I have always thought that positive thoughts go a long way! Then I got this devotional today and love what it says! Enjoy!!
December 5, 2008
Hope for the Holidays
“Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.” Luke 6:37 (NIV)
God gave each of us what we needed most—a Savior to save us from ourselves. Therefore, the holiday season should be a time of cheer. For some, however, it can be lonely and depressing. While the days leading up to Christmas should be filled with peace, joy, and hope, sadness over past mistakes can hover like clouds on a rainy day. We all have a tendency to define ourselves by what we have or haven’t done.
We tend to label ourselves by our past mistakes, and then we wear these labels as if there were no alternative. Failure; Unfaithful; Unfit Parent; Liar; Gossip; Addicted; Bitter.
The Bible tells us that as a person thinks, so they become. Therefore, if you want to live an unhealthy life, you can. If you want to punish yourself, you will. However, being self-destructive is not God’s plan for your life. In fact, to think this way is to see yourself outside of God’s saving grace.
That’s why the Christmas season offers such hope … because God gave us what we needed most—a Savior to save us from ourselves. The key to putting your past behind you, and moving forward with a bright and hopeful future, is to accept Christ’s forgiveness for you.
You’ll find it comforting to know that you are not alone in your troubles. The Bible tells us, “For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23, NIV). That means there is not one perfect person in the entire world. We have all made mistakes. I know I’ve made my share. Still, no matter how hard we try to do everything right on our own, we can’t. So God gave His only Son as payment for our sins. In other words, Christ paid our debt. This payment is a gift of God which He freely offers to you and me.
The awesome thing is, we don’t have to earn this gift. Through Christ’s death on the cross, God simply says, “Your sins are paid in full.”
All you and I have to do to receive His forgiveness is to agree with God about our sins. You might say something like this in prayer. Yes, God, I did that thing … I receive your free gift of forgiveness for the wrong I have done, and I accept heaven as my eternal home. Cleanse me and change my life. Fill me with your love, hope, joy and peace.
If you sincerely mean what you’ve confessed, then you have been forgiven. Your slate is clean. God remembers your sins no more. It is as if they never were. That’s the good news of Christmas and the open doorway to peace!
The next thing you must do is forgive yourself. You will stay in bondage if you continue to label yourself as a bad or unworthy person for what you have done instead of focusing on the changes God can bring about in you. You must stop defining yourself by your past and read the Bible to learn how God defines His people.
Just think; this could be a Christmas where you experience real peace, joy, and forgiveness. It’s why Christ was born … to set you free.