Tag: Forgiveness

Choices

This evening as I reflect on my second son’s birthday, I am reminded of a true story of a girl I once knew. I’d like to share that with you, and tell my son, “Thank you for understanding when things didn’t go as planned.” 😊

​Salvation In Three Simple Parts

Part 1 – God willingly gives us His love, forgiveness and salvation.


Part 2
– We willingly give our hearts and lives which He created, back to Him.


Part 3
– Grace, abundant mercy, and blessings pour out in our lives.

In church this morning there were two songs which had the whole of salvation at their hearts.


-Glory To Good Forever-

“Take my life and let it be
All for You and for Your glory
Take my life and let it be yours”


-Grace That Won’t Let Go-

“Grace, Amazing grace
Unfailing grace
That saves my soul
Grace, Unending grace
Unrelenting grace
That won’t let go
Grace, greater than our past
Deeper than our pain
Stronger than our sin
Your love, forever it will last
Your blood will always save
Grace will always win”

Praise The Lord!
Blessings!

C.A. Bennett 

Regrets – I’ve Had A Few…

My husband and I were talking this morning about our rapidly advancing ages – I’m 49, he’s 57 – how we’ve traveled this road called “life”, and where it’s taken us. Both of us are also taking college classes to further our careers or take them in a new direction as the case may be, and I asked him, “Don’t you wish you’d have signed up a couple years ago when I tried to talk you into it?” His reply was a resounding, “Oh yes! I’d be a lot farther along right now. Almost done, actually!”

That conversation brought me to this train of thought, and I’ll share it with you if you’ll let me; Nowadays we often see people saying, “No Regrets!” & “You Only Live Once!” which – to me – translates to “Whateva! I do what I want!” and gives no room for lessons to be learned, and only attempts to justify bad decisions and mistakes to be repeated. This is dangerous ground to tread upon. Why?

Let me give you an example of what happened to a very real friend of mine. For the purpose of this example, we will call him Tom.

Tom goes through life, throwing caution to the wind, drinking copious quantities of alcohol, smoking, using drugs, and generally behaving in ways that are a detriment to himself and others around him. When bad things happen to him, and they frequently do – he goes around shouting about how unfair his life is, and how he doesn’t need anyone to tell him what he should and shouldn’t do. He makes one bad decision after another that usually result in lost jobs, broken relationships, loss of privileges and property, and even being arrested multiple times. This man has lived by the idioms we have previously referenced; “No Regrets!”, “You Only Live Once!”, “Whateva! I do what I want!” Finally, our friend Tom reaches his lowest point by placing his family in jeopardy, and goes to jail for a bit longer, and this time, it’s serious.

Now the thing you need to know, is that deep down under all that bad behavior, Tom is a great guy who loves his family, believes in God, and wants to do well. However, he is a misguided soul who had a lot of really bad things happen to him early in life, and those things have had their effect on him.

But Tom made another mistake and this time, it’s a big one. Tom loses everything. His freedom, his family, his job, his dignity, and even his faith for a time. Tom found out that if you live like there are no rules, someone, somehow, sometime – will show you you’re wrong, and it’s gonna hurt.

Fortunately for Tom, he finally woke up to the things he’d been doing wrong and learned his lessons. His freedom was eventually restored, though there are some restrictions on him. His family was restored, and though his job was not restored, he went into business for himself and took a better, more productive path to life in general. His faith in God was restored, and he has since lived a clean, calm, and happier life, in which he has become a much better husband, father & friend. He does all he can to show the Lord his appreciation and faith by going to church, reading the bible, praising God, and spreading the word. Tom is finally the great guy everyone always knew he could be. Tom hasn’t stopped there. He is constantly trying to learn new things and better himself in every way. Tom’s a nice guy.

Does Tom still regret his previous behavior? Of course! In fact, he tends to live by the idiom: “Those who forget their past are condemned to repeat it.” does that mean he dwells on his mistakes and constantly laments them? No. Why? Because the bible tells us several things about our sins and how God handles them. Take a look:

1 John 1:9  “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

Philippians 3:13  “Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”

1 Peter 5:8  “Be sober-minded; be watchful.  Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”

Psalm 34:4-5  “I sought the Lord, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed.”

So we don’t need to live in a constant state of condemnation in order to be forgiven, but we DO have to do a few things:

  1. STOP doing things that God says are sin
  2. ASK for forgiveness
  3. LEARN from our mistakes
  4. DON’T repeat our bad decisions
  5. TRY our best everyday, to do good for God, Ourselves, and Others
  6. REMEMBER that no matter what – God loves you. So much so, that he that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in him would not perish, but have eternal life – John 3:16.

God is a god of peace. He wants all of us to have peace, but we need to put in a little effort for that to happen. So in closing, I want to leave you with this – Philippians 4:7 – “And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

So yes – You Only Live Once – Live smart.
C.A. Bennett – Writer

The Blessing of Confidence

go-confGood morning, and Happy Saturday, Family & Friends!

The dictionary defines confidence as, “The feeling or belief that one can rely on someone or something; firm trust; The state of feeling certain about the truth of something.”

The bible says in Jeremiah 17:7 “But blessed is the one who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in Him.” And again, in Ephesians 3:12 “In Him and through faith in Him we may approach God with freedom and confidence.” And even again in John 5:14 “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.”

Are you seeing the same pattern I’m seeing? Here’s what I see – If you ask God for something in your life. Let’s say for example; the fulfillment of a dream or hope – you can confidently go to God with your dream or hope and if it is in line with His word, He will hear you and it will be given to you. The single most important part in there, is that whatever you ask of the Lord MUST be according to HIS will.

Why? Because as you can see in Isaiah 55:8: “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the LORD.”

What that means is — FATHER knows best! God knows everything. Past – Present – Future. He knows everything that happened, what’s happening now, and what will happen tomorrow, next week, next month, next year, etc. We don’t. We only know what’s happened and what’s happening currently in OUR OWN little world, and believe me, in the grand spectrum of things, each and every one of us is a very small part of what’s happening in the big picture. And therefore, you MUST absolutely align your requests with what He’s given you in His word, in order for that to work.

Interestingly, God knows each and every one of us, He cares about what’s happening with us and He wants to help us. But we need to be doing everything we can to be obedient to His word in our lives so He can bless us accordingly. If what we’re asking for goes out of His perfect will, then it’s not gonna happen!

For example; Maybe you’ve found yourself in a situation where you want something that belongs to someone else, so you pray for God to give it to you. That ain’t gonna work, my friend! Why? Because God is NOT going to give you something that belongs to someone else! In fact, He even made Commandments about that! The 10th Commandment actually says; “You shall not covet” — The definition of Covet is; “Yearn to possess or have something – to desire, yearn for, crave, have one’s heart set on, want, wish for, long for, hanker after/for, hunger after/for, thirst for.”

See what I mean? So you must be very careful that you’re asking God for the right things for the right reasons. I know this can be difficult, because we are human and our emotions get in the way of our common sense, but it’s really important that we be in line with God’s word, or He can’t bless us, and believe me, God’s blessings are worth working for!

American Essayist Henry David Thoreau said, “Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you’ve imagined”
I agree wholeheartedly and am actually trying do that currently with my life and my dreams. BUT – I am doing everything I can to make sure I am walking in God’s word and doing my best to stay obedient to His will in my life.

Yes – I make mistakes all the time
Yes – I have to pray for forgiveness — A LOT!
Yes – When I fall – and I do fall – I have to pick myself up, dust myself off and try again!

And so should you!!!

Psalm 37:4 “Delight yourself in the LORD; And He will give you the desires of your heart.”

Notice the order of operations: #1 Lord #2 Desires of your heart.

John 14:13 “And I will do whatever you ask in My name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.”

As always, these stories are written in the hopes that they will be a blessing to you in some way. May the Lord bless you, watch over you, protect you and guide you, in Jesus’ name – Amen.
-Rev. Crystal Bennett

The Tree of Life

tree-of-life-of-proverbs-11-cindy-wrightGood morning, Family & Friends! Happy Friday!!

Yesterday, I had the great pleasure of spending the entire day with my second son. We had a very nice day together, and he spoiled his dear old mom a LOT! I will always cherish that memory. While we were having breakfast, we were discussing our family, what each one is doing these days, what he wants out of life, and whether or not his life is going in the direction he would like it to go. Here’s what I told him:

“I’ve come to think of life as a tree. You have the big, solid trunk, which is family, friends, or whomever represents the the most solid part of your life and supports you. God is the all-important root system that keeps everything nourished and solid. Without that root system, the tree would wither and die, and would not withstand even the slightest storm.

Think of yourself as a single branch on that tree. A branch is full of kinks and bends, twisting first one way then another, but stays a part of the tree as a whole. Like a branch, your life may take many twists and turns, get a few bends and kinks, and sprout little branches of it’s own, but it’s all a part of the same trunk and root system. That – never – changes.

As long as you put things in proper order of importance in your Tree of Life — God at the root of all, nourishing you and keeping you grounded & Family as the trunk who supports you through good weather and bad — you will never be alone, you will weather any storm, and eventually, your branch will produce good fruit.

Revelation 2:7 – “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches To him who overcomes, I will grant to eat of the tree of life which is in the Paradise of God.”

As always, these stories are written in the hopes that they will be a blessing to you in some way. May the Lord bless you, watch over you, protect you and guide you, in Jesus’ name- Amen.

-Rev. Crystal Bennett

The Stubborn Woman and The Dog

happy_fallGood Morning Family & Friends! Happy 1st Day of Autumn! I’d like to share with you, a story I wrote a while back, which of course, has a lesson from the Lord.

The Stubborn Woman and The Dog


There was once a family who had a dog. The family had to move to a new home where dogs weren’t allowed. The landlord at the old house told the family, “I will find someone to take your dog.” – Now the landlord had for several years, been an unpleasant person to this family. It was in fact, she who told the family they had to move because she wanted her friends to have the house.

The mother in this family did not like the landlord and knew this woman to be a gossip, who spread many false stories about the family, and didn’t want her help. She told her husband, “If this landlord finds a home for our dog, I will not allow him to go there, for surely every time the dog misbehaves for the new master, they will tell the landlord, who is their friend, and she will come back to us, or spread more rumors about us!”

The husband tried to comfort his wife, saying, “Woman, what concern is it of ours? She cannot harm us, for The Lord surrounds us with his favor as a shield! Don’t concern yourself with the matter. If she finds the dog a home, let him go there.”

The wife, still very stubborn and set in her ways, decided to take matters into her own hands, and set out to find the dog a new home. She searched and searched, and asked her friends, but no one wanted a dog. The wife even took him to an animal shelter to have him adopted, but the shelters were full and would not take him.

After much time and effort had been spent, the woman finally heard the voice of The Lord in her heart, saying, “Give it to the landlord, that she may find the dog a home.” Finally, the wife sighed and submitted to God’s will and to her husband’s advice. She found the landlord and said, “You may take my dog and find him a home if you wish. I thank you for your kindness and concern.” And the woman handed over the dog.

The landlord said, “Great news! I have already found your dog a home! I have friends who had a dog much like yours, but became sick and died. They have been grieving the loss of their beloved pet ever since, and would be more than happy to make a home for your beloved pet.” Upon hearing this, the wife realized that God had planned to bless both the family by finding their pet a home, and the couple who loved their dearly departed pet. She thanked the landlord, bade good-bye to the dog, and went in peace.

The wife learned the lesson in Proverbs 3:6 – “In all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight.” When we try to force situations to go our own way, and don’t have an open mind to the will of God, we make life more difficult for ourselves. But if we only open our heart to what The Lord wants for us, we will have a much easier time, and we will be blessed for our obedience. The great news is that it also opens windows of blessings to others as well. And really… shouldn’t we all try to be a blessing to one another and make the world a better place?

As always, these stories are written in the hopes that they will be a blessing to you in some way. May the Lord bless you, watch over you, protect you and guide you, in Jesus’ name- Amen.

-Rev. Crystal Bennett

Psalm 118:24 – “This is the day the Lord has made; We will rejoice and be glad in it.”

xI’m not gonna lie: I am NOT a morning person, BUT — The Lord likes to wake me up early whether I think I need to be or not. I can never get back to sleep, so I end up getting up, wander around and drink too much coffee. More often than not, I end up writing during the wee hours of the morning, which I find odd, because I can barely form an intelligent sentence with my mouth at 6 am. But — My fingers seem to know what they’re doing, so I give credit to God for that. So in that spirit, GOOD MORNING FAMILY & FRIENDS!! 😀

I want to tell you today about listening to God. Now hold on, hold on, before you think I’m gonna get all bossy-preachy over here, let me explain; I’m not talking about listening to rules and regulations. I personally hate rules. I’ve always followed the rules, (for the most part, anyway) BUT I don’t like them. That’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about listening for God’s call on your heart to follow him down whatever path he leads you to. Psalm 46:10 says, “Be still, and know that I am God.” — Let’s think about that: ‘Be still’ — Stop moving. Be quiet. Rest a moment. Meditate. Listen. — ‘and know that I am God’ — Who is God? The creator of the entire everything. I mean, like seriously! EVERYTHING! He made it ALL. All He’s telling you to do, is ‘Listen to me, and let me handle this.’ When this was written, there were wars, strife, turmoil of all sorts going on. And there was God saying “Be still.” Why? Wouldn’t it be a tad difficult what with all the fighting? How can the Lord expect people in the midst of war, to stop and listen to Him?

I’ll tell you — because that’s when we need Him the most! When there’s all sorts of drama going on, and you don’t know which way to turn, or what to do — THAT’s the moment you need to “STOP! LOOK! LISTEN!” You remember that, don’t you? That’s what you’re supposed to do when you come to a train track. Why? Because you need to focus, in order to be safe. Think about that for a minute. God tells you to “be still” so you can be safe. In that moment, when your mouth is closed, and your eyes and ears are open, you can hear Him speak to your heart.

This hearing God thing – it doesn’t always happen overnight. Sometimes it take a while and it takes practice. I think it has more to do with the person doing the listening than with God, Himself. Why? Because some people learn fast and continue to make progress. Some of us – like me – take a little longer to get to the point where we finally let go of our own selfish need to control every situation and let God take care of it. But honestly, that’s what we NEED to do. Be still, and know that He is God. If you ask Him to lead you in the direction He wants you to go – He will do exactly that! That’s how I got to be here. I finally stopped trying to control every situation by stressing out and having temper tantrums. I STOPPED what I was doing. I LOOKED to God for direction. I LISTENED to His word on my heart. I’ll tell you something – I’m 48 years old, and I am finally doing what I should have done a long time ago! I’m trusting in the Lord, and I finally feel peace in my heart for the first time. Praise the Lord! 🙂

Proverbs 3:4-6: “So you will find favor and good repute in the sight of God and man. Trust in the LORD with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight.…”