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Most weeks I start thinking of the attribute of God to focus on at our next meeting well in advance. Or at least the day before. This was not one of those weeks. I awoke this morning wondering what it would be today, and immediately I thought of that little snippet of a verse, "But God, who is rich in mercy..."
Thank heaven for concordances! Mine directed me to Ephesians 2:4-5. "But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions--it is by grace you have been saved."
Adoration: We went to a longer passage, Titus 3:1-8, for our focus today. Verses 4-7 say, "But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life." So we praised him for
- His kindness
- His love
- For not waiting until we scored enough righteousness points to build a relationship with us
- For the washing of rebirth and renewal that we so desparately need
- For pouring his Spirit out on us generously through Jesus
- For justifying us and giving us the hope of eternal life
Confession: As we reflected on the richness of God's mercy, we asked him to show us where we fail to show mercy. We also asked him to show us if there are ways in which we resist his mercy by trying to be strong and righteous on our own. We asked him to help us receive his mercy, and extend it to others.
Thanksgiving: We thanked God for the fact that through his mercy, he comes alongside us in our weakness, and holds us up through his own power. (2 Corinthians 12:9) We thanked him for his demonstrations of faithfulness to us and our families as well.
Supplication (requests): We prayed that our children would also be receptive to God's mercy and extend it to others. We prayed the verses earlier in the Titus passage for them (Titus 3:1-2): "Remind the people (our children, and us!) to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and to show true humility toward all men." Oh, that we would all see every person as someone in the very same need of mercy as we are ourselves, and that we would treat everyone with that same consideration and humility!
Amen, Lord. Make it so.