Lent devotional 31
God says His eye is on the sparrow. I love this because of the bird He chose to name. He didn’t say peacock or flamingo or eagle, He said sparrow. The most commonly found, plain, tiny bird out there, that is the one God named. I love our sparrows in our yard, they remind me of God’s compassion. I see the extra feathers deep under the top layer of feathers that these small birds fluff up to stay warm, I see the way they come and go in a multitude for protection but once in a while will flit over to the bird feeder alone only to whisk away at the slightest movement from inside the house. I see the way God provides deep branches in the forest around us so that these birds have shelter, I see their courage when defending against a preditor. God equipped these tiny, ordinary birds so that they could do great things to survive. He equipped us in the same way. He gives us answers to the needs we have. He watches over us and lifts us up when we have stumbled. He gives us the abilities to weather all storms and He alone hides us in the shelter of His wings.
You may feel small, plain, one in thousands; but God sees you, His eye is on you and He is taking care of you. You are not ordinary or insignificant, you are loved and cherished, more than you could ever know.
Lent devotional 27
When Jesus died on the cross He didn’t just take away our fear and pain, but He gave us complete freedom from it. Fear is not from God, He says that His perfect love casts out all fear. That does not mean that you will never feel fear again, it means that Jesus’ power gives you the authority to pray against your fear and have it cast away. In Jesus name I stand against this fear I am feeling! Then if the fear comes back ask Jesus to cast it out again. The devil uses fear to drive us down and keep us from God’s goals in our lives. We must stand against this fear in the name of Jesus and refuse to permit it to overwhelm us. Jesus is there, standing guard, call on His name and believe that your fear will be cast out by His holy and glorious power!
In Jesus name I stand against fear and trembling of anything earthly. I stand in the power of almighty God! Fear has no hold on me because Jesus is the one who holds me. Amen!
Lent devotional 23
To love them with your whole heart.
We feel these days that to love them is to accept them, all of them, as they are in that moment. That is true in a sense but not in a whole. As Christians it is always a struggle to accept the whole of the person but to also fight against their sin. We forget that if we accept the sin and not simply the sinner then we aren’t truly loving them. To accept our whole selves and to accept our own sin is not truly loving ourselves either. There is the great truth that we all have a darkness to us, but when we claim that we love our darkness as part of ourselves we are hurting ourselves. When we claim that we love someone else’s darkness as part of themselves then we are condeming them to forever be trapped by that darkness. Our sin is not who we are, it is not part of us. Like a big chain holding down a wolf, that chain is not part of that animal, that free spirit, it is simply attached to him or her. Once someone loves the wolf enough to say, ‘that doesn’t belong on you, let me help you take it off,’ and the wolf is set free from it’s bonds it can finally return to the trees and run the way it was meant to run. These chains are not part of us, our sins are not part of us, we cannot lie down and simply accept them in ourselves and in others, we must stand up against sin and scream ‘no more!’ ‘No longer will this sin hold me down!’ ‘I want to be free!’
You are not defined by your chains. You are meant to be free.
Seek a good Church with a pastor you trust and can come to with your sin, seek good Christian people who will help you. I don’t mean as someone to confess to, I mean as people to pray with you. Trust me, they have sins too that they are fighting, you are not alone.
Jesus I love you, I love that you love me and fight against my sin becasue you want me to be free. Thank you that you are not condeming me when you condem my sin, but that you are saving me. Let me trust in you and your truth. Guide me to fellow Christ followers so that I might find people who will pray with me and fight with me.
I grew up in BC so I love rain! The cold rain that leaves everything fresh. I love unberellas and rain boots and ponchos. Today I was walking my dog through the water, he loves it so we tend to get fairly wet, and I realized how Jesus and rain boots go together. When we are in runners we avoid puddles the best we can, because our shoes don’t protect us from water and soggy socks aren’t fun! But when we put on our rain boots we are protected so we can go deeper and deeper into the water, and have more fun with the wet without getting soggy socks. Without Jesus we stay away from anything deep because it scares us, but when we have Jesus, our protector, we can go as deep as we want because He protects us. He keeps us dry when out on the waves. He keeps us safe in the floodwaters. He is our rain boots. Our protector from the storms.
God was walking through His Church one day and decided to ask people about their favorite Bible verses and why they liked them. It wasn’t that He didn’t already know the answer, just that He wanted to have His people tell Him themselves. God smiled as He spoke with different people and saw the mix of emotions on their faces as they explained why their favorite verse was their favorite. Out of the corner of God’s eye He spotted a man that He knew was simply there to put in his necessary hour of Church before going on with his week. God smiled sadly and went over to the man.
“Hello my child,” God said as He approached. The man bristled and nodded a greeting. God tried again, “how have you been? I’ve not heard from you lately.”
The man shrugged and mumbled that he was fine.
God smiled, “tell me, what is your favorite scripture?” God knew, but wanted an opening to discuss it with the man.
Irritated the man looked at God, “I can do all things. That’s my favorite verse.”
God tilted His head, “go on.”
“What?” The man growled.
“Go on and finish the verse.”
“That is the verse.”
God shook His head, “you’re missing part of it.”
“No I’m not! That’s how it’s written!”
The argument began to draw attention, embarrassed, the man walked away and left the building.
Back in his own house the man sat with his arms crossed, still angry about earlier. Suddenly his couch dipped down as another body sat on it. The man looked to see God sitting next to him. Startled, the man exclaimed, “what are you doing here! Don’t you have a Church to lead?”
God smiled, “but you are here.”
“So what? I’m just one person.”
God nodded, “but you are the one who needs me most right now.”
The man scowled, “why was I wrong about the scripture earlier? I quoted it right.”
“Yes, but you left out the most important part.
‘I can do all things, through Christ who gives me strength- Phillipians 4:13.
You left me out of the verse, just as you’ve left me out of your life.”
The man un-crossed his arms and looked at his shoes, “I was wrong God. I can’t do all things on my own.”
God put both arms around the man and drew him into a deep hug, “but you have me my son. You never need to do things on your own. Just trust me.”
The flames will only make me stronger-Zeno
People often call the testing of God, “going through fire.”
Actually bad things in general are often called tests of fire too.
Right now it feels like the whole world is burning, being tested by fire.
One of my absolute favorite novel characters ends up in a burning building. You guessed it. Even though he is not the main hero he ends up having to save everyone from the collapsing, burning building. When the others argue about leaving him behind to be engulfed by fire he responds with: “don’t worry. The flames will only make me stronger.”
For those who are wondering, no, he does not die. Though badly burned, he makes it out alive.
Do we live like that? Do we see our “flames” as something that only makes us stronger?
I know that I don’t. Though the power and beauty of fire is nice at a distance, walking through that fire is not something to be called, “enjoyable”. But just because you hate it, and just because it hurts doesn’t mean that God isn’t making you stronger through it.
During these difficult times I challenge you to read through the story of the three Hebrew boys, pick the verse that most speaks to you, and put it up someplace in your home to remind you that the flames will make you stronger.
Our feet feel the squish of who knows what? The air is some sort of un- breathable fume and the walls are wet like tar. But we asked to come, so here we are.
Wails trick our ears from every corner and sunshine is a distant memory, but there is hope. The jingle of keys in a strong and determined hand. Several people join our ranks, faces I never thought I would see as each door is opened. Jesus smiles as He sets the last of the captives free.
Imagine being there with Jesus. Walking through hell and setting the captives free. The Bible says that Jesus took the keys from the devil. You didn’t think He kept them as a souvenir did you? He used them to free those imprisoned by death. Death before Jesus would have been terrifying. Death now is a glorious reward, Heaven.
What would it have been like to walk through the devil’s territory and let free those who had been waiting there for Jesus? Imagine the joy. Imagine the disgust and horror the devil must have felt? It would have been glorious.
Thank you Jesus that we can live unto you and no longer have to fear death because you died for us. Amen.
Those fabulous last words that you place at the end of a story. After struggling, working hard and emptying the drug store of it’s caffeine content, you finally have the right amount of pages, the perfect centering, every title centered and highlighted, every art peice’s name placed on where they are to be inserted onto the page. Now you write. The End. And you take one final breath before sending it off.
The end. Jesus said it more eloquently when He stated, ‘it is finished.’ After all His struggles, all His suffering, all His hard work, now everything perfect to the writer as He closes the book and states. “It is finished.”
It is finished. There is no longer a curtain, no more need for a high priest to pray for us, no more need for sacrifices. It is finished. We have Jesus fully. We have God. We are in dwelled by the Holy Spirit. Heaven is now our prize too. It is finished.
I will follow you anywhere. Even past the realms of death to that which lies beyond.
So says a true friend.
I will go through death alone and move through what lies beyond alone for you. So says the truest friend. Jesus.
No matter where we go we are not alone; and for the places where we cannot go, Jesus goes alone without us to fight our battles for us.
Isn’t that an encouraging thought.
Day of tears
‘Today is my day to sorrow’, thought the tiny flower growing beside a rock. ‘Last night a great trouble came over me as a man, or something more than a man, sat by my side and wept. His tears were so great that when they splashed upon me I felt sick and my roots were weakened. I tried to reach out to the man, but I am just a flower and cannot draw attention to myself like a bird can with her song. He cried and screamed and begged and pleaded, but no peace came to this man. I hoped that He would look at me and I could make Him smile. He left and then returned, even sadder when He came back. All I could do was sit with Him. Then I sensed a resolve in His being and He went to stand once more. He stumbled and His hands landed near me. I tried to be radiant to bring Him comfort, finally He saw me, He smiled very gently, then He rose to His feet. “Thank you my radiant flower.” He said, then He left.
I feel that something great and tragic happened that night. Today I feel as though a friend is calling out for mercy. Today I feel sad. But being a flower, I know that tomorrow will bring new joy and hope.’