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“Be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.”   ~ Ephesians 4:32

We talked about forgiveness in Bible study this week.  The question was asked, “When/how do you know when God has forgiven you?”  We said that sometimes forgiveness seems immediate.  Other times we have to go through a process of thoughts, feelings, and consequences before we feel forgiven. 

I thought about times when I’ve gone to God seeking forgiveness.  There were times I prayed and felt forgiven at that time.  Other times it’s been days or weeks before I felt a feeling of forgiveness in my heart. 

The Bible says that Jesus gave of Himself as the sacrificial Lamb to pay for our sins.  Until that time, God’s people were required to make sacrifices at the altar to pay for their sins.  God accepted Jesus as the perfect sacrifice to cover our sins, so through the blood of  Jesus  we’re already forgiven.  We don’t have to ASK God for forgiveness.  We can CLAIM it.  Forgiveness is a truth and a promise from the Bible. 

We do ask for forgiveness from God, though, because our shame makes us feel like we need to.   Then we wait for the knowing in our heart that tells us we’re forgiven.  I went through this recently.  It took a few weeks before I felt God had forgiven me.  However, since God had already forgiven me, what I needed to do was CLAIM His forgiveness in the name of Jesus Christ.  Could it be that the feeling of ‘knowing I was forgiven’ came when I finally forgave myself?

We’re often asked if we’re harboring grudges against others, if there are people we need to forgive.  Maybe we need to also ask, “Is there anything for which I need to forgive myself?”   If so, please prayerfully give those things to God so you can forgive yourself and move on in a healthy and positive way.   “…just as God through Christ has forgiven you.”  – Ephesians 4:32

May the blessings of the Lord be upon you.   (Psalm 129:8)

Renee

“…what does the Lord your God ask of you but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul…”   ~ Deuteronomy 10:12

We often hear that it’s the little things that matter…that the little things are the big things!  I believe this to be true in relationships, life, and also in our callings in life.  

I believe it was Mother Theresa who said, “If you can’t do great things, do small things in great ways.”  

I love that quote because it acknowledges that few among us are called to become world-recognizeed preachers, teachers, writers, or singers.  Not everyone is called to become a famed athlete, celebrity, Nobel prize winner, or a wealthy person who can donate millions to a worthycause.  Some people will be raised up to accomplish such things, but odds are that most of us will be called to do small things in great ways! 

As I begin 2010, my purpose isn’t to reach lofty goals and answer high callings that I’ve placed upon myself, but rather to make the most of the callings God puts before me.  Following are my greatest callings listed in order of importance:

1) Child of God & Follower and servant of Jesus Christ

2) Wife

3) Mother

4, 5, 6…) Family member,  friend, neighbor, member of community

Everything I do falls under one of those categories.  None of those stand out as being ‘great things’.  Nothing on that list indicates that I’ll rise to some great height of fame or recognition.  By most people’s standards my list is made up of ‘small things’, but as I stated above, I believe the little things are the big things!  If God put those things before me to serve His purposes, then they are great things!   

  For 2010, in addition to becoming better organized and in better physical shape (still trying to figure out how to do that without giving up chocolate or increasing exercise – ha ha), my main goal is to answer the callings God puts before me.  I will follow Mother Theresa’s advice – if not called to do great things, I will strive to  do ‘small’  things in great ways.  

I might not write a best-selling book today, but I might be able to send an email that makes a difference in someone’s life.  Someone did that for me last week and her message was a great encouragement to me. 

I might spend most of my day doing laundry, cooking and cleaning (how mundane and insignificant does that seem?), but my doing so enables my husband to focus on his work and my children to pursue their studies and activities while I manage these things to keep our lives running more smoothly.  I’m thankful that I CAN be home doing these things.   I’ve learned to take pride in trying to do these ‘small things’ in great ways to benefit all of us.   (Don’t be misled here…I’m no superwoman.  If you read that carefully you’ll notice I said, “try” to do these things in great ways!  I fall way short of perfection everyday! )  These duties are part of my calling to be a wife and mother.     “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men.” ~ Colossians 3:23

My calling hasn’t been to go on mission trips, head up a church, or save the world.  Instead, I’ve been called to pray for those who do and enable them as I can – often in ways that seem small to me – but God can use  my efforts in great ways.   

“God wants us to serve Him with a willing spirit, one that would choose no other way. ”  – Beth Moore      

According to the verse from Deuteronomy above, serving doesn’t require wealth and fame, just lots of heart and soul!  🙂   

Happy New Year!  Here’s to serving God by doing great things and small things, all in great ways for the glory of God.  Amen!

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