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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Morning Musing: Micah 7:18-20

“Who is a God like you, forgiving iniquity and passing over rebellion for the remnant of his inheritance? He does not hold on to his anger forever because he delights in faithful love. He will again have compassion on us; he will vanquish our iniquities. You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea. You will show loyalty to Jacob and faithful love to Abraham, as you swore to our ancestors from days long ago.”‬‬ (CSB – Read the chapter)

When you are writing or speaking one of the things you want to keep in mind is that people will tend to remember the last thing you say better than all the rest. This means you need to make sure to save your best stuff for last. With that in mind, when reading through an individual document in the Scriptures, we do well to pay special attention to what the author saved for the end. That’s the thing he most wants us to keep in mind. So, what do we find at the end of Micah’s collection of prophecy? Let’s take a look and talk about it.

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You Are Loved

In this final installment in our series, Hard to Love, we land with both feet on the biggest and most consequential truth there is: God loves you. Read on and marvel with me at how great our God is that though we didn’t want Him, He loved us still. Let this love fill you to a fullness you’ve never known before and pour out of you onto the people around you…even the ones who are hard to love.

You Are Loved

Have you ever watched somebody get something they didn’t deserve?  How’d you feel about that?  Did it inspire you?  Did it sicken you?  Were you pretty well ambivalent about it?  I would guess that most of us, depending on the exact details, would tend toward feeling inspired by such a story.  This becomes especially true when the person goes on to live up to the expectations of the gift.  Perhaps the most classic example of this is from the beloved story by Victor Hugo, Les Misérables, which Lisa and I actually got to see on stage back at the beginning of the month.  It was absolutely amazing.  The hero of the story, Jean Valjean, is set down the path of righteousness he walks all the way to the end of his life by the wildly unmerited gift of a Catholic priest.  The 2012 film adaptation starring Hugh Jackman captures this scene really well.  Take a look

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