Lent Devotional – Feb. 28, 2020

Silence and Centering

“Be still, and know that I am God!- Psalm 46:10

PAUSE FOR 2 MINUTES OF SILENCE

Reading & Devotional: : Jonah 4:1-11

https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Jonah+4%3A1-11&version=NIV

 

It is easy to miss how radical the story of Jonah was for
its time. The prophet famously ran away from God’s call, causing a
storm to hit the ship he was travelling on. As a result, he was thrown
overboard, swallowed by a great fish and coughed up on the shores
of Nineveh. Then, realising he could not avoid it, Jonah preached
one of the most successful sermons in history – it caused the whole
city to turn to God in repentance! But, instead of celebrating his
success and the deliverance of all these people, Jonah was angry
that God had not brought about the promised judgement.

Jonah had no compassion on these people. He wanted to be right, and so the
judgement had to come. This is how most of us feel about those we
consider to be our enemies. Sometimes, we even choose this
course with those we love – we would rather be right than loving.
But, God had a lesson for Jonah, and for the readers of this book. A
plant grew up to shelter Jonah, and then was destroyed by a worm.
Jonah grew extremely angry about this, not out of compassion for
the plant, but out of a selfish concern for his own comfort.

Nevertheless God used this to explain God’s concern for the
Ninevites. It can be really hard for us to acknowledge that God loves
our enemies as much as God loves us, but this is the message of
the book of Jonah. We need to face our temptations and brokenness
with the strength and wisdom of Jesus, not with Jonah’s selfish, selfrighteous callousness.

We need to refuse to put ourselves above
others, no matter who they are or what they’ve done.
How can you celebrate God’s love for your enemies today? And how
can you face your own darkness as you do so?

Practice for Today: One of Jonah’s problems was a complete lack
of self-knowledge. While he was eager to see judgement fall on the
people of Nineveh, he was oblivious to his own rebelliousness, lack
of compassion, and self-righteousness. If had been willing to see
these broken parts of himself, he probably would have felt much
more compassionate toward the Ninevites. This is why we need
confession. It frees us from our own sin and opens our hearts to be
more loving to others. Allow confession to soften your heart today.

Breath-Prayer for Today: I acknowledge my brokenness, O God,
and ask you to soften my heart toward you and others.

2 MINUTES OF SILENT REFLECTION. 

The Our Father (slowly pray this)

Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For yours is the kingdom, the power, and the glory forever, Amen.

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