Heart-Breaking Forgiveness {{Week 7

Welcome to today’s blog and  our Gleaning From the Heart of Jesus study!

And we have made it to week 4!! Welcome to week 7, my friend.. I am excited to have you joining me today, as I share a real experience of learning about forgiveness the hard way!

Today, we will be discussing the necessity of forgiveness. Not only have we been forgiven of much, we are also commanded to forgive others. If we want God’s forgiveness, then, we need to be willing to extend the same kind of forgiveness to others.

Take a moment to bring out your journal and Bible. If you don’t have either nearby, join us anyway!

The Scriptures – Matthew 6:14-15, 18:33-35

For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins (Mt. 6:14-15, NIV).

From the Parable of the Unmerciful Servant

‘Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you? In anger his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed.’ ‘This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart (Mt. 18:33-35).’


Forgiveness is an intensely deliberate act. Not one of us can claim that we have forgiven someone by happenstance, when we have been offended by another. Others have badly hurt us, yet because of the tender mercy of God – we can forgive them no matter what they have done. Others hurt us, and this is what leads us to this place of needing to forgive. Whether accidental or deliberate in their offending, we are commanded to forgive them. This is an absolute heartfelt action, which requires faith, time, effort.

Forgiveness takes time and effort. And, a whole lot of time with Jesus – our beloved Savior! Forgiveness will not “just happen,” because it takes a lot of God’s strength and our own will – to forgive others.

When I think of forgiveness, I am reminded of a specific encounter where I had to learn my “toughest” (although, this year has beat that encounter using several relationships…) lesson on forgiving others. May you be encouraged, as I share that experience.

When I think of a certain older gentleman (I served alongside him in ministry), I am filled with great joy. But, it was such a painful road of forgiveness. We were constantly bumping heads, or so it seemed. It was such an intense situation to be placed in, and I wasn’t sure how I would survive it, yet God showed both of us His grace and how God can mend a broken friendship (or thriving enemy-ship) – if we will join God and be willing to pursue reconciliation.

After forgiveness, the friendship grew to almost what I would call a mentorship. I mean, we reached a place of definite closeness in serving well together and in terms of godly leadership influence. I can vividly remember finding out that he was “let go” in his volunteering position, I was just heartbroken. Had that occurred during our frequent conflicts, I would have been glad. But, God worked so much during this difficult season. He taught me so much about trusting God, the Christian life, serving, and living with sickness. All of which was exactly what I needed at the time.

Needless to say, I can testify that God grows deeper relationships, when we allow Him to plant forgiveness in our hearts for others – which is the outflow of the way God has forgiven us.

To this day, the struggle and need to forgive still exists. As I stated, this year has been one filled with roughed up relationships (friendships with people I care for). Yet, the lesson of forgiveness remains. These situations are devastatingly hard, and can come one after another. The process doesn’t get easier with experience, but our faith in God and the good work He will do – does get stronger with each new experience. In each of these situations, it has shown me humility and to absolutely trust God (hyperventilating and all). God is molding me in these situations, to make me the person He wants me to be. He is giving me opportunities to know Him more, too.

Lord God, I pray You will teach us to forgive. We are Your beloved children who have been forgiven of much. Grow us in Your tender grace and show us how to truly forgive and love others. This is how people will know You, by the way Your forgiveness is poured out in our most difficult relationships. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Confidence in God {{Week 6}}

Welcome to today’s blog and our Gleaning From the Heart of Jesus study! Today, we will be discussing another important topic: prayer. Prayer is the key unlocking the communication in our relationship with God through Jesus.

As I study and grow, I am reminded of how much confidence we can have in our beloved Savior. Oh, how it would change our lives – if we lived exactly what we believe… Let’s remember our true Hope! Break out those journals and your Bible. If you don’t have either nearby, join us anyway!

The Scriptures – Matthew 6:7-8; Psalm 38:9-10

When you pray, do not keep talking on and on. That is what ungodly people do. They think they will be heard because they talk a lot. Do not be like them. Your Father knows what you need even before you ask him (Matthew 6:7-8, NIrV).

Lord, everything I really want is clearly known to you. You always hear me when I sigh. My heart pounds, and my strength is gone. My eyes can hardly see (Psalm 38:9-10)


God knows exactly what I need.  God is my Creator, and fully acquainted with me and all my needs. He is my good good Father. We should be able to live out our lives with such confidence. Because we know who God truly is…

This is the God we serve!

For the Lord will be your confidence… (Proverbs 3:26a, NASB)

Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need (Hebrews 4:16).

We can have full confidence in God and His provisions. Not only does He know about our needs, He is fully equipped to meet all of our needs. We don’t need to overtalk, in hopes of God hearing us. We don’t have to hope that we will pray loud enough, that God will hear us. We can confidently know “God does hear me when I pray”. We can have that kind of assurance in our prayer lives!

We can live like we believe! This ought to cause us to live our lives differently.

Casting the whole of your care [all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares for you affectionately and cares about you watchfully (1 Peter 5:7, AMPC).

In our prayers, this translates as actually trusting God and knowing He cares deeply for us. Deep enough to hear our prayers. Deep enough to act on our behalf.

Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see (Hebrews 11:1, NLT).

Lord God, You listen when I speak. Father, I am so used to people not listening to me when I talk. Somewhere along the way, I have allowed that to transfer over into my relationship with You – when You listen better than anyone else ever could. Even though I overtalk to convince others to listen, I don’t have to ever do that in my relationship with You. You are so very good to me. You stay interested in me and what I have to say. You stay fully captivated and ready to save me every single day no matter what. You fully pursue me. Thank You, Lord. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Social Media Society {{Week 6}}

Welcome to today’s blog and our Gleaning From the Heart of Jesus study! Today, we will be discussing a very important topic. One we all will encounter, as we live in our Christian life! Are you ready? Break out those journals and your Bible. If you don’t have either nearby, join us anyway!

The Scriptures – Matthew 6:1-4 and Jeremiah 17:10

Jesus said, “Be careful not to do good deeds in front of other people. Don’t do those deeds to be seen by others. If you do, your Father in heaven will not reward you. When you give to needy people, do not announce it by having trumpets blown. Do not be like those who only pretend to be holy. They announce what they do in the synagogues and on the streets. They want to be honored by other people. What I’m about to tell you is true. They have received their complete reward. When you give to needy people, don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing. Then your giving will be done secretly. Your Father will reward you, because he sees what you do secretly (Matthew 6:1-4, NIrV).”

The Lord says, “I look deep down inside human hearts. I see what is in people’s minds. I reward each person in keeping with their conduct. I bless them based on what they have done (Jeremiah 17:10).”


Unfortunately, we live in a social network culture where it’s common practice and expected to proclaim every single act and good work that we have offered up to our gracious Creator and Redeemer! While it is still just as wrong as Scripture tells us, we have somehow made it seem okay. So, we “check in” when we get to church or the latest worship event we have been to. We post a picture, when we crack open our dusty Bible for the first time in a week.

We have lost the sacred art along with the way God has trained us up, where we are careful to not tell others about our “good deeds”.

According to this set of Scriptures, we are reminded of the danger that our sharing or oversharing can cause. We can, in fact, miss (completely) the blessings and rewards of our great God. All because, we weren’t careful to live our acts within the walls of our spiritual marriage.

Like an earthly marriage, there is much of ourselves and actions that are far too personal for the outside world – to have access to.
Our relationship with Jesus is a treasure that this world shouldn’t have full access to.

While we share a great deal about our relationship, we need to be careful.

Our spiritual marriage is a sacred thing. While we are proclaiming and sharing, let’s resolve to stay humble and allow God to be our motivation for every single thing we do. Let’s listen to God, take Him at His Word, and remember why Jesus tells us to not share the knowledge of our “good deeds” with others. Let’s remember the gift of discretion, and obeying God. We need to allow discretion and godly obedience to invade our hearts and minds, so we don’t proclaim our good works and lose our heavenly rewards.

See Romans 12:2; Luke 12:1-3

Lord God, Keep my focus on You. Help me to not share my “good deeds” with the world, but leave them for You alone. Thank You for all You are and the relationship I can have with You. Help me not to follow the patterns of this world, but to be transformed by You alone! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Loving Like Jesus {{Week 6}}

Short note: There is an error in this week’s journal. The Scripture reference for our memory verse is actually… Matthew 5:46.

Welcome to today’s blog, where we will be digging into day 36 of our study! To me, it is mind-boggling to see how far I have come. In the beginning of the study, I struggled to get to each day’s reading plan. Have you all faced the same sort of problem? Maybe not this time, but another time? But the last few weeks, I have absolutely fell in love with the way Jesus is teaching and revealing Himself to us – through the book of Matthew. It’s like I can’t get enough. And, I don’t want my study time to end when this study concludes in a few weeks. I want to keep going, keep seeking, keep growing through what I read here in Matthew.

The Scriptures – Matthew 5:43-44; Proverbs 25:21-22

You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor. (Leviticus 19:18) Hate your enemy.’ But here is what I tell you. Love your enemies. Pray for those who hurt you (Matthew 5:43-44, NIRV).

If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat. If he is thirsty, give him water to drink. By doing these things, you will pile up burning coals on his head. And the Lord will reward you (Proverbs 25:21-22).


This passage shows us how much different God’s ways are. He does things much differently than you and I would, in any given situation. The situations with our enemies, are no exception. Jesus instructs us to love, not hate, our enemies!

While the world teaches us to conspire and get revenge, Jesus is the One urging us to take a different approach. Instead of hurting them, we need to love them. This is where God is glorified in our situation.

When tempted to show less love, remember the depths of your Savior’s love.

For each of us, the temptation to show less love is very real. It could be easy to limit the amount of love we are willing to show them, but no argument is good enough to justify disobeying God.

The Scriptures give us a brightly shining example of this kind of love. It is found in Jesus Christ. It is found in the love of our Father. While we were still enemies of God, He came and redeemed us. He redeemed us, even when there wasn’t anything “right” or “good” about us. This reveals how deep the love of God goes. We caused Him tremendous pain and heartache. We even did more than that, but we have experienced the tender hearted mercy of God. While it is difficult to fathom, God came to earth, carried our sins, and paid the ultimate price we couldn’t ever pay. This is the God we serve. He laid everything down, so we might enjoy a relationship with God through His Son Jesus Christ!

Jesus is why we can love our enemies.

This is the hope we hold onto, as believers in Jesus. This is why we can love those who seem impossible to love. While it is difficult to love those who do us harm, it is made possible because of Jesus Christ!

Lord Jesus, Help us to remember our need to love others – even when they try to hurt us. Keep pointing us back to the wonderful work of the cross and Your powerful resurrection. You are the One who pours out new life and reconciliation into our lives! Amen.

The Call to Surrender {{Week 5}}

Welcome, friends!

I invite you to get out your study journal and Bible, if you have it nearby. If you haven’t had the privilege of ordering your study journal yet, you can do so here (Please Note: It’s an affiliate link).

The Scriptures – Matthew 5:38-39; Proverbs 20:22, 24:29

You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye must be put out for an eye. A tooth must be knocked out for a tooth.’ (Exodus 21:24; Leviticus 24:20; Deuteronomy 19:21) But here is what I tell you. Do not fight against an evil person. Suppose someone slaps you on your right cheek. Turn your other cheek to them also (Matthew 5:38-39, NIRV).

Don’t say, “I’ll get even with you for the wrong you did to me!” Wait for the Lord, and he will make things right for you (Proverbs 20:22).

Don’t say, “I’ll do to them what they have done to me. I’ll get even with them for what they did (Proverbs 24:29).”


Have you found passages you struggle to really understand in the Sermon on the Mount yet (Matthew 5-7)?

For myself, this is one of those Scriptures I wrestle to understand. There is just something about this passage. We are faced with what we really believe in moments like these. Vengeance versus grace.

Today, I am reminded of the strength shown when we made decisions against our pride’s preferences. It takes a strong believer in Christ, to allow an evil person to have what looks like the upper-hand (at least momentarily).

We must take our faith and put it into action, as we read passages like these. It takes faith to put this passage into action. It is not for the faint of heart. Why? It requires us to fully surrender everything to Christ. It requires us to leave everything we are and possess at the foot of the cross. It requires us to deny ourselves and to take up our own cross, just as Jesus taught us to do (see Matthew 16:24-26).

In these moments, we are faced with what we truly believe about Jesus Christ and the call to surrender everything to follow Him.

In moments such as this one in our Matthew passage, we have to remember who it is we are living for. The One who has given us His full armor. Custom built armor for our very difficult circumstances. When we wear the armor of God, we can fight well through the love of Christ.

His armor and protection is exactly why I can make different choices, when met with attacks and suffering. It is only because of Christ, that I can have the strength to not retaliate. It is only because of Christ, that I can overcome evil with good – rather than adding even more evil to the world.

We each must make the choice to follow Jesus one baby step, at a time. It is only as we follow Jesus, that we can conquer evil – and through His love and grace.

Christ is far greater than anything or anyone we could meet or face, and we need to keep allowing Him to be the Greater in our lives.

Lord God, Help me to carry my cross. I pray You would remove the anger and strife in my spirit. Remove all desires to be ‘right’ or issue ‘pay back’. Help me to let You be far greater! Keep helping me, my Father. I need You to do what only You can do. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.