I've been receiving a Lent devotional from Redeemer Church in NYC. It's been nice to read it (almost) daily.
I grew up in southern baptist churches, so Lent was never something we celebrated. I also never grew up celebrating Advent at Christmastime, but we really appreciate it as a family. So, this year, I'm trying to focus my heart a little more on the impending celebration of Easter. We really ought to celebrate it with as much passion and enthusiasm as we celebrate Christmas, I think. After all, it's the pinnacle of what Christmas is all about. Christ's coming was for his death, burial and resurrection.
So, today's devotional hit a spot with me.
It seems lately that the Lord has been teaching me a lot about His amazing grace. Now, I know that it's common to hear people talk about His grace. What I mean is that He has been teaching me about His grace on a much deeper level than I've ever learned before.
In particular, He's been teaching me about it as I parent. A book was recommended to me by our librarian and it is fantastic. Since the check-out period is only two weeks and I was going slowly through it so as not to miss anything, I only got halfway through before I had to return it for the person on hold to borrow it. But, it is fantastic. I need to find a copy for myself. The book is called "Give Them Grace" by Elyse Fitzpatrick and Jessica Thompson. It's not that she writes things that are so "revolutionary" per se, but really they are--for my heart!
I still wholeheartedly endorse Shepherding a Child's Heart by Tedd Tripp. In fact, another couple and we are reading back through it and discussing it (well, we've met once....and hope to again soon). But, this book that focuses on grace is something God seems to be wanting to teach me.
You see, I started reading it just as teaching at church hit upon the Pharisees. We're going through the book of Matthew and came to some spots where Jesus directly dealt with the Pharisees. They kept the Law so well, but they missed the point.
I am a great Pharisee.
I keep laws and rules really well. I was a rule follower. Well...to most people I was a rule follower. I really ought to write another post or two on just how good I was at living at a double life.
But, I digress. So, this whole topic of "outward obedience" has been really good for me. God wants our heart. He wants to show us our desperate need for Him.
Today's devotional for Lent:
Jeremiah 33:14-18 (ESV) “Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will fulfill the promise I made to the house of Israel and the house of Judah. In those days and at that time I will cause a righteous Branch to spring up for David, and he shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. In those days Judah will be saved, and Jerusalem will dwell securely. And this is the name by which it will be called: ‘The Lord is our righteousness.’
“For thus says the Lord: David shall never lack a man to sit on the throne of the house of Israel, and the Levitical priests shall never lack a man in my presence to offer burnt offerings, to burn grain offerings, and to make sacrifices forever.”
I've done a study on the Tabernacle in the Old Testament. There were so many rules! It was beautiful because the people had a place to meet with God and the symbolism is so rich and amazing. But, the bottom line is that NONE OF IT BRINGS US TO WHERE WE NEED TO BE!
We need Jesus!
He is my intercessor. He is my friend. He is my Savior who sacrificed His life so that mine would be eternally saved. All glory to Jesus, for He alone is worthy of all honor and praise and glory.