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Wednesday, February 10

Lenten Devotional

Ash Wednesday

Pastor Nancy Eckardt

Lent is upon us. It begins with Ash Wednesday, 40 days before Easter. Lent invites us to extended times of fasting, prayer, and service. 40 days is significant in that it reminds us of the years that the Israelites wandered in the wilderness, and the days that Jesus isolated Himself in the wilderness, where He was tempted by Satan.

The goal of Lent is not change things that we are doing or not doing now. It is not to recommit to the new year’s resolutions that have fallen by the wayside in the last few weeks. Rather it is a way of stripping away the things that distract us from following Jesus wholeheartedly.

This devotional will give you prompts to begin a conversation with God, which is really what prayer is. Throughout the Lenten season our sermon series will draw us into ways that we can serve by giving of ourselves and our resources for God’s work in the community. It will invite you to fast, to abstain from something that gives you satisfaction in order to find your satisfaction more deeply in Christ, and as we approach Easter, to enter into His suffering in this small way. It could be soda, Facebook, video games, or complaining. We each have those things that draw our attention away from the transforming work that God desires to do in our lives.

What came to mind as you read that last paragraph?  What steps do you need to take in order to set aside the things that distract? Who can you ask to hold you accountable?

In this devotional we will cover the themes heard in the sermon on Sundays, with an eye toward Christ and His journey to the cross. I invite you to take a few minutes daily to read the scripture and to carry a question throughout the day, if you don’t have time to sit and journal. If you miss a few days, don’t give up; rather, pick up with the current date and move forward. Know that as you move toward Christ, he is moving even more intently toward you.

Blessings,

Pastor Nancy Eckardt
Spiritual Formation & Small Groups


Thursday, February 11

Matthew 4:1-11

The Temptation of Christ
Right after Jesus was baptized and was called Beloved by God, He was ushered into the wilderness. It was only after 40 days of no food, when He was famished, that the tempter came to Him.

1. What do you think Jesus did during those 40 days of solitude? What would you do with 40 days of being alone?
2. When have you found yourself kicked when you were already feeling weak? What caused the weakness?
3. What would you say are your areas of vulnerability right now?
4. Journal a prayer, lifting up those places of vulnerability and weakness, and asking Jesus to fill you with His presence and protect you from the temptation of Satan.


Friday, February 12

Matthew 4:1-11

Satan tempted Jesus in three ways – to use His power to indulge His own needs and wants; to squander His power by testing God frivolously; and to trade His God-sourced power for earthly dominion.

1. What would you say was the purpose of the power that Christ had?
2. When have you found yourself led astray by your desire for power?
3. When have you been impacted by another’s desire for power?
4. Journal a prayer, lifting up to God the role that power plays in decisions you make, and ask Him to show you a way that you can use the power you have in a way that honors Him.

 

Saturday, February 13

Matthew 4:1-11

Jesus responded to each temptation with scripture, even when Satan used scripture. When tempted, it would seem that the Word of God was His first defense.

1. What do you appeal to when you are resisting temptation?
2. What role does scripture play in your ability to overcome temptation in your life? Why?
3. What would it take for you to follow Jesus’ example of invoking the power of scripture to overcome the power of temptations?
4. Write a prayer, thanking God for what scripture means to you, and asking that He reveal Himself more and more to you as you make scripture-reading a part of your practice.  

 

Sunday, February 14

Authenticity & Humility

Today, in our Better Body series, we consider the role of authenticity and humility in the development of the body of Christ. To be authentic is to not pretend to be anyone one but your true self. To be humble is to cultivate and maintain an honest sense of who you are. These character qualities are refined in through being attentive to God in our life alone, our life with those closest to us, and our life in the world. It takes a circumspection that can only occur when we feel safe and protected from those who, unwilling to move toward authenticity and humility themselves, would stomp down any growth they see in you, before it has the chance to live on its own.

As the body of the Christ, we are most effective when each member knows their true self and knows their worth. And so we are each called to develop authenticity and humility in ourselves, but also create space for those around us to develop and unfold. This takes time in our relationships with one another.

This week we will follow Moses on his journey toward authenticity and humility. He was not born or raised with it, nor did he have it when God first called him to return and help deliver the Hebrews. But along the way, there were things he did that kept him in fight to become his true self and to maintain an honest sense of who he was. May we all take a few steps down on our journey this week.


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