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Increase Our Faith!

Daily Reading: Luke 17

Scripture Focus: Pay attention to yourselves! If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him, and if he sins against you seven times in the day, and turns to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive him.” The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!” And the Lord said, “If you had faith like a grain of mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you. (Luke 17.3-6)

Devotional Thought: Why would I ever want to uproot a mulberry tree and plant it in the sea? That's not something you would typically pray for. Could that be the reason why Jesus chose to use it as he taught about forgiveness? He obviously wasn’t promoting the idea of transplanting trees with simple prayers. If that were the case, I could save myself a lot of work when I landscape my yard!

Those listening to Jesus probably knew that the roots of a mulberry tree are strong. Also, cuttings from a mulberry tree easily take root. That is often how they were planted – instead of from seedlings. They also knew that an unforgiving spirit could also easily take root in their hearts. Jesus was saying to them and to us: if you – in faith – ask God to help you uproot that unforgiving spirit from your heart and plant it in the sea of his forgiveness, then it will be done. If, however, you refuse to seek the help of God, that hearty root of unforgiveness will grow and multiply in your life. In other words, we need the help of God to forgive as God forgives! But it can be done!

Have you been hurt? (Who hasn’t?) Have you struggled to find forgiveness in your heart? (Who hasn’t?) If you – in honesty and sincerity – ask God to help you, the root of unforgiveness will be cast into the sea.

Increase our faith!

Prayer: Lord, forgiveness is not something that comes easily to me, so when I hear things like "You must forgive," I tend to panic. Instead of panicking, help me to pray for your help to forgive. And then, Lord, "increase our faith." Amen.

Psalm of the Day: 1 O LORD, I call upon you; hasten to me! Give ear to my voice when I call to you! 2 Let my prayer be counted as incense before you, and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice! 3 Set a guard, O LORD, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips! 4 Do not let my heart incline to any evil, to busy myself with wicked deeds in company with men who work iniquity, and let me not eat of their delicacies! 5 Let a righteous man strike me--it is a kindness; let him rebuke me--it is oil for my head; let my head not refuse it. Yet my prayer is continually against their evil deeds. 6 When their judges are thrown over the cliff, then they shall hear my words, for they are pleasant. 7 As when one plows and breaks up the earth, so shall our bones be scattered at the mouth of Sheol. 8 But my eyes are toward you, O GOD, my Lord; in you I seek refuge; leave me not defenseless! 9 Keep me from the trap that they have laid for me and from the snares of evildoers! 10 Let the wicked fall into their own nets, while I pass by safely. (Psalms 141:1-10)

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