It’s another Donna day!!!


I’m excited to welcome my friend Donna Lowe back to Buddy Breathing today as she continues to blog with me on forgiveness. I’m amazed at Donna’s ability to take difficult concepts and make them real and directly applicable to my life. Thank you for being here Donna, and for sharing your heart for God and others.

Guest blogger, Donna Lowe

Forgiveness. Have you opened your gift?

In my last blog, Understanding Forgiveness: Part One, we caught a glimpse of God’s “Abundant Pardon” toward us. To summarize, there is nothing you have ever done, nothing you are currently doing, nothing you ever will do, that God cannot forgive.

Though God’s mercy is abundant, forgiveness is a transaction. In an ordinary business deal, a transaction is complete when payment is made in exchange for the delivery of goods. It is the same with forgiveness. Jesus paid the price. He died on the cross so that you could be forgiven and reconciled with God. However, you must receive that forgiveness or the transaction is incomplete.

In my senior high school years, I had a special friend. I wanted to do something really significant for him. I decided to buy a gift for his birthday. I knew the gift had to be something useful, but I also wanted the gift to absolutely “wow” him. I wanted this gift to be something he would never have the means to acquire for himself.

I had no money, but I did have a part-time job. I asked my boss if I could work extra hours on evenings and weekends. My boss agreed, and for the next twelve months I worked as often as I could. In addition, I saved my birthday money, and any extra cash that came my way.

I spent all my free time window shopping and pouring over catalogues, trying to decide on a suitable gift. Near the end of the year I found what I considered to be the perfect gift. It was a power tool. I don’t think I have ever been so excited about buying a gift for anyone. I was ridiculously giddy as I made my purchase.

Long story short, I wrapped the gift in beautiful paper, planned a special dinner, invited guests and carefully thought out what I would say when I gave the gift to him. For months I had been imagining the look on his face, as he opened my special gift. Now the time was finally here. I was shocked, no, devastated by what happened next. When he opened the gift, he showed no signs of enthusiasm. He was completely apathetic. The gift remained at my house, in the half opened box, with the wrapping torn to shreds. Eventually I gave the gift to someone else. I guess he was not able to see the value of the gift.

His response however, did not negate the facts.

That gift cost me a lot more than cash. It was bought and paid for, even though he never took it out of the box. The gift was meant for a specific purpose. It was supposed to benefit him, and if used as it was intended, it could have brought him and many others, great joy.

Sadly, as the gift remained in the box it was rendered useless!

I cannot help but see the parallel between my story, and God’s. The gift God gave us, was far more valuable than the one I chose to give my friend. Forgiveness came at a great personal cost and extreme sacrifice. It came beautifully wrapped in precious human frailty, which was later torn to shreds. Regardless of our response to it, the gift of forgiveness for our sins has been bought and paid for. It’s up to us whether we take it out of the box or not.

For many of us who call ourselves “Christians,” we have often received the gift of God’s forgiveness with apathy or total rejection! It’s apathy when we lack joy in our lives and do not praise God continually for what Jesus did for us, regardless of our circumstances.

It is rejection, when our lives remain unchanged by the power of His forgiveness. In speaking about the times to come, Paul describes such people to Timothy in this way, “men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, ungrateful, haters of good, …..reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure, rather than God. These people have a form of godliness, (think – church goers, professing to be followers of Jesus) although they have denied it’s power” (those church goers remain unforgiving, unloving, exactly as they were before they met Jesus.) 2 Timothy 3:2-5.

When we are apathetic, or reject God’s forgiveness, we are rendered ineffective, because Christianity hinges on the power of forgiveness.

The transaction of forgiveness is made complete with the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, God’s ultimate power tool. When the Holy Spirit lives in us we have all the power we need to live completely different lives. The Holy Spirit enables us to live in obedience to God’s Word, no longer chained to our former thoughts and bad habits. Along with forgiveness, we receive both understanding of who God is, and reconciliation with Him. Forgiveness brings great joy and eternal life, to anyone who accepts it.

So what about you? Have you taken the gift of forgiveness out of the box? Are you walking in obedience, leaving behind your former ways? Have you noticed an increased desire to praise God, regardless of your circumstances? Do have the joy of Christ in you?

You can’t give something away unless you have it to give. Forgiveness is a gift that is meant to be passed on. In my next blog I will begin defining the steps of forgiving others. For now, I hope you will spend some time with God, making sure you understand the value of His gift to you.

Aleichem Shalom

~dl.

Understanding Forgiveness


For those of you just joining us, we are looking at the subject of forgiveness with my friend and fellow blogger Donna Lowe. I introduced you to Donna in my recent interview with her.

Today, Donna is looking at one Bible story that has forgiveness written all over it. It’s the story of David, a man who was called, ‘A man after God’s own heart’, yet David needed God’s forgiveness in his life too.  David was guilty of some pretty big and ugly stuff, including adultery and murder! So, David’s story can help us to see that God is able and willing to forgive us of the big and little stuff, if we come to him in the right attitude and motivation of heart and spirit, like David did.

I trust that as you read today’s blog you will come to a fresh or a renewed understanding of God’s forgiveness, available to you and for you.

Understanding Forgiveness – Part One

David – A symbol of God’s abundant Pardon.

We all need forgiveness.  We all have people we need to exonerate.  Though we know we should, and maybe we even know why, most of us do not know “how” to forgive.  Sadly, too many people are living as prisoners, bound by the chains of unforgiveness.

Forgiveness is not a human inclination.  Whether giving or receiving forgiveness, we tend to reject the idea that it’s the best way.  True forgiveness is contingent upon our faith in Jesus.  Without Him, forgiveness is impossible!

As we begin to understand the amazing pardon God has made available for us, both to give and receive, it is my hope and prayer that you would experience the freedom in forgiveness and that those chains loosen

God knew it would be hard for us to understand, and because He knew we would always be looking for a “loophole,” God gave us many clear illustrations of what forgiveness really means, infact, it is the central theme of the entire Bible.  David’s story was no exception.

David was just a boy when he was hand picked by God to be the future King of Israel.  You might remember the story of David and his famous fight with the giant Goliath.  David did many wonderful things for God.  At one point God even called David,  “a man after His own heart.”  However, it is David’s fall into sin that is the focus of our attention today.

Why are we focusing on David’s sin, if there was so much that was good about him.  The short answer is because God did.  “And I will make an everlasting covenant with you, According to the faithful mercies shown to David.  Behold I have made him a witness to the peoples.”  Isaiah 55:3. God used David’s story as a symbol of His abundant pardon.

Here is a quick synopsis of David’s fall:

After David became King of Israel, the Israelites went to battle against the Syrians.  While his army was at war, David remained in the comfort of his palace.  At the end of a blistering hot day, David wandered out onto the roof top to enjoy the cool of the evening.  From this vantage point, David was able to see into the home of Bathsheba.  David’s gaze fell upon this beautiful woman as she was bathing.

Bathsheba was married to Uriah.  He was the loyal commander of David’s army.  Though David was also married, the temptation was more than he could resist.  While Uriah was out fighting for the nation of Israel, David sent for Bathsheba, slept with her, and she became pregnant.

Rather than owning up to his mistake, David tried to cover it up.  He sent for Uriah, and on several occasions, tried to manipulate Uriah into sleeping with Bathsheba, to alter the evidence.  Uriah, loyal to the army, refused to indulge himself while the others were still at war.  When that plan failed, David conspired and intentionally had Uriah sent to the front lines, so that he would be killed in combat.

Because God is Holy, he cannot condone sin.  The penalty for sin is death!  However, because of His amazing Grace, He had a plan for reconciliation.  Even before we knew we needed it – God prepared a way for us.  From David’s story, let’s try to grasp the principles God wants us to learn.

Does God have restrictions?

God’s forgiveness is abundant, while we have many conditions.  We will forgive some people, but not others.  We find some offenses easier to forgive, while others are just too big.  We will forgive someone once, maybe twice, but we will not be a doormat for anyone.

In Isaiah 55:8&9 God reminds us, “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways.  For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways And My thoughts than your thoughts.”  Isaiah 55:8-9.  We simply must understand forgiveness from a Godly perspective!

Who Qualifies?

Isaiah 55:1a reads, “HO!  Every one who thirsts, come to the waters.”  Not long ago I heard an amazing teaching on the single word “Ho.”  The word is spoken is a loud shout, coming from the inner soul.  It is like a deep groaning that surfaces and cannot be contained.  “Ho” portrays God’s longing to get this word out to the people.  “Ho!  Every one who thirsts,” qualifies for God’s promise.  We all have a thirst.  It is the deep longing inside each of us that only God can satisfy.  Forgiveness from God, it is like water to a parched soul.

How much does it cost?

God accepts us as we are.  Because Jesus paid the price on the cross, forgiveness is free to anyone who seeks Him.  Isaiah 55:1b.  “And you who have no money come, buy and eat.  Come, buy wine and milk Without money and without cost.”

How much is too much?

All sin is equal to God.  “For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all.”  James 2:10.  God does not compare your sin, to mine, or mine to another’s and decide on some scale of “better or worse,” who will receive a pardon and who will not, as we do.  You and I, David the murderer, and even Billy Graham, we are all equal to one another in God’s eyes.

What is the limit?

We often limit the number of times we will forgive one another.  Imagine if God had said to David, “David, I definitely could have forgiven you, if all you had done was sneak a peak at Bathsheba while she was bathing.  Ok, maybe, just maybe, I might have been able to forgive the adultery.  Fool me once, shame on you!  Fool me twice shame on Me.  But David – three strikes and you are out!  You just had to go and murder Uriah.  You can’t expect me to forgive you now!”   God in His Grace forgave David for His sins.

Time sensitive offer.

“Seek the LORD while He may be found; Call upon Him while He is Near.  Let the wicked forsake his way and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him return to the LORD, and He will have compassion on him, and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon. “  Isaiah 55:6&7

We do not know when our lives will end, nor do we know the life span of another.  This is a decision that demands immediate attention.

Have you accepted God’s abundant pardon?  Do you have someone you need to forgive?

Seek the Lord while He may be found.  Call upon Him while He is near.

Shalom Aleichem.

~dl.

Donna Lowe joins me to talk ‘forgiveness’…


It is my absolute delight to introduce you to Donna Lowe, my friend and my very first guest writer here at Buddy Breathing. Together we will continue to unpack the meaning, application and implications of forgiveness in our lives.

Donna and I have known each other for several years, walked the same path in some respects, mutually belonging to a number of communities, both real and virtual. I’ve watched Donna as she works out her purpose and life calling, and have been overjoyed to see her reach out to women through her teaching and ability to share God’s truth through her own life narrative. Donna is down to earth, but eternity minded. She is grounded in reality and saturated in God’s love. I’d love you to get to know her too.

LA: Hi Donna. What an exciting thing this is having you as my first guest blogger. Thank you for that. Can you share briefly who you are, what you are passionate about, a little bit about your online ministry etc.

Donna: Lesley Anne, thanks so much for inviting me.
It is truly an honor to be your guest blogger. That I am your first guest, is very humbling to me.
First and foremost I am a child of God. I am also a “W”ife and “M”other of three boys. My family dynamics are interesting to say the least. When our first two boys were 18 and 14, we were “shocked” to learn that we were expecting our third child. I say that very light hearted now but, at the time, the idea took some getting used to.
Two years ago my pal Kim Parker and I co-founded a ministry for women called For The Sake Of One. At that time we were co- directing a woman’s bible study at our church. It was in that situation that we saw God at work. We discovered that when women sat across the table from one another with a cup of coffee in hand, while digging deep into the Word of God, powerful things happened. It was a beautiful thing to witness, however, our discontent was knowing there were many women who couldn’t, or wouldn’t come to a church or home group.
Our ministry offers live event teaching, as well as online teaching through pod-casts, and blogs.
We host a social network called The Courtyard. The Courtyard is a place where women can come and explore questions of faith with one another, participate in live Bible study in our chat room, or join a special interest group, and do so in their pajamas if the want to.
The passion behind our ministry, came from a desire to see women find valuable Jesus centered teaching and connections with other women, in a safe and convenient venue.
We have developed Bible study curriculum, and recently we co-authored a book called, “Radical Love ~ Forever changed,” now available as an e-book on Amazon’s Kindle. We believe this book contains proof from our own lives, that we can all live with “joy” no matter what our life circumstances, because of the power of the Holy Spirit in us. We are presently seeking a literary agent and/or publisher for our book.

LA: And you are a blogger too. What is the focus of your blog and how can we find it?

Donna: Because God usually teaches me the important lessons through my own real life situations, my blogs usually come from those lessons. My heart longs for others to come to an understanding of the “Truth” and recognize the amazing freedom that can be found by following Jesus.
I am a testimony to the power of transformation, that truth of God’s Word brings. If anything I share from my own life circumstances will help another find that same transforming power, then I have also found my reward.
My blogs can be found on my website, For the Sake of Truth.

LA: When I asked if you’d like to write with me about the topic of forgiveness, you immediately said yes. Why is that topic so important to you?

Donna: Thanks for asking that question Lesley Anne.
I have had so many conversations, particularly with women, but I know it is just as true with men, about their struggle with forgiving others. Too many people are living as prisoners, because they cannot forgive past hurts. Jesus commanded that we forgive one another, but many of us simply do not know how!
As I shared with you earlier, the day you invited me to be your guest blogger I had been praying and asking God if I should write a series on forgiveness. I’m not kidding… within minutes of asking Him that question, you popped up on Facebook, and asked me if I would want to be a part of your series. I didn’t even have to question that your invitation was God’s answer to that prayer.

LA: Thank you so much, Donna. That is incredible and gives me butterflies in my stomach when I think of the potential in what we are doing here. Is there anything else you want to share with readers before we get into your first, in a series of impacting blogs, about forgiveness?

Donna: L.A., just a few years ago you and I sat across the table from one another weekly, because of a study we were both participating in. At that time we were both on a very similar journey. We both knew we wanted to, or perhaps even needed to, find a venue where we could pour out our hearts. We also had a
desire to use our passion to bless others. At that time neither of us knew what that looked like. We were both in a position of “waiting.”
The reason that this is such a privilege to me, to be your first guest, is that I was there when you were wrestling through “what to do.”
It has been very inspiring for me to watch you persevere until you found your “right” place. Now I get to be a part of what God is doing in and through your life. He wired you in a certain way, gave you a passion and a purpose, then blessed you with this venue. What an encouragement to anyone who is still in that place of “wondering or wrestling.” God has a purpose for every life, we just need to press on till we find our “right” place.

LA:  Wow, thank you for those affirming words. Sometimes we forget where we’ve come from, and it’s good to know that we have made some headway and become more purposeful in our life journey. Most of all, it’s confirmation to me that God is my solid foundation, and He gives me the courage to take every step along the way. From tentative to bold steps… all are because of Him and for Him.

The next post will be Donna’s, titled Understanding Forgiveness – Part One.

With open hearts, we walk on.

Lesley-Anne