Morning Musing: Matthew 6:14-15

“For if you forgive others their offenses, your heavenly Father will forgive you as well. But if you don’t forgive others, your Father will not forgive your offenses.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

When was the last time someone offended you? Don’t worry about the so-called “snowflakes” on college campuses across the country. Neither am I talking about your seeing something on the news happening in some other part of the country or world that made you angry. I’m talking about just you. When was the last time you were deeply, truly offended by something another person in your social circle did? Have you forgiven the person for that offense? Or, are you holding onto it for one reason or another? Forgiveness is a tough topic to tackle and for a number of reasons. And yet, if you would confess to being a follower of Jesus, it’s one you can’t avoid. Let’s talk this morning about forgiveness and why it matters so much.

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Morning Musing: Mark 11:25

“And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven will also forgive you your wrongdoing.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Yesterday we looked at a few verses in which Jesus seems to give us a blank check to essentially demand whatever we want from God and if we believe we’ll receive it strongly enough, we can expect to get it. We talked about the challenges of those verses and how they are all too often used improperly. The other thing I mentioned then was that in those verses there didn’t seem to be any clear “buts” that would lead us away from a straight line Prosperity Gospel. Well, this verse which follows immediately on the heels of what Jesus said about prayer gives us a bit of a “but.” This exception, though, is pretty important to note because it’s something Jesus said several different times. Let’s talk this morning about the relationship between forgiveness and prayer.

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Digging in Deeper: Mark 3:28-30

“Truly I tell you, people will be forgiven for all sins and whatever blasphemies they utter. But whoever blasphemies against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin” – because they were saying, ‘He has an unclean spirit.'” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Being forgiven is an amazing thing. There is freedom in that experience that is unlike anything else. In Christ, we have the assurance of forgiveness. There is this incredible hope in Him that we can be forgiven and made whole. We can be forgiven no matter what it is we’ve done. Right? Well, according to Jesus, no. Let’s spend a few minutes talking about one of the hardest things Jesus ever said.

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Digging in Deeper: Mark 2:5-7

“Seeing their faith, Jesus told the paralytic, ‘Son, your sins are forgiven.’ But some of the scribes were sitting there, questioning in their hearts: ‘Why does he speak like this? He’s blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?’” ‭(CSB‬‬ – Read the chapter)

Have you ever prayed for someone else? I suspect you have. Even as our culture seems to grow more secular all the time, a sizable majority of people still claim prayer is something important in their lives in some form or fashion. And when we pray, we pray for ourselves, yes, but we also pray for others. But do those prayers really accomplish anything? Can they? We don’t necessarily get an answer to that question here, but we get some important evidence that prayer just may be a whole lot more powerful than we imagine.

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Morning Musing: Zechariah 1:8-9

“I looked out in the night and saw a man riding on a chestnut horse. He was standing among the myrtle trees in the valley. Behind him were chestnut, brown, and white horses. I asked, ‘What are these, my lord?’ The angel who was talking to me replied, ‘I will show you what they are.'” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Discipline is not fun. It’s not fun and you’d be hard pressed to find anyone who takes the opposite opinion. It certainly doesn’t appear in the Scriptures. The most explicit reference to discipline there comes from the writer of Hebrews who says it plainly: “No discipline seems enjoyable at the time, but painful.” This is doubly true when you are the one doing the disciplining and the object of your effort is your children. When the discipline is over, though, what is needed then? We get a glimpse of that here in Zechariah’s first vision.

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