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Christian Devotional by Pastor Cecil Thompson

Cecil Thompson

Philippians 3:12-14

"Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus."

When God's Word says our sins are forgiven, does that mean we are free, or does He still hold them against me? We might say that we are set free, but do we actually walk away from our sinful past and have victory in our life?

I want to use a Bible character as an example of this process. For the past several weeks I have been sharing with our church group the wonderful lessons that we find in the book of Joshua. Let's consider the lesson we find in a lady of the night in Jericho. If we were to approach our study like a police officer, we might use this method: Name: Rahab. Address: Jericho. Occupation: Prostitute.

We know nothing of the background of this woman of ill repute. She is the first person that the Israelite spies encountered in the land of promise that God had led them to possess. Two spies had been sent out by Joshua to spy out the land, and especially Jericho.

It is interesting that 40 years earlier, right after being freed from the bondage of slavery, Moses had sent out twelve spies. Only two had returned with a positive report and urged them to go in immediately to possess the land God had given them. One of the spies was Joshua, the other was Caleb. Now, after 40 years when Joshua was in charge, he sends out only two spies. By the way, these two turned out to be faithful.

In the second chapter of Joshua, we read that the two spies were saved by the action of this prostitute named Rahab. She not only spared their life, but gave them some inside information. She said that she knew that God had given them the land, for the whole land was in fear of them. She asked that when they took the land, she and her family might be spared.

They told her that in return for her kindness and the risks she took, she and her family would be spared. The only condition was that she and her family had to remain inside the house, and a scarlet ribbon had to be tied in the window she had let them escape through.

She followed their orders and the Israelites kept their promise to her. In the sixth chapter of the book of Joshua, we read that Joshua sent the same two spies and rescued Rahab and her family. The story does not end there my friends. She was saved, but God had not forgotten her faith. In Hebrews 11:31 she is mentioned along with the faithful of the ages. In James 2:25 and 26, she is mentioned as one who was considered righteous for what she did.

Now, that brings us to the practical aspects of the forgiveness of sins in our lives. When we confess our sins, we can begin to live as new creatures. It is certainly not God who brings your sins of the past to your mind and causes you turmoil. If it is not the Lord, it is coming from the other side, and that means Satan.

On a daily basis I receive calls or e-mail messages from people who are encountering trials. One young woman shared that it seemed like everything was going crazy. Surgery, schedule conflicts, not feeling well, and she was tempted to be downhearted. She suddenly began to sing along with an uplifting praise chorus on the radio. As an act of faith she spoke out loud, "Satan you are not going to win over this situation. I choose to praise, and not to pout." She had victory.

In the same manner, you can have victory over the sins of your past. Any time Satan brings them to your mind and wants you to feel defeated for what you did, or were, or caused, just choose to praise the Lord. Give Him the glory and receive his grace that is sufficient to block out the sins that we have committed.

Blessings dear hearts. Walk with God today. Trust Him completely and be a blessing.

--- Pastor Cecil


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