Emmanuel CRC
      • Bible Trivia
  • Rejoice The Lord Is King
  • Before The Throne Of God
  • Where the Crawdads Sing

    In Delia Owens best-selling book, Where the Crawdads Sing, a young girl named Kya, lives in the marshes of North Carolina. Known to locals as "Marsh Girl,” Kya lived a hard, lonely life, abandoned and forgotten by virtually everybody except Tate, Kya first love who was the only family she knew. Tate had left the swamp for success elsewhere, promising to return for her. But Tate never returned, and he never wrote to explain why.
    One night Tate came up to her front door. Kya is enraged at the sight of him as he attempts to apologize:
    Kya, leaving you was not only wrong, it was the worst thing I have done or ever will do in my life. I have regretted it for years and will always regret it. I think of you every day. For the rest of my life, I’ll be sorry I left you. I truly thought that you wouldn’t be able to leave the marsh and live in the other world, so I didn’t see how we could stay together. But that was wrong.
    Finishing his plea, Tate watched her until she asked, “What do you want now, Tate?”
    He responded, “If only you could, some way, forgive me.”
    As Kya looked at her toes, she thought to herself
    "Why should the injured, the still bleeding, bear the onus of forgiveness?”
    Why should we, “the injured, the still bleeding, bear the onus of forgiveness? Why should our Father in heaven, the injured, the still bleeding - from the rejection of those he created and loves - bear the onus of forgiveness?
    We desperately want forgiveness to earned and deserved. But real forgiveness - recognized the harm done is beyond self-redemption. Real forgiveness is always a self-giving act of the one bleeding toward the one who landed the crushing blow.
    In our fallen condition, we often struggle to (1) receive the forgiveness of God in practice and (2) extend forgiveness to others in reality.
    The Good New of the Gospel is that Our Father in Heaven (1) forgives our sin - the harm we have done for to him (2) forgives all of our sins (3) forgives our sins completely. When we receive genuinely His forgiveness into our hearts - not just our minds; then we have both the will and the ability to forgive others.
    I hope that God will speak to us and shape us through his Word to day so that we increase our joy in the Father’s forgiveness of our sins. As our joy in forgiveness increases I hope we will have a deep desire and ability to express that same quality of forgiveness toward those who do us harm.
    With this in mind let us pray the Lord’s prayer together
    Praying the Lord’s Prayer

    Why it is important to receive God’s forgiveness

    what are our debts?
    sin which we own - it is ours
    sin is the failure to love perfectly
    Matthew 5:43–48 NIV
    “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
    Matthew 22:34–40 NIV
    Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
    why do we need forgiveness?
    our sin is always first of all against God Psalm 51:4
    Psalm 51:4 NIV
    Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight; so you are right in your verdict and justified when you judge.
    I use to puzzle over how David could say this. He had obviously sinned against more than God. He has sinned against Bathsheba, against the Urriah, against Joab (making him complicit in Urriah’s murder), against the nation - by abusing power - not being the godly king God intended for his people. Sinned against himself (in multiple ways - self-denial - took Nathan the prophet to make him face the truth). Now I see that before we can sin against our self and others - we must first and fundamentally sin against God - we must do that which injures God. It breaks God’s heart when we sin. Just has our heart breaks when we see our children doing things we know can only bring them harm.
    only he can forgive our offense (only the offended can forgive the offender)
    Psalm 51:1–3 NIV
    Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me.
    Only God can forgive the harm done to him by our sin. Our first step in forgiveness is to recognize the harm we have done to our Heavenly Father. In our Christian culture we have made God so much the other-than-us that we think of God as less than a person. When we perceive of God as having less capacity to feel wronged and grieved by that wrong than we; then we run the risk of not holding ourselves liable for injuring him in any real sense.
    O Father, help us to know when and how we cause you to feel sorrow. Help me us not to deceive ourselves concerning our capacity to wound your heart.
    What is the Nature of our Father’s Forgiveness
    Content: God forgives sin - the harm done to him by us Ezekiel 16 God tells the story of Israel as his unfaithful bride, it reads in part as follows
    When I looked at you and saw that you were old enough for love, I spread the corner of my garment over you and covered your naked body. I gave you my solemn oath and entered into a covenant with you, declares the Sovereign Lord, and you became mine. “ ‘I bathed you with water and washed the blood from you and put ointments on you. I clothed you with an embroidered dress and put sandals of fine leather on you. I dressed you in fine linen and covered you with costly garments. I adorned you with jewelry: I put bracelets on your arms and a necklace around your neck, and I put a ring on your nose, earrings on your ears and a beautiful crown on your head.” (Ezekiel 16:8–12, NIV)
    “ ‘But you trusted in your beauty and used your fame to become a prostitute. You lavished your favors on anyone who passed by and your beauty became his.” (Ezekiel 16:15, NIV)
    Israel’s sin was failing to love God for all his unmerited grace toward her
    we are the His bride
    Ephesians 5:25–27 NIV
    Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.
    Quantity: forgives all our sins (Ps. 103:2-3)
    Psalm 103:2–3 NIV
    Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all his benefits— who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases,
    Quality: Forgives our sins completely (Is. 43:25)
    Isaiah 43:25 NIV
    “I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more.
    We must learn to allow ourselves to experience God’s forgiveness deep in our souls; not merely as something we know about God.

    How we receive God’s Forgiveness

    We fix our eyes on Jesus
    Hebrews 12:2 NIV
    fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
    Numbers 21:4–9 NIV
    They traveled from Mount Hor along the route to the Red Sea, to go around Edom. But the people grew impatient on the way; they spoke against God and against Moses, and said, “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? There is no bread! There is no water! And we detest this miserable food!” Then the Lord sent venomous snakes among them; they bit the people and many Israelites died. The people came to Moses and said, “We sinned when we spoke against the Lord and against you. Pray that the Lord will take the snakes away from us.” So Moses prayed for the people. The Lord said to Moses, “Make a snake and put it up on a pole; anyone who is bitten can look at it and live.” So Moses made a bronze snake and put it up on a pole. Then when anyone was bitten by a snake and looked at the bronze snake, they lived.
    John 3:14–15 NIV
    Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.”
    John 3:16–18 NIV
    For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.
    ( no condemnation)

    Why it is important to forgive others

    God has reconciled us to himself in Christ Jesus and he has entrusted to message of reconciliation
    2 Corinthians 5:19 NIV
    that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.
    We do not earn our forgiveness by forgiving others.
    We show that we are forgiven when we forgive others
    Our forgiveness is of the same nature as the forgiveness we recieved from our Father
    Same Content - forgiveness of the sins - harm done against us by others
    Quantity - extended to all
    Quality - complete
    God’s forgiveness of us is the natural consequence of our loving heart toward God
    God loves us and by grace extends forgiveness to us that we could never merit
    We accept the Father’s forgiveness by faith in Jesus Christ as the atoning sacrifice for our sin
    We love the Father deeply because we have been so richly and throughly forgiven the debt we could never repay
    Therefore, we naturally extend to others that same forgiveness which we treasure so dearly
    Our lack of forgiveness is the natural consequence of a hard heart toward God
    Before we refuse to forgive others - we harden our heart toward our Father and refuse to live out the message of reconciliation entrusted to us
    Our lack of forgiveness of others is symptomatic that we have not yet recieved or not yet fully grasped the depth of the Father’s love and forgiveness given to us
    Our willingness and ability to forgive others - proves we belong to God - their is a family resemblance to the Father and the Son flowing through us.
    Our lack of willingness and ability to forgive others - at best call into question our spiritual maturity - and could be an indicator that we have never yielded ourselves to the love and forgiveness of the Father given to us in Christ Jesus our Lord
    Jesus illustrates this powerfully in the parable of the unmerciful servant in Matthew 18:21-35
    The story concludes with the Master confronting the servant with these words:
    Matthew 18:32–35 NIV
    “Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’ In anger his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed. “This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.”
    Receiving God’s forgiveness and extending that forgiveness to others - proves that we belong to God.
    Refusing to extend God’s forgiveness to others - proves that we have at a minimum refused to fully embrace God’s forgiveness to us at least temporarily and possibly eternally.
    Consequently, one might say, there’s nothing more practical than forgiveness - our eternal destiny depends on receiving it and sharing it.

    How we forgive others

    We fix our eyes on love of God for us in Christ Jesus which is the source of our forgiveness
    We reveal in, rejoice in the forgiveness of all the harm we done against God; that all of our sins are forgiven, that all of our sins are completely forgiven.
    We set our hearts toward those who have harmed us to forgive them in the same way - over time
    it is not a “one and done”
    Lord’s you know I want to forgive _______, I set the intention and will of my heart to forgive ________. Right now, as much as it is in me to forgive, I do forgive _________. Work in me so that my forgiveness for ________ becomes more and more like your forgiveness for me.

    Prayer that grows a joyful and forgiving heart

    how praying the Lord’s prayer cultivates a joyful heart - as we recall and rejoice in the forgiveness of our Father for us
    how praying the Lord’s prayer cultivates a forgiving heart - as we recall those who have harmed us and we practice forgiving them as the Father as forgiven us.
    Will you practice prayer this month?
    There is an email in your inbox right now that gives you an opportunity to respond positively to this challenge.
    I commit to pray the Lord’s Prayer through Sunday, May 30
    • Each Morning and Evening
    • Each Morning
    • Each Evening
    • As I remember
    We created a Faithlife group for persons committed to praying the Lord’s Prayer this month. In the group we will share our experiences in prayer, have access to more resources, and encourage each other. Imagine what might happen among us if we all committed to meaningfully praying the Lord’s prayer.
      • Matthew 5:43–48ESV

      • Matthew 22:34–40ESV

      • Psalm 51:4ESV

      • Psalm 51:1–3ESV

      • Ephesians 5:25–27ESV

      • Psalm 103:2–3ESV

      • Isaiah 43:25ESV

      • Hebrews 12:2ESV

      • Numbers 21:4–9ESV

      • John 3:14–15ESV

      • John 3:16–18ESV

      • 2 Corinthians 5:19ESV

      • Matthew 18:32–35ESV

  • His Mercy Is More
  • Alleluia He Is Coming

Let us get to know you!

Please take a moment to send us your information so that we may stay connected with you. Your information is carefully managed and protected.
I am a:
How did you hear about us?