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Message Scripture:  Numbers 12:13-15 (NKJV)

So Moses cried out to the Lord, saying, “Please heal her, O God, I pray!” Then the Lord said to Moses, “If her father had but spit in her face, would she not be shamed seven days? Let her be shut out of the camp seven days, and afterward she may be received again.” So Miriam was shut out of the camp seven days, and the people did not journey till Miriam was brought in again.

Introduction:

Hello and happy Sunday Christlike Ministries NWA Family.

It’s time to get to work on another message in our series on Forgiveness, and get us closer to being finished with this series so that we can put into practice some of the things we have been talking about in this series before we sit down for Thanksgiving Dinner.

I sincerely believe that if we can get past some of the things that have been held against our family members that this may be the beginning of seeing God restore, reconcile, and actually being able to relax and enjoy our families.

So, let’s see what God is going to talk to us about in…

The Surprise of Forgiveness:

As I was writing out the prayer for this message…the Lord said to put this video into the message.  While it’s for a much different purpose I believe this song is a good one to listen to as you read this or any message.  So, I hope you’ll enjoy Kari Jobe’s “Oh The Blood” while you’re reading this message.

I don’t know why the Lord has had me stuck on this thought that if we can get past some of the stuff many of us have been holding on to that it can impact our families as soon as this Thanksgiving.  Actually, if the Lord has me on this…than that’s because it’s what He’s wanting to deal with.  So, I know why I’m stuck on the thought I’ve been writing about…and that’s because the Lord wants to give some of us more freedom then we have ever experienced…simply by letting go of unforgiveness.  I know it’s that simple to say, but not always that easy to do…but God wants us to be free from that stuff.  But we have to want to be free from it before He can…and what better time to get rid of this stuff then right before we sit down with our families around the Thanksgiving table!?!

Moses was an advocate for mercy for Miriam. He asked God to heal her, even though she had turned against him. Moses could have supported Miriam’s punishment and rightfully have insisted on “eye for eye” (Exodus 21:24). However, having been a murderer and fugitive himself (see Exodus 2:11–15), he had personally experienced the power of God’s grace and forgiveness.

Are you an advocate for mercy or do you revel in seeing people punished?  If I’m honest in answering this question I’d have to say right now I’m a little bit of both…although I do tend to lean more towards the merciful side of this question these days.  How many of you know, however, that God desires that we be a people of mercy more than a people of justice?  Here is some proof of what I just said:

“But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” (Matthew 9:13)

“For judgment will be merciless to one who has shown no mercy; mercy triumphs over judgment.” (James 2:13)

God desires mercy, but we want justice.  God desires that we forgive, but we would rather have revenge.  God wants us to pray for one another, but we would rather gossip about each other.  God wants us to love one another, but that’s the last thing we want to do…especially when it comes to family members who have wronged us.

Our natural tendency is to treat others the way they treat us. We are kind to the kind and often unloving to the unloving. However, Jesus’ words, thousands of years after this event, still provide the higher ground for us: “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Matthew 5:43–44).

After all treating others the way they treat us is the golden rule right!?!  Come on, we all know that the golden rule is that we are to treat others how we want to be treated…regardless of how they treat us.   The thing of it is I want us to think deeper.  I want us to learn how to treat others as though the way we are treating them is the way we’re treating Jesus…because in all reality…how we treat others IS how we treat Jesus.

What if we thought that about everyone we came into contact with including the ones that have wronged us.  But you don’t know what they did to me, Pastor Bryan, and you are correct I don’t.  Do you want to know what else I don’t know…what it was that you have done that was nailed to the Cross with Jesus.

You know, I have to be honest enough to say that I don’t treat everyone like it’s Jesus, but I should.  I should think about the fact that when I am taking care of the least, the last, and the lost I’m tending to the needs of Jesus. No matter who it is or where I am…and that includes those who have wronged me.  I’m really working at being better about that, however because I want my heart to be right with people, and ultimately I want my heart to be right with God.

I want to be a person that is an advocate for mercy and grace and extend grace and mercy to people whether they deserve it or not…because I didn’t deserve the grace and mercy God extended to me…and I still don’t deserve the grace and mercy God extends to me.  Yet I have His perfect, unconditional love, mercy, and grace…and so do you.

Jesus took it further to tell us to love and pray for our enemies.  Look, I know like I’ve said before there are some people who are reading these messages that have had some seriously heavy things happen to them…and I understand how hard some of that stuff is to lay down at the feet of Jesus…but we HAVE  to.  We simply cannot carry the burden of those things around us like the yoke of bondage that it is…and expect to have all that God wants to offer and give and bless us with…we have got to let God have everything…even the things that are so horrible that the only One we can share them with is Him.  How many of you know that God already knows about that stuff, and that He’s waiting for you to talk to Him about it…and lay it at His feet.  He will take it…He will take care of it…but in order for Him to do that you have to GIVE it to Him.

Our natural tendency is to treat others the way they treat us. We are kind to the kind and often unloving to the unloving. However, Jesus’ words, thousands of years after this event, still provide the higher ground for us: “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Matthew 5:43–44).

I know, I already touched on this, but there’s more that I need to get to.  We have to learn to be kind to the kind and the unkind.  We have to learn to love the loving and the unloving.  We have to be willing to forgive the unforgiveable…because that is what God did with us.  He loved us when we were unloving to Him, He was kind to us when we weren’t kind to Him, He forgave us…like the song we are listening to says…while we were still in our sin.  It’s time we get rid of this attitude that we deserve to pay people back for what they did to us, and remember that God said He would be the One to pay that back.  It’s our job to keep our hearts right with Him, and I know that’s easier said than done…but we HAVE TO DO IT. 

Listen, almost everything can be tied to the grace and mercy and love that God extended us through His Son on the Cross. Anytime we can look at something someone did to us and wonder how they could do that to us…we must know that God can turn to look at any one of us and ask us the same question.  How could you disobey me like that?  How could you treat that person that way, and claim to love Me?  He could ask us all questions about certain things we have done, and He would be well within His right to not forgive us for any of it…but He has.  He has forgiven us for every sin we have or ever will commit…and so we have to get rid of this mindset that says I deserve to feel this way.  We all deserve death, hell, and the grave…but Jesus shed His blood so that we would never have to know what eternal separation from God is like…which is what every one of us deserves…but Oh the blood of Jesus that sets us free.

In addition to that, we have to revisit the fact that it was Jesus Himself that told us to love our enemies because the truth is we were all once enemies with God…and some of us even persecuted God for a time…but there was someone in our life like a grandmother or mother or father or grandfather or aunt or uncle or someone who prayed for you.  I wrote just the other day that every time I read Romans 8:29 about being predestined to be conformed to the image of God’s Son…I’m reminded that it’s much more than just a verse that Christlike Ministries NWA is founded upon…it’s a reminder to me that the life I am living right now today is an answer to the hours upon hours my grandmother spent praying for me.

Part of the reason I’m able to sit down in front of this computer serving God today is because of her prayers.  So, don’t underestimate the power of praying for someone…and I’ve also learned that it is impossible to be unforgiving towards someone when you pray for them with the same passion and fervor as you do when you pray for yourself.

Here’s a quick exercise that I want you to try, okay.  Take that one person that has hurt you the most, and I know that your flesh is going to kick and scream about this…but force yourself to do it anyway. Start praying for that person with the same passion that you would pray for yourself or someone who you love dearly…and watch what happens.

When we are not treated well, we need to ask God to give us the attitude of Moses, who had compassion on the hurts of one who had not treated him well. This type of attitude releases us from a life of keeping emotional score cards and insisting that everything be fair and leads to a life of love, grace, freedom and forgiveness.

I believe perhaps the best way to close this message is by doing what is suggested, and ask God to give us this attitude that Moses had, and therefore I believe that’s what we’ll do. I don’t know any of us who can’t use more of an attitude that is full of compassion even when it’s upon people who don’t treat us well. 

So…let’s ask God to help us have that kind of attitude now, and have a life that leads us to extending more love, more grace, more mercy, more forgiveness, and ultimately more freedom.

I’d like to encourage you to pray this with me as we ask the Lord to give us more of this attitude that Moses had…

Let’s Pray:

Heavenly Father, I come before You in the mighty name of Jesus.  I confess, Lord God, that I can some times have the wrong heart and attitude towards people who aren’t kind to me.  Lord, I want to have more of the same attitude that Moses had.  I want to be someone who extends grace, mercy, love, and forgiveness even to people who don’t deserve it because You extended those things to me…even while I was still in the midst of my sin.  After all, Lord, the real goal is to be more like You…and I can’t do that if my heart and attitudes aren’t right with the people around me. In Jesus name I pray. Amen & Amen.

In Closing;

We are almost finished with this series.  There are only two more messages left, and I really believe this was the perfect time for us to do this series.  I sincerely hope that God’s speaking and dealing with those of you that are allowing unforgiveness to remain in your hearts, and even more I hope that you’ll finally be encouraged to lay these things down at Jesus’ feet.

Have you been blessed by this ministry? Would you like to help me out?

Here are some really practical ways you can help me out.

1) Engage – I don’t always have time to reply to everyone but I read every single comment and post on here. I reply to every message and email and every one blesses me! Please do get involved and let me get to know you in the little ways we can online.

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3) Pray – We really value your prayers. Pray for this message to find good soil – that God would continue to bring new faces to this ministry that are ready to accept His embrace.

4) Give – Running a ministry is a lot like running a business. There’s always a cost, and if this ministry blesses you in any way…you can now help by giving to it financially. I’ve set up a ministry card that is used specifically for ministry needs & expenses. If you’d like to give to this ministry contact me directly at bryanjkizer@yahoo.com for more information.

Thank you to everyone for your ongoing support. All of you who follow me are of great encouragement to me…and I’m grateful for all of you.

Please check out

http:www.christlikeministriesnwa.com

to find out more about me & my ministry.

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Blessings & Grace to you!

Bryan Kizer – Pastor

Christlike Ministries NWA

“My love be with you all in Christ Jesus.” (1 Cor. 16:24)

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