Lent devotional 20
Jesus is devine
I can feel you all around me, thickening the air I’m breathing, holding on to what I’m feeling – savoring This heart that’s healed.-Flyleaf
The only way He can heal our Brokenness is if He is God. If He had been just a man and had died for the lives of his friends it still would have been amazing; but He died as God, for people who loved him, and for people who hated him. The only reason we are saved is because Jesus is divine. This reminds me of something Sherry Yuki said about the king who was her friend, whom she served in as a herbalist in his castle, ‘I shouldn’t even be permitted around a man of his station, the only reason I am permitted to go anywhere near him is because his authority puts him above reproach.’
The only reason we can go anywhere near God is because he chooses to permit us to be with Him, and because His authority makes it so no one can question Him. But because He lets us come to Him as God and He came to us as man we forget that He is divine, that He is God. When it came to the deity of Jesus no one ever said, ‘look! Jesus is God! Get that through your heads!’ Instead the disciples just naturally spoke of Jesus as God. In Revelation chapter 5, you hear about the Lion of Judah, then you look and see this Lamb who had been slaughtered, this signifies that Jesus- who is coming back- was just as powerful when He was dying on the cross as He is as a returning King. Jesus has the position of the first born, but God did not create Him. All things were created by Him and for Him. Jesus is one with God. Some say Jesus was simply an angel or a prophet but the Bible tells us that angels report to Jesus, nations are dust and will fade away, only Jesus matters. The Living Creatures sing ‘Holy is the Lord God Almighty,’ then the elders fall down before Jesus. The exact same worship that they gave God in chapter 4 of Revelation, they give Jesus in chapter 5. Jesus is consistently reminding us that He is God, because if He isn’t God then we are not forgiven. Oh yes, we would be forgiven by Him as a man, but unless He is God also that forgiveness can’t save us. But He IS God, so we are saved. Jesus Is God, don’t believe anyone who tells you different, and don’t forget that He loves us and welcomes us, but He is still the devine creator, the Author of life, the Alpha and Omega, the Key, the Door, the Blood, the Lion, the Lamb, the Shepherd and the returning King. He is God! Anyone who tells you otherwise is selling something.
Lent devotional 18
I will speak Jesus and the devil will flee because he knows that name and what it means for him.
Darkness is inevitable, there will always be darkness in this world because it is dying. People cling desperately to things that don’t matter, trying to make it feel like they aren’t about to be consumed. But there is a name the darkness knows and flees from. Speak Jesus. The devil will lie to you. He will try to make you feel lost, left behind, confused, worthless. Speak Jesus. He will show you that you are found, accepted, loved, wanted, valued. Jesus is coming back to take us home. The darkness of this world will not haunt us in the presence of Jesus. Where Jesus is there is no fear. He is light. Brilliant light. When this world dies we won’t be with it. Imagine seeing Jesus coming and picking us up in his arms and laughing and smiling, holding us close and saying, ‘come on precious, let’s go home.’
Jesus drives away darkness, present darkness and eternal darkness.
Lent devotional 13
The black haron circles it’s wings around it’s body and makes a canopy to imitate shelter and create shade. This way fish swim under it, thinking it is safe, when really it’s a trap.
The devil is like the black haron. He creates things, places and people that look safe, they look like a shelter, but in truth they are a trap to draw you in. The common lie the devil uses is the lie of acceptance. Christians are becoming more and more accepting; not of people, accepting people is not a new thing, Jesus has always required and encouraged that, but of accepting sin. We do the ‘I have to accept their sin to accept them’ dance, and all we end up doing is opening ourselves to cause the same sins. The people are not their sin, we are not our sin, Jesus accepts us with open arms and a heart full of love, but He does not accept our sin to come with us. He doesn’t accept the sin, He accepts us despite the sin. We do not have to accept the sin to accept the person, we do not have to act like the sin is okay to love the sinner. Saying that the sin in okay is simply a way to not be faced with the anger of a person who doesn’t want to stop sinning but does want to go to Heaven, you can’t have both. We are all sinners and people who fall short of Christ, but we repent of our sins- sometimes we repent of the same sin a thousand times a day- but we acknowledge that it is wrong, we ask for forgiveness and we try to not do it again. You can not cling to sin and claim it as okay and be a Christian, but the devil wants us to fall into being tolerant so that we let darkness slip in without realizing it. Be tolerant of the person yes, but not of the sin that binds them. If we became tolerant of the sin that binds us we would not be a new creation in Christ, our lives would not be changed, we would be the same person we were before we accepted Jesus into our lives and what point would there be in that? Now, coming to Jesus will not immidiately change you so your sin is no longer pestering you, and we may even fall back into that sin after coming to God. Sin looks like a safe place sometimes. It’s the devil trying to hold us down and keep us back from God, and he doesn’t want to give up his hold on us, so don’t be discouraged if you find yourself in a battle against your sin and don’t seem to be winning, hang in there, persistance will drive the devil away. If everytime you sin you choose to confess it to God the devil will get uncomfortable, if everytime you feel like you are about to sin and start to pray you will defeat the devil’s hold in your life. We all sin. Everyday. The differnence is when we confess our sins and start new with Jesus, each time, no matter how many times that is. We cannot be tolerant to sin and say it’s okay because that is like saying the devil is okay, but we must always be loving and accepting of the people, because those people are us too. Turn away from the sin chains that hold you down and know that Jesus loves you, He sees that you are trying, and doing your best- even when you fall back and have to try again- and He is fighting with you, and He always loves you. He doesn’t love our sin, He can’t, but He always loves us.
Breathing. Have you ever considered breathing? I don’t mean doing it, that’s required, I mean the action of breathing. Breathing is one of the few things that absolutely everything alive does. Bugs breathe, plants and flowers breathe, animals breathe, fire breathes, we breathe, I have heard it said that water breathes- though don’t ask me how. Everything-that is alive-breathes. Why? No idea. There is no reason that the human body should require air to breathe except the fact that God decided that that was how it should work. Truly. Scientists say:
“Breathing is part of a process called respiration. During respiration, a living thing takes in oxygen from the air and gives out carbon dioxide. This process gives animals and plants the energy to eat, grow, and live life!” -10 interesting facts about air-NASA
That is correct, obviously, but that doesn’t explain why that is necessary. Why do we need a respiratory system? Why does the body need to take in oxygen to produce energy? Why not make it produce energy without air? ( Let’s not get into the energy produced by the sun or this post will be too long.) You may ask my point for this line of questioning, here it is. What is the most constantly ignored and taken for granted function of life, until it is gone? Breathing. God made a complex and masterful design when creating the living organism and we need to remember just how amazing our bodies are. So how about right now we sit for 10 seconds and focus on breathing, and just how amazing breathing is.
Everyone says that the person you need to believe in you is yourself. That is sweet but is it true? Maybe for some people. I recently have realized that having others believe in you is an amazing motivator. If no one else thinks you can do it that doesn’t mean you should give up, it simply means that no one else gets your vision. That said, the people around me have always been really supportive. I mean, I’ve dealt with haters, but the people who matter, my friends, my family, especially my parents, have always been supportive, even when that support is a critique or correction to push what I am doing into a better place. Because I know that they support and believe in me then I can take them at their word and not be too offended when that word stings a little. Knowing that when you doubt yourself someone else feels that you can keep going forward is amazing. You all knew that I was rounding this back to this statement so here it is. God believes in you more than anyone else can. He sees EVERYTHING about you. He gave you your gifts and talents, He gave you your drive and He believes that you can do it because He knows that He can do it and He will be forward guard for your every step.
Don’t give up! Your father believes in you!
Lent devotional 9
Held by strings
Today on the TV I saw a woman who had been so broken that as she was speaking you could see that she was trying to be strong, while falling apart. These past several days we have seen a lot of people, women and men, who have been trying to hold their voices steady as they speak, trying to swallow back tears while being determined to push forward. You may not be in the middle of a war zone; you may have recentally lost a loved one, or a job, or perhaps you feel like you are losing yourself, your sanity in the swirling mess of what society has become- many are feeling that these days. Suffering, loss, even change has become so wearing and hard to handle that we feel like a dog’s teddy bear, torn apart and held together with streatching strings. We are wondering how many more times we can be sewn back together before there’s nothing left to attach. Humanity feels like the dog has our body under his paws and he is yanking on our arm, determined to pull it off. We wonder. Where is God?
He is here, sewing us back together everytime another part of us comes off. Our fallen world is imploding, just like He said it would. Does that make it easier to handle? No! Does that mean the death and suffering doesn’t matter? Of course not! But God promises that even when the world itself is falling to pieces that He is still there, He promises that even when we scream out ‘how can you let this happen God?’ That He still holds us tight and loves us. Why doesn’t He make it all end and save us? I don’t know. It’s the stuff that we can’t explain that makes us doubt the existance of a loving God, because in the pain we forget the good things we have seen God do. When the children of Israel were in the desert everytime they fell apart God had to remind them of the amazing things and wonders He had done for them, because when you are hanging together by one final thread all you can see is the pain you are in, you -we -I forget the times we have seen God help us and save us and provide for us, but He has and He still does. In the moment you are in right now, hold your hands infront of you, close your eyes and say with me, ‘God, it all so big and such a mess. You know what I am feeling and the pain I am in, and I know that you love me even in this moment that hurts so bad, hold me close please Jesus and help me know that you know what you are doing and that you will never let me go. Amen’
To be a hero
To overcome the crisis in front of you, by giving everything you’ve got, and save people no matter the cost- that’s what makes someone a hero.
Right now, all over the world we have people, boots on the ground, in places marked as danger zones, helping people. Oh sure, they aren’t power punching a villan, but they are feeding the hungry, bringing medicine to the sick, holding the weary and broken. They don’t wear flashy costumes or say memorable quotes, so you might miss them; in fact they aren’t very loud about their presence at all, because in same places it is life threatening for them to be there. But they go anyway. Out of cost from their own pocket, leaving jobs on hold and families waiting, these quiet heros go To overcome the crisis in front of them, by giving everything they’ve got, and save people no matter the cost. Because that’s what Christians do. It could be as simple as shoveling the steps of an elderly neighbour, even though it’s -40.. or it could be as drastic as flying to a country that has been devestated by a natural disaster or a recent war, to give food, medicine and to help rebuild what has been destroyed.
We are called to be heroes, you are called to be a hero, don’t doubt what you can do for others, just do what you can and believe that everyone else who is doing just what they can will make up the difference of what you can’t do alone. You don’t need to wear a mask, just do what’s infront of you that you can do, do it with full cowling (wink), and never give in or give up when there are people to save.
Lent devotional 3
Once there was a young man sitting with his youth group, a new girl was brought to the group, she was introduced and then sat down next to the man. She said nothing, but played with her hair as the youth pastor talked. When the group was asked for responses to the lesson everyone joined in, except the new girl. Later the man took the opportunity of a snack break to speak to the girl. He asked her the basics, where are you from? What’s your name? So on. When she mentioned her dad was a soldier, the man inquired to what her mom did, was she a stay at home mom or did she have a different job someplace in the city. The girl blushed and pulled on her hair. Her mom had left them when she was born, the doctor had said that she might have brain damage and that her father had convinced her mom to have her anyway, but after her mom had left because she didn’t want the baby.
It was a sad story. But not all sad. Her father loved her and raised her by himself and she was cherished by him. But she still felt unwanted and thrown away because of her mother’s choices. She then blushed again. She hadn’t meant to say all that to this stranger. The man smiled gently. He cast around with his eyes until he found a stone and a piece of wood. ‘Let me show you something.’ He said. Then he sat down and the girl sat with him. ‘Open your hands.’ She opened her hands and cupped them together. Then he used the sharp edge of the Stone to cut away at the wood causing shards of wood to fall into the girl’s hands. The man continued to whittle away, to the best of his abilities, with the stone until he had a rough-hewn image of a bird. Then he looked at the girl and said, ‘ do you know what you hold in your hands?’ The girl shook her head. ‘If we were going to build a fire to roast marshmallows, or just wanted to keep warm, or any other reason we might have to build a fire we would use those as our base to get the fire going and to help it heat up. Those are valuble shards of wood called kindling.’ The man paused, ‘now, we aren’t going to build a fire, so we just need to throw those shards away, you could just drop them here in the grass, they aren’t sharp so there’s no worry.’ The girl drop the shards. Then she looked at the man. The man smiled again, ‘ don’t worry, those pieces of wood we have no need for won’t go to waste. Birds and mice, even insects will come and use the shards to build their homes. What we saw as trash and worthless, someone else we’ll see as a valued gift. But the animals each will only take as much as they need, they will leave the rest behind for someone else. What they discard and don’t want the next animal coming will find used for.’ The girl smiled softly, knowing what he meant. ‘So,’ she started quietly, ‘what one person may see as worthless or trash, another might see as a gift of great worth.’
The man nodded, ‘Don’t doubt your value because of someone else’s view of you. Ot wasn’t the fault of the wood chips that we didn’t see them as useful, it was us who were to blame for leaving them behind. It also won’t be their fault if several animals pass them by not realizing their value. Someday, someone will want them when they find them and will cherish them.’
The girl smiled. ‘Jesus always sees my value.’
‘Yes.’ The man stated, ‘and so do others, including myself. Just beleive in who God calls you to be. His.’
No strings attached with God
We as humans tend to put contingincies on everything. I will come if…. I will do that if…. even with God we tell Him we can do a certain thing for Him if….. please feel free to place your own excuses in the if blank, I have put my excuses in there in my mind. But God comes to you with no strings attached. He loves you unconditionally, He desires your presence as a parent desires to be near their child or a friend to be with their friend, God has no strings attached. He just wants you. You might say, “but He wants me to go to Church and pay tithes and spend time in prayer, those are strings attached.” No, God does not need you to do these things for Him to love you, He needs you to do these things so you learn to love Him and trust Him more. If you sinned right this second and in the same instant fell down and cried out to God do you think He would ignore you? No. He would come to your side anyway, because He loves you.
God requires things of us so we can go to Heaven, that is true, but He requires nothing of us for His love.
Everyone talks about taking a leap of faith, just jump and see what happens. There is nothing necessarily wrong with that, in fact if you feel God drawing you into something and it seems crazy it may very well take a leap of faith to go where you are being led. The part we forget is that a leap signifies a fall. You aren’t going to jump and discover you can fly, you will begin to be taken by gravity eventually and that can be scary. The rush of air as it tears at your skin and is deafening your ears, the knowledge that the ground will hurt when you hit it and suddenly you stop trusting that God is going to catch you when you reach where He is waiting and you start to flap, trying to catch something- anything that will stop your decent until finally your hand grabs a ledge and you pull yourself up onto that ledge, catch your breath and look around. The ledge is nice, it’s safe, you could stay on this ledge happily and now you feel that maybe the ledge was God’s plan after all, not the foggy abyss below you. Too many of us take the leap of faith only to wind up catching ourselves on a ledge, if God wanted you there He would have put you there Himself, but you grabbed for that ledge, you clawed your way up there. A true leap of faith means wrapping your hands around your body and falling until God catches you, but now you are comfortable where you have caught yourself, so what do you do? Do you feel called to fall again and leave your ledge? Does your faith yearn to move past where you mind says you should stay? Maybe then it’s time to jump again, and this time, keep your hands in your pockets and let God catch you and put you where He wants you.