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Lent - crumc. Devotional Book.pdf · PDF file February 22 – Pastor David Rawls THE TIME HAS COME . Read Genesis 9:8-17 and Mark 1:9-15 . Mark 1:15 “The time has come,” he said.“The

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Text of Lent - crumc. Devotional Book.pdf · PDF file February 22 – Pastor David Rawls THE...

  • Lent

  • February 22 – Pastor David Rawls THE TIME HAS COME Read Genesis 9:8-17 and Mark 1:9-15 Mark 1:15 “The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news! It had been predicted from the beginning when God made a covenant with Noah and then Abram that God would be our God for all living creatures, Genesis 9:16. Throughout the Old Testament God is preparing the world for the coming of the messiah. When we read Mark 1:15, we are being reminded by Jesus that He is the one that God spoke about in the Old Testament, and the one the world has been waiting on to come. Jesus announces the good news that the “Kingdom of God has come near.” Now, for the most part, not many people understood what he was talking about, because they were expecting a military leader, not a savior. They wanted to be saved from the Roman occupation, but Jesus came to save them from their sins by calling them to repentance and to believe that He was their messiah. “The time has come!” When you consider that statement, it is probably a statement that all of us have used at one time or another. Whether we have used these exact words or similar words, the meaning is the same. There is always a beginning and an end to all things in life, and it is in between these two points where we live our lives. Jesus came for the very purpose of helping us to live in relationship with Him. When He came, He announced that "The time has Come," and the time is now for each of us to come to know God, to ask for forgiveness, and to believe that God will and can make a difference in how you will live your life. Jesus came to put flesh on the relationship with God. He proclaimed that, if you know me, you can know the Father who is in heaven. "The time has come!" Where are you in your journey? Is God relevant in your life? Is God even real in your life? Have you allowed Jesus to break into your life? When you and I allow Jesus into our lives, we are opening ourselves to the good news of God's kingdom. We are opening ourselves to His grace and mercy, and we are opening ourselves to His forgiveness. So if you are tired of living your life the way you have so far, maybe "the time has come" to let Jesus in? Father, thank you for offering each of us a personal relationship with you. You began with Adam and Eve and you have been offering yourself to us from the very beginning of time. Help each of us to accept that offer that, "The time has come," to receive you as our creator, our sustainer, and our hope. May we yield our heart and our life to the one who came to offer forgiveness to all who would say "Yes," to the Kingdom of God. "The time has come!"

  • February 23 – Margaret Williams Read Job 4:1-21 and Ephesians 2:1-16, focus on Ephesians 2:1-11.

    I grew up in the Methodist church. My mother took me every week. I sang in the choir and

    became President of Methodist Youth Fellowship. I attended church camp every summer. It was at church camp at age 14 that I thought I had a life-changing experience. I saw a cloud that represented a lamb and I thought it was God’s way of telling me that Jesus was the Lamb of God and I was His child.

    I remained a faithful follower until the year of my 27th birthday when I was diagnosed with 3rd stage Malignant Hodgkins Disease. I felt as if I didn’t know God at all. I worried for weeks that I would die and my children, then ages 6 and 2, would be left without a mother. I knew my husband would do his best but he was a LT. in the USAF and gone on TDY often.

    After crying for long periods of time, a lady who had been our son’s Sunday School teacher in the Philippines gave me a call. It seems that she heard of my prognosis and wanted to offer a healing ministry to me. It was at that moment I realized I was not alone. God was still true to me. Through many hours of prayer and reading Ephesians 2:1-11, I felt His presence. I realized that I would have to die to self before I could be comforted in this threatening situation. I realized through the scriptures that God would not allow my children to suffer if He needed to take me home. I found His grace and mercy and was ready for the outcome. Little did I know at the time that the action had already begun. You see, the lady from the past sent a healing ministry to me with a full recovery. I praised the Lord for His faithfulness and I believe that, had the outcome been different, I was ready to accept it, knowing that my Lord was faithful to the end. I finally realized that I didn’t have to physically die but I did have to die to self.

    Holy Father, I pray that we all might come to the end of self-rule. I confess that I was driven by the need to be in control and have my wishes granted. Today, I lay all of that at your feet and pray that I might die to my own self-generated plans. May only Your plans matter. In Christ’s Holy Name. Amen

  • February 24 – Gary Hoffman

    Read Job 4:1-21 and Ephesians 2:1-16

    Poor Job! He is well known as a man who suffered mightily. Ultimately, he cursed the day he was born and wished for death. He railed at the conundrums of life: “Why is light given to a man whose way is hidden?” (Job 3:23) A friend asks Job: “Can Mankind be Just before God?” and goes on to confirm Job’s complaints that while God is a tough taskmaster, those that dwell in houses of clay are crushed and ‘Unobserved, they perish forever … they die, yet without wisdom.’

    So, not only did Job suffer mightily but there was no hope of any change in his lifetime, only some hope to be judged less harshly than others.

    In contrast, Paul’s ministry to the Ephesians offers a completely different reality: He describes a God rich in Mercy, Grace and forgiveness through Jesus Christ.

    I can attest to the reality of that Mercy, Grace and Forgiveness. Several years ago I had the good fortune to have a heart transplant. That in itself is a miracle, but there was also another miracle, perhaps more significant to me than the transplant.

    Often with serious illness comes serious depression. That is what happened to me during my downhill run to a heart transplant. For years and years I seriously worried and worried and worried about my life. I think the particulars of that worry are not as important as its debilitating effect.

    One day as I was driving on Ft Island Trail – worrying - a voice, clear as a bell and just as clearly not my own, said to me simply: “It doesn’t have to be that way.” Immediately all the layers of guilt and pain and suffering began to fall off my body. I felt buoyed up; I was lifted through layers and layers of heavy burden and breached into the sunlight. Suffering was replaced by joy. I was loved, accepted; I was OK.

    I think that is what Baptism is all about. I thank the Lord for allowing me that experience, for changing my life, for turning dark to light. I thank Him for his Grace, given freely, no questions asked, no strings attached.

    Father, thank You for the Grace You’ve given me, at the time I needed it most, and every day.

    Yielding: Today I will ask for Grace when I need it, and give Grace to others.

  • February 25 - Karen Janota -Trials and Wisdom Read Proverbs 30:1-9 and Matt. 4:1-11 Matt. 4: 4Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.” In Proverbs, the prophet asks God to give him no more than his daily share so that he does not become greedy. In this verse from Matthew, Satan has told Jesus that, if He is hungry, turn these stones to bread. I mean, really, Jesus had just finished 40 days and nights in the wilderness without food and water! But Jesus’ answer tells us that the word of God will satisfy us far more fully than the food we eat. I must admit, I do not fast well. In fact, the only time I do that is when I have to undergo a certain kind of procedure once every 7 years, I prefer portion control, but my motivation is not spiritual discipline (although it should be). It takes true discipline to surrender to Christ and begin to follow those practices such as prayer and study, journaling and reading. For most, it takes time and repetition. In my daily reading today, the author was talking about self-criticism. Some people say that “if you criticize something, you don’t love it. Wise people like the prophets would say the opposite.” We tend to criticize others, but we need to be struggling with our own shadows. Fr. Richard Rohr says, “It is in facing your conflicts, criticisms, and contradictions that you grow up.” Jesus went into the desert to do that. Celebrate Recovery takes you through that desert with support. That is one step toward a higher level of consciousness. It is part of sanctification, and it isn’t easy. Jesus spent 40 days and nights in the wilderness. It’s hard for most of us to go a day without our cellphones! In Proverbs, the writer acknowledges that he doesn’t understand the One who created everything or HIS SON! Neither do we. In Matthew, Satan is testing Jesus. How would we hold up to testing? If you think about it, we have trials every day. Do we seek the word of God for help, either through the Bible or through prayer? Do we seek a knowledgeable elder? Are we part of a small group that meets regularly to study and to pray? If we’re not, we should start…today. Abba, thank you for times of testing, and for providing wisdom in many ways. Amen Yielding: Today I will face trials with the knowledge that You are with me.

  • February 26 -

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