Fasting? What For?

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Matthew 17:19-21 "Then came the disciples to Jesus apart, and said, Why could not we cast him out? And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you. Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting."

What comes out only by prayer and fasting? The spirit? No. He was referring to unbelief. It's unbelief that only goes out by prayer and fasting. He fully expected the disciples to cast that spirit out, on the spot, or He wouldn't have rebuked them saying in verse 17, saying, "O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you?" The issue wasn't casting a spirit out, it was their unbelief.

Prayer and fasting brings us from a place of unbelief - where my mountains refuse to move, where everything seems impossible to me - to a place where nothing is impossible for me.

When we fast, we are enforcing the positional truth that the sin nature was crucified with Christ and our flesh no longer has the power to rule over our spirit. Our fasting doesn't move the devil, he's not the one with our problems. Fasting doesn't move God, it moves us into a place where we can receive from God.

Fasting destroys the hold that the flesh has had on our lives, that has defeated us time and time again, year after year. Lies that tell us things will never get better, or that we will never accomplish more than we've already accomplished, that this is it for us.

Fasting has the same effect on our flesh as it had on Jesus' flesh: it braces us against the temptations of the devil and helps us shut down the flesh by enforcing the perfect standing Jesus has already given us. As the flesh loses ground, the peace of God can begin to rule in our lives.

You choose. A meal. Or a mountain. Which would you rather do without?


It's Worth the Wait by Natalie Fortunato

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Acts 1:4-5 - "And being assembled together with them, He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, “which,” He said, “you have heard from Me; for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”

Jesus didn't recommend or suggest that the disciples not depart from Jerusalem until the "Promise of the Father" had come, He commanded them. After His resurrection, they had spent many amazing days together, He taught them kingdom principles, and He knew the disciples were eager to share the good news all over the world. But He commanded them not to get started until they had been clothed with the Spirit's power (Luke 24:49).

In 1 Corinthians it says that He gave this command to about 500 people, yet in Acts 1:15 it says there were only 120 men and women in the upper room filled with the Holy Spirit. What happened to the other 380? Perhaps they didn't want to wait. They wanted to get started doing the work of the ministry…without the power of the Holy Spirit!

When God calls us to do something, we need to make sure that we don't get so excited about the task, that we move out ahead of Him. Moving out in our own power and timing will actually interfere with what He wants to do in our lives, and interrupt the process. Our decisions greatly affect the lives of those around us, and the people that God has called us to reach. Slow down! Don't worry, you'll know when the Holy Spirit says to move, and He will empower you for the task at hand. It's worth the wait.


Time to Raise Up a Grace Generation

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Judges 2:10 “and also all that generation were gathered unto their fathers: and there arose another generation after them, which knew not the Lord, nor yet the works which He had done for Israel“

As many of you may know, I am finishing my third year at Charis Bible College in Woodland Park, CO, in the World Outreach Global Training School. I have been assigned a year end project with a group of my classmates called “Charis on College Campuses”. It’s been a very eye opening experience to say the least. I’m getting quite an “education” about what’s happening in the 17-30 age group in America. Part of our project includes visiting local college campuses to conduct a survey regarding biblical beliefs and the relevance of the church. My first stop - a branch campus of one of the largest secular colleges in CO. My first student – a Satanist who responded with a resounding “No!”, then proceeded to get up in my face and yell vile things about Christianity. Whoa. Though there are some students who openly believe in Christ, it’s no secret that many of our college campuses in America are purporting a philosophy and ideology that strongly opposes the Word of God.

Judges 2:10 sadly speaks of a generation that grew up after Joshua died, who “knew not the Lord” nor “the miracles that were done for Israel”. What happened? The older generation failed to share the Word of God with the younger generation. To tell of who He is, the miracles He did for them, and how He delivered them from bondage. Folks, no matter how older you are, there’s always going to be someone younger than you in your life. God has called us to raise up a GRACE generation that knows Him intimately. How? By living a life evidenced by God’s favor, goodness, miraculous power, and love for them to witness firsthand. Simply stated…to “attract” them, not “attack” them. The time is now!


What Did Jesus Leave Us?

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John 14:27 “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world gives, give I unto you…”

Last week I was watching a movie about two very, very, very, (that’s 3 very’s) rich uncles that left their nephew millions and millions of dollars in their will. One summer when the young boy went to visit his uncles, little did he know that his life would totally change at such a young age. That summer the two uncles died when they tried to fly a prop plane through their barn! Similarly, John 14: 27 is likened to a man getting ready to leave his life on earth who bequeaths his wealth, mansion, estate, and even his Lamborghini…to you!

But in this case, it’s the Lord Jesus who is preparing to leave earth, and of all the things that He could bequeath to us, He left us His peace. As a Jew, Jesus would have spoken Hebrew or Aramaic to His disciples, so He would have used the word, shalom. “Shalom I leave with you, My shalom I give to you”. Shalom means completeness, wholeness, health, welfare, prosperity, and peace. Not the kind of conditional and fleeting peace the world gives. He left us so, so much more. It’s all in His last will and “testament”, the New Testament in your Bible. It’s filled with everything that He left for you. Take it. Receive it. Tell everyone about it. It’s all yours!


Do You Want Your Receipt?


John 19:30 “When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, He said, It is finished; and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost”.

I’ve noticed lately that instead of automatically handing me my receipt after a purchase, the cashier asks me if I want a receipt. Possibly more and more people are not taking their receipt? Maybe they rely on their bank app, online banking, or memory to keep a record of their purchase. Me? I want my receipt. When I filled the gas tank in my car (I look forward to not having to pump my own gas when I get back to New Jersey!), a woman’s voice came over the speaker on the pump and asked, “Would you like a receipt?” My answer, “Yes”.

In John 19:30, when Jesus said “It is finished”, He was saying that “It is paid”. This is powerful. The penalty for all sin, past, present, and future? Paid. Healing? Paid at the whipping post when Jesus was scourged and beaten unrecognizably. The curse of poverty? Paid. Condemnation, guilt and shame? It was nailed to the cross with Jesus. What did He pay with? His precious blood, He exchanged His life for ours. What did He pay for? Our righteousness, our healing, our victory, deliverance, redemption, peace, joy, and so much more. Don’t believe me? Take a look at your receipt. What receipt? You Bible, it’s a record of the payment Jesus made on your behalf. Paid in full!


#1 Hit Single of All Time

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2 Chronicles 20:21 “And when he had consulted with the people, he appointed singers unto the Lord, and that should praise the beauty of holiness, as they went out before the army, and to say, Praise the Lord, for His mercy endures forever”

According to Guinness World Records, "White Christmas" (1942) by Bing Crosby is the best-selling single worldwide, with estimated sales of over 50 million copies. The song recognized as "the best-selling single of all time" was released before the pop rock singles chart era and "was listed as the world's best-selling single in the first-ever Guinness Book of Records (published in 1955) and—remarkably—still retains the title more than 60 years later".

In 2 Chronicles 20:21, Judah was being attacked by three armies. The battle strategy? Appoint singers unto the Lord to go out before the army singing Praise the Lord, for His mercy endures forever. THIS is the #1 hit song of all time! Judah may not have topped the charts, but they toppled the enemy.

The word mercy in the Old Testament is the Hebrew word for grace. Praise the Lord, for His grace endures forever. His grace is sufficient for you. It surrounds you like a shield when it seems like your enemy has you surrounded. Praise Him with a loud voice, singing “Praise the Lord, for His mercy and grace and favor endures forever”. Make a declaration of your victory. It’s your praise that stills the avenger. Sing! Sing! Sing!


Bitter or Better...A One Letter Difference

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Hebrews 12:15 “Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled”

Ever been bitter about something? We all have. Ever been through something and came out better? What a great idea! It’s amazing how one letter can affect your life. Years ago, I felt like someone had deeply wronged me. I couldn’t shake it out of my mind. I kept telling myself it didn’t matter. It did. For days. Ever been there? Just nod your head up and down. Then I heard about a man who lost hundreds of thousands of dollars from a dishonest business deal. A friend told him to change his focus and insisted that he start praying for the people who wronged him. Within 30 days he recovered $130,000. In fact, within 3 minutes of praying, someone handed him a card with $50,000 in it. Praise God.

Hebrews 12:15 says that when we allow a root of bitterness to spring up, the grace of God cannot flow through us. See, it’s from the heart that this bitterness springs up, we need to guard our hearts with all vigilance (Proverbs 4:23). When we allow a root of bitterness to spring up, it troubles us and defiles everyone around us. Is that what we really want? That’s the opposite affect we are to have on others. The next time you are tempted to get bitter, change that one letter. Change from bitter to better. Let God turn the situation around on your behalf. Believe me, you’ll live better.


Mangia! Time to Eat

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Ezekiel 3:8 “And he said to me, son of man, eat this scroll that I give you and fill your stomach with it, then I ate it, and it was as sweet as honey in my mouth”

When I was younger (notice I said “younger”, because I’m still young!), dinnertime was a big part of the day in our Italian family. I loved to hear my mother say, “Time to eat!” I like to say, “Mangia!” It's a typically direct Italian way of saying, "Dinner is served”, or maybe asmangiamo, "Let's eat," or mangia tutti, "Everybody eat." It’s all music to my ears.

In January of this year, I heard the Lord say to me “I want you to eat My Word”, specifically in reference to the vision He gave me for our church – 2019: The Year of Great Change. So, I have been taking the scriptures from the vision and meditating on them regularly, like I would one of my daily meals. Ezekiel 3:8 says, “And He said to me, son of man, eat this scroll that I give you and fill your stomach with it, then I ate it, and it was as sweet as honey in my mouth”. This is powerful.

You see, I believe that we need to do more than just skim the Word. It becomes part of us when we eat and digest what God is saying. When we chew on it, mull it over, think on it, and meditate on His Word. To truly experience great change, to see the promises of God manifest in our lives, to see what we’ve believed for, this is a key. We can snack on the Word, or we can eat the Word. In 2019, make it a necessary and essential part of your everyday life. Make it your highest priority. Mangia!!




Jeremiah 10:23 “Oh Lord, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man to direct his own steps”

The word “recalibrate” has become quite familiar to all of us GPS users out there. Where would we be without them…literally? When we take a wrong turn, we rely on the GPS to recalibrate. If I didn’t have the GPS I’d have gotten lost so many times! I still remember the days when my dad would pull over and dig out the map from the glove compartment of our station wagon. Those days are long gone. Now we just wait for our GPS to figure out a way to get us back on track.

Recalibrate means to calibrate again, to get back on course again. If you’ve gotten off course, no worries, you have the Guide inside. The Holy Spirit will recalibrate within you. He will prompt you to make a simple course correction. Jeremiah 10:23 says “it’s not in any of us to direct our own steps. In life, we need to recalibrate many, many times. God is okay with that. That’s why He gave us the Holy Spirit to recalibrate us as soon as we begin to make a wrong turn. He guides us to make a small course correction, that’s all we need. The sooner we yield to Him, the less recalibration we need on the path ahead. If you’ve gotten off course, listen to the Holy Spirit and just recalibrate. You’ll get to your destination. Trust your “God Positional System”.


Weapon of Mass Instruction

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Hosea 4:6 “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge“

I was reading the other day about Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD), such as chemical, biological, or nuclear weapons that can do significant harm and damage on a large scale. Mass means large, massive, profuse, overwhelming. But there’s something even more powerful and effective in the spiritual world called “weapon of mass instruction”.

Hosea 4:6 says that God’s people are destroyed for a lack of one thing…knowledge. Knowledge of God’s Word is the most powerful and destructive weapon in the spiritual realm. That’s precisely why the enemy will do anything and everything to try and stop you from gaining revelation knowledge. Mark 4:15 says that Satan comes immediately to steal the Word. Why? Because he knows it’s a weapon of mass, large, huge, effective proportions.

God’s Word is the only offensive weapon that we have. It destroys every work of the enemy. It tears down strongholds of thoughts. It is sent to heal cancers. With it you rebuke every attack. God’s Word is a weapon of mass instruction that will cause you to win in every battle, in every contest, in every challenge. So the answer to any destruction or problem is instruction, the knowledge of God’s Word. Make a decision this year to give God’s Word first place and final authority in every area of your life. Then watch the supernatural changes manifest as never before.


A Change of Diet in 2019


Joshua 5:12 “and the manna ceased on the morrow after they had eaten of the old corn of the land; neither had the children of Israel manna any more; but they did eat of the fruit of Canaan that year”.

After I returned from Winter Break at Charis Bible College a few weeks ago, I saw a friend of mine and they looked so different. I asked, “What are you doing that you look so different?” They explained about their special diet, listing their change of foods and eating habits.

Speaking of eating habits, can you imagine what it would have been like to eat the same food every day for 40 years? That’s what happened to the children of Israel, before they came into the promised land of Canaan. The manna in Canaan represents “just enough” provision for each day. This is survival. Thank God for His provision, but He wants better for His children.

When they entered the land of Canaan, they began to eat fruit. The fruit was already there. The fruit represents “more than enough”. That’s the difference between a miracle and the blessing. A miracle is for crisis. Thank God for miracles, but the blessing is for every day. It’s a way of believing. It’s believing in God’s commanded blessing on His children because of the cross of Christ. In 2019, choose God’s diet. Choose more than enough! Let’s eat!


Death, Taxes and the New England Patriots

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Hebrews 13:5 Amplified “He (God) Himself has said, I will not in any way fail you nor give you up nor leave you without support. (I will) not, (I will) not, (I will) not in any degree leave you helpless nor forsake nor let (you) down...(assuredly not)!”

Super Bowl Sunday, an American football tradition, is finally here. Get the Velveeta ready, hold your nose to your Zenith (they still make those?), and watch the New England Patriots take the Super Bowl field for the ninth time. Please repeat after me, “Tom Brady is getting old!” Yet at 41, he keeps getting better like a fine wine. Quoting the familiar phrase, “You can count on two things in life: death and taxes”, sports media has added a third…the New England Patriots.

In Hebrews 13:5, God says five times (the number of grace), “I will not, I will not, I will not…I will not, assuredly not leave you, fail you, nor give you up, nor leave you without support, or let you down”. Hallelujah! Do you get the picture? He will not ever, no never leave you nor forsake you. God is more of a sure thing, more unchanging than anything. So, stay secure in His Word, His nature and His love.

Get the chips and salsa ready, God loves you and so do we! Enjoy


Into the Ugh-Known

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Hebrews 11:8 Amplified Bible “Urged on by faith Abraham when he was called, obeyed and went forth to a place which he was destined to receive as an inheritance; and he went, although he did not know or trouble his mind about where he was to go”

On October 14, 1947, Chuck Yeager, an Air Force pilot flew an experimental plane 40,000 feet over the Mohave desert, becoming the first man to break the sound barrier. As he tells it, his jet nicknamed “Glamorous Glennis“ named after his wife was ready to fly into the “Ugh-known”. Just days before, he had a “disagreement” with a horse and broke two ribs, and was flying in a lot of pain. As he got to the point of the sound barrier, which no one had ever gone before, the jet began to shake violently. At that moment Yeager had to make a key decision, to slow down and abort the mission or to throttle down and go. He throttled down and broke through the sound barrier and experienced what is called a sonic boom.

That’s what Abraham had to do. He had to make a key decision in a moment of time. He had to either go back or go “into the ugh-known” where he had never been before. He decided to throttle down and “boom” he received his inheritance. If we’re going to break through barriers in our lives in 2019 and beyond, we need to throttle down and go. We may be in a whole lot of pain. We may be shaking violently on the inside. We may feel like quitting. Perfect, you’re ready for your breakthrough. Press through and get ready for your boom!



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John 2:9 “When the ruler of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine.....” 

In 1971, just before his 25th birthday, David Bowie came out with the popular song, Changes, still heard around the world today.  This year, I believe, is a year of great, exciting, and supernatural changes like never before!  2019 is “The Year of Great Change”.   

Great in Greek is the word “megas” meaning huge, massive, surprising, and abundant. The word change means to make a material difference so that the person or thing is completely different from what it was. John 2 demonstrates this great change when Jesus performed His first miracle, He turned water into wine at a wedding feast in Cana. In a millisecond water used for ceremonial washing was turned into the best wine, that’s a picture of your life. 

Normally they served the best wine first and later the lesser quality wine.In verse 10, it says that “He has kept the best wine till now”.Jesus is calling us to a feast in 2019 like never before. To a new covenant, intoxicating year, and celebration. Hallelujah!This is going to be your best and most exhilarating year so far.Get ready for great ch-ch-ch-ch-changes! Your best days are not behind but ahead of you.So enjoy the celebration! 2019, “The year of great change”!


Six-Star Dining in 2019

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Joshua 5:12 “And the manna ceased on the morrow after they had eaten of the old corn of the land; neither had the children of Israel manna anymore; but they did eat of the fruit of Canaan that year”.

Consumer-ratings for restaurants have become increasingly popular over the years, thanks to sites such as Yelp and social media. However, critics say that though they have empowered regular people to post non-expert reviews, the reviews can be falsified or faked. Some prefer a more reliable, expert review as found in the Forbes Travel Guide. Nevertheless, it’s the “five stars” that everyone is searching for! Five represents the best in quality, excellence and atmosphere.

Joshua 5 records that the children of Israel had been in the wilderness for 40 years and now they had finally come into Canaan. Hallelujah! In the wilderness, they had “just enough” manna for each day. We could call this a five-star rating. But a new day had arrived - they would eat manna no more. That year, God took them to a new level of dining, the “more than enough” fruit of Canaan. This is a six-star experience, over the top, off the scale!

In 2019, “just enough” is over and” more than enough” is here! Your table is reserved. You have entered into your six-star life. Six-star health. Six-star finances. Six-stars in your family, your career, your ministry. You’re eating the fruit of Canaan this year. Bon Appetit my friends!


Breaking Point by Natalie Fortunato

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Mark 2:22 "And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. For the wine would burst the wineskins, and the wine and the skins would both be lost. New wine calls for new wineskins." (New Living Translation)

Something happened to me in 2018 that changed my life forever...I came to my breaking point. I had been living by the Old Testament (all about what I do) and New Testament (all about what Jesus did) at the same time. I was putting old wine into new wineskins. I was constantly frustrated. Something had to give..."New wine calls for new wineskins".

Then it happened, I turned in my old wineskin of self-effort and sin consciousness for a new wineskin - the pure, unforced rhythms of God's goodness and grace. A life where the Word is more real than my senses. A life of faith in the finished work of the cross.

As you enter into 2019, consider these powerful words, "Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me-watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” (Matthew 11:28-30 The Message). After all, “no one puts new wine into old wineskins”.


In His Presence are Presents


Did you know that every day is Christmas when you are in Christ? I love Christmastime! When I was a kid, my parents would pile the Christmas presents, it seemed like, all the way to the ceiling. We would be excited for weeks waiting for Christmas morning. Then the time would come to open up our presents, and then in a blink of an eye it was over. Opening them was so much fun, we would look around and wonder, are there any more? No, we had opened them all…until the stocking gifts after Sunday mass, ahhh!

Psalm 23:1 says, “The Lord is (present tense) your shepherd. A shepherd provides for his sheep, feeds them, and protects them, every day, all day. Because Jesus IS your Good Shepherd you don’t want for anything . You don’t lack wisdom, direction, provision - anything. In His presence are His presents, Hallelujah! Jesus IS with you, He is our Emmanuel, God with us. He is present with you providing presents. Now, right at this moment, just meditating on Jesus, faith is released out of your spirit, the faith of Jesus. Let your heart be encouraged with the reality that Jesus IS with you.

When you are facing your challenges, Psalm 16:11 says, “In His presence is fullness of joy”. Fullness here means completeness, wholeness, abundance. John 1:16 says “of His fullness we have all received grace for grace”. That’s grace replacing the grace that was there before it! In His presence you release this fullness. In His presence there are presents! Enjoy Christ in Christmas. Enjoy family. Enjoy!


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!