhelming tiredness over what needs to be done or what is looming ahead. 2) frustration at the constant needs, demands, and expectations of others. 3) lack of vision of what the future holds 4) depression, agitation, anger, stress, and anxiousness. 5) physical illness and lack of care for yourself, and 6) judgement and offense towards those you feel are demanding of your time, energy and efforts.

There are always things to do. There is always more that could be done. More that should be done. The question comes up, are these things we’ve laid on ourselves from the heart of God or our own devised plans or demands of others? Wayne Cordeiro, author of Leading on Empty, says that “people’s needs are great and their expectations are endless. You can’t base your life on the expectations of others”. He said, “It is good to wean ourselves off the need to be needed.”

In Mark 6 it says “come away...and rest awhile”. I like that because you need to actually get away from some things to truly rest. Remember, God doesn’t give you a vision for your life that will end in burnout. That will hurt or destroy relationships, or cause stress or illness. Our visions and lifestyle are to be birthed out of our relationship with the Father, therefore they are sustained by that same relationship. Even in your thoughts and your mind, it’s good to “come away...and rest awhile”. His grace is always available to keep you refreshed, renewed, and refilled! So, how about you? Whether it’s for a minute, a day, a week, or a month…when the activity of this world starts to crowd your mind and your life…stop…come away…breathe...rest awhile…then head back refreshed.

 

End Time Global Chilling

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Matthew 24:10-12 “Then many shall be offended, and shall betray one another, and many false prophets shall arise and deceive many…and the love of many shall wax cold”.

The greatest end time threat to our lives and to our society is not global warming, but global chilling. Let me explain. In Luke 17:1 Jesus said “it is impossible that no offenses should come”. What a statement. Every one of us will have the opportunity to be offended, be misunderstood, experience an injustice, and a heartache of some kind. However, it’s our choice how to respond when these things happen, because they will happen. Unfortunately, offense has become the “legal drug” of the church.

When we get offended, we get deceived, and then we begin to view everything through the prism of our pain. Notice the progression, first the offense, then the decision to be offended, then betrayal, hatred, false prophecy, and then finally our heart becomes cold... frigid…and global chilling sets in toward others…brrrrrrrrrrrr!

But, here’s the good news. We can be set free from offense. Psalm 119:165 says that people who love the Word of God have great peace, and nothing offends them. They don’t judge other people’s motives behind their actions. In Exodus 15, the people of Israel came to a body of water and it was bitter. Then God showed Moses a tree, and instructed him to throw it into the waters, and they became sweet. That’s an example of the cross of Calvary when applied to bitterness in our souls. Nothing so bad has happened to you that is greater than what Jesus has done for you at the cross. So when offenses come, and they will come, let all bitterness be turned into sweet waters that will produce healing for others. The change starts with you. Put a stop to global chilling!

 

Jesus Power & Light

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Exodus 10:21, 23 - “Then the LORD said to Moses, ‘Stretch out your hand toward the sky so that darkness spreads over Egypt--darkness that can be felt’. No one could see anyone else or move about for three days. Yet all the Israelites had light in the places where they lived.”

This was an amazing miracle. All the homes in Egypt were so dark that the darkness could literally be felt. But the children of Israel, which had no oil to light their lamps, had light in their homes. It was a supernatural light, not a manmade light. No matter what’s going on in your home, Jesus has paid the “light bill” and His “power” is available to restore every area of your family and household.

None of us have done everything perfect. It’s so good to know that God’s grace is sufficient for us. When darkness tries to close in on our homes, we have Light in our dwellings. There is a supernatural restoration that was bought and paid for by Jesus Christ, through the finished work of the cross. Every family member and every adverse situation is being supernaturally reconciled. Rejoice! There can be darkness all around, but not in your house! Jesus’ power and light never dims and never runs out.

 

Stressed Spelled Backwards

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1John 4:19 - ESV Translation - “We love because He first loved us”.

This morning I was in a beautiful town of Woodland Park, CO and I noticed a little donut shop with lines going out the door, onto their porch, and down their stairs. Can’t beat that for advertisement! I got in line to see what was so great about the place. When I finally got inside, I saw a sign that read “stressed spelled backwards is desserts”…LOL! I know some of you who would love that!

In the New Testament, 1 John 4:19, says, “We love because He first loved us”. In the Old Testament, Deut. 6:5 says, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength”. That’s backwards. It’s impossible to love the Lord with all your heart, soul and strength. Utterly impossible. When we live backwards from the new covenant we get stressed. When we live under the old covenant, it’s all works. We are trying to get something through our own works that’s already ours through the finished work on the cross.

If I had a choice between being stressed and enjoying desserts, I choose desserts. They’re much more fun. God wants us to live the sweet life, the good life, the new covenant life. Like 1 John 4:19 says, it’s what He has done first that empowers you second. You decide, old covenant , performance, comparison, impossible standards, always falling short, looking at yourself…OR new covenant, all eyes on Jesus and His finished work! God always serves dessert first. Enjoy it. Guilt free!

 

No Assembly Required

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Colossians 2:10 “And you are complete in Him”.

Have you ever bought something that said “assembly not required”, but when you opened the package you found a list of 15 steps? I recently had to put something together, and I was trying to follow the instructions, but before you know it, I had more parts than instructions. I had to go back and figure out where I missed it. It was supposed to be easy… after all, “no assembly required”.

Colossians 2:10 says that when you were born again you were made complete “IN HIM”. All things are become new. What we need to fully understand is that in our born again spirit we are whole, complete, healthy, rich, secure, and every other promise that’s included the good news of the Gospel. As we renew our minds we realize we don’t have to fix ourselves or try and get something from God, there’s no assembly required.

We simply need to believe who we already are through the finished work of Jesus on the Christ! We are a complete child of God, we are “just men made perfect”, Hebrews 12:23. “All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ” Ephesians 1:3.

As born again believers, we are complete in Him. No assembly required. No more chasing down what’s already yours. The blessings of God are chasing YOU. Stop! Receive! Rest! Enjoy!

 

Happy Tails, Happy Hearts

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Numbers 6:25 “The Lord make His face to shine upon and enlighten you and be gracious (kind, merciful, and giving favor) to you”.

As I was driving recently from New Jersey to Colorado I saw a sign that said “Humane Society…Happy Tails, Happy Hearts”. Did you know that a dog wagging his tail serves the exact same function as a human smile, a greeting, or excited recognition? And what’s really cool is that for a dog to wag his tail, a person has to be in their presence. They don’t wag their tail when no one is around. This wagging of the tail means “a happy heart”. God created dogs this way!

God always looks at you with an approving look. He makes His face shine upon you, giving kindness, mercy, and favor! He is gracious to you. When He sees you or thinks about you, He overflows with intense love and joy. His greatest desires are to see you happy, joyful, and successful. God’s face is not frowning on you but shining with joy and elation over you, His beloved child. You, or nothing you do will ever change that about Him toward you. Simply smile back and receive it, soak it in!

 

A Grace Growth Spirt

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2 Peter 3:18 “But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be glory both now and forever, Amen”. 

As children head back to school, they may notice certain classmates that grew several inches over the summer.  They experienced a “growth spirt”, they grew faster than others at an exponential rate. Interestingly, a lot of growth happens at night during sleep.  Secretions of human growth hormone peak throughout the night.  In fact, it is recommended that children ages 6-13 sleep at least 11 hours a night. 

REST CAUSES GROWTH!  The more we rest, the more we grow.  In what?  Grace.  And what else?  In 2 Peter 3:18 it mentions another important component to growing in grace…the knowledge of our Lord Jesus.  We grow in grace when we receive more knowledge.  Not just any knowledge, but knowledge of Jesus.  If you want more growth, study more about Jesus.   Jesus is full of grace and truth. Get ready though, when you grow in your knowledge of Jesus, you will experience a “grace growth spirt”!  Others will take notice that there’s something awesome happening in your life.  You’re standing taller, you’re more confident, and happier, and at peace and rest.  Grow!  Grow!  Grow! 

 

R&R

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Isaiah 28:12 “To whom he said, This is the rest wherewith you may cause the weary to rest; and this is the refreshing: yet they would not” 

The phrase “R&R” is an abbreviation for rest and recuperation.  It originated as a military term referring to the time members of the armed forces spend relaxing and resting away from the war or the battle. The military knows that for their forces to be effective and at their optimum, and to avoid burnout, they need R&R!  I love the dictionary definition of R&R, it’s awesome.  It means” relaxing when you’re not working”. 

So how does a believer enjoy this rest that verse 12 talks about?  You need to go back to verse 11 which describes one of, if not the most important, grace gifts, speaking in tongues.  “For with stammering lips and another tongue will He speak to this people”. This is so powerful. 

Many of you have been facing battles and you’re wondering “What should I do?”  Here’s what you should do…get some R&R, praying and singing in the Spirit.  Praying in your prayer language gives you rest and refreshing in the presence of your enemies.  Raise your hand if you could use some R&R!   If you feel tired and worn out, if you’re on edge with your emotions, or having trouble sleeping, get some R&R.  Are you irritable? Frustrated?  Anxious?  All of the above? Take five.  Take five minutes right now and pray in tongues. 

If you’ve never heard of speaking in tongues, or would like to know more about it, Pastor Joe has a free message for you called Speaking in Tongues.  It will truly help you understand and receive this powerful gift.  Receive this grace gift today and start enjoying an unlimited supply of R&R, anytime and anywhere. 

 

Spirit = Spirit

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1 Corinthians 6:17 “But he that is joined to the Lord is one spirit” 

Did you know that the instant you were born again, your spirit became identical to the Holy Spirit!  That truth literally changed my whole life and identity.  Here’s something interesting…did you know that identical twins have the exact same DNA.  From birth they are 100% genetically identical.  Because they develop from the same fertilized egg they are exactly the same.  You have the DNA of God.  What’s true of the Holy Spirit is also true of your born again spirit, because they are “ONE”. 

Because there aren’t capital letters in the Greek text of the Bible, translators decided from the context of a passage whether to render it “Spirit” or “spirit”. In 1 Corinthians 6: 17, the word “one” in the Greek is the word Heis, which means “alike” or “agreement” or “one to the exclusion of others”.  In other words, your born again spirit is identical to the Holy Spirit.  That’s awesome!?!  You are wall-to-wall Holy Ghost.  You’re full of the power of God. 

Now, all you need to do is renew your minds to this powerful truth. Find out who He is and you will find out who you are. As He is, so are you, in this world (1 John 4:17).  Look into the mirror of the Word of God and see what it says about you.  Meditate day and night on the Word and see your life transform from the inside out! 

 

Healing is Not a P.S.

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Psalm 103:3 “who forgives all your iniquities; who Heals all your diseases” 

We all need to get to where we believe God’s report more than any other report from any other source!  You’ve crossed over into the Spirit when God’s word dominates you more than what you can see, taste, hear, smell and feel. 

Physical healing was purchased through Christ’s atonement. It is not just a “P.S.” to forgiveness of sin.  As you may know, P.S stands for postscript, meaning “written after”. It is generally used in a letter – “writing to indicate something added after the body of the letter was completed and signed”. 

Healing is an integral part of what Jesus died to give us. In fact, His sacrifice provides physical healing just as much as forgiveness of sin.  God would no more give someone sickness than lead them into sin. WHY? Jesus shed his precious blood to completely redeem us from both! 

Here is what I believe is a huge key, believing that you are forgiven of all your sins, directly relates to healing of all diseases. In other words make God’s “ALL” your “ALL”. Christ has redeemed you from ALL the curse, it’s not just a “P.S.” at the end, it’s all included!  Receive divine health today!

 

You've Already Got It!

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Philemon 6 "That the communication of your faith may become effectual by the acknowledging of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus" 

You've already got it!  Everything that you will ever need for this life has already been provided for you. Your healing has already been provided.  Your deliverance has already been provided.  Financial prosperity has already been provided.  You’ve already got it! 

Where is it?  It's IN CHRIST JESUS!  Philemon 6 say's that if you're in Christ, then every good thing is already in you, in your spirit!  It's like a water well, and the pump is activated by "acknowledging every good thing that's already in you”.  In Christ Jesus you are now living from the inside out, not the outside in.  Peace is in you.  Joy is in you.  More than enough is in you.  Start declaring it.  Why?  Because you’ve already got it!

One definition of faith is - a positive response to what Grace has already provided!  God didn't provide healing the day you got sick, HE provided it over 2000 years ago.  God didn't provide finances the day you got that bill in the mail.  He provided it over 2000 years ago!  God didn't provide deliverance the day you fell into bondage or addiction.  He provided it over 2000 years ago!  

If you’re born again, every good thing is already in you, you've already got it!  All that you need is not “out there” somewhere, or in your future, you don’t have to go get it from God.  Simply release the healing that is already in your born again spirit.  Release the finances that are already in you through the finished work on the cross.  Release the peace that is already in you, a fruit of the Spirit.  Halleluiah!  Whatever you need, you’ve already got it.  It is finished!

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The 490 Forgiveness Club

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Mathew 18:21-22 “Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive Him? Till seven times? Jesus said to him, “I say not to thee until seven times, but, until seventy times seven” 

There’s a tremendous amount of liberty that comes with recognizing and releasing Christ in you. When you’re really angry with someone, don’t turn the other cheek and say through gritted teeth, “I love you”.  It’s better to say, “Father, in my flesh, I’d like to punch them in the nose right now.  But in my spirit, I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me”. Please live through me, help me to release supernatural compassion for this person so I can love them!”  

Peter thought he was being generous when he asked, “How many times should I forgive my brother, up to seven times a day?” Jesus answered, “Not seven times, but seventy times seven”…490 times in one day!  In other words, there shouldn’t be a limit on your forgiveness. 

In your flesh you might be able to forgive a person for something once, twice, or maybe seven times in a day, but what Jesus asked goes far beyond your human ability.  The only way you can forgive like that is by saying, “Father, I can’t do it, but You can.  Lord please love them through me.” 

When you humble yourself, and turn away from your own natural ability and look to God and His divine ability, you’ll discover a supernatural strength flowing through you.  You have an unlimited supply of the God-kind-of-love in your spirit. In your spirit, you have an unlimited ability to forgive, endure, believe, and hope. 

If you catch yourself saying, “I can’t stand this anymore, I just can’t take it, I’m at the end of my rope”, this is good news.  What you’re really saying is, “I’ve come to the end of my flesh!”  Now let your spirit take over. Pray, God, I’ve been trying this myself, which is why I’m burned out, frustrated, and angry. Live Your life through me.  I believe you’re Word. In my spirit, I’m a brand new person, in my spirit I know I can do this!”  Join the 490 Forgiveness Club, the membership is free!