April 7, 2022

Lenten Devotion: Penitence and Grace

Lenten Devotion: Penitence and Grace

Marilyn Courtney offers today’s devotion:

I am honored to be asked to bring you this Lent devotional today.

We have been in Lent since Ash Wednesday and it will end on Holy Saturday, right before Easter.  These 40 days leading up to Easter are the most important time of the year for Christians, even more than Christmas.

Most of us have daily devotions- whether the bible, an online devotion or a daily devotion like the Upper Room. During Lent, you may have added another spiritual discipline to your regular routine, such as fasting, giving up something you enjoy like chocolate, red meat, playing games or conscientiously doing something for others not as fortunate.

When I was researching what to do for this devotion, I researched the seven penitential  psalms (6, 32, 38, 51, 102, 130, 143) which are frequently used as part of the Christian church’s Lenten observance.  The psalms have always spoken to me as a ‘go to’ when I am down or need a lift.  The theme of these seven psalms is consistent: the psalmist expresses deep sorrow for his sin, asking God for help and forgiveness.  Anytime is a great time to ask God for help and forgiveness but especially during Lent.

For this devotion, I selected Psalm 32, which speaks to me during this time.  First let’s read the New International Version of Psalm 32.

Psalm 32 (New International Version)

 Blessed is the one
whose transgressions are forgiven,
whose sins are covered.
Blessed is the one
whose sin the Lord does not count against them
and in whose spirit is no deceit.

When I kept silent,
my bones wasted away
through my groaning all day long.
For day and night
your hand was heavy on me;
my strength was sapped
as in the heat of summer.[b]

Then I acknowledged my sin to you
and did not cover up my iniquity.
I said, “I will confess
my transgressions to the Lord.”
And you forgave
the guilt of my sin.

Therefore let all the faithful pray to you
while you may be found;
surely the rising of the mighty waters
will not reach them.
You are my hiding place;
you will protect me from trouble
and surround me with songs of deliverance.

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.
Do not be like the horse or the mule,
which have no understanding
but must be controlled by bit and bridle
or they will not come to you.
10 Many are the woes of the wicked,
but the Lord’s unfailing love
surrounds the one who trusts in him.

11 Rejoice in the Lord and be glad, you righteous;
sing, all you who are upright in heart!

 

So let’s think on what this psalm is saying.  We are all sinners. No matter how hard we try we will fail.  This used to really bother me because I try to be a good person.  I try to help others and I try to follow God’s word. That can be frustrating when you think you can never be good enough but it gives us something to strive for and for which to be grateful.

Even though we are all sinners, acknowledged or not, we have help.   Through nothing we do, God will forgive us, no matter the sin or the severity of the sin as long as we repent.  God forgives us.  He understands we are not perfect, and we never will be perfect no matter how much we try for no matter how long but God still loves us.  Isn’t that amazing. We are blessed not only because God blesses us, but he forgives us and on top of this He gave us His Son to pay for our sins.  Can you imagine being a parent and sacrificing your child for others?  What an amazing grace He has given us.  We should think on it all the time but for me, especially at this time of year.

Let’s pray.  Dear God thank you so much for your never ending grace and mercy.  May we continue to listen to you and follow your direction for our lives.  This we ask in Jesus name, Amen.

I hope this daily devotion gives you some thought.  May you be blessed during this time of Lent and always. May we remember God’s Grace.

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