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Lenten Devotional

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Luke 8:25 But he said to them, “Where is your faith?” And they were afraid, and marveled, saying to one another, “Who can this be? For He commands even the winds and water, and they obey Him!” Jesus’ disciples were afraid of the wind and the water swamping their boat. They woke him up from a much needed rest because they feared death. It was a logical thing to do, wake everyone up, especially the one in charge, to avoid disaster. But Jesus was annoyed. Why? Jesus knew that his disciples could call on God to save them, just as he could. He knew that they were in the hands of his father, Almighty God, and that nothing evil was going to happen to them. He knew all this, but his disciples didn’t. They were just learning about the power of faith. Perhaps Jesus thought they were farther along that path than they were. Faith can be lost when tragedy threatens. Worry may set in. Anxiety and troubles might overwhelm the mind. Stress can become no ...

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Monday, March 10, 2014

Psalm 143:10 (NAS) Teach me to do your will, for you are my God; may your good Spirit lead me on level ground.  Contemporary Christian music group, Sidewalk Prophets, sings “I don’t know where to go from here. It all used to be so clear. I’m finding I can’t do this on my own!” Can you identify with these words? I sure can! Too often, when I am faced with decisions in my life, I become anxious and stressed. I get caught up in my own will and neglect God’s! When our youngest son was ready for first grade, we made the decision that I would go back to work full-time. My current parttime position  wasn’t available full-time, so I needed to find a new path. I agonized independently for a while with no success. Faced with uncertainty, I became anxious and stressed. Finally, I asked for God’s guidance. Once I surrendered to God’s will, I began to see the possibilities. Ultimately, through this experience, I discovered an incredible calling t ...

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Sunday, March 9, 2014

John 14:26 (NIV) But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. Jesus sends the Holy Spirit to empower us, to help us to share, and to lead and guide us. Dave Wilkerson found out when he first started his ministry that some of those who invited Jesus into their heart were slipping back into their old ways. He found that those who were having hands laid on them also to be baptized with the Holy Spirit were totally set free and Satan had no power over them. This is the story of Pentecost – the power of being filled with the Holy Spirit. (Acts 2) John the Baptist said when he baptized Jesus that he saw a dove come upon Jesus. God gave the Holy Spirit to Jesus to do his ministry here in this world. Later Jesus told the disciples that it was expedient for him to go back to heaven and he would send the Holy Spirit to those who would believe so t ...

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Saturday, March 8, 2014

Psalm 139:10 (Amplified) Even there shall Your hand lead me, and Your right hand shall hold me. The first stanza of one of my favorite hymns, “Precious Lord, Take My Hand” is: Precious Lord, take my hand Lead me on, let me stand I am tired, I am weak, I am worn Through the storm, through the night Lead me on to the light Take my hand, precious Lord, lead me home I love that the Lord is willing to take my hand and to lead me. Whether I am tired, weak, worn-out, struggling or doing well, I can lean on God, ask for His guidance and trust that He will lead me. But to discern what way He is leading requires that I take time to listen so I can hear what He is saying. Then I need to be obedient to do His will. It sounds so simple and yet…  There are times I can’t seem to hear an answer. Often, His will is not the easy, safe way or the way I think it should be. Frequently, it takes me out of my comfort zone. However, I have found that when I do see ...

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Friday, March 7, 2014

Ephesians 4:1-6 1I therefore, the prisoner in the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, 2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, 3making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— 5one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. The Apostle Paul wrote these words to a fiercely divided society. Perhaps we, the Christian Church of today, have something in common with the church in Ephesians. This unity of which Paul wrote is not one which the Christian needs to create, but one which already exists and must be diligently preserved. It is based upon our sharing life in one body, the universal church, the body of Christ. He outlines the necessary behaviors to achieve this unity quite clearly ...

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Thursday, March 6, 2014

Galatians 6:2 (NAS) Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ. 1 Thessalonians 5:11 (NAS) Therefore encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing. Hebrews 10:24-25 (NAS) 24and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, 25not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near. I’ve been thinking about those mountaintop experiences in my life when I’ve felt closest to God. Whether it’s being part of a team of camp counselors at Pocono Plateau or studying the scriptures in Disciple Bible Study or being involved in a mission team to Africa or sharing and learning with my brothers in our Monday Night Men small group—there’s a common thread connecting these occasions: coming together in community as the Body of Christ to be led by Christ. We’ve seen so many examples in the Bible of God ...

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Ash Wednesday, March 5, 2014

John 3:3 (NAS) Jesus answered and said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”  My concept of Ash Wednesday – and all of Lent, really – used to be quite gloomy. Every wintry Ash Wednesday I would sit through a somber service in a darkened church, the highlight of which was someone smearing a coal-black paste on my forehead and murmuring something morose like, “You are dust, and to dust you will return.” But more recently, as Tom Conry’s song “Ashes” has become pretty popular, my understanding of all this has changed. I love singing the opening lines, “We rise again from ashes, from the good we’ve failed to do; we rise again from ashes, to create ourselves anew…” And as I sing these words, I picture Faux the Phoenix from the Harry Potter books, the beautiful old bird who frequently bursts into flame and is reborn from his own ashes. I picture flowers born from a forest fire, ...

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Lead me, Lord

Lent is the 40-day season leading up to the commemoration of Christ’s crucifixion and the celebration of his Resurrection. The 40 days is drawn from Jesus’ 40-day fast in the wilderness before he began his public ministry. Lent is a season of introspection, repentance and intentional spiritual growth. During Lent, I remind myself that it was the Spirit of God that sent Jesus out into the wilderness for 40 days “being tempted by Satan” (Mark 1:12-13). The three tests of character that Jesus had to pass through to be who God needed him to be are temptations we deal with as well (Matthew 4:1-11). First is the temptation of our appetites or desires. We should use these days during Lent to deal honestly with our deepest physical passions and appetites and see if any are preventing us from being the person God wants us to be. Second is the temptation to manipulate God or others for our own recognition or personal success. We need to realize that lif ...

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Easter Sunday, March 31, 2013

Read Matthew 16:13-15 logos.biblia.init();   “Who am I?” is a favorite childhood game that goes like this: one person thinks of someone known to everyone in the group, then gives clues about the mystery person. The first clue is very general, but each successive clue becomes more specific. Participants can venture a guess whenever they want, but each player only has a limited number of guesses. “Who Am I?” is a fun game!   “Who am I?” isn’t fun at all when it’s the heart-cry of a wounded  soul questioning his or her own value. “Who am I? Why am I here?” Often fear, rejection and previous failure(s) accompany the question, and the questioner is looking for answers and validation from others because he or she cannot see anything of worth in themselves.   Jesus wasn’t playing a childhood game of “Who Am I?” and he didn’t need the opinions of others to build Himself up, when He posed a similar question to His followers ...

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Saturday, March 30, 2013

Read John 14:6-7 logos.biblia.init();   I cannot imagine my life without a relationship with Jesus. He is everything to me. Ever since I was a small child, I have loved singing “Jesus Loves Me”. I imagine his arms giving me huge hugs every day. It does not matter to me what he looks like. I just know he has a loving, compassionate, and radiant face. The image of Jesus blessing the children is my favorite. I have several pieces of sculpture artwork depicting this scene. It should not be a surprise that God called me to work in lay ministry with children, caring for them and their families.   Jesus – “the Way, the Truth, the Life”. Jesus says he is the Only way to God the Father. Even though that way may seem narrow to some people, in reality it is open wide to everyone. It is the gift of grace from God, and all we have to do is accept that gift. No questions asked – just accept and believe. Jesus is also the truth. He is th ...

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