Summary: We all need to live each day fully for Him.
The Final Judgment Matthew 25: 31-46 25:40
LETTER FROM A PASTOR To My Dear Friend, Pastor Phil Blowhorn,
I sure hope attendance at your church was better than my church. Mercy, pastoring ain’t always easy, now is it? We had us a bunch of sick folk, and them added to all the shut- ins made for a whole lot uh’ pew cushion to look at from the pulpit. I got to admit, I was feeling’ somewhat put out, but I went ahead and preached anyhow. Only thing was, with all them people missing’, the echo in the church gave me a hoot of a headache. My wife said I needed to get out and ride a bit ’cause the fresh air would make me feel better. Well, she took to driving’ and I took to riding and sure ’enough, she was right. Not only did my head clear up, but what I saw renewed my faith in the Good Lord. I tell you, Brother, I seen miracle after miracle!
My Sunday School superintendent, Hank Weaselbaum had called to tell me that he was so deathly sick; he wouldn’t make it to church. But there he was, driving’ down the road with his favorite fishing’ pole sticking’ out the window. I tell you, only a miracle could have snatched him out of the jaws of death that way! Then there was my head deacon, Wilbur Snooch. He had done left a message on my answering machine that his back was so jerked out of line that he thought he might have to have surgery. But I want you to know that when we drove past the golf course, there he was, hitting’ golf balls on the driving’ range. Hallelujah, our prayers worked! Edna Brump sent word with her sister that she wouldn’t make it ’cause her stomach was all upset and she didn’t want to take a chance on having’ a mishap in the church. But glory! There she was, standing’ in line at the Feeding’ Trough Smorgasbord. Another healing’! All told, we saw that 20 of our sick folk had taken’ a turn for the better and were up and about. Not only that, but I just couldn’t help from rejoicing’ over all our shut-ins that got themselves healed too. There was Sam Burply, who don’t attend church much causing’ of him being allergic to crowds, and he was in line to buy a ticket at the ball park.
Margaret Guffhunker, who’s been feeling’ all poor and sickly that she’s done missed the last eight Sundays, she was coming’ out of the mall with both arms full of packages. And then there was Horace Dweedle, who ain’t been to church in six months cause of his bum knee; he was playing’ basketball down at the park.
Seeing’ all these mighty miracles and healings got me so worked up, I started singing’ the Doxology! Yes, sir, Brother Blowhorn, I’m excited! I just know we’ll be having’ us a packed house next Sunday, what with all the sick and shut-ins revived by such a touch from Heaven. I look forward to giving’ you right nice report.
Your good friend, Pastor William Robert
Seven Steps to Forgiving Yourself
Take a moment to imagine the worst thing you’ve ever done in your life. When was it? Did you do something you’ll never forget and always regret? Does the incident still cause your face to flush or stomach to churn?
Do shame and guilt flood through your soul again as the events of that day, the emotions of that moment seem as fresh as when it happened? Does the remembrance make you want to cry? Then I must ask you, have you ever experienced the grace of God’s forgiveness for that particular moment? Have you forgiven yourself?
God promises that if we bring that moment, that event to Him in all its personal horror, describing and admitting the
event without rationalization and without diminishing its reality as sin, He can be completely trusted to forgive us.
David retells his experience, “Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity, I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the Lord’ – and you forgave the guilt of my sin.” (Psalm 32:5) We are told in the Bible that ultimately all sins are acts against God Himself, because we are missing His mark and standard for our lives, His perfect glory. Yet in His grace and mercy, forgiveness is guaranteed when we confess our sin. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” (I John 1:9) You admit your sin to God. He promises its total removal and we can count on His promise. So why does the humiliation of the memory persist? I can think of two reasons. The first is Satan’s accusation. He helps you with this unforgiveness. The enemy of your soul, Satan, enjoys your misery and preoccupation. All the time you spend focusing on your sin keeps you from spending time focused on God. Guilt and shame cause you to continually hide your face from Him. So Satan spends His time besieging you with accusations. Yet we learn of the remedy for this in Revelation, “The great dragon was hurled down-the ancient serpent called the devil, Satan, who leads the whole world astray...Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say: ‘now have come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of Christ. For the accuser of our brothers, who accuses them before our God day and night, has been hurled down. They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony...” Besides Satan, you may be your own worst enemy. May I ask you another question? Have you ever forgiven yourself? Maybe you believe God has forgiven you but you can’t seem to let yourself forget it. You still believe you deserve punishment. You imagine that God must not have understood the gravity of this sin. He should have treated you more harshly. So you never forgive yourself. How can you stop this relentless attack?