Faithful to Forgive

by Carolyn Hope

In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness. (Hebrews 9:22) 

He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, thus obtaining eternal redemption (Hebrews 9:12)

We serve a God who forgives and is simultaneously just. The depravity of humankind’s sin needed forgiveness, but justice demanded that a price must be paid for the wrongs of the world. Under the old covenant, God provided a way for the Israelites to be forgiven through the sacrifice of innocent animals. While this forgiveness was real and partially effective, it was also temporary. Sacrifices had to be made often, and much blood was shed. Then God instituted a better covenant through His Son Jesus. The perfect sacrifice shed His holy blood once and for all to pay the full price of sin! And now, every person can be forgiven with a forgiveness that lasts forever.

God has never once turned away a repentant heart. He is faithful to forgive, and as His child, you can rest secure in His unshakeable, complete and fully-paid-for forgiveness. There is no question about whether your sins are forgiven. He forgives every single one of them. Jesus paid a price that went above and beyond your sin, which means that nothing you ever do is too wretched to be forgiven.

You don’t have to (and you can’t) earn your forgiveness. The blood Christ shed for you is more than enough. Your forgiveness has been bought and activated. You are forgiven – it’s a fact, so you can trust Him and be sure that He is faithful to forgive you, no matter the sin involved. Receive your forgiveness today. Let the fullness of God’s faithful love lead you to forgive as freely as He does.

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A Faithful Father

by Carolyn Hope

One of the greatest ways God has shown Himself to me is through His faithfulness. He has never once failed or faltered in His steadfast love. To say that God is faithful means He keeps His word. You can depend on Him to come through for you.

There are many demonstrations of God’s faithful character. I’d like to share some of these with you this week. God is faithful to forgive, set free, and provide. He takes good care of His children, without exception.

Whatever you need right now, God is the answer. Let Him be the One that you seek. He will give you everything that you need. Trust in the Lord; He won’t fail you.

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The Humility of a Savior: Selflessness

by Carolyn Hope

“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in the very nature of God, did not consider equality with God as something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death – even death on a cross …” (Philippians 2:3-8)

Perhaps the strongest facet of humility is selflessness. Humility is not thinking little of yourself; it is, however, thinking greater of others. Jesus exemplified this when He forsook His place in heaven to become a servant for all mankind. He cared much more for humanity than He did for His position. He made Himself nothing, that we might have everything. Jesus’ humility led Him in obedience, even to the cross.

Take a second and think of the power that comes from selfless humility. Jesus’ sacrifice resulted in your salvation! That would not have happened without humility. It was the humility of God’s heart that said, “I’m willing to pay whatever it takes if it means people can be set free.” You are a living, breathing product of the greatest humility the world has ever seen.

What can your humility do for others? What kind of effect can your sacrifice have? I believe that selfless humility can change hearts and lives, and even the world. If you want to do something great, go low. Serve your family, your friends, and your coworkers. Humble yourself in selflessness toward them, and see what happens. There’s no limit to what two humble hearts can do. When you join your humble heart to God’s, nothing is impossible.

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The Humility of a Visionary: Honor

by Carolyn Hope

“The king asked Daniel (also called Belteshazzar), ‘Are you able to tell me what I saw in my dream and interpret it?’ Daniel replied, ‘No wise man, enchanter, magician or diviner can explain to the king the mystery he has asked about, but there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries … The king said to Daniel, ‘Surely your God is the God of gods and the Lord of kings and a revealer of mysteries, for you were able to reveal this mystery.’ Then the king placed Daniel in a high position and lavished many gifts on him. He made him ruler over the entire province of Babylon and placed him in charge of all its wise men.” (Daniel 2:26-28, 47-48)

Daniel is known as a man who was both wise and prophetic. He served under several kings and was one of their top advisors and most trusted counselors. Daniel was a governor, a supporter, and a ruler; he was also a man of humility.

In Daniel chapter 2, King Nebuchadnezzar had a dream, and he demanded that his wise men tell him what the dream was, and then interpret it. He put an impossible task on these men, and when they could not fulfill it, he decided to kill all of them. Daniel heard about this situation, and he asked for time. When his request was granted, he sought the Lord for revelation, urging his friends to do the same. God faithfully answered their prayers, and Daniel went to the king and gave him the dream and interpretation. Throughout the whole process, Daniel showed himself humble through the honor he gave to the Lord (and to the king). He never once took any credit for what God had done but made it very clear that only He could reveal mysteries. Daniel’s strong honor for the Lord led the king to also show God honor.

Humility always honors others. To honor is to elevate someone and put him in his rightful place. Humility lifts others up to where they should be. One of the ways you can be humble is by honoring those around you. Instead of taking the best seat at the dinner table or movie theater, give that spot to someone else. Hold the door for the person behind you. Do small things to show others that you value them. The best way to honor others is to first honor the Lord. Keep Jesus on the throne of your heart, and you’ll be better able to honor people.

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The Humility of a Prophet: Clarity

by Carolyn Hope

“In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted, and the train of his robe filled the temple … one of the seraphs flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar. With it he touched my mouth and said, ‘See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for.’ Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, ‘Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?’ And I said, ‘Here am I. Send me!’ He said, ‘Go…’” (Isaiah 6:1, 6-9)

When Isaiah saw the Lord in all His glory, he was acutely aware of his unworthiness. Then a seraph brought a coal from the altar to cleanse him of his guilt and sin. A few moments later, the Lord sent out a call, and the new transformed Isaiah answered it with a willing and obedient heart.

The key to Isaiah’s humility was clarity. He said he saw the Lord. When the seraph touched the coal to Isaiah’s lips, he said, “See …” There is something significant about spiritual sight. The starting point for humility is simple: clarity! Humility is not shame, nor is it feelings of unworthiness. Rather, humility is having an accurate view – a God kind of view – of yourself and the world around you. Humility begins with a prayer that says, “Lord, open my eyes to see. Show me the truth. What do You see?”

Don’t be afraid to ask God what He sees. It’s so much greater and more beautiful than we think. God does not look at you as a worthless, dirty sinner. He paid the highest price for you to become His child, and He views you as the royalty you are. Ask Jesus what He sees. He’ll show you, and when He does, you’ll step into a deeper freedom than you’ve ever known. Let the Truth set you free.

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The Humility of a Queen: Vulnerability

by Carolyn Hope

“Then Esther sent this reply to Mordecai: ‘Go, gather together all the Jews who are in Susa, and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my maids will fast as you do. When this is done, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish.’ So Mordecai went away and carried out all of Esther’s instructions. On the third day Esther put on her royal robes and stood in the inner court of the palace, in front of the king’s hall. The king was sitting on his royal throne in the hall, facing the entrance. When he saw Queen Esther standing in the court, he was pleased with her and held out to her the gold scepter that was in his hand. So Esther approached and touched the tip of the scepter. Then the king asked, ‘What is it, Queen Esther? What is your request? Even up to half the kingdom, it will be given to you.’ ‘If it pleases the king,’ replied Esther, ‘let the king, together with Haman, come today to a banquet I have prepared for him.’” (Esther 4:15-5:4)

Esther was the Queen of the Persian Empire. She was over many servants and eunuchs, and she was given honor, prestige, and position. She was also a Jew. When her people’s lives were threatened, she had two options: to remain caught up in her own safe and protected world or to step out into danger for the sake of her kin. Esther chose to be brave and courageous, and she has been esteemed for that. There was another choice Esther made, however, and that was humility. She humbled herself by being vulnerable. Esther, a woman of greatness and strength, lowered herself before her king in surrender. She could have been killed for entering the court without an invitation; she went anyway. She was willing to be sacrificed so that her nation might be spared. She exposed herself to potential danger, and she purposefully put herself in a helpless position, in order that others may be helped.

Humility is vulnerable. Vulnerability is something that we often avoid, but within it is a hidden strength. We spend so much time trying to hide our hearts that we miss the power of sharing who we truly are with others. I think the reason we won’t be vulnerable with people, even those we’re close to, is that we’re afraid they might reject us if they see who we really are. Vulnerability exposes the depths of our hearts, and indeed, people don’t appreciate them and protect them as they should; but Jesus does. Start by being open and free with Him, and giving yourself to others will get easier. You can trust Jesus with your dreams, your hurts, and the secrets you try to hide. He will not reject you.

God greatly appreciates and understands vulnerability. He won’t ever turn you away when you bring your heart before Him. He cherishes the depths of who you are. He delights in you. Let Him into your heart today; He has already let you into His.

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The Humility of a Dreamer: Honesty

by Carolyn Hope

“So Pharaoh sent for Joseph, and he was quickly brought from the dungeon. When he had shaved and changed his clothes, he came before Pharaoh. Pharaoh said to Joseph, ‘I had a dream, and no one can interpret it. But I have heard it said of you that when you hear a dream you can interpret it.’ ‘I cannot do it,’ Joseph replied to Pharaoh, ‘but God will give Pharaoh the answer he desires.’ … Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, ‘Since God has made all this known to you, there is no one so discerning and wise as you. You shall be in charge of my palace, and all my people are to submit to your orders. Only with respect to the throne will I be greater than you.’” (Genesis 41:14-16, 39-40)

Joseph had many reasons to be prideful. His dreams as a young man spoke of his mighty destiny and beautiful potential. His talent for organizing and superb management skills made him a favorite worker in Potiphar’s household. He was young and handsome, and everything he put his hand to prospered. Perhaps there was a time in Joseph’s life when he did indeed take pride in his accomplishments. In this part of his story, however, we see a deep humility exhibited through simple honesty. Joseph was quick to admit that he could not do what he was asked apart from God’s help. When giving the interpretation of the dream, he held nothing back from Pharaoh but gave him all the information he needed. He even presented a plan to alleviate the coming famine. As a response to Joseph’s service, Pharaoh appointed him as second-in-command over all of Egypt. Joseph’s honest humility led him to the position of influence he was destined for.

Humility is honest. It’s real and authentic. Humble people aren’t afraid to speak the truth, even when it’s not so flattering. If you want to become humble, start by being honest. When you need help, say so. When you’re having a rough day, don’t try to hide it and pretend everything’s ‘fine.’ Own up to your mistakes and call things as they are.

When you stop trying to cover your imperfections, humility has room to work in your heart. Sometimes, choosing to be humble is like taking a bitter pill; it’s hard to swallow, but it’s beneficial for you and for those around you. I challenge you to be honest today; not just about the big important matters, but the little, seemingly meaningless affairs too. Humility is worth it.

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Choosing Humility

by Carolyn Hope

What is humility? That’s not an easy question to answer. Humility has many sides or faces. It’s like a crystal with several different angles.

There are lots of misconceptions about humility. Humility is not shyness. It’s not the inability to receive a compliment. Neither is humility thinking of yourself as nothing or considering yourself worthless. Humility is not weak or insecure. Sometimes, we tie humility to a specific personality or certain acts that seem spiritual; but that’s not the case.

The truth is that humility is a choice, and it’s one that anyone can make. With that said, there are many facets to this principle. This week, I’d like to highlight a few of those: honesty, vulnerability, clarity, and others. It’s my hope that as you read these descriptions of humility, you’ll be encouraged to become more like Jesus in this way. Regardless of who you are or where you come from, you can follow in the footsteps of those in the Bible who chose humility.

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The Pains We Face: Rejection

by Carolyn Hope

“Jesus left there and went to his hometown, accompanied by his disciples. When the Sabbath came, he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were amazed. ‘Where did this man get these things?’ they asked. ‘What’s this wisdom that has been given him? What are these remarkable miracles he is performing? Isn’t this the carpenter? Isn’t this Mary’s son and the brother of James, Joseph, Judas and Simon? Aren’t his sisters here with us?’ And they took offense at him. Jesus said to them, ‘A prophet is not without honor except in his own town, among his relatives and in his own home.’ He could not do any miracles there, except lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them. He was amazed at their lack of faith.” (Mark 6:1-6)

Every person is born with an inherent need for acceptance. When we are rejected, it wounds us at our core. Rejection is a knife that plunges deep into the heart. It can result in depression, anxiety, and insecurity. When you’re rejected, you often doubt yourself and wonder, “What’s wrong with me?” If you’re rejected long enough, you begin to feel defeated and hopeless. This is especially true when rejection comes from someone you care deeply for.

In this world, you are going to be rejected. It doesn’t matter how hard you try to be what everyone wants you to be. Jesus was the only perfect person who has ever walked this earth, and even He was rejected. People will find a reason to reject you. They’ll reject you based on anything and everything: your appearance, your style, your personality, your job, your social class, your upbringing, etc. You can either live unfazed by rejection or tormented by it. You have an enemy who is threatened by your presence, and thereby seeks to keep you locked in fear through experiences of rejection.

There is good news: the rejection of the world cannot compare to the acceptance of Christ. If you let Him be the source of your identity, instead of basing your value on others’ opinions of you, you will become free from the effects of rejection. You’ll be able to walk in courage and boldness because no matter what any person thinks of you, you’ll know the truth of what Jesus says about you.

You are worthy. You are loved. You are beautiful and strong, and enough. You don’t have to measure up to the standard of the world; simply accept the love of your Father. His arms are always open to you. He will never reject you. He loves you and accepts you without reserve. Grab onto hope today. You can live confident and free in the One who made you and fully accepts you.

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The Pains We Face: Loss

by Carolyn Hope

“At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship and said: ‘Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.’ In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing.” (Job 1:20-22)

When Job said this, he had just heard the news that all his oxen, donkeys, sheep, camels, servants, and sons and daughters were gone. All he had left was his wife. He was dealing with total loss on every side. What will you do if your business gets flooded, and your building is damaged beyond repair? What will you say if the stock market crashes and all your investments go down the drain? How will you act if your child gets sick, and instead of recovering, gets worse?

The most remarkable part about Job’s story to me is what he did with the news he was given. Job began to mourn, but as he did, he worshipped. He worshipped! If you have experienced loss of any kind, then you can understand how unique of a response Job’s was. Worship is many times the last thing we want to do when tragedy strikes. When you lose something or someone dear to your heart, it leaves a hole that can’t really be filled in. There’s healing, yes; but you’re never quite the same.

Loss will change you. You get to determine how it changes you. You can become bitter and angry, or you can become stronger and greater. The way you let loss change you for the better is by worshipping your King. No matter what you’ve been through, He’s still worthy. No matter the pain you’re feeling, He’s still good. No matter what you’ve lost, or what the enemy has stolen from you, Jesus still loves you.

Job wasn’t perfect. Later in his story, he tried to understand what he was going through, and he finally had to let go and trust the Lord. You can’t always understand pain, especially when it runs deep. There comes a point where you have to decide if you’re going to trust your mind, or the One Who made it. It’s so hard to see clearly when you hurt so much. Take heart, dear one; there’s a Father who sees better than you do, and He holds you securely in His hands.

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