06 March 2012

Falling Asleep in the Garden – FORGIVENESS

“In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness
of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace”
- Ephesians 1:7

By now, we’ve come to realize that the Lenten season is a Journey to the Cross. We began our walk through the garden of Gethsemane by reflecting on the things that separate us from Christ. Last we went back to the garden and talked about confessing our sins with a sincere heart.

This week we will be exploring the topic of forgiveness. Even while we were sinners, God sent his Son to die in our place. Jesus took the journey to the cross, experienced pain and suffering ... and ultimately died for our sins. He carried our burdens and took our place on the cross.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” - John 3:16

Are you beginning to sense the depth of God’s love for you?

As we continue on the path from ashes to glory we need to realize that this GIFT of forgiveness occurred once for all time. It is God’s free and loving gift to us. A gift we cannot earn and one we definitely do not deserve.

PREPARING OUR HEARTS: Let’s stop along the path this week to smell the roses. A few years ago I came across the story below and love to pull it out at Easter time. It’s a great reminder that we need to pass along the same love and forgiveness that God has shown to us, to others who join us on our life journey.

The Fragrance of My Savior
by Sharon Lee Roberts

I was running bath water the other night when I looked into my basket of bath salts and little soaps. There was a small package with a beautiful floral print on the front. It was called “Essence of Rose.”

I thought about the name. I smelled the fragrance. It smelled just like a rose. Though it wasn’t a rose, it carried the rose’s fragrance.

I remembered that special title for Jesus found in the bible “the rose of Sharon” (Song of Solomon 2:1). I remembered that I, as a Christian, am to carry the fragrance of Christ, whom I follow.

Also, I am to reflect his image. Do I reflect Jesus Christ? Will people see him shine through me? I hope that others can see Jesus in me. I know that I can be more like him only as I submit to God’s will for me, to his working in me. For it is God who does the work. The process may be painful, but I need to endure it so that the desired results in my character are produced.

I pray that I have the fragrance of gentleness, and the scent of forgiveness and forbearance. I pray that meekness shines through me.

As I inhale that beautiful fragrance of “essence of rose” and close my eyes to envision a rose, I pray that the world will sense in my life the fragrance of my Savior.

This week I pray that we will truly understand the power of forgiveness,
and the joy of everlasting life that goes along with it.

Counting down to Calvary ...
God’s Peace, Donna Weaver

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