Week 5 March 12-19
Theme: The gift of grace called “repentance.” Repentance means to turn away from one and toward another, in the case of Christian faith: toward God.
Set aside 12 minutes each day.
Read: Numbers 21:4-9
Consider a time when unexpected sorrow, pain, or suffering came into your life. Think concretely about who was involved, what exactly caused the suffering, when did it happen (chronologically and in relation to your perspectives about a “higher power”). Finally, how did you respond. Remember four concrete responses: physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual.
Pray: God of life and death, when things go wrong, help me to respond by looking to you and offering my whole life into your healing care.
Read: Psalm 107
The psalmist assures us that God has rescued people in the past; and, many of us can look to our histories and see the same sense of God’s saving presence. However, there are times when what we ask for doesn’t happen that way. If this is true of you, if there is a time when God failed to say “yes” despite your pleas, is there anyone, even just one, even if it was just a moment at the right time, to whom you turned and received comfort? Is there anyone who stood by you through the journey of sorrow, pain, or suffering?
Pray: Absent God, for the witness of those who received your saving grace, I give you thanks. When I needed you, I only remember (name). Thank you for their care. Help me be that person for another when they have trouble seeing you.
Read: Ephesians 2:1-10
Did you have a period of life that is your “wild” time, full of passions of this world? Sowing your “wild oats?” What fond memories do you have of those times? What do remember and think “wow, so glad I survived that!”
Pray: Patient God, thank you for never giving up on my return to you. For the wasted times, show me the lessons that can help someone else. Thank you for good memories and help me take them and make them count today to bring good to others.
Read: Ephesians 2: 1-10
The classic verse in this section is verse 8. Say it aloud several times. Which is the gift: the salvation, or the grace, or the faith? This is the foundation of the Protestant Reformation. There is nothing anyone of us can do to earn God’s favor and “get” saved as a result. It cannot be bought, worked for, or, ultimately, even received as a result of our own faith. Salvation is the work of God alone.
Pray: Saving God, I believe, help me in my unbelief; and, thank you that my communion with you does not depend on me.
See you in worship at Loudermilk—Gospel @ The Rock: 7:30 p.m.
Read John 3: 14-21
Do you keep secrets from others about yourself, hiding because there are ways in which you feel “hideous” or too vulnerable to rejection? To you Christ calls, “I am the light and I did not come to judge but to save.” Can you name one reason you think Christ would reject you?
Pray: Jesus, if you know this about me and still want me to come, help me to see you. Show me the way out of darkness and into light.
Read John 3: 14-21
The classic verse is verse 16. The focus is often directed toward convincing people to believe so they may obtain salvation. If the focus is shifted to God loved the world, sent Christ to save the world, our posture shifts from asking what must I do, to trying to understand what God has already done in Christ. Ponder this: God loved the world and sent Christ to save it. Read this aloud without completing any other portion of the verses around it.
God loved the world and sent Christ to save it.
Pray: Saving and loving God, teach me the meaning of this love. Help me to love the world, too.
3/18 See you in Sanctuary Worship: 11:00 a.m.