This post is part of the series His Encouragement
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Welcome! Welcome, dearest friends, to His Encouragement: Biblical Inspiration for Your Thursday. Every Thursday, a few blogging friends and I will each bring you a Bible passage and a little hope-filled discussion. We pray that these Thursday posts help you end your week strong in God’s love and purpose for you.
And God, who knows the heart, bore witness to them, by giving them the Holy Spirit just as he did to us, and he made no distinction between us and them, having cleansed their hearts by faith.
—Acts 15:8-9, ESV
Let’s face it: we are human and part of being human is making mistakes. Sometimes these mistakes are HUGE — so big that they seem to overwhelm everything in our lives — including hope in forgiveness.
I have heard it before and perhaps you have even said or thought it yourself: “Lord, I want to give my heart to You and become Your child, but I am so dirty, so unclean, so messed up, so broken, so sinful, so [insert reason here]. You would never want me!”
But you know something absolutely amazing? There is no one so broken or messed up that God would not accept and forgive them if they come to Him in genuine repentance. Here, let’s take a quick look at a beautiful illustration of God’s love and mercy in Mark 1:40-45. Jesus is approached by a man suffering from leprosy.
Leprosy, now called Hansen’s Disease, is a horrible infectious disease caused by bacteria that affects the skin and nerves. It usually results in loss of sensation in the extremities, deformities, lesions and eventually paralysis and wasting away of muscles. (Source) Being infectious and not having a cure during Biblical times, people with leprosy were ostracized from society lest they accidentally infect others with this debilitating and ultimately fatal disease. (Praise the Lord, there is a cure for leprosy today!)
In Mark 1:40-45, a man suffering from leprosy broke with society’s self-imposed quarantine rules and approached Jesus. Scriptures tell us that the “leper came to him [Jesus], imploring him, and kneeling said to him, “If you will, you can make me clean.”” Jesus was so moved by pity that He, too, did something no one was ever supposed to do: He touched the man with leprosy! “He [Jesus] stretched out his hand and touched him and said to him, “I will; be clean.””
Now let me ask you this question: If Jesus during His earthly ministry had absolutely no problems physically touching a man with a very serious, infectious disease in order to heal and restore him, what makes you think that He would not do the same for you today? That He would not be so moved by love when you approach Him with your problems? That He would refuse to reach out to touch your broken heart and help restore you?
You may be tempted to protest: “Oh, but you do not know all of the horrible things I have done. I am a terrible, terrible person and I have done things that are unforgivable!”
Nonsense! 1 John 1:9 says: “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” So:
- if you are genuinely sorry for what you have done;
- ask the Lord to forgive you of your past, your sins, your mistakes;
- and ask Him to change your heart,
He will! Hallelujah! And you don’t have to take my word for, the Bible is filled with accounts of people who recognized their wretchedness yet were forgiven and transformed by the Holy Spirit.
Put in a modern-day perspective: Noah got wasted, Abraham took a mistress, Isaac instigated conflict by playing favorites among his children, Jacob’s life was a total mess, Judah frequented brothels, Tamar seduced her father-in-law, Joseph was thrown in prison, Moses was a murderer, Miriam had racist views, Aaron went against his principles just to appease others, Rahab was a prostitute, David was a rapist and a murderer, Eli was a horrible father, Jonah was filled with prejudices against a whole group of people, Nebuchadnezzar was extremely arrogant and prideful, Peter was a violent zealot, John and James had anger management issues, Paul persecuted God’s people and even put them to death, Zacchaeus had cheated his way into wealth, Mary Magdelene had demons… I could go on and on but for time’s sake I will stop here.
If God can take those broken, sinful people and transform them into upright people, then nothing you have done is beyond His forgiveness! Even a thief hanging on the cross, moments before his death, was forgiven! How is this possible? Because God does not see us with human eyes. He sees into our hearts, and He knows who we truly are in our innermost parts.
So claim today’s word of encouragement: “And God, who knows the heart, bore witness to them, by giving them the Holy Spirit just as he did to us, and he made no distinction between us and them, having cleansed their hearts by faith.” (Acts 15:8-9)
What amazing news! If you but ask, the Lord will forgive and cleanse you! You are not stuck in your past ways, your past sins, your past mistakes. When you give your life and heart to the Lord, He will cleanse you and transform you. Sure, you may hit a few road bumps. You may make a few mistakes. You may have to still deal with the consequences of your past decisions, but hold on to the promise of Philippians 1:6. “And I am sure of this, that He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.”
As long as you lean on Jesus, He will never let you go.
Be sure to also visit my fellow bloggers and read their encouragement for your Thursday as well:
- Trisha of Joy of Reading
- Nicole of The Christian Fiction Girl
- Jessica of A Baker’s Perspective
- Becca of The Becca Files
- Jenny Lynn
- Gina of Stories by Gina
- Rev. Rebecca Writes
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His Encouragement: Children of God