PRAISE & PRAYER PROMPT ••• Yesterday, we talked about “forgive” and the extraordinary way Jesus shows forgiveness through His love, grace, and mercy.
Today, we’re going to talk about forgetting.
As I’ve pondered forgiveness this year, I’ve thought about the concept of “forgive and forget,” which isn’t Biblical.
Forgetting isn’t part of Scripture and it’s not something we are capable of.
But there’s a difference between “forgetting” and what God does.
It’s not that God forgets our sins, but when we repent, God chooses not to remember them anymore.
Isn’t that amazing?!
It’s found in Isaiah 43:25, and the Lord said, “I—I sweep away your transgressions for my own sake and remember your sins no more.”
When we repent and turn from our sin, He forgives and chooses not to remember our sins anymore.
That’s when we can pull out the oft-quoted Psalms 103:12, “As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.”
And when you think about it, it makes sense.
God is all-knowing and all-powerful.
If He were to forget our sins, that would put us (and our tendency to rehash everything) in a position to know more than God.
Instead, He chooses not to dwell on our mistakes, and He does not allow them to consume His thoughts.
He chooses not to remember them.
The next time we mess up and spend hours mentally beating ourselves up, we have to keep this in mind.
We have to remember that our all-powerful, all-knowing God has decided not to remember our sins anymore.
So what gives us the right to keep punishing ourselves or someone who wronged us?
Who are we to tell God that His method of forgiveness and choosing not to remember isn’t good enough?
If we’ve sincerely repented, we can’t allow the past to paralyze us.
Today, as you pray, thank God for His willingness to not remember our sins once we have repented.
Ask the Holy Spirit to help you follow God’s example.
Ask Him to give you the grace you need—both for others as well as yourself.
Ask Him to equip you with His strength so that you can put those negative thoughts out of mind.
PRAISE & PRAYER PROMPT ••• When it comes to our names, very few of us had a choice in the matter.
Of course, you can legally change your name.
I’ve considered it.
Not that I don’t like my name.
It’s fine, but I go by my middle name and it would be really nice to have it in the first place position.
Anyone who uses their middle name understands the frustration of filling out paperwork and trying to get people at the bank or doctor’s office to call you by the correct moniker.
But as someone who hates dealing with paperwork, I realize that legally bumping Denise to first place and figuring out a new middle name would require way more paperwork than I ever want to deal with…
No, thank you.
I’ll just keep giving my legal name with the addendum, “But I go by Denise…”
Our names are an important part of our identity.
And having had the privilege of naming another human being, I know names are often chosen as a way to honor someone else or in the hopes that the name will reflect the future character of the one on whom the name is bestowed.
That’s why my son’s middle name is Thomas; I gave him my grandfather’s middle name for both reasons.
Then there are those who have unfortunate names… or names with a negative connotation.
I have to tell y’all about this meme I saw the other day.
It started with a screenshot of John 14:22 which says, “Judas (not Iscariot) said to him, ‘Lord, how is it you’re going to reveal yourself to us and not to the world?’”
The screenshot-verse was captioned with, “I have a feeling this guy always introduced himself this way.”
It made me laugh because yeah—that would stink.
To be one of two guys named Judas who were disciples of Jesus and have to always make clear, “Nope, I’m not that one.”
But all that to say, the names we go by aren’t nearly as important as the name we are known for…
In Proverbs 22:1, it says, “A good name is to be chosen over great wealth; favor is better than silver and gold.”
Because let’s think of some names people may be KNOWN for…
I know—these aren’t names.
They are adjectives.
But this is what I mean when I said “names we are known for…”
Think about a funeral or obituary.
The deceased person’s name is often followed by the words that are used to describe the person and inform others about who they were.
The good attributes of being honest, humble, faithful, hard-working, loyal, diligent, kind, patient, etc are what we would hope for…
Very few obituaries are going to identify the dead as mean, lazy, rude, a jerk, or untrustworthy.
(Though it has happened occasionally!)
What words would others use to describe you?
And why do they matter?
As Christians, we should care.
Because the words we’re known by can (and should) point back the name above all names, Jesus Christ.
Our good name can be seen in the reflection of His great name.
Today, as you pray, thank God for His almighty name, “I AM,” a name that reflects His all-encompassing power and presence.
And thank Jesus for His names—Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6).
Ask the Holy Spirit to help you live in such a way that your name reflects the love of Jesus.
PRAISE & PRAYER PROMPT ••• I am so intimidated by the book of Isaiah.
It’s full of poetry and prophecy—Two things I’m not good at understanding.
But I did have an AH-HA moment this morning as I was reading it.
Isaiah 25:9 says, “In that day they will say, ‘Surely this is our God; we trusted in him, and he saved us. This is the Lord, we trusted in him; let us rejoice and be glad in his salvation.’”
The opening line of the verse indicates that this is prophetic—“they WILL say” (emphasis mine).
The question that immediately crossed my mind—if the Lord has already said we WILL declare God, praise Him, credit Him for our salvation, identify Him as trustworthy, and be thankful (glad) in His salvation… then what are we waiting for?
Let’s put a pin in that point for a minute.
As I’ve stated dozens of times in the two years I’ve been writing MGFL, I’m not a theologian!
So forgive me if I trip through this, but I feel this verse is a close cousin to the prophecy that declares “every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord” (Isaiah 45:23, Philippians 2:10-11, and Romans 14:11).
However, my assessment is that Isaiah 25:9 is written specifically for believers.
The other passages—the “cousins”—refer to every human being who ever lived…
Because even those who rejected Jesus will face Him in judgment.
It really jumped out at me that yes, we will be a part of that collective, every-human-being-will-declare-it group…
But we are destined to praise Him and give Him credit because that’s how we will spend eternity.
And there’s absolutely no need for us to wait.
We have every reason to start now because we have already declared that Jesus Christ is Lord!
We have declared Him Lord of our lives!
So let’s put Isaiah 25:9 into practice, starting this moment.
He has saved us!
Our eternity is secure because of Jesus!
Let’s praise Him!
Today, as you pray, thank God for ordaining written history in advance through these prophetic passages.
Thank Jesus for all He did for you.
Ask the Holy Spirit to help you praise Him in every circumstance, putting the wheels in motion for an ongoing celebration of our Lord and Savior that will last forever and ever!
PRAISE & PRAYER PROMPT ••• I was reading Isaiah this morning when this verse crossed my path: “If you do not stand firm in your faith, then you will not stand at all” (Isaiah 7:9b).
These are words that the Lord spoke via Isaiah to Ahaz in regards to an upcoming attack from his enemies.
I have to confess, when it comes to the battlefields of the Bible, especially during this time frame, I get easily confused.
So I’m not going to try to outline the potential battle that Ahaz faced because it’s not really relevant right now.
The point is, God was telling him to trust Him.
It’s the same message He has for all of us, no matter what our personal battles may be.
It’s at this time when we have to trust in the unseen and know the truth of Exodus 14:14, “The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.”
That’s so hard to do, isn’t it?
As y’all already know, being still isn’t a strength of mine.
But Jesus equips us with His strength.
When our faith in the unseen falters, we simply need to pray and He will write faith on our hearts (Hebrews 12:2).
What we have to keep remembering is that the characters of the Bible weren’t characters.
They were real life, flesh and blood people and while times change, people do not.
They experienced the same doubts, fears, and insecurities we do.
And yet, God worked miracles for those who trusted in Him.
If He did it for them, we can expect Him to do it for us.
But our faith must be strong, firmly planted in the foundation of Jesus Christ, the Cornerstone.
Today, as you pray, thank Jesus for equipping you with His strength and the faith you need.
Be grateful that while you are weak, He is strong.
Ask the Holy Spirit to help you stand firm, and wait for the Lord to handle your battles, even in the unseen.
PRAISE & PRAYER PROMPT ••• For many of us, it’s hard not to constantly look in the rearview mirror of life.
After all, we know where we’ve been, what we’ve done, and what we wish we could change.
We look back and recite to ourselves all the would’ve’s, could’ve’s, and should’ve’s.
And we get nowhere with it.
We know the promise of 2 Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”
Yet we still wallow in the ugliness of our past choices.
When I came across this graphic of the rusted old tractor amid the beauty of the newly grown tulips, I couldn’t help but remember that God has promised to bring beauty from ashes (Isaiah 61:3).
And the ugliness of that rusted tractor has somehow magnified the beauty of the tulips!
If our past is represented in the rusty tractor, it’s place among the tulips is an example of Romans 8:28–“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”
God will use our past hurts and past choices to His purpose for good things.
He won’t condone our sin, but He can use the ugliness of our past to magnify the beauty of our future.
However, if we constantly look behind us, we’ll miss what He’s doing.
Looking in the rearview mirror and beating ourselves up is not the way He wants us to live.
If we’ve confessed our sins and repented, the Bible tells us there is no condemnation (Romans 8:1).
If God isn’t condemning us, why should we?
Today, as you pray, thank God that when He forgives us, He chooses not to remember our sins, but uses our past for His good purpose.
Ask the Holy Spirit to help you stop dwelling on your past and focus on the good God is doing in your life.
PRAISE & PRAYER PROMPT ••• I have been waiting for this day for months!
It’s the first day of Spring!
I will sneeze my head off for the next month (even more than normal since I’m a chronic sneezer no matter what time of the year and I’m stubborn and won’t take allergy medicine).
But I am so grateful for winter to be officially over.
Our signature verses today are from Song of Solomon 2:11-12.
It says, “Look, the winter is past, and the rains are over and gone. The flowers are springing up, the season of singing birds has come, and the cooing of turtledoves fills the air.”
Doesn’t that paint the perfect picture of Spring?
While all four seasons represent the consistency of God, as they occur annually and have since the beginning of Creation, for me, Spring represents hope and new birth.
I know, I’m not being particularly original today.
Most people feel that way.
But it’s an excellent reminder that we have the hope of Jesus Christ and verses such as 2 Corinthians 5:17 where it says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”
Or that we can cry out as David did in Psalm 51:10, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.”
Or the promise of renewal and restoration found in Isaiah 40:31, “but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.”
Spring is a beautiful time to remember how the Lord Himself uplifts you, restores you, and gives you everything you need when you turn to Him and trust Him.
Today, as you pray, thank God for Spring!
Thank Him for this reminder of renewal.
Ask the Holy Spirit to help you focus on the promises of Scripture when you need to be refreshed and renewed.
PRAISE & PRAYER PROMPT ••• Yesterday, life as we know it came to a screeching halt.
I am, of course, referring to The Great Facebook Breakdown of 2019 (as it will henceforth be known — tell everyone. I want credit for coining a phrase).
All over the world, frustrated people could not update Facebook or Instagram.
The apps and web browser would open, but any attempt to post was met with a maddening error message.
Since I post social media content for people as part of my job, I was crazy frustrated.
Thankfully, most of what I needed to do had been posted before the breakdown but for two of my clients, I was about to beat my head on a brick wall (where’s a brick wall when you need one?!)
But we’ve survived!
And life can proceed as normal today.
It really didn’t occur to me until yesterday’s Facebook fiasco just how dependent we (eh-hem, me) are to it.
I remember waaaaaaay back when…
In fact, since the Internet just celebrated its 30th birthday, I was 14 when the Internet was born.
I didn’t grow up with a computer at my house and the first one we had was a used one Mom bought from her company.
I think I was 17 and remember thinking, “I’ll never use that thing.”
If you know me, you’re undoubtedly laughing at me right now—especially since I recently posted on my personal page about needing a bigger desk to accommodate my three laptops, my extra monitor, and what wasn’t pictured—my iPad.
I live on a computer.
But I’m getting off track…
The point is, we were reminded that these things we grow dependent on without even realizing it, aren’t really dependable.
Facebook will go down again.
There may even be a day when Facebook is as antiquated as MySpace.
We even know from this week that we can’t even depend on consistent time-keeping!
(Y’all don’t want to get me started on Day Light Savings Time — just leave the clocks alone, for goodness’ sake!)
The only thing we can truly count on to never, ever, ever let us down is the Lord Himself.
Isaiah 26:4 says, “Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord God is an everlasting rock.”
The God who created the universe is the same today as He was then.
He is loving, merciful, just, good, and a countless list of attributes…
And He doesn’t change.
We can count on Him in all circumstances and know He hears us when we call on His name.
Even in the middle of a frustrating Facebook breakdown.
Today, as you pray, give praise to God for being consistent and dependable…
Our everlasting rock.
Ask the Holy Spirit to help you lean on Him and nothing else.
While we may use other tools to get our jobs done and our social life updated, ask the Holy Spirit to remind you often of Who is really dependable.
PRAISE & PRAYER PROMPT ••• Yesterday, I had lunch with a friend of mine and it’s the first time I’ve seen her since she recommitted her life to Christ.
I was blown away, not just by the changes in her spirit, but literally her physical expression.
The last few times I’ve seen her, she looked stressed and anxious.
But yesterday, her face wore an expression of peace and serenity.
It’s the face of a woman who has experienced God’s peace that surpasses all understanding (Philippians 4:7).
Life isn’t perfect for her and she has her share of struggles, but she knows Who is in control.
It was a beautiful thing to see.
Isaiah 26:3 says, “You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!”
It’s a matter of daily focus and a commitment to keep our eyes trained on Jesus.
But to see this verse in action yesterday was so incredibly special.
Today, as you pray, thank God for giving peace to all who trust in Him.
Thank Him that His peace defies logic or explanation, but is something we can experience any time we surrender ourselves to Him, no matter our circumstances.
And pray that the Holy Spirit will remind you often to do just that.
To be anxious for nothing (Philippians 4:6), and cast your cares on Him (1 Peter 5:7).
PRAISE & PRAYER PROMPT ••• Isaiah 40:8 says, “The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever.”
This is one of my favorite verses in Scripture.
It was one of the first (if not THE first) essays I ever wrote when I first started faith-based writing.
And sometimes, it’s good to revisit it and be reminded.
The endurance of the Holy Bible is evidence of the truth and wisdom of this verse.
There are very few of us who will have a legacy that will endure for generations after our lifetime, and certainly, none of us will have a legacy that even begins to compare to Jesus Christ.
With that in mind, it’s humbling to read ancient texts and realize that though ancient, they are still applicable.
Only God could have coordinated the words and truth that would stand the test of time.
Today, as you pray, thank God for His Living Word that is still active today (Hebrews 4:12).
Ask the Holy Spirit to help you apply God’s Word to every situation you face.
PRAISE & PRAYER PROMPT ••• Proverbs 15:22 says, “Without counsel plans fail, but with many advisers they succeed.”
While the first to whom we should go to for counsel is the Jesus (who is referred to as Wonderful Counselor in Isaiah 9:6), we are social people who like to talk to others.
Getting another’s perspective is helpful and beneficial, especially when big decisions are on the line.
However, while the verse doesn’t come with a disclaimer, we have examples in the Bible that warn us about the quality of our advisors.
In 1 Kings 12, Rehoboam became king after his father (Solomon) died.
He was approached by the assembly of Israel with a request to lighten their load.
He asked for three days to consider the matter and sought counsel from two groups.
The first group were older men who had counseled his father.
They advised him to honor the request, and therefore secure their loyalty.
The second group were younger men, and their advice was to reject the request and in short—to show that assembly who was boss.
Clearly, Rehoboam lacked both his father’s wisdom and a Southern grandma who would have taught him, “You draw more flies with honey than you do with vinegar.”
He chose the bad advice.
And as verses 16 and beyond tell, the kingdom of Israel was divided, with rebellious factions against the House of David.
But if we back up a few books and a handful of decades, we can look at Rehoboam’s grandfather, David and the wise counsel he received from a woman who would eventually become one of his wives.
1 Samuel 25 tells of David’s plan to attack Nabal, a man who insulted him.
However, the wise counsel of Abigail tempered David and he found her advice to be wise.
He abandoned his plan for vengeance and let the Lord handle matters.
When it comes to the advice we seek from others, go to God first.
His word, coupled with prayer, can offer wisdom for any situation.
But when we seek the opinions of others, give more weight to the advice that is Biblically sound.
Today, as you pray, thank Jesus for being our Wonderful Counselor who is willing to carry any burden we have.
Ask the Holy Spirit to help you discern godly advice and the wisdom to choose good advisors.