Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 03-28-23

Intro: During this Lenten season, every devotional will begin with a quote from C.S. Lewis (author and theologian), followed by two readings: 1) A passage from the Psalter and 2) a writing from one of the Old Testament prophets or New Testament authors. We will look at both passages as a whole through the fulfilling work and wisdom of Christ—Truth.
With an unquenchable thirst, we open our hearts to welcome the kindness of God and in so doing, we drink from the heavenly Living Water who sets us free from the dry wilderness of sin, guilt, and spiritual barrenness that permeates the world.

“The hardness of God is kinder than the softness of men, and His compulsion is our liberation.” (CS Lewis; Checkmate)

God’s Word or instructions are not only beneficial for humanity if we desire wisdom, it is a delight that nourishes a dry and thirsty soul. God designed and created us to thirst and desire his commands of love, so we can enjoy his presence. Therefore, the instructions of the Lord are the very gifts that revive us and give joy to our hearts. Thinking about God as the Giver of every possible good thing that exists is a proper mindset that will lead us into eternal life with him (James 1:17; Heb 11:6).

Certainly, we can become weighed down in life by guilt and fear, but we do not have to live in the world’s valley of dry bones. God is full of compassion; he is the liberator who comes and not only gives us beautiful and helpful guidance, but issues warnings about spiritual dangers we can avoid. He reveals his character of love and compassion and if we are open to the work of the Spirit, God will pursue and cleanse us from anything unrighteous hiding in our souls. It is important to remember what we say flows from what is in our hearts (Lu 6:45). In our passage today for the Psalter, David sings and asks God to help him with his thoughts and the words he utters. If every human being would invite God to soften and reshape the words we speak to one another, it would change the atmosphere around us. As a beautiful example, David brings his thoughts and words to the altar of God as an offering to receive and redirect.

Psalm 19:7-14 NLT
The instructions of the Lord are perfect,
    reviving the soul.
The decrees of the Lord are trustworthy,
    making wise the simple.

The commandments of the Lord are right,
    bringing joy to the heart.
The commands of the Lord are clear,
    giving insight for living.

Reverence for the Lord is pure,
    lasting forever.
The laws of the Lord are true;
    each one is fair.
They are more desirable than gold,
    even the finest gold.
They are sweeter than honey,
    even honey dripping from the comb.
They are a warning to your servant,
    a great reward for those who obey them.
How can I know all the sins lurking in my heart?
    Cleanse me from these hidden faults.
Keep your servant from deliberate sins!
    Don’t let them control me.
Then I will be free of guilt
    and innocent of great sin.
May the words of my mouth
    and the meditation of my heart
be pleasing to you,
    O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.

In our passage today from the prophet Isaiah, we learn reconciliation with God comes through listening, seeking, and calling on the Lord for salvation. This reconciliation is the only action that will quench humanity’s spiritual thirst. When we connect to Christ, we connect to the Living Water which begins to help us grow and produce the abundant fruit of God’s nature. We may not even know how spiritually dry, parched or thirsty we truly are until we call upon the Lord, he imparts the Living Water to our souls, and our lives begin to change. Only then are we satisfied, made alive with the eternal life of God, and productive for the Kingdom of righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit (Ro 14:17).

To choose to stay distant from God is to live foolishly and recklessly. We cannot comprehend the utter holiness of God’s thoughts with our human minds. Therefore, we need to align ourselves with his Word which gives us a glimpse of his divine nature and character. Friends, we must remain near to God, because the world has a way of hardening our hearts against the Compassionate One [Jesus] who actually came to liberate us from sin, death, and separation from God. Be reconciled with God, in Christ, and be spiritually alive!

Isaiah 55:1a, 8-13 NLT
Is anyone thirsty? Come and drink—
“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord.
    “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.

For just as the heavens are higher than the earth,
    so my ways are higher than your ways
    and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.
“The rain and snow come down from the heavens
    and stay on the ground to water the earth.
They cause the grain to grow,
    producing seed for the farmer
    and bread for the hungry.
It is the same with my word.
    I send it out, and it always produces fruit.
It will accomplish all I want it to,
    and it will prosper everywhere I send it.
You will live in joy and peace.
    The mountains and hills will burst into song,
    and the trees of the field will clap their hands!
Where once there were thorns, cypress trees will grow.
    Where nettles grew, myrtles will sprout up.
These events will bring great honor to the Lord’s name;
    they will be an everlasting sign of his power and love.”

Prayer: Lord, thank you for being the Living Water that quenches our spiritual thirst. This world is a wilderness that leaves humanity dry, empty, and fruitless; but you provide your powerful Spirit to quench our thirst and fill us with your amazing presence when we seek you and your Kingdom. Thank you for the righteousness, peace, and joy you bring our lives every day. Continue to help us grow and prosper in the Spirit. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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