40 DAYS AND 40 NIGHTS – THE JOURNEY TO THE CROSS

 

Sunday February 28 – Day 12 – Prayer for the Second Sunday in Lent

Gracious and loving God,

We ask that You would renew us this week. We ask that You would fill our cups so that we would respond in love to all that we meet, being Your hands and feet.

Let us represent You well when we meet a stranger on the street or in our interactions on social media.

We hear You knocking, and we hear Your voice. We will open the door and invite You in, Lord Jesus!

In your very last temptation by the devil in the wilderness, you reminded us that we are to worship the Lord and to serve Him only. May our struggles this week lead us to this truth. May we take the time to devote to worshipping You alone.

Whatever it takes, Lord, we are going to live our lives for You.

Help us to do what is right, and may it please You.

We love You.

We hate what is evil.

We will honour Your commands.

We will do right IN love this week, with no expectation for reward or recognition.

May we trust You and wait on You with great longing and purpose.

We pray for those who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 and are recovering. We are grateful for those who ae getting better. May You be present with those who are suffering from this virus and bring them to perfect health. May what they have experienced draw them closer to You.

We pray for a world that is hungry and thirsty without You. In our hearts we are thirsty for YOU, the living God. We trust that You will send us all that we need at the right time.

Holy Spirit, move among us and change us, so that people might see the Good News in action.

For we ask and pray these things in Jesus’ name, Amen.

See you at 10:30 a.m. on Facebook 🙂

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Saturday February 27 – Day 11 – THIRSTY

“1As a deer gets thirsty
    for streams of water,
    I truly am thirsty
    for you, my God.
2 In my heart, I am thirsty
for you, the living God.
    When will I see your face?” – Psalm 42:1-2 (CEV)

When I was a music teacher at a Christian high school in my former professional life, I played bass guitar in a student run praise team led by one of my colleagues who led the choir, Jane Roxburgh.  One of the songs that we sang – as did the entire global church – was “As the Deer”.  Like most of you, I have become so sick of this song that there is no way I think I could ever use it in a worship gathering (service) again.  It has lost it’s power to draw me into worship.

But I do know what it means to be thirsty.

Thirst can overwhelm you. It can make you focus on NOTHING else but water.

During the pandemic, we have thirsted for many things this year:

•  the need to be with others
•  the need to worship together as a community
•  the need to have normalcy during our daily lives
•  the need to feel safe and protected
•  the need to not stand in line for our groceries
•  the need to never ever wear a mask EVER again 🙂

But during this time, how many of us have thirsted for God?

Some of us have found that COVID-19 has given us the opportunity to take the time to read God’s word, to pray, to meditate, and to study so it HAS been a time to renew and refresh.  For others, your work has not stopped and in fact, you may have had more demands placed on you.  You have not had a rest and in fact, you are burned out from exhaustion.  For you, you thirst for a sabbath rest.

Lent is about understanding the existence of temptation, depravity and emptiness all happening at once.  We lay each and every one of these things at the foot of the Cross, asking Jesus to sojourn with us once again in the wilderness.

I used to love watching my beagle Sophie drink water.  She was not a refined creature in that respect.  When she drank water, she could leave quite a mess around her bowl. In fact when she ate her dry food, she would eat a bite and then take off, dropping kibble around her bowl and all along the kitchen floor.  When you watched her drink, you could see she was very thirsty.  I miss that sound.

Depending on your experience this past year, whether you have had the time to drink or you are dehydrated spiritually, we all need to come to the Living Water during these 40 days on a daily basis.  Just as our bodies will begin to falter if we do not have enough fluids, so our spiritual lives will suffer without making time to drink in Jesus.

If you have been tempted, ask for forgiveness and drink the Living Water.

If you have felt evil working all around you and affecting your spiritual heart, Come to the Water and rest.

If you have nothing left to give and you are spiritually dehydrated, refuel and refresh.

Know that God desires a pause for you…a moment of sabbath rest. If you have not been able to take one during the pandemic, I pray that you will speak to your employer about taking some time off. We all need time to do absolutely nothing but Be Still and Know…

Be Still and Know that God is there for you…and always will be.

If you come thirsty, know that He has enough to satisfy you.

Over this weekend, my prayer is that you will find the most beautiful and breathtaking streams to quench your thirst and to give you rest. Only then can we find the strength to follow God on this journey from the wilderness to the Cross.

In my heart, I am thirsty for you, the living God.

May you be able to meditate on these words this weekend and may you draw closer to God as you drink. See you tomorrow for a time of worship together at 10:30 a.m.

******

 

Friday February 26 – Day 10 – TRUST

“Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you;
    therefore he will rise up to show you compassion.
For the Lord is a God of justice.
    Blessed are all who wait for him!” – Isaiah 30:18 (NIV)

“Woe to the obstinate children,”
    declares the Lord,
“to those who carry out plans that are not mine,
    forming an alliance, but not by my Spirit,
    heaping sin upon sin;”

This is how chapter 30 of the Book of Isaiah starts.  What a way to start a chapter!  Isaiah (if we assume him to be the author of this chapter) comments on the wayward nature of the Jewish people.  It seems that when the Jewish people were troubled by one tribe or group, they would look for the favour and support of another group rather than look to God.  Most of the chapter discusses the rebellious nature of their hearts and paints a bleak picture for their future.

Then we hit verse 18, and hope begins to shed light on the path of the Jews.

As you know from an earlier devotion in the series, Rose-Frances and I have been watching a show called “Peaky Blinders”.  In it, this English mob when confronted with a arch-rival family, try to team up with another mob family in order to survive.  This human behaviour has been going on for centuries, as I am sure you might have even experienced this in your own families.  In both the case of the Shelby family and the Jews, they did not consult God or carry out God’s plans.  They carried out their own, consulting others and rebelliously doing their own thing.

And that is when the trouble begins.

A plan can be a wonderful thing.  It usually involves a lot of thought and reflection before making a decision on how to act.  It usually happens in advance so that people have a chance to do what they need to do to make the plan a reality.  There also has to be a general consensus on the plan, otherwise it will fail.

There have been plans in human history that were devised by humans and not with the blessing of God. However, when these plans do happen, if they are against the will of God, very shortly thereafter the plans always fail.

If our plans are not rooted in God, they will not grow.

Do you ever stop and reflect on how frustrating it must be to BE God?

I mean, honestly, the sheep analogy fits humans to a T.  Speaking for myself, there are moments where I am just truly NOT thinking and going by a gut instinct.  Usually my instinct is right however I make sure that I pray over that instinct.  I ask these very simple words: “God, is it in your plan that “this” should happen?”


If we go by instinct or just logic, our plans will most certainly fail.

Take for instance the old building on James Street.  We could not pay our mortgage on the building after the renovations and we had to waive the white flag to the bank.  However, something incredible happened: God made it possible that we were forgiven a large amount of the debt.  We refinanced the mortgage and only less than two years before we left the building, on New Year’s Eve 2011, we made our final payment.  We were moving into 2012 mortgage free.

God’s plan was for us as a church to stay in that location until the right time.  The signs and direction that we had to take was very clear.  The writing was on the wall and we responded to God’s plan.  Looking back on it, His timing was perfect.

In all of the decisions we made about the building, I remember all of us praying fervently about it.  We wanted to do what was right in the eyes of God.  If God wanted us to stay, we would have stayed.  The location became just too unsafe for us to continue to use it.  However to this day, I have weird dreams about the old building.  I dream that I am still using the building, even though I know it is falling down and unsafe, and then end up somehow leaving the building again and again.  I miss it, however, losing the building allowed us to try new ideas that we could not do if we were in a traditional church building.

Now, as a church, we operate from one location (we have settled again) but we have been “on tour” for a long time, trying different venues in order to be the “church on the move”.  We want to be in line with His will and being obedient to Him.  Our leadership continues to pray about doing God’s will with our finances and our abilities.

But what about the times when we AREN’T obedient?

Isaiah 30:18 reminds us of what God is made of, even when we are disobedient.

Personally, I can hold a grudge for a long time – just ask my wife!  If someone wrongs me, I can easily stop contact, write them off of my list and cast that person out of my life.  It is a character flaw that I have been working on, really I have!

God is not made of THAT kind of stuff, although God is entitled to feel that ways due to the fact that His sheep can be rebellious, cold hearted and, speaking for myself, darn right out of it at times!

God operates on a higher level than that.

God longs to be gracious to us!

He wants to rise up to show us compassion!

God is a God of justice, wanting to do what is right all of the time.

Can you honestly believe this?  The God of the Universe, Lord of the Starfields, Creator of Heaven and Earth wants to show us compassion.

He certainly doesn’t need to.  He is God and can do what He wants.

But I have realized, over time, that this IS what God wants.

He really WANTS us to wait on Him and for Him.

Waiting on Him with regards to any decision we make.  THIS pleases Him.

As a parent, I love it when one of my children ask for my advice.  When they ask me and I share it with them and we talk it out together, I feel that I am fulfilling one of my roles as their Dad.  I can see why it brings God such joy.  At the end of the day, if I am truly honest with myself, I am most happy when I see my children thriving and happy.  It brings me great delight and allows me to share in their joy.

Is there a major decision coming up for you in the near future?  Have you consulted God fully on it?  Have you waited on Him and His response?  God wants you to trust Him.  To FULLY trust Him in all of your plans, all of your ambitions, all of your hopes.

Trust is one of the main elements in Lent.  We are walking these 40 days knowing that God is doing something about our sin, and is working on our behalf to change the situation.  He does so by giving up His own Son as an act of love for all of us, so that we would listen for His voice.

That we would wait on Him.

That we would trust Him with our lives.

I am sure some of you have been hurt before so badly in your life journey that you have lost the ability to trust.  It is my hope that Lent would be a season of not only returning to God but beginning to take the steps to trust again.  Rebuilding trust does not happen overnight, but takes many many days, months and years. Let’s make Lent a 40 day start of a new journey of trusting Jesus with everything.

It begins with a single step.  May you take that step today as you begin your weekend and know that, as Isaiah 30:18 reminds us, you will be blessed!

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Thursday February 25 – Day 9 – GIVING UP CHOCOLATE

“The Lord is more pleased when we do what is right and just than when we offer him sacrifices.” – Proverbs 21:3 (NLT)

The Book of Proverbs is an amazing read.  Sometimes, it can be a difficult read as well.  The old ways of thinking centred around this truth:  The Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and that wisdom is a godly pursuit. Many of the truths found in this book are timeless and fit no matter what century you live in.  The one truth we are looking at today I believe is important to review as we reflect on Lent.

in the past, I have always thought about the things that I could give up or stop doing during Lent.  In fact, it was so important to me that I would focus on picking the right thing to give up, rather than getting my heart in the right position with God.

In Chapter 21 verse 3,  Solomon shares an important truth: God loves it when we obey His commands and do His will rather than making sacrifices for Him.

I have to admit, in previous Lenten seasons I would give up something like chocolate THINKING that what I was doing was God honouring.  The problem was, I was doing other things that were not in keeping with doing right.  The sacrifice was an empty one.

Today I no longer “give up” something for Lent but instead, do something that is within God’s laws of righteousness and justice.  I try to respond in love to the Gospel the last few years by doing something that will hopefully make a difference, and mention it to no one.  This year, however, I have broken that silence in writing this devotional series.  In fact, I think this series is becoming more about me and less than doing “a good thing”.  I am benefiting from thinking long and hard about what this season is really all about.  I hope though, in spite of this, that the reader IS being encouraged and drawing closer to Jesus through these musings.

My Mum made many sacrifices in her life. The one sacrifice I wish she would have made was to tell her family how bad her circulation really was in her legs near the end of her life.  I wish she would have made the sacrifice of pride to ask for help and to let her family in as she struggled.  She was scared and she kept it in, afraid to worry any of us.  If she had shared more, even if we couldn’t have helped, we could have walked with her though her suffering.  She wouldn’t have been alone.  My mum died in a hospital bed after multiple surgeries trying to fix the issues with her legs.  My children never got to meet their hard working Nana.  If she had done what was right (i.e. see a doctor sooner, share her problems with those she loved) it might have extended her life.  Sadly I will never know.

This is not to say that sacrifices can’t be a good thing.  When we give something up in order to help someone else, and we offer that sacrifice in Jesus’ name, it has the potential to be a great blessing.  However, God would rather see His children doing what they have been called to do from day 1:

Love God.

Hate what is evil.

Honour His commands.

Do right in love.

I grew up in a Lutheran church.  For my catechism when I was a teen, Pastor Dechert gave me this verse from the Book of Psalms and I wondered why he gave me this verse:

“1Blessed is the man
who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,
nor stands in the way of sinners,
    nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
2 but his delight is in the law of the Lord,
    and on his law he meditates day and night.” – Psalm 1:1-2 (RSV)

He must have known with my rock star ways that I would need encouragement to not take the advice of people not walking with Jesus.  He knew that being a musician would cause me to be in various situations that might not be good for me.  He wanted to remind me that God’s law is what I needed to focus on, and to be encouraged to study it in more detail.

These words from the RSV translation are still on my heart and in my mind almost 40 years later.  They mean more to me now than when I first memorized them and regurgitated them during the catechism service.

Because he hoped in me, God’s word means more and more to me each day.  It continues to teach me what is right and just, and that I need to spend more of my energies and focus on His truth.

Jesus was the final sacrifice for all of our sins, and we no longer need to keep making sacrifices.

What God wants from us are hearts that are willing to love Him and do what is right.  He wants this more than giving up chocolate for 40 days.

What we need to do is to mediate on His laws day and night, and as Proverbs 21 says, pleases God when we do.

This Lent, I want to spend more time pleasing God than testing Him.

I want to spend more time mediating on His word rather than focusing on my selfish wants.

I want my children and eventual grandchildren to know that their Dad and Grandfather loved God and at the end of the day, found peace in God’s word.

I want our community to reach out to Jesus in prayer, and to put their trust in the Living Word.

This, is more important than giving up chocolate. May we all deepen our trust in God and keep meditating on His word.  See you tomorrow.

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Wednesday February 24 – Day 8 – WHATEVER IT TAKES

10 Now I have given up everything else—I have found it to be the only way to really know Christ and to experience the mighty power that brought him back to life again, and to find out what it means to suffer and to die with him.  11 So whatever it takes, I will be one who lives in the fresh newness of life of those who are alive from the dead. – Philippians 3:10-11 (TLB)

10-11 I gave up all that inferior stuff so I could know Christ personally, experience his resurrection power, be a partner in his suffering, and go all the way with him to death itself. If there was any way to get in on the resurrection from the dead, I wanted to do it. – Philippians 3:10-11 (MSG)

You know someone is desperate when they use the following three words in a sentence:

Whatever it takes

It could be trying to figure out a problem: Whatever it takes, I am going to figure out why this audio interface is not working!

It could be determination: Whatever it takes, I am going to get that girl to notice me.

It could be honouring a commitment that has soured:  Whatever it takes, I am going to be beside you and walk with you even though you say you don’t love me anymore.

It’s amazing how three words can demonstrate a person’s resilience, resolve and character so clearly.

In our culture it is easier to take the path most traveled and that causes the least amount of pain.  “Whatever it takes” has been transformed into “Whatever I please”.  And herein lies the problem of why so many of us are anxious, afraid and empty:

We will do whatever we please, no matter what

In Paul’s letter to the church in Phillipi, he shares a very interesting point of view.  He has come to the place in his life where he would give up everything in order to know who Jesus is.  Everything else he considers “dog pies” in comparison to knowing Christ.

No doubt in his life he saw much human suffering and sin.  It was only when he saw Jesus that he wanted to forge a new life for himself:  a life filled with sacrifice and great joy as well.

For me, Lent has always been about recognizing Jesus’ suffering on the cross.  It also marks for me the reality that Jesus KNEW His Father’s plan early on and lived in the knowledge that He was going to have to die.  He was going to make the biggest sacrifice anyone can make for another human being.  He lived through this knowledge and still chose this path.  He did so because He loved His Father and would do anything for Him.

Why is it then that the 21st Century church has forgotten about this truth?

Today, it is all about your social media presence online and how your church “presents”.  We are more concerned with getting people in the pews, paying the bills, getting a top notch ministry staff and creating programs to keep people “busy” and “occupied” rather than challenged and encouraged.  We read up on all the latest church trends and best selling church authors’ numerous books in order to find some nugget of truth or strategy that we are missing in terms of growing a church.

But did we at any time embrace the truth that Jesus came so that we would have life, and that there is an entire world who does not have a relationship with Him.  You don’t need fancy theological degrees to embrace the truth:  Jesus didn’t suffer so we could be successful.  Jesus died so that we could live forever.

When news THIS good hits the streets, all you want to do is share it with everyone you know.

One of my favourite web sites is Steve Hoffman’s forum.  Steve is a mastering engineer in California and you might remember that he and Kevin Gray cut my album ROUND to record (vinyl).  On the site, many different people talk about their favourite audiophile gear, their favourite masterings of certain recordings and you can even sell some gear and music through the site as well.  For a long time, it was also my breaking news site.  If any famous musician or celebrity died, I would see it first on the forums.  The whole point of Steve’s site is that when you find a special pressing or piece of equipment that brings sonic joy, you want to share it with others and talk about it.  Others also search out these facts so they can make informed decisions when they buy music.  It was the first time I had heard about the 1964 stereo “tube cut” of the album Beatles for Sale on Parlophone and it changed my life (if these kind of things are your bag, message me and I can give you the details).

When a new restaurant opens in town and it has great food and great prices, you hear via word of mouth and it becomes very difficult to get a table without a reservation.  There was an amazing Greek take out restaurant near our house that was amazing.  Sadly, they could not pay the high utility costs at the time and they had to close. However they were busy every day.  To this day, we have struggled to find a Greek restaurant that can match their prices and great food.

Our role as the church is to share what Jesus has done in our lives in such a way that an entire world takes notice.  That they hear about us via word of mouth.

The world begins to see Jesus, and not our prejudice, our judgement and our opinions.

Whatever it takes, I want the church to share the good news of Jesus with everyone they meet.

We do this by showing kindness to a stranger, by opening a door for someone, for letting someone else in line before us (even though we have been waiting a long time already).

We show this by how we treat others online and the things we post on our social media. Do we talk more about love or more about judging those who don’t agree with us?

We show this by respecting and loving our neighbour, but at the same time, holding the truth of Jesus at the forefront of our lives:  not as a crutch or a weapon but as an invitation.

An invitation to a life that is worth more than anything.

A life that is worth giving up everything for in order to know Jesus.

Today, it is my hope that your heart will resound with these words: “Whatever it takes, I want to be a partner in Jesus’ suffering.  I want to walk with Jesus in His suffering this Lent so that I am completely transformed.  I will give up everything in order to know Him”.

These are difficult words to say, let alone LIVE. But as we live in and try and understand the suffering, we become heirs with Christ.  Heirs!!!  How can this be possible?

It is possible because Jesus loved us:  Whatever it takes, I will do my Father’s will

As we take this season to honour God, we honour what it cost Him for us to have eternal life.

May you have the strength to do the Father’s will today, and may you share God’s love in tangible ways.

******

 

Tuesday February 23 – Day 7 – LET MY LOVE OPEN THE DOOR

“20 Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.” – Revelation 3:20 (NIV)

As a musician, there are certain songs that I play that are an integral part of who I am.  I have loved them for years before as songs that have been part of the soundtrack of my life.  When you love a song so much, you want to learn it to see what makes it “tick”.  For me, one of those songs is “Let My Love Open The Door” by Pete Townshend.  It seems that when I do play that song live, it gets a very good response.  Part of that I believe is because the performer emotes his love of the song and it becomes infectious for the audience.

“Let My Love Open The Door…To Your Heart”

On our pizza nights, when Riley was young, he was so happy to see the pizza delivery guy at the front door that he would give him a hug.  To this day he still loves pizza, but he no longer hugs the delivery guy.

Remember our reality before COVID-19 hit?  If there was a knock at the door, most of us would check and see who was at the door, and then greet the person.  Now during COVID-19, we experience contactless delivery so that when we hear the knock we don’t respond right away.  We then open the door minutes later and see our package at the door, with the delivery person in their truck or already on the road.  The only acceptance we get of our interaction is an email confirming that our parcel has been delivered.  No human interaction.  The delivery person is doing their job and is on their way.

What happened if your Intelcom delivery person ACTUALLY came in the house and joined you for dinner?  What if one of your children gave the person a huge hug because they were happy to see you?  Apart from worrying about social distancing issues, it would be a very unorthodox and unexpected dinner!

In chapter 3 of Revelation, it follows Jesus’ message to the angel of the church in Laodicea.  If you remember, the church was not seen as cold nor hot, and was considered luke-warm.  God reminds us that the WORST thing we can be is lukewarm to Him.  Jesus reminds Laodicea that they are “wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked” and that they are in need of repentance.

Repentance = “Return to Me”

What if, during the pandemic, Jesus was the one knocking on your door, shouting “Here I am!”.

Would we answer the door?

Or would we be afraid to see Him face to face?

Would we feel like the church in Laodecia who had everything they needed to SURVIVE, but didn’t have what the needed to truly LIVE?

Jesus invites us relationally as the Son of God into a lifelong journey of faith. He is willing to make the first move.

All we need to do is open the door.

“Let My Love Open The Door…To Your Heart”

Now when I perform this Pete Townshend song, I can’t help but hear Revelation 3:20 at the same time and smile.

We have a God who loves us so much that He desires a real relationship with us.  He is knocking.

He wishes to dine with us – one of the most intimate functions of trust and honour – to share a meal with someone.  Jesus reminds us that it is a reciprocal relationship:  “I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.”

During this season of Lent, will we accept this invitation to allow Jesus into our homes and into our lives?

Will we ANSWER the door, or will we continue with our lives thinking that we have all that we need?

For me, I want to respond to Jesus the way Riley responded to the pizza delivery man.  I would want to run up and hug Him. I would want to thank Him. I would be honoured that He chose MY door to knock on.

“Let My Love Open The Door…To Your Heart”

May we make more room in our hearts for Jesus this Lenten season, and may we continue to share this invitation with others.  Don’t be afraid to open the door.

Have an amazing Tuesday, church!

******

 

Monday February 22 – Day 6 – WORSHIP THE LORD

“8 Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor.  9 “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.”
10 Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’”
11 Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.” – Matthew 4:8-11 (NIV)

I hate to be cynical, but I truly believe everyone can be bought at a price.

I would LIKE to think that if someone offered me 100 billion dollars for my soul that I would have enough integrity and faith to say, “No thanks, my dance card has been filled already”.  But, if I think of the difference that money could make in the lives of not only my family but in the city and around the world, it might make me hesitate and I would “want to dance”.  Eradicating poverty would be an amazing thing, and if I could bring happiness to those around me, I would want to do that.

I wish I wasn’t a people pleaser, but I am.

The more I think about it, if I was tempted to have all of the greatness of the world while I was starving from not eating for 40 days, I would probably say yes just to get something to eat.

I am reminded of the story of Esau and Jacob, the twin brothers.  Esau, the oldest brother trades his birthright to Jacob for a bowl of soup.

Yes, a bowl of soup.

Esau was famished and Jacob made him trade his birthright because Esau thought he was dying of starvation.

What a drama king!

Esau’s birthright had a price: a bowl of pottage, because as Esau said to himself, “What is the use of a birthright if I am going to die anyway?”.

This begs each of us to ask ourselves this question:  What price can I be bought with?  Do I have a bottom line for my soul?”.

Jesus reminds us that we should hold out for the best offer no matter how sweet an alternate deal may seem.  His bottom line with the evil one was simple and straightforward:

““Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’”

Jesus KNEW His Father.  Not only did He know His Father, He LOVED His Father.  And because He loved Him, Jesus obeyed his Father’s will no mater what.

We see Jesus make clear that the evil one’s offer is an insult by the tone of His response.  And, as we have seen in the two other temptations in Matthew 4,  Jesus uses the Word of God as a shield.

‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’”

When Jesus was tempted, He also knew that the offer wasn’t completely legitimate.  Sure, the evil one could have given Jesus power, but that was never going to happen.  The evil one knew the value of Jesus and was willing to try using Jacob’s approach with Esau: make a terrible deal that would cheat the one being tempted. Although the evil one knew Jesus’ value, he was not valued.

You are valued by God.

The value of your life is immeasurable.  Do you realize how much God values you?  How He sees you?  God has gone to such great lengths to capture your attention, to give you a life with purpose and significance.  You have been called to a greater story than you could ever imagine.

You don’t wanna be trading THIS for a lousy bowl of soup.

There are days when we can feel unworthy of God’s love.  There are days that we would accept the lousy deal because that is all we feel that we are worth.

Jesus reminded the evil one that we are to Worship God and to serve Him only.  THIS is the beginning of a life filled with purpose and meaning.  To be a part of the greatest story in the universe.

Because we are valued by God, we are of value to Him.

When we value God, we honour Him and amazing things happen.

Never forget that through the act of worship, we are drawn closer to God and blessing upon blessing flows into our world.  Lives are changed.  Lovers of Jesus serve those around them making their lives better because He first served us.

During the season of Lent, find time to worship God in the way that makes your heart sing.  For me, I wish I could be leading us all in worship in the same room, with the presence of the Holy Spirit moving among us.  But for now, leading worship online, singing at home and writing new worship songs have been the ways that I have worshipped.  For some of you, it may be walking the winter wilderness and seeing the greatness of God in nature.  Take the time to worship God and to serve Him, and your faith will deepen and grow.

Glorify Him, and see your life shine like diamonds in the night.

You are loved and you are valued by God.  Continue to live this life that is worthy of Him.

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Sunday February 21 – Day 5 – Prayer for the First Sunday in Lent

Heavenly Father,

At the official start of this new week, we return to You.

We return to Our First Love, Jesus, who made the ultimate sacrifice for us, at just the right time in history.

We thank You for your Son, and His gift of everlasting life.

We are hungry for You.

We have been in the wilderness, thanks to COVID-19, and our worlds have been turned upside down.

May Your word be imprinted on our hearts during this new week, that we would have the strength and courage to meet all of the challenges we will face.

May we honour the widow and the orphan, the single Dad and the child who has no one to trust in anymore.

May we honour our city and those who live in it. May we be committed to a world that does not know You, or want to know You, and yet are struggling without You.

May we delight in You, not test You.

May You delight in us, oh Lord!

May we offer up every thought, every idea, every creative expression to You, Lord.

Holy Spirit, move among us and show us the things we need to see. Move our hearts closer and closer to Jesus.

We are Your children. Move in us and make us whole as we journey through this season of Lent.

May we rest in Your love.

In Jesus’ beautiful name, we pray, Amen.

See you tomorrow, church! 🙂

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