Lenten Devotion 03.30.2014

March 30 – Monday
Fasting Item(s): Computer (except for school) & Video Games.
Today’s Scripture: Matthew 9:13 “Then He added, ‘Now go and learn the meaning of this Scripture:’ “I want you to show mercy, not offer sacrifices.”  ‘For I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.’” NLT
Question: When was the last time you really showed mercy to someone?
Devotion: Are the lives we live, self-righteous?  When was the last time you really showed mercy to someone?  These opening questions can be quite sharp and perhaps, accusatory.  I’ll let the Holy Spirit deal with what’s on your heart, while sharing what’s He’s showing me that’s on my heart.  Just last Friday I had an event that had roughly 40 teenagers.  The event was a planned event called, Midnight Madness.  This has been a staple ministry to our youth and their friends for years now.  In fact, it was in place before I started serving at First Lutheran over three years ago now.  Typically I have this number of teenagers and anyone who knows the nature of youth related events, you know that adult supervision is needed.  Here’s where my “sacrifice” came in to play.  I started to put on my own pity party because I was going to be the only adult at this event and eventually go down the road, just like Elijah did (1 Kings 19:10) of self-rightesouness.  I began to conjecture about the “what ifs” of being the only adult present.  Then God spoke to my heart and said something profound, “The LORD keeps you from all harm and watches over your life.  The LORD keeps watch over you as you come and go, both now and forever.” (Psalm 121:7-8 NLT)  It wasn’t until multiple days later (yesterday) that I came across today’s devotion Scripture that speaks boldly into my NOT showing “mercy”, but rather expecting others to “sacrifice” as a means of their loyalty to God and His people.  I’m being very transparent right now to show you how easy it is to go from being a servant of God to being the judge and jury.  I have since repented and asked God to show me more of the darkness that dwells within my being and to give Him permission to purge this out of me.  I do this best by sharing it with others that I trust, you the reader are on this list.  I also have thanked Christ for creating in me a clean heart…and renewing a loyal spirit within me. (Psalm 51:10)  Because of what Christ has done and what I’ve allowed Him to accomplish within me, it is then that He gets glory for making me more like Him.  If we can be this transparent with fellow sinners, it will help us and prepare us to be more transparent with a merciful Judge who is also the Jury of our peers.  He made the sacrificial offering on our behalf, so that affords us the ability to show “mercy to everyone”.  “In fact, we expected to die, But as a result, we stopped relying on ourselves and learned to rely only on God, who raises the dead.  And He did rescue us from mortal danger, and He will rescue us again.  We have placed our confidence in Him, and He will continue to rescue us.  And you are helping us by praying for us.  Then many people will give thanks because God has graciously answered so many prayers for our safety.” (2 Corinthians 1:9-11 NLT)  Praise be to God that I am a little less “self-righteous” today than I was yesterday and I look forward to more of God’s daily pruning in my heart, the things that He didn’t put there.  God indeed is gracious!
Prayer focus: Kids and Parents pray for your school leaders, church leaders and co-workers.

Here’s the free Lent Calendar to follow along the path God is calling us to. Take others on the journey with you, but not in a “look at us” sort of way. This is a humble journey to be endured with the help of God.

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