Prophetic Word for July 30th
To seek you must first understand the worth of that to be sought…
Today you will begin to hunger and thirst for the reality of Heaven upon Earth – the worth will become evident and cause you to seek…
Are you ready today for the Kingdom of God in your life?
We have all heard that forgiveness is not easy. Many of us can also testify to the truth of that from personal experience. But not only is forgiveness difficult to extend, it can be difficult to fully understand in its depth of biblical significance.
Understanding from a biblical perspective what it really means when we say “I forgive you” can help us to extend genuine forgiveness to others and will allow those three simple words to be more than an empty sentiment.
So, what does true biblical forgiveness really mean, and what does it look like?
Writing for GentleFormation.com, Jared Olivetti gives six truths that define genuine biblical forgiveness, as well as Bible verses that go along with each truth in his article “When We Say ‘I Forgive You.’”
Forgiveness is more than simply forgetting an offense–”forgive and forget” as the popular phrase goes. Instead, it is saying, “I will cover this sin with the grace of Christ every time I feel its injury and pain.”
Biblical forgiveness means remembering how much Christ has forgiven us, and out of that abundance of grace, paying it forward to others.
Luke 17:3-4 says: If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him, and if he sins against you seven times in the day, and turns to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive him.
Forgiveness also means relinquishing the desire to pursue vengeance. It’s easy to want to get back at someone; it may even feel like justice to make them pay for what they did, how they wronged you, but Romans 12:19 reminds us that God is the one who will take care of justice: “Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.”
Olivetti notes that forgiveness also means acknowledging that you will accept the suffering caused by someone’s sin. Sin has consequences, and although forgiveness can be the unexpected shift toward a different, less destructive, more grace-filled path, it does not do away with suffering caused by sin.
Forgiving someone means being willing to bear with them in that suffering because we know that “After you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you” (1 Peter 5:10).
Forgiveness also should influence our interactions with those who are not directly involved in wronging us. Forgiving someone means not speaking badly of that person and what they did to you or others; it means not slandering them, but seeking to protect their reputation.
Ephesians 4:29 says: Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.
The last two points are very closely related–praying for the offending person and committing to reconciliation. Prayer is almost always the first step toward reconciliation. Forgiveness does not end when the words “I forgive you” come out of your mouth, but continues to seek restoration and healing, just as God continues to restore us more and more into relationship with Him.
We must remember that at its heart, even forgiveness itself is not something we can muster up by sheer will; rather, it is an overflow of the outpouring of God’s grace in our own lives.
“God will give us the grace to fully set everyone free. May we be like Jesus, who was the first one to love. When God forgives us, He gives us the power to forgive. May the river of God’s life flow through us in that we bless everyone we meet. May we remind people of how much they are loved by God. As we give our lives away in love and forgiveness, we become free ourselves. Many of us don’t realize the power there is in truly forgiving one another. It is much greater and has a far greater consequence than any of us have ever realized.”
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Rachel Dawson | Editor, BibleStudyTools.com | Thursday, July 28, 2016
In every job I’ve had over the years, from babysitting to internships to my first “real job” at a nonprofit and now my editorial role here, I’ve always tried to work hard. I’ve set the bar high for myself and tried to not only meet but exceed expectations. Part of this is because I’m a perfectionist by nature, but also, I know my work reflects on my character and on my faith since my coworkers and employers have known I’m a Christian.
I’ve never wanted a boss to see a poor work ethic in me and draw negative conclusions about Christians in general. I’ve tried to be the kind of employee that reflects the kind of God I love and serve: gracious, committed, loyal, honest, kind, and purposeful.
Jordan Standridge wrote a devotional for The Cripplegate recently where he shared a sad statement he had heard from a Christian employer in a job interview: “I usually don’t hire Christians,” the man said, “they have been some of the worst workers over the years.”
Not every employer– Christian or otherwise– feels this way, but we as believers should make every effort to be diligent and dedicated in the work that we do, no matter what it is or where we do it.
Ephesians 6:7-8 is a famous passage in regards to the work we do: “Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people, because you know that the Lord will reward each one for whatever good they do, whether they are slave or free,” Paul writes.
So, what does it look like to be a godly employee?
Here are 4 of the “rules” Standridge shared, based on a list from an old pastor. You can find his full list here!
“Eagerly start the day’s main work.” It’s my tendency to start the morning by checking my email, my Facebook notifications, my blog comments, my Twitter feed, etc… but doing so gets me distracted and off-track without fail. Focusing on my priorities right at the start of the day, however, helps me get more done when my brain is still fresh and time hasn’t gotten away from me yet.
“Do not believe everything you hear; do not spread gossip.” When I worked for a small start-up company, we had a rule among our team that we could only talk to one other person on the staff about any other issues or relationship dynamics before addressing the person directly involved. We all need guidance, advice, and other perspectives sometimes, but it can be a slippery slope to start gossiping with several different coworkers or talking about conflicts with multiple people. We all know how the game of telephone works– the message just gets messier the more it’s passed on. Take things up with the people they directly involve as quickly as you can, and be sure to both speak and listen openly and humbly.
“Do not seek praise, gratitude, respect, or regard for past service.” This one is hard to stomach! Our culture is obsessed with self, but Jesus taught us that the first will be last. We want to be seen, noticed, and appreciated by our employers, but seeking that praise for the work that we’ve done can be seen as prideful or greedy. When we humble ourselves and know that we do our work not to be lauded and praised but instead because it is our calling and our responsibility, we are reflecting Jesus to our employers and living as he taught us.
“Do not press conversation to your own needs and concerns.” Each and every person at your company has tasks, projects, and responsibilities at hand. We know that the organization needs each person in different ways to accomplish greater goals, but so often we have a narrow-minded view of our work. We just see what’s directly in front of us, and we often ignore or overlook the needs of others around us. Having the selflessness to step back and let others speak and present their concerns shows others we are good team players. Just as in our faith, we know we cannot go through things alone, and we show our coworkers a glimpse of Jesus when we letting others take the floor instead of demanding it for ourselves.
“Jesus was a man of integrity in everything he did,” Blackard says. “The second principle is that Jesus understood that work had value with purpose and meaning. The third principle we can learn from Jesus as an employee is that God expects us to perform at our best in everything we do. … When we understand that we should not separate our spiritual life from our work life, we will begin to transform what we do into something that pleases God.”
What do you think makes a great, godly employee?
Publication date: July 28, 2016
Rachel Dawson is the editor of BibleStudyTools.com
Hailed by media commentators including Jake Tapper and Anderson Cooper on CNN, award-winning documentary 3801 Lancaster: American Tragedywill release on iTunes and Amazon Video on August 2.
The hour-long film chronicles the true story of Kermit Gosnell—the convicted doctor whose shuttered abortion clinic still stands, only two miles from the bustling city center hosting the Democratic National Convention this week.
Film director and citizen journalist David Altrogge cannot help but express outrage after careful research of the facts. “Real women and babies lost their lives—because the Pennsylvania Department of State and the Department of Health chose to look the other way,” he said in a recent interview. “Whether you’re pro-life or pro-choice, can’t we at least agree that women deserve better?”
Interviewing Gosnell over seven months, Altrogge developed a relationship of sorts with the notorious abortion doctor—who is currently serving three life sentences in a Pennsylvania prison for involuntary manslaughter of a woman seeking an abortion at his clinic and first-degree murder of three infants born alive (among other criminal charges). Gosnell himself narrates many scenes in the 3801 Lancaster documentary.
Now Altrogge shares his response to the recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling, the practices of Planned Parenthood… and why citizens should not stay silent.
Bound4LIFE: What is your reaction to the Supreme Court’s decision last month, striking down the Texas law that would have provided higher clinic safety standards?
David Altrogge: I’m disappointed by the Court’s decision. It was my hope that, as a nation, we would learn from what happened in Philadelphia at Dr. Gosnell’s clinic and implement common sense clinic regulations to prevent it from happening again in Texas and elsewhere.
The Grand Jury Report in the Gosnell case specifically recommended the implementation of ambulatory surgical center standards to protect women seeking abortions, which is what Texas did through state law HB 2. This Supreme Court decision makes it clear our country hasn’t learned what happens when we make women’s access to abortion a higher priority than women’s safety. It’s only a matter of time before our nation has another abortion clinic disaster like we had in Philadelphia.
Bound4LIFE: After spending hours upon hours interviewing Kermit Gosnell personally, why do you believe he subjected women to such poor medical treatment?
David Altrogge: Before actually meeting him, the media reports I heard about Kermit Gosnell were that he’s a monster. Then when I started talking to him I realized, Oh my gosh! He’s thought through what he’s doing and he has rational reasons for it.
It is much easier if we view him as like a “B movie” monster and an aberration. It makes us feel better to think, OK, that was one crazy guy, but thank goodness he was an outlier and there aren’t others like him.
What’s so troubling is you look at him and you have to ask the questions: What did he believe? What ideas did he buy into over the years that allowed him to be okay with what he was doing?
Here we have a man who is very intelligent, very successful—who has bought into certain ideas that lead him to some incredibly dark places. They led him to hurt people. That’s one of the most disturbing things about this story.
Bound4LIFE: Why did you choose to tell this story from the vantage point of Gosnell’s former patients, his family and the investigating officials?
David Altrogge: The making of this film was a very evolutionary process. We knew from the outset we had to tell it from the vantage point of some of his patients—who were some of the first people we found and interviewed for the film.
We also had this incredible document, the Grand Jury Report, that so clearly laid out the case. After reading it, we thought it would be amazing to be able to interview the investigating officials—the crime scene investigators and the narcotics officer who broke the case. But when we started the film in 2011, there was a gag order on the case so no one involved was allowed to talk about it.
Instead, we started by interviewing former patients, people who had known Gosnell, neighbors and some reporters. After the trial, we had the incredible opportunity to finally do those interviews with those police officers and with the crime scene detectives—all those really powerful interviews.
Bound4LIFE: As you’ve researched the abortion industry more broadly, do you see the practices of Gosnell’s clinic as the exception or the rule?
David Altrogge: I don’t believe that Kermit Gosnell is an outlier in the abortion industry. If you look at the amount of money he made doing what he was doing, there’s no way that he’s the only guy doing it.
In the film, we also look at another clinic that also had some really dangerous practices going on in Delaware. The similarities between this Delaware case and Gosnell are striking as far as the Delaware Department of State not responding to complaints, just like the Pennsylvania Department of State failed to respond. Just incredibly similar.
Now, are all other clinics as filthy and unsanitary as Dr. Gosnell’s clinic? I don’t think that is an accurate statement either. But it would be naïve to say there are no others like Kermit Gosnell, who was making a significant profit providing abortion services.
Bound4LIFE: Tell us more about the Planned Parenthood of Delaware story. Why did you include perspectives of pro-choice women on the practices of abortion clinics?
It was important to include the perspectives of pro-choice nurses because what we found and what they shared was powerful. You don’t have to be pro-life to stand up and say: What’s happening here is wrong.
Even when we disagree on abortion, we should at least agree that women who go into these abortion clinics should expect some level of safe treatment for themselves. It’s mind-blowing and unfathomable to me how people who claim to be pro-woman can be against any sort of regulations.
To the people who are so vehemently pro-choice, I’d say, Look at what happened at Planned Parenthood of Delaware and at Gosnell’s clinic, and what is happening elsewhere. Why can’t you at least say this is wrong, and we have to put a stop to that?
Bound4LIFE: As a filmmaker who happens to be a Christian, how do you address fellow believers who choose not to be aware or speak up for the most vulnerable in our society?
David Altrogge: I would encourage you to look at where Jesus said: “Do for others as you would want them to do for you.” When you look at abortion, if you were a potential victim, how would you want others to treat you?
Turning a blind eye is not an option for Christians. We have to look at this. We have to ask, “What am I called to do as a Christian? How am I called to stand and speak up?” I know it makes us so uncomfortable, but we have to address this issue.
The trailer for 3801 Lancaster: American Tragedy is included below.
For over a decade, Terri Shepherd has taken part in pro-life advocacy with Bound4LIFE International — a grassroots movement to pray for the ending of abortion. She graduated from TheCall Institute at the International House of Prayer University in Kansas City, and earned a degree in social work from the University of Central Florida. Living in the Washington, DC area with her husband, Terri works at a leading Christian public policy organization.