Tag Archives: freedom

How Many Times

How many times Lord?
How often?
How long for?

Do I have to forgive?

But they’ve done me wrong,
cheated me,
hurt me.

Surely they have to pay?

But then the penny drops.
How much have you forgiven me?
How often?
How many times?

You forgive me,
lift my burden from me,
allow me to walk away,
with the weight lifted,
the blame gone.

Surely that
is how I should treat others.

To pay back what I owe you,
in freeing others,
lifting their weight,
setting them free.

Not once,
twice,
seven
or even seventy
times.

But forever
and always.
Without counting the cost
or the number of times.

And as I forgive,
I find myself freed anew,
freed from the burden of
holding tight
and counting

Forgive me Lord,
when I have clung to grudges,
or felt I have been over-generous.
Yours is the generosity Lord,
I long to live in it
and share it.

Forgiving By scem.info CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)

Matthew 18:21-35 (CEV)

An Official Who Refused To Forgive

21 Peter came up to the Lord and asked, “How many times should I forgive someone[a] who does something wrong to me? Is seven times enough?”

22 Jesus answered:

Not just seven times, but seventy-seven times! 23 This story will show you what the kingdom of heaven is like:

One day a king decided to call in his officials and ask them to give an account of what they owed him. 24 As he was doing this, one official was brought in who owed him fifty million silver coins. 25 But he didn’t have any money to pay what he owed. The king ordered him to be sold, along with his wife and children and all he owned, in order to pay the debt.

26 The official got down on his knees and began begging, “Have pity on me, and I will pay you every cent I owe!”27 The king felt sorry for him and let him go free. He even told the official that he did not have to pay back the money.

28 As the official was leaving, he happened to meet another official, who owed him a hundred silver coins. So he grabbed the man by the throat. He started choking him and said, “Pay me what you owe!”

29 The man got down on his knees and began begging, “Have pity on me, and I will pay you back.” 30 But the first official refused to have pity. Instead, he went and had the other official put in jail until he could pay what he owed.

31 When some other officials found out what had happened, they felt sorry for the man who had been put in jail. Then they told the king what had happened. 32 The king called the first official back in and said, “You’re an evil man! When you begged for mercy, I said you did not have to pay back a cent. 33 Don’t you think you should show pity to someone else, as I did to you?” 34 The king was so angry that he ordered the official to be tortured until he could pay back everything he owed. 35 That is how my Father in heaven will treat you, if you don’t forgive each of my followers with all your heart.

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The Father Revealed vii

What is Truth

John 8:31-42 (CEV)

The Truth Will Set You Free

31 Jesus told the people who had faith in him, “If you keep on obeying what I have said, you truly are my disciples. 32 You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

33 They answered, “We are Abraham’s children! We have never been anyone’s slaves. How can you say we will be set free?”

34 Jesus replied:

I tell you for certain that anyone who sins is a slave of sin! 35 And slaves don’t stay in the family forever, though the Son will always remain in the family. 36 If the Son gives you freedom, you are free! 37 I know that you are from Abraham’s family. Yet you want to kill me, because my message isn’t really in your hearts. 38 I am telling you what my Father has shown me, just as you are doing what your father has taught you.

Your Father Is the Devil

39 The people said to Jesus, “Abraham is our father!”

Jesus replied, “If you were Abraham’s children, you would do what Abraham did. 40 Instead, you want to kill me for telling you the truth that God gave me. Abraham never did anything like that. 41 But you are doing exactly what your father does.”

“Don’t accuse us of having someone else as our father!” they said. “We just have one father, and he is God.”

42 Jesus answered:

If God were your Father, you would love me, because I came from God and only from him. He sent me. I did not come on my own.

Truth,
that elusive quality,
the actuality of how things are.

Not the veneer
that I try to present,
not how I have convinced myself
things really are,
not what I wish,
but
truth,
fact,
reality.
This is what you give us,
what you reveal in yourself
and highlight in me.

I can pretend it is not so,
but how does that help.
Knowing the truth
is ultimately powerful,
forgiving,
redeeming;
I can deal with how things are,
not spend my time running
and wishing it were otherwise.

The truth,
your truth,
frees me,
gives me the knowledge I need
to move on
– to move on with you.

And so today Lord,
I pray for truth,
knowledge
and understanding.
The truth to know myself in you
and know your truth
to move on with.

Thank you
that you know me in my truth,
continue to love me
and offer your forgiveness.
Help me to do the same,
and walk
in the light of your truth.

Thank You For Saving Me

My Servant

In our time and place, we probably think of having a servant with bad connotations.  It takes us back to a time when people with too much money had people, who they kept well and truly in their place and subservient, doing tasks that they were quite capable of doing themselves.  We only have to think of programmes such as Downton Abbey or Upstairs Downstairs to see people being dressed, having their meals brought to them and served or generally being waited on hand and foot.

But a servant, in its most basic form is

a person who performs duties for others

And so Isaiah introduces us to The Lord’s Servant

Isaiah 42:1-9 (CEV)

The Lord’s Servant

42 Here is my servant!

    I have made him strong.
He is my chosen one;
    I am pleased with him.
I have given him my Spirit,
and he will bring justice
    to the nations.
He won’t shout or yell
    or call out in the streets.
He won’t break off a bent reed
    or put out a dying flame,
but he will make sure
    that justice is done.
He won’t quit or give up
until he brings justice
    everywhere on earth,
and people in foreign nations
    long for his teaching.

I am the Lord God.
I created the heavens
    like an open tent above.
I made the earth and everything
    that grows on it.
I am the source of life
for all who live on this earth,
    so listen to what I say.
I chose you to bring justice,
    and I am here at your side.
I selected and sent you
    to bring light
and my promise of hope
    to the nations.
You will give sight
    to the blind;
you will set prisoners free
    from dark dungeons.

My name is the Lord!
I won’t let idols or humans
    share my glory and praise.
Everything has happened
    just as I said it would;
now I will announce
    what will happen next.

Here is One that God has chosen to do a task for him.

Not a menial task, or something that he could easily have done himself had he tried, but the one that God has selected as the bright light to bring his hope to the world; to ensure God’s justice and freedom is seen.  This isn’t someone who is going to create a lot of noise or wreak damage, he isn’t going to destroy tiny flickers of light, he is going to work for God – and he won’t give up until the task is complete.

Of course, Isaiah is prophesying about The Messiah, God’s Chosen One – Jesus.  And we recognise all that he came to do within this passage.  But, we too are called to be God’s servants – to be people who perform duties for him.

We too are asked to protect the weak, bring life, shed God’s light, seek justice and set free those who are held down.

That is my task in the world, what God is calling me to do.  Wherever I am, whatever pattern or form my life takes, that is my basic calling – to work for God in my place.

Lord,
I know that there is work to be done,
your work.
I want to work for you,
to do the things you ask of me;
to be someone
who bring life and light
where I go,
to protect the weak,
serve the vulnerable,
work for justice
and bring your freedom.

None of this I can do by my own,
so as I acknowledge that it is your work,
I pray for your strength,
your wisdom,
and your equipping power

We are called to be servants