Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 3-6-19

March 6, 2019

Joel 2:12-17 Contemporary English Version (CEV)

Today is the first day of our 40 Day Lenten Series, “Praying for a Kingdom Heart.”  Lent is a perfect time for prayerful reflection, repentance, and restoration.  Authentic reflection calls for a shift in our perspective; to honestly evaluate how near we are to God. He hasn’t moved away from us, but perhaps we have moved away from him. The Lord must always have first place in our hearts; we are to have no other gods before him. Every day the enemy distracts us with “other gods” seeking to move God out of his rightful place in our lives. As well, we can bring along a stubborn will and flesh filled with lousy priorities, careless choices, and unbiblical lifestyles that try to usurp God’s authority to direct our paths. We must draw near to God in prayer and seek him with all of our hearts. No half-hearted measures will do. God desires to pour himself entirely into a relationship with us; so our response should be to give ourselves entirely to him in return.

Our passage today is from the Old Testament book of Joel; he served as a prophet of the Lord following the Babylonian captivity around 538BC. God’s people had allowed things to enter their lives; things that separated them from God.  The all-knowing God was waiting for his people to return.  Now, to avoid judgment, the people needed to embrace change. Prayer would bring that change. Joel told the people to place their hope for restoration in the Lord. Hope was possible because of God’s steadfast love and generous mercy. Joel called people to repent and encouraged them to ask the Lord for relief.  

As Joel called God’s people to pay attention to their lives; today, I call us to do the same. During Lent, we will be using the acronym P.R.A.Y. as we pray for a Kingdom Heart. P=praise, R=repent, A=ask, and Y=yield. May God bless you as you spend time in God’s Word and in prayer today.  

Joel 2:12-17 The Lord’s Invitation

12 The Lord said:

It isn’t too late.

You can still return to me

    with all your heart.

Start crying and mourning!

    Go without eating.

13 

Don’t rip your clothes

    to show your sorrow.

Instead, turn back to me

    with broken hearts.

I am merciful, kind, and caring.

I don’t easily lose my temper,

    and I don’t like to punish.

14 

I am the Lord your God.

Perhaps I will change my mind

    and treat you with mercy.

Then you will be blessed

with enough grain and wine

    for offering sacrifices to me.

15 

Sound the trumpet on Zion!

    Call the people together.

Show your sorrow

    by going without food.

16 

Make sure that everyone

    is fit to worship me.

Bring adults, children, babies,

and even bring newlyweds

    from their festivities.

17 

Tell my servants, the priests,

    to cry inside the temple

and to offer this prayer

    near the altar:

“Save your people, Lord God!

Don’t let foreign nations

    make jokes about us.

Don’t let them laugh and ask,

    ‘Where is your God?’”

Prayer: Lord, today I praise you for being patient, holy, and all-knowing and I accept your invitation to draw closer to you. I repent of having too may things occupy my attention and time; leaving me sometimes tired during our prayer time. Please help me address my priorities and make better decisions with my time. You deserve me at my best. I yield to your wisdom and look for the Spirit to lead me in righteous paths. In Jesus’ name. Amen. 

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