Daily Lenten Devotion Wednesday, March 19

Wednesday, March 19, 2014  – Psalm 51; Genesis 42:18-28; 1 Corinthians 5:9-6:11 and Mark 4:1-20

Psalm 51 – 1   Have mercy on me, O God,
according to your steadfast love;
according to your abundant mercy
blot out my transgressions.
2   Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
and cleanse me from my sin.

3   For I know my transgressions,
and my sin is ever before me.
4   Against you, you alone, have I sinned,
and done what is evil in your sight,
so that you are justified in your sentence
and blameless when you pass judgment.

5   Indeed, I was born guilty,
a sinner when my mother conceived me.

6   You desire truth in the inward being;
therefore teach me wisdom in my secret heart.
7   Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
8   Let me hear joy and gladness;
let the bones that you have crushed rejoice.
9   Hide your face from my sins,
and blot out all my iniquities.

10  Create in me a clean heart, O God,
and put a new and right spirit within me.

Frederick Buechner, a Twentieth and now Twenty-first century theologian and Presbyterian pastor/professor once said;

“To confess your sins to God is not to tell [God] anything [God] doesn’t already know. Until you confess them, however, they are the abyss between you and God and others. When you confess them, they become the bridge.”

Lent is a time for really examining ourselves. We all fall short of God’s glory, we all have progress to be made in being a child of God. Our Psalm today is a great prayer of confession of our sin and a cry from us that God wash us and cleanse us. I’d modify the last line to say; “Create in me a clean heart, clean mid, clean soul, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me.”

In our reading from the gospel today we hear the Parable of the Sower and its interpretation. Hear now the parable of the sower. Let everyone who has ears, listen.

Mark 4:1-20 – 1) Again he began to teach beside the sea. Such a very large crowd gathered around him that he got into a boat on the sea and sat there, while the whole crowd was beside the sea on the land. 2) He began to teach them many things in parables, and in his teaching he said to them: 3) “Listen! A sower went out to sow. 4) And as he sowed, some seed fell on the path, and the birds came and ate it up. 5) Other seed fell on rocky ground, where it did not have much soil, and it sprang up quickly, since it had no depth of soil. 6) And when the sun rose, it was scorched; and since it had no root, it withered away. 7) Other seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no grain. 8) Other seed fell into good soil and brought forth grain, growing up and increasing and yielding thirty and sixty and a hundredfold.” 9) And he said, “Let anyone with ears to hear listen!”

Living in the Ozarks I can easily find three out of the four kinds of soil mentioned in this parable. I can easily find; paths where people or animals have made their way through the hills, rocky ground its seems to be everywhere and when you dig up your yard you see how many rocks are mixed amongst the soil, and thorns/overgrown areas just walk through the woods and a thorny bush will reach out and grab you. What’s hard to find is good soil. Often times this has to be brought in. There are a few areas with good soil but very few.

As I examine my life I can identify each type of soil within me. There are times when my heart gets hardened and God’s word comes to me but can’t sink into my soul. At times that rocks get in the way of God’s word really penetrating my soul. The rocks? My wants, my desires, me, me, me. Then there are times when my life is full of thorny weeds. This is often times when I simply get busy doing things, instead of focusing upon God.  In each instance God’s word comes to me but I don’t really receive it.

And some seed fell upon good soil. What I find it that I’m most receptive to God’s word coming unto during the really stressful times of life. Life may seem dry but God’s word comes to me and nurtures me and God waters it and God’s word grows within me thirty, sixty and a hundred fold. An active prayer life is a major part of preparing my soul for God’s word. Being in community is a major part of being ready to receive God’s word.

When have you found yourself really ready to receive God’s word given unto you?

O God, this day may I be ready to hear your word unto me, receive it and do its work of giving new life unto me and through me. Amen.

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