Saturday

As we forgive our debtors.




Forgiving debts or trespasses, erasing iniquity, removing sin – only divine grace can make this possible. It takes a holy God, a sinless Son, and a never-ending fountain of pure love.

Jesus modeled this in His perfect prayer. He demonstrated and declared that we should ask God to forgive us as we forgive others.

Can anyone meet that standard?


Are any besides the Lord capable of fully forgiving others, as much as we need full forgiveness? Do any of us let go completely of all wrongs (real or perceived) and release those who have wronged us into the judgment, care, and hands of the Righteous One?

What if our own redemption (offered freely from God) fully depended upon our ability to forgive others 100 percent of the time? What if God waited for us to blot out our own mental records of others’ transgressions against us before He offered his mercy to us?

Who could stand?

For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you:
But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
Matthew 6:14-15, KJV

Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times?
Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.
Matthew 18:21-22, KJV

And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.
Mark 11:25, KJV

Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.
Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven:
Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.
Luke 6:36-38, KJV

And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.
Ephesians 4:32, KJV

Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.
And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness.
Colossians 3:13-14, KJV

Full forgiveness is a tall order.

Oh, Lord. Forgive us for our non-forgiveness. Help us to forgive, even as we have been forgiven. Remind us how much we have been forgiven – and how our own sins You have forgotten.

Pretty sure that’s where it begins.

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Friday

And forgive us our debts.






How is a debt marked? Maybe it’s an IOU, a loan document, a marker, or a payment book. Perhaps an item of value is held as collateral.

Sometimes a debtor signs a promissory note.

But what happens when a debt is canceled? How about when an important obligation is paid in full? The lien is destroyed. The mortgage papers are burned.

When I think about what Jesus did for me, covering the cost of my sin and purchasing my everlasting redemption, I think maybe my whole life ought to look like a promissory note. The debt is paid, but my attitude should demonstrate the gratitude He merits.

Often, that response is way past due.

Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.  Blessed is the man unto whom the Lord imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile. 
When I kept silence, my bones waxed old through my roaring all the day long. For day and night thy hand was heavy upon me: my moisture is turned into the drought of summer. Selah.
I acknowledge my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the Lord; and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin. Selah.
Psalm 32:1-5, KJV

Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy loving-kindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions.
Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me.
Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest.
Psalm 51:1-4, KJV

If thou, Lord, shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand? But there is forgiveness with thee, that thou mayest be feared.
Psalm 13:3-4, KJV

What mercy, love, and grace from our great God.

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Monday

Give us this day our daily bread.




Worry and strife are joy-stealers. And so are those who plant seeds of worry and strife. Sometimes these sorts of conflicts seem to arise from simple meanspiritedness, and at other times they may come from concerns over needs and wants.

Maybe we’ve all heard the lectures about needs vs. wants. They make a valid point, even if they echo into ears that may have tuned out long ago.

But God is Jehovah-Jireh, the Provider. He knows our needs and our wants.

He planted the deepest, most holy desires in our hearts. He is the Source of all we need and the wellspring of abundant joy.

What about the joy-stealers?

Just this morning, I was making fresh cinnamon bread. As it baked, I sniffed the air with great enjoyment. The whole house began filling with the wonderful aroma.

Personally, I think I derive as much pleasure from the scent of cinnamon bread baking as I do from actually eating it.

Then someone stepped into the kitchen and turned the fan on. Sometimes joy-stealing comes in curious forms.

But God is the Giver.

God provided the means to obtain the ingredients for the bread. He gave me the ability to bake them into a sweet-smelling (and ultimately, yummy) loaf.

May He grant me the grace to ignore joy-stealers and seek God’s own joy instead.

I stepped into the kitchen, switched off the fan, and took a giant breath of fresh-baked cinnamon bread.

Ah. Give us this day our daily bread.

 O taste and see that the Lord is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him. O fear the Lord, ye his saints: for there is no want to them that fear him.  The young lions do lack, and suffer hunger: but they that seek the Lord shall not want any good thing.
Psalm 34:8-10, KJV

Remove far from me vanity and lies: give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me:  Lest I be full, and deny thee, and say, Who is the Lord? or lest I be poor, and steal, and take the name of my God in vain.
Proverbs 30:8-9, KJV

Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?  Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?
Matthew 6:23-26, KJV

Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.
Matthew 7:7-8, JKV

Today, our daily bread was extra delicious. And it needed no jam or preserves. This time, the Lord preserved the joy, and the homemade treat was sweet indeed.

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