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VOTE NOW: What should Republicans' Top Legislative Priority Be?
Repeal the ObamaCare individual mandate
Stop the NSA's warrantless spying on Americans
Refuse to reauthorize the Import-Export Bank
Stop the ObamaCare bailouts of insurance companies
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21 Days of Devotions for Prayer & Repentance
"...take away the yoke ... the pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness..."
Some of us who have spent our whole lives in church have gotten used to the "sanctified life." We pray, go to church, worship, and read our Bibles. We may have gotten so used to living our lives with Jesus that we've forgotten what it must be like to live without Him. Worse, because we forget, we often become ungrateful for all that God has done for us. We don't remember that we were once far away from God, hopeless, and lost. Before Christ saved us from our sinful state, we were on a path to destruction. It is only because of His grace that we were washed, cleansed, forgiven, and redeemed; not because of our own works, but because Jesus is merciful.
Ungratefulness gives birth to a critical spirit. We may build little thrones and towers that give onlookers the impression of an "us versus them" mentality. We judge the world with disdain and turned-up noses. Those in the "holy huddle" look down on those in the world "below" and criticize harshly. We "point the finger" at their sin, forgetting that lost people cannot be righteous without Christ. Sadly, a critical attitude inevitably colors our relationships within the "family." God's rebuke through Isaiah was that His people were criticizing each other, using harsh language to cut and slander within their own community.
Repentance is needed to lead us to a place of humility and compassion. Yes, the Church must discipline its own when public sin produces scandal, but that is done in redemptive love, not with criticism and gossip. We are not told to judge the world (1 Corinthians 5:9-13). Why? Well, the truth is that the world cannot live differently because it lives without God's Spirit and transforming power. Therefore, our response to non-believers' sin should be to share the truth of the Gospel in love and hope. We can pray the same merciful prayer Jesus prayed hanging from the cross, "Father, forgive them for they do not know not what they do." Christ prayed that prayer in mercy and love. We too should seek to treat those who don't know God with that same mercy, love, and kindness.
In your time of repentance today:
Take a few moments to think about where you would be without God's grace and truth. Let that reality sink in. Then, ask our Father to help you to remain humble and grateful for all that He has done to adopt you into His family.
Pray that the Lord would reveal black areas in your heart that make you judgmental and critical. Is there an individual or group in particular that you treat harshly or with contempt? A non-believing relative who is making disastrous choices? Homosexuals? Muslims? If God brings someone or a people to mind, ask God for the strength to extend the same mercy that was given to you.
As you go through your day, look for chances to extend compassion instead of judgment to the hopeless and hurting. When appropriate, pray the same loving prayer Jesus prayed, "Forgive them, Father, for they do not know not what they are doing."
1 Corinthians 5:9-13
Bible Study ToolsBible VersionsKJVJohnJohn 20John 20:19-31
John 20:19-31 (King James Version)
19 Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you. 20 And when he had so said , he shewed unto them his hands and his side. Then were the disciples glad , when they saw the Lord. 21 Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you. 22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost: 23 Whose soever sins ye remit , they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain , they are retained . 24 But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came . 25 The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe . 26 And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut , and stood in the midst, and said , Peace be unto you. 27 Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing. 28 And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God. 29 Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed : blessed are they that have not seen , and yet have believed . 30 And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: 31 But these are written , that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.
I feel these few verses are very powerful. It is a question we must ask ourselves. Do we truly believe and what does it take to find that belief? Look at Thomas who had Jesus right there with him but had to have proof. Jesus gave us HIS spirit and we MUST be able to feel HIM working within each of us. We must not have the fear that the disciples had hiding from the Jews. I feel we MUST be strong in the spirit and proclaim that Jesus is still alive today as HE was back then. We may not see HIM physical but we know HE is here with each of us through HIS spirit which is alive and well today. Pray all are having a blessed day lifting our thoughts to our LIVING GOD. Love and God Bless Maggie
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