Wednesday, December 8, 2010

8 December 2010

There Is Only Room For One God In This World

I woke up this morning with the thought:
There is only room for one god in this universe, and that is the Lord God of Hosts, the Lord God Almighty.
And there is only room for one god in my personal world, and that god is the same, the Lord God Almighty.

Well, of course. So?

I was thinking about the majesty, the holiness, and the overwhelming intensity of the light that radiates from the Lord God. And I was thinking about how we're all going to fall down at His feet as dead, as it says in Revelations 1:16,17

16..., and His countenance was like the sun shining in its strength.
17 And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead. But He laid His right hand on me, saying to me,"Do not be afraid" (Good news here. "Don't be afraid.")

Also, all of Isaiah chapter 40 declares the majesty and glory of the Lord God. Verses 15-17 are especially pointed:
15 Behold, the nations are as a drop in a bucket, And are counted as the small dust on the scales; Look, He lifts up the isles as a very little thing.
And Lebanon is not sufficient to burn, Nor its beasts sufficient for a burnt offering.
All nations before Him are as nothing, And they are counted by Him less than nothing and worthless.

OK, so?

This world cannot contain two overwhelmingly intense sources of light. There is only one LORD OF LORDS, AND KING OF KINGS. There is no contest, no struggle, no other god at all!


Well, of course, this argues against polytheism.

It also argues for the Trinity, since Revelations 1 describes the Lord Jesus Christ.

But thirdly, it strongly warns against idolatry in my personal world, especially the idolatry of self. If all the nations of the world are nothing, what then is just one person? Absolutely nothing! And yet, He loves us! Amazing! Especially amazing knowing how much we've messed things up in our lives.

Which brings up a related point. The Lord God loves us enough to drive the idolatry out of our lives. I'm experiencing this now, and it's not pleasant, but I'm glad, for the end result will be very good, exceedingly good.

Know that the Lord God loves you, too, and in fact has numbered all the hairs of your head, as it says in Matthew 10:30. With that in mind, know that we can't hide from Him, not that we should want to, for He loves us. So embrace Him, and all that He is doing, knowing that He tempers His judgment with mercy and grace, for He is exceedingly merciful and gracious.

Let me end with some encouragement from the end of Isaiah chapter 40:

25 "
To whom then will you liken Me, Or to whom shall I be equal?" says the Holy One.
Lift up your eyes on high, And see who has created these things,Who brings out their host by number; He calls them all by name, By the greatness of His might And the strength of His power; Not one is missing.
27 Why do you say, O Jacob, And speak, O Israel: " My way is hidden from the LORD, And my just claim is passed over by my God"?
28 Have you not known? Have you not heard? The everlasting God, the LORD, The Creator of the ends of the earth, Neither faints nor is weary. His understanding is unsearchable.
29 He gives power to the weak, And to those who have no might He increases strength.
30 Even the youths shall faint and be weary, And the young men shall utterly fall,
31 But those who wait on the LORD Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint.


All scripture quoted is from the New King James Version, Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Thanksgiving Day - 2010

25 November 2010

Thanksgiving Day - 2010

Yesterday I was listening to Bill Johnson and heard him say:

1. Thanksgiving is my response to what He [the Lord God] has done.
2. Praise is my response to who He is.
3. Worship is my response to His presence.

This is based on Psalm 100:4, which says, "Enter His gates with thanksgiving, And into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name."

Verse 5 is good, too, "For the Lord is good; His mercy is everlasting, And His truth endures to all generations." Let me add that the Lord is exceedingly good.

Ruth Ward Heflin, in her "Glory" book, shared that each one is a stepping stone to the next. So, as you give thanks today, use it as a portal to praise, and then on to worship.

As you are giving thanks today (or any day), if you find yourself drawn toward praising the Lord God for all that He is, and His goodness and grace and mercy and love, and if you are at a loss for words, just softly say "Hallelujah".


Friday, August 6, 2010

The Power of a Testimony, and the Power of Journaling

6 August 2010

The Power of a Testimony, and the Power of Journaling

There is power in a testimony, power to change, power to overcome, as it says in Revelation 12:11.

A few days ago I was encouraged by reading a biography of J. Hudson Taylor, a testimony of what the Lord God could and did do through one man. This is just one example of so many that illustrate the grace and mercy of the Lord God over the years. We have 20 centuries full of godly accounts (testimonies) that demonstrate the grace and mercy of our Father God.

We also hear of the wonderful miraculous things the Lord God is doing these days all over the world. It sounds like our God has kicked it up a notch or two. Jesus came to destroy all the works of the devil (First John 3:8), and it looks like He's doing this with great fervor.

These are all very encouraging, but the testimonies that should be most precious to us are:
(1) the Word of God, the Bible
(2) our own testimony - what the Lord God has done and is doing with us, to us, for us, personally.

But, alas, we forget! Forgetting just seems to be what people do:
(1) when they have hard hearts, or
(2) when they don't write things down.

(1) With hard hearts, what is written in the parable of the sower comes into play, "the wicked one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is he who received seed by the wayside." Matthew 13:19. Pray for a soft heart.

(2) Psalm 106 recalls the deliverance of the Hebrews from Egypt.
v 7. Our fathers in Egypt did not understand Your wonders; they did not remember the multitude of Your mercies, but rebelled by the sea--the Red Sea.

But they were delivered anyway.
v 11. The waters covered their enemies; there was not one of them left.
v 12. Then they believed His words; they sang His praise.
v 13. They soon forgot His works; they did not wait for His counsel,
v 14. But lusted exceedingly in the wilderness, and tested God in the desert.

All of this forgetting happened in three days! Hard hearts? Maybe. Probably.

What to do? Yes, write it down. Write down what the Lord God is doing for you and what He is saying to you, and what He is showing you.

Write it all down in chronological order. And remember, this is not supposed to be a chore. You are free. You don't have to make an entry everyday if there is nothing to write on certain days. But when something comes, you want a procedure to be in place so you can quickly and easily capture the gem that just came to you, while you are still excited by what the Lord God just showed you, or said to you, or did for you.

If you use paper, write your journal in a bound volume, not just on scraps of paper that end up as bookmarks in your Bible. And when you fill the first volume of your journal, buy a second similar volume and start writing in the second one.

If you use an electronic device you will have the ability to search, sort, and edit. If this is your choice, choose a device that can travel with you (a laptop or netbook or tablet, not a desktop), since you really need that flexibility to write consistently. It's your choice as to whether you eventually want to have one enormous file, or whether you think there is value in a periodic (maybe yearly) restart. I prefer one big enormous file, since searching is easier with just one file. And be sure to back up your journal file(s) frequently!

Note: A friend of mine recently shared that he finds the use of a paper journal allows for more focus than an online journal, since there is so much out there, almost instantly available, when we are online.

You might not see much value in the journal for the first few days or weeks or even the first few months, but sooner or later you will be able to go back and find golden nuggets of encouragement that will let you know that the Lord has been speaking to you, and will continue to speak to you, and will continue to be with you, and continue to save you, and will never abandon you. This will be especially valuable if you are down.

Why journal? To build faith - and to see your heart soften.

It's never too late to start.


Wednesday, June 16, 2010

A Kiss From the Lord Jesus
16 June 2010

A Kiss From the Lord Jesus

I had an "I want my knife back!" episode Monday.

For several days a bolt from the garage door was missing. We'd look around for it whenever we were there, but never saw it. About noontime Monday, I went out to the garage to get something, and while there by the garage door I said, "Lord, I'd really like to find it."

Then I poked around for a few seconds as usual, and as I was doing it, I felt a lump under my left foot, which was the bolt, right there on the concrete.

Well, it's not as dramatic as Carol O's diamond, or Bobby Conner's knife, but it was my very own personal experience, and now it's my very own story and memory.

A kiss from the Lord Jesus. Nice.


Larry Carroll

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Be Anxious For Nothing

28 April 2010

Be Anxious For Nothing

Helen and I were at a conference last week. On Thursday morning, the speaker, Graham Cooke, listed four levels of fear:
1. anxiety
2. fear
3. depression (perhaps 'dread' would be a good word here, too)
4. panic

When I heard the word "anxiety" I thought of the scripture that says "Be anxious for nothing".

We got home and the next morning, Sunday morning, I looked up "Be anxious for nothing" and decided to nail it down.

Philippians 4:6&7
6. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God:
7. and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Well, I was an usher that morning, so I was out in the lobby doing usher things. There was also a friend that was hurting and needed us to pray, so two of us prayed for him. Also, I was sharing with people that there is healing in praise, and I wholeheartedly believe it.

Immediately after my ushering responsibilities were done, I felt this 8 out of 10 intense pain come on me in less than a minute. It was right across my front where the diaphragm is.

I went to the men's room to see if I needed to throw up. No. I went to the car to see if I could just lean back and recover. No.

I went back in and told Herb I can't serve communion this way. He prayed for me right then. That was good.

I then told Karen I couldn't pray for her after the service, since I hurt so badly. So she and Al prayed for me right then. That was good. Then Karen went in and got Helen, and Helen drove me to the ER as she was praying for me.

OK, so as I was hanging onto the strap, I knew I had to practice what I preach (and I wanted to). So somewhat weakly, I said things like, "OK, LORD, Hallelujah" And I kept saying, "Be anxious for nothing". But it still hurt of course.

What was illustrated to me at that time was - the truth of the Word of God that is already inside me was all I had to keep me from panic. In terrifying times like this, we are not able to go back to the written Word of God, it has to be in us already.

You know that "sword of the Spirit" mentioned in Ephesians 6:17? That's the word of God that is already in you, that you have already pondered or meditated on and memorized, that you have made part of you. It is not the Word of God that is on the pages of the Bible, which you have never made your own.

And when the battle comes, you better have a sword.

Well, I spent two days in the hospital, and I needed to reactivate that particular scripture a few more times. I found that Philippians 4:6&7 is not just a principle to live by; it's a promise, a personal promise to me (and you). In fact, that's what the Word of God is - personal.

Larry Carroll

Unless otherwise noted, all scripture quoted is from the New King James Version, Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Look to Jesus and You Will Live

05 March 2010

Old Testament - Numbers 21:8,9
8. Then the LORD said to Moses, "Make a fiery serpent, and set it on a pole; and it shall be that everyone who is bitten, when he looks at it, shall live."
9. So Moses made a bronze serpent, and put it on a pole; and so it was, if a serpent had bitten anyone, when he looked at the bronze serpent, he lived.

New Testament - John 3:14,15
"And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up,
"that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.

So look to Jesus, look at the cross, and you will live!

Looking at the cross, to Jesus, implies that we will take our eyes off our circumstances, which is good in itself.

But more than that, when we really look at Him, really see Him as He is now, we will be overcome by His beauty and holiness and glory and majesty and grace. Hallelujah! And we will worship Him. And He will lay His right hand on us.

It is written in Revelation 1:13-18
and in the midst of the seven lampstands One like the Son of Man, clothed with a garment down to the feet and girded about the chest with a golden band.
14. His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and His eyes like a flame of fire;
15. His feet were like fine brass, as if refined in a furnace, and His voice as the sound of many waters;
16. He had in His right hand seven stars, out of His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword, and His countenance was like the sun shining in its strength.
17. And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead. But He laid His right hand on me, saying to me, "Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last.
18. "I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death."

John fell at His feet as dead, and we will, too. But why wait? We know this is true now! Look to Jesus now!

A song by the Supertones says it this way:

You are beautiful beyond description
Too marvelous for words
Too wonderful for comprehension
Like nothing ever seen or heard

Who can grasp Your infinite wisdom
Who can fathom the depths of Your love
You are beautiful beyond description
Majesty, enthroned above

And I stand, I stand in awe of You
I stand, I stand in awe of You
Holy God to whom all praise is due
I stand in awe of You

And let me end with this. There is an old song:

Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.

Do it!

Larry Carroll

Unless otherwise noted, all scripture quoted is from the New King James Version, Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Saturday, February 20, 2010


20 February 2010


I was reading in First Samuel and came to that part where David and his men had just arrived home; found their city burned to the ground, and their families gone. They wept until they had no more strength to weep.

In addition to that, it says in First Samuel 30:6, "Now David was greatly distressed, for the people spoke of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and daughters. [Wives were mentioned in the previous verse.] But David strengthened himself in the Lord his God."

How did David do that? Well, simply put, he prayed. (Then, after getting the assurance that the Lord was with them, he and his men rescued their families and possessions.)

At this same time, other portions of scripture came to my mind that address the storms of life.

The first was the parable of the house built upon the rock vs. the house built upon the sand; Matthew 7:24-27. We can see that the wise man planned ahead. We are told here to strengthen our foundation by hearing the words of God and doing them.

The second was the parable of the seeds; Mark 4:3-8. The seed sown on stony ground withered away when the sun scorched it. In verse 17, Jesus interprets the scorching as tribulation or persecution. So, we need deep roots.

The third was in Proverbs 6:6-11, which starts by saying, "Go to the ant, you sluggard! Consider her ways...", and ends by saying, "A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep-- So shall your poverty come upon you like a prowler, and your need like an armed man."

So, we see the secret to weathering the storm is all in the preparation. When the storms come, (and they most certainly will, for Job 5:7 says; "Yet man is born to trouble, as the sparks fly upward.") there will be no time to build a defense.

So how do we prepare?

1. Get yourself into the Word of God (the Bible) and get the Word of God into you. That sounds trite, but it's absolutely true. Meditate on it. Ponder it. Memorize if you can. Most people can. It will change you. Pay very close attention to the promises in the Word, especially so if they come alive to you. If they come alive to you, write them in your journal.

2. Get close to the Lord Himself. Seek His face, His beautiful face. How? (I'm speaking to those who have established a relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ already.) "Rejoice in the Lord, always, and again I will say, rejoice." Philippians 4:4. "Always" here means always, even when circumstances are ugly. This is said another way in First Thessalonians 5:16-18, "Rejoice evermore (always), pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you." Singing is a very useful tool in enabling us to rejoice in the Lord. Whatever method you use, whether it be verbal praise, song, or dance, do it with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.

3. Review your journal. Remind yourself of all that the Lord God has saved and delivered you from in the past, how He has answered your prayers, and how He has shown Himself strong on your behalf. This I call "witnessing to yourself".

4. Spend a good amount of time with those people that will build you up in the faith. We need to receive strength from each other. We need to hear brothers and sisters share their stories of God's goodness, His grace, and His deliverance. Also, they need to hear us tell of the blessings we have received from the hand of the Lord.

OK now, you get to choose. It's up to you to prepare for the storms of life. Choose life.

Larry Carroll

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

What Is God Like?

16 February 2010

What is God like? Look at Jesus Christ and you will know what God is like.

Hebrews 1:3 says this about the Lord Jesus Christ:
"who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person ..."

Colossians 1:15 says this about the Lord Jesus Christ:
"He is the image of the invisible God..."

John 8:58 says,
'Jesus said unto them, "Most assuredly I say unto you, before Abraham was, I AM." '

In John 10:30 Jesus says, "I and My Father are one."

In John 14:9, Jesus tells Philip, "He who has seen Me has seen the Father; ..."

Why is this important?

The Lord God is exceedingly good. This is foundational. Psalm 106: 1 says:
"O give thanks unto the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever."

Nevertheless, hurts, pains, and disappointments come. No one seems immune. When this happens we are tempted to think, "Where is God right now, when I need Him?" And some people have blamed God for their misfortunes.

When God is blamed for something, barriers go up between that person and the Lord God, making praise, worship, and intimacy either very hard or impossible. "If God speaks, I don't think I want to hear what He has to say", they say.

But we know what Jesus was like while He walked on Earth.

He wept with Mary when her brother died - and then raised him from the dead.
He ate dinner with anyone, even those the establishment condemned.
He did not inflict any pain on anyone, except for some of those in the establishment.
He did not condemn the woman caught in adultery.
He healed all that came to Him.
He had mercy on the people that hung Him on a cross.
He was compassionate, approachable, and tender.

Jesus demonstrated what God our Father is like!

And why is this important?

It's important because we are needy people - all of us. We need to come before the Lord God to ask for salvation, deliverance, grace, mercy, and help. We need an approachable Father God. And since our Father in Heaven and Jesus the Son are one, we have an approachable Father God!

Hebrews 4:14-16 says:
Seeing that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession.
For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.
16. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

Another reason this is important concerns our personal spiritual growth or development, that is, whether we will be transformed into His likeness or not. We become like whom, or like what, we worship. We become more and more like the Lord God in His presence. We enter His presence as we worship Him.

If we feel alienated from the Lord God, we will have no appetite to draw close to Him, or worship Him, or seek His face - and we will not become more and more like Him. We will remain carnal and behave as "mere men", as it says in First Corinthians 3:3.

And finally, it's important because we need to hear and get to know His voice.

There is a growing interest in hearing the Lord God speak to us, fellowshipping with Him, experiencing Him, moving well beyond theoretical knowledge (as good as this is) only.

And why is that?

Because relationship implies two-way communication and even interaction. We will not pursue a relationship with one who causes us pain and is difficult to live with.

So what is God like?

He is our lover. ---

"Rise up, my love, my fair one,
And come away,
For lo, the winter is past,
The rain is over and gone.
The flowers appear on the earth;
The time of singing has come,
And the voice of the turtledove
Is heard in our land.
The fig tree puts forth her green figs,
And the vines with the tender grapes
Give a good smell,
Rise up, my love, my fair one,
And come away!"
(from Song of Solomon 2:10-13)

He is our shepherd. ---

In John 10 we read:
3. To him [the shepherd]
the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice; and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.
And when he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice.
I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own.
My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.

He is our dear friend. ---

And He walks with me and He talks with me and He tells me I am His own,
And the joy we share as we tarry there none other has ever known.

He is our peace. ---


Unless otherwise noted, all scripture quoted is from the New King James Version, Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Larry Carroll

Friday, February 12, 2010


12 February 2010


Over a decade ago, I asked my three (at the time) grandsons, "Who's my favorite grandson?" Rebecca, their mom, knew this could be a dreadful mistake if I picked one, for then I would be rejecting two.

But the answer to the question was, "You all are!", so Rebecca breathed a big sigh of relief.

As time went on, this question was expanded to include all of the cousins, with the answer always remaining the same.

A couple of years ago, I asked the same question, and the kids must have been getting a bit tired of it, because this time my precious smart-aleck grandson, Chris, (whom I love dearly) said, "I am!" and his older brother, Joshua, said the same thing. This gave me pause, but then I found I could say, "That's right, you are, Chris. And so are you, Josh, and so is Jonathan."

Now at the end of every visit with the grandkids, as I'm hugging each one and saying "Goodbye", I whisper in each one's ear, "You're my favorite." And sometimes then the hug gets a little tighter, even though each one knows I'm telling all the others the same thing.

Oh, but that's not logical. That's true, it isn't. But so what? It delivers the message I want to convey. I want each of them to know how precious they are to me.

OK, now in Luke 15:4-7, did the shepherd who left the ninety-nine to search for the one lost sheep have a favorite? He had one hundred favorites, since he would have gone searching for any one of them. It didn't matter which one. But at that time, it seemed like he had just one favorite. And that lost sheep was (or is) you! You are His favorite!

The Lord Jesus wants you to know how precious you are to Him - even if you wander away and ask for your share of the good life, as the prodigal son did.

God's love is faithful and constant, to the point of being irrational. Parents know what this is like. Klingons and Pharisees don't. But you're not a Klingon or a Pharisee. The Spirit of the Lord has entered (or will enter) your inner most being and has given (or will give) you a new heart. You can know and experience that love.

Father God wants you to enjoy His presence. Rejoice in His presence!

It's a blessing to be one of God's favorites. Hallelujah!

Larry Carroll

Saturday, January 23, 2010


23 January 2010


Matthew 6:12,14,15
12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
14 For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will forgive you.
15 But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

We see here that we really must forgive – and we know this to be true from experience, too, since we’ve seen unforgiveness damage people, and bitterness destroy people.

Yet we read what the Pharisees said in Mark 2:7.
7 “Why does this Man [Jesus Christ] speak blasphemies like this? Who can forgive sins but God alone?”
This is also written in Luke 5:21.

I understand why the Pharisees said this, since the Law states “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth”, so I agree with the Pharisees’ second question and the implied answer.

Yet there are at least two examples in the Old Testament where people forgave others:

1. Joseph forgave his brothers after they sold him into slavery.
2. David forgave Absalom after Absalom killed his brother Amnon.

But I noticed that it took them both quite a while to forgive, though they truly did. Also, notice that both cases here are within families, so what we see are two examples of brotherly love, or familial love, (phileos), enabling these two men to succeed in their efforts to forgive.

But where does that leave us? We don’t have familial love for everyone. Yet we need to forgive, and we find that the power to forgive is not in us. What to do? Are we trapped in unforgiveness with no hope?

We’ve all been there, (or are there). We’ve been hurt (and have hurt others, of course, but never mind that!) Revenge seemed so sweet. We wanted to “get even”! Yet deep down we knew revenge wouldn’t make it right. It would just make us feel good for a few minutes and then, alas, increase the hostility between us and the other party, making the whole mess even worse. And yet, we did it! We “got even”! The McCoys and the Hatfields warred for several decades. They kept on “getting even”. Why?

Alas! “O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?” Romans 7:24. Well we know who will. Hallelujah!

OK, how does this deliverance work? Simply put, we desperately need to be operating in the power of the Holy Spirit. And to be operating in this power, we must be filled with the Holy Spirit and “die to self”. By saying “die to self”, I’m saying that we must acknowledge that we are needy people and that our pride, greed, and unbelief must be renounced (crucified, if you will). Then we can truly forgive.

A corollary to this is – if we sense that we are able to forgive, we know it is the Spirit of God working through us. Said another way, the ability to forgive is evidence that one is filled with the Holy Spirit. The Amish folks that forgave the schoolhouse killer a few years ago were operating in the power of the Holy Spirit.

OK, let us go on.

Well, are there two types of forgiveness? Is there God’s type, which washes a person clean, vs. “our” type, which doesn’t have any effect on the one being forgiven?

Related to this – is forgiveness of others merely for our own benefit? Is it just an annoying hurdle to get over to get to a place of blessing and favor from Father God?

To answer the above questions – no! Jesus addresses this in John 20:23.
23 If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.

This is also implied in Matthew 18:18.
18 Assuredly I say to you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.
(Do not treat this power lightly! Use it!)

Therefore, if you truly forgive someone, and that person knows it, that person is really set free and washed clean. But remember, you did it as an ambassador or agent of the Lord God, and you did it by the power of the Holy Spirit in you, not by your own power. You performed a priestly function.

Jesus taught and demonstrated by His life that maintaining healthy relationships and friendships is a key element in His kingdom, and forgiveness is an essential part of it. How often? 490 times a day (at least!) as seen here.
Matthew 18:21,22
21 Then Peter came to Him and said, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?
22 Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven. (But who’s counting?)

So forgiveness is not just a hurdle to get over occasionally so we can get on with life – it is a core element in life itself.

This was a new concept - a hard saying - to the people of that day. I did a scan of the word “forgive” in Strong’s Concordance, and it is clear that in Old Testament times the Lord God was the only one asked to forgive – to forgive His people. People had to pay or atone for their trespasses and sins, or run to a city of refuge if they mistakenly killed another. Person to person forgiveness is not a commandment in the Old Testament, although Judaism now embraces it.

Right after Jesus said to Peter, “seventy times seven”, He shared the parable of the unforgiving servant, in Matthew 18:23-35. This is quite long, so I’ll just summarize it here by saying a servant was forgiven an enormous amount by the king, and then turned around and refused to forgive a fellow servant just a small amount. When the king heard about it, he was very angry and rescinded his forgiveness. The unforgiving servant lost out big time. This parable ends with verse 35:
35: So My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses.

Now let me quickly mention a question that often comes up. Should I confront the offender or “just let it go”? My answer to that is – one needs to get the “peace of God” on this, one way or the other. According to Colossians 3:15, the “peace of God” in our hearts calls the shots, it determines the direction of our lives. This peace is controlled by the Spirit of God, who resides in believers. I advise you to read this in context. Either way (to confront or not), we need to forgive.

“This is really hard, Larry. Have you experienced this, or is it just theory?”

That’s a good question. It truly is hard, which we all know, because trouble comes to everyone, yes, including to me. Nevertheless, Philippians 4:13 says,
13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
(It’s really true.)

Let’s wrap it up with this:
If you examine yourself now and find that you are not in a place where forgiveness of others is possible (but you want to be in such a place) – or if unforgiveness is gripping your heart and soul and you’re sick of it - cry out to the Lord God for the power to change, to be able to forgive, to be filled with the Holy Spirit. The Lord Jesus truly is a savior! He most certainly will give you the power to forgive.
(Unless otherwise noted, all scripture quoted is from the New King James Version, Thomas Nelson Publishers.)
Larry Carroll

Sunday, January 10, 2010


10 January 2010


Here's a word I've grown to really like - "nevertheless". It has several synonyms, such as nonetheless, however, "even so", notwithstanding, yet, and "all the same".

These words allow us to express contrasting perspectives, thoughts, and ideas within the same sentence - well, at least within the same paragraph.

In a discussion with another person, these words allow us to concede a point, yet gently disagree, more gently than using "But!"

However, the word "but" has its place, when the second thought is expressed to override or cancel out the first.

The Bible uses these words extensively.

Here are two of my favorite sections where "Nevertheless" is used:  

Philippians 1:21-25  
21 For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.
22 But if I live on in the flesh, this will mean fruit from my labor; yet what I shall choose I cannot tell.
23 For I am hard-pressed between the two, having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better.
24 Nevertheless to remain in the flesh is more needful for you.
25 And being confident of this, I know that I shall remain and continue with you all for your progress and joy of faith,

Philippians 4:13,14
13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
14 Nevertheless you have done well that you shared in my distress.

Here are two of my favorite sections where "But God" is used:

Ephesians 2:1-6  
1 And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, 2 in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, 3 among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.  
4 But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,

Romans 5:6-8
6 For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

All scripture quoted is from the New King James Version, Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Larry Carroll