Lent devotional 38
Today I was shoveling our steps to our house of the knee deep snowfall we had last night. Suddenly my shovel his something metal and I had a moment of that ‘I found treasure’ rush before fishing it out of the snow and finding it be the cross we have hanging on our door. The wind had blown it down in the storm. I put it aside, finished what I was doing and then took it around to the back of the house where I could leave it in a shelter to dry. I noticed that something was wrong with it as I inspected it for damage and soon realized that the ‘faith’ on the front of it was covered with snow, so I brushed it off and went inside.
Isn’t that so like life? We dig for something of value in this world and find a treasure of faith. Then a big storm hits and our faith gets blown around and beaten until it falls and becomes buried by the crushing weight of our problem. Then we start to clean up from our pain and problems little by litte, knowing that we need help, and there we find our faith waiting for us, just a little wet and a little buried by the snow. we pick it back up, dust it off, and place it back in our lives where it belongs. Storms are supposed to be conquered through faith, they aren’t supposed to win and knock our faith down. They aren’t supposed to, but sometimes they still do. But God is faithful to us and is ready to help us even when we lose our faith, even when we can’t take anymore, even when we fall asleep in the garden. It breaks His heart, but He gets it and doesn’t give up on us.
“Thank you Jesus for getting me even on days when my faith has taken a beating, I know you are always there and that though you may rebuke me, you will never stop loving me.”
Don’t be ashamed to face God and ask for forgiveness for falling asleep on watch, go to Him and reach for Him, He will hold you close and restore you, because even if you fail Him, He never fails you.
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!
There are days when I picture the angel taking care of my dog. I know he’s there because of the times I pray, ‘God protect my pal from himself,’ and then later that day see him do something that causes me to hold my breath in horror as I wait to see if he survives. Only a loving God would bother to protect my unstable Jack Russell because He knows how much he means to me.
Today I imagined Pal’s angel sitting him down for a talk that went like this:
Angel: “okay, let’s do this one more time. You do not chase the skunks.’
Pal: “okay! I chase skunks!”
Angel: “no, you do not chase the skunks.”
Pal: “yep, chase skunks. Got it.”
Angel rubs his forehead: “no, you do NOT chase the skunks! You leave the skunks alone! Skunks carry disease.”
Pal, horrified: “I can’t leave the skunks alone! Then they will be lonely!”
Angel groans but refuses to give up and tries again. This could go on forever so we’ll move on.
How like my crazy little dog are we at times?
God sits us down and says that there is something we are about to do or are presently doing that we should avoid because it’s dangerous. Maybe not physically, but it might be spiritually dangerous. Then we miss what He is saying and keep going, we keep chasing whatever it is that we are after no matter how bad it might be. He tries again to stop us and save us from ourselves, and again we miss it and keep going. Then when we finally understand that God is saying to stay away from that thing we are chasing we become defensive and argue with Him that we know best. But our loving God refuses to give up on us, even if that means He has to step in and save us last minute because we wouldn’t listen to Him. He is such a loving Father. He always strives to keep us from harm, and then we chase the skunk and get sprayed He loves us enough to clean us up and heal our injuries and to continue to protect us, even from ourselves.
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.
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.
Your ways are higher than my ways. Your thoughts higher than my thoughts.
Isiah 55: 8-9
People were never meant to stay on the ground. We always have a need in us to climb higher, build taller and touch above the clouds. Why? Well, the Aztecs believed that the taller they built and the higher up they were the closer they were to god. Or at least that is what I have read. Now. I don’t believe we need to fight to get higher in altitude to be closer to our God, but perhaps deep down we all have a similar feeling. Isn’t that why we reach our hands up when we worship. We are reaching to God. Maybe, just maybe that is why we feel a need to go higher. In truth, we all (even non-Christians) want to get closer to God. It is built into us, that’s why so many people claim to be searching for something. That something is Jesus; and He can be found right here where we are right now.
Thank you Jesus for the blessing of who you are. Thank you that we don’t have to climb to you because you are here with us. Amen
Lately over the past year I have taken up jogging. I say lately because we live in Manitoba and I don’t want to die running on ice. In the beginning I was doing it so my dog would lose weight and my vet could stop giving me ‘that’ look. In the beginning we started slow. About 5 mins.
Then we improved till we could go 10. The other day I set me treadmill at jog speed and started to run while watching TV. 25 mins later my show was over and I still had energy. I then realized that my body had adjusted to going on long jogs.
It’s the same in our prayer lives. We start off wanting to please God but we tire out quickly. Aiming for an half an hour prayer can seem a little much in the beginning. What we needed is persistence. A daily routine and time set. Then little by little, without us even realizing it, our souls stretch and our spiritual cardio expands and we find ourselves enjoying more and more time with God. It may seem like a frustration in the beginning, but once you learn to love it you can’t go back.
Jesus has always showed me what I am made of. When my mom left me with our farm for the first time when I was 19, and was away for almost a month and a half to visit my dad at a work related thing in the NWT I was looking forward to trying to see if I could do it all myself. With so much land to keep up with the grass cutting, my Poppa deciding to redo the back fences and hay season baring down on us my enthusiasm waned. Oh ya, and summer is dust and mud season so the house needed work, often. It felt like as soon as I found my groove, the tornado hit. It took down 30 something trees. So my late 80s Poppa and I got to work. Hauling trees, cutting them into moveable sizes, repairing buildings, tending to my beloved horse who had a minor injury from it. In all of it I looked around and saw how God had protected us. Now I look back and see how it made me grow. No matter what I face, if I have my Jesus I can take it on and do my best. All I have to so is be willing to rise to the challenge. I would prefer a life without tornados, but now whenever I look at a large task at hand and have someone say,
‘Do you think you can handle this?’ I always respond.
‘Of course! It can’t be as bad as the year of the tornado.’
If I could rise to that, God can help me rise to anything. Besides. Sleep is over rated.
Have any of you ever watched Howl’s Moving Castle? It’s one of my favorite movies. Up there with LOTR, Ben Hur and the King and I. Which are also my favorite novels. One line from the movie is often quoted by fans. ‘A heart is a heavy burden to cary.’
Our hearts are one of our heaviest organs. Don’t ask me to explain because it gets gross. But our hearts also carry the most weight. They are the main necessity of the body, everything works through them. Our hearts also carry the burden of our lives. Our emotions effect our hearts; our wants and desires flow through that one muscle causing it to ache and need. Heartless people have hearts to live on but they don’t use them to their full potential. They shut off tue part of the heart that causes one to care and help and be kind. The mind helps them shut off this ability of the heart. When Howl’s heart is restored to him and he wakes up his first words are.
“Why does it feel like there is a weight on my chest?”
Because being frivolous and heartless takes nothing out of you, but to be compassionate and loving takes a great strain. A heart is a heavy burden.
Setting your mind
In one of my favorite movies the main character loves the song ‘country roads’ and rewrites the lyrics to it. The new version has a line that says:
Determined to live alone but fearless, my constant longing is to be courageous. Loneliness is bottled up inside, going down this path that I must try.
It’s a beautiful description of who she is. She knows herself and is willing to allow that to be enough for her. She knows her path is lonely but she takes it anyway with determination to contain that feeling and not allow it to control her. She is fearless and longs for even greater courage. These simple lyrics could apply to many of us. We all have a path to travel and we all have struggles along the way; some we can foresee others we can not, it’s how we handle these struggles that define us. Will we take them on like a ship breaking through a squall, heading for the light? Or will we shrink back inside our cabin and hope that it all goes away? Maybe we try to run from the storm, but we know that that never works out, just ask Jonah. However we face our troubles, however we take on our paths, God knows what He’s doing. He saw these squalls even before you were born, and He also saw a way through them. Some people fear asking for courage because they think that it will add turmoil to their lives, but lives will have turmoil whether you ask for courage or not. Isn’t it better to have already built up your courage before the big struggles come? If you haven’t then those times when you feel you’ve hit rock bottom will be harder to overcome. It’s not easy to look down the road ahead, feel the wind grab your hair, feel the hard path beneath your feet and take off your fear like a cloak throwing it over your shoulder, stepping off the threshold of your comfort zone at a run and smiling about it. Those who have done so have had the chance to touch their stars, yours are still waiting for you. When you look at those who have left their fear behind and taken hold of their path you will see a person scarred. Their cloths may seem torn and their skin marred by the hard falls, but you will also see a brilliant smile of triumph on their faces and when they walk by they drip of starlight, because they have touched the heavens. Why? Because they trusted God would lead them and never doubted His perfect, guiding hand. Do you see starlight in your future? Your future as an accountant, a plumber, a teacher, a doctor, an electrician? You don’t have to be an artist to gleam, you just have to give what you are meant to do everything you’ve got and trust that every time you fall a nail pierced hand will be there to help you back up.
If Jesus proposed to you, would you say ‘yes’?
Are you ready to spend your life with this man from Nazareth? This carpenter’s son, hated and despised by the world. Are you ready to give up everything to follow Him and His dreams for your future? Yes? To say ‘yes’ would mean He is master over your mind, body and soul, are you ready for that?
I’m not always sure I am. Does He have my soul? Oh yes! Does He have my heart? Definitely! Though, sometimes I admit He gets a little lost in all the other ones, things, activities I love; but in the end my heart is focused on Him. Does He have my body? Okay. Harder question. Do I always help the needy? Do I always step in for the little guy? No. If I feel the Holy Spirit say ‘GO!’ Do I go? Sometimes. And here is the big one. Does He have my mind? My mind goes through so many thoughts a day/ a minute/ 1/100th of a second, that it is hard to see what or whom my mind is centered on. There are times when I should pray but I watch Netflix instead. There are times when I am not up to reading my Bible. There are times when I just can’t. Oh I could if I tried, but I feel I just can’t. Does that mean my mind isn’t centered on God?
I like to put it into a less ginormous perspective. My dog is my life. And my horse. Most days they are why I smile and feel I can push through whatever it is that is happening. Sometimes I come home and don’t play with my dog because I feel I just can’t that day. Too worn out. Sometimes I ignore him and watch Netflix, sometimes we don’t walk because it is too cold. He is the center of my world, but sometimes I don’t give him my whole attention. That doesn’t mean he is out of my focus, just not my whole focus for that time. Believe me, he will make it known if he feels ignored.
Just because my mind is 1000% off 60, and I haven’t yet taken time to focus on God, doesn’t mean my mind is off of Him. He could draw all my attention to Him in a millisecond if He wanted to, because I love Him. So does He have my mind? Yes.
If Jesus proposed to you today, what would you say? I say to say ‘yes’ and hang on, because it is going to be a wild ride.