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Posts Tagged ‘forgiveness’

     Yesterday was our first meeting of the school year!  What at first meeting it was!  Our planned lesson spoke about giving to God what is God’s.  If Caesar’s belongings are his because his image is on it, then we are God’s because we are made in His image!  “Will you give yourself to God this semester for His purpose?”

Even better was the unplanned lesson that God had for us!

It started in the God Watch part of our meeting.  What’s a God Watch?  It is a time to share how you see God moving in your life.  It can be answered prayer, and incident that only God can do. It can be seeing God’s perfect timing or seeing how God has lined things up in your life!
Shelly, our new President of Impact at UAlbany, shared how she had said something hurtful to someone 2-3 years ago and it has been on her heart to make amends with them.  The temptation to send a Facebook message was there, but she wanted to speak face to face.  Yesterday, they crossed paths.  The other girl tried to cover her face and remain hidden in the crowd, but Shelly saw her and made the effort to speak with her.  Small talk ensued, and Shelly brought it around to apologizing for her words, and that she never meant it in a way that would hurt like it did.  Her friend had been carrying this hurt for years, and through seeking forgiveness, the burden was lifted from both Shelly and her friend.
This God watch of saying how God lined this up to happen and that Shelly’s heart was ready to apologize and this person was there to accept it opened up another person to talk about a relationship they reconciled.
And another.

And another.

The theme of broken relationships came up.

Something we can all relate to.  There always seems like there will be more time to fix a relationship.  There is always tomorrow or next week, or next time, or year.  What was shared, was that there isn’t always tomorrow.  People move out of our lives and the chance is gone.  People pass away and we are left with a sadness that we never repaired that relationship or built it to what we thought it should be.  It was a great night and an unexpected lesson.  In a group where most people don’t know each other, these people were opening up faults and being honest and sharing what forgiveness really looks like in their lives.
It was a good day to be on campus!
-Zack
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Grace and peace,

today we are going over Romans 2.

Here is a link to it on biblegateway.com

Don’t you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Does this mean nothing to you? Can’t you see that his kindness is intended to turn you from your sin?

-Romans 2:4 (New Living Translation)

Do you ever get mad at someone who is nothing but nice to you?

Do you find yourself yelling at someone who speaks softly?

Probably not for both questions.

It is natural to respond to someone in the same way they respond to you.  Here is a simple test.  When you pass by someone you know, wait for them to say something first.

Friend: Hi

(What is your response?)

You: Hi

What if your friend said something else?

Friend: Hello

(Do you think you’d say hi?)

You: Hello

It is common to respond in the same way that some acted towards you.

This equal reaction go away when we deal with God.

We are shown love, we go our own way.

We are shown forgiveness, we harbor bitterness towards people.

We are shown peace, we create strife.

When it comes to the Creator, we respond poorly.

Paul says this isn’t how it should be.  God’s kindness should lead us to repentance.  If Jesus was a person who walked around and came over to your house for dinner once and a while, would you treat Him like most people, or would you treat Him as God?

That might be the real problem, we don’t treat God as someone who is part of our lives.

I think my challenge and your challenge is to make Jesus a real part of our lives.  We don’t treat people the way we treat our Saviour, we don’t turn our back and continually do wrong against them but we do to Christ.

Make our loving, caring God a bigger part of your life and may His kindness be real to you and me and may it lead us to repentance.

-Zack

What is God teaching you through Romans 2?

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Grace and peace,

today we are going over Matthew 18,

here is a link on biblegateway.com

Jesus tells a parable of the unmerciful servant in verses 23-35.

A servant owed the King 10,000 talents and when the King was about to sell the servant and his family into slavery in order to pay it back, the servant ….

well… let me just give you the story instead of a paraphrase, it’s only 13 verses.

Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. 24 As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand talents[g] was brought to him. 25 Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt.

26 “The servant fell on his knees before him. ‘Be patient with me,’ he begged, ‘and I will pay back everything.’ 27The servant’s master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go.

28 “But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii.[h] He grabbed him and began to choke him. ‘Pay back what you owe me!’ he demanded.

29 “His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay you back.’

30 “But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt. 31 When the other servants saw what had happened, they were greatly distressed and went and told their master everything that had happened.

32 “Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. 33 Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’ 34 In anger his master turned him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed.

What are these numbers? The first servant owed 10,000 talents. In dollars,  would be similar to owing millions of dollars!

MILLIONS!

Think of debt that you might owe a credit card company or a bank.  I know from experience, and maybe you do too, that debt is a heavy burden to carry.  This guy owed millions, I read in a commentary that he owed more money than what existed at that time in his country! Could you imagine owing more that what the United States has in it?!?!? In 2008, there was over $853 Billion dollars worth of currency in circulation in the United States.  His situation was like owing more than that!

And he claims he will pay it back!

The King looks at this guy and must think, no way could you pay this back but the king might see he is trying his best and so he releases the servant from this crushing debt.

This is how God treats us when we repent.  When I am honest in repentance and move from sin towards God, I am granted forgiveness.  You are too.

This guy, who has been forgiven more than I could imagine having, must feel amazing! To have been in debt myself and to now be out of debt is a huge difference.

Somehow, this servant goes from being elated that he is free from this debt to choking someone who owes him money.  It would seem like he could understand where a fellow servant is coming from in being short on money because he himself ran up millions in debt! What was owed to him? Only a matter of a few dollars!

The first servant was amazed by the grace of the King but didn’t give that same grace to others.

 

How often is my life like this?

It can be easy to hold a grudge because someone wronged me, but how often do I/you wrong God?

Can we work like the guy in the parable to pay back God for our wrongs? Maybe like build up a “Good” account and hope it is bigger than our “Bad” account? No, Isaiah 64:6 tells us that all of our righteous acts are like filthy rags.  The only way we can be released from our debt to God is through forgiveness.  That forgiveness is freely accessible through faith in Jesus and His atoning sacrifice on the cross.  He laid down his life for me and you to bring us into a right relationship with our King.

 

I need to forgive because God has forgiven me a debt I could never repay.

 

-Zack

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