Monday, February 27, 2012

Lent Day 5: Thankful for new beginnings

"Yikes!" I just picked up the dissertation sent in last week. The editors and I missed a few things. How can there still be dozens of improvements after dozens of readings and hundred of dollars spent for edits?

Laying aside the copy (at p.35 of 350 already zoning out with all the qualifiers - get to the story, get to the story!), I'm reflecting on the grace of God at the cusp of another week. Some of you are hunched over your keyboards at work. Some are unloading tools for manual labor. Some stretch in their beds after a long weekend or a night shift.

God is extending his favor to each of us. Lent, the time for thanksgiving and meditation on Jesus as Savior, reminds us that God's mercy is new every morning. We do not have a Father in heaven who looks for the smallest infraction so he can thump us and cow us with power and anger. Our Father calls us into relationship, allowed us to kill his Son to ransom us from eternal banishment, and then--and then--lets us choose for or against his provisions. No other world religion or folk traditions can dream up a God so tender, so lovingly sacrificial, or so merciful!

This morning, I'm asking God for wisdom and understanding. I want to recognize him when he speaks. To obey him better. To follow more closely. To swim in his sea of new beginnings and surf his waves of grace. How about you?

Read more:
*Good and upright is the Lord; therefore he instructs sinners in the way. Psalm 25:8

*My child, do not forget my teaching, but keep my commands in your heart, for they will prolong your life many years and bring you peace and prosperity. Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and people. Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.

Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and shun evil. This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones. Honor the LORD with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops; then your barns will be filled to overflowing and your vats will brim over with new wine. 

My child, do not despise the LORD’s discipline and do not resent his rebuke because the LORD disciplines those he loves as a father the child he delights in. 

Blessed are those who find wisdom, those who gain understanding, for she is more profitable than silver and yields better returns than gold. She is more precious than rubies. Nothing you desire can compare with her. Long life is in her right hand; in her left hand are riches and honor. Her ways are pleasant ways, and all her paths are peace. She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her; those who hold her fast will be blessed. By wisdom the LORD laid the earth’s foundations, by understanding he set the heavens in place; by his knowledge the watery depths were divided and the clouds let drop the dew. 

My child, do not let wisdom and understanding out of your sight. Preserve sound judgment and discretion; they will be life for you, an ornament to grace your neck. Then you will go on your way in safety and your foot will not stumble. When you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet. Have no fear of sudden disaster or of the ruin that overtakes the wicked for the LORD will be at your side and will keep your foot from being snared.

Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to act. Do not say to your neighbor, “Come back tomorrow and I’ll give it to you”— when you already have it with you.

*I will set my eyes upon them for good. I will build them up, and not tear them down; I will plant them, and not pluck them up. Jeremiah 24:6

*So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth. 1 Corinthians 3:7

Moravian Prayer: God of heaven and earth, as we worship, let us praise you as Lord who is able to shape us as a people of one mind. You are the one who also provides for us the life-giving water needed to sustain our growth. Amen.

*But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. 1 Peter 2:9-10 NIV

1 comment:

  1. Thanks, R - I needed that. And today, "I'm asking God for wisdom and understanding. I want to recognize him when he speaks. To obey him better. To follow more closely. To swim in his sea of new beginnings and surf his waves of grace." (and I will pray for the same tomorrow and many more weeks to come, I'm sure. I've repeated to myself over 100x today that God is with me even in the storm and I'm praying for the faith to reach out and trust Him that he will help me walk the surface of the water without faltering (Matt 14:22-33).