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Spend the Night - A Devotion

Spend the Night
Spend the Night
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Ephesians 2:1-6 (NLT)
Once you were dead because of your disobedience and your many sins. You used to live in sin, just like the rest of the world, obeying the devil—the commander of the powers in the unseen world. He is the spirit at work in the hearts of those who refuse to obey God. All of us used to live that way, following the passionate desires and inclinations of our sinful nature. By our very nature we were subject to God’s anger, just like everyone else. But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!) For he raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus.

Our youngest is a real character. She is a high energy ball of activity that literally bounces off the wall most of the time. She is ready to share her entire life with you in one sentence from the moment she sees you to be sure that you are fully involved her little life. She is smart and doesn’t miss a thing even those things you wish she did sometimes especially those things that you diligently try to make sure that she doesn’t hear you say or see you do. She doesn’t like surprises and lives in constant expectation. The last of five very different personalities she is very kind hearted and compassionate. She loves other people deeply and passionately. Like all the others before her some days I wish she would stay just like she is right now. But of course there are other days that I wish we could rush past this phase or that. What is it about “baby” in each family that makes them different? While her older siblings grow and develop ready to take on the world, she has decided that when she grows up that she and her husband will live with us because she cannot bare to be away from us. She values the time that she spends with us and literally schedules each day with the intent to engage in quality time with us severely disappointed if she is carried away by friends and activities. She is deeply devoted to her dad and I. So it was no surprise last night when she came to me asking to have a “spend the night”. You might think this strange since she is eleven and almost as tall as I am. How could I say know with two grown sons who live on their own, a grown daughter engaged to be married, and an socially active teenager who loves to spend her weekends with friends? I told her that it would be cramped in our queen-sized bed, but that she was more than welcome. She went to get her favorite blanket and returned with a pile of pillows and blankets. Rather than sleeping in our bed, she had decided to sleep next to us on a pallet. I asked if she was sure and her dad feared she might be cold, but she joyfully snuggled deep in the mound of blankets and pillows on the edge of slumber and said, “As long as I am close to you and daddy, everything will be alright.” I was so humbled in that moment that this precious little person has such confidence in me as her mother to think that if I am just close enough even laying at her feet everything will be okay. God wants us to feel the same way about Him. Jesus died to make sure that grace covered our sin so that we could live in rightstanding with God remaining in His Presence. In this place, we can truly have the Peace of God as His Mercy covers us.

Titus 3:4-6 (NLT)
But—“When God our Savior revealed his kindness and love, he saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He washed away our sins, giving us a new birth and new life through the Holy Spirit. He generously poured out the Spirit upon us through Jesus Christ our Savior.

Now that little person who melts my heart is not perfect. In fact, she and I had been at odds earlier in the day as she was less than zealous about cleaning her room, completing her chores and not changing clothes for the fifteenth time that day. She had been chastised quite a bit but that in no way changed my love for her. Through discipline, she became obedient (we are still working on the pre-teen attitude) but she came around after a few rounds that evening. She knows me well enough to know that I am unrelenting when I have asked her to do something, but that still does not stop her from challenging me at my word. She knows what I expect and does not always do it. She knows that I love her and expects mercy from me. Now what exactly is mercy? Many people have been beaten down so badly by the world including the church that they do not have realistic expectations of the Lord. Mercy is not just making it out of jail. It is not escaping the death penalty by pleading to lesser charges either. Jesus Christ paid the penalty in full for the price of our sin and trespasses against God therefore it has been completely satisfied. You cannot go back and be retried because that would be double jeopardy and unlawful. God’s Mercy is in fact much bigger than that. It is part of His Great Love for you that offers kindness, compassion and favor in every situation. Now do not mistake this for some get-rich-quick scheme in the Body of Christ to be candid God will not shower you with finances if the contents of your heart is not pure because money only magnifies what is on the inside of you but He will provide everything you need more than you could think or ask, He is ready to heal you, and ready to turn every detail of your life into good! Is that what you expect in this new life in Christ or has someone told you that you should just be thankful you are saved. Salvation is the tip of the iceberg of the Kingdom of God. It is to discover the rich inheritance associated with becoming a Child of God not just a prisoner set free. You will never what the Mercy of God until you get to know what it is, but I assure you the Lord intends to give it to you!

Isaiah 54:9-10 (NLT)
“Just as I swore in the time of Noah that I would never again let a flood cover the earth,
so now I swear that I will never again be angry and punish you. For the mountains may move and the hills disappear, but even then my faithful love for you will remain. My covenant of blessing will never be broken,” says the LORD, who has mercy on you.”

From the moment his first cry broke through the air to the last time I fell in love all over again looking into the wandering eyes of my youngest as she tried to focus on the new place at her arrival, I remember the awesome and overwhelming need to love and protect these people. They are my children. Five of the most distinct individuals who you will ever meet with flaws and faults to match perfectness as my children, I love them and have mercy on them simply because of who they are. It has taken me most of my life to finally accept that this is exactly how God feels about me as His Beloved Child. He loves me warts and all. I love them just like they are. God swore that he would never again be angry and punish His People by destroying them. His Faithful Love remains a constant in my life because He has mercy on me. Mercy is kindness, compassion and favor. These are what I can expect from God and in fact should be looking for every day of my life. This is the point of righteousness or it is nothing more than religion. (Matthew 12:1-8) It seems impossible to love another person so much that no matter what they do to you – you would still want to show them kindness, compassion and favor but I assure this is exactly what God has intended to do in your life. It is the plan and purpose that He wrote down for you in Psalm 139:16. It is a done deal. You must simply decide to be a Child of God by accepting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. The Lord has chosen you to receive His Mercy. (Romans 9:15-16) God has every right to be angry at the rebellion of mankind and wipe us off the face of the planet again but He has chosen to show us mercy. (Romans 9:22-24) What are you doing with God’s Mercy today?

Lamentations 3:20-24 (NLT)
I will never forget this awful time, as I grieve over my loss. Yet I still dare to hope when I remember this: The faithful love of the LORD never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; His Mercies begin afresh each morning. I say to myself, “The LORD is my inheritance; therefore, I will hope in him!”

Mercy is not what makes us wake up breathing each morning that is God’s Grace. Mercy is the life that we lead as Children of God in His Kindness, Compassion and Love. When we make the choice to accept His New Mercies each morning and live in His Faithful Love it is the opportunity to live a life of supernatural outcomes. Hope has nothing to do with what we can see and make a reality in our life but it is all the impossibilities becoming a reality by the Hand of God for His Children. It is about all the things you cannot think to ask for or do in your life. Sometimes all we can see is the hardship that we face. I promise you over the last two years, I have had days when it feels like of His Mercy ran out and I fall in the bed asking Him for even more in the morning supply. He is faithful every time. I expect it. I look for it. I long for it. I need it. I pursue it. Are you looking (expecting) God’s Mercy (kindness, compassion and favor) today? (Psalm 123:1-4) It belongs to you whether you decide to retrieve it or not! Those who do will make His Mercy a lifestyle of living, breathing and yes, even sleeping in the Presence of the Lord.

Proverbs 6:1-4 (NLT)
My child, if you have put up security for a friend’s debt or agreed to guarantee the debt of a stranger—if you have trapped yourself by your agreement and are caught by what you said—follow my advice and save yourself for you have placed yourself at your friend’s mercy. Now swallow your pride; go and beg to have your name erased. Don’t put it off; do it now! Don’t rest until you do.

I have a very good friend who has loved the Lord her whole life but struggled in surrendering her life to Jesus. She has battled many demons but this time it is different. She has taken the time to go back over her past and severe the ties of guilt and regret associated with past sins. Each day she is set free. Some people she has hurt while others have hurt her. When I read this in Proverbs, I thought about her. It is as if each day she unlocks more and more of God’s Mercy in her life, not because of what she is doing but the direction that she is moving. Sin separates us from the benefits of God’s Mercy holding us in unlocked cells with our own two hands. But when we decide to fully accept God’s Kindness, Compassion and Favor those same two hands begin to throw open the prison doors called shame, guilt and regret. It is human nature to rebel against God. (Isaiah 63:8-11) Even when God is so good to us, we struggle to obey His Word and walk in His Way. But know this, you have been set up and not by who you think! God set you up just so His Grace, Love and Mercy could reach you. (Romans 11:30-32) What better way to shame the devil and honor the Lord than by taking hold of everything He has given you and using it to its full potential. You must decide that you want God’s Blessings and Promises in your life. But you will never have them until you expect them, and you will never expect them until you trust that He loves you and wants to do good things for you and in you. This is born of a relationship with Jesus Christ. My daughter does not lay in my bedroom sleeping right now because I am a perfect parent and have given her everything money can buy. She is there right now because she knows that I love her. She trusts that I would do everything in my power even give my life to protect her. She lives in a covenant relationship with me that is part of who she is and everything she wants. She expects my Love and Mercy every day and is teaching me in her innocence just how much God Loves Me!

Matthew 5:7-8 (NLT)
God blesses those who are merciful for they will be shown mercy. God blesses those whose hearts are pure, for they will see God.

As His Child, I do not have to compete for God’s Love and Mercy because it belongs to me. I look for it and expect it because He is My Father. I can now show love and mercy to others simply because of this love that I have found because it satisfies me. I believe that our oldest daughter waited to date until she found her true love because she did not need another person to fulfill her. She grew up in the love and affirmation of her natural father and was introduced at an early age to the Love of God – Her Father. She was content within these parameters of love so would only accept the one who God had for her. It is truly a beautiful love story. God blesses those with a pure heart not as a reward but it is your inheritance. No one else can have what the Lord has promised to you – it belongs to you. We must only be sure that we have not accepted anything less than His Kindness, Compassion and Favor (His Mercy) to fill that void. Those who desire mercy will do good and love it. They will run from evil and hate it. (Amos 5:14-15) Why? They cannot bear to be separated from their Father’s Love. See nothing can separate us from His Love so the rest is up to us. (Romans 8:31-37)

Romans 8:38-39 (NLT)
And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Are you convinced that nothing can ever separate you from God’s Love? I struggle with that sometimes especially in weakness and failure but am trying to accept the Fullness of His Love, Kindness, Compassion and Favor for my life. Maybe that’s why He sends it each morning because if we experienced the true weight of His Love it would crush us in our humanity or it would drown us as a thousand oceans. God’s Love for us is secure. It is His Purpose and Plan for our life that by faith we will have confident hope in His Love enough to drag our life (pillows, blankets and all) to camp at His Feet, live in His Presence and bask in His Love! Is it time for you to have a “spend the night” with God? He has so much more for you than what is in your life right now! His Mercy was new this morning, did you remember to pick it up? Use it. Apply it to every situation. Don’t worry – it’s new every morning! Once you experience the true mercy of God – you will never give up! (2 Corinthians 4:1)

Psalm 40:6-11 (NLT)
You take no delight in sacrifices or offerings. Now that you have made me listen, I finally understand—you don’t require burnt offerings or sin offerings. Then I said, “Look, I have come. As is written about me in the Scriptures: I take joy in doing your will, my God, for your instructions are written on my heart.” I have told all your people about your justice. I have not been afraid to speak out, as you, O LORD, well know. I have not kept the good news of your justice hidden in my heart; I have talked about your faithfulness and saving power. I have told everyone in the great assembly of your unfailing love and faithfulness. LORD, don’t hold back your tender mercies from me. Let your unfailing love and faithfulness always protect me.