He is gracious and merciful

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DAILY DEVOTIONAL – Friday, March 3, 2017

I wanted to post this daily devotional early because the story in The Upper Room pertains to Ash Wednesday.

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May you find comfort, encouragement, guidance, hope, inspiration, love, and peace – https://helpfulinspirationalblog.wordpress.com/. May you also find answers to your question(s) through the Scriptures that address every situation you face, and help with your problems. Deb







Today’s scripture reading:

God told the people to turn to him while there was still time. Destruction would soon be upon them. Time is also running out for us. Because we don’t know when our life will end, we should trust and obey God now while we can. Do not let anything hinder you from turning to Him.

Deep remorse was often shown by tearing one’s clothes. But God didn’t want an outward display of penitence without true inward repentance. Be sure your attitude toward God is correct, not just your outward actions. (NLT)

Joel 2:12-17 – That is why the Lord says, “Turn to me now, while there is time! Give me your hearts. Come with fasting, weeping, and mourning. Don’t tear your clothing in your grief; instead, tear your hearts.” Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and merciful. He is not easily angered. He is filled with kindness and is eager not to punish you. Who knows? Perhaps even yet he will give you a reprieve, sending you a blessing instead of this terrible curse. Perhaps he will give you so much that you will be able to offer grain and wine to the Lord your God as before!

Blow the trumpet in Jerusalem! Announce a time of fasting; call the people together for a solemn meeting. Bring everyone—the elders, the children, and even the babies. Call the bridegroom from his quarters and the bride from her private room. The priests, who minster in the Lord’s presence, will stand between the people and the altar, weeping. Let them pray, “Spare your people, Lord! They belong to you, so don’t let them become an object of mockery. Don’t let their name become a proverb of unbelieving foreigners who say, ‘Where is the God of Israel? He must be helpless!’”

Job answered the Lord, “I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you; therefore I despise myself, and repent in dust and ashes.” –Job 42:5-6

Michael A. Macdonald (North Carolina) titled his story “SOMBER OPTIMISM;” here is a portion of Michael’s story:

“During an Ash Wednesday service in my church, the pastor alternates between two different statements when imposing the cross of ashes on the forehead of worshipers. The first is, ‘Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.’ The second is, ‘Repent, and believe the gospel.’ In my church’s tradition, the thanksgiving over the ashes includes this petition: ‘Grant that these ashes may be to us a sign of our mortality and penitence.’

“. . . Many believe that Ash Wednesday is unnecessarily somber and pessimistic. However, I see Ash Wednesday as a healthy response to the realities of life. Ash Wednesday invites us to contemplate our sin and the inevitability of our death and to confess our sinfulness because we are confident in God’s grace and forgiveness. . . .

“Ash Wednesday is somber but optimistic. It allows us to face life as it really is with God’s promise of our deliverance from sin and death.”

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY – Ash Wednesday is an invitation to remember God’s grace.

Prayer: Almighty God, help us to remember that only by your gracious gift are we given everlasting life. We pray through Jesus Christ our savior. Amen.


To read the rest of the story in The Upper Room, click on the following link: http://devotional.upperroom.org/

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