See the source image    Pentecost 21 – Monday Devotion

Readings:  Deuteronomy 28:1-22 and Matthew 18:1-20

Deuteronomy 28:1-7  “And if you faithfully obey the voice of the Lord your God, being careful to do all His commandments that I command you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth. And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, if you obey the voice of the Lord your God. Blessed shall you be in the city, and blessed shall you be in the field. Blessed shall be the fruit of your womb and the fruit of your ground and the fruit of your cattle, the increase of your herds and the young of your flock. Blessed shall be your basket and your kneading bowl. Blessed shall you be when you come in, and blessed shall you be when you go out.

“The Lord will cause your enemies who rise against you to be defeated before you. They shall come out against you one way and flee before you seven ways.

Matthew 18:15 “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother.

 

“The Blessing of God”

According to the “theology” of Pogo, he states: “We have met the enemy and he is us”. These words are a parody of the words of Master Commandant Oliver Perry when, during the Battle of 1812, he was victorious over the British Army in the Battle of Lake Erie.

That statement so captures the biggest problem of sin. We are our own worst enemy. We create a lot of unnecessary problems in our life and in our world because we cling to our sin instead of working it out with the other person or simply choosing to forgive and forget.

Think of the problems we face in our nation, and in our world, today. We live with a strong “he said, she said” mentality. People are quick to criticize the other person.  Too many people bad-mouth one another, putting them down instead of sitting down and working it out. It seems, politically, it is easy to blame partisan politics instead of reaching across the aisle and doing what is best for our nation as a whole. 

We have become our own gods. We have pushed God out of so many venues of life that we feel it more sinful to bring Him up than to ignore Him. Political Correctness has taken the place of God-correctness. There seems to be more interest in pleasing man than pleasing God.

Do you hear the promise God spoke to His people in Deuteronomy? Put God first and live within His blessings. Then when you are attacked your enemy will be scattered. Are they today, or do our enemies, especially the Old Evil Foe, Satan, crouch at our door ready to pounce and devour us?

What are we to do? First, we fall on our knees before God. We need to confess to Him our sins, the many ways we have failed Him.  Then ask for His forgiveness and He will restore you into His family and into His grace!  Second, we turn from our ways of rejecting Him and ask Him to lead us, to be our guide in living His forgiving love. Let His love flow through you to draw others close to you.

Next, we share the blessings God has given us. What do you have that might benefit someone else?  Do you have clothes you no longer wear?  Donate them to a thrift shop or a care center to help people in need. Do you have food that you could share? Sometimes a little goes a long way. You could purchase gift cards for specific food stores with the provision that they are only for food. Time volunteered, such as babysitting, could allow a young couple that are time-stressed the opportunity for an evening out by themselves. Little things can mean so much to those in need.

Finally, if you have sinned against someone go to them and ask to be forgiven and restored. If that person sinned against you, go to them and ask for restoration. Keep going to them. Keep sharing forgiveness. Continue to ask for restoration until it happens. It is here, it is then, that you allow God’s peace to flood over you, and over them. 

Living in the blessing of God is something that never ends. Yes, because of sin, you will die to this world and this life unless Jesus comes back before that day. But, when you live in His blessings, especially the blessing of His forgiveness, you have a blessing that will continue into heaven and forever in His eternity.

PRAYER:  Father, You have blessed our land and You have blessed us, yet we have continued to turn from You. Forgive us our sinful rebellion. Restore us through Your Son, Jesus, to live in Your forgiveness and to live Your forgiveness now and forever. Amen.