Month: September 2023

Fellowship and Forgiveness

There are certain things in life that just go together, and when you think of one, you automatically think of the other.  For instance, if I said, “peanut butter” you would think “jelly,” because they have always gone together.  Then there is “macaroni” and “cheese.”  But there are other things that go together other than food items that are even more critical to know about and understand.  Fellowship and forgiveness will always go together and they can’t be separated.  Think about it for minute, in order for any and every relationship to experience a deeper level of fellowship, forgiveness will always be a necessary element.  Why?  Because the moment something happens in that relationship, it can come back together and be in the same room together, but it cannot experience the joy and blessing of fellowship until forgiveness is offered and received.

This is the sad reality for many relationships today in the church and out of it.  The relationship is still there, but the fellowship is broken because forgiveness is withheld.  You know what that means, right?  It means you have got to forgive and I have got to forgive.  Unforgiveness will act like a dam holding back the blessings of God and the blessings and fullness a relationship could experience.  Unforgiveness will not sit dormant in our hearts, but it corrodes and turns our hearts bitter.

Colossians 3:12-13  “Therefore, as [the] elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; 13 bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also [must do.]

Helpless Hummingbird

As I walked into my house through the garage I notice a hummingbird flying back and forth at the window.  The hummingbird had mistakenly flown into the garage and must have thought it could go out through the garage window.  The hummingbird was blocked by the clear window pane and was flying back and forth as if that motion was going to somehow open the window.  It failed to see the huge garage door opening while continuing to fly frantically back and forth in front of the window.  I believe the bird would have labored to the death had I not come along and showed it the way.

The hummingbird’s efforts reminded me of our own futile efforts at times.  They way you want to go may only appear to be clear, when in reality it is blocked by an impenetrable barrier.  We too get so focused on the one way we want to go and become completely blind to the gaping opening God has for us.  We too need someone to come along and see our desperate plight and help us find God’s perfect way.

Let me ask you, do you feel trapped and exhausted?  Have you been focused on one thing so much you’ve become blind to the opening God has in so close to you the whole time?  If this is you, like David did, go to God with a simple prayer, “Lord, show me the way.”

Psalms 143:8-10 “Cause me to hear Your lovingkindness in the morning, For in You do I trust; Cause me to know the way in which I should walk, For I lift up my soul to You. 9 Deliver me, O LORD, from my enemies; In You I take shelter. 10 Teach me to do Your will, For You [are] my God; Your Spirit [is] good. Lead me in the land of uprightness.”

You and God’s Pathway

I have always enjoyed walking down pathways and trails in the woods to take in the beauty of nature.  When I was a young boy, my brother and I practically lived in the woods behind our house. We were the ones who made many of the pathways.  Some paths in the woods look heavily traveled, while some are overgrown and for whatever reason, avoided.  Some paths are narrow and others wide enough for bikes or even vehicles.  Pathways remind us of our own paths we must go down in life.  You are on a pathway right now.  We often cross paths with others, some only for a short time and some for many years, but you still have your own path to go on.  A good question to ask is, are you on the right path?  Are you more focused on someone else’s path than your own?  What happens when you get off your path?  This was something Jesus addressed with each of His followers, but especially with Peter.

John 21:20-22 “Then Peter, turning around, saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following, who also had leaned on His breast at the supper, and said, “Lord, who is the one who betrays You?” 21 Peter, seeing him, said to Jesus, “But Lord, what [about] this man?” 22 Jesus said to him, “If I will that he remain till I come, what [is that] to you? You follow Me.”

We are more like Peter than we want to admit.  Peter was strong and independent, but he was also one who took notice of other men, especially men who walked in the faith.  Just before this correction in Peter’s pathway, Peter had really gone off on his own path.  Jesus had warned him not to follow before he was arrested in the garden, but Peter decided he knew better.  Disobedience always causes us to stray off the pathway God has for us, while at other times we wander off because of arrogance or the luring of the world.  We can only wonder what it was that caused Peter to look at John and ask, “But Lord, what about this man?”  Maybe Peter saw John as someone who always had it together spiritually, but we don’t know.  What we do know is that Jesus didn’t want Peter to concern himself with John’s path.  He wanted Peter to focus on following Him and Him alone.

Let me ask you, are you focusing more on someone else’s path than your own?  If so, you can easily go off course.  It’s dangerous to get off of God’s approved and ordained path for your life.  What is outside of God’s pathway for your life?  It’s the wilderness!  So whatever you do, stay on God’s pathway for your life.