Saturday, July 27, 2013


I know, I know random right?  It is something that i have been thinking about for a good long while, like a year or more, now.  i have been contemplating sharing my thoughts about forgiveness for  a while now, too, and have just decided to do it.  :-)

Well, how important is forgiveness. It's way more important than i first thought.  I mean of course i knew it was important.  But i didn't realize it was also conditional.  Let that sink in, i had to. Yep, conditional.  In both written accounts of the Lord's prayer (Jesus' reply to the disciples wanting to be taught how to pray) Matthew 6:9-15 and Luke 11:1-4  as we ask for forgiveness from God, we are also supposed to forgive others.  Now, maybe you already know this, as sometimes i am a little slow to catch on to some things.  I have been using the ACTS (adoration, confession, thanksgiving, supplication) method of prayer for a loooong time. It hasn't, until the last year, occurred to me that i should also be praying about forgiving others.  I found this fascinating.  I started looking for more verses on forgiveness.  You know what i found?  More of the same!  But before i get ahead of myself.  Let's look at Mark 11:25,26 "And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone; so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your transgressions. [But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father who is in heaven forgive your transgressions."]   These verses hit me hard right between the eyes... and like i said, maybe you already know and understand these principles, but i am SO AMAZED at God's word and it's ability to be new and enlightening no matter how many times I may go through it.  Did you see the power in those verses in Mark?!  Our forgiveness is conditional.  If we want forgiveness from the Sovereign of the Universe, we(as mere men, i mean, really, who are we?) must forgive our fellow man.  That seems like it should be a no brainer, but it can also be a tough order.  What about those ones who haven't asked for forgiveness, what about those who don't know they need forgiveness, or those who know and don't want our forgiveness?  Well... we are responsible to forgive or we will not be forgiven.

Let's look at some more verses that have really driven it home for me.  Hopefully, I can lay this out in at least an understandable manner.  First, let me lay this down. We receive forgiveness of our own sins when we repent and are immersed into Christ (Acts 2:38).  That is really the starting point for all forgiveness.  You will not be able to forgive another until you understand how Christ has forgiven you.  Colossians 3:13 "bearing with one another and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you." Ephesians 4:32 "And be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you."  See we forgive others because God has forgiven us.  I've given this some serious thought.  What is it that anyone could do to me to hurt me in whatever fashion that would be worse than what my sins did to the Saviour of all mankind?  Again, who am I that I can hold a grudge and/or withhold forgiveness toward any man? You see God demonstrated His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. We didn't ask Him first for forgiveness, He first laid down His life so that we could have forgiveness.  What a great example!  In the gospel of Luke, when Jesus is hanging on the cross, He says, "Father, forgive them {he was talking about the soldiers} for they do not know what they are doing." Luke 23:34  Like woah!  Jesus is in extreme pain and agony and His thoughts are for forgiveness for these men who are casting lots for His clothes, who crucified Him, who scorned and mocked Him.

How do we forgive?  Let's look... Matthew 18:21-35.  The apostle Peter asks the Lord how often shall he forgive his brother if he (the brother) sins against him?  And Peter, I'm sure, thinks he's being quite generous and says "seven times?" Jesus' reply was no, not seven times but seventy times seven!  And then Jesus gives a parable to drive the point home.  The first slave that owed ten thousand talents (some crazy amount in the tens of millions), that's us.  That is what we "owe" God for  the sin we committed against Him.  That second slave, the one that owed a hundred denarii (a denarii was a day's wage) that's the person who has done anything against us.  What is that which the second slave owed in comparison to the first slave?  A drop in the bucket really.  But the story gets better...the master finds out what the first slave did to the second slave (threw him in prison because he couldn't pay) and his master is ANGRY! Oh, I forgot to mention that the master of both slaves is God.  And then we get the crowning jewel, the moral to the story in verse 35, "so shall my heavenly Father also do to you, if each of you does not forgive his brother from your heart" How important is that we forgive each other? Pretty important, i think. And He puts another qualifier on must be from our heart. It must be genuine. It must be sincere.

Two more passages that don't talk about forgiveness directly, but have impacted my thinking on forgiveness are 1 Peter 4:8 "Above all keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins." Seems like it's covered because there is some forgiveness going on.  And Romans 12:19-21.  God doesn't want us to be like Jonah, and desire the downfall of our enemies, instead we are to feed them when they're hungry and give them drink. We are not to overcome good with evil (unforgiveness), but evil with good(forgiveness).  What has any person done to us that we should withhold forgiveness?  There are many more verses and places that either directly or indirectly talk about forgiveness.  How about the self righteous Pharisee and the lowly tax-gather? The stories of Jonah, King David, and all those that Jesus forgave and healed, give us more insight into what forgiveness is and what it means.  I don't know about you, but this has had a profound impact on my prayer life.  Now, not only do i ask forgiveness for myself, but i also pray and forgive others.  Why? Because that's how God wants me to pray.  I love that He keeps bringing things to me to think and meditate over.  My prayer is that this has at least done that for you. Let's excel still more!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013


So, i am sitting here curled up in my pink fuzzy blanket and purple footies on because, yes, i am chilled. Betcha didn't think it would get that cool here five degrees north from the equator.  It seems like the rainy season weather that has evaded us has come. we can only pray that the rain that has also evaded us will come as well, or i fear that food prices will soar this coming dry season.  But all that aside... with the current happenings I have been thinking on a few things and i had a really great prayer time this morning. So...I wanted to share some of my thoughts with you.  :-) Remember, I am trying to write more :-)

Now, while trying to get this second paragraph started... I've had several things happen.  One little five year old came to me in her "new" clothes covered in mango stains, to which she was promptly told to change and bring them to me so that i could treat them and get them washed as soon as possible.  Mrs. Boateng and Lucy showed up to give Indie a birthday cream bars, YUM!  Montana said that the chocolate must be American or British because it didn't taste like Ghana chocolate.  :-)

Having my youngest child turn 5 yesterday, was a bit of a reality check for me.  Soon she will learn to read and the school  years will fly by.  Getting ahead of myself you say? I don't think so.  It is times like these that make me stop and assess where we are and where we should be.  i need moments like this to help me focus further out so that i can make the most of where i am right now. Don't you?

I have been thinking about pain, too.  physical pain and emotional pain.  the physical pain has come from my ketttlebell workouts.  When i started them. There was a LOT of pain.  soreness, inability to just move freely without thinking how AM i going to reach down and pick up what i just dropped?! You see i know that if i kept up with the workouts that eventually the soreness would get less, and things would actually start to feel good when i worked out.  I didn't want that pain to be for nothing.  I didn't want the pain  i inflicted upon myself to stop me from continuing on to a greater good.  If i rested too long or waited for the pain to go away completely then the very next time i picked up my kettlebell, I would face that soreness, that pain, again.  So what about the emotional pain? I feel the same way.  I don't want the pain we feel being separated from the ones we know and love to be for naught.   i want to make sure that there is a greater good being accomplished that gives God glory and makes Him smile.  

As we contemplated moving back to Ghana, we considered our kids quite a bit, and talked with them about moving.  Especially Montana, as she was the oldest.  She was the one begging me to stay back in March 2012. Corban had the toughest time getting used to it.  A little surprising, but not too much , as he places a lot of value on his friends.  That quickly changed when we got here and there were the Boateng boys to play with all right around the same ages as our kids.  Jachin has been right on board being here all along. Indie has been my biggest surprise.  She was all for coming here. and she is still OK with it, but the biggest "homesickness " comes from her. She misses so many of her friends and asks when she will get to see them again. enter the emotional pain.   now doubled since i am feeling the pain my daughter feels.  Why does it hurt more like that when it's your kids experiencing it?  makes me wonder, does God feel that way when he sees us hurting?

So where are we?  Well, right now i have two boys who unselfishly spent almost all they earned doing some extra yard work on their little sister's birthday gifts.  i have three kiddos sitting down and happily doing extra math work over their summertime break.  i have one five year old who keeps getting back up on her bike and peddling as often as i tell her so that she can master bike riding.  i have good kids.  i want them to be better.  I want them to have great attitudes in all things, i want them to be thankful in all things, and above all I want them to see how God is at work in their lives.  i have some stepping up to do to get them there, to get me there.  isn't that what Christianity is all about? excelling still more?! Let's press on!