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The Balm of Forgiveness

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I’m writing this blog for no one in particular, yet it seems appropriate to say I am writing it for everyone.  I am writing it for the person overwhelmed with the guilt of past mistakes. I am writing it for those who have known the depths of discouragement and defeat. I am writing it for those who stumble under the weight of “if only” or “why did I?”. 

Most especially I am writing it for me.

Living, as we do, in a broken world, it is next to impossible to pass through it without accumulating our share of battle scars. Innumerable regrets, a multitude of sorrows, and days of desperation and hopelessness mark the road we have traveled. It’s enough to cause the strongest among us to ask “why bother?”.

The answer is because we have a Father in heaven who loves us and cares for us, and he has promised to never leave us or forsake us (Heb. 13:5). To put it plainly, what we cannot do in and of ourselves, God can. He alone can forgive us and blot out every sin, leaving us to stand before him without guilt.

The Psalmist David experienced the forgiveness of God on several occasions, one of which he wrote about in Psalm 32. This is one of the most beautiful and encouraging Psalms for it speaks of the soul rejoicing in the wonders of God’s grace and mercy. In this Psalm, we see God’s forgiveness of sin, we see Him comforting the sorrowful, and we take from it the knowledge that God is merciful to those who turn to him. 

1 Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven,
Whose sin is covered.
2 Blessed is the man to whom the Lord does not impute iniquity,
And in whose spirit there is no deceit.

3 When I kept silent, my bones grew old
Through my groaning all the day long.
4 For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me;
My vitality was turned into the drought of summer. Selah

5 I acknowledged my sin to You,
And my iniquity I have not hidden.
I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,”
And You forgave the iniquity of my sin. Selah

6 For this cause everyone who is godly shall pray to You
In a time when You may be found;
Surely in a flood of great waters
They shall not come near him.

7 You are my hiding place;
You shall preserve me from trouble;
You shall surround me with songs of deliverance. Selah. Psalm 32;1-7.  NKJV

As David found out on more than one occasion, unrepentant sin is like having a huge weight around your neck. It wears you down and will eventually destroy you. The “heavy hand” that David speaks of is the conviction of our heart, and it will not go away unless God takes it away. Oh, how I thank God that in his compassion he removes our sins and casts them into the depths of the sea! (Micah 7:19)

If you’re carrying a heavy load of guilt and shame, you don’t have to carry them any longer. Jesus Christ bore your guilt and shame on the Cross, releasing you to live in freedom. All you need to do is turn your heart towards the Lord and ask Him to forgive you.

Have a blessed day!

Ron

Attending church in Canada will cost you $880

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I’ve been saying for some time on this blog that the church in North America will not always be free from persecution. Since I became a Christian nearly 45 years ago, I have held to the belief that the days of Christians freely going to worship God at the church of their choice would one day come with a price tag.

Well, the wait is over. As of now, attending church in Ontario Canada will cost you $880. That is the cost of each fine handed out to the 47 worshipers at the Aylmer Church of God in Aylmer, Ontario Canada who attended services recently in spite of continued threats from the government not to assemble in Church.

Apparently Ontario Premier Doug Ford is no fan of the church, as he has declared it illegal for the citizens of Ontario to gather in groups of more than 10 people for “non-essential” activities like attending church. I guess that means that groups deemed “essential” can still gather in groups of more than 10 people??

What is most intriguing about all of this is that while Ontario has been on lockdown for almost a month and has had just over 6,000 Covid deaths over the past 11 months, all but 230 of those deaths occurred in ages 60 or greater, and nearly all of those in nursing homes. So with a population of 15 million they have had an average of 552 Covid deaths per month. Yes, of course even one death is too many. I doubt anyone would argue that. Yet these numbers pale in comparison to the number of innocent babies aborted in Ontario. Hmmm….no outrage about that in Ontario.

What’s the real issue here? There is something sinister going on in Ontario in regards to the Christian church when the police act like Gestapo agents working under the cover of darkness to issue fines to people. It is obvious that the church has been singled out for persecution, as fines were also issued to people who sat in their cars or were in the church parking lot.

I am of the firm belief that the enemies of God’s church have been handed the perfect excuse to enact this persecution in the form of Covid. In the United States we have seen numerous instances of governmental interference of the right to worship, with more occurring weekly. Could anyone forget the images of thousands of maskless demonstrators terrorizing our communities, of whom hardly any were prosecuted, yet states governors ordering the closing of churches under the guise of preventing the spread of the virus by assembling to worship?

We are entering a dark and dangerous time when the freedom to worship is so easily denied those who wish to gather to exercise their right to do so. We must understand that what just happened in Ontario is no mere ruling out of concern for the health and welfare of its citizenry. No, what we are now witnessing is the embodiment of Paul’s discourse on spiritual warfare.

For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Ephesians 6:12. KJV

My earnest prayer for the church is that she will open her eyes to the truth about what is currently happening and to that which is soon to happen to those who will remain faithful to Christ. We cannot afford to walk around with spiritual blinders over our eyes any longer.

The days are coming my friends when $880 will seem to be a paltry sum to pay for the privilege of worshiping our Lord. I leave you with a final thought about the high price we must be willing to pay as children of God.

And there went great multitudes with him: and he turned, and said unto them, If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple. Luke 14:25-27. KJV

Have a blessed day,

Ron