Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Lent Day 1 - Where the Battle Begins

"Search me, O God, and know my heart; 
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me, and 
lead me in the way everlasting."  Psalm 139:23-24

Welcome to the season of Lent. It's a time for prayer, fasting, abstinence, and penitence, and I'm not sure we've ever needed it more. We've indulged in an excess of news reports and social media posts and private conversations about our country's predicaments and perils, and wondered if we'll make it. We've retained some leaders, and sent some packing. We passed laws-some good, some bad, and some that scare us and make us feel defeated and hopeless. We've not been shy about saying what we think about individuals in various offices, and by some of our rhetoric, we've encouraged the vitriolic comments to continue. I don't know about you, but I'm ready for a break from all that for a while. 

This is not a political post. None of them will be. This is not about politics. This is about all God's children laying that aside and choosing, for a few days, to come together in prayer for our country. 

While you may think we'd naturally start at the top, we're actually not starting with any leader or issue at all. We're starting with YOU. And ME. Remember the verse about the speck in our brother's eye, and the plank in our own? That's why we're starting here. 

Take time today, and through this whole season, to begin with yourself. Use the verse above, and honestly ask God to search out your own heart. What might he show you? Are you not praying for our country at all? Are your words and comments laced with anger and hatred? Do you see some politicians as the enemy instead of someone in need of God's love and forgiveness? Do you find it more important to make your point than to listen to others, even when you disagree? Have you decided that you can't be friends with someone unless you agree on everything? Have you decided the whole world is going to hell in a hand basket so why bother? 

Are you brave enough to accept the challenge and pray these verses over your self? What will you put aside for this time of Lent? The wonder of God is that he never asks us to give up anything that he doesn't replace with something so much better. 

Prayer for today:

Good morning, Lord-
Today I give you permission to search every corner of my heart for anything that does not please you. I know when I treat someone with disrespect and with anger, it grieves you. Please forgive me for not seeing others for the precious treasures they are to you. Remind me that you do not take sides; you are here for every one of us. When Lent is over, and we celebrate your resurrection at Easter, I want to be more like you than I am at this moment. Help me not to be afraid of what you will show me, because you are a kind and gracious Father, and you love me beyond measure. You know my anxious thoughts for my country. Replace them with your peace. Show me anything in me that offends you, and help me to let go of it. Lead me in your way, and give me the courage to follow you. I love you. 

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