Author and speaker Denis Waitley shares about an experience that marked his life forever. Denis was trying to catch a flight for a speaking engagement, but he was running late, so he was literally running though the airport terminal. He got to the gate the split second the gate agent closed the door. Denis explained his predicament, but the agent didn’t budge despite his begging. That’s when his frustration turned into fuming. He stormed out of the boarding area and back to the ticket counter to register a complaint and reschedule his flight. The anger intensified as he waited for more than 20 minutes in a line that barely moved. Just before he got to the ticket counter, an announcement over the intercom changed his life, because he realized that missing that flight had saved his life. The flight he missed, flight 191 from Chicago to L.A., crashed on takeoff with no survivors.
Denis Waitley never registered his complaint. In fact, he never returned his invalidated ticket for flight 191. He took it home and pinned it on a bulletin board in his office. In the wake of that experience, anytime he felt frustrated or got upset, all he had to do was glance at his ticket from flight 191.
The primary Greek word Jesus uses for forgiveness is “aphiemi,” which is formed by “apo,” meaning “from,” and “hiemi,” meaning “to send.”
It’s used 142 times in the New Testament and most of those uses describe actions OTHER than forgiveness.
Mark 1:34 – Jesus drove out demons.
But even in the 45 times it’s used to describe the act of forgiveness, it still retains the sense of releasing something closely held or trapped.
In other words, in order for us to forgive someone there’s a real sense in which we must “release” something.
Why are we so easily entrapped by the desire for an easy life? Life is hard. And I’ve got it easy! Compared to most people who ever lived or are living, I have a luxurious lifestyle.
And particularly as Christians we are called to a battle, not a life of ease; to a battle, a warfare, a wrestle, a struggle. it’s partly a battle with our old self; partly a battle against evil spiritual powers and principalities.
Christ has equipped us for the battle. “Be strong in the Lord. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand up against the devil.” -Ephesians 6:10-11
Satan’s goal is to have you depend on anything else but God for joy, peace, and satisfaction. His master plan is to achieve in this world the best possible condition that can be obtained apart from God. I am not all together convinced that Satan is pleased with raw, revolting sin as he is a multitude of smaller ones that keep us from the Lord.
I think its much easier to win an addict to Jesus Christ than it is to win a “moral man.” Why? Because the former hit a low where they see that sin isn’t “working.” They know they need something. The hardest are those who are so confident in their own goodness and morality that they think they have no need for a Savior.
Satan does not care how good you are. The more moral the better! If you stop just short of following Christ, you are his big success.
Hebrews 12:29 asserts that God is a “consuming fire.” Again and again in the Scriptures, God is revealed as expressing His holiness in the form of fire. Sometimes this expression of holiness is in CONDEMNATION of sin. Other times it is a COMMENDATION of righteousness. God manifests displeasure with sin through fire. And also manifests His pleasure with righteousness in fire.
Compare Sodom and Gomorrah and Nadab/Abihu (Leviticus 10) with Elijah at Mount Carmel and Pentecost.
Fire is a symbol of God’s holiness either condemning or commending, either perishing or purging. Why one or the other? The presence or absence of sacrificial blood. True in each of the above examples.
Our God is a consuming fire, either consuming the sin or the sinner. The presence or absence of sacrificial blood determines which.