Wednesday, August 31, 2016

"JESUS I KNOW, AND PAUL I KNOW…BUT WHO ARE YOU?" (3)

ACTS 19:15 NIV


Don’t try this on your own (3)

We’ve learned from the seven sons of Sceva that: 

(1) When "the evil day" comes, we discover what we’re made of! (See Eph 6:13).  The powers in this tormented man exposed the weakness in the seven sons of Sceva, overcame them and sent them running out of the house naked, stripped of their pretense.  One day we’re going to survive only because we’ve got the real thing.  One day it’s going to be truth or consequences.  One day we’re going to have walk with God when we can’t understand or explain where He’s taking us.  One day we’re going to have to stand on His Word when it doesn’t look like it’s working for us; our techniques, skill-set and connections won’t get us through.  So don’t try this on your own!


(2) Satan knows who we are!  Listen to the forces at work in this man: Jesus I know, and Paul I know…but who are you? Do we have the kind of relationship with God that causes Satan to know our name?  Do we even show up on his hit list? When God asked Satan, "Have you noticed my servant Job?" He replied, "Yes, and every time I come up against him I hit a force field I can’t penetrate!" God had Job covered – and He’s got us covered too.  Maybe we’re preoccupied with our own inadequacy and we’re saying, "I’m not able.  I’m not good enough." Understand this: It’s not us the enemy is afraid of; it’s the Spirit of God that’s in us! "Greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world" (1 Jn4:4)....to be cont'd


DON’T TRY THIS ON YOUR OWN!




In Christ,

Playwright Janet Irene Thomas
Founder/CEO
Bible Stories Theatre of
Fine & Performing Arts

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

"JESUS I KNOW, AND PAUL I KNOW…BUT WHO ARE YOU?" (2)

                         ACTS 19:15 NIV


Don’t try this on your own (2)
I

    love the WORD of GOD. I love the Work and the Move of the Holy Spirit within me when I read scripture.

Remember Fellow Believers, the fact that the Bible calls itself the,  ”word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15) and since God can’t lie (Titus 1:2, Hebrews 6:18), the Bible is true.  We are anointed with Godly wisdom when we read the Bible and we learn that the Lord is able to do impossible things.  Just as He appointed ancient deliverers and empowered them with His Spirit to do exploits, the same Holy Spirit who enabled these deliverers to do exploits and fulfill the Lord’s plans and purposes is at work today.  He desires to move upon His people so that we too can do impossible things.  So, how do we get here?  John 4:24,   tells us: "God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him is spirit and in truth".

In ‘Don’t Try This on Your Own (1)’   What do we learn from the seven sons of Sceva?
(1) That success is not as easy as it looks!  These men showed up toward the end of Paul’s career.  They weren’t there in the beginning when he was confronted and humbled on the Damascus Road, then trained for 3½ years in the Arabian Desert.  They were looking for shortcuts! Because someone writes a book about their success doesn’t mean you can achieve overnight what it took years of experience to bring them into.  It’s not that God can’t give it to you quickly.  It’s that you need time, preparation, and in some cases a major overhaul to handle it.
 (2) That greater numbers don’t necessarily mean greater effectiveness!  These seven men together couldn’t do what one Spirit-empowered apostle did.  And their father was one of the chief priests, so they knew how to ‘do church.’ They fit the description: “Having a form of godliness, but denying its power"         
(2 Tim3:5NIV).

 (3) That those around you are not always with you! 
Because somebody hangs out with you, admiring and trying to imitate his ministry – but they had the wrong heart motives.  They were never with him at all! Are you worried about losing certain people, always trying to keep them happy, wondering how you’d make it without them?  John writes. "They went out from us…that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us" (1Jn 2:19).  When God removes someone from your life because they don’t belong, trust Him, He knows what’s best! ...to be cont'd 

DON’T TRY THIS ON YOUR OWN!



In Christ,

Playwright Janet Irene Thomas
Founder/CEO
Bible Stories Theatre of
Fine & Performing Arts

Monday, August 29, 2016

"JESUS I KNOW, AND PAUL I KNOW…BUT WHO ARE YOU?" (1)

ACTS 19:15 NIV




H
Don’t try this on your own (1)



ello Saints and Happy New Year!  We give thanks to Almighty God for bringing us into a brand new year, and we shall honor Him with thanksgivings of Godly and Righteous Living. Amen.  As we prepare to embark on a ‘new’ journey of serving the Lord and working in His vineyard, we will, for the next five [5] days, study SPIRIT-empowered living. 

M

any of you are familiar with those TV shows where people do extreme audacious and dangerous things – things you might be tempted to think you could do?  But there’s always a disclaimer ‘don’t try this at home,’ or ‘don’t try this on your own.’  With that in mind, let’s read:


"God did extraordinary miracles through Paul…handkerchiefs and aprons that had touched him were taken to the sick, and their illnesses were cured and the evil spirits left them.  Some Jew who went around driving out evil spirits tried to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who were demon –possessed.  They would say, ‘In the name of Jesus, whom Paul preaches, I command you to come out.’  Seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, were doing this:  the evil spirit answered them, ‘Jesus I know and Paul I know…but who are you?’  Then the man who had the evil spirit jumped on them and …gave them such a beating that they ran out of the house naked and bleeding” (Acts 19:11-16 NIV).


Paul was so empowered by God that he made ministry look easy.  So these guys thought, "I can do that too." No you can’t – unless God equips you, you’ll fall flat on your face! 

The seven sons of Sceva were attracted by the wrong things.  They wanted the power Paul had but they didn’t want to pay the price Paul paid.  God doesn’t empower us to do our own thing.  He empowers us to do His thing; which is the only thing that matters.  Spirit-empowered living cannot be imitated, duplicated, bough, borrowed, or faked – and without it we’re no match for the enemy! .....to be cont’d



DON’T TRY THIS ON YOUR OWN!




In Christ,

Playwright Janet Irene Thomas
Founder/CEO
Bible Stories Theatre of
Fine & Performing Arts

Sunday, August 28, 2016

YOU ARE PRECIOUS TO ME

Self-esteem – built on God’s esteem!

A


 re you able to look in the mirror today and say, "Thank You Lord, You did a good job?"  If you can’t you’ll settle for anyone who can give you what you’re incapable of giving yourself a sense of worth

Listen, we can not become arrogant, but we do have to find a healthy balance somewhere between martyrdom and narcissism.  Until we do everybody else’s needs and opinions will be more important than ours.  We must not allow this; when that happens we end up annoyed, living without things we don’t have enough self-esteem to ask for because we don’t think we deserve them.


LOW SELF-ESTEEM is everywhere.  There is not a place that we don’t see evidence in this. If we don’t believe in ourselves and respect our own opinions we’ll finish up living to please everyone else.  One wrong look or one critical word from them and we’ll say, "I’ll never do that, say that, or wear that again."  Talk about feeling worthless and insecure!  Thank God we don’t have to live that way.  Peter writes, "The God of all grace… [will], make you perfect, establish, strengthen, [and] settle you” (1Peter 5:10).  

God wants to give us a sense of self-esteem – built on His esteem. 
Will we let Him?  Once others have heard us sing confidently they’ll want to hum along.  We just have to make sure they’re in harmony when they do.  WE train others to treat us by how we treat ourselves.  

The buyer will pay no more than the seller demands.  So today we go to God and, we ask Him to tell us who we are, and what we’re worth.  He will say, "You are precious to me.  You are honored, and I love you."  That’s God’s opinion – make it yours!


In Christ,

Playwright Janet Irene Thomas
Founder/CEO
Bible Stories Theatre of
Fine & Performing Arts
www.biblestoriestheatre.org
info@biblestoriestheatre.org





Saturday, August 27, 2016

MORE THAN CONQUERORS

"IN ALL THESE THINGS WE ARE MORE THAN CONQUERORS THROUGH HIM.

 ROMANS 8:37

How to get out of the storm


PREPARE.


1)   Prepare for the storm before you get into it!  The wise man built his house upon a rock because he believes in storms (Matt 7:24).  It’s impossible to go through life without them.  Where did we ever get the idea that we wouldn’t have problems?  "For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for him" (Php 1:29).  This is warfare – not welfare.

2)   Stay Calm!  Panic kills more pilots than bad weather because it clouds their ability to think clearly.  [In the storm]Jesus said to his disciples, It is I; be not afraid” (Mk 6:50).  We are to get our eyes on Jesus and keep them there; otherwise our fear will hurt us more than our circumstances.  Paul knew that God’s plan would always prevail so he announced, "Keep your courage…for I have faith in God that it will happen just as it was told me" (Acts 27:25).

3)   Never abandon your purpose!  They threw their cargo – the purpose for their journey – overboard.  Don’t do it!  DON’T EVEN THINK ABOUT IT! Never let go of the purpose for which God called you for; it will sustain you through the hard times.  Later Paul would write, "We know that all things work together for good…to them who are the called according to his purpose"(Roman 8:28). So be strong; the storm does not control our destiny, God does


He’s still in charge.  Stand up and announce, "In all these things we are more than conquerors."



In Christ,

Playwright Janet Irene Thomas
Founder/CEO
Bible Stories Theatre of
Fine & Performing Arts

Friday, August 26, 2016

DESIGNED BY GOD (3)

LORD JESUS CHRIST, WHO WAS AND IS "THE IMAGE OF THE INVISIBLE GOD"


RECAP: GOD created man, male and female, with reasonable  and immortal souls, endued with knowledge, righteousness, and true holiness, after His own image, having the law of God written in their hearts, and power to fulfill it: and yet under a possibility of transgressing, being left to the liberty of their own will, which was subject unto change. Beside this law written in their hearts, they received a command, not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil; which while they kept, they were happy in their communion with God, and had dominion over the creatures.


RESUME: Man was made not only negatively innocent (that is, without sin), but positively holy, otherwise Adam could not have had communion with God, who cannot look upon iniquity (Habakkuk 1:13). This is further confirmed by Genesis 1:31, when God affirms that everything He had made (including man) was 'very good', which would not have been true if man had been morally imperfect.

d.) It was a social likeness

God's social nature and intrinsic love is seen in the doctrine of the Trinity. God—who is love—created man with a social nature and a need for love. The statement in Genesis 3:8 that 'they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day' suggests that Adam and Eve enjoyed fellowship and communion with God, perhaps on a daily basis.

God also provided for human fellowship and love in a very special and intimate way. Before He created Eve He said, 'It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a help meet for him' (Genesis 2:18). He then made Eve out of a bone taken from Adam (Genesis 2:21-24), a fact which Jesus used in His debate with the Pharisees to uphold the sanctity of marriage and the intimacy of love within the marriage relationship (Matthew 19:4-6; Mark 10:6-8).

Conclusion
When God created the vegetation and the animals, He made them all 'after his/their kind' (the phrase occurs nine times in Genesis 1:11-25). When He created Adam, He made him after the God-kind — in the image and likeness of God (cf. Acts 17:28). After the Fall, man is still said to be in God's image (Genesis 9:6; 1 Corinthians 11:7) and likeness (James 3:9). However, this image was defiled by man's rebellion at the Fall, and all aspects of God's image were tarnished. Nevertheless, these aspects were perfect in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was and is 'the image of the invisible God' (Colossians 1:15), and 'the express image' of God (Hebrews 1:3), both in His life on earth and in Heaven.

The Apostle Paul says that we are transformed (designed) or renewed into the image of God by the Gospel, and that this image is then 'in righteousness and true holiness' (Colossians 3:10; Ephesians 4:24). This is not something that the natural man can bring about by his own efforts, but is the result of our 'receiving Christ' in faith and repentance (John 1:12; Galatians 2:20). It is accomplished by the Holy Spirit (Titus 3:5; Romans 8:28-29), who takes up His abode within God's children (1 Corinthians 3:1; 6:19). 'God is long-suffering towards us, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance' (2 Peter 3:9).



In Christ,

Playwright Janet Irene Thomas
Founder/CEO
Bible Stories Theatre of
Fine & Performing Arts

Thursday, August 25, 2016

DESIGNED BY GOD (2)

THE BELIEVER/CHRISTIAN VIEW OF "DESIGNED BY GOD"


When I read and then, deeply meditate on Genesis 1:27, I realized how truly blessed "we" are!  Ohhh, to have been created in our creator’s image! This scripture teaches us that: “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them” KJV.  We are to rejoice because from the beginning, we were all created for greatness!






G
OD created man, male and female, with reasonable and immortal souls, endued with knowledge, righteousness, and true holiness, after His own image, having the law of God written in their hearts, and power to fulfill it: and yet under a possibility of transgressing, being left to the liberty of their own will, which was subject unto change. Beside this law written in their hearts, they received a command, not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil; which while they kept, they were happy in their communion with God, and had dominion over the creatures.

Here are four points that are either obviously or indirectly evident:

1. Man was created [designed] as a direct act of God, in His image. Man is a “living soul,” composed of a physical (body) and a non-physical (spirit) element.
2. The image of God in man resides in the spiritual element.
3. Being God’s image-bearer [designed] somehow involves “dominion over the earthly creatures.”
4. The image is two-fold: there is a broader and narrower aspect of the image. The former is intrinsic and in-alienable; the latter is not-it was lost in the Fall.

Now that we are fully armed with the spiritual wisdom and knowledge of Genesis 1:27, why don’t we commit to memory the following:

a.) It was not a physical likeness, but...
Although God is spirit (John 4:24) and does not have a body like a man, when He appeared visibly to men according to the Old Testament record, He did so in the form of a human body (e.g. Genesis 18:1-2; 32:24, 28,30).

Furthermore, the human body was the form in which God the Son would be incarnated or 'made in the likeness of men' (Philippians 2:7). Thus God made man in that bodily form which He Himself would one day assume—the form in which He wished to reveal Himself.

b.). It was a mental likeness.

God endowed man with intellectual ability which was and is far superior to that of any animal. Thus man was given a mind capable of hearing and understanding God's communication with him, emotions capable of responding to God in love and devotion, and a will which enabled him to choose whether or not to obey God. Man was thus equipped, not only to 'love God and obey Him forever', but also to do God's work on earth—to be His regent and govern the creation in co-operation with his Creator.

This is seen in God's command to Adam and Eve that they exercise dominion over the earth and its animals (Genesis 1:26, 28), in Adam's task of cultivating the garden (Genesis 2:15), and in the statement that Adam gave names to certain of the animals on the earth (Genesis 2:19-20).


Man's intellectual gifts are further seen in his ability to design things and then make them, to appreciate beauty, to compose glorious music, to paint pictures, to write, to count to large numbers and do mathematics, to control and use energy for his own benefit (e.g. fire, electricity, nuclear power), to organize, to reason, to make decisions, to be self-conscious, to laugh at himself, and to think abstractly.

c.). It was a moral likeness.

Man only, of all God's creatures, has a spirit or God-consciousness, that is, a capacity for knowing God and holding spiritual communion with Him through prayer, praise, and worship. Since the Fall (Genesis chapter 3), man has had inborn moral awareness of good and evil, or conscience, which he perceives in his spirit......to be continued.


In Christ,

Playwright Janet Irene Thomas
Founder/CEO
Bible Stories Theatre of
Fine & Performing Arts
www.biblestoriestheatre  
info@biblestoriestheatre.org


Wednesday, August 24, 2016

DESIGNED BY GOD (1)

5 Bible Verses about Design


                Genesis 1:27 ESV 

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. 

               Romans 1:27 ESV 

And the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error. 

                  Romans 1:20 ESV  

For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. 

                John 4:24 ESV 

God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” 

                           Proverbs 31:1-31 ESV 

The words of King Lemuel. An oracle that his mother taught him: What are you doing, my son? What are you doing, son of my womb? What are you doing, son of my vows? Do not give your strength to women, your ways to those who destroy kings. It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine, or for rulers to take strong drink, lest they drink and forget what has been decreed and pervert the rights of all the afflicted. 




In Christ,

Playwright Janet Irene Thomas
Founder/CEO
Bible Stories Theatre of
Fine & Performing Arts
www.biblestoriestheatre 
info@biblestoriestheatre.org

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

KINGDOM OF GOD 8 (a)



What sin particularly blocks the flow of kingdom power God?       (Matt. 18:21-35)
Lack of forgiveness blocks access to the kingdom and to its marvelous power. (Matt. 6:5-15; Mark 11:22-26). 

Jesus does not give a legalistic or mathematical formula. He means limitless forgiveness.  (see 1 Cor. 13: 4, 5).  Lack of forgiveness blocks access to the kingdom and to its marvelous power. (Matt. 6:5-15; Mark 11:22-26).

The first person we probably have not forgiven is ourselves. More people lack forgiveness toward themselves than toward anybody else.  We are unwilling to forgive ourselves and to recognize that God says, "As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us" (Ps.103: 12).  If we are a believer, He has already cleansed our conscience from dead works so that we might serve the living God (Heb. 9:14). God cleanses us for service in order not to leave us with the guilt of past sin.  That should be dead, buried, and forgotten.
"If our heart condemn us not," the Bible says, "then have we confidence toward God" (1John 3:21).  Obviously, we cannot have continuing sin in our lives and expect forgiveness. We have to be free from ongoing conscious sin and rebellion against god. But if we are walking in the light, and walking in forgiveness, than the blood of Jesus Christ is continuously cleansing us from all sin (1John 1:7).

The second person we have to "forgive," if we have bitterness, is God Himself. There are people who blame God because a child died, because a husband ran away, because they have been sick, because they have not had enough money. Consciously or unconsciously we think all of these things are God’s fault. There is deep-seated resentment; yet we cannot be resentful toward God and experience kingdom power flowing in our life: we have to rid ourselves of any bitterness toward God. That may take some soul-searching. We must ask ourselves, "Am I blaming God for my situation?"

The third person we may have to forgive is a member of our family. We have to get rid of resentment, especially toward those closest to us. The husbands, the wives, the children, and the parents-all must be forgiven when slights and resentments have built up in family situations. Many people say, "well, I didn’t think that counted. I thought that was just a family matter." All lack of forgiveness has to be eliminated, especially toward every family member.

Finally, there has to be forgiveness for anybody else who has ever done anything against you. It may be that your resentment is justified. The person may have done a very evil, terrible thing to you.  You may have every legal and intellectual right to hold a grudge and to hate that person. But if you want to see kingdom life and power flow in your life, it is absolutely imperative that you forgive.

Forgive them to the point where you actually feel yourself cleansed of resentment and bitterness and are actually praying for them.  If you do not, the lack of forgiveness will make it impossible God’s power to be released to and in you. The miracle life depends 100 percent on our relationship to God the Father. That relationship is built strictly on the strength of His forgiveness of our sin.

Forgiveness is the key. Other sins can be present, and if our heart condemns us for something else, then of course we do not have confidence before God. But it is lack of forgiveness that most often comes between people and God. 




In Christ,

Playwright Janet Irene Thomas
Founder/CEO
Bible Stories Theatre of
Fine & Performing Arts


Monday, August 22, 2016

KINGDOM OF GOD 8

Jesus motivates His disciples to live righteously by emphasizing that such living comes from the heart with love and in trust, more than through observance of an external code of ethics. Consequently, NT wisdom reveals the differences between a correct behavior, based only on the Law, and righteous actions that proceed from the heart of a new life reborn in Christ.

How does one become great in the kingdom of God? (Luke 22:25-27)

The Lord Jesus chose men-ordinary fallible humans beings-to be His disciples.  Like people everywhere, they wrestled with pride and ambition (Matt. 20:20-23). Realizing their striving, Jesus set a little child down in their midst, saying that in the kingdom, the great are like children-humble, trusting, and teachable (Matt. 18:4). 

Later, when their concern for status surfaced again, he elaborated this law, saying that the greatest is the servant of all (Luke 22:25-27). This standard works today!  The great in our society are people who serve the sick, the needy, and the wounded.  These are great because they have given themselves to serve others.  Jesus Christ leads the list.  He is the greatest of all because He gave Himself for the sins of the world (Phil. 2:1-11).

There is a very practical outworking of the law of greatness in the everyday world.  Those who do serve the most people may often become the most famous and prosperous.  But this was not their motive; rather, recognition seems to be the inevitable fruit of self-giving, childlike service to mankind. 



In Christ,

Playwright Janet Irene Thomas
Founder/CEO
Bible Stories Theatre of
Fine & Performing Arts


Sunday, August 21, 2016

BENEFITS OF WISDOM


Proverbs 3:5-6
King James Version (KJV)
Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.
In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.




Study God’s Word and listen to the Holy Spirit.  Believe God’s prophets.  Understand that these are the true sources of godly knowledge.


REFLECTION

Many of us are acquainted with the Book of Proverbs; however, we are especially familiar with Chapter 3, verses 5 and 6. I remember as a young girl, I memorized these chapter and these two (2) verses. The operative word here is ‘memorized’. With the thoughts of a child, it was very ‘important’ for me to memorize scripture because this is something that I was taught in Sunday School. However, today I realize that as I was memorizing scriptures, I WAS NOT learning or committing God’s Word to my heart, soul, mind, and spirit. Friends, I tell you, little did I know that daily reading of God’s Word …especially Proverbs would endow me with Godly and life wisdom!  Read 

HIS WORD!  It is not just enough to memorize the WORD of GOD. There must be clarity, understanding, application and meditation of what we read. There are 31 verses in Proverbs, a verse for every day of every month of the year.  Repetitious reading of proverbs (i.e. today is the 7th and we will read Proverbs 7) every month will soon reveal/manifest to us that there is guidance and direction for every facet of our lives, thereby we are begetting WISDOM!

 
Let’s learn Proverbs 3:5, 6 - Intimacy and Spiritual Breakthrough.   


Two words in this passage are especially significant-the words “ways” and “acknowledge.”
           
The word “ways” (Hebrew derek) means “a rod, a course, or a mode of action.”  It suggests specific opportunities a person may encounter on a recurring basis.  The most common “segment of opportunity” we experience regularly



In Christ,

Playwright Janet Irene Thomas
Founder/CEO
Bible Stories Theatre

Saturday, August 20, 2016

MAKING RESTITUTION


The 3 Rs Of Accountability- Repentance, Restitution, and Personal Responsibility


Restitution: The act of making amends; the act of returning or restoring to someone what is his; restoration of a thing to its proper owner or its original state; reparation for injury or damage ;  a balancing of the accounts ; compensation for loss, damage or injury; the act of returning or restoring to a person some thing or right of which he has been unjustly deprived, restitution is made by restoring a specific thing taken away or lost; the act of making good, or of giving an equivalent for any loss, damage, or injury; indemnification.


There’s a passage in the Holy Bible that goes thusly:  “A thief must certainly make restitution, but if he has nothing, he must be sold to pay for his theft. If the stolen animal is found alive in his possession—whether ox or donkey or sheep—he must pay back double”.


What do we definitely know about the above passage?  What do we think we know about the passage?   Shall we study it together?

Biblical Fact:

In the Bible, the Lord instructs us to make restitution to those we have wronged.  The Biblical model for restitution is returning what we have taken from another, and ADDING to it as well.  In Leviticus 6:1-7, we are taught: THE LORD SAID TO MOSES: "if anyone sins and is unfaithful to the lord by deceiving his neighbor about something entrusted to him or left in his care or stolen, or if he cheats him, or if he finds lost property and lies about it, or if he swears falsely, or if he commits any such sin that people may do- when he thus sins and becomes guilty, he must return what he has stolen or taken by extortion, or what was entrusted to him, or the lost property he found, or whatever it was he swore falsely about.  he must make restitution in full, add a fifth of the value to it, and give it all to the owner on the day he presents his guilt offering.   and as a penalty, he must bring to the priest, that is, to the lord, his guilt offering…..and he will be forgiven for any of these things that made him guilty."  We should also note that this passage specifies restitution not just for theft of material goods, but for offenses such as deception, swearing falsely and any other such sins.  So, we thus far have learned that - -

  • Restitution is a biblical concept; and there are passages in both Old and New Testaments that reveal the mind of God on this subject. In the Old Testament, the Israelites were under the Law, which specified restitution in a variety of circumstances: “If a man steals an ox or a sheep and slaughters it or sells it, he must pay back five head of cattle for the ox and four sheep for the sheep. . . . A thief must certainly make restitution, but if he has nothing, he must be sold to pay for his theft. If the stolen animal is found alive in his possession—whether ox or donkey or sheep—he must pay back double. If a man grazes his livestock in a field or vineyard and lets them stray and they graze in another man's field, he must make restitution from the best of his own field or vineyard. If a fire breaks out and spreads into thorn bushes so that it burns shocks of grain or standing grain or the whole field, the one who started the fire must make restitution. . . If a man borrows an animal from his neighbor and it is injured or dies . . . he must make restitution” (Exodus 22:1, 3-6, 14).

  • Leviticus 6:2-5 covers other situations in which the stolen property is restored, plus one fifth of the value. Also of note in this passage, the restitution was made to the owner of the property (not to the government or any other third party), and the compensation was to be accompanied by a guilt offering to the Lord. The Mosaic Law, then, protected victims of theft, extortion, fraud, and negligence by requiring the offending parties to make restitution. The amount of remuneration varied anywhere from 100 to 500 percent of the loss. The restitution was to be made on the same day that the guilty one brought his sacrifice before the Lord, which implies that making amends with one’s neighbor is just as important as making peace with God.

And, if we were to look further in the New Testament, we will find a magnificent example of Zacchaeus in Luke 19. Jesus is visiting Zacchaeus’s home, and the people who know the chief publican to be a wicked and oppressive man are beginning to murmur about His associating with a sinner (verse 7). “But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, ‘Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost’” (verses 8-10).

From Zacchaeus’s words, we learn that:

1.    He had been guilty of defrauding people.
2.    He was remorseful over his past actions.
3.    He was committed to making restitution.

From Jesus’ words, we learn that:
    1.    Zacchaeus was saved that day and his sin was forgiven. The evidence of his salvation was both his public confession (Romans 10:10) and his relinquishing of all ill-gotten gains. Zacchaeus repented, and his sincerity was evident in his immediate desire to make restitution. Here was a man who was penitent and contrite, and the proof of his conversion to Christ was his resolve to atone, as much as possible, for past sins.

Friends, the above continue to hold true today for anyone who truly knows Christ. Sincere repentance leads to a yearning to redress wrongs. When someone becomes a Christian, he will have a desire born of deep conviction to do good, and that includes making restoration whenever possible. The idea of “whenever possible” is crucially important to remember. There are some crimes and sins for which there is no adequate restitution. In such instances, a Christian should make some form of restitution that demonstrates repentance, but at the same time, does not need to feel guilty about the inability to make full restitution. Restitution is to be a result of our salvation—it is not a requirement for salvation. If you have received forgiveness of sins through faith in Jesus Christ, all of your sins are forgiven, whether or not you have been able to make restitution for them

I believe that restitution is an unfamiliar and often uncomfortable concept to many of us.  It comes as quite a surprise to offenders to be told that they are expected to undo the damage that they did.  It often comes as a surprise even to the victims, who for some reason don’t really believe they have the right to expect someone who did them wrong to fix what he/she did.

So, as we grow in Christ, it ‘must’ become an important part of our lives to be accountable and began the process of making amends.  Making amends includes "making it up to" the one who was hurt.  It means undoing as much of the damage that you did as possible.  It means making every effort to make the victim whole again, just like she was, mentally, physically, and emotionally, before the offender did whatever he did to her.  It might include making her whole financially- the offender paying back anything he borrowed, stole, or scammed the victim out of.  It might include restoring the victim’s reputation if he gossiped or lied about her, which would mean swallowing his pride, personally going to each person he gossiped or lied to, and setting the record straight.  The idea is that the victim should not have to suffer the consequences of the abuser’s actions.  The abuser needs to be willing to suffer the consequences of his own actions in order to make it right for the victim. 

Friends, if we truly love the Lord, then we hide in our hearts HIS WORD that we might not sin against HIM.  King David wrote in Psalms 91: “against you only have I sinned”. When we sin against our brother and our sister, we sin against God. When we repent and make restitution, we are being obedient to God, pleasing God, and making right with our brother or sister. Isn’t it all about GOD?  When we begin walk in the footsteps of Jesus, we walk righteous and holy in the sight of God, and the Holy Spirit will bring to our remembrance those things we have done to offend; thus we seek out those person (s) and make restitution.


In closing, we see that a mere apology in not sufficient.  Making restitution is an important part of God’s formula for restoration of relationships.  If it is impossible to undo all the damage, then we need to require to undo as much as possible.  God’s justice is a perfect justice.  He requires restitution, and so should we.  Amen.




In Christ,

Playwright Janet Irene Thomas
Founder/CEO
Bible Stories Theatre of
Fine & Performing Arts