Gallery of Words Blog



The Awe and Intimacy of Worship

 Psalm 100:2 - 5

Worship the LORD with gladness; come before Him with joyful songs. Know that the LORD is God. It is He who made us, and we are His; we are His people, the sheep of His pasture. Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise; give thanks to Him and praise His name. For the LORD is good and His love endures forever; His faithfulness continues through all generations.


This is not a test. These are simple personal questions to help you understand what you believe-- about Who and why you are worshipping.


1.    Do you realize you are worshipping the Creator who created the heavens and earth?

2.    As you begin to praise God, is He close to you or far away in the heavens?

3.    Is He sitting on a throne or standing with arms stretched out?

4.    Is there a difference between praising God and worshipping Him? In what ways?

5.    Who is it that you are worshipping? The Father, or The Son, or the Holy Spirit or do you worship them all at different times?

6.    What is your stance (internal and external posture)? Is your external congruent with your internal?

7.    Standing, laying, kneeling, sitting, dancing are all different postures we may have before our Savior and King. When you are worshipping do you ever wish you could have more freedom to have the external free enough to match the (secret heart) internal?

8.    How close are you standing to the throne? Or are you seated at His feet?

9.    Or is He reaching down to pick you up? Are you trying to climb up into his lap?

10. Can you imagine this King of Kings knitted you together in your mother’s womb?

11. Can you believe this King of Kings came as a baby?

12. Can this be the God who created the universe inside of you? (Luke 17:21 Nor will people say, 'Here it is,' or 'There it is,' because the kingdom of God is within you.")

13. Is there any sin too big for the cross?

14. Can you believe this God of Creation knows all your secret sins and still loves you unconditionally?

15. Can you believe this God of Creation took on your most secret sins and died for them?

16. Are there any sins you try to hide from Jesus? Can you give these secrets to him?

17. Do these shameful things keep you from worshipping? Did you know that Jesus died on the "tree of shame"? He died to take your shame away.

18. What does this King want from you?

19. Does this King invite you into His Kingdom?

20.Can you invite this King into your heart?

21. Can you be face to face with Jesus? How do you say thank you?

22.What would you say to Him? What would He say to you?

23.As you come into the Throne room are you bold as you begin to worship?


Heb. 4: 16 Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.


24.What does the throne of "grace mean" to you?

25.If you go before the throne right at this moment how would you imagine yourself to be, kneeling, bowing, laying face down, dancing, hands up, or would you be afraid to enter the room?

26.Does fear of judgment prevent with you fully praising God? Why?

27.As I worship, acknowledging God being God and that I’m not, this truth brings me to a new place of humility and grace. Can I extend grace to others who are at a different place than I am and allow them to be wherever they are at in their own personal worship experience?

28.If you were in the room with God alone to worship, how would it change from how you usually worship?

29.What does freedom to worship mean to you privately or corporately?

30.Can you be standing in a congregation and in your secret heart and have completely different attitude?

31. What prevents you from worshipping from within yourself?

32.What can stop you from worshipping or make you self-conscious?

33.Can anyone or anything make you withhold praise to God?

34.What annoys or distracts you from personally worshipping? Is it an excuse not to worship?

35.Does your God know when it’s difficult for you? At times worship between God and myself is very intimate, other times it seems hard to "show up" to praise God, what makes the difference?

36.Who encourages you to worship? Why?

37.What motivates you (from within) to enter into in worship?

38.At times I forget that Jesus said "His yoke is easy and His burden is light", without knowing it problems become bigger than God. Can worship be a time when "God gets bigger?

39.Qualities of both the Lion of Judah and Lamb of God are always present. So God's power, ability, and might, are always present too. Can I realize God is able to be powerful and intimate at the same time?


Heb. 13:15 By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.


40.What does the term sacrifice of praise mean to you?

41. Can you remember a time you praised God for how good He is in spite of a terrible situation?  What makes that moment memorable to you & how were you changed because of it?


Rom. 12:1 Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God--this is your spiritual act of worship.


42.Why do you think God wants us to be aware of His mercy before we're asked to offer our bodies as living sacrifices?

43.What is important about being a "living sacrifice"?  Why does God want a fully live sacrifice instead of a dead one?

44.How do "you" offer yourself to God as a living sacrifice? How do you prepare yourself to do this?

45.When we present ourselves "fully", being honest and vulnerable, not withholding any parts of ourselves, God’s Word says this is "holy and pleasing" to Him. Is there any reason to hide our imperfections, weaknesses, strengths, failings, hopes, doubts, fears, desires, and secrets?

46.Does our loving God expect we will be anything more than human?

47.How willing are you to be "fully present" during a worship service?

48.God gave up all of Himself for us, am I willing to worship with 100% of myself?

49.When I loose awareness of myself, and begin to look toward my God, Savior, Jesus, and Creator what happens to those around me?

50.Do I realize when I am worshipping God the Father that He sees me as "holy and pleasing", do I believe He see others the same way?

51. For you today what are some of the most important reasons you praise and worship God?

52.How does worship help you grow spiritually?

53.What are some of the hardest parts of worshipping God? Can you ask Him to help you grow in that area?


My prayer--



Make me Your servant, humble and true.  

Help me fear not man, to instead fear you.

Lead me and teach me with each step I take.

Receiving your love, seeking your grace.

Desiring approval directly from You.

Teach me to worship in spirit and truth.








Hide and Seek

Hide and Seek


Vickie Conde


In the beginning I was lost and Jesus sought after me.  Jesus left the 99 and came after to seek after me.(Mt. 18:12)  As He brought me into His flock and began to teach me to be one of His sheep.  The Word of God was opened to my understanding; the Truth of His Word went in my heart and mind.  I learned to love His Word.  He comforted, He taught, He pursued, He revealed, He healed and He Filled me with His Holy Spirit.  I spent a lot of time just receiving His Mercy and His Grace.  I learned to linger in His Presence and became more and more comfortable in His Arms.  I learned to recognize His Voice, and sense when He was directing me.  It was a profoundly beautiful experience of learning to receive love and forgiveness.   I couldn’t get enough.  I was so hungry for whatever He said to me.  It seemed as if all I had to do was think of Jesus and what He did for me and I instantly transported to the cross and His Blood pouring down and lavishing in His love.  I was His little child, He was my Shepherd.  I loved it.  It was all about His Love, His Forgiveness, His Patience, and His Comfort. 


One day I knew He wanted more from me.  Not just to be a little child but to grow up into His Likeness.  This required so much more from me.  Much like growing in my parents home and being taught that I need to step up my responsibilities.  He wanted to teach me to care for the other sheep of His pasture, and to teach the little ones who came in after me.  I knew there was more expected and I couldn’t remain this dependant child holding out my hand for everything I needed.  I was encouraged for my own benefit as well as the benefit of His flock.  To stand up instead of sitting in His lap and laying there listening to His heart beat.  My heart felt like I was being pulled away from my Father’s arms and He told me get up.   He insisted--I resisted, “This is good for you my little one.”  In His Kingdom we will always be His child, but we are to grow into His Likeness.  He modeled seeking the lost, so as His children we are to be about our Father’s Business.


We cannot be about out Father’s Business unless we seek Him and find Him everyday in His Word, to be guided and directed each day.  Jesus spent time with His Father by rising early in the morning; He was always revealing His Father’s will because He knew that it was by His spending time in intimate relationship.  Even Jesus knew He had to seek out His Father, there is our perfect model for our relationship with our Father. 


Jer. 1

4  Then the word of the LORD came to me, saying:

5  "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; Before you were born I sanctified you; I ordained you a prophet to the nations."

6  Then said I: "Ah, Lord GOD! Behold, I cannot speak, for I am a youth."

7  But the LORD said to me: "Do not say, 'I am a youth,' For you shall go to all to whom I send you, And whatever I command you, you shall speak.

8  Do not be afraid of their faces, For I am with you to deliver you," says the LORD.

9  Then the LORD put forth His hand and touched my mouth, and the LORD said to me: "Behold, I have put My words in your mouth.

10  See, I have this day set you over the nations and over the kingdoms, To root out and to pull down, To destroy and to throw down, To build and to plant."

11  Moreover the word of the LORD came to me, saying, "Jeremiah, what do you see?" And I said, "I see a branch of an almond tree."

12  Then the LORD said to me, "You have seen well, for I am ready to perform My word."

13  And the word of the LORD came to me the second time, saying, "What do you see?" And I said, "I see a boiling pot, and it is facing away from the north."

14  Then the LORD said to me: "Out of the north calamity shall break forth On all the inhabitants of the land.

15  For behold, I am calling All the families of the kingdoms of the north," says the LORD; "They shall come and each one set his throne At the entrance of the gates of Jerusalem, Against all its walls all around, And against all the cities of Judah.

16  I will utter My judgments Against them concerning all their wickedness, Because they have forsaken Me, Burned incense to other gods, And worshiped the works of their own hands.

17  "Therefore prepare yourself and arise, And speak to them all that I command you. Do not be dismayed before their faces, Lest I dismay you before them.

18  For behold, I have made you this day A fortified city and an iron pillar, And bronze walls against the whole land; Against the kings of Judah, Against its princes, Against its priests, And against the people of the land.

19  They will fight against you, But they shall not prevail against you. For I am with you," says the LORD, "to deliver you."


At first it felt like I had done something so bad I wasn’t loved anymore.  He wasn’t just cuddling and hugging me.  I didn’t understand at first.  Was I being punished?  The answer was no! 


1 Cor. 13:11 – 13   1 Cor. 14

11  When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things.

12  For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.

13  And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

14:1  Pursue love, and desire spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy.


He was teaching me that we were entering a deeper level of relationship.  As simple as this sounds it was if the rules changed and He said, “I sought after you, now you seek Me”!  The ultimate game of hide and seek, “Now your turn seek after me”. 


Mat. 7:7 - 10

7  "Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.

8  "For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.


Du. 4:29

29  "But from there you will seek the LORD your God,

1245. baqash, baw-kash'; a prim. root; to search out (by any method, spec. in worship or prayer); by impl. to strive after:--ask, beg, beseech, desire, enquire, get, make inquisition, procure, (make) request, require, seek (for).

and you will find Him IF you seek Him with all your heart and with all your soul.

1875. darash, daw-rash'; a prim. root; prop. to tread or frequent; usually to follow (for pursuit or search); by impl. to seek or ask; spec. to worship:--ask, X at all, care for, X diligently, inquire, make inquisition, [necro-] mancer, question, require, search, seek [for, out], X surely.



Ps 63:1

63 O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is;


7836. shachar, shaw-khar'; a prim. root; prop. to dawn, i.e. (fig.) be (up) early at any task (with the impl. of earnestness); by extens. to search for (with painstaking):--[do something] betimes, enquire early, rise (seek) betimes, seek (diligently) early, in the morning).


Ps 105:4

4 Seek the Lord, and his strength:

1245. baqash, baw-kash'; a prim. root; to search out (by any method, spec. in worship or prayer); by impl. to strive after:--ask, beg, beseech, desire, enquire, get, make inquisition, procure, (make) request, require, seek (for).

 seek his face evermore.

1875. darash, daw-rash'; a prim. root; prop. to tread or frequent; usually to follow (for pursuit or search); by impl. to seek or ask; spec. to worship:--ask, X at all, care for, X diligently, inquire, make inquisition, [necro-] mancer, question, require, search, seek [for, out], X surely.


Ps 119:176

176 I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek thy servant; for I do not forget thy commandments.


Isa 55:6

6 Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near:


Isa 58:2

2 Yet they seek me daily, and delight to know my ways, as a nation that did righteousness, and forsook not the ordinance of their God: they ask of me the ordinances of justice; they take delight in approaching to God.


Pro 8

17  I love them that love me; and those that seek me early shall find me.


(Deu 4:29

But if from thence thou shalt seek the LORD thy God, thou shalt find him, if thou seek him with all thy heart and with all thy soul.


(Prov 8:17

I love them that love me; and those that seek me early shall find me.


(Jer 29:13

 And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.


Matt 2:8-9

8 And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also.


Search 1833. exetazo, ex-et-ad'-zo; from G1537 and  etazo (to examine); to test thoroughly (by questions), i.e. ascertain or interrogate:--ask, enquire, search.

Found/find 2147. heurisko, hyoo-ris'-ko; a prol. form of a prim.  heuro, hyoo'-ro; which (together with another cognate form  heureo, hyoo-reh'-o) is used for it in all the tenses except the pres. and imperf.; to find (lit. or fig.):--find, get, obtain, perceive, see.


 Mat 7:7

Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:


Luke 11:9

And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.


Luke 15:8

Either what woman having ten pieces of silver, if she lose one piece, doth not light a candle, and sweep the house, and seek diligently till she find it?


(Acts 17:27 KJV)  That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us:


Even Jesus parents sought after Him.


Luke 2:

40  And the Child grew and became strong in spirit, filled with wisdom; and the grace of God was upon Him.

41  His parents went to Jerusalem every year at the Feast of the Passover.

42  And when He was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem according to the custom of the feast.

43  When they had finished the days, as they returned, the Boy Jesus lingered behind in Jerusalem. And Joseph and His mother did not know it;

44  but supposing Him to have been in the company, they went a day's journey, and sought Him among their relatives and acquaintances.

45  So when they did not find Him, they returned to Jerusalem, seeking Him.

46  Now so it was that after three days they found Him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, both listening to them and asking them questions.

47  And all who heard Him were astonished at His understanding and answers.

48  So when they saw Him, they were amazed; and His mother said to Him, "Son, why have You done this to us? Look, Your father and I have sought You anxiously."

49  And He said to them, "Why did you seek Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father's business?"

50  But they did not understand the statement which He spoke to them.

51  Then He went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was subject to them, but His mother kept all these things in her heart.

52  And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.











A Story of Forgiveness


Vickie Conde

Some years ago there was a Women’s Retreat coming soon and I was very excited. I believed the Holy Spirit had revealed to me I was going to sing on the praise team.  I was singing in services at church.    Now I was so filled with joy and expectation waiting for a phone call.   The phone rang and yes, it was the women’s worship leader.  She quickly asked me if I would play the guitar.  “Play the guitar”, I asked?  I actually thought I heard her wrong.  “I don’t play the guitar”, I replied, confused.  She quickly told me she had all the singers lined up and very much wanted me to be on the ‘team’.  “But I don’t play the guitar”, I was baffled.  She went on to tell me of how it had to be this way.  It was already decided.  So I told her, “no thanks”.   And the call was ended.  Sad, mad and confused I went about my day, wondering how I had misinterpreted the Holy Spirit’s message.

That night I went to bed and had a vision.  There was a room, in it was a throne and a man I couldn’t “see”, sitting on it.  I walked into the room up to the throne and quickly turned away from it and walked straight into the corner.  Put my hands on my hips and didn’t say a word.  Pouting would be a fairly accurate description of my behavior.  A voice said to me, “What is wrong Vickie”?  Angrily I replied, “You make me love Christians and they “ALWAYS” end up hurting me.  “You loved me so I have to love them me, then they hurt me”.  “So why do You do that”, I asked?

The next words spoken are nine words I will NEVER forget! 

“Do you want I should take the hate out”? 

“Or do you want that I should take the love out”, an awesome voice asked? 

I promptly fell asleep.  When I woke up the next morning I was completely stumped.  I couldn’t understand what it meant.  I pondered what were the consequences of  “love” being taken out. 

If the love was removed what would I be left with; the acts of the sinful nature; hatred, envy, jealously, fits of rage and the like.  I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.  (Paraphrased Gal. 5:20 & 21.) 

That did not sound like a very good idea. 

So what if the “hate” was taken out?  What would I be left with?  

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.  And those who are Christ's have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.  Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.  Gal. 5:22-26.

I considered if I just “loved” how could that help me?  I would love then I could still be hurt and it could happen over and over again.  I realized I thought by being angry and hating someone, or being bitter or resenting someone would somehow protect me.  That’s where the truth flooded through me.  I thought by withholding forgiveness I was protecting myself from hurt and heartache.  Did hate or anger protect me?  A resounding “NO”, exploded into my spirit, mind and emotions!  Only God has the power to “protect me”.

Taking out the ‘seeds’ of the sinful nature were like preventing “bad fruit”, to be produced through me.  If I allowed myself to be protected by God and not by my faulty belief system, I would be far safer than trying to protect myself with miserable seeds of sin.

By 2 o’clock that day I knew the Truth of God’s Word had set me free.  I went to bed that night and the vision came again.  This time as I entered the room my spirit was different.  I knew without a doubt I needed God to do what I couldn’t.  Cleanse me and protect me.  This time I heard the words, “Do you want I should take the hate out”?  I said, “Yes”!  I was very humbled not only could I not clean my own heart I now knew I was deceived by my own heart.  “Yes, please take the hate out”, I genuinely asked.

The following Sunday I went to church, not looking forward to facing the worship leader.  But only because I anticipated I would ‘feel’ left out.  When she came to me she seemed so different.   I looked at her and she was so beautiful that day.  I loved her unconditionally.  Wow!  How beautiful it made me feel inside.  Perhaps the true love of God was connecting us in the true Christian relationship based on God’s Love and Truth.  She asked me if during the retreat would I always sit right in front of where she would be leading.  She told me how I encouraged her during worship and she was confident I would be praying for God’s profound presence.  In fact that was why she wanted me on the team in the 1st place.  I was a conflicted at first because my desire was to be a part of the team, it was then that I realized I truly was.  I was connected spirit to Spirit.  I was on God’s team!  In a Holy Spirit Way! 

Little Child

MATTHEW 18:2 TO 18:5

            He called a little child and had him stand among them.  And he said: "I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven".  Therefore, who ever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

            "And whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me."

     Jesus said, "I tell you the truth," I believe He wants me to tell the truth too.  Truth is simple, but not necessarily easy.  As a child enters a room of strangers, they are usually shy or somewhat hesitant.  As they evaluate the situation they determine if those around them are 'safe people' to interact with.  If they believe it's safe gradually they become interactive, curious, and inquiring.  There is no need to hide or be guarded.  This environment provides a positive place for nurturing healthy relationships. 

            Yet there are times in our lives where it is not safe.  Most of us don't live in a perfect world having complete safety in our environment.  As we develop we learn different ways to protect ourselves in order to feel safe.  For example in my family of origin one way to create an unsafe place was for me to express anger.  We all have different family systems, with different 'rules'. Within mine, certain thoughts and feelings were unacceptable, anger was considered to be a 'bad' feeling therefore I was taught not to express it.  So without knowing how or why I learned to deny a natural human response. My family believed children who were angry were 'bad', or out of control.  Early I learned any action displaying anger would usually cause them to get much angrier than me, creating emotional outbursts or harsh discipline. 

            Over time I learned to instantly change angry feelings into sadness.  Perhaps this sadness was the response of being fearful of what could happen if I let my anger show.  The feeling of sadness was acceptable and not perceived as rebellion.  Sadness would not create unsafely.  It was through this process I learned to mask my true feelings.   Choosing acceptable 'responses' within my family system, as it became normal for me to where the mask of sadness as it covered up my honest response.  This became simply a tool to cope in my 'limited world'.  Thus enabling me to fit into my particular family structure, and fit into my 'role'.  In order to get my needs met, I would have to comply with these rules or risk being rejected.  From that point on I would react with tears and sadness to what would normally make a person feel angry.  Soon I lost the natural ability to react with healthy anger.

            Loosing my ability to be angry took away my ability to protect myself in certain situations.  When another child would hit me, I would not be able to defend myself.  I would cry and become a victim.  Getting angry and standing up for myself was lost in this process. I became comfortable in a victim role. I lost the God-given ability to say, "No!"  Fear of others anger would become something that would have a powerful effect on me.  In fact, fear of others would drive me more than God's love. 

            Fear of man's anger motivated me more than God's love and grace.  Without realizing it I learned to live in response to others actions.  Soon I learned to fear man far more than God.  Without knowing any of this I was trying to create my own safety.  I did not understand God was my Protector and Safety.   I gave "man" power over me. 


Psa 111:10

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow his precepts have good understanding. To him belongs eternal praise.

 I didn't understand to fear God and was the beginning of wisdom.  There is a healthy awareness of not wanting to displease my Heavenly Father, rather than fear of displeasing 'man.'  Confusion reigned in most of my relationships, never knowing what safety or honesty was.  My life was dominated with dishonesty, confusion, misguided feelings, and fear of the wrong things.

            Masking my true feelings turned into an obstacle barring open and honest

relationships.  I no longer knew I was being dishonest, I lost the ability to know I had put on a mask.  This "mask" is highly valued in today's world.  In society, certain cultures put an ever-increasing value on this self-protection defense.  Over time the mask becomes permanent, and the one wearing it isn't even aware that it is in place.  This interferes with all our relationships, but most importantly our intimate relationship with our Heavenly Father.

            As a parent I have the responsibility of teaching my children to be honest.  This is not easy.  It takes Godly wisdom, self-awareness, and self-honesty to be a wise parent.  Parents are usually the first people that 'little children' learn to put their trust in.  If a child has parents that are unable to be honest with themselves, the child will grow up with a confused sense of reality.  Good parents know that their true job is to teach their children to learn to take care of themselves with Godly wisdom.  Parents can teach a child to come to them with honesty IF they respond to their child with honesty.  There is no reason to be fearful of being truthful, for parent or child.  Both learn to speak the truth and this leads to trust.  My Heavenly Father, through Jesus saying over 79 times in the New Testament "I tell you the truth" emphasizes the importance of this.

                        When I became a Christian learning to be honest with my Heavenly Father was so new to me.  I was afraid he would get angry.  The problem was that I had a lot to learn about my "New Father".  Slowly He would teach me.   I didn't know how to listen for His voice at first.  I believed there was only one answer--my way.  It took time for me to learn the way I could hear my "New Dad".  I learned that He had many different ways of answering me.  Through The Word, nature, people, His ways are not limited.  The Holy Spirit speaks spiritual truths to me in spiritual ways.  It would take time for me to grow in my relationship with my Heavenly Father, to learn to trust Him, and to learn to be honest with Him.

                        There was a problem with my understanding whom my Heavenly Father was; I would confuse Him with my earthly father.  It would take time getting to know my New Father more intimately than my earthly one.  Time to learn there were differences between them.  Time to straighten out areas of my rebellion, which I didn't even know, were there.  Rebellion was my response when I was terrified.    When I was in a position that I could see no safety, my response would be terror, this might resemble an attitude of not caring to rage, but to the observer--rebellion.  I began to ask myself why, checking my motives, and slowly began to ask others to help me be honest.  Reactions are usually warranted by some false-belief system.  If fear would drive me, then terror would freeze my ability to have a healthy response.  It would take a long time for me to understand my limited human thinking.  I thought I knew what I needed, and just like a "little child" I would get sad (with hidden anger) if I didn't get my way.  As time went on and my relationship grew more intimate with my 'Heavenly Father' I learned to go to Him as my unconditionally loving Father.  I learned to trust 'His' wisdom in decision-making.  The truth was I didn't even know what I needed.  Soon I discovered He knew what was best for me.  I also learned this Heavenly Father of mine wanted constant relationship.  No matter what was going on inside of me, and He already knew, and still He wanted me to come to Him.  This began to teach me to be honest and that's what He wanted me to be with Him and myself then with others but especially my own children.  The relationships began to strengthen through honest disclosure, learning to accept each other.  We want our children to be as honest as they can with us.  As our relationship grew so did my honesty and dependence on my new Father.  Learning to come to Him more frequently, with smaller needs and secret desires.  He never laughed, or shamed me, but encouraged more and more contact. 

                        Very slowly I learned to pray.  "Not my will but, Thy will be done."  The problem is I'm not always aware of my self-deception.  I said "Thy Will be Done" but did not mean it.  Somehow I would deceive myself so well that it would take an incredibly patient 'Father' to expose the motives in my heart.  Over a period of time I would learn that it was safe to admit my weaknesses to Him.  Through The Word I would learn how Jesus would not lean on His understanding, but even He would submit to His Father's, by praying if it be "Your will."  If God's will and my wills' were the same, everything was O.K.  Soon as there was a difference in what I thought should happen, there would be a problem.  Maybe on the outside I would act mature, but inwardly I would be having a two-year-old temper tantrum.  I wanted "MY  WAY."  That old hidden anger was working it's way up right in front of my face.  But with that it became easier to be honest sooner, and too surrender quicker. 

                        Learning about my 'Heavenly Father' and His superior vision allowed me to understand why I didn't know what is best for me.  This allowed me to begin to understand why I might choose to obey.  Like a "little child" I had no way of knowing, when I obeyed Him, that the willingness alone, could make me feel 'closer with God.'  That doesn't mean denial of my secret hope, or hidden desires.  God's desire for me is always perfect; when I submit my heart to God's, my desires are changed to be like His.

Eze. 36:26And I will give you a new heart—I will give you new and right desires—and put a new spirit within you. I will take out your stony hearts of sin and give you new hearts of love. 27And I will put my Spirit within you so that you will obey my laws and do whatever I command.  (Living Translation)

As I learn to believe more and more that God is a perfect parent I will live my life differently.  Living, believing, knowing I am receiving His unconditional love will change my unhealthy behaviors.  These changes come from my intimate relationship with God.  Free, enjoyable, comfortable, deep, and sometimes painful, as refinement takes place.  This relationship is at the core of my being.  My worth is no longer connected to any works.  Any fruit that is produced through me is simply God's love overflowing.  God is the Good One.  I am simply His 'little child'.  Whom He loved enough to die for.     

            Jesus clearly states that we must change into "little children."  Without this change we cannot get into heaven.  This statement seems so contrary to my image of a mature Christian.   I misunderstood what a mature Christian was.  Independence was maturity, or so I thought.  The world's society values this idea of self-dependence. 

Christ-esteem vs. self-esteem

Blessed Assurance vs. self-assurance,

Confidence in God vs. self-confidence

            Somehow I had gotten very confused, but looking back I can see how the world takes the Godly way and makes it worldly.  The world is so busy, but my God is not. Today I believe my 'Heavenly Father' wants to have that intimate relationship--with me.  He wants me to be able to come to Him anytime, anyway.  There is freedom in our relationship, He, desires all the interaction I desire and even more.  This pleases Him, seeing my longing to know Him, desiring a more intimate and dependent relationship.  All I have to do is tell Him of my desire, He promises--"knock and the door will be opened, seek and you shall find"!   Yes! Yes! He shall find a way!

                        I did not understand how the Holy Spirit was answering that knock, nor did I have a clue what His job was.  Situations in my life seemed to repeat was the work of my 'Heavenly Father' trying to heal the past.  If I seemed to have the same set of uncomfortable feelings over and over, then maybe I should just STOP, and ask if there is a reason or purpose that I am not understandin g.  Is this a situation that I need to be attentively listening to the Holy Spirit?  Could I pray for a willingness to have the Lord expose my heart, possibly a harden area that I had yet to see before.  As the Lord changes me, we will have even more intimacy in our relationship.  He knows the lies that I believed in the past would have to be replaced with the truth.  The truth would replace the lies that Satan planted.  Truth set me free to listen and believe what the Holy Spirit was leading me to do.  I could not understand how much I was burdening myself by not believing God's promises.  Yet I could not force myself too believe.  This was the work of the Holy Spirit.  The Word of God would enable me to believe my New Father, and receive the forgiveness of the cross.  This is not easy.  Many times I was completely unaware of my beliefs.  Most of my beliefs were actually unbelief.  These areas were not possible for me to catch alone, I needed the Holy Spirit and wise counsel to question me and help me see what I secretly believed.  People could see my inconsistency with my words and actions, so I would no longer needed to lean on my own understanding.

                        When I allow my "Heavenly Father" to show me the way that is the best for me, that's when I can once again become "like a little child'.  He can be much more powerful, stronger, and smarter than I can ever be.  In the past I thought this was a negative posture.  Today I know how much lighter His burden is, than when I try to do live independently.   It's when I try to "do it" by myself is when life is the hardest.  I get to choose 'Thy Will' and learn obedience.  Life takes on a whole new meaning, pace and excitement.  This is where hope can enter.  Only through Christ is there real hope.  Hope is in Him, not in circumstances or people.  It's hard to know what my hope is in at times.  Usually I find out after I am really let down. 

                        When I am willing to admit and be honest about my feelings, I am learning to be humble.  I can rationalize and intellectualize my feelings in seconds.  I learned avoidance as a tool to protect myself; this taught me to avoid honesty and trust.  I learned to shut-off feelings to avoid pain.  That shut-off was the tool that took me out of reality.  Shutting-off access to my 'little child'.  Shutting-out the Holy Spirit from healing.  Shutting out my willingness to depend on my 'Heavenly Father', I didn't even know I needed Him.

                        Attempting to be honest is hard.  The process of trying to recapture the 'simple truth' of my feelings is not an easy one.  I have stuffed and avoided so many feelings; it is instinctive for me to put up a wall.  That way I won't feel certain feelings automatically.  Now I have to relearn to feel again, to avoid hurting myself by denying my own internal "little child".  When I am in touch with the feelings that my "little child" is feeling, that is when I am the most honest with my 'Heavenly Father'.  I feel clean inside.  I know He understands me.  I also know that He loves it when I am not hiding my true self.  I have no reason to hide from Him.  That enables an intimate relationship that only honesty can bring.

            This also allows me to determine how I reasoned like a child.  Now I can discover where Satan’s lie became my belief.  One way I can get rid of the lie is by allowing Jesus to clean my heart.  At times it takes child-like reasoning to uncover the way I believed as a child.  Some lies are stuck in my mind but once God reveals the truth, the absurdity becomes clear.  Then God's Word of putting childish ways behind me can be truly actualized.  The results are life changing.  Now the lie has no power in the present.  Know the truth and the truth shall set you free!  Now I am free to believe The Word, and the world can see the power of Jesus Christ.  No longer will I fear what people will think of me, now I will be free to believe my God.

            Avoidance of my true feelings has interfered with my relationship with my 'Heavenly Father'.  It has led me directly into sin, by my choosing to act the same way as I did in the past, and expecting a different result.  Blaming and hurt feelings where my first choices of avoidance.  They helped me to avoid feelings that I am responsible for.  When I use tools such as trying to be good, or obsessing on someone else, I then avoid my real feelings, to avoid dealing, with the real problem.  When I blame someone or deny the truth, this buries the problem.   Once the feeling gets buried it is harder to uncover the original source.  As a child this is where Satan’s lie can get established as truth.  As we grow we no longer can remember what happened, we believe the lie, and cannot replace the truth in our own heart.  The job belongs to the Holy Spirit.  If I allow God the freedom to expose the hidden lie, and I don't deny what I think is the truth, healing comes quickly.  The truth of the Word replaces the lie.

            A three or four year old does not know how to rationalize or justify someone else’s’ behavior.  If someone hurts them they cry and run to Mom or Daddy.  I think that is what Jesus is saying when he says," I tell you the truth, come now to me and tell me the truth too."  So what if the truth is not pretty, He already knows anyway.  God gave us the feelings at birth so we could understand the passion and depth of His love. 

            How much faster would I be conformed, if I were honest right in the beginning?  I would no longer have to act out with my feelings of anger, rejection, or fear.  Instead I could reach out to my 'Heavenly Father', immediately, honestly, and wait on His direction.  I know this would help me from hurting others and myself.  It would also save me from obsessing on making a decision.  I would no longer have to lean on my 'own understanding'.  I could lean on the only One who is dependable.

            If someone said a hateful word to me, wouldn't it be healthier to access my "little child" and to feel whatever it is?  Running immediately to my 'Heavenly Father', without hesitation, or hiding my true feelings.  I wouldn't waste all that time and effort avoiding my honest response.  Whenever I try to hide a feeling it ends up hurting me. When I'm hiding that feeling, I am really lying to myself and denying my "little child's" feeling.

Matthew 18:6

            But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.


            If I am lying to myself and trying to deny how I feel, then I'm lying to God.  That is sin.  Jesus throughout the New Testament, is my perfect role model.  Yet Jesus had "FEELINGS".  He got tired on the boat, he got angry in the temple, he wept for Lazarus, got lonely in the garden, and cried out on the cross in fear and doubt. JESUS NEVER DENIED HIS TRUE FEELINGS.  His feelings were not eliminated from the Word; they were not rationalized or intellectualized.  They were the way Jesus felt.  Jesus was without sin.  If God did not want feelings in the Bible because they did not look good, then God would have never allowed them to be put in there. 

            Jesus is perfect, and as I learn more about Jesus, my strongest desire is to be more like Him.   I pray that someday I will not be afraid of my own feelings or allow them to control me.  Accepting them as the gift they were meant to be.  Hopefully I will learn to appreciate my ' true and honest feelings, and will learn to value them as God intended.  They would not control my actions, or injure other people I'm in relationship with.

            Today it is permissible for me to be honest with my 'Heavenly Father', to run to Him in the middle of a temper tantrum.  This rebellion can expose my unbelief.  This is my false-belief showing.  As I do this, I will learn from each experience soon they need to over react will happen less and less.  I will no longer have to take out my anger or hurt on someone else.  I will not have to blame someone else for how I feel.  Jesus didn't blame his feelings on others.  He did not pretend He didn't have any.  He called out to His Father, expressing all of Himself.  Including crying out on the cross,

Mat 27:46 

About the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, "Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?"--which means, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"

There was nothing hidden, He was not ashamed.  Nor was Jesus condemned for his truthful response.  There was no sin in him.  Jesus is perfect! Jesus' love for us is perfect, His Father's love is perfect.  The "Lamb of God" was a  perfect son, just as "My Heavenly Father" is a perfect Father.  He is also my "Perfect Dad".  He can show me what true love is.  He will teach me how to act in a healthy ways.  He knows how to handle all of my emotions and feelings.  I no longer have to be afraid of being a 'bad' person because I  have certain feelings.  With Him, He's just waiting for me to ask then He will teach me the way He wants me to go.

                         My goal to be honest like a 'little child' is completely different than the goal I set before I became a Christian.  How much closer could I be to Jesus, when I am not afraid to let Him into see my inner, honest self?  When I sin and I confess He is the one who has paid for my forgiveness.  I pray that as I grow I will become closer and more intimate with him.  This will help me become the 'little child' that loves my 'Heavenly Father' and is able to feel how incredibly deep "His' love is, for me.  That's when I can truly experience the profound and passionate love My Father has for me, I will be 'experiencing' what it is like to be 'His little child'.

John 8:31 and 8:32

If you hold to my teaching you are really my disciples.  Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.

The Dance With My Teacher

Vickie Conde

Everyday My Teacher comes to me and stretches out His Hands.  He is asking me to join into His  wonderful dance.  The hands that knit each child together, hands that were nailed to the cross are the same hands that reach out to me every morning. He asks,

“Shall we dance today”?

The dance between My Teacher and I have different steps.  He always is the Lead.  He is powerful and kind.  Purposeful and gentle depending what He wants to teach me.  When I was younger I believed it was all about how good I was at dancing.  This meant simply following the motions of another person.  The better I copied someone else the better I was at dancing. It was about being a mimic, a perfect copier nothing about relationship.

The old way of dancing was performing repetition.  That was good in the beginning then as I learned there were times when I could make up my own steps.  I knew the basics and those steps could be used to make up new dances. 

The focus was always on my talent and me.  The old steps became boring.  They needed to be spiced up.  I wanted to do more.  This is when the problems began.  As I tried new things the old steps were not as “cool”, so I broke some of the old rules.  Leaving the repetitiousness behind it didn’t seem all that exciting anymore. I wanted more teachers and new and more creative dance moves.   I didn't think I needed the practice the same old stuff over and over again.  In that arrogance is the very place where I begin to get hurt and hurt others. 

My Teacher allowed me time to experiment with this new dance.  It was like getting all the dance steps right but forgetting to look into my Teachers’ eyes seeking to please my Teacher.  I learned to look to see how many others were copying me.  That seemed to be the important part, right?    It became more important to have others watch me,  than my Teacher.  I grew tired of the old boring routine so I began to try "cooler things".  My Teacher knew there’d be a time when I would come looking for Him once again.  Slowly I tired of the dance .  I wanted to quit dancing altogether it wasn’t fun anymore.  So little by little I quit dancing.  Life began to lose it color.  It began to fade into gray.  No hope, no excitement, always watching for someone else who had the joy and passion that I did in the beginning.  

Did I still love dancing?  I missed my lessons, I missed my Teacher.  I longed to start over again but that couldn’t happen now I used my turn, now wasn’t too late for me?   I was old.  No one would be interested in teaching an old person something they’ve been taught before.  How did I get so far away from the thing I loved the most?  How did I lose interest in learning more steps?  What was I thinking?  How could I have forgotten where the dance class was or where to find my teacher?  Slowly by myself in secret I began with the basic steps, a little at a time.  Sometimes I would get excited and remember how good I had felt when I was in Dance class and my Teacher was watching.   It seemed I was His favorite.   He would show me things all the time that He didn’t show everyone else.  Now I didn’t even now where to look for Him.  How could I have lost interest in Him it was my first passion, my first love?  It was sad.  When I looked at my other friends who had teachers too now they seemed to have lost their teachers too.  How I wanted to go back to the beginning but I didn’t know how to get there. 

But My Teacher had a plan.  He made all things new.  Little by little I continued to dance the same familiar steps over and over and I would remember a little more.  The difference this time was I was fully aware of the preciousness of the dance.  I wanted to go back and go forward.  I learned new the dance was about The Teacher and relationship with Him.  He knew all the perfect moves and knew how to teach them to me.  There was a huge difference this time.  He wanted my full attention focused on Him.  He wanted me to quit looking in the mirror and look deeply into His eyes without looking away a whole new way of dancing.

This new dance with My Teacher it requires so much more.  To know the dance is important but much more important is following Him.  He requires that I quit looking at myself, and look deeply into His Eyes all the time.  His hands gently move and direct me to the next step we will make.  If I listen I can hear the words He is singing over me.  If I forget and look down or step on His feet He will correct me gently ever reminding me it is about ‘our relationship of love not perfect dance moves.  Again and again He reminds me to keep my eyes focused on Him.   His desire is that I learn His ways so closely that it takes very little from Him to turn me left or right.  He teaches me how to “understand” His lead.  He wants the intimacy between us to be so profound that He hardly has to do anything for me to understand what He wants me to do. 

In this “new dance” there is so much beauty.  It requires me to come to Him everyday, growing more and more familiar with His touch, His Voice, and His Movements.  Each day I study the Words He has written and I respond to His teaching better and better.  Some days the dance is soft and gentle, some days it is fast and loud.  Each day requires my complete attention.  At times He dips me without much warning requiring I trust Him completely withholding nothing.  Other times He spins me quickly and my eyes look away long enough to go around and then reconnect with His.  The hardest dance is when He wants me to spin repeatedly without holding on to Him knowing that He is watching intently, He always knows when to grab me back into His embrace.  I no longer worry about what others think of our dance now my only concern is what He is concerned about.  This is my dance.  It is an all day and night experience.  The last thing I think of before sleep captures me and the first thought upon waking are on the hands that are waiting and reaching out waiting for me.

My teacher is always looking for my response to look directly back at Him with reverence, awe, sweet surrender without holding anything back.  Allowing myself to be fully inspected by my Teacher, ready at any moment knowing that He could do anything He wanted. Yet trusting Him beyond understanding that no matter what He does it is the best thing for me.  He has perfect wisdom, knowing all things, yet knowing that when He stares at me He loves the intimacy of our hearts beating in rhythm more than anything else.  This is what He is looking for.  A student that has a heart that is willing to be open to Him.  A heart that is tender, willing to come to Him for healing a when it gets broken, a heart that isn’t covered with shame or shies away with an ungodly fear. 

He is a Teacher looking for the student who is willing to be taught.  A Father, A Groom, And A Teacher He is all and all.  He has planned out all the lessons, known all the subjects, and covered everything I would need to know in the Dance with Him.  He has planned the most amazing event and wants us to be ready when He presents us as His prized student, His best dancer, His favorite, His prepared, and His treasured one.   

My Teacher, He has chosen my gown, He is My Groom I am His bride, He has chosen the linen covering Himself.  He has picked out the righteous covering, knowing full well if we chose our own robes it would probably look like someone else’s.  His desire is not that we “fit” in, but to stand out. 

When this dance begins I want to be fully prepared, dressed and ready to come to Him at His bidding.  He has prepared everything in advance for us.  He has done it out of love.  This is the dance of my life,  “The Dance with My Teacher”.

The Power of Forgiveness

 Vickie Conde     

I decided to write this paper because I saw how much injury and hurt we do to each other and ourselves when we refuse to forgive.  Even within the church body we still judge, withhold acceptance, hang on to old resentments and refuse to extend the grace we have received.  In doing this we are acting as if we do not believe in the forgiveness of God, or His ability to continually change us into “new creatures in Christ”.  In observation I noticed how many believers were so afraid of exposing the truth of how Jesus true nature invaded our souls and brought healing and release of the bondages we were in.  Many times I myself experienced tremendous victory when the Holy Spirit illuminated areas of unforgiveness. And the ways I was refusing to believe that God could change someone else.  Truth leads me into the freedom of believing that God’s forgiveness was enough for all of my sins and the “sin of the whole world”.  The belief that God was bigger than sin, and in addition had provided through Jesus’ death on the cross perfect provision for complete forgiveness for all.

In my own life I experienced areas where I had held on to judging another for something that was done to me years ago as well as something that happened yesterday.  Discovering these areas opened the door to a freedom that I never dreamed possible, freedom from fear of another’s judgment, freedom from my own condemnation and comparing myself to anyone else.  Every time the Lord exposed my unforgiving heart it gave me an opportunity to experience more of God’s grace in my life, and then being a vessel of God’s hand to extend this powerful love to someone else.

Just for the record the word “unforgiveness” does not exist in the Bible or the dictionary. 

 I wonder why a word that is used so much shows up as a misspelled word.  

Perhaps it could be interchanged with condemnation.

Mat 18:21  Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, "Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?"

Mat 18:22  Jesus answered, "I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.

My first question was, where did the number seven fold first get introduced in the Old Testament? Seven fold or seven times over means seven times seven.

Gen 4:15  But the LORD said to him, "Not so ; if anyone kills Cain, he will suffer vengeance seven times over." Then the LORD put a mark on Cain so that no one who found him would kill him.

Cain kills Able. Cain did not admit his sin, nor does he show any remorse but still God did not kill Cain.  In fact, God protects Cain from others taking the revenge for the sin he has committed.  The seven times seven was a strong warning to keep anyone from hurting Cain.  But Cain is sent away from the garden and without God the need for revenge grows.  When sin is committed the hatred grew.  Without God sin abounds.  The hatred begets hatred and so does the need for revenge.  Early on in Gen. we see the concept of punishment for sin was in place.  An eye for an eye is not satisfying.  The need to punish increases.  Payment for what is owed, plus and extra measure.  This is what happens when God is left out of the picture of forgiveness.  There isn't any!  There is no one to pay the debt.

Gen 4:23  Lamech said to his wives, "Adah and Zillah, listen to me; wives of Lamech, hear my words. I have killed a man for wounding me, a young man for injuring me.

Gen 4:24  If Cain is avenged seven times, then Lamech seventy-seven times."

The human need is for vengeance and was also culturally correct.  In fact, to not retaliate was to bring on shame.  God in the Old Testament did not do that here with Cain.  Nor did he do that for our sin, but required a sacrifice.  It is through Christ that we are able to enter a new covenant of grace.  Still our God was always the provider of the sacrifice.  Whether it is Abraham and Isaac being given the ram for the altar, or Jesus on the cross.  We can never repay the debt of our sin.  Our sin was never something we could make up for.  The concept of working to pay off the debt is simply impossible then as well as it is now.  Yet many of find us as born again Christians trying so hard to repay God for His perfect sacrifice.  It was then, and now, and forever will be IMPOSSIBLE.  Why does it seem so difficult to just receive His Grace with humble acceptance and gratitude?

Mat 18:23  "Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants.

Mat 18:24   As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him.

Mat 18:25   But forasmuch as he had not to pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife, and children, and all that he had, and payment to be made.

King  (Strongs Definition) 935 basileus, bas-il-yooce'; prob. from G939 (through the notion of a foundation of power); a sovereign (abs., rel. or fig.):--king.

John 6:65

  He went on to say, "This is why I told you that

no one can come to Me unless the Father has enabled him."

"The King" initiates relationship.  He pursues us to have relationship.  He has the servant brought to Him.  Forgiveness originates in the ‘Heart of the Father.’  He is the creator of the gift we can only hope to extend to others.

Think about a time you owed someone a debt and were unable to repay it, a human response is to avoid the person that you are indebted too.  At times in our spiritual walk God calls us to Him, to show us where we need Him to repay the debt for our sin.  This happens all throughout out our Christian walk.  It is a continuing process. 

Psalm 51 1-3  

For the director of music. A psalm of David. 

When the prophet Nathan came to him after David had committed adultery with Bathsheba. 

Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion

Blot out my transgressions.  

Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin.  

For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me.

Blot (Strong's Definition) 4229 machah, maw-khaw'; a prim. root; prop. to stroke or rub; by impl. to erase; also to smooth (as if with oil), i.e. grease or make fat; also to touch, i.e. reach to:--abolish, blot out, destroy, full of marrow, put out, reach unto, X utterly, wipe (away, out).

In order to blot something there is a time that transpires in order for the substance to rise to the top.  When something is blotted whatever is being lifted must first rise to the top.  As you boil meat the fat rises to the top and at that point it can be lifted out and the process can be repeated.  Another example is blood. Sometimes the wound is gushing and needs immediate attention, other times it slowly continues to bleed and you have to repeat the process of blotting.  God allows the sin that we have not realized or admitted too arise in our consciouness thereby it becomes exposed into the Light.  Sins’ obvious nature has a way of becoming more and more obvious to others and ourselves till we enter into the Throne of Grace to be forgiven.   

The King (Our God) is always aware of our unconfessed sin.  He knows that we will need Him to remind us; the Word tells us that He enables us to come to Him.  We are not able to have the abundant life with God when our sin is separating us.  The King is aware of it even if we aren't.  He is always the highest in authority and still He is able to have intimate awareness of all His children.  He initiates the interaction, it isn't the servant who decided to come forward and ask for help.  We cannot hide our sin from God, nor would we want to.  The only thing it can possibly do is interfere with what we really want, the love that we desire most.

As we consider the unbelievable amount the servant was in indebted for it is difficult to imagine in our culture a person who asked to sell himself, his spouse and children, plus everything he owned so that he could repay his debt.  That is really hard to identify with, especially since in the USA it would be illegal, but in other places in the world it is a common practice.  Why is so difficult to fathom the truth  we can never repay our own debt of sin.  Why can't we just "do" something that would make up for what we did?  The Truth is there isn't anything that we can do to make it right with God.  Jesus is the only way. 

John 14:6  Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

If we really believe that He is the only perfect sacrifice then we would not to try to repay him.  We could continue to acknowledge all His power and graciousness.  We would rest in His loving kindness.  Knowing just how much we are loved, how loving our Lord is, how compassionate He is.  We would stop trying to earn His love.  We would believe His love is greater than all our sin, faults, and weaknesses.   We would stop trying to prove ourselves to Him and accept ourselves to be made righteous by Him, and not our works.   We would fall before Him and worship in Spirit and Truth.  His Truth!  Jesus is Truth!  We would truly humble ourselves and pray.  We could trust in His love and not our own version of what love is.  We would admit our inability to define love.  We would accept that we have a limited understanding of who the King of Kings really is.  We simply cannot comprehend God's love.  No amount of intellectual study will ever reveal it to us.  It is through the Holy Spirit revealing that we will begin to understand.  And we will probably forget it the next week and have to be reminded again.  This is His Grace, He understands that we are human and forgetful.  He understands we are fearful humans without the strength to hold on to Him, so He holds on to us.  He understands we will sin and has made all the provision for the sins we do today and tomorrow in advance.  This does not mean we go on sinning, but we can go on worshipping.  We are loved by the One so intimate that He is alive within us.  The One who created us in His image, in His love, loves us profoundly and perfectly.  We do not need to depend on ourselves, who are limited, but we can depend on Him who has no limits.  He is the Alpha and the Omega.  Can we comprehend that?  I can't.  I understand human thinking is always faulty.  It is dependant on so many factors.  God's ways are different than mine, His are Perfect, His Provision is Perfect, and so is His Grace. 

Mat 18:27  

Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt.

Notice that in Mat. 18:23 the text said "king", now the text changes and uses the word "Lord" instead.  It changes when ‘He is moved with compassion’. It's hard to imagine a Lord that can create the entire universe and still be moved with such an all-encompassing love.  A love that goes into action, not only does it provide for the payment of sin but also looses the servant and frees him to go.  Is that why The King is so amazing with His grace?  Not only does He pay the debt--He doesn't demand repayment.  He calls us into the freedom to worship with hearts of gratitude.  Humanly speaking I have been taught if someone does something for me I must repay the exact amount.  In His spiritual kingdom perhaps a way of showing our gratitude is made through extending what we have freely received and extending it to others.  This is such a difficult challenge.  I was taught to take an account of how I treat others and how they treat me.  Now to allow myself to be re-taught to believe 'freely I have received, now freely give,' this is a big life-style change.

The payment for sin was so complete; the servant is free to go.  Yes, and free to return to run up the debt of sin again.  The freedom that the Lord gave to the servant wasn't just that He cancelled all the debt and retained the man in prison.  What the Lord did was erase the debt and then allowed the servant his freedom to freely chose to incur debt again or to choose not too.  True liberty is freedom without external controls.  The Christian experience is different because now the will of man chooses to submit his will to "Thy Will".  Being human I forget that my Heavenly Father Grace's looks far different from mine.  I may forgive my child their wrong doing but then limit them their freedom to make sure they don't repeat their offense. 

Forgiveness comes without us promising to be a perfect person from then on.  God knows that would be impossible for us to do.   He will allow us to walk in the Spirit, or miserably stay in our own state pf misery.  He allows us the liberty to make right choices or the wrong ones.  When we are willing to acknowledge that He has made the Only True Payment of our debt, and admit our sin, and humbly receive His Grace.  We are set free.  The Truth will set you free.  Forgiveness allows us to return to our Lord and begin all over again.  Thus we may be reconciled to our Lord over and over. 

His love is different from mine.  All that is required from me is the willingness to return to Him again humbly, remorsefully, and admit my wrongdoing.  I have learned that being honest about just how hurt and injured I am from the person who committed sin against me and how much I have injured another with my lack of grace and compassion come from the conviction of the Holy Spirit that bears the mark of Christ’s humility.  

Lord  (Strong's Definition)  2962. kurios, koo'-ree-os; from  kuros (supremacy); supreme in authority, i.e. (as noun) controller; by impl. Mr. (as a respectful title):--God, Lord, master, Sir.

Moved with compassion  (Strong's Definition)  4697. splagchnizomai, splangkh-nid'-zom-ahee; mid. from G4698; to have the bowels yearn, i.e. (fig.) feel sympathy, to pity:--have (be moved with) compassion.

Loosed  (Strong's Definition) 630. apoluo, ap-ol-oo'-o; from G575 and G3089; to free fully, i.e. (lit.) relieve, release, dismiss (reflex. depart), or (fig.) let die, pardon, or (spec.) divorce:--(let) depart, dismiss, divorce, forgive, let go, loose, put (send) away, release, set at liberty.

Forgave (Strong's Definition) 863. aphiemi, af-ee'-ay-mee; from G575 and  hiemi (to send; an intens. form of  eimi, to go); to send forth, in various applications (as follow):--cry, forgive, forsake, lay aside, leave, let (alone, be, go, have), omit, put (send) away, remit, suffer, yield up.

Mat 18:26 

The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him, saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.

Worshipped  (Strong's Definition)  4352. proskuneo, pros-koo-neh'-o; from G4314 and a prob. der. of G2965 (mean. to kiss, like a dog licking his master's hand); to fawn or crouch to, i.e. (lit. or fig.) prostrate oneself in homage (do reverence to, adore):--worship.

The servant is now free to go but instead falls down and worships, acknowledging that the King is now the Lord of his life.  But he still seems to miss the point that he can never pay back to the Lord what has been freely given to him because of his statement that he ‘will pay thee all’.  It is such an extremely difficult concept to understand that we cannot pay back what has been given to us.  But are called to extend what we have been given to others. 

Luke 10:37  The expert in the law replied, "The one who had mercy on him." Jesus told him, "Go and do likewise."

God's grace is not something the Lord needs us to repay Him.  He is the origin of all grace.  What He desires is gratitude and a grateful heart that is full of worship.  He desires us to extend grace and mercy that we have received to others.  To keep a full knowledge of the truth of our status, that everyday we live we need Jesus as our daily bread.  Every day of our lives we sin and need his unconditional forgiveness.  Everyday of our lives we need to extend forgiveness to others who have sinned against us.  

Mat 18:28  But the same servant went out, and found one of his fellowservants, which owed him an hundred pence: and he laid hands on him, and took him by the throat, saying, Pay me that thou owest.

Mat 18:29  And his fellowservant fell down at his feet, and besought him, saying, Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.

Mat 18:30  And he would not: but went and cast him into prison, till he should pay the debt.

Throat (Strong's Definition) 4155. pnigo, pnee'-go; strengthened from G4154; to wheeze, i.e. (caus. by impl.) to throttle or strangle (drown):--choke, take by the throat.

It seems as if it is so much easier to receive forgiveness than to give what we have received.  It's difficult to offer grace and forgiveness completely and unconditionally to another who has injured us.  Isn't it frustrating when we see another who is sinning--to just believe they need grace directly from the Lord for their actions?  Sometimes it's easier to say they need to have conditions on forgiveness from the Lord.  They must do certain "things" to put themselves in right standing before us to receive our "good graces". 

Rom 2:1  You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things.


379. anapologetos, an-ap-ol-og'-ay-tos; from G1 (as a neg. particle) and a presumed der. of G626; indefensible:--without excuse, inexcuseable.

There is such danger in passing judgment and withholding grace and forgiveness.  Many times we are unaware that we are still holding something against another.  There are ways that the Lord calls us to account, and when we refuse to release the other person we are miserable and many times have no idea why.  Perhaps one of the real problems is we do not fully understand the concept that our debt was truly "paid in full", and there is ABSOUTELY NOTHING WE CAN DO, but receive.  Our posture as a Christian is one of true humble status.  We are servants without doing anything to be "hired" by our Father in Heaven.  We simply are His children whom He loves completely, irrationally, and unconditionally.  Are we at our human core unable to retain that truth on a moment-by-moment basis?  Instead always striving to return to the world's system of hell bent determination.  Yearning to be "good" by the world's works or tasks and are limited too human achievements.  Yet time and again our "Lord" calls us in to remind us that we continually stand in our own need of grace and forgiveness, which is a "gentile" reminder to extend the same forgiveness to others.  There is no shame is needing grace and acknowledging it, that's the start of humility.

When we refuse to forgive we then are strangling the other's throat.  Preventing another person from breathing in the Life Giver or is it perhaps a picture of ourselves preventing oneself from receiving God’s Life Giving Grace.  What a symbolic picture, to want to kill someone for the repayment of his or her sin against me.  How graphic to expose the motive of the heart.  How deadly is the act of unforgiveness.  Now the picture becomes crystal clear how important it is to allow the King of Kings to thoroughly clean our hearts.  Unknowingly we refuse the King's grace to flow through us.  We stop the "life-giving" love that draws others to Jesus.  "They will know we are Christians by our love". 

To the unchurched the “body of Christ” may even seem a hostile place, in fact an unlikely environment to experience God’s flowing grace.  Rigidity, legalism, traditions, rules, and non-verbal rejection seem to plague the church as a whole.  If we were as a body we able to allow non-believers to see the truth of Christians continually standing in need of God's mercy and grace, truth and love, I believe there would be an explosion of non-Christians flocking to the church.  It saddens me to hear comments from Christians saying I have to go outside the church to find people whom they can be honest for fear of being judged within the body.  Earlier this week a new woman came for the 1st time into a bible study that I belong too and said, "She didn't think she would fit because she was having so many problems in her marriage."  Thank God! This bible study group was honest and opened up and shared the truth of their own Christian struggles in marriage. 

Imagine Christians admitting to their struggles with being unable to forgive.  Understanding that they must fully depend on God's grace in order to forgive.  Imagine a church that not only forgives, but also allows people to return to the body after they have sinned against the body.  A Christ-like church door that swings back and forth, allowing people to leave when they need too but also to return when they were ready.  The key would be that when they returned they wouldn't be judged for how long it takes, and forgiven for the way they had to leave.  When there is no judgment for the sin, no condemnation, the door never swings shut when the prodigal son is ready to return.  We the church would be waiting not only inside the doors but standing on the porch longing for the reconciliation with our lost sons.  When the son returns to the Father, the Father holds no judgment against the child.

Luke 15 (NKJV)

20  "And he arose and came to his father. But when he was still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him.

21  "And the son said to him, 'Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight, and am no longer worthy to be called your son.'

22  "But the father said to his servants, 'Bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet.

23  'And bring the fatted calf here and kill it, and let us eat and be merry;

24  'for this my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.' And they began to be merry.

The Father allowed His son to leave, He allows His son to return.  Notice how it says 'Quick', (although it's not in the Strong's).  What is doesn't say is:

Then the Father waited for 3 years to make sure the son was completely trustworthy.   Once He saw that the son had properly repented, remorseful, and repaid everything he had spent then the Father forgave him with certain conditions on his relationship. 

The Father knows what reconciliation is.  The Father loved, loves, and will always love the son.

When we like the servant who throws his fellow servant into prison for such a small amount, have ourselves become the older brother.  Do we truly want our brother to be reconciled to the Father?  Do we think there is not enough grace, love, or forgiveness for both of us?  Are we slamming and locking our brother out of the Father's house? Or are we actually locking ourselves out?  Just whom are we punishing? 

Mat 18:31  So when his fellowservants saw what was done, they were very sorry, and came and told unto their lord all that was done.

Mat 18:32  Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me:

Mat 18:33  Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee?

Sorry (Strong's Definition)  3076. lupeo, loo-peh'-o; from G3077; to distress; reflex. or pass. to be sad:--cause grief, grieve, be in heaviness, (be) sorrow (-ful), be (make) sorry.

People are always watching and testing Christians.  In this case they also participated in what was going on.  What the 1st servant did, affected not only his fellowservant but also ‘other fellowservants’.  When we refuse to forgive it affects not only us but also others around us.  It causes others grief and distress.  To refuse to forgive in some way must injure others also.  To think that I cause grief in my own children when I reject forgiving someone.  But it is also a way of teaching my prideful response to others who have sinned against me.  This causes me to really think through what I am teaching my children through example. 

Mat 18:34  And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him.

Mat 18:35  So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.

delivered  (Strong's definition)  3860. paradidomi, par-ad-id'-o-mee; from G3844 and G1325; to surrender, i.e. yield up, intrust, transmit:--betray, bring forth, cast, commit, deliver (up), give (over, up), hazard, put in prison, recommend.

Hanging on to unforgiveness never makes one safe.  Unforgiveness is hanging on to sin.    This will never protect anyone.  If our loving Father did not entrust us to our own misery we would simply have no understanding of the damage that we are doing to others and ourselves.  This act of the Father entrusting us to our own judgment allows us to find out just how miserable a life it is without His grace.

Eph 4:31  Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:

Eph 4:32  And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.

True reconciliation is when the heart is clean.  There is no withholding of God's love to others.  Jesus is as free to go to them, as He is to come to us.  His love is equal to all.  There is absolutely no inequality in God's kingdom.  We are directly accountable to God first.  The door of our hearts' swings open and if we are honest they may (at times) swing shut.  If we acknowledge the Holy Spirit’s illumination to us when we have slammed the door shut to someone with unforgiveness, we will then identify that we are now the same as the one who has sinned against us.  We are all simply one sinful human at a time desperately standing in need of forgiveness.  To withhold forgiveness, means to sin against God.  If I am depending on myself alone to forgive, then I am missing the power of Jesus Christ.  What is so hard to do is just admit the truth of how we are unable to forgive; to actualize that we are sinning against God is the same way as the person who has sinned against us.

Does this mean that we must invite someone who has injured or abused us to dinner?  Maybe, but maybe not, each circumstance must be prayed about and good counsel sought out.  Praying and asking for wisdom and discernment is foremost whenever there is a difficult decision to be made.  God’s timing is perfect!  To run ahead of God could cause someone to think we forgive them so there is no need to ask God’s forgiveness.  On the other hand to withhold forgiveness this may lead another to think their sin is unforgivable thus misrepresenting Jesus death on the cross. 

When I have remained in that state of unforgiveness then I must ask God for the forgiveness of my own sin.  When I have fully acknowledged that I am just as sinful as the person who has wronged me, I receive God's grace and with that grace I can extend it to someone else. 

When two Christians have sinned against each other they have access into the King's resources of grace and forgiveness.  Each receives forgiveness of their own sin, with that they have an opportunity to show gratitude to God by allowing the Holy Spirit to flow freely one towards one another.  This is an act of worship, being a light in the darkness, and allowing the humility of Christ be our shield and not our pride.

We as Christians have an opportunity to reflect the grace of Christ in submitting ourselves to the Holy Spirit and allowing God's grace to pass through us towards others.  I wonder if the church as a whole realizes the power of forgiveness.  When we are Christ-powered with loving grace, the example of John 3:16 is manifest in a way that is not easily explained.

When we withhold grace and extend the legalism instead, others may not so easily understand what Christianity is all about.  In place of God’s righteousness they may experience self-righteouness.  The sorrow in that is the road to Jesus may look closed.  They may think they must be “good” in order to receive Christ, their sin to big or unforgivable, and ultimately God’s love is not enough to cover their weakness and sinful nature. 

When we are dealing with unbelievers it seems at times easier to forgive. We know they do not understand, they do not believe they have an opportunity to forget revenge and RECEIVE.  Simply they do not understand it’s  “My job to avenge, says the Lord”.  They need to be repaid, and without Christ’s payment on the cross they will never be satisfied thus the need for more and more revenge.

For centuries man has tried to get revenge, and only managed to continue hatred from one generation to another.  Hatred, resentment, and judgment, are Satan’s tools keeping us from experiencing the Love of God.  This is the stuff wars are birthed from.  I think at different times in our lives we have confused unforgiveness as protection against being injured again.  The truth is God is our protector never, sin against sin.  Learning to listen to God’s leading in each situation keeps us in a posture of dependence on the Lord’s will and not our own. Thus entrusting our safety to God alone.

Mat 6:14  For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.

Mat 6:15  But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

There is a warning at the end of this chapter, as well as the end of the Lord’s Prayer that there is a consequence to withholding forgiveness.

Our Father wants the best possible life for us.  He wants us to live the abundant life with his grace and enjoy the life He provided for us everyday. He wants us to experience incredible freedom within the Body of Christ, our own earthly families, and within all our relationships.  Jesus came in the fullness of grace.  He understands each of us intimately and completely, better than we will ever understand ourselves.  When we realize that God is always there waiting for us to allow Him to clean our hearts’, inside and out.  His timing is so perfect.  He understands when we are in process.  He will allow us to think we are locked out for a while, till we are ready to return into His abundant loving and living.  We’ve all been given a choice.  What’s so amazing about His grace is He never locks the door; it is us that chose prison over freedom.  Everyday we are given another chance to choose God’s grace over our own torture.  God’s Grace is amazing.

Mat 6:12  Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.  

God didn’t make a mistake when JESUS taught us the Lord’s Prayer, teaching us that we would always stand in need of forgiveness on a daily basis.  We will continue to learn to ask to be forgiven as we forgive.  He understood we would need His power to forgive another.  Grace and Forgiveness are from the Father, He waits on us to reach out and admit our need for Him.  His Grace, Forgiveness and Love are Amazing.


Show us where we need forgiveness, and show us where we haven’t been forgiven.  In Jesus Name--Amen

© Vickie Conde 2013