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by Lynn Wellumson

Last weekend I got to help out at my sister and brother-in-law’s ranch.  They are in the middle of calving, always a challenging and exciting time for them.  The calf puller had accidently been misplaced in the tractor bucket.  The tractor had unloaded several loads of hay to many feeder spots and our mission, armed with a very large magnet, was to locate the three pieces before they were urgently needed.  It had the feel of looking for a needle in a haystack.  It also gave my sister and I a great chance to visit.  The cow/calf pairs in the corrals we were searching seemed a little too aware of us.  I spread my arms and announced “We come in peace”.  My sister laughed the first time, but not the second or the tenth.  It also had the feeling of walking through a minefield, as any misplaced step would result in serious shoe cleaning.

I’m happy to report that within a relatively short time, the lost was found! All three pieces!  Order was restored in the calving world.

Jeremiah 50:20 says “In those days, at that time”, declares the Lord, “search will be made for Israel’s guilt, but there will be none, and for the sins of Judah, but none will be found, for I will forgive the remnant I spare.” (NIV) 

Even God cannot find the sin that is covered by Jesus’ blood.   Even things we think are impossible to find, are possible to find with God’s help. Jesus bore our sins on His body on the cross.

Saving Sins

By Velma Amundson

This theological discussion took place between my two granddaughters and was overheard by their mother;
Katie: “Jesus saves sins.”
Miriam: “No He doesn’t”
Katie: “Yes He does”
Miriam: “No He doesn’t”
Katie: “Yes He does. Jesus saves sins.”
Miriam: “No, you have it wrong. Jesus saves us from our sins”.

So which girl are you like? Do you picture God, or Jesus up there somewhere with a huge book in which he records all your misdeeds? Then he uses the book to punish us for every infraction we ever did? Some people do see God like that. We certainly can do it ourselves,and do it to ourselves, keeping track of everything we have ever done (did) wrong and reliving or remembering it over and over.

But of course, Miriam has it right. The book of Romans has many verses concerning sin and salvation. I like these: Romans 5:8-9 ( ESV ) “but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God”, and Romans 10:9 ( ESV ) “because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved”.

What comfort it brings me to know that God loves me so much that He loved me before I was even born, that faith and repentance are (is) all that is required, and His Word also promises (adding to it is this): Hebrews 8:12 ( ESV ) “For I will be merciful toward their iniquities, and I will remember their sins no more.” So, not only does Christ love me and forgive(s) me, He blots out my sins and does not remember them again.”

Praise God for His love and mercy.

Sin Spots

By Velma Amundson

I have psoriasis. When I get out of the tub, I can see these ugly, red blotches on my legs. I imagine that’s what sin looks like on my soul. These ugly red blotches that mar the purity that God planned. I’ve tried a lot of things to get rid of my psoriasis, and so far, nothing works. It’s the same way with the sin spots. No matter what I do, how hard I try I can’t get rid of the spots by myself. Fortunately, I don’t have to. I have a Savior who takes away the sin. In fact, John 3:17 says, “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him.” In Psalm 51:7, the Psalmist says, “Purge me with hyssop and I shall be clean, wash me and I shall be whiter than snow”. Now I consider that this is GREAT news. My Savior, Jesus, can save me of my sins and wash the sins stains away, and make me pure. Even better, Ephesians 2:8 tells me this is the gift of God, not of my own doing so I can boast about it, but a free gift.

I see the spots, and think ugly. My husband sees the spots, I know he does, he’s not blind. But, in a way he is. All he sees is me. You see, he loves me with his whole heart and he loves me just the way I am. The same is true of God. John 3:16 says it all, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosever believeth in him shall not die but have eternal life”. If possible, Romans 5:8-9 says it even better, “but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us. Since therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God.”

I pray that if you are reading this and you do not know Christ as your Savior, that you will turn to Him today and ask His forgiveness. He will come in, forgive you and cleanse you.

On Cats and Forgiveness

by Velma Amundson

Today, I’ve got another “lesson from my cats”. These two kittens were found wrapped up together on the sidewalk when they were 1 week old. Fortunately, a very nice lady took them in and bottle fed them for the next 2 weeks, until her landlord said, no.  We got them when they were 3 weeks old. They’ve been together their entire lives, and they’re now 3 years old. They look after each other, call to each other, play with each other, groom each other. But, occasionally, like all sisters, they have a spat. John and I usually just ignore these and let them settle them on their own. Pretty soon, we see them wrapped up together again, mutually grooming each other and then going to sleep together.

Remember the parable of the unforgiving servant?

Then Peter came and said to Him, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?”  Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.  

For this reason the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his slaves.  When he had begun to settle them, one who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him.  But since he did not have the means to repay, his lord commanded him to be sold, along with his wife and children and all that he had, and repayment to be made.  So the slave fell to the ground and prostrated himself before him, saying, ‘Have patience with me and I will repay you everything.’  And the lord of that slave felt compassion and released him and forgave him the debt.  

But that slave went out and found one of his fellow slaves who owed him a hundred denarii; and he seized him and began to choke him, saying, ‘Pay back what you owe.’  So his fellow slave fell to the ground and began to plead with him, saying, ‘Have patience with me and I will repay you.’  But he was unwilling and went and threw him in prison until he should pay back what was owed.  So when his fellow slaves saw what had happened, they were deeply grieved and came and reported to their lord all that had happened.  

Then summoning him, his lord said to him, ‘You wicked slave, I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me.  ‘Should you not also have had mercy on your fellow slave, in the same way that I had mercy on you?’  And his lord, moved with anger, handed him over to the torturers until he should repay all that was owed him. My heavenly Father will also do the same to you, if each of you does not forgive his brother from your heart.”  Matt 18:21-35  (NASB)

To me that says every time we are asked to forgive someone, we need to. Sometimes it’s hard to forgive one time. When we are repeatedly hurt, it gets really difficult.  I’ve been through some of that, and I know for me it was really difficult to let go of the hurt and forgive. But, with God’s grace I’ve been able to. And that’s freeing. Cats live in the moment, not holding on to past hurts. They get over it and go on. I pray we can all take a lesson from my cats and forgive every time.