November 21

Today's Bible Reading
     I Chronicles 16
     James 3
     Obadiah 1
     Luke 5
            ''And Jesus answered and said to them, 'Those who are well do not need a physician, but those who are sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance '."  (Luke 5:31-32)
            Luke 5 is all about forgiveness. In this one chapter,Jesus forgives a healed leper, a healed paralytic, and Matthew the Tax Collector, as He calls them into service. This call brought about the criticism of Scribes, Pharisees, and even Disciples. On this occasion, Jesus is saying, ''Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick." Jesus was again calling one who was greatly forgiven to participate in the ministry of forgiving others.
            Joe was dying and he wanted to make everything right. He was at odds with Bill, who had been one of his best friends. They had not spoken to each other in years. Wanting to resolve the problem, he asked Bill to visit him. When Bill arrived, Joe told him that he was afraid to go into eternity with the bad feelings between them, and he wanted to make things right. Then he reached out to Bill's hand and said, ''I forgive you. Will you forgive me?'' Bill said he would but, just as he was leaving, Joe shouted,''But remember, if l get better, this doesn't count."
            We may smile at this story, but yet what a clear picture this gives us of the way we sometimes treat one another. The forgiveness we profess is often superficial. It may be prompted by fear, to gain some selfish advantage, or to clear our conscience, but not out of genuine love for God and the one who has wronged us. Yes, we may say that we forgive, but when the least little friction arises, we are quick to resurrect past grievances. How different is the forgiveness Jesus talked about and practiced. (Matthew 18:5-12) Many say, ''to forgive is to forget." Often, in our conferences, I will ask, ''How many of you have had someone do you wrong during your lifetime?'' It was always unanimous. You see, many of these people may have forgiven,but they did not forget. You have not forgotten, and I have not forgotten but, praise the Lord, He has forgotten our sins.  They are under the blood of Jesus.
            Bertha Smith used to say that Jesus cast our sins to the deepest part of the ocean and He posted a sign that says ''No fishing here."  For God to forgive is to forget. Hallelujah!
Between Iceland and Scotland, you will find the Faeroe Islands, 17 of which are inhabited with more than 40,000 people who are mostly Scandinavian background. More than 93o/o say they are Christian. There is complete freedom of religion although the Lutheran church is recognized as the national church, and is supported by a state-levied tax. The great need here is for a genuine spiritual awakening and revival. From the largely nominal State Lutheran church to the charismatic house churches, local Christian leaders all agree that these islands need a fresh move of the Holy Spirit. Pray for the Spirit to make Faeroes truly Christian and not just in name only. At the current time, probably only 25% of the population is evangelical.
''Take care of your life and the Lord will take care of your death."
George Whitefield