St. Luke's United Methodist Church

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9:30 & 11:00 a.m. - Contemporary

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4851 S. Apopka-Vineland Road
Orlando, FL 32819
407.876.4991

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Weekly Devotion May 22 – 26, 2017

Posted on May 21, 2017 at 8:00 pm in .

Monday, May 22, 2017
The Forgiveness of Sins

Read: While they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed it, broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, “Take and eat. This is my body.” He took a cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, “Drink from this, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many so that their sins may be forgiven.” (Matthew 26:26-28, CEB)

Think About: “I believe in… the forgiveness of Sins.” Christ completely poured out himself for the forgiveness of the sins of the world. We are no longer under the law but are freed from the yoke of slavery caused by sin. In studying The Apostles’ Creed, we have learned about the Trinity and the church. Today we turn to the forgiveness of sins.

In the book “Creed,” Adam Hamilton writes that the primary Greek word used for sin in the New Testament is “hamartia,” a term used by archers meaning “to miss the mark” which was a term people in that day understood.
What is missing the mark in today’s world? Think of making errors in judgment or wandering away from the right path, or right living, but not necessarily on purpose. Our holy God wants us to become more obedient to the example Jesus set before us. Though we aim for a right direction, something in the world gets in our way, taking us off the path God desires for us. Some of the paths we take cloud our ability to walk on the right path that impacts our daily life. Straying from the right path leads to a loss of peace and joy that Jesus wants for us. Through grace and forgiveness, we are able to make immediate path corrections, no questions asked.

Even when missing the mark, we have been set free. “The God-setting-things-right that we read about has become Jesus-setting-things-right for us. And not only for us, but also for everyone who believes in him. For there is no difference between us and them in this. Since we’ve compiled this long and sorry record as sinners (both us and them) and proved that we are utterly incapable of living the glorious lives God wills for us, God did it for us. Out of sheer generosity he put us in right standing with himself. A pure gift. He got us out of the mess we’re in and restored us to where he always wanted us to be. And he did it by means of Jesus Christ.” (Romans 3:22-24, MSG) What we are not capable of doing on our own, Jesus accomplished for us, forgiving our errors in judgment and cloudy vision that took us away from the right path of right living, giving us another opportunity to live the life that is pleasing to God.
Hearts once hardened will begin to soften when we acknowledge our sinful nature, seek forgiveness, and consciously work to live into the likeness of Jesus.

Pray this prayer: Holy God, I am humbled that you generously and continuously forgive me of my sins against you. When I dare to think others are missing your mark, remind me that your Son died for the sins of the world, not just mine. Amen.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017
The Forgiveness of Sins

Read: While they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed it, broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, “Take and eat. This is my body.” He took a cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, “Drink from this, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many so that their sins may be forgiven.” (Matthew 26:26-28, CEB)

Think About: Three long time friends were at dinner with their spouses when the conversation turned to a discussion about an institution’s treatment of its constituents. In a gentle manner, two of the friends exchanged opposing views. When they left dinner to watch a musical, the silence from one of them became palpable and uncomfortable. After realizing that some harm may have taken place during the conversation, one of them composed a thoughtful letter expressing a sincere apology. Even though the letter was received, it has never been acknowledged. Now, one of the couples no longer joins the other two for dinners or social functions. A decade’s long friendship has become severely damaged. The offended person forbids their spouse to have anything to do with the other person in the conversation from that long ago evening. It is as if they no longer exist. A person’s choice to ignore a sincere apology gnawed through the heart of a once-strong friendship circle. The now fragmented friendship is no longer “all in.” Each of them continues to suffer from the loss of friendship and connection with the others.

There is freedom when we forgive others. We are free to choose our responses, either choosing a self-absorbed mindset or choosing the God-aware mindset of unconditional forgiveness. God wants nothing but the best for us and from us. When Peter asked Jesus how many times he should forgive someone, “Jesus said, “Not just seven times, but rather as many as seventy-seven times,” (Matthew 18:22, CEB). I believe in the forgiveness of my sins. I believe God expects me to forgive anyone who I think may have sinned against me. Peter’s question to Jesus is followed by the parable of the unforgiving servant, see Matthew 18:23-35. Pure forgiveness comes from deep in the heart. Forgiveness heals broken hearts and restores relationships.
Pray this prayer: Holy God, give me the courage to truly reflect on my relationships. If there is someone I should forgive, fill me with your love and strength to start the journey to restore a relationship that will be pleasing to you. Amen.

Friday, May 26, 2017
The Forgiveness of Sins

Read: While they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed it, broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, “Take and eat. This is my body.” He took a cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, “Drink from this, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many so that their sins may be forgiven.” (Matthew 26:26-28, CEB)

Think About: “God caused the one who didn’t know sin to be sin for our sake so that through him we could become the righteousness of God,” (2 Corinthians 5:21, CEB).

We all fall short of the glory of God but are justified through grace, redeemed through the blood of Christ. “I believe in…the forgiveness of Sins.”

When I was learning to drive, I made an attempt to start the family car without permission. I accidentally ran into the garage door trim, crushing one of the car’s headlights. Luckily, the garage door was up when I attempted to start the engine. The loud noise from the car hitting the garage brought my mother running to the front door. I was shaken up by what I had done, quickly handing her the car’s keys. She made some reference that I would be in trouble when my dad came home which would be in a few hours. I fidgeted in my room, my mind racing with potential punishments I could face. To my surprise and relief, I received no punishment. All the horrible things I dreamed up didn’t happen. My parents knew what I had done was punishment enough. They gave me grace. Even to this day, not one family member ever brings up my failed attempt to start the family car. I am forgiven.

“If you kept track of sins, Lord—my Lord, who would stand a chance? But forgiveness is with you—that’s why you are honored,” (Psalm 130:3-4, CEB).

Since my sins are forgiven, blotted out, what good is it if I continue to keep such generous forgiveness all to myself? I don’t know of anyone who couldn’t benefit from forgiveness. Who can I bless today so that they can be freed through the abundant grace and forgiveness through my Lord and Savior?
Pray this prayer: Holy God, I don’t mean to do the things I do. I am thankful that your loving arms are open to embrace my shortcomings and failures. Thank you for your unending grace and forgiveness. I pray that I have the courage to share the Good News of grace and forgiveness with others. Amen.


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