I’ve heard one of the greatest barriers to accepting Christ is the feeling of being unforgivable. One of my favorite songs is, “Love Me” by J. J. Heller, and although all the words are beautiful and reveal God’s amazing, initiating, redeeming love, it is the final verse that threatens tears every time.

It says, “I know you’ve murdered and I know you’ve lied. I’ve watched you suffer all of your life. And now that you’ll listen, I’ll tell you I will love you for you. Not for you have done or what you will become. I will love you for you. I will show you what love, what love really means.”

That verse reveals God’s heart. Grace doesn’t say get your act together, then I’ll love. It says come as you are, I’ve always loved you. Grace says there is nothing you could ever do to make God love you more and no matter what you do, God will never love you less. But my favorite part of grace is the promise that when I turn to God for forgiveness, He washes me clean and makes me knew. Every sinful stain, eradicated by the blood He shed for me, leaving me clothed in radiant white.

As you read Paula Petty’s story below, let the grace of God wash over you and hold tight to what you know is true–what He says is true. If any man is in Christ, He is a new creation. The old has gone and the new has come.

Forgiving Yourself by Paula Petty

I stepped out of the car and into a wad of gum. I went to the edge of the concrete and stroked my foot back and forth in an attempt to scrape the sticky residue from my shoe.  That didn’t work.  The gum stuck to the asphalt with each step and made a snapping sound that aggravated me.  I spent the rest of the afternoon walking on my heel.

My life was much like the gum on the shoe. I didn’t feel forgiven. With each step I took, I felt the weight of the sin sticking to me like the gum on the shoe. Confusion and doubt settled in my mind causing me to lose focus. Each mess in my life brought me before the Lord in repentance, and the weight of my sin brought me further down until my life spiraled out of control and sent me into depression. I wanted to feel forgiven.

As I moped around the house one day, a song popped into my mind about being redeemed. I started singing with barely a mumble. Then I suddenly realized that my Father had forgiven me. It was time that I forgave myself and let it go so that I could move on. I uttered another prayer to the Lord then forgave myself. Immediately, I felt a peace like nothing I had felt before.

Forgiveness is being set free from sin. Jesus sets us free from them. It does me no good to ask for forgiveness if I don’t forgive myself. When I ask for forgiveness, I am laying my burden down—all of it—at the feet of Jesus. I leave it with Him. He frees me from the guilt so that I can focus on a life filled with His love.

Oh, Lord, forgive me for whatever I have done that has not brought glory to you. Empty my heart of the bondage of sin and free me. Fill it with the peace that comes from being free. Guide me so that I can focus on a life dedicated to you. Amen

*     *     *

I’d like to close out Paula’s story with a promise God made to each of us: 1 John 1:9 “But if we confess our sins to Him, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all wickedness.” (NLT)

Paula Petty has had articles and poetry published in several magazines such as Christian Woman. A former vacation Bible school director for ten years, she coordinates the ladies’ ministry at her church and speaks at ladies’ conferences in this country and Cuba, Jamaica and Honduras and is currently working on her Christian living book In Need of a Compass. Paula can be reached on her blog http://www.paulaspocket.blogspot.com or on her website www.paulapetty.com.

As an FYI, we’re getting some work done on our house starting today, which will interfere with our internet connection. Therefore, I may not post anything for a while. Have a great week!

Albert Lozano is a walking picture of grace, a living testimony to the transforming power of Christ. Those who knew him “in the day” likely wouldn’t recognize him. He quotes Scripture as easily as if he were recalling familiar events and speaks of God like one would an intimate friend. How different he is today from that dope shooting seventeen year old gang-banger running the streets in LA. As I read his testimony I was reminded of something Jesus said in Luke 7:47. Those who have been forgiven much love much. That is certainly true of Albert.

Here’s his story:

I grew up in LA california. My parents fought constantly and were usually drunk. The cops likely knew our address by heart, they came by so many times. I lost my mom at ten years old. My dad passed away three days before my 15th Birthday. From then on I was homeless for a few years. During this time, I got really involed in gangs, drugs and drinking. I started going to jail as a teenager. At age fifteen I’d had enough. My life was hopeless and my future bleak, so I tried to commit suicide. It didn’t work. By seventeen I was shooting up dope.  I meet a girl who tried to help me stop the drugs and gang-banging, but I held onto the gang life. I drank heavily, and started having children with my girlfriend.

By 1999, we decided to move to the midwest to change our lives and give our children a better future.  I married the girl, and we both gave our lives to the Lord. We had two more kids, a total of five beautiful children. We’ve been together for nineteen years now and have served the Lord for ten. I praise GOD for his grace and mercy. The love I lost in losing my parents GOD totally re-stored with my wife and children, GOD has done some big things in our lives. And if He doesn’t do more it’s okay, because He’s already done enough. I praise GOD because my children don’t see the life tht I grew up in. They grew up the last 10 yrs praising GOD with us, their parents. I am daily reminded of the verse that says, “He will turn your ashes to beauty.”


Dope and gang life is not easy to break away from. One day I was speaking with a friend and she asked, “Why are some able to overcome their addiction while others aren’t.”

She wasn’t speaking about non-believers. If she had been, the answer would be easy. Without Christ, we are enslaved to sin. We long for freedom but are powerless to grasp it. And yet, my friend shared stories of believers–of men and women who had been rescued from the power of darkness and made to walk in newness of life, only this new life appeared to evade them. Why were these Christians still living in bondage?

My answer? They bought into the lie that they couldn’t do better and they failed to grasp the reality of grace.

When we accept Christ as our Lord and Savior, the power of the Creator of the universe lives within us. He lives within us and surrounds us. Think about that for a moment. The One that gave power to the sun and holds the universe together lives within you. He has given you everything you need to live a victorious life, and it all begins with full surrender. In admitting that you can’t do it in your own strength. It begins with faith, believing that God is who He says He is and can do what He says He will do. So what has He said? His promise is that anyone who is in Christ is a new creation. The old has gone. That sinful nature? It’s dead–crucified with Christ. The new has come, and God will complete the work He began in you.

Real transformation begins when we surrender fully–mind, heart and soul. If you surrender your mind to obedience, there’s no room for negative self-talk. Your old self says, “I can’t help it.” Your new self says, “I can do all through Christ who strengthens me.” The old self says, “If only I tried harder…” The new self says, “Lord, empty me of me and fill me with You, because I can’t do this, but You can.”

Pray this prayer daily then watch God work:

(Personalized from Romans 12:1-2) “In view of Your mercy, Lord, I offer my body, my mind, my time, my will, to You as a living sacrifice. May this be my spiritual act of worship. Do not allow me to be conformed to the ways of this world, but instead, transform me by renewing my mind. Help me to know, understand and follow Your good and pleasing will.”

You were purchased by a high price–the very blood of Christ, and were called to freedom.