FORGIVE AND FORGET

The Divine and Human Side of Forgiveness  ©2017 Bill Murphy

 

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I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins. Isaiah 43:25

And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you. Ephesians 4:32

 

It’s said that we should forgive and forget. True, we should. But the forgetting part is what we find most difficult, and rightly so.

There’s a vast difference between Divinity and Humanity. Mankind simply was not wired for selective forgetfulness. Few of us come to God at His first call. Often there’s a period of intense conviction when our heart is being prepared for surrender. If we were endued with the ability to willingly blot out (forget) those early pangs of conviction, it would greatly enhance our efforts to reject God’s calling! So, in God’s great mercy, He’s thankfully not wired our hearts and minds with the ability of selective forgetfulness! Praise God! (It works to HIS advantage!)

However, we do forget. We just find it next to impossible to selectively forget!

From my understanding of true forgiveness (Godly forgiveness), that would mean that the iniquity has been forgiven and forgotten. It’s just as if the iniquity had never happened. Therefore, from the Divine standpoint, remembrance serves no purpose what so ever. Think about it.

However, from humanity’s standpoint, remembrance does serve a very useful purpose. In the righteousness side of the ledger – remembering the goodness and mercies of God!

It also serves a useful (and righteous purpose) on the unrighteous side of the ledger! Isn’t that just like God to use the ‘bad’ for His good!

When we say we truly forgive, our forgiveness is not always genuine. We may sincerely think it is, but deep down, in the remote recesses of our spirit, sometimes tiny vestiges of hurt and disappointment remain. Remembrance is the rain which waters these tiny seeds, allowing them to bloom into full grown un-forgiveness. I believe that remembrance is an internal barometer which highlights the truth (or not) of true forgiveness.

Remembrance has absolutely no effect on true forgiveness. But remembrance can have an adverse effect upon un-forgiveness. Remembrance helps us to be aware of our own short-comings. When we want to forgive and when we think that we’ve forgiven, but remembrance stirs up something that ought not to be – that gives us a spiritual warning to get our heart in order!

So don’t be discouraged that you can’t forget. God made us that way!

 

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The Banana Principle

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PLAN B – The Banana Principle © 2017 Bill Murphy

I’m sure you’ve shopped for bananas at the grocery store only to find two types remaining: those so green and crisp you’d need a steak knife to cut ‘em, and those so mushy and brown you could eat ‘em with a spoon! What’s happened to the good ones?

The Banana Principle, that’s what happened!

The first Banana Principle is: when given our choice, we want our pick of the best.

The second Banana Principle is: We usually don’t truly understand what really is best.

The third Banana Principle: I’ll cover that later.

The First Banana Principle When given our choice, we normally to want the best for ourselves. Go ahead, admit it. We all think like this, don’t we? Is this a really BIG sin? I mean, BANANAS?

Whether we’re shopping for bananas or considering the will of God, we’re influenced by two concepts: perception and reality. With banana shopping it’s really no big deal. But when considering the will of God, it’s a very big deal!

Perception is how we perceive things to be – how we think and believe they are. Perception is purely INTERPRETATION.

Reality however, is just that: reality is what is REAL, what is factual, what is actual, what is true.

A perception may be the same as the reality, it may be altogether different (even opposite) or it may contain portions of a reality. But, our lives are so strongly influenced by perceptions that we’re fooled into believing that our perceptions ARE reality! And this causes us untold heart-ache, grief and endless trouble!

Wanting the best bananas is obvious. But wanting the best from God is something else altogether!

Fact: God wants only the very BEST for us!

Fact: If we want what God wants, then we (by default) want what is best for us also!

Yes, it’s true that God only wants for us what is BEST for us! So how can I convince you of this fact? Chances are that I can’t! Satan is the best salesman ever – he’s had millennia perfecting his sales pitch. Satan can sell refrigerators to Eskimos. And he sold mankind the outright LIE that God’s will is not in our best interest. If I cannot convince you that God wants the best for you – scripture can!

Jesus tells us –“… what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will give him a serpent? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?” Matthew 7: 9-11

This refers to asking things of Him. But we don’t even have to ask to receive ‘good things’ of Him. I like the way The New International Version says it:

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

If that’s not enough to convince you, consider this:

“And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.” John 3:14-17

Remember the THIRD Banana Principle I mentioned?

This Third Banana Principle is that we have a CHOICE! We have the God-given ability to pick and chose which bananas we want.

This ability to pick and choose is our WILL. Just as God has a will, He created us with a will also! “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.” Genesis 1:27

When God created us like Himself (in His image) He created us with a will also. That’s because God never intended us to be ‘little robots.’ He wanted us to have a parent/child relationship with Himself. He wanted us to have the ability to choose to love Him and to trust in Him. He wanted us to have the ability to choose His plan for us, PLAN A. He wants us to use this ability to choose – to choose His will over our own! Why, because He wants us to have that which is BEST!

And this is where Satan steps in. He’s learned to MANIPULATE our personal will through distorting and changing our PERCEPTION of God’s reality. Satan has convinced us that God’s will is difficult, hurtful, and altogether UNDESIRABLE!

Fact: God’s will is NOT a burden! God’s will often doesn’t coincide with our own will, but God’s will is ALWAYS in our best interest!

So what IS God’s will? God’s will is Plan A. God’s will is the First Choice. God’s will is the BEST plan.

 

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An Animal That Could Rule The World

This was a writing assignment for my Little Egypt Writer’s Society. Enjoy. Crown

AN ANIMAL THAT COULD RULE THE WORLD

by Bill Murphy ©2017

I’ll go one farther – how about an animal that no doubt WILL rule the world?

Actually, I don’t believe this, for the simple reason that I’m one of those ‘Bible Thumpers’ who believe – “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.” 2 Peter 3:10 (KJV) Maybe my choice for ruler will be ruling before that event!

My choice for World Ruler has been around for (non-creationists scientists say) 320 million years – before the dinosaurs. That’s got to count for something – like EXPERIENCE. And, my Ruler-choice is hardy, hardy, hardy – capable of living in MINUS 188 degrees Fahrenheit. He makes his own anti-freeze! (Industrious) Furthermore his resistance to nuclear radiation is up to 15 times greater than yours and mine. So, he’ll be long around after ‘The Big One.’

My choice would make a good President also, with an inbred talent for crossing, no – merging – Democratic and Republican lines – with his group-based decision making abilities. Unlike us, his concept of cooperation and competition are in complete BALANCE! We need him in Washington now!

Did I mention that he can still breathe with his head removed?

My Ruler’s reproductive abilities far exceed even that of my dear wife and our 4 daughters. How about an astounding 300 to 400 kiddies a year? That’s what I call being fruitful and multiplying!

Considering that this Ruler could do better at the polls than one of late… my queen (at least some of her distant cousins) are said to produce milk that is the most nutritious on earth!

She has a famous ancestor named ‘NADEZHDA,’ who flew in space with the Russian Foton-M tests, and became the very first terrestrial (earthling) to give birth in space!

So – who or what is this most amazing animal? I believe that Madonna (the singer) summed it up perfectly. She said, “I am a survivor. I am a cockroach,  you just can’t get rid of me.”

 

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All This And No Money Either

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FPC, JCM, NMMC © 2017 Bill Murphy

When you have a large family, lived a long life, visited so many exotic places and done so many amazing things, you don’t have an excuse for not writing. Your problem is – writing about ‘WHAT?’ Sadly, things fall through the cracks. This morning, an unexpected Facebook post shook a basket of nuts from the tree.

Bishop Wallace, from my days with Jitney Jungle, was fond of saying, “All this and money too.” But FPC, JCM, and NMMC didn’t pay. They did however, claim that the retirement was out of this world.

All of my adult life I’ve worked with my eyes, hands, and imagination. I’m an artist, and paid for my keep through working as a commercial artist. I joking call that prostituting my talent. Basically – I sold pork chops for Jitney Jungle.

FPC, JCM, and NMMC didn’t sell anything, they offered a pathway to salvation.

FPC stands for First Pentecostal Church. Our family was faithful ‘dues paying’ members for 25 years + or – 1 or 2. Naturally, I volunteered my ‘gifting and abilities’ to the work of God. Shortly after our union with FPC, the church took over a struggling Bible School from Tupelo, bringing it to Jackson and renaming it JCM – Jackson College of Ministries. Only last week I ran across a proof copy of the very first JCM Catalog, which I helped layout and typeset. Soon came the monthly newspaper, conference displays, etc., etc., etc.

And then, FPC/JCM acquired a new Music Minister and Dean of Music – Lanny Wolfe. FPC and JCM were famous for their joint effort in the creation of the NMMC, The Nation Music Ministry Conference – a week long yearly event designed to educate, inspire, and showcase musicians from across the national United Pentecostal fellowship.

That was when the fun really began!

The annual NMMC was a big deal. It brought in hundreds of musicians and guests from across the nation. It was claimed that FPC would sit 1,000 – but this proved to be an exaggeration by a couple of hundred. The architects lied. Chairs in the aisles did little to help. The venue was moved to the Municipal Auditorium. The NMMC made no small economic impact on the city of Jackson either.

The NMMC was never a simple dog and pony show. No way. The days were filled with seminars from everything from fiddling to copyrights. And the night events were marathons of choirs, soloists, and dramas. My ears still ring.

And everything had it’s advertising, paperwork, forms, signage, banners, brochures, etc., etc., etc. Bill was a busy boy – for several months prior and until after the home stretch. At the time, I was probably singing to myself – If this is the days my friend, when will they ever end?

I still have a couple of old notebooks with ‘to do’ lists. I’m amazed at the length of those lists! But, I was younger then.

Now don’t get me wrong, I loved what I was doing. I felt honored to be a part of such a huge undertaking. But I also loved to grip and complain. Don’t we all?

All those fun-filled and heady days of FPC, JCM, and NMMC came roaring back this morning in the form of the drawing above of Elvis Wolfe, which Lanny posted on Facebook. I guess he must have recently run across it. The original Lanny Wolfe drawing was done for an NMMC project, and in a spare moment of madness, I took the time I couldn’t spare to create that little tension-releaser.

Thanks Lanny for sharing it with me – after all these years. As before, it brought a big smile to my face.

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Just Lights In The Sky

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The Moon and Me In 1950  ©2017 Bill Murphy

I feel a special attachment to the moon, one that goes way back into childhood, and continues to this day.

Although my parents kept my sister and I well supplied with age-appropriate reading materials – I was especially excited by the discovery of the Viola E. Lake Memorial Library in George Elementary School. At first I struggled in learning to read, because all those ‘th’ words looked alike to me. By 3rd grade, I’d mastered that wonderful ability, and reading became the doorway leading me to places far from Evergreen Street in south Jackson.

I was especially drawn to books on astronomy and space travel. In 1950, Pluto was still a planet, and Mars was firmly believed to be laced by canals, just a Percival Lowell had drawn them in 1906. In the deserts of Arizona and New Mexico, the US military was firing off Werner von Braun’s V-2 rockets right, left, and ever higher, reaching up toward space. And Chesley Bonestall, that great painter of all things space, was in his prime, churning out vividly colorful images of men working on the moon, space ships on their way to Mars and beyond, and gigantic wheel-like space stations circling the earth. It was a most exciting time for youngsters like myself.

I’ve written much about my dear maternal grandmother who lived next door, but I need now to reveal a sad fact about her life. She was raised in a ‘dirt-poor’ family with few opportunities. She never learned to read. Therefore, her ‘world view’ was limited to not much farther than her arms could reach. But – what filled her heart more than made up for what was between her ears.

I can remember that pivotal night as if it were only yesterday.

This was the days before TV. Instead of sitting inside before an electronic device, we were outside, the adults sitting on the porch, the kids playing in the yard. I remember standing there in Mamaw’s front yard, gazing up at the moon overhead, and wishing and hoping that I would live long enough to see mankind even make an attempt to go there.

I can’t remember the exact words I spoke in relaying that deep and longing desire to my family that night, there in Mamaw’s front yard, but Mamaw quickly respond with,

“Child, there’s nothing up there to go to! The stars and – the moon up there – are just lights in the sky!”

To Mamaw, the sky overhead was just a gigantic domed roof overhead, and the moon and stars only ‘lights in the ceiling.’ Mamaw didn’t live long enough to learn otherwise.

But I did live long enough to see men not only try – but go to the moon – and walk on its dusty surface. And that’s another reason the moon is special to me. It was the very day that Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon that I first learned of Carol Ringer, now my dear wife. I wrote about that in January of this year, “The Year That Changed It All.”

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DISAPPOINTED WITH HEAVEN

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© 2017 Bill Murphy

This is NOT some great revelation, hardly. And I’m not attempting to rock your doctrine. I’m just relaying the thought which bounced around in my brain/spirit this morning.

It all began as I was mulling over the idea of a story of someone who suddenly ‘wakes up’ to find themselves in Heaven. Then my spirit immediately went in this direction:

We think of Heaven as a destination, a place somewhere (above) in a location that God alone knows. We also think, at least most of us, of Heaven as being a place like – well – HEAVEN! We think of it as place which brings us untold joy and happiness and pleasure. I remember that as a young boy, thinking of it as a place where I could build amazing model airplane for all of eternity, each would be perfect, and all would fly like angels – WITH the angels! You get my point.

Now my ‘big boy’ understanding is that Heaven is where God dwells. “Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.” Matthew 6:9

I also understand that Jesus has prepared a place for us in Heaven, where we are to dwell with Him forever. “In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” John 14:2-3

But – has the average/general understanding of Heaven become so carnal that we think Heaven is to be ‘OUR’ home? Do we think of Heaven as some fantastic Eternal Resort where our ‘eternal reward’ is to be pampered forever? Hollywood certainly would have us believe this!

Those who believe Hollywood’s vision of Heaven are in for a huge shock!

Remember, Heaven is ‘God’s Place,’ His home, His Kingdom, where He lives.

Yes, Jesus has prepared a place for us there – a place there in God’s place of abode.

Heaven belongs to God. He wants us there with Him – but it’s still His Place.

“Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.” Matthew 7:21

Jesus said, “Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 18:3

So what does this mean for you and for me?

I hardly think I’ll be building model airplanes in Heaven! And I hardly think that I’ll be the center of attention. Yes, I know I will be oh so thankful, thrilled, over-joyed, etc. to be there – but I also understand that Heaven will not be ‘about me.’

I can’t believe that Heaven will be about self. Self must be left at the gate, like a pair of muddy boots left at the back door.

Heaven will be about HIM – the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. We won’t be bringing anything to the table – except for praise and thanksgiving to and for Him – and – our will.  He will present the feast – just as He has always been the giver of all things good and wonderful.

Heaven is reserved for those who have humbled themselves and freely given their hope, heart, and lives to Him. Heaven is for those who have willingly sold out to Him – lock, stock and barrel. We sing, ‘I surrender all.’ But we must also mean it, and do it!

This is possible.

And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise. Luke 23:43

 

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BC, AD, and BAC

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©2017 Bill Murphy

We’re familiar with the terms BC and AD. From the Julian calendar: BC (Before Christ) and AD, (anno Domini, in the year of our Lord.) For the purpose of this post, I suggest a 3rd – BAC. BEFORE AIR CONDITIONING.

The past is nothing more than HISTORY, and because I lived it, I believe I can speak FOR it. Heaven knows my grandchildren are baffled by it! In spinning these yarns about the good ole days, I consider myself simply ADDING to their education!

That said, I well remember BAC. The first A/C school that I attended was COLLEGE! Our old home on Evergreen had no A/C. And we really didn’t think we needed it.

The windows in our house were made in two sections, upper and lower. The lower section was RAISED 12” to 18” upward, and the upper section LOWERED by this same amount. Because warm RISES, warm air near the ceiling was allowed to flow OUT of the upper opened section and cooler (outside) air could flow INSIDE through the opened lower section to replace the hot air. On days when it was not HOT, we didn’t need the attic fan. Adjusting the windows to the above configuration sufficed. The windows in George Elementary School, Enochs Jr, Hi and Central Hi all worked this way. But on days when the house got HOT inside, we had our large attic fan.

This 36″ fan was located in the attic over the small hallway in the front of the house. It lay HORIZONTALLY, blowing UPWARD into the attic. When turned on, all the INSIDE hot air was sucked up into the attic and expelled through vents to the outside. Outside air was sucked INTO the house, to replace the air expelled OUTSIDE. Hey, it WORKED! Or at least we thought it did. (It also sucked in dust and pollen!) But honestly, I can’t remember being miserable.

Yes I do. I remember that 2 or 3 times, CHS was dismissed around Noon or 1 PM because of excessive heat. But we survived. My great-grand-kids cannot relate to living through that.

A/C came to merchants long before it came to Evergreen. And those businesses who ‘bit the bullet’ and paid for that huge ‘extra’ expense was duly proud of their outlay – and flaunted it! Plastered across the front entrances they proudly proclaimed, “We Have Air Conditioning,” written in blue lettering with snow on top of each letter and icicles hanging below! Dad’s old store, Jitney No. 2 on Gallatin didn’t have A/C, but when Jitney No. 19 was built in Mart 51, it did.

We never had central air on Evergreen. Later we had window units.

And my first personal window unit (during college) was not a true A/C. It had no compressor, and no coils, and of course, no REFRIGERANT. It was basically a metal rectangular box, with a deep ‘pan‘ at the bottom. It had a fan which pulled air through a thick screen of something resembling MOSS. A garden hose was attached at the top (outside) and water was allowed to ‘trickle‘ through this moss as air was sucked through it and blown into the room. A pump brought water up from the pan and back down through the moss. The garden hose was to re-supply water that evaporated. Yes, it did cool – slightly. But the air it expelled was also very HUMID!

Our last vehicle without A/C was a ’55 Chrysler, which we took across country to Vancouver and San Francisco. Dad purchased a new-fangled automobile ‘window unit’ just for that trip. It was nothing more than a 9″ metal cylinder about 18″ long, with a trap door on top. It attached to the window, and held in place when the window was raised. When filled with ICE, air entered the front air scoop, over the ice, and out through a vent that opened to the inside the car. It was rendered useless by the deserts out west.

I believe it was ’67 before I lived in a house with CENTRAL A/C. And yes, I really do appreciate the BLESSING of A/C. When you’ve lived WITHOUT something of value like A/C, you don’t take it for granted.

I suppose that’s my ‘lesson‘ in the post.

 

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