Lenten Devotional

Good Friday, April 18, 2014

John 19:1 – 42 …16So he [Pilate] then handed Him over to them to be crucified. 17They took Jesus, therefore, and He went out, bearing His own cross, to the place called the Place of a Skull, which is called in Hebrew, Golgotha. 18There they crucified Him.  Our church was going through some tough times and our small prayer ministry team knew the only answer was to cry out to God and seek God’s help – not just individually which many were already doing, but also corporately, as the body of Christ. So we got to work organizing a prayer walk. Some members created a list of prayer stations around the church, and we added specific prayer topics for each station. We prayed for suitable weather, and we advertised and prayed that God would bring his people to pray. The day of the prayer walk came and God answered our prayers. Threatening skies withheld their rain and folks showed up to walk and pray. My friend and I shared the responsibility of voicing ...

Maundy Thursday, April 17, 2014

Ephesians 5:22-33 22Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord… 25Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her…  I never liked the end of Ephesians 5. Verses 22-24 always confused me because it sounded like a sentiment that promotes blatant machismo. The idea that “wives should submit to their husbands in everything” bothered me, especially because of who Jesus was.  Wasn’t this the same Jesus who protected a woman who had been accused of adultery and was about to be stoned? Wasn’t this the same Jesus who spoke to a Samaritan woman at a well and told her that she could be saved? Jesus promotes the equality of all people in God’s eyes, so how could this line in the Bible tell women to submit to their husbands once they are married? It just didn’t make sense to me. The problem was that I didn’t read on. This passage is not granting dictator-like powers to husbands. Instead, it is actually d ...

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

I Corinthians 13: 4-8 4Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant 5or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 7Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 8Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. You might be thinking that the familiar words in the scripture chosen for today don’t seem related to leaders and leadership, but indeed they are. Many years ago, a wise pastor teacher, committed to developing laity as spiritual leaders, had his class read verses 4-7 using the word leader in place of the words love and it. (the words underlined in the passage above.) He called these verses a leadership manifesto. He further explained that verse 8 sums up the role of the Christian leader, for God is lo ...

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Psalm 25:4-5 (NIV) 4 Show me your ways, Lord, teach me your paths. 5Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long. Psalm 143:10 (The Voice) Teach me how to do Your will, for You are my God. Allow Your good Spirit to guide me on level ground, to guide me  along Your path. Lead me, Lord Lord, lead me on through every moment, Through the dark quiet morning (where dreams descend), And the bright sweet day when, all awake, We whip through quick minutes, ignorant Of sacred mysteries. Lord, lead me through frozen eyes and weak hearts, Through loneliness; Through the painful twilight of youth’s sudden growth; The darkness of age. Keep me in hope, close, unafraid, Because you’re here, Deeper than each breath; new every morning. Lead me, Lord, eternally. Amen. Sue Dymond  

Monday, April 14, 2014

Proverbs 3:5-6 5Trust in the Lord with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding. 6In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight. A radio commentator once titled his series: “The Rest of the Story.” Look at four Biblical examples of this principle. God leads in our salvation. (John 6:37, 44) We often quote Jesus’ words “…him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.” We forget that He added to that statement by saying “No man can come to me, except the Father… draw him.” God initiates the salvation experience. God leads in our call to service. (Isaiah 6:8 & 9) We read of Isaiah’s magnificent vision of heaven, and God’s call for a messenger. Then Isaiah replied: “Here am I, Lord, send me.” Too often we forget what follows: “They will not listen to you.”  God calls us to faithful and obedient service, but does not guarantee our success. God leads in our suffering. (Job 1:24) Faithful, righteous Job ...

Palm Sunday, April 13, 2014

Matthew 20:1 – 16 1“For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire workers for is vineyard… 8When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, ‘Call the workers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last ones hired and going on to the first.’” This past summer I led a Games, Sports, and Gaga Galore camp at Gretna Glen. On Monday evening each Discovery Group had to complete a Treasure Hunt that ended at our place for worship. Since sports campers in particular are into competition, they egged each other on and made the experience all about who won. Though I had not planned for that outcome, I used it as an opportunity to share with each of them why the journey of faith isn’t about who gets to the destination first because our paths and clues are all different. The reward is in the experience, not the outcome. It is surely true that God promises us a crown of righteousness if we can say at th ...

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Isaiah 26:3 (NASB) “The steadfast of mind You [Lord God] will keep in perfect peace, Because he trusts in You.” Life is full of challenges. We hear and see them all around us… There’s not enough time to get it all done. Between work and the kids’ sports and music and church activities and all the cooking and cleaning, I don’t know whether I’m coming or going. There’s no time for me, no time to just sit and relax. Life is a series of one thing after another. I am so tired. Why does she have to suffer, Lord? She’s so young; what has  she done to deserve this disease? Why do you heal some, but not others? What’s going on? Sometimes it’s so hard to trust that those who are making the decisions are really doing what’s best. I know so little of the details. Where are You, God, in all of this? How do I make sense of life when it doesn’t seem to make any sense at all? I thought marriage was till death do us part, but he says he wants a divorce. How did ...

Friday, April 11, 2014

Psalm 25:4-5 (NAS) 4Make me know Your ways, O Lord; Teach me Your paths. 5Lead me in Your truth and teach me, For You are the God of my salvation; For You I wait all the day. As we walked around each campus, attending various meetings and exploring the buildings that might become like a second home to our college-bound daughter, my mind repeated a simple plea: Help, God! Show us which of these fine institutions is the best match for our precious daughter. I wanted a college where Rachel could learn and grow spiritually as well as academically.  Decision-making is not one of my strengths, and this was such an overwhelmingly important decision. How could I possibly know? And then on one campus, I was filled with a certainty that we had found our daughter’s college. Later, my husband reported the same “knowing.” Rachel also rated this college as her first choice. Four years later, with tons of experience in journalism and managing a newspape ...

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Judges 15:14 – 20 ...14When he came to Lehi, the Philistines shouted as they met him. And the Spirit of the Lord came upon him mightily so that the ropes that were on his arms were as flax that is burned with fire, and his bonds dropped from his hands… ...18Then he became very thirsty, and he called to the Lord and said, “You have given this great deliverance by the hand of Your servant, and now shall I die of thirst and fall into the hands of the uncircumcised?” Did you see two very different ways Samson was lead by the Lord in this passage? When Samson was bound and helpless, the Spirit of the Lord came mightily upon Samson without prompting. The Lord saved Samson by melting away his bindings, so Samson could follow the Lord’s intended purpose: to start the deliverance of the people from the Philistines. (We are told this in Judges 13:5.) Shortly after this, Samson called out to the Lord because he was thirsty and feared he would die of thirst. ...

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

2 Cor 5:16-17 (The Message) Because of this decision we don’t evaluate people by what they have or how they look. We looked at the Messiah that way once and got it all wrong, as you know. We certainly don’t look at him that way anymore. Now we look inside, and what we see is that anyone united with the Messiah gets a fresh start, is created new. The old life is gone; a new life burgeons! Look at it! We have white plastic snack trays; you’ve probably seen similar ones. The trays fold flat when not in use and lock in the table position when needed. They’ve provided good, steady service over the years, and they bear the stains of wings and chili to prove it. The trays are nothing special to look at, just a flat white plastic surface reinforced with square plastic beams underneath. The tray legs are nicked and peeling paint in a few spots, another sign of their usefulness over the years. But one morning, as I came down the stairs past their usual spot, ...
  
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