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Mark 11. It challenges me. Calls me higher. And inspires me.
“Then Jesus said to the disciples, “Have faith in God. I tell you the truth, you can say to this mountain, ‘May you be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ and it will happen. But you must really believe it will happen and have no doubt in your heart. I tell you, you can pray for anything, and if you believe that you’ve received it, it will be yours. But when you are praying, first forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against, so that your Father in heaven will forgive your sins, too.” Mark 11:22-25 NLT
This passage has a simple message…just ask, believe, and you’ll receive.
But a life of faith isn’t lived in a plastic bubble. Life gets hard and messy ad complicated. We get all tangled up in emotion.
That is where this one small caveat comes in. Verse 25…“But when you are praying, first forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against, so that your Father in heaven will forgive your sins, too.”
Unforgiveness. A seemingly small thing that can actually taint you and imprison you in in the past, and simultaneously blocking you from receiving from God.
God takes this forgiving thing seriously. Not as a judgmental law thing, but as an I love you thing. Choosing to forgive releases you from the bondage of the past. It allows you to move forward and be healed. This forgiveness is the very thing Jesus was talking about in Mark 11 and Matthew 6.
“If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.” Matthew 6:14-15
Point to ponder while you wander…If you hold on to this anger and hurt it becomes unforgiveness, and that becomes bitterness! That’s why you are required to forgive others. Not as a law…but as an invitation to be free from bondage. And the added bonus…forgiveness aligns you to be able to receive from God.
Today’s Deep Thought: You Get What You Expect.
I used to think that keeping my expectations low would protect me from disappointment. My thinking was that if I didn’t expect much I couldn’t be disappointed. If I didn’t expect relationships to last, when they inevitably ended, I wouldn’t get hurt.
Low expectations mean you aren’t disappointed. Right? WRONG! Low expectations mean you don’t know who you are! Low expectations of God mean you don’t know who God is!
I didn’t understand that I was a blood bought child of the Most High God with covenant rights. I had authority. I was deeply loved. I had the right to go BOLDLY to the throne of my Father. Despite all this, I was living like a slave. Hoping that if I kept my head down and did everything I was told I’d be able to eek by. My prayers were basically me begging for crumbs. I felt like I couldn’t ask God for what I needed or tell Him how I felt. I was lucky that He forgave me in the first place and allowed me back in the sheep fold. I didn’t expect any more than that, that was enough.
Then I learned the truth about expectations-you get what you expect. I expected nothing so I got nothing. I sought nothing so I found nothing.
What are you seeking? What are you expecting? What are you asking for?
“And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:13
“So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.” Luke 11:9-10
Are you living like a slave begging for crumbs or are you approaching the throne of your Father boldly? What are your expectations of the promises in His Word?
REMEMBER: Hope is the joyful and confident expectation of good! “Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” Romans 5:5