Digging in Deeper: Psalm 32:1-5

“How joyful is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered! How joyful is a person whom the Lord does not charge with iniquity and in whose spirit is no deceit! When I kept silent, my bones became brittle from my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy on me; my strength was drained as in the summer’s heat. Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not conceal my iniquity. I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,’ and you forgave the guilt of my sin.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Have you ever done anything wrong? I have a sneaking suspicion the answer to that question is yes. How did that make you feel? Be honest now. If you did it right, in the moment it probably felt good. That’s the tricky thing about sin. In the moment it usually feels pretty good. If it didn’t, we wouldn’t be so drawn to do it. The thing is, though, that in the moment feeling doesn’t tend to last very long. After a while, it gets replaced by something else: guilt. Guilt doesn’t feel so good. Guilt is a feeling we want to get rid of. David in Psalm 32 here tells us how. Let’s see what he has to say this morning.

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Morning Musing: Isaiah 30:18-21

“Therefore the Lord is waiting to show you mercy, and is rising up to show you compassion, for the Lord is a just God. All who wait patiently for him are happy. For people will live on Zion in Jerusalem. You will never weep again; he will show favor to you at the sound of your outcry; as soon as he hears, he will answer you. The Lord will give you meager bread and water during oppression, but your Teacher will not hide any longer. Your eyes will see your Teacher, and whenever you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear this command behind you: ‘This is the way. Walk in it.'” (CSB – Read the chapter)

The most common characterization of God people have from the prophets is that He is angry. He is filled with wrath and is waiting up in heaven to catch us in some wrongdoing so He can smite us. He’s like a kid with a magnifying glass on a sunny day perched over an ant hill. The first time we show our head out of the pile, He’s going to smoke it off with a blast of lightning. And, there are some passages scattered throughout the prophets that would seem to justify such an image. But what you perhaps don’t realize is those are the exceptions, not the rule. The rule throughout the prophets is something very different and entirely more New Testament-y in their flavor than you might expect. This morning as we finish up our short look at Isaiah 30, I want to set before a passage that is much more in line with the major picture of God we get from the prophets. Let’s talk about it.

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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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