Monday, July 26, 2010

Notes to the Lord: Messiah

Scripture Reflection: Matthew 21 1As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage on the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples,

Lord Jesus--The contrast between your thoughts and the disciples thoughts at entering Jerusalem must have been jarring to experience. You went there knowing that you would not be leaving e
xcept by death. They entered hoping that you would do something, they really did not know what. They had heard your warning of impending doom, but they dismissed them.

2saying to them, "Go to the village ahead of you, and at once you will find a donkey tied there, with her colt by her. Untie them and bring them to me. 3If anyone says anything to you, tell him that the Lord needs them, and he will send them right away."

Lord Jesus--You rode into Jerusalem that day on a borrowed burro. You heard the excitement in the voices of the people, “finally” the crowds thought you had come to the center of what it is to be Jewish.

That hot and dusty day going into Jerusalem there were expectations in the minds and hearts of the people. There was celebration in the air...there was nationalism and pride in the balm branches as they waved them in the air.

4This took place to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet: 5"Say to the Daughter of Zion, 'See, your king comes to you, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.' "

Lord Jesus--Thank you for entering into the city that would kill you. You went into the city wide eyed and knowing that it would cost you your life. Not only that but you knew where that colt and his mother was tied. You knew the details of what was to come.

6The disciples went and did as Jesus had instructed them. 7They brought the donkey and the colt, placed their cloaks on them, and Jesus sat on them.

Lord Jesus--I wonder what the thoughts were of the disciples as they brought the colt and mother back to you. Did they wonder how you knew it was there? Did they think that you had come ahead and prepared for this entrance?

8A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. 9The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted, "Hosanna[b] to the Son of David!" "Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!" "Hosanna[d] in the highest!"

Lord Jesus--The cries of the crowd must have sounded thin and shallow to your ears. They used the right words of praise that had messiah hopes at their center. Yet the expectations that were jus
t under the surface...

I wonder how the disciples reacted. Did they join in the praises? How many of the expectations of the crowd did they share? Work in my expectation, my hopes and my dreams, Lord Jesus. Reshape my hopes and my dreams into what You would have them to be. They are yours to do with them as you see fit.

10When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, "Who is this?" 11The crowds answered, "This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee."

The crowds were close to knowing who you were...they hailed you by messianic terms and yet they missed the point. How often do I almost get it? Yet just like this crowd, I see a bit of the truth and miss the essence of your call in my life?

Lord Jesus in the middle of it all don’t let me miss the essence as I seek to follow your steps.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Notes to the Lord:Seeing

Scripture Reflection: Matthew 20

29As Jesus and his disciples were leaving Jericho, a large crowd followed him. 30Two blind men were sitting by the roadside, and when they heard that Jesus was going by, they shouted, "Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!"

Lord Jesus--The setting in which these two men meet you is what stands out to me. On the road to the cross you still had time to meet the needs of these two desperate men. I wonder what these two lives consisted of before they met you...begging for a living...judged by the society as sinful because of their lack of sight.

31The crowd rebuked them and told them to be quiet, but they shouted all the louder, "Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!"

Lord Jesus--These blind men knew what they were looking for from you. It was clear it was clear to them even though they had never seen before. They may have been the more clear eyed in their view of you than many others on that road that day. These two blind men saw you as Messiah who needed to have mercy on them to change their lives.

You were surrounded by your disciples and the crowd that was collecting has you headed toward Jerusalem just outside of Jericho. I wonder if the crowd that tried to muffle the voice of these men in their need saw you as clearly and their need for mercy. I need your mercy today Lord Jesus, I so often view you and your work through my expectations and not your message and mission.

32Jesus stopped and called them. "What do you want me to do for you?" he asked. 33"Lord," they answered, "we want our sight."

Lord Jesus--These men in their need were very focused. They knew what they needed even if they did not know what they were really missing being blind. They had never seen sun rise in the high country. They had never seen the smile of their wives at some silly joke...they had never seen the faces of their children.

The first thing on earth they saw was your face...a face I have never seen. In so many ways these two blind men are way ahead of those who surrounded them in their view...their understanding of you.

34Jesus had compassion on them and touched their eyes. Immediately they received their sight and followed him.

Lord Jesus--It is interesting what you did not say to these two men...You did not mention their sins...they were already aware of their need for mercy. You did not ask them not to tell anyone about their probably wouldn’t have done any good.

I wonder how far they followed you? Did they follow you down that road that lead to Jerusalem? Did they follow to the temple? Did they hear the shouts of the crowd during the riot that brought about your death sentence? Did they see the empty tomb?

Lord Jesus--These healed blind men, whose names I will never know until I am home with you, were so far ahead of me. They saw you and they followed you without hesitation. Help me in this day Lord Jesus to follow like these two unnamed men.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Notes to the Lord:Servant Leader?

Scripture Reflections:Matthew 20: 24When the ten heard about this, they were indignant with the two brothers.

Word got out about the request of John and James mother and it was a free for all. Everyone wanted in on the actions. I am wondering who had the loudest voice in the discussion? Was it John? Was it Peter? More to the point...If I had been there would it have been me?

25Jesus called them together and said, "You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them.

Lord Jesus--I think I understand that kind of leadership style...focus is on the pomp and forget about the circumstances of life of the people who serve under you. Leadership was about putting everyone else down, so that that the leader could look better.
26Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, 27and whoever wants to be first must be your slave—

Lord Jesus--Greatness in the kingdom is not the way that it is seen and viewed in the larger culture that surrounds me. It has nothing to do with backroom politics of Chicago, New York or the movers and the shakers of my days. It has everything to do with serving and giving just to if it were an offering.

28just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many."

Lord Jesus--When I read this verse I remember that you washed the feet of your betrayer. That in the group that sat breaking bread with you that last supper was the one who would give you over to death.
You served Judas, you gave me an example of your being a servant right up to the very end...You reached out to him, gave him a chance to change right up to the kiss of his betrayal.

Lord Jesus in the day that will begin in just a couple of hours give me your grace to demonstrate in the contexts that you put me servant leadership. Leadership that has the smell of sweat and blood in it...of sacrifice and grace.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Notes to the Lord:A Reoccurring Question

Scripture Reflections:Matthew 20
20Then the mother of Zebedee's sons came to Jesus with her sons and, kneeling down, asked a favor of him.

I wonder why at this time James and John’s mother decided to come to Jesus as he was just down the street from the cross 17 miles...just outside Jericho. Did she sense that something was about to change with the Master? Why did this question come up now? Good people sometimes have the worst timing.

21"What is it you want?" he asked.

She said, "Grant that one of these two sons of mine may sit at your right and the other at your left in your kingdom."

Seating location can be such a problem as far am I from the host making some kind of statement of about my importance. Seating arrangements at weddings can take hours...Aunt Whoseewhatsit can not sit next to Uncle Noname...

Here this mother was asking for seating placement for her sons at the marriage feast of the Lamb. Lord Jesus, I really don’t care about seating arrangements...I just want to get there by your grace.

But on that day on the way into Jerusalem it seemed important to nail this thing down.
Remind me today that the things that appear to be so important many times can wait. You are the one who is in charge of timing.

22"You don't know what you are asking," Jesus said to them. "Can you drink the cup I am going to drink?

"We can," they answered.

These Son’s of Thunder did not know what they were saying. I think about singing that song--”Where He Leads Me I Will Follow.” It really is a statement of feeling at a moment in time...a statement of faith that You will give the the strength and guidance to be able to live it out in the situations of life.

These two young men were like six year olds singing “Where He Leads Me I Will Follow” at a revival service. They had no real id
ea how the answer to this question would inform, reform and conform the rest of their lives. I wonder if they remembered the look that Jesus gave them as they answered this question?

23Jesus said to them, "You will indeed drink from my cup, but to sit at my right or left is not for me to grant. These places belong to those for whom they have been prepared by my Father."

I wonder how often I am like a six year old singing hymns and songs of unlimited commitment knowing only the feeling of the moment?

Lord Jesus--Give me the strength and endurance for the race that you have marked out even when I am not sure of what is around the next corner.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Note to the Lord:The Cross in the Distance

Scripture Reflections:Matthew 20

17Now as Jesus was going up to Jerusalem, he took the twelve disciples aside and said to them,

The cross was not a surprise to you Lord Jesus, it may have been to the disciples on some level. You knew exactly why you were going to Jerusalem and yet you walked right in the gate because you knew it was the Father’s will.

18"We are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and the teachers of the law.

There were steps along the way that lead to the cross. The Jerusalem experience would begin with betrayal. One of those who you taught, mentored and discipled would betray you. The reality of that must have been crushing.

I wonder if part of the reason for these glimpses of the cross before hand was for the sake of Judas. Were you trying to get his attention? We you reaching out to him before he stumbled headlong into a noose? Betrayal did not surprise you. Nor did you refused to trust in the face of impending betrayal instead you told your betrayer what he would do.

They will condemn him to death 19and will turn him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified.

Condemned to a more authentic way than any movie could render you knew yourself to be a dead man walking as you moved along the path that would lead you to the city gate.

On the third day he will be raised to life!"

You saw the empty tomb even before you entered the city gates....yes you knew of the cross, but you also knew what was beyond it. That is an example of faith in the Father’s will and direction. You knew as surely of the cross as you did of the empty tomb.

So where is the upfront and personal? You want me to walk the walk even when it leads to Jerusalem and the cross. I am not quite certain that I have that kind of courage. Yet you have said that I need to take up my cross and follow after you. There is only one reason to carry a cross.

Lord Jesus--I choose
to follow you even to the places that I would choose not to go if it were not for your call. Give me a vision for your are clear as to what the future holds. You have promised that those on whom the Spirit was poured would have knowledge that is available through no other source. I claim the promise of your word...

Joel 2:28 28 "
And afterward, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy,your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions.

Refresh my spirit and vision again...

Friday, July 9, 2010

Notes to the Lord:Working in the Vineyard

Matthew 20
1"For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire men to work
in his vineyard. 2He agreed to pay them a denarius for the day and sent them into his vineyard.

Lord Jesus--So I am
in the field...and doing the work. Thank you that you have called me to meaningful work, an opportunity to make a difference. You have called all of your people to the mission. There are times when I feel overwhelmed and tired, but more times than not I am just grateful for the opportunity to work at your call and live because of your provision.

3"About the third hour he went out and saw others standing in the marketplace doing nothing. 4He told them, 'You also go and work in my vineyard, and I will pay you whatever is right.' 5So they went.

The key to this story is understanding that you are the one who calls and you are the one who provided for that call. Remind me of that Lord Jesus at the critical times when I would question. My job is to do the work that you put in front of me to do.

"He went out again about the sixth hour and the ninth hour and did the same thing. 6About the eleventh hour he went out and found still others standing around. He asked them, 'Why have you been standing here all day long doing nothing?'

7" 'Because no one has hired us,' they answered.

"He said to them, 'You also go and work in my vineyard.'
8"When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, 'Call the workers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last ones hired
and going on to the first.'

9"The workers who were hired about the eleventh hour came and each received a denarius. 10So when those came who were hired first, they expected to receive more. But each one of them also received a denarius. 11When they received it, they began to grumble against the landowner. 12'These men who were hired last worked only one hour,' they said, 'and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the work and the heat of the day.'

13"But he answered one of them, 'Friend, I am not being unfair to you. Didn't you agree to work for a denarius? 14Take your pay and go. I want to give the man who was hired last the same as I gav
e you. 15Don't I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous?'

Lord Jesus-- We are in the middle of a heat wave so these words take on concrete meaning and there is sweat that is seepin
g out the edges. I wish I was never the one with the questions, but still after all these years there are times when I want to say, “It isn’t fair! Why?” .

The up close and personal is simple really...You are the sovereign God you give and you take away,. You reward as you see
fit. When I am at the place where it doesn’t seem fair I know that you are at work in my life. My questions you have anticipated and are already shaping me in the process. In the middle of the heat, I am running on faith. I have received such mercy, grow my faith in your protection and provision even during the times when it just is not fair.

"So the last will be first, and
the first will be last."

Lord Jesus--This is one teaching that surfaces repeatedly...and there is both warning and blessing in it...those who can not accept your sovereign direction even through they were first will loose out, but those who trust in your mercy even when it doesn't really seem fair will find your mercy there when they need it.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Notes to the Lord:Post Script to Letting Go

Scripture Reflections:Matthew 19 27Peter answered him, "We have left everything to follow you! What then will there be for us?"

Lord Jesus--The first thing that comes to my mind is the ironic setting. You are heading toward Jerusalem for the last time. And a reoccurring theme in the minds of the disciples is: what does this mean for me?

Up front and personal: The reality is this is a rumble strip on the road to kingdom come f
or me too Lord...what is there in it for me? How will this impact me? Where will letting go lead me? That is when I have to rehearse again in mind and heart the way that up to this point, you have always provided and sustained ... that really what I find so hard to let go of in the present is really only the product of your past blessing anyway. So why shouldn't I let go? Will I ever be able to leave that part of the wash and wear cycle of life? Hope so...Letting go always means that better blessings await...that my already full hands will drop if I don’t let go of what is already in them.

I am sure that the disciples may have sensed that changes were in the wind...they had heard you predict your own death and yet they were is some denial still about what the out comes would be. They wanted the future to be bright and Peter was especially resistant to the possibility of the cross.

Lord Jesus
-- I wonder if those fishing boats and nets where starting to look real good to him right at this point. Looking back at what has already been let go of is always a bit dangerous.

28Jesus said to them, "I tell you the truth, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

I like that line...”at the renewal of all things.” So often the end of this world is seen as an ending, but really it is a renewal of what always was meant to be. The fallen restored to its intrinsic glory. We live in the fallen embers of Eden. In that restoration, there will be reward for the faithful.

29And everyo
ne who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life. 30But many who are first will be last, and many who are last will be first.

Lord Jesus--In the
middle of impending change, you reassured these followers that letting go...and giving life into your hands is of ultimate value and worth...worth so much more than what presently holds their attention.

Father--In this coming day that has already started around me...there is impending change evidencing. Give me the grace to embrace it without reservation and to accept your leadership over this day. It is in the strong name of Jesus that I ask this. Amen.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Notes to the Lord: We All Have to Let Go

Scripture Reflections:Matthew 19 16Now a man came up to Jesus and asked, "Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?"

The contrast between these two meeting...the children and this rich man is such a contrast. Powerless verses Powerful. I am wondering if the disciples saw this rich man on his way to you as they attempted to move along the children.

I wonder if that is the way that I am sometimes...when I attempt to control ? Do I miss the essential expressions of your grace to focus on someone who is trying to be perfect, but doesn’t really have a clue.
This man had so much more than these children you just blessed. They did not even know how much they didn’t have. Yet they owned more than this your word Lord Jesus. Heaven belonged to them.

17"Why do you ask me about what is good?" Jesus replied. "There is only One who is good. If you want to enter life, obey the commandments." 18"Which ones?" the man inquired.

This man wanted another thing to check off on his check list to complete to assure himself of his eternal reward. He wanted something to do, but it isn’t that simple. Eternal life is not just a check list to be achieved. Following you Lord Jesus is not an entry on the resume or a item on a vitae...nor is it fire insurance. It is all about following...

Jesus replied, " 'Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, 19honor your father and mother, and 'love your neighbor as yourself.'"

Lord Jesus--Interesting which commandments that you mentioned to him. You didn’t mention tithing...the focus of the commandments that you mentioned are all in relation to others. I wonder why you did that? Was it tailored to this man’s need? Did he over look the personal in his quest for money and power? Did he over look relationships with others in his quest to be perfect?

20"All these I have kept," the young man said. "What do I still lack?" 21Jesus answered, "If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me."

Lord Jesus--There could have been 13 disciples? Maybe he could have been the replacement for Judas who was facing decision in just a few weeks. The call was to follow and engage in a process and be a part of the journey. To follow this rich man would have to let go of the past and the wealth that was a part of his life.

So we are back to binding and loosing yet again, Lord Jesus. It is a theme that just does not go away. What am I going to hang on to...what am I going to let go of to follow you? Those are the questions that surface and re-surface again and again. This young man was successful and yet missed the most important call of his short life. I hope that he heard your call and followed later on.

22When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth. 23Then Jesus said to his disciples, "I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. 24Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God." 25When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and asked, "Who then can be saved?" 26Jesus looked at them and said, "With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible."

Lord Jesus--Your call is always impossible isn’t it? It is only on the power of mercy and grace that you supply that anyone rich or poor finds you. I can never be a part of the journey unless I am will to let go my luggage. Thank you for grace, and mercy experienced in prying my hands off the suitcase handle at times.

Lord Jesus--In this day there will be places where I need grace and places where I need to show mercy. Remind Lord, today of your mercy and grace, and your call to follow where ever you lead.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Notes to the Lord'The Little Children and Jesus

Scripture Reflections:
Matthew 19

13Then little children were brought to Jesus for him to place his hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples rebuked
those who brought them.

Lord Jesus--I wonder about these children who you prayed for with your hands touching their heads. Where were they in the years that would define their lives? Could you see their lives lining out before them? Did you pray for the decision points when their walk was at the tipping point? Were there children in that group who would be in
siege of Jerusalem in 35 or 40 years? Did you pray them through to the place where they would see you again?

When I think of my children, and the children of
those close to me...I pray for them and the years of their lives...will they see you come back from the sky in power and glory? What will the future bring them? Peace...the work of the Holy Spirit in their lives in power?

Lord Jesus work in these in power and in grace as only you can. You see the future and know the boundaries, the hop
es and the heart aches that will form the contours of their lives. Be with them Emmanuel, let them know your presence in calming closeness as only you can. Were some of these the thoughts that passed through your mind that day on the road to Jerusalem while your hands rested on the little ones?

In the middle of these few moments, enter the same disciples who just a few days before were
arguing about who was to be the greatest in their little group. They would have shooed them away like gnats on a balmy night. But that is not what you allowed to happen.

14Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these."15When he had placed his hands on them, he went on from there.

Heaven belongs to children...these poor little ones who did not have even the title to a home owned by the bank in their names were richer than they knew. Not only were they rich, they were and are protected by the same voice that created the universe, and that calmed the storm...that same voice would not allow them to overlooked.

Lord Jesus--Thank you for this blessing of those who had no offering to bring, that were powerless and dispossessed. You showed them love and reminds me of the care that you have shown me...I remember and I am thankful.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Notes to the Lord:The Sacred in the Middle of the Mundane

Scripture Reflection:Matthew 19

It is interesting to me that greatness, marriage and forgiveness in the Kingdom all flow in the same time period and context of thought as you were making your way to Jerusalem the last time.

1When Jesus had finished saying these things, he left Galilee and went into the region of Judea to the other side of the Jordan. 2Large crowds followed him, and he healed them there. 3Some Pharisees came to him to test him. They asked, "Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any and every reason?"

Lord Jesus--Divorce and marriage are topics that occurred frequently in your teachings. Here the Pharisees question...test, needle you about your stance. I wonder what their relationships were like? Had they gone through the dislocation and heartache of a lost relationship ? Or was this an academic exercise? Was it a head game or did they really know from the inside out the hurt?

Interesting how they worded it, is it lawful. They didn’t ask about how to deal with the hurt or the anger, the loneliness, the loss, or the children. They just wanted to know if it was lawful. “Can I get away with it and still be a good Jewish boy?”
...seems to be the subtext on their minds.

4"Haven't you read," he replied, "that at the beginning the Creator 'made them male and female,' 5and said, 'For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh'? 6So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate."

Lord Jesus--You spoke of marriage as a divine activity in our lives. This relationship is a linkage that God is engaged with. Marriage is not the product of chance or luck, but God directed action. It is interesting that these men brought to you a question about divorce and you spoke to them of the meaning, the value placed by God on marriage. You speak of marriage and the forming of something new from two separate people. One is a unity...a completion...something that if it is divided no longer exists...there is a death, an ending of a God engaged entity. Thank you for the marriage that I have...for the enduring relationship....for the unity established by your work. It is a place where flesh and blood and grace connect...not always pretty but always real.

7"Why then," they asked, "did Moses command that a man give his wife a certificate of divorce and send her away?" 8Jesus replied, "Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning. 9I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, and marries another woman commits adultery."

Hard hearts are what lead to the ending of relationships...Moses knew it and you reaffirmed it here, Lord Jesus. The only reason that God sees for the ending of a marriage is unfaithfulness to the marriage relationship. But sometimes hard hearts hurt a lot...and it doesn't seem like there is any relief in sight. You came to help the can to do heart surgery.

10The disciples said to him, "If this is the situation between a husband and wife, it is better not to marry."

This is an interesting response for the 12. I wonder how many of them may have been divorced. I have never really thought about it from that angle before. Puts a different spin on my view of the apostles. Did they struggle with this issue personally? A lot can be inferred from this little interchange. The disciples saw this as such a decisive issue that being single was seen as a better option. Interesting...

So where does that leave the upfront and personal? Ok...I know, that You are actively engaged in the establishing and maintaining of marriage. I really don't have to worry too much about what the Supreme Court says, or what is legislated. Marriage will endure.

Beyond that... My marriage matters
to you...I need to remember that there is the sacred in the middle of laundry, dishes, housework and homework. My responses when tired, frustrated and fumbling toward your will are of eternal value. The sacred lives and abides right in the middle of the mundane. Amazing.

Lord Jesus continue you work in my life in this day. Remind me again that relationships matter to you. This life is not an academic exercise but a place where flesh and blood and grace can be revealed right in the middle of the evening meal.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Notes to the Lord:It is All About Forgiveness

Scripture Reflections: Matthew 18

21Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, "Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?"

Lord Jesus--Peter was trying to anticipate you by offering to forgive more than was required by Jewish tradition. He looking for clarification on the issue of the sinning brother and correction. Part of the question was aimed how many times should the sinning brother be corrected and forgiven.

I am forever grateful that you do no count out the forgiveness and grace that you spend on me. Peter wasn't thinking about the other three fingers that were pointing back at himself as he was point toward others. Lord Jesus remind me when I want to point the finger that I have more than just the one finger that is pointing toward those that are around me.

22Jesus answered, "I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.

So the point is: forgiveness isn't a math lesson, it is given freely without a miser in the background counting out the times.

23"Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. 24As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand talents[g] was brought to him. 25Since 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. 31When 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. 33Shouldn't you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?' 34In anger his master turned him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed. 35"This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart."

It really is a simple question. How can we forgive when it hurts so much? OK, so forgiveness needs to be upfront and personal... It needs to be a lifestyle, a reflex that is just a part of the way that I live? But so much of the time I find myself with acid reflux of the soul...belching out old hurts in new settings. How do I forgive...just like I have been forgiven...and felt your grace melt this hard heart of mine.

Lord Jesus, You have demonstrated such grace and mercy to me...teach me the way of forgiveness that is just as much a reflex of the heart and soul as muscle and bone react to the doctor's tap of my knee. Work in this heart of mine today Lord Jesus, teach me the way of forgiveness.