Thursday, July 28, 2016

7 Prominent Christian Thinkers Who Wrestled With Doubt

Mother Teresa, Martin Luther, Pope Francis and more Christian leaders who struggled with doubt.

In his book, In Two Minds: The Dilemma of Doubt & How to Resolve It, theologian Os Guinness wrote, "If ours is an examined faith, we should be unafraid to doubt. If doubt is eventually justified, we were believing what clearly was not worth believing. But if doubt is answered, our faith has grown stronger. It knows God more certainly and it can enjoy God more deeply." 

In other words, no matter how strong our faith is, at some point we may experience doubt. But instead of being a sign of weakness, doubt can actually be something that causes us to dig deeper into our relationship with God, and can even make our faith stronger. 

Here’s a look at some prominent Christian thinkers, leaders and ministers who all wrote about struggles with doubt, faith and finding God through it all. 

C.S. Lewis

One of modern Christianity’s most beloved authors and thinkers, Lewis is remembered for classics including Mere Christianity, The Chronicles of Narnia and The Screwtape Letters. But the renowned defender of the faith is also known for a more complicated side, famously writing, “I have found that nothing is more dangerous to one’s own faith than the work of an apologist.” 

Even with all of his contributions to contemporary Christianity, Lewis led a somewhat controversial personal life, and at times wrestled with the intellectual side of faith. 

Lewis warned readers of the hazards of relying on intellect—particularly apologetics—over spirituality, writing, “That is why we apologists take our lives in our hands and can be saved only by falling back continually from the web of our own arguments, as from our intellectual counters, into the Reality — from Christian apologetics into Christ Himself. That also is why we need another’s continual help—a [‘Let us pray for each other’]. There’s also a famous story of a critic getting the best of Lewis during a debate centering on one of the chapters in his book Miracles, and the distress it caused. 

But despite intellectual challenges, issues in his personal life and emotional swings, Lewis is ultimately remembered for his writings on faith: Even when it meant putting aside momentary feelings of uncertainty: “Faith, in the sense in which I am here using the word, is the art of holding on to things your reason has once accepted, in spite of your changing moods ... That is why Faith is such a necessary virtue: unless you teach your moods ‘where they get off,’ you can never be either a sound Christian or even a sound atheist.” 

Mother Teresa

Today, Mother Teresa of Calcutta is primarily remembered for her selfless service to the poor and sick, but a book of letters printed after her death revealed that even she struggled with doubt at times. 

The letters showed a different woman than the symbol of Christian love and unwavering faith that much of the media portrayed her as. She frequently wrote of loneliness, not hearing from God, personal hypocrisy and doubts about her own faith: “Darkness is such that I really do not see—neither with my mind nor with my reason—the place of God in my soul is blank—There is no God in me—when the pain of longing is so great—I just long & long for God ... The torture and pain I can't explain." 

She frequently asked privately for prayers, writing “Such deep longing for God—and … repulsed—empty—no faith—no love—no zeal. (Saving) souls holds no attraction—Heaven means nothing—pray for me please that I keep smiling at Him in spite of everything." 

She wrote to a friend, “I spoke as if my very heart was in love with God—tender, personal love. If you were (there), you would have said, 'What hypocrisy.'" 

But, even though she experienced chapters of loneliness and feelings of isolation from God, her devotion to her calling never wavered, and today she’s remembered for her love of the poor and heeding of Christ’s command to care for them. 

Martin Luther

Along with his legacy of being a reformer and a father of Protestantism, Martin Luther is also remembered for a less grand—and a much more relatable—trait: Doubt. Luther’s primary doubts about faith didn’t necessarily rest on the question of God’s existence, but His character. 

Though his fear that his own sinfulness would separate him from God helped lead to then-radical ideas about salvation outside of man’s own ability to be righteous, doubts about his faith, thinking and relationship with God would haunt him later in life. At one point, the crushing doubt in his calling led to such an intense depression that he wrote, “For more than a week I was close to the gates of death and hell. I trembled in all my members. Christ was wholly lost. I was shaken by desperation and blasphemy of God.’” 

Ultimately, Luther’s legacy is one of reform, and a reliance on grace. He is remembered for his impact on the Church, but even a church father of his stature still suffered from moments of doubt about his salvation, calling and what God thought about him. 

Charles Spurgeon

One of history’s great preachers, Charles Spurgeon was not only a master of communicating deep truths of Scriptures, but also of engaging with his audience and relating their struggles. In his sermon "Desire of the Soul in Spiritual Darkness", he bluntly claimed, “I think, when a man says, ‘I never doubt,’ it is quite time for us to doubt him, it is quite time for us to begin to say, ‘Ah, poor soul, I am afraid you are not on the road at all, for if you were, you would see so many things in yourself, and so much glory in Christ more than you deserve, that you would be so much ashamed of yourself, as even to say, 'It is too good to be true.'" 

In another sermon, called “The Minister’s Fainting Fits,” Spurgeon explained that even strongest the believers may face seasons of depression, being stripped of the joy brought by faith, even referencing Luther’s struggles: “The strong are not always vigorous, the wise not always ready, the brave not always courageous, and the joyous not always happy … The life of Luther might suffice to give a thousand instances, and he was by no means of the weaker sort … His very deathbed was not free from tempests, and he sobbed himself into his last sleep like a great wearied child.” 

Though the overall message sounds scary—we are all, at times, at risk of falling into seasons of despair and doubt—the sermon is actually one of hope. Toward the end, he writes: “The lesson of wisdom is, be not dismayed by soul-trouble ... Cast not away your confidence, for it hath great recompense of reward. Even if the enemy's foot be on your neck, expect to rise amid overthrow him. Cast the burden of the present, along with the sin of the past and the fear of the future, upon the Lord, who forsaketh not his saints.” 

John Calvin

Another father of Protestantism, Calvin’s writings and thoughts about salvation still have a major influence on the Church today, particularly among Reformed theologians. 

But for Calvin, doubt wasn’t something Christians should fear—instead, it was something we should even expect, and not be surprised by when it creeps into our lives: “Surely, while we teach that faith ought to be certain and assured, we cannot imagine any certainty that is not tinged with doubt, or any assurance that is not assailed by some anxiety.”

Calvin understood that doubt was a part of the faith experience, because human nature itself finds ideas about God and His goodness so outside of what we can understand: “For unbelief is so deeply rooted in our hearts, and we are so inclined to it, that not without hard struggle is each one able to persuade himself of what all confess with the mouth: namely, that God is faithful.” 

Pope Francis

Since he was elected as leader of the Catholic church in the spring of 2013, Pope Francis has been wildly popular and massively influential both inside the Church and to the broader world. He was named Time magazine’s person of the year for 2013, he’s undoubtedly been the most popular pope in recent memory. 

But Pope Francis has spoken openly about the role of doubt in faith. 

"Who among us—everybody, everybody!—who among us has not experienced insecurity, loss and even doubts on their journey of faith?” he told the crowd at a general audience “Everyone! We've all experienced this, me too. It is part of the journey of faith, it is part of our lives. This should not surprise us, because we are human beings, marked by fragility and limitations. We are all weak, we all have limits: do not panic. We all have them.” 

In an interview in America magazine, the pope even said doubt is an essential part of faith. 

"If one has the answers to all the questions—that is the proof that God is not with him. It means that he is a false prophet using religion for himself. The great leaders of the people of God, like Moses, have always left room for doubt. You must leave room for the Lord, not for our certainties; we must be humble.” 

Anne Lamott

The famous novelist, teacher and speaker has written about her struggles with doubt in several of her novels. 

"My coming to faith did not start with a leap but rather a series of staggers from what seemed like one safe place to another,” she wrote in Traveling Mercies. “Like lily pads, round and green, these places summoned and then held me up while I grew. Each prepared me for the next leaf on which I would land, and in this way I moved across the swamp of doubt and fear.” 

"I have a lot of faith. But I am also afraid a lot, and have no real certainty about anything,” she wrote in . “I remembered something Father Tom had told me—that the opposite of faith is not doubt, but certainty. Certainty is missing the point entirely. Faith includes noticing the mess, the emptiness and discomfort, and letting it be there until some light returns.”


The Daily Readings for July 28, 2016

Judges 4:4-23
At that time Deborah, a prophetess, wife of Lappidoth, was judging Israel. She used to sit under the palm of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in the hill country of Ephraim; and the Israelites came up to her for judgment. She sent and summoned Barak son of Abinoam from Kedesh in Naphtali, and said to him, "The LORD, the God of Israel, commands you, 'Go, take position at Mount Tabor, bringing ten thousand from the tribe of Naphtali and the tribe of Zebulun. I will draw out Sisera, the general of Jabin's army, to meet you by the Wadi Kishon with his chariots and his troops; and I will give him into your hand.'" Barak said to her, "If you will go with me, I will go; but if you will not go with me, I will not go." And she said, "I will surely go with you; nevertheless, the road on which you are going will not lead to your glory, for the LORD will sell Sisera into the hand of a woman." Then Deborah got up and went with Barak to Kedesh. Barak summoned Zebulun and Naphtali to Kedesh; and ten thousand warriors went up behind him; and Deborah went up with him. Now Heber the Kenite had separated from the other Kenites, that is, the descendants of Hobab the father-in-law of Moses, and had encamped as far away as Elon-bezaanannim, which is near Kedesh. When Sisera was told that Barak son of Abinoam had gone up to Mount Tabor, Sisera called out all his chariots, nine hundred chariots of iron, and all the troops who were with him, from Harosheth-ha-goiim to the Wadi Kishon. Then Deborah said to Barak, "Up! For this is the day on which the LORD has given Sisera into your hand. The LORD is indeed going out before you." So Barak went down from Mount Tabor with ten thousand warriors following him. And the LORD threw Sisera and all his chariots and all his army into a panic before Barak; Sisera got down from his chariot and fled away on foot, while Barak pursued the chariots and the army to Harosheth-ha-goiim. All the army of Sisera fell by the sword; no one was left. Now Sisera had fled away on foot to the tent of Jael wife of Heber the Kenite; for there was peace between King Jabin of Hazor and the clan of Heber the Kenite. Jael came out to meet Sisera, and said to him, "Turn aside, my lord, turn aside to me; have no fear." So he turned aside to her into the tent, and she covered him with a rug. Then he said to her, "Please give me a little water to drink; for I am thirsty." So she opened a skin of milk and gave him a drink and covered him. He said to her, "Stand at the entrance of the tent, and if anybody comes and asks you, 'Is anyone here?' say, 'No.'" But Jael wife of Heber took a tent peg, and took a hammer in her hand, and went softly to him and drove the peg into his temple, until it went down into the ground-- he was lying fast asleep from weariness-- and he died. Then, as Barak came in pursuit of Sisera, Jael went out to meet him, and said to him, "Come, and I will show you the man whom you are seeking." So he went into her tent; and there was Sisera lying dead, with the tent peg in his temple. So on that day God subdued King Jabin of Canaan before the Israelites.
Acts 1:15-26
In those days Peter stood up among the believers (together the crowd numbered about one hundred twenty persons) and said, "Friends, the scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit through David foretold concerning Judas, who became a guide for those who arrested Jesus-- for he was numbered among us and was allotted his share in this ministry." (Now this man acquired a field with the reward of his wickedness; and falling headlong, he burst open in the middle and all his bowels gushed out. This became known to all the residents of Jerusalem, so that the field was called in their language Hakeldama, that is, Field of Blood.) "For it is written in the book of Psalms, 'Let his homestead become desolate, and let there be no one to live in it' and 'Let another take his position of overseer.' So one of the men who have accompanied us during all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning from the baptism of John until the day when he was taken up from us-- one of these must become a witness with us to his resurrection." So they proposed two, Joseph called Barsabbas, who was also known as Justus, and Matthias. Then they prayed and said, "Lord, you know everyone's heart. Show us which one of these two you have chosen to take the place in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas turned aside to go to his own place." And they cast lots for them, and the lot fell on Matthias; and he was added to the eleven apostles.

Matthew 27:55-66

Many women were also there, looking on from a distance; they had followed Jesus from Galilee and had provided for him. Among them were Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James and Joseph, and the mother of the sons of Zebedee. When it was evening, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who was also a disciple of Jesus. He went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus; then Pilate ordered it to be given to him. So Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a clean linen cloth and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn in the rock. He then rolled a great stone to the door of the tomb and went away. Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were there, sitting opposite the tomb. The next day, that is, after the day of Preparation, the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered before Pilate and said, "Sir, we remember what that impostor said while he was still alive, 'After three days I will rise again.' Therefore command the tomb to be made secure until the third day; otherwise his disciples may go and steal him away, and tell the people, 'He has been raised from the dead,' and the last deception would be worse than the first." Pilate said to them, "You have a guard of soldiers; go, make it as secure as you can." So they went with the guard and made the tomb secure by sealing the stone.

Morning Psalms

Psalm 70 Deus, in adjutorium
1   Be pleased, O God, to deliver me; O LORD, make haste to help me.
2   Let those who seek my life be ashamed and altogether dismayed; let those who take pleasure in my misfortune draw back and be disgraced.
3   Let those who say to me "Aha!" and gloat over me turn back, because they are ashamed.
4   Let all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you; let those who love your salvation say for ever, "Great is the LORD!"
5   But as for me, I am poor and needy; come to me speedily, O God.
6   You are my helper and my deliverer; O LORD, do not tarry.

Psalm 71 In te, Domine, speravi
1   In you, O LORD, have I taken refuge; let me never be ashamed.
2   In your righteousness, deliver me and set me free; incline your ear to me and save me.
3   Be my strong rock, a castle to keep me safe; you are my crag and my stronghold.
4   Deliver me, my God, from the hand of the wicked, from the clutches of the evildoer and the oppressor.
5   For you are my hope, O LORD God, my confidence since I was young.
6   I have been sustained by you ever since I was born; from my mother's womb you have been my strength; my praise shall be always of you.
7   I have become a portent to many; but you are my refuge and my strength.
8   Let my mouth be full of your praise and your glory all the day long.
9   Do not cast me off in my old age; forsake me not when my strength fails.
10   For my enemies are talking against me, and those who lie in wait for my life take counsel together.
11   They say, "God has forsaken him; go after him and seize him; because there is none who will save."
12   O God, be not far from me; come quickly to help me, O my God.
13   Let those who set themselves against me be put to shame and be disgraced; let those who seek to do me evil be covered with scorn and reproach.
14   But I shall always wait in patience, and shall praise you more and more.
15   My mouth shall recount your mighty acts and saving deeds all day long; though I cannot know the number of them.
16   I will begin with the mighty works of the Lord GOD; I will recall your righteousness, yours alone.
17   O God, you have taught me since I was young, and to this day I tell of your wonderful works.
18   And now that I am old and gray-headed, O God, do not forsake me, till I make known your strength to this generation and your power to all who are to come.
19   Your righteousness, O God, reaches to the heavens; you have done great things; who is like you, O God?
20   You have showed me great troubles and adversities, but you will restore my life and bring me up again from the deep places of the earth.
21   You strengthen me more and more; you enfold and comfort me,
22   Therefore I will praise you upon the lyre for your faithfulness, O my God; I will sing to you with the harp, O Holy One of Israel.
23   My lips will sing with joy when I play to you, and so will my soul, which you have redeemed.
24   My tongue will proclaim your righteousness all day long, for they are ashamed and disgraced who sought to do me harm.

Evening Psalms

Psalm 74 Ut quid, Deus?
1   O God, why have you utterly cast us off? why is your wrath so hot against the sheep of your pasture?
2   Remember your congregation that you purchased long ago, the tribe you redeemed to be your inheritance, and Mount Zion where you dwell.
3   Turn your steps toward the endless ruins; the enemy has laid waste everything in your sanctuary.
4   Your adversaries roared in your holy place; they set up their banners as tokens of victory.
5   They were like men coming up with axes to a grove of trees; they broke down all your carved work with hatchets and hammers.
6   They set fire to your holy place; they defiled the dwelling-place of your Name and razed it to the ground.
7   They said to themselves, "Let us destroy them altogether." They burned down all the meeting-places of God in the land.
8   There are no signs for us to see; there is no prophet left; there is not one among us who knows how long.
9   How long, O God, will the adversary scoff? will the enemy blaspheme your Name for ever?
10   Why do you draw back your hand? why is your right hand hidden in your bosom?
11   Yet God is my King from ancient times, victorious in the midst of the earth.
12   You divided the sea by your might and shattered the heads of the dragons upon the waters;
13   You crushed the heads of Leviathan and gave him to the people of the desert for food.
14   You split open spring and torrent; you dried up ever-flowing rivers.
15   Yours is the day, yours also the night; you established the moon and the sun.
16   You fixed all the boundaries of the earth; you made both summer and winter.
17   Remember, O LORD, how the enemy scoffed, how a foolish people despised your Name.
18   Do not hand over the life of your dove to wild beasts; never forget the lives of your poor.
19   Look upon your covenant; the dark places of the earth are haunts of violence.
20   Let not the oppressed turn away ashamed; let the poor and needy praise your Name.
21   Arise, O God, maintain your cause; remember how fools revile you all day long.
22   Forget not the clamor of your adversaries, the unending tumult of those who rise up against you.

The Forward Day by Day Meditation for July 28, 2016

From Forward Day By Day

Matthew 27:62-64 The next day, that is, after the day of Preparation, the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered before Pilate and said, “Sir, we remember what that impostor said while he was still alive, ‘After three days I will rise again.’ Therefore command the tomb to be made secure until the third day; otherwise his disciples may go and steal him away, and tell the people, ‘He has been raised from the dead,’ and the last deception would be worse than the first.”

I worked my way through college as a bank teller. During my first training class, when the topic of counterfeit money came up, our instructor showed us pictures, but we never actually worked with any.

“You work with real money, so you learn the feel of real money,” she explained to us. “Then, if you come across a counterfeit bill, you’ll feel the difference.”

After a few months of working in a cash box, I was so familiar with the feel of money, that when I came across my first counterfeit bill, my fingertips made the initial discovery.

When we make the real thing our business, we don’t have to worry about sealing ourselves off from counterfeits. We will recognize them—and be able to avoid them.

 Join more than a half million readers worldwide who use Forward Day by Day as a resource for daily prayer and Bible study

His Princess Every Day - His Promise

Devotionals for Women - Inspirational author and speaker Sheri Rose Shepherd imagines what a letter written from God to you would look like.

My Daughter,

Oh, how I’m pleased when you obey Me, because I love to reward you with everlasting blessings! When you feel trapped and need to break free from the strongholds of this world, let Me search your heart and see what holds you back from My blessings. If you will be still long enough for Me to shine My light in the dark areas, I will help you find your way out of any sin that entangles you. What I ask for you is not just for My glory; it is for your good. No temporary pleasure can satisfy your soul the way I can. Not only that, even your children’s children will be blessed if you love Me with all your heart and obey Me all the days of your life. Now is the time to get your heart right and to live in the freedom I offer you!

Your everlasting Father

You will experience all these blessings if you obey the LORD your God. - Deuteronomy 28:2

Treasure of Truth

The Lord’s love is unconditional; His promises are not!

This devotional is written by Sheri Rose Shepherd. All content copyright Sheri Rose Shepherd 2015. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. Visit for devotionals, books, videos, and more from Sheri Rose Shepherd.

Girlfriends in God - Hard to Help

Today’s Truth

You have not because you do not ask God (James 4:2, NIV).

Friend to Friend

I was behind … tired … and stressed out. I had too many irons in the fire and too many writing deadlines staring me in the face. So when my husband Dan asked if he could do anything to help, I said, “Sure! You can write one of the Girlfriends in God devotions I need to turn in tomorrow.” I didn’t really think he would do it. But he did. And God used it to smack me right between the eyes. I just had to share it with you!

There are so things I absolutely adore about my wife of forty years. She is my best friend, the best mom I have ever known, and the walking definition of the perfect grandmother. She is an amazing writer and mentor and teacher. And she is one of the sweetest people I know. In forty years, I have never seen her be mean – not for one minute.

I can remember thinking in our early years of marriage that there was nothing I would change about this woman that I had managed to marry by catching her in a moment of weakness. But that is no longer the case. Mary has one crack in her armor, just one small imperfection that I must share with you.

She is ridiculously hard to help!

A single mom of seven kids raised Mary and taught her from an early age that “you don’t ever need to depend on anyone else.” And Mary took it to heart. She is very independent and very able to handle more, endure more and accomplish more than anyone I have ever known. She is amazing! But Mary is hard to help – because she wants to do it on her own.

We have all been around two and three year old kids whose favorite line is “I do it myself.” It is the mantra of every preschooler. Don’t they know they have a loving parent who is ready to help? Do they not understand that there is someone who wants to intervene on their behalf?

They are so cute. And so hard to help!

Which brings me back to my wife. She is so cute – and so hard to help. Mary will not ask for help - whether it is carrying the groceries into the house, getting ready for company, fixing something that is broken – it does not matter. Her mantra is “I do it myself.”

The good news is that if that is her only flaw, then I am a blessed man to have her as my wife. And I am!

The bad news is that I am always ready to help if she will just ask – and she often misses out on that help.

Many of us do the same thing in our relationship with God. We are convinced that we can reform our character on our own. So we work at being more patient. We work at being more loving. We try so hard to be kind. When we blow it, we redouble our efforts. We roll up our spiritual sleeves and exert more spiritual elbow grease. We tell ourselves a variety of lies like “I can do this” and “I don’t need any help.”

We have a heavenly Father who stands ready to help us!

We have an advocate in Jesus the Son who stands ready to mediate for us!

And we have the Spirit of God who is waiting to comfort and mold and guide us!

And we say, “No thank you – I do it myself!”

There are dozens of verses in the Bible that haunt me when I realize what they really mean. James 4:2 is one of the simplest but scariest: “You have not because you do not ask God.”


There is help available. Ask God for it.

There is healing available. Ask Jesus, the Great Physician for it.

There is guidance and comfort available. Ask the Holy Spirit for it.

Don’t do it yourself. God is available. Just ask.

Like I said … Dan’s words hit me right between the eyes. He is so right! I tend to rely on my own strength and abilities instead of God’s power. I have spent so much time and energy honing and refining the gifts God gave me … that I tend to rely on those gifts instead of the Giver of those gifts. And that is sin!

I hugged my sweet husband and thanked him for the kind words, the hard words, and for helping me. I promised to ask for his help more often.

I went to my Father and asked Him to forgive me for depending on my own pitiful strength instead of His. He promised to always be there for me.

How about you? Need help? Just ask.

Let’s Pray

Father, I confess that I try to do life on my own. I try to figure things out and change my ways on my own. Please forgive me for my “I do it myself” attitude. Teach me to depend on You. Teach me to trust You and cry out to You. Thank You for wanting to help me.
In Jesus’ Name,

Now It’s Your Turn
  • Do you want to continue in “I do it myself” mode?
  • If not, confess your tendency to be in charge to God.
  • Start asking Him for help!
More from the Girlfriends

Do you need encouragement and help from someone who has been where you are and lived to tell about it? Check out Mary’s new Skype ministry, Friends for the Journey.

Be sure to check out the FREEBIES on Mary’s website and connect with Mary through email or on Facebook.

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Girlfriends in God
P.O. Box 1311
Huntersville, NC 28070

Standing Strong Through the Storm - WHAT FORGIVENESS IS AND IS NOT

Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. Colossians 3:13

To understand forgiveness we must realize what forgiveness is NOT:

· Forgiveness is not forgetting. Deep hurts can rarely be wiped out of one’s awareness.

· Forgiveness is not reconciliation. Reconciliation takes two persons, but an injured party can forgive an offender without reconciliation.

· Forgiveness is not condoning. Forgiveness does not necessarily excuse bad or hurtful behavior.

· Forgiveness is not dismissing. It involves taking the offense seriously, not passing it off as inconsequential or insignificant.

· Forgiveness is not a vague notion of ‘tolerance’. This is, at best, a low-grade parody of forgiveness. At worst, it’s a way of sweeping the real issues in life under the carpet.

· Forgiveness is not pardoning. A pardon is a legal transaction that releases an offender from the consequences of an action, such as a penalty.

Throughout the Old Testament we read that only God can forgive sins. We hear David exclaim, He forgives all my sins…” (Psalm 103:3). We also see examples of human forgiveness—even in pain—like Joseph forgiving his brothers for selling him into slavery. Joseph gains true freedom. He then names his son Manasseh, “one who causes to be forgotten.”

In the New Testament we see Jesus, the Lamb of God, come into to the world to die for our sins. Through His shed blood we can once and for all receive ultimate forgiveness. This is the pure “gospel of grace.” This forgiveness is a gift. We do not deserve it but God, in His grace, reached out to provide forgiveness to a dying world.

Then we read in the verse above the impact of this on those of us who have received that forgiveness. Its ethical challenge parallels “love your enemies” and “pray for your persecutors.”

In the final analysis, forgiveness is an act of faith. By forgiving another, I am trusting that God is a better justice-maker than I am. By forgiving, I release my own right to get even and leave all issues of fairness for God to work out. I leave in God’s hands the scales that must balance justice and mercy. I simply forgive others and leave them to God.

RESPONSE: Today I will leave fairness and justice in God’s hands. I will obediently forgive others just as the Lord forgave me.

PRAYER: Lord, grant me the faith to trust You with the offenses committed against me. I will forgive.

Verse of the Day - July 28, 2016

Philippians 3:14 (NIV) I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

Read all of Philippians 3