Flawed Forgiveness?

Yet he was merciful;he forgave their iniquities and did not destroy them.
Time after time he restrained his anger and did not stir up his full wrath.
He remembered that they were but flesh, a passing breeze that does not return. [Psalm 78:38-39 NIV]

Forgiveness - all within my handsThe first time I read through the Old Testament as a teenager, I became quite frustrated both at the Israelites and at God. At the Israelites because they couldn’t keep their promise to worship only God, turning away from Him over and over again, and at God for continuously forgiving them.

I remember saying out loud one day — ‘Why didn’t God just wipe them out?!’ They didn’t deserve another chance. It was too much.

But then my mum, in all her wisdom, said something which hit home. ‘Aren’t you glad He doesn’t wipe you out?’

Her words shut my mouth. For I knew it. If the Israelites didn’t deserve another chance, another round of forgiveness, then neither did I. If God had given up on His people in the desert, or even through their years in the new land, then surely He would have given up on me. There would have been no sacrifice for our sin — He never would have sent Jesus to the cross.

And so I stand humbled, always grateful for my God’s long-suffering, for His patience and forgiveness that goes beyond the endurance any man could withstand. His forgiveness is not flawed. His forgiveness is perfect and I bow my knee in worship.

What about you? Have you ever thought God’s forgiveness was flawed?

Published in: on 6th May, 2013 at 10:28 am  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , ,

Another Way to Repay

“Appoint someone evil to oppose my enemy;
    let an accuser stand at his right hand.
When he is tried, let him be found guilty,
    and may his prayers condemn him.
May his days be few;
    may another take his place of leadership.
May his children be fatherless
    and his wife a widow.
May his children be wandering beggars;
    may they be driven from their ruined homes.
May a creditor seize all he has;
    may strangers plunder the fruits of his labor.
May no one extend kindness to him
    or take pity on his fatherless children.
May his descendants be cut off,
    their names blotted out from the next generation.
May the iniquity of his fathers be remembered before the Lord;
    may the sin of his mother never be blotted out.
May their sins always remain before the Lord,
    that he may blot out their name from the earth.”

[Psalm 109:6-15 NIV]

As I was reading this Psalm the other day, I began to think about David and how he lived. David was not the kind of man to lift a finger in revenge. Time and time again he was wronged and he never took matters into his own hands.

King Saul was out to murder him — you can’t get much worse than that — and yet David refused to be involved in his death. And when David was king there were plenty of times when he was betrayed and opposed, but he never acted in vengeance.

Photo by Jesper Noer

Photo by Jesper Noer

But, when you read some of the Psalms, you see what he would like to see done to his enemies. Instead of reacting in anger and bitterness, David went to God and poured out his vengeful thoughts to Him. And in most cases, by the end of the Psalm, David is praising God.

It makes me think — what do we do with our anger? Do we lash out at others? Do we bottle it up and suppress it? Do we plot revenge and hold on to our bitterness?

Perhaps, like David, we should go before God and let it all out. God knows our hearts — He doesn’t mind hearing how angry we are and even if we wished someone were dead. As long as in the process of pouring out our grief to Him, we actually release it and hang on to it no longer. Instead, we should be able to walk away praising our Father in Heaven in the freedom of forgiveness.

Do you have something you need to release today? Take it to the Lord — He has big shoulders. 🙂

Published in: on 29th April, 2013 at 10:42 am  Comments (2)  
Tags: , , ,


Photo by Franci Strümpfer

I am currently reading a huge family saga which covers five generations of women. The more I read, the more I realise that we must deal with our issues. If we don’t, it becomes inevitable that we pass the damage on to our children.

There are a few instances of this in the Bible. Abraham, out of fear, lied and said Sarah was his sister and not his wife. Isaac, following in his footsteps repeated exactly the same mistake with his wife Rebekah. A more profound example is seen in King David’s family. He committed adultery and murder, and although he repented and sorted his life out before God, he cannot have dealt with the damage it did to his other children. In the course of time, one son raped his sister. Another son, Absalom, seethed quietly for a long time before taking revenge, committing murder, and eventually rose up against his father to usurp his throne. What a mess!

The hurt and pain that is inflicted upon us, if we don’t deal with it, will be inflicted on our children, whether we promise ourselves we won’t do it, or not. If we don’t break the cycle, if we don’t take our hurt before the Lord and find true healing and wholeness in Him and forgive those who have wronged us, then we are just setting up a pattern that will repeat itself generation after generation. Sad but true.

“Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” [Colossians 3:13 NIV]

Published in: on 27th August, 2012 at 10:02 am  Comments (2)  
Tags: , , ,

Always There

“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” [2 Chronicles 7:14 NIV]

Photo by Christa Richert

King Solomon built a temple for the Lord’s presence to dwell in. On the day he dedicated it amidst great celebration and worship, he prayed that God would abide there. He prayed that if the people ever found themselves far from Him through their sin, or in trouble and desperate, if they would look towards the temple and call on the name of the Lord, He would answer them, deliver them, forgive them and heal them.

God honoured Solomon’s prayer by making the above promise. He said, “My eyes and my heart will always be there.”

Now, the temple of the Lord is within us and that promise remains. His eyes and heart are always with us. So, when we ever find ourselves in those dark times, if we’ve fallen away through sin, if we’ve turned our back because of discouragement, we can still know that our Saviour is only a whisper away.

If you are at the end of your rope, all you need to do is call on Him, humbly and earnestly, and He will be there in a heartbeat. He waits on you to turn to Him. That is my encouragement today — He is never far away, in fact, He is as close as your shadow.

Published in: on 30th May, 2012 at 4:22 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , ,

Penelope McCowan – Heidi’s October

From the back cover:

For Heidi Jordan, young and lovely, life is neatly mapped out and right on target. Her university grades are high, her future in the medical field all but guaranteed and her only dark secret is well kept. Until the first of October, that is, when Heidi discovers that reckless choices can have desperate consequences, and pain and anguish cannot be outrun.

For Annaliese Miller and her handsome fiancé Ben, the party on the evening of October the first was just the beginning of their brand new life together. But by midnight, Annaliese is lying on the cold flagstones in a pool of blood, her devastated husband-to-be kneeling in horror beside her.

Will Heidi return and face those she has shattered? Can healing happen when relationships and dreams have been ripped apart? Or are some things just too big to forgive?

Amanda’s review:

A lot can happen in one month. In fact, one month can change the course of your life. That is what happens to Heidi Jordan in Penelope McCowan’s debut novel, Heidi’s October. Heidi’s life is on track and heading for success, when a series of bad decisions turns her world on its head. That happens at the beginning of October and she spends the rest of the month facing and dealing with the far-reaching consequences of those mistakes. Will anything ever be normal again?

This novel deals with forgiveness on a deep level. The Christian message is very much at the forefront of the story and it is clear all of the main characters have to find a way to forgive to move forward in life. Heidi’s October demonstrates how forgiveness can work and bring healing in people’s lives.

I loved Penelope’s writing style and the book kept me turning the pages, wondering how Heidi was going to sort through everything. There was also a touch of romance in there – her love interest is a great character. Heidi’s October will appeal to young adult readers who enjoy a Christian novel with drama and romance.

About the author:

Penelope McCowen is a Christian author and speaker with a deep desire to see lives transformed by the power of Jesus Christ.  She also…

  • Lives on a sheep and cattle property in the New England region of New South Wales
  • Is eternally grateful that Jesus pursued her until He caught her
  • Adores her husband and children
  • Wonders why we need to have winter
  • Did Registered Nursing and a Bachelor of Commerce before she stopped trying to be sensible and instead followed her dream of writing fiction
  • Thinks life on the land is beyond wonderful
  • Loves dark chocolate
  • Grew up on the plains of north-western New South Wales
  • Has too many pairs of shoes
  • Is writing Novel  #2 – The Boatshed
  • Likes her standard schnauzer when it’s not eating the children’s pet duck
  • Loves tennis
  • Is deeply moved by the power of well-used words
  • Is singularly unmoved by the game of golf and has absolutely no talent for it
  • Loves bright colours
  • Lives in a home without television
  • Once learned to fly aeroplanes
  • Has, on occasion, sung in tune
  • Loves running on the beach
  • Loves the beach even more than running on it
  • Is very grateful to Amanda for this interview!

 For more information visit www.penelopemccowen.com


‘Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,’ says the LORD, who has compassion on you.” [Isaiah 54:10 NIV]

Photo by Sven Golz

One of the things I love about the character of the Lord is that He is unshakeable. Immovable, solid as a rock, unchanging and unwavering. It’s that kind of resolution you can rely on, lean on, stake your life on. His promises and His love are everlasting and unbreakable.

The verse above is one of my favourites because it displays this aspect of our Creator. It is easier to shake a mountain loose of its foundations and send it crumbling into the sea, than it is to shake the love of God. Sometimes we think we have done things that would make Him reject us forever, that He could never forgive us for. But, the truth is He has compassion on every one of us – He is aware of our suffering under guilt or shame and desires us to be restored to Him. His love constantly reaches out, despite our darkest thoughts and acts.

Unshakeable love simply washes away the unforgivable, kind of like a tidal wave washing away whatever is in its path. So, I want to encourage you today, if you feel like you are not good enough for God, or have sinned too greatly for His acceptance – think again. He is standing close by with arms of compassion, ready to receive you. All you need to do is call His name.

Published in: on 24th January, 2012 at 4:51 am  Comments (4)  
Tags: , , ,