The First 15

Wednesday March 23, 2022

by Sharon Reid

Today is Wednesday, March 23 and this week, as we pray through scripture, we are reflecting on our great need for salvation.

Opening Prayer

As I enter into prayer, I pause to be still, I slow down my breathing, and I seek to be more fully present with God in these holy moments.

Pause and Pray

Holy Spirit, help me release my worries and distractions into your capable care as I rest with you in these moments of stillness. Amen.

Scripture Reading

I sense I am in God’s presence here and now, as I join with the ancient praise of all God’s people in the words of Psalm 27.

The Lord is my light and my salvation—whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life—of whom shall I be afraid? One thing I ask from the Lord, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple. For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent and set me high upon a rock. I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord. – Psalm 27:1, 4-5, 13-14 NIV

Pause and Pray

John 3:16 is a well known and loved bible verse. The verses that follow it are rich with teaching about “how God loves us” and “why we need God to save us.” As I slowly read these verses, I pause at the end of each sentence and give the Holy Spirit space to deepen my understanding of the scripture.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God. – John 3:16-21

Reflection

When I try to hide my thoughts and deeds in darkness, literally or metaphorically, it reveals that I am struggling to fully embrace the truth of God’s nature. I cannot hide anything from God, but then why should I? God came into our world as Jesus my Savior, not my condemner. When I embrace living in the light of God’s true Spirit I learn to reveal my authentic self. This kind of transparency reveals my weaknesses, but it also reveals my growing trust in God’s relentless love and grace for me. Hiding isolates me and makes me more vulnerable to choose sin and lose sight of who I am and who God is.

Ask: What have I tried to hide from God in the past? Is there anything I am trying to hide from God today?

Pause and Pray

Holy Spirit, help me notice a particular word, phrase or thought you want me to carry with me throughout this day as I slowly read the passage once more.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God. – John 3:16-21

Ask: What word, phrase or thought from this passage did God’s Spirit guide you to? How will you carry this with you throughout the day?

Pause and Pray

Lord, help me look inward and pay attention to what you have led me to see and hear. I invite you to transform me in these moments so that I might reflect the thoughts and actions of Jesus Christ throughout this day. Amen.

I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture.. – John 10:9 NIV

Closing Prayer

Lord, as I leave this time of prayer, make me ready to be faithful to you in every way. Jesus, make me ready to serve others with your compassion and grace. Holy Spirit, transform my inner thoughts and motivations so that all I do, I do to please you. Amen.

The First 15

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