“Me” is nobody

When I read about “The Parable of the Unforgiving Servant” in Matthew 18:21-35 I get angry at how rotten the man is who makes the one pay back all that is owed when someone he owed far more forgave him. But when I look at my own life I can see a very real parallel. I see myself being very black and white on things with others when for myself I can nudge a little gray in there. As if the rules were made for everyone BUT me. It is easy for me to think the world revolves around me because “me” is all I really know. “Me” has been with me my whole life. But then I remember, this feature film is not about me. It is not directed by me. I don’t even have a cameo appearance. I’m the back of the head that you see in frame number 1,943,833,987,673,011 for the blip of a second in the span of time. Time is just one film in the span of all eternity. This film is not about me. It is about God. Staring Jesus. Directed by God. Produced by the Holy Spirit. It is ALL Him. I need to forgive and expect myself to die to everyone else around me. I have been forgiven for such a tremendous amount of blood that for me to demand payback is ludicrous. I desire to eradicate my pride and live in absolute humility. I desire to continue to be sanctified and pray for more and more faith every day.

Link to today’s full Daily Bible Reading: http://www.compasschurch.org/dbr/january-26/

 

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Matthew 18:21-35

The Parable of the Unforgiving Servant

21 Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” 22 Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven. [1]

23 “Therefore the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his servants. [2] 24 When he began to settle, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents. [3] 25 And since he could not pay, his master ordered him to be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and payment to be made. 26 So the servant [4] fell on his knees, imploring him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.’ 27 And out of pity for him, the master of that servant released him and forgave him the debt. 28 But when that same servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii, [5] and seizing him, he began to choke him, saying, ‘Pay what you owe.’ 29 So his fellow servant fell down and pleaded with him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you.’ 30 He refused and went and put him in prison until he should pay the debt. 31 When his fellow servants saw what had taken place, they were greatly distressed, and they went and reported to their master all that had taken place. 32 Then his master summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. 33 And should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?’ 34 And in anger his master delivered him to the jailers, [6] until he should pay all his debt. 35 So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart.” (ESV)

Footnotes

[1] 18:22 Or seventy-seven times
[2] 18:23 Greek bondservants; also verses 28, 31
[3] 18:24 A talent was a monetary unit worth about twenty years’ wages for a laborer
[4] 18:26 Greek bondservant; also verses 27, 28, 29, 32, 33
[5] 18:28 A denarius was a day’s wage for a laborer
[6] 18:34 Greek torturers

The Holy Bible, English Standard Version copyright ©2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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Perfectly Planned Perspective

Jesus warns the two blind men he healed in Matthew 9:27-31 to not tell anyone what he did. He “sternly warned them.” There was no room to misinterpret his warning to them. So, what did they do? They turned right around and told everyone! What is the harm we might think? Why was it such a big deal? If Jesus healed my blindness I would want to scream his name from the mountain tops! Isn’t this precisely what he wanted? To spread his name and his good news?

Well, yes and no. Timing is everything. You see, these people were looking for a Messiah, a King to save them from their oppression. Yes, that day will come, but not until his SECOND coming. This was his first. While he needed people to spread the word, his first coming was for very specific reasons that even those closest to him did not fully understand until it was finished on the cross and even then they were confused until he rose from the dead.

This passage helps me to remember that my timing is not His timing. His timing is perfect and his perspective is perfect. It allows me the great ability to allow Him to take the pressure off of me because God’s plans are perfect and are underway. Hindsight is 20-20 and I long for the day when I see clearly all the things of history from his perspective.

LORD of LOVE

Lord of love, Lord of life and everything in it. You are pure and perfect in every way. Love is all of you. You can do nothing outside of your loving kindness. Your discipline stems directly from your love. Your judgement stems directly from your love. Your trials and tests stem directly from your love. Your love: what a perfect picture of beauty and synergy.

You teach us through our own love for our children. How in love I may cause pain or in love I may make my child angry but it is all for a purpose. For an outcome not seeable at that moment by the child. Your love at times causes me pain. Your love at times frustrates me. But I know it is perfect and that you act out of the knowledge of the end and not the means.

40 Hour Challenge

40-hoursWhat do you do in 40 hours? Maybe you work for a paycheck for one week or perhaps you watch 40 hours of TV over a month. There is a lot you do or could do over a 40 hour time span. Did you know that the average reader can read through the entire Bible, cover to cover in only 40 hours? Don’t believe me? If you go to http://www.esvbible.org and play the audio on any chapter and read along while the man is reading to you, you will see you are just about twice as fast as him because he pauses for dramatic effect and reads some areas slower. If you take all of his recordings and add them up for the entire bible, he is just over 77 hours of recorded time. So, do you think you can dedicate 1 hour a day to reading the Bible and see how far you can get in 40 days? What about 30 minutes a day and see if it takes you 80 days.

So many people say they don’t have time and they can’t keep up with reading every day. The DBR through Compass Bible Church is SOOOO easy and is already broken down for you in 10-15 minutes of reading per day. Actually it is quite a bit less than that, because the timing is based on the man reading it to you. So, if you don’t have time, download the Compass Bible Church ap and let the man read to you in the morning when you wake up, or on your commute to work, or when you are in the shower. Really there is no excuse for not being in God’s Word. I promise you, if you dedicate yourself each day to reading the Bible for even just one minute per day (read one or two verses a day) God will be greatly pleased with your effort. And who knows, maybe you will start to crave His Word more and more with each passing day!

Faith

God is full of faith. Not faith in us but faith that is from him. He keeps his promises. He is steadfast. Full of beautiful, sustaining faith. I need to reciprocate that faith. His faith is based on his promises and my faith is based on my believing his promises and trusting that he will keep his promises. Thank you LORD, for your faithfulness and please I ask for more faith.

Life Upon Life is the Prize

While the gift of eternal life is free, the cost to those who accept it is very high. Look at it from another perspective. It is technically free to get pregnant and free to have a baby (if you choose to do it all on your own) but the cost to your life in the caring for and rearing that child are high, VERY high. Some might even say you give up your own life when you decide to have children.

Jesus asked nothing less of us than to follow him and give up our life. It was not a glamorous life we are to follow. He made that clear in Matthew 8:20 where he said “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” If you get a chance to talk to anyone who is truly homeless they will tell you that while free, it is a very hard life. Jesus promised us hardship and a world that would hate us as it hated him.

I must always remember this and never think that following Jesus will be or should be easy. It is the narrow harder path, but I know that my reward will be GREAT after this life. Look at John 10:10b. “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” The word “abundantly” in this context, in the Greek context, and in the context of Scripture as a whole means that we would have life “exceedingly abundantly” or “more upon more” or in denotative terms “life upon life” which means eternal life. This is what I cling to. This is why my life is given up to Jesus as a bond-slave to him.

Fear and Trembling, Fear and Trembling

Matthew 7:21-23 are verses we should all commit to memory. This passage flat out causes me to shudder. I’ve read this verse countless times over the past 25 years of being associated with Christianity. In reading it I can actually remember thinking, “Wow, I’m glad that passage does not apply to me.” and then, “I wonder what people group Christ was addressing back then that would cause him to say that.” You see, I always thought it referred to people of Jesus’ time because the people were saying they were prophesying and casting out demons in his name. That was the part that blinded me to the whole. It was antiquated (out dated) and not in reference to me or anyone in our time for that matter. Boy was I wrong.

If you read that passage and understand that he is talking about the Day of Judgement at the end of days you will see that he is talking about potentially ALL of us. Don’t get me wrong, he is not saying that about everyone, but he qualifies it by saying “many.” Not some, or several, or even a lot. MANY. Many is more than half for sure. So consider this: do you want to be a part of the MANY that on judgement day are completely confused because you thought you were a Christian only to find out that Jesus tells you to depart from him and calls you a worker of lawlessness? Check out Philippians 2:12 where it says “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” Don’t assume anything.

Remember, these people THINK they have an intimate relationship with Jesus. They call Him “Lord, Lord.” In Hebrew tradition whenever anyone is addressed using their name twice it means they have an intimate relationship with the one they are talking to. Paul tells us in his second letter to the Corinthians, “Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith.” – 2 Corinthians 13:5 Let’s consider how we can work out our own salvation with fear and trembling by constantly and consistently checking our fruit and our growth in our sanctification!

I encourage you to do a “fruit audit” as soon as you can to check to see if you are of the faith.

A Thick Opaque Blanket of Blood

20150112-085215.jpgThere is no fault in you at all. No error, no defect. There is no person or being that even comes close to your holiness. You are eons above and beyond all that we know or comprehend about what it means to be holy. Your throne is comprised of actual praises. How beautiful is that. How incomprehensible. How incomparable. You are holy beyond measure. I am called to be holy because you are holy. How? Oh the dilemma! You made it perfectly easy by the blood of your Son. His blood covers me in perfect holiness. I am saturated in blood! It makes me clean. What a picture! Gruesome. Covered in blood. Why blood? Blood is our life. Blood is our health. Blood is our makeup. Jesus’ blood was perfect. Unblemished. Pure. Holy. His blood saturates, infiltrates, and completely covers with it’s thick opaque blanket. No longer can my spots and impurities and imperfections be seen by You, my holy God, because I am clothed by Jesus. By putting Jesus on, I am clothing myself in His blood. Holy perfect blood. Life giving and pure.

Attributes and Love

Love! Your love is perfect and goes hand in hand with all your other attributes. You are love. Love defines your judgement. Love upholds your power. Love encompasses your wisdom. Love invades your immutability. Love penetrates your patience. Love makes perfect your holiness. Love infiltrates your sovereignty. Love covers all that you are just as each attribute covers and works in and through and around all of your other attributes. You are incredible and faithful and true and LOVE intertwines them all.

Hallowed be Your Name

“Hallowed be your name.” How often do you pray about this? Holy be the name of YHWH. Jesus was asking us to ask first and foremost that the name of God be holy because clearly on this earth at his time and even today it is not. God’s name is slandered everywhere and everyday by most everyone. Even his saints! If we only knew what we were saying! If we only fully understood the gravity, the weight of his name. See Matthew 6:7-14

LORD, continue to heighten my view of you. Continue to show me just how mighty and perfect and powerful and big and HOLY your name is. You ARE! Our actual idea of who you are is like a single drop in the entire ocean and even that is probably too small of an analogy. HOLY HOLY HOLY. Help me to see who you are and live in light of that awe-inspiring fact.