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Lenten Devotional

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Read Matthew 28:20 logos.biblia.init();   I’m not a reader. If a question begins with “did you read the book about…” my answer is almost always “no.” As a matter of fact, my friends don’t even bother asking any more. So when my good friend Lisa gave me the book When God Winks (by Squire Rushnell) as a gift a few years ago, I thought it was odd. But that one book changed my outlook forever.   Did you ever have a crazy thing happen in your day? A weird coincidence? A feeling like “I can’t believe that just happened”? We all have. But now I call them by what they are to me - God winks. The theory is so basic it is almost child-like but it helps me to keep aware of the work God is doing in my life each and every day. Essentially there are no coincidences, just small reminders from God that he is there with us as we go through our days. Finding a lost ring; the boss who brings you coffee on the same day your machine breaks; the ...

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Monday, March 18, 2013

Read John 16:33 logos.biblia.init(); Worrying about weakness is one of my weaknesses. Awareness of the fragility of human relationships and how hastily we will attack one of our own who makes a mistake or misstep is downright terrifying.   For me, music is the primary vessel through which I connect to, wrestle with, and worship God. Words alone have power, but when married to melody and harmony that can fully express their emotions, they become transcendent. I’ve found that the songs that often speak to me most are those that express the longing for, and fear of, community. In middle school, a constant on my playlist was “What if I Stumble?” by dc Talk, which questions the tightrope that has to be walked by a professing Christian: am I doing this for the right reasons? What if I mess up? Will I be loved if I hit a weak spot in my Christian walk? What will the people around me think? What will God think?    I find myself be ...

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Sunday, March 17, 2013

Read 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 logos.biblia.init(); “No power? No problem!” the billboard declared in large letters. It seemed like a message direct to my heart and mind, an answer of reassurance from the One who has the answer to every need. I had been praying while driving (with my eyes open of course!), beseeching the Lord to provide the last few devotionals needed for this year’s book. Those involved with this project have always relied on God to provide the theme and to fill the pages. And the Lord has graciously provided every year. But this year, time was getting short, and we were further behind than in any previous year. My concern was mounting; my faith, getting a little shaken.   But as I read the billboard, I was instantly reminded of Paul’s words in 2 Corinthians 12:9: And He [God] has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” I had no power to solve the problem. But it wasn’t really a& ...

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Saturday, March 16, 2013

Read Matthew 7:12   logos.biblia.init(); Nothing in my life needs to be as complicated as I sometimes make it. Most things, if broken down, follow a pretty simple formula. I choose something to do. I do it. Then I repeat until the action becomes a habit.   It meshes into all the fibers of my soul and it’s now part of ME!   Think about it... How we learn to walk. How we learn to drive a car. How we learn our jobs. Even the way we interact with others.   Prayer can be broken down also. My very best friend said to keep it simple. ‘G-O-D’… Thank ‘G’od for what you have. Pray for ‘O’thers. ‘D’o for me.   Jesus teaches me when I read his Sermon on the Mount.   There is no other part of the Bible that is more uncluttered and uncomplicated! Choose any one of them! My favorite is ‘Do unto others as you would have done unto you.’    Now…do it. Give to others what you, yourself need.   Give encouragement! Give love! Give a ...

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Friday, March 15, 2013

I believe in the power of prayer. Jesus was a man of prayer and made prayer a priority in His life. “Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.” (Mark 1:35) Even His disciples saw how much prayer impacted His life and asked Him to teach them how to pray. If Jesus needed to spend time in prayer and considered it important, then  maybe we also should spend some time in prayer.   Jesus wants to have a relationship with us. Just as in human relationships, it is difficult to have an intimate relationship if you don’t ever have any meaningful conversations. Prayer is basically a conversation and a way to have and develop a relationship with Jesus. We can lift up short prayer conversations during the day, in the car, at work, doing tasks at home, wherever we are. Making prayer a part of our daily life is one way to make Jesus part of our daily life ...

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Thursday, March 14, 2013

Read John 3:16 logos.biblia.init();   As usual I am late in submitting my devotional for the Lenten Devotional. I am a procrastinator. I put things off until I can no longer put them off, and sheepishly may have to apologize to those I promised to help. I guess I let other things get in the way of my relationship to Christ. Some of you may identify with this part.   But here is the good news – we have the chance to begin again. Each new moment is a chance to start over, hopefully learning from the mistake and moving on. Why? Because of God’s love for each one of us. Wow, that bowls me over, every time I think about it! Here I am a mere human who makes mistakes (maybe repeatedly and habitually), and God still loves me.    Here is even more amazing news – he has faith in each of us! Yes, it is a two-way street! We have faith in him, but what is more powerful is the awareness that He has faith in each one of us to becom ...

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Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Read Romans 8:38 logos.biblia.init(); For as long as I can remember, tigers have been my favorite animal.   When I was in college, I received a very special tiger to add to my growing collection. Unlike the tigers who started my collection – a pair of soft, furry creatures who were settled on all four paws and seemed happily about to nap – or the bouncy, optimistic Tiggers who soon joined them, this tiger had long arms with squares of Velcro on each paw. His sticky paws were quite powerful, and created so many opportunities for fun!   My college roommate enjoyed positioning the tiger in new ways whenever I left the room, so I often returned after class to find him hanging from a lamp or a doorknob, or tightly grasping a small object from my desk. Whatever would fit within his encircled arms was fair game, and he never let go until someone purposefully pulled his sticky paws apart.   I spent a lot of time trying to come up wit ...

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Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Read Jeremiah 1:4-10 logos.biblia.init(); This past week I attended Guidance Information Night at Emmaus High School for incoming 9th graders. It made me think about what I want to do with my life, how am I going to affect the world, and what is my special gift that God gave me?    I have participated a lot in church and camping, but just recently I was offered the chance to spread God’s word to more youth from the Conference. Just today I attended a CCYM meeting (Conference Council on Youth Ministry), as a new member.    Truthfully I was nervous walking into the meeting, but the leaders welcomed me and assured me that I was in a safe environment. For most of you that know me, I talk a lot; so after I felt safe in the room it didn’t take long for me to put in my opinions about things and ask questions. I felt as if I could actually make a difference to the Eastern Conference, to other youths, and add to CCYM’s mission ...

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Monday, March 11, 2013

Read Colossians 1:15-17 logos.biblia.init();   The cross is the definitive symbol of Christianity. Play a game of association with people and say the word “cross” or show them a picture and ask for the first word that pops into their head, and I would bet that “Christianity,” “Jesus” or some other similar term arises. The cross is so important because it is the instrument that our Savior, Jesus Christ, died on. It represents everything that we believe in, because without Jesus dying on the cross, there is no Christianity. There is no faith without that single act of all encompassing love.   Sometimes, I feel that the meaning of the cross gets lost in the world today. Its true meaning is often watered down or simply not recognized the way it should be. The same thing could be said about Jesus. Sometimes, the meaning of what Jesus did for us is forgotten. Not forgotten completely, but forgotten by the fact that we overlook th ...

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Sunday, March 10, 2013

Read Mark 10:13-14 logos.biblia.init(); The day after Christmas, as my wonderful family was gathered for a big breakfast before traveling to the other grandparent’s house, I looked across the table at my son, James, who was holding his three-month-old daughter, Kyrie. Her eyes were transfixed on the chandelier’s vibrant lights. Babies do seem to be drawn to sources of light, and they can gaze at them intently for long periods of time.   I was struck by the message of Christ in that one tender moment because it reflected the two most important things I have learned in my walk of faith. The first message is in the story of Jesus rebuking his disciples for attempting to turn away children. He said: ‘Truly I tell you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will never enter it.’ (Mark 10:15)   The second message is found in all the references in which we see Jesus as the ‘Light of the World.’ Throughout the messages of both the Old and New Testaments light is vitally ...

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