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I am writing to you, little children,because your sins are forgiven for his name’s sake.- 1 John 2:12 (ESV)

We are called Christians.

That is how we are identified.  It is a label that has meaning for us.  It means that we are part of of the Family.  It means that we are part of the Fellowship.  It means that we part of the Faithful.

Most of all, it means that we are FORGIVEN.

How do we know that we are forgiven?

John said so in this epistleIf we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness(1 John 1:9, NKJV).

Paul said so in Colossians.  And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses (Colossians 2:13, NKJV).

Jesus said so in the Gospels.  Therefore I say to you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven men (Matthew 12:31, NKJV).  Judge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.(Luke 6:37, NKJV).  If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained (John 20:30, NKJV).

Ultimately, we have to learn to live differently as being forgiven for his name’s sake (1 John 2:12).  We have to learn that we are forgiven, and then we can learn how to live in the knowledge of our forgiveness.  Finally, we must learn to live and forgive, so that we can live in freedom among the forgiven.

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good shepherd

I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives his life for the sheep.- John 10:11 (NCV)

Lost people need help finding their way.  They end in the wrong places because they don’t know how to find their own way.  They need someone who can help them find their way step by step and day by day.

The Good Shepherd helps the lost find their way.  He comforts them like no one else can.  He lays down His life for the sheep within His flock.  The sheep recognize His voice.  The lost sheep are in dire need of the Good Shepherd.  He offers the sheep more than any other shepherd ever can.

Lost people need help finding their way through life.  Lost people need help finding their way in church and Christian social circles.  Lost people need help finding their way to Jesus.  Once they find Jesus, lost people will have the Good Shepherd present, protecting and providing for them all the way.

14 “I am the good shepherd. I know my sheep, and my sheep know me,15 just as the Father knows me, and I know the Father. I give my life for the sheep.16 I have other sheep that are not in this flock, and I must bring them also. They will listen to my voice, and there will be one flock and one shepherd.– John 10:14-16 (NCV)

 

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“First they came for the Communists, but I was not a Communist so I did not speak out. Then they came for the Socialists and the Trade Unionists, but I was neither, so I did not speak out. Then they came for the Jews, but I was not a Jew so I did not speak out. And when they came for me, there was no one left to speak out for me.”
– Dietrich Bonhoeffer

What we discover when we read this quote from Bonhoeffer is horrific and even terrifying when we think of Anne Frank, Corrie Ten Boom and other accounts of the terrors of the Holocaust.  As a minister and pastor in WWII Germany, Bonhoeffer probably watched on as other demographic groups were isolated as threats to the regime within the Fatherland.  However, by his own admission, he ignored much until the day came when they came for him and his comrades.

Advocacy is about being a voice for those who have no voice of their own.  Think of how you may be able to address the needs of children and the disabled.  How about the elderly and immigrants? You may not agree with everyone’s values and ideals, but you do have to agree that there are some certain civil and human rights that we should ensure that people have as a matter of human decency.

Where is your voice? Who have you spoken up for?  for whom have you stood up and spoken out on principle?  Where is your voice?

“We often expect more from others than we are willing to do ourselves.”- Dietrich Bonhoeffer

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Worries and woes are my soul’s bitter foes.
They tend to leave me dreary.
Or, is it weary?
Either way you say it,
They wear on me.
They wear me down.
My ups never seem to outweigh my downs.
One day my weight will be lighter.
One day I will no longer worry
And my woes will take flight.
For now it is day by day
Until my burdens become light.

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Along the way of life, someone must have sense enough to cut off the chain of hate.
-Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus shared that we should love our enemies. Gandhi fought off the British Empire without fighting a war. In the struggle for Civil Rights, Dr. King preached nonviolence. What we need to do today is look at how we can conquer hate. Hate is destructive.
Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.
Let us seek to do good and keep doing good. Let us do good to our neighbors (Romans 15:2). Overcome the hatred with a love that goes beyond the norm.

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Have you ever just drifted away wondering? I don’t mean to wander but to wonder.  I mean a time when you simply let go of your cares and stresses for a moment and simply let your mind be free to roam the expanses of your imagination.  I often wonder when I “people watch.” I try to look ata person and see what their story may be by mere observation.  I letmy mind wonder afterI heara stirring keynote speech or sermon, taking into consideration the “what if” factor like people living “in one accord” and sharing all of their possessions in some form of communal lifestyle.

Try it some time.  Take your lunch break and sit under the sun, close your eyes and let your mind drift for a moment. Journal what you see and hear.  Take note of what ease you have in breathing and settling down when you are not bombarded with the do’s and don’ts of the day.  There is freedom in allowing your mind to be free to imagine things differently, experience creativity and gain inspiration.

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They killed the prophets of God, one after another. Read https://revbruce.wordpress.com

Is There a Word?

I heard the Word
…in my spirit.
I saw the Word
…coming at me
Like a dove
Descending from heaven!
He revealed to me
The Word
…with a flaming sword for a tongue
That destroys demonic powers
And saves souls from scorching fires.
Is there a word?
Not a word!
No, not just any word.
There is the Word.
There is the God-given sacrifice
Who takes away the sins of the earth.
There is the Word!

Bruce Jackson (2008)

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