Archive for April, 2012

Should I?

Posted in Church, Scripture on April 18, 2012 by nmpreach

Then Peter came and said to him, “Lord, if another member of the church sins against me, how often should I forgive?  As many as seven times?”  Jesus said to him, “Not seven times, but, I tell you, seventy-seven times.” – Mt 18:21-22 NRSV

And forgive our debts, as we have also forgiven our debtors. – Mt 6:12 NRSV

These were the verses read for our Bible study this morning.  The topic of discussion was forgiveness.  The specific question: Can we really ask to be forgiven our sins if we haven’t completely forgiven others?

It’s interesting in the first text the NRSV translators use the phrase “member of the church.”  The actual word in the Greek would be translated brother.  In other words, this isn’t just a casual acquaintance.  Peter is asking about someone whom he has a relationship with – someone who should also be concerned about community/relationship.  A brother has your best interests at heart.  He would never do anything intentional to hurt you.  Jesus says in effect, “Don’t keep score.  Forgive much.”

But what about those who don’t have your best interests at heart?  What about those people who don’t want a relationship/community?  What about people who have proven they could care less about you?  What if they have no desire to be a brother or sister?  What about those people?  Should I forgive?  Should I make peace (as much as possible) and then move on with life?  Should I continue to get bloody and bruised?

Of course there’s much to “unpack” in the word forgiveness, which leads to a conversation of grace, which leads to…  You get the idea.  So what say you?  John Bevere says no desire to forgive is The Bait of Satan.  Is there a difference if the one to forgive is a member of the Church, a brother, a sister?

Hmmm.

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God’s Plan

Posted in Discipleship, Scripture on April 5, 2012 by nmpreach

Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,

and before you were born I consecrated you;

I appointed you a prophet to the nations.  Jeremiah 1:4-5

There are times in my life where I hang out at these two verses.  I appreciate God telling Jeremiah about his call to speak to the nations.  But what always slows me down is the first two phrases.

Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,

God knew Jeremiah before he was known.  Before Jeremiah’s mother and father had the chance to hold their son, God KNEW the child – from the inside out.  God knew what his favorite toy would be.  He knew the favorite color that would be determined years later, and what his likes/dislikes would be with food.  God knew everything about Jeremiah before he was formed in the womb.

And if He knew Jeremiah like that, He also knew us like that.  Does that make you stop and think?  God isn’t surprised by any decision you make.  He loves you.  He wants the best for you.  And although we don’t know what the future holds, God does.   WOW!

The second phrase is just as powerful.

and before you were born I consecrated you;

God had a plan for Jeremiah’s life well before Jeremiah took his first breath.  And not just any plan.  This plan meant Jeremiah would be consecrated.  A synonym would be sanctified.  In other words, he would be set apart for what God’s plan was.  No one else could or should even attempt to do what Jeremiah was called to do.  That was God’s plan for Jeremiah.

And we’re no different.  Although God gives us free will to choose whether we will or we won’t follow His will, God knows that peace will only come when we walk step in step with what He wants for us.  When you and I cave in to the world around us, it grieves God.  He has a plan for you.  Are you following the plan?  What needs to change?

For you, God’s plan might be working at the bank.  It might be remaining single.  Maybe it’s not as big as speaking to the nations.  But it’s God’s plan for your life.  And the quicker you understand that, the better off you’ll be.

Don’t allow the world to force you into its mold.  Don’t settle for something less than God’s plan.

Posted in Uncategorized on April 3, 2012 by nmpreach

Jesus community

When Jesus came and God’s kingdom in him, not only was there to be a change contradicting the world’s system, but at bottom there was to be no less than a change of heart. It does little to no good to change systems or laws when there is no change of heart corresponding.

That week Jesus was telling his disciples that they would all fall away because of what was about to happen to him. Peter denied it emphatically, showing what little he knew. The Lord corrected him, telling him that he would actually deny him three times. Peter then protested that even if he had to die with Jesus, he would never deny him.

We know what happened afterward. In the garden Jesus had told the disciples not only to watch and pray with him, but to pray that they would not fall into temptation. The disciples fell asleep…

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