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Lent Devotional 15

Rain boots

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.

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No God, that is the way it’s written.

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.”

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Standing in the blaze

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.
Daniel 3

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Jesus was busy this Saturday

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. 

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The end

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.

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Friends

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.

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Who did I forget?

Forgot to send out an invite?

God is the cause of all celebration, but do we remember to invite Him to celebrate with is?
Without Jesus the baby would not have been born.
Without Jesus the body would not have been healed.
Without Jesus the couple would not be celebrating 35 years together.
God is the cause of all the good things that happen to us, and if you are wondering how you can involve God in your celebration let me suggest something.
THANK HIM.
Take a moment away from the pinata and the finger sandwiches to draw everyone’s attention to Jesus. Take a moment of prayer and give the credit back to the one who earned it.
Don’t forget that Jesus wants to celebrate with you. So invite Him into your gathering, that would make Him smile.

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Your name

Your name

Walking down the street in the late afternoon sun. A bell jingles as you open the door to your favorite coffee shop. Your back is sore and your clothes are scuffed from a long morning as you walk up to the counter. Then the waitress behind the counter smiles. “Hi……..! The usual?”
You nod and smile back with a please and thank you. Feeling a little more refreshed you accept your coffee and leave with a wave.
Isn’t it great to have people call you by name?
Names signify belonging. We give names to our vehicles, our guitars, sometimes even our favorite pair of runners. Why? Because it signifies that they are important to you. You call them by name because you have a connection.
When people have a connection to you they call you by name. Sharing a name with a person makes you instant BFFS because you have a unique connection.
Jesus calls us by name; not because He has to, but because He wants to show is that we are important to Him. He wants us to know that He knows our name and that we have a connection to Him.
Jesus. God. Savior. Knows your name.

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As the trumpet calls

Do we sometimes forget that Jesus is coming back?
As we go through our days it can feel like this world is forever spinning and never ending. It’s easy to forget that there is a greater purpose than this. It’s easy to get so caught up in the day to day that our minds completely lose focus on the fact that tomorrow, the next day, tonight, right now Jesus could be coming back. Jesus himself said that He did not know the hour that He would return. As the world and it’s forever spinning seems to be forever spinning off its axle I see people starting to fill with fear, that or they were full of fear already, because the world is a mess. I’m sorry but it is. Yes, it’s partly our fault, but we don’t need to look at this world with the fear that we will be here forever till it ends. When the world is finally burned up there will not be a single Christian on it. No matter if you are pre tribulation, mid tribulation, or post tribulation in the end when the world dies we will not be here. Let me repeat that we will not be here. Jesus is coming back. If you knew nothing else in your entire life except that one fact you would know the most important thing you need to know to survive. If there is no Jesus, there is no point. But we know there is a Jesus, our Jesus, and He is coming for His people.

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Tone deaf

Tone

When you are a musician you can usually hear tone pretty well. Tone, not to be confused with tune, can change a song drastically. If the tone is wrong then everything sounds wrong. It’s like that when we are talking with people. If our tone is unpleasant then it may seem like we are saying something other than what we mean. If your tone sounds irritated then people will automatically think you are annoyed. If your tone sounds happy then people think you are happy.
It’s like speaking with an animal. If I say in a high tone, “let’s go to the groomer’s today buddy!” My dog gets very excited, even though he hates being groomed, he loves the car ride though.
It’s easy to forget your tone when speaking. I do a lot of physical activity so pain is not an uncommon thing, unfortunately. When in pain I have been criticized for having an angry or irritated tone. It’s just the way I sound when I am pushing through a day of pain. Making myself sound happy takes too much effort and wears me out when I am injured. I realize that my tone bothers people though. Tone can change a whole conversation. So when speaking, try to tune your ear to your tone.