Sunday, April 26, 2009

Staying on the road

Proverbs 3:5 – 6

“Staying on the Road”

 

Finding the road and staying on the road are sometimes two very different things.  We start well, have every good intention, but then lose momentum. 

 

When something crosses our path and we are tripped up, it’s difficult to remain focused.  Something comes along to distract us and we find ourselves wandering off the path.

 

How are we to travel and finish strong?  These verses help us understand the basic strategies…  Nobody can claim to have God without God affecting everything in life.

The key concept is “trust.”

 

 

I.          Trust controls behavior.

 

            A.        The levels of “trust.”

 

(Hebrew: “to cling”)

 

                        1.         There is trust in the sense of “knowing.”

 

a.         Knowing something and acting on it are two different things.

 

b.         Knowing is the basis of trust.  You have to know what/who you trust.

 

                        2.         There is trust in the sense of “believing.”

 

a.         Believing is a sense of conviction that moves us to action.

 

                                    b.         Believing, move us beyond curiosity or desire into motion.

 

(Ill. of the pendulum.)

 

                        3.         There is trust in the sense of “habit.”

 

a.         Some things we do not have to think about anymore because we have tested it to the point of trusting without question.

 

b.         We’ve moved past the point of uncertainty to habit.

 

(Ill. Of starting a car with your keys)

 

            B.        What hinders our development of trust?

 

                        1.         We can become un-teachable when we are “self-willed.”

 

                                    a.         Trust is something we learn… we have to be taught.

 

b.         Teaching/learning requires precedence, experience, and repetition.

 

                        2.         We cling to our choices and plans.

 

                                    a.         “There is a way that seems right to a man,

                                                but in the end it leads to death.” [Proverbs 14:12, 16:25] 

 

                                    b.         About perspective:  The more information and experience you have, the better the choices.  Our information is limited.  Our experiences are interpreted.

 

***** Ultimately our minds are called: “You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you.  Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD, the LORD, is the Rock eternal.” [Isaiah 26:3 – 4]

 

II.        Trust clarifies perceptions.

 

            A.        Lack of trust leads to fear.

 

                        1.         Fear is a problem with relationships.

 

a.         It is why women “nag” their men.  (They don’t trust them to get something done…)

 

b.         It is why pastors and churches abuse one another. (They read some undercurrent evil into every word or action.)

 

2.         There is healthy fear (for a good reason… such as electricity) and there is unhealthy fear (imagination).

 

                                    a.         One is respect the other paralyzes.

 

b.         This is the two ways to see God: healthy respect or paralyzing fear.  The difference is relationship.

 

            B.        Lack of relationship creates misunderstanding.

 

1.         If you don’t know God, you will not understand God… except by what grace God allows as you are “awakened.”

a.         Problem is most people know about some version or form of “god” that comes from people around them that claim to know that “god.”

 

                                    b.         Most of what people call “god” isn’t.

 

                        2.         If you have the wrong teacher, you come to the wrong conclusions.

 

                                    a.         We are naturally drawn to charisma over content.

 

                                    b.         We are fueled by emotions over essence.

 

***** When we lean on our own understanding… we are presumptuous.  The problem with being presumptuous (willful) is those things rule over us.

 

“Keep your servant also from (presumptuous) willful sins; may they not rule over me. Then will I be blameless, innocent of great transgression.” [Psalm 19:13]

 

III.      Trust develops praxis.  (“Practice, as distinguished from theory; application or use, as of knowledge or skills.” www.dictionary.com)

 

            A.        The idea is to develop an “active faith.”

 

                        1.         “All your ways.”

 

a.         Problem: we compartmentalize…. It’s like we have different boxes we put things in… one of them is marked “religion.”

 

                                    b.         The challenge is to address the whole person.

 

                        2.         “Acknowledge” means that we will submit to God.

 

                                    a.         We will actively seek what God wants.

 

                                    b.         It covers everything: talk, action, money, sex… etc…

 

            B.        God intends to help.

 

1.         The Holy Spirit: “Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, "This is the way; walk in it.” [Isaiah 30:21]

 

a.         Jesus taught us: “But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.” [John 14:26]

 

b.         Jesus promised: “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” [Acts 1:8]

 

***** Ultimately our wills are called to substitute appearances with substance.

 

IV.       Trust brings blessings.

 

            A.        God promises to direct (make straight, remove obstacles) in your path.

 

                        1.         The Christian life is not an obstacle course.

 

a.         There is nothing about “easy” but when we do things God’s way, complications are minimized.

 

b.         God also shows up, every day.  Try this: before you go to bed answer this question… where did I see God today?

 

                        2.         The Christian life is not confusing.

 

                                    a.         We can lived “scatter brained” or focused.

 

b.         We can live with purpose and significance or we can live meaninglessly.

 

c.         We can join God in something bigger than ourselves or we can be stuck in grinding out life.

 

            B.        Have you ever needed a map, a guide, a helper?

 

1.         In a world where practiced sincerity usually means exploitation; we are at a loss to find teachers.

 

“The days are coming," declares the Sovereign LORD, "when I will send a famine through the land--not a famine of food or a thirst for water, but a famine of hearing the words of the LORD.”  [Amos 8:11]

 

                        2.         However, there is a point where God will be faithful:

 

“Although the Lord gives you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, your teachers will be hidden no more; with your own eyes you will see them.” [Isaiah 30:20]

 

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Sunday, April 12, 2009

The day everything changed

1 Corinthians 15:1 – 22

“The day everything changed”

 

The resurrection of Jesus is THE single most important event… ever.  The resurrection proved who Jesus is, it provided focus for the disciples’ preaching, it is the power of God to transform daily life.

 

 

I.          Why is the resurrection so influential?

 

            A.        The resurrection’s impact.

 

                        1.         PAST: as an historical event it shows us God did something great.

 

“And who through the Spirit of holiness was declared with power to be the Son of God by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord.” [Romans 1:4]

 

                        2.         PRESENT: the power is available for us today.

 

“I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death.” [Philippians 3:10]

 

                        3.         FUTURE: God will do something greater in the future!

 

“So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable.” [1 Corinthians 15:42]

 

            B.        The resurrection’s importance.

 

                        1.         The resurrection is the foundational Christian belief.

 

                        2.         The resurrection is the ultimate source of hope.

 

3.         The resurrection is the guarantee for power in our current life and our future resurrection.

 

II.        Why is the resurrection so critical?

 

            A.        If no resurrection then faith is useless.

 

“And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith.” [v 14]

 

1.         The resurrection separates Christianity from every other religion.  You can go to their founders’ occupied graves.

 

2.         Christianity celebrates life, not death.

 

            B.        If no resurrection then we are false witnesses.

 

“More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead.” [v 15]

 

                        1.         The core of being a follower of Jesus is to continue the witness.

 

                        2.         The witness is of the living Jesus.

 

            C.        If no resurrection then there is no salvation.

 

“And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins.” [v 17]

 

1.         “Faith” as a general thing is pointless.  People can believe in anything but that does not make it real.

 

2.         “Faith” must be specific and life changing for it to have any effect.  Otherwise it is “futile.”

 

            D.        If no resurrection the “lost” is forever.

 

“Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost.” [v 18]

 

1.         “Lost” is a technical word that means separated from God, like a lost sheep.

 

2.         The state of being “lost” is permanent unless something more powerful than death intervenes… the resurrection!

 

            E.         If no resurrection then we are pitiful.

 

“If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men.” [v 19]

 

                        1.         Without the reality of what is promised then everything is empty.

 

                        2.         So Christians would deserve contempt for holding to empty myths.

 

III.       How can we be so sure?

 

            A.        Scripture.  (Prophecy: Predicted before it happened.)

 

“For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, [4] that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.” [vv 3 – 4]

 

            B.        Eye witnesses. (Legal “proof”)

 

“… He appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve. [6] After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. [7] Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles.” [vv 5 – 7]

 

            C.        Paul. (Personal experience)

 

“And last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.” [v 8]

 

IV.       What should be our response?

 

            A.        Hope.  (NOT wishful thinking… confident expectation.)

 

“But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. [21] For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man.” [vv 20 – 21]

 

            B.        Celebrate life, both spiritual and eternal.

 

“For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.” [v 22]

 

            C.        Be transformed.

 

For I am the least of the apostles and do not even deserve to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. [10] But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them--yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me.” [vv 9 – 10]

 

1.         God took someone who was actively seeking to destroy Christianity and transformed him into an apostle!

 

2.         God can take you, from whatever place you find yourself and transform you.

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2009 Lenten Devotional and Prayer Guide

April 12

That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”  (Philippians 2:1011)

 

Jesus was a humble servant and for this He was given a Name above All Names, a name so powerful that just at its mention people everywhere would know its significance. In American society it seems that so many have forgotten the importance of Jesus name, not unlike Biblical times when people mocked His claim that He was the Savior. I interpret this passage to be Paul’s prophecy that SOMEDAY every soul in the entire world will acknowledge Jesus as Lord. And what a great day that will be…  [Written by: Billie]

 

Conclusion:



I pray this has been an amazing prayer journey for you. The prayer is for your metamorphosis.  Your life can honor God.  The test is in the choices you make, not your words or your desires, not in the motions momentum carries you.  As we live holy lives, remember to “(make) the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.”  Then God will honor you on our Resurrection Day with those words, “well done, good and faithful servant.”  Until then we celebrate Jesus’ resurrection! [Pastor Dan]

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Saturday, April 11, 2009

2009 Lenten Devotional and Prayer Guide

April 11

 

The LORD your God is with you, He is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, He will quiet you with his love, He will rejoice over you with singing.”  (Zephaniah 3:17)

 

God promises to take away our afflictions and troubles, and through this remove the effects these difficulties have had on our lives. By removing the cause God has also removed the effect. By accepting God as our Savior, we gain this promise made to His people, so why shouldn’t we rejoice as the Bible tells us to. I can think of no greater reason to be happy, than to have ended difficult times.  How often do we celebrate and offer praise for healing or the end of the trouble in our lives? We are not the only ones rejoicing when we accept God into our lives. He celebrates as well. The conversion of sinners and comfort of believers is a cause of great joy throughout heaven, causing God and all the angels to rejoice. [Written by: Charles]

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Friday, April 10, 2009

2009 Lenten Devotional and Prayer Guide

April 10

 

Wanting to satisfy the crowd, Pilate released Barabbas to them. He had Jesus flogged, and handed him over to be crucified.”  (Mark 15:15)

 

I never know how to feel about the actions of Pilate. He was the quintessential politician struggling between his conscience and the wants of his people. For most of us I am sure it’s not hard to relate to Pilate in that way. I have struggled –and often still do—with doing what I feel is right instead of what is popular or expected of me. Our nature as humans lends itself to this very dilemma. The answer comes when we accept that we are not in control. Giving ourselves in full to the Lord erases any questions. [Written by: Billie]

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Thursday, April 09, 2009

2009 Lenten Devotional and Prayer Guide

April 9

 

For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes.”  (1 Corinthians 11:26)

 

Think about the power in this verse.  Whenever we participate in the communion service, we are proclaiming Jesus' death.  We are remembering that 2000 years ago he gave his body and blood for us.  He left the glory of heaven to take on a human body and live on earth.  Out of his love, He taught and performed many miracles.  Instead of the people being thankful, they crucified him on the cross, beating his body and spilling his blood.  That wasn't the end though - He rose from the dead.  He's now in heaven preparing a perfect place for us, and He will be coming back for us.  Whenever we take communion, we look both back to His sacrifice and forward to the ultimate victory!  [Written by: Holly]

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Wednesday, April 08, 2009

2009 Lenten Devotional and Prayer Guide

April 8

 

He was assigned a grave with the wicked and with the rich in His death, though He had done no violence, nor was any deceit in His mouth.”  (Isaiah 53:9)

 

If you have ever seen the movie “The Passion of the Christ,” then I am certain your mind, like mine, is imprinted by the horrific reality of Jesus’ crucifixion. He was the victim of a great injustice. Even though he had done no wrong, He died the death of a wicked man. Imagine the insult to be buried with criminals! How often do we hold grudges over petty insults or little hurts? Lord, help us today to forget the pain caused by others and to reach within ourselves to forgive… [Written by: Billie]

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Tuesday, April 07, 2009

2009 Lenten Devotional and Prayer Guide

April 7

 

We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.”  (Isaiah 53:6)

 

The phrase that immediately sprung to mind when reading this passage is “we are not worthy.” So many times we turn away from God—maybe just for a minute or maybe for much longer…yet his love for us endures. Though His people were turning away, He still gave His Son that we might live. What a wonderful gift!  [Written by: Tammy]

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Monday, April 06, 2009

2009 Lenten Devotional and Prayer Guide

April 6

 

I offered my back to those who beat Me, My cheeks to those who pulled out My beard; I did not hide My face from mocking and spitting.”  (Isaiah 50:6)

 

As Christians we are often called to go into a sometimes hostile and bitter world to spread God’s Word. As a prophet spreading the redeeming message of God, you would think that Isaiah would have been met with open arms and great joy, yet this was not the case. In our modern times, with the hardships and difficulties that we see in our society, it would stand to reason that anyone bringing a message of hope and joy would be welcome and not shunned, but this is just as much the case today as it was in Isaiah’s time. We must, just as the Prophet did, submit ourselves to the abuses of society to bring the Word of God to all.  But, we can be strengthened by the knowledge that God will help us. He will hold us up and guide us though our troubles, so that we need not be ashamed to be called Christians. [Written by: Charles]

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Sunday, April 05, 2009

Spiritual Insanity

Matthew 27:41 – 54

“Spiritual Insanity”

 

There is a well known song by Xct that has been described as the most atheistic song ever to be sung in America.  It goes:

 

“Dear god, Hope you got the letter, and I pray you can make it better down here. I don’t mean a big reduction in the price of beer, but all the people that you made in your image, see them starving on their feet, cause they don’t get enough to eat from god, I cant believe in you.

Dear god, Sorry to disturb you, but I feel that I should be heard loud and clear. We all need a big reduction in amount of tears, and all the people that you made in your image, see them fighting in the street, cause they cant make opinions meet, about god, I cant believe in you.

Did you make disease and the diamond blue?  Did you make mankind after we made you?  And the devil too!

[Dear god, Don’t know if you noticed, but your name is on a lot of quotes in this book. Us crazy humans wrote it, you should take a look, and all the people that you made in your image, still believing that junk is true. Well I know it ain’t and so do you, dear god. I cant believe in, I don’t believe in.]

I won’t believe in heaven and hell. no saints, no sinners, no devil as well. No pearly gates, no thorny crown. You’re always letting us humans down. The wars you bring, the babes you drown. Those lost at sea and never found, and it’s the same the whole world round.  The hurt I see helps to compound, that the father, son and holy ghost, is just somebody’s unholy hoax, and if you’re up there you’ll perceive, that my heart’s here upon my sleeve.  If there’s one thing I don’t believe in... It’s you, dear god.”

 

Can you hear some of the reasons a person might object to the existence of God in that song?  Starvation and war are just things to blame on God.  The writer knows the Bible well enough to talk about creation, heaven hell, devil, the trinity, and a “thorny crown.”

 

The sad part is that the writer of the song knows what needs to be known but has missed it.  However, he is not alone.  On the day of “the thorny crown” it was missed by a lot of people as well.

 

In fact in all of history that day must have been the most spiritually insane day in the history of the world.  Let’s take a look at it.

 

I.          The people who should have known were the instigators.

 

A.        “In the same way the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders mocked him.”  [v 41]

 

1.         The “chief priests” were what the Old Testament called the “High Priest.”  (The Romans has put term limitations on the office for political reasons, so there was more than one that had occupied that office.)

 

a.         The “High Priest” was responsible for the spiritual state of the people. 

 

b.         The “High Priest” was the one who entered the “holy of holies” once a year on the Day of Atonement.  If the nation was spiritually pure he was allowed to live.

 

2.         The “teachers of the law” were the Biblical scholars of Jesus’ time.

 

a.       It was their responsibility to know and teach the Old Testament.

 

b.       This class of Levites was set up by Ezra in a national revival at the end of the Babylonian captivity.

 

3.         The “elders” were the political leaders of the day.

 

B.        “He trusts in God. Let God rescue him now if he wants him, for he said, `I am the Son of God.'” [v 43]

 

            1.         The mockery had been prophesied by King David.

 

“All who see me mock me; they hurl insults, shaking their heads: [8] "He trusts in the LORD; let the LORD rescue him.  Let him deliver him, since he delights in him." [Psalm 22:7 – 8]

 

2.         I’m not sure they realized what they were saying.  Jesus gave witness to the prophecy when He quoted the first line of Psalm 22.  Their minds would have known the rest of the prophecy.

 

“I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint.   My heart has turned to wax; it has melted away within me. [15] My strength is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth; you lay me in the dust of death. [16] Dogs have surrounded me; a band of evil men has encircled me, they have pierced my hands and my feet. [17] I can count all my bones; people stare and gloat over me.  [18] They divide my garments among them and cast lots for my clothing.” [Psalm 22:14]

 

a.         Verse 14 describes the effect of dying on a cross on the heart.  When Jesus’ side was pierced with the spear, water and blood flowed out.

 

b.         Verse 15 describes the dehydration experienced by someone on the cross.  The soldiers gave him vinegar to drink.

 

c.         Verse 16 describes “the dogs” that “have pierced my hands and my feet.”  The term “dogs” was a way some elitist Jews referred to Gentiles.  The Romans were Gentiles.  Crucifixion involved nailing hands and feet to the cross.

 

d.         Verse 17 describes the effect of having the cross set up, more likely dropped into place dislocating many joints.  Isaiah said “…his appearance was so disfigured beyond that of any man and his fore marred beyond human likeness.” [Isaiah 52:14]

 

e.         Verse 18 refers to the Roman soldiers who cast lots for Jesus clothing.

 

II.        The people who could not have known figured it out.

 

“When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, ‘Surely he was the Son of God!’” [Matthew 27:54]

 

A.        The people had no prior knowledge of Scripture (being Romans), yet they came to the correct conclusion.

 

1.         They saw the earthquake… it was strong enough to split rocks and open graves!  (Imagine the special “Ghost Hunters” would have with Jesus resurrection.)

 

2.         Most of all, they saw how Jesus died.  Jesus had “given up his spirit.” [v 50]

 

a.         It is wrong to think that Jesus was murdered or killed or somehow wrongfully taken from Him.

 

            b.         Jesus intention was to lay down His life.

 

“Just as the Father knows me and I know the Father--and I lay down my life for the sheep.” [John 10:15]

 

B.        The twist to the story is that now we have the choice to decide for ourselves.

 

            1.         It is not dependent on our prior knowledge.

 

a.         In fact, prior knowledge (antecedent theology) can often hinder us.

 

b.         Personal defense of territory can blind us.

 

2.         It is dependent on experiencing Jesus personally.

 

a.         We are not to reduce God to a philosophy (like the writer of the song “dear god.”)

 

b.         We are not to reduce God to a theology (like the elitists of Jesus’ day did).

 

c.         We are not to reduce God to a mystical/spiritual experience (like “Ghost Hunters” would).

 

III.       Ultimately Jesus Christ is known PERSONALLY.

 

A.        Jesus experienced the separation of sin from God the Father on the cross. [v 46]

 

            1.         Of all the things Jesus suffered, I think this was the worst.

 

a.         Separated from God the Father would have been like losing a spouse; maybe even worse.

 

b.         Separated from God there would have been no hope and genuine doubt about the love of God or even God’s existence.

 

2.         For the first time in Jesus’ existence, Jesus experienced the spiritual insanity we live with every moment of every day.

 

a.         We face the temptations of sin, not fully realizing what it cost Jesus, and what it could potentially cost us.

 

b.         We make spiritual decision based on our culture, training, and theological bend.

 

B.        God the Father’s intention was to end that spiritual insanity caused by our separation from God, once and for all through Jesus Christ.

 

“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us… [9] Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God's wrath through him! [10] For if, when we were God's enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! [11] Not only is this so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.” [Romans 5:8 – 11]

 

1.         God’s love is indisputable.  Who would deliberately plan the death of his son?

 

            a.         If not for God’s love, then Good Friday is insanity.

 

b.         God having to demonstrate His love in so dramatic a way shows how much spiritual sanity has evaded us.

 

2.         We are justified by the blood of Jesus. 

 

            a.         Jesus established a new blood covenant.

 

b.         A permanent one, which does not have to be repeated endlessly.

 

3.         We are reconciled to God, the separation and spiritual insanity it caused can end.

 

a.         God does not force us to choose.  We choose the war, the starvation, and every other piece of spiritual insanity.

 

b.         However, one choice can erase all the bad ones we’ve ever made and give us peace with God and ourselves.

                       

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2009 Lenten Devotional and Prayer Guide

April 5

 

To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.” (1 Peter 2:21)

 

Yes! We were called to be Christ’s followers, to be his chosen people! It sure sounds great, but (YOWZERS) what a tough job. Kermit the Frog says “It’s not easy being green,” and I think he is right. It is not always easy to be a good Christian following in Jesus’ enormous foot steps, but God the Father just asks that we try, truly try with all we have. If we give Him that effort, He will lead us. What could be better?  [Written by: Billie]

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April 4

“But He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by His wounds we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:5)

I will never really understand what Jesus went though on the cross for me: the suffering, shame and scoffing. But, hallelujah for the victory of the cross and that Jesus is at the right hand of God, waiting for me. [Written by: Dawn]

Friday, April 03, 2009

2009 Lenten Devotional and Prayer Guide

April 3

Surely He took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered Him stricken by God, smitten by Him, and afflicted.” (Isaiah 53:4)

Jesus’ life was about doing for others and self sacrifice so much that it can be overwhelming. Jesus gave so much, but he never uttered a word of complaint about it being too much. He never said he was too tired, and He never quit. In this way let Him inspire selflessness in us. We may not all have money to spend or things to give, but we do have genuine God-given talents and time. Let’s all take today to reflect on how we are using our talents. [Written by: Billie]

Thursday, April 02, 2009

2009 Lenten Devotional and Prayer Guide

April 2

 

He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces He was despised, and we esteemed Him not.”   (Isaiah 53:3)

 

All I could think in reading this verse was how often people in our own community are treated this way. They are called dregs, outcasts, homeless, and sinners. They are thought of as having a lesser status than everyone else, somehow making their lives and needs less valuable. When I read Isaiah’s description of the ways Jesus was mistreated, I’m ashamed for so often we Christians find it easier to hide our faces than to reach out. [Written by: Billie]

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Wednesday, April 01, 2009

2009 Lenten Devotional and Prayer Guide

April 1

 

I in them and You in Me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that You sent Me and have loved them even as You have loved Me.”           (John 17:23)

 

These words of Jesus are part of His prayer for believers. It should give us both comfort and embolden us when we stop to think that our Savior prayed to the Father on our behalf, with a purpose that the world would recognize that there is something different about us. We belong to Christ. Sometimes it is our own fear that keeps us from being recognized as His. Fear can be a debilitating thing. Years ago the world's longest bridge was completed at San Francisco at a cost of seventy-seven million dollars. During the construction of the first part of the bridge, no safety devices were used and twenty-three men fell to their death in the water below. In the construction of the second part, it was decided to install the greatest safety net in the world, even though the cost amounted to $100,000. It saved the lives of at least ten men who fell to it without injury. In addition the work went 25% faster with the men no longer fearful of falling. The knowledge that they were safe left the men free to devote their energies to the task in hand.

 

In this verse from His prayer for believers, we should draw the greatest strength for the task at hand. Don't lose sight of the power of Christ’s prayer for us.  [Written by: Eric]

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