Yesterday we encountered Jesus saving a woman by asking the crowd to look at their own sin first. That story reminded me of how easy it is to slip into bitterness and blame others for what happens to us. Hebrews 12:15 “See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled.” I am reminded that bitterness can ‘spring up’. Those thoughts against others, of wrongs done to you, lost opportunities, soured relationships and in general the hard things of life that can make us bitter. It would seem that author of Hebrews is saying it is a choice and is encouraging us to live with an awareness of what bitterness can do to us and to those around us if we allow it to fester and grow. It can deprive us of the grace of God as well as others. It can pollute the atmosphere around us and cause others to be bitter. So today I will consciously choose to be tenderhearted as described in Colossians 3:12 “Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility , meekness and patience.” I will choose to leave bitterness behind today. Join me in leaving bitterness behind and walk with forgiveness in your heart through the Grace of God trusting Him to erase the hurt and fill it with love.
Prayer: Father, show me where bitterness is springing up in my life and help me to confront it with forgiveness and put it behind me. Ease the hurt and the claim bitterness has had on me and help me to walk in your Grace. Your favor is all I need to overcome bitterness as You promise that your grace is sufficient for all my needs and that You can use me even with my weaknesses. (2 Corinthians 12:9) Thank you Jesus. Amen.
Desiring to live for Jesus without the baggage of bitterness and to be -,
Are you willing to look within yourself and examine your motives and feelings? Jesus asked those who gathered to stone the woman caught in adultery, to think about their own sins and if they found they were without sin to cast the first stone. After reflection they all turned away and Jesus was left with alone with the woman. He told her to go and leave her life of sin. (John 8:7-11) Jesus turned their judgmental hearts by having them examine their own hearts and look at their own sin. While standing in judgement over the woman, they realized they were guilty too and needed to turn away from judgement.
How about you? I know I am sometimes to quick to judge others and should have given them grace, sought to find out why they acted as they did or faced them with forgiveness in my heart. If I understand Jesus’ example, He wants me to look at my own sinfulness and pay attention to setting my own things right with Him. He wants me reflective, repentant, open and humble not judgmental, close minded, arrogant or self-righteous. Here is averse to meditate on today as you think reflectively. Psalm 19:14 “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart bevpleasing in your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.”
Prayer: Lord, help me to see others through your eyes and not through my own judgment. Holy Spirit give me a reflective spirit that is willing to listen to your guidance and uncover sin within my life. Give me strength to speak and act in a way that is pleasing to you and uplifting to those around me. Amen.
Seeking to please Him,
Make the Sunday’s during Lent special in some way- pray a bit longer, fast, sing praises, attend worship, gather with friends… Seek to honor God and THANK Him for sending Jesus to save us from our sinful state and restore us to a place of relationship with Him.
Psalm 100 “Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. Know that the LORD is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the LORD is good and his love endures forever, his faithfulness continues through all generations.”
Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you for the joy you put in my heart and your tender loving care. You alone are faithful and I can depend upon you each day. Amen.
Rejoicing and praising Faithful God,
During our Lenten journey, we want to look at the cross of Christ and ask what does it show me about God? I see His Grace right away. His Grace in giving me what I don’t deserve no matter what I do. His Grace in providing a way of salvation so that I may be restored to a right relationship with Him. There is no way to earn God’s grace- it is something He freely gives us through Jesus. Ephesians 2:7-10 says “in order that in the coming ages He might show the incomparable riches of His grace, expressed in His kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith-and this not from yourselves, it is a gift of God-not by works so that no one can boast. For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”
As you consider God’s Grace today, know that His grace is sufficient, it never runs out. No matter what we do or where we go, God’s grace can and does cover us. Praise God! Jesus said, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9 Repent and seek God’s Grace- it will cover you today.
Prayer: Thank you Father for you unending grace. Your sacrifice on the cross opened the floodgates of grace for me. Help me to walk worthy of your calling and strive to do good works in your name. Amen.
So thankful for His Grace to me,
Yesterday I attended a celebration of Life for a dear friend. He always seemed to reflect Jesus in his actions as he would go out of his way to help others. He showed love to others by offering a helping hand or a kind word whenever he saw you. On days that I would see him, I was always encouraged and uplifted by our encounters. He left a legacy of Jesus’ love in his wake.
Showing Love for others is a command. “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.” John 15:12 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples if you love one another.” John 13:34-35
As we seek to be more like Jesus and think about things that need to be corrected or adjusted in our deeds and attitudes- how about love? Is it part of your everyday interactions with others? Do others see Jesus’ love coming through your words and actions? Only through the power of the Holy Spirit can we follow Jesus’ command. Ask Him for power to show love to others today.
Prayer: Father, give me love in my heart for others. Cause others to see you in my life because of the way I show your love to them. I desire to be your disciple so through the power of the Holy Spirit let me see your way of love today. Amen.
Seeking to reflect God’s love to others,
Jesus said, “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.” John 15:1-2
Our Lenten journey is a time when we seek God’s correction (pruning) in our lives. We seek his direction and correction so that the habits or actions that are offensive to God can be eliminated from our lives. He promises in these verses that His pruning will help us to produce more fruit for Him. Submitting to His ways and not ours brings joy, peace, hope and allows us to be used by God in a mighty way. Isaiah 58:11 describes the one who is bearing fruit this way, “The LORD will guide you always, he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.”
Prayer: Lord, take my heart and mold me so that I can bear much fruit for you and that my life will be pleasing to you. Show me the things, ways, habits in my life that need to be cut out so that I can better reflect Jesus in my life. Create in me a garden that is well-watered and fed by the living water – Jesus. Amen
Seeking to be well-watered and fed by Jesus.
Today as you spend time in prayer, reflect on your state before God without Jesus.
“There is no one righteous, not even one There is no one who does good, not even one. There is no fear of God before their eyes.” Romans 3: 10b,12b, 18
For the next 40 days, we will be taking stock of our attitudes, actions and our total dependence upon God. Without Jesus, we would remain in our unrighteous sin-filled state before Righteous Holy God and be condemned for our sin. Romans 6:23 tells us, “The wages of sin is death.” Thankfully in this verse there is a BUT and the verse continues “but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Jesus and His sacrifice on the cross made it possible for me to be clean before God. What an amazing sacrifice for me!
Here is a verse of praise for today. “For all have sinned (yes,that is me too) and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified (Jesus made me righteous before God) freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus (His death on the cross).” Without God’s amazing grace I would be condemned. BUT I am redeemed in Jesus and made whole and clean!
Prayer: Father, Reveal to me during this time of Lent those things you would have me put away, eliminate, eject from my character. Show me a better way to act, love, and think as I mediate on your Word and pray. Help me to begin each day with a new appreciation and thankfulness for your atoning sacrifice. Amen.
By God’s Grace I stand,
March 1 is quickly approaching. I am anxious to see what God is going to do in my life as I write each day for 40 days. It is curious to me that something that will take me at least an hour each day I consider a ‘joy’. Usually something of that magnitude is considered work and problematic as it is continues day after day for 40 days. However, I am looking forward to meeting with God each day on my laptop as I write. I’ve decided it must be from God or else I’m crazy!
Here’s a little Lenten history I found and a reminder about a few famous 40’s! The practice of observing Lent has been going on since before 1000 AD. It is a time of fasting, prayer and penitence beginning on Ash Wednesday and lasting 40 days until Easter. 40 seems to be a significant number in scripture. Here are a few famous 40’s you’ll probably remember. It rained for 40 days and 40 nights while Noah and his family were in the ark. Moses was on the Mt. Sinai for 40 days getting the 10 Commandments.The children of Israel wandered for 40 years in the wilderness. Jesus was in the wilderness fasting for 40 days and 40 nights and then Satan came and confronted him with various temptations. After Christ ascension into heaven, it was 40 days until Pentecost and the arrival of the Holy Spirit. 40 seems to be number that shows a length of time that is not too short or too long but enough to reveal our character and devotion.
I anticipate the development of my character and experiencing greater devotion to God.
I have been thinking and praying about Lent and the call that I find this time of year has on my life. I never grew up observing Lent so adding this observance into my routine has taken some getting use to. However, since I have begun blogging each day during Lent I’ve found a new spiritual awareness and awakening as we journey towards the cross. Lent is a time of reflection and introspection. We take very little time in our lives to do this. I pray that each of my blog posts will help to point you to your Savior and challenge your thinking in some way. Please pray for me as we near this time: for inspiration from the Holy Spirit as I write and multiplied time- Lent begins March 1. If you enjoy my Advent blogs- be sure to pass them on to friends so they can join us in our journey. 8 days to go!
Here is a word for today: “With what shall I come before the LORD and bow down before the exalted God? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old? Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousand rivers of oil? Shall I offer my first born for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? He has showed you, O man, what is good and what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” Micah 6:6-8
Blessings as you prepare for the coming of Lent and endeavor to walk with God each day.
Valentine’s Day, on the cynical side, is the day for florists, candy and card makers to earn a great deal. My grandson and I visited a local supermarket yesterday and I was overwhelmed by the amount of flowers, cards and candy that were on display. On the love side, Valentine’s Day is a day when we can express our love for one another freely and not be thought of as sentimental or mushy. How about God? How does God express His love for us? Here is a familiar verse that gets right to the heart of God.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that who ever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For He did not sent his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” John 3:16-17
How much more love could God show for us than sacrificing His only Son on our behalf? He loved us that much. He sent Him so that through faith in Jesus we could be saved and not condemned. Only Jesus could erase our sin and present us whole and perfectly clean before our Holy God.
When you say ‘thank you’ today for a Valentine gift you receive, a card or flowers, think about thanking God too. Thank Him for sending Jesus. Thank Him for making a way to salvation and eternal life with Him. That is the best Valentine I can think of that is filled with all of God’s love for now through eternity.
Blessings on this Valentine’s Day.