EVEN WHEN IT HURTS (Lent Day #7)

By Pastor Cole Maxwell
Scripture Reading: Habakkuk 3:17-18
 
Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior.” Habakkuk 3:17-18
 
One of the hardest things to do as a Christian is to sing praise in the midst of adversity or trials. It seems backwards to our human nature. So much of the time, our response is not praise but instead silence or questioning.
 
The title of this devotional is also the title of one of my favorite worship songs. It talks about how our response to everything should be praise to God. Whether we have much or whether we have little, we owe praise to Him. Why is it so important to praise God in the midst of things in our lives that are not going the way we want them to? Because life is full of constant ups and downs. Trials are going to come in life, but it is how we respond, and whether or not we choose to let God be with us in those trials, that matters.
 
Next time you are experiencing a hurt or trial in your life, remember that God is there with you. He is not only a God of the good times, or even the bad times; He is the God of all seasons.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



PRAYER (Lent Day No. 7)

By Pastor David Leeder
Scripture Reading: Acts 1:12-14
 
“They all joined together constantly in prayer, along with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers.” Acts 1:14 (NIV)
 
After the ascension of Jesus, the disciples were alone in the upper room, waiting for the fulfillment of the promise of the Holy Spirit. As they waited for His coming, there was a certain amount of fear and uncertainty. They probably shared together their reservations and fear, but the most positive thing they did was spend time, consistent time, in prayer. “They all joined together constantly in prayer…” Acts 1:14.
 
Prayer is one of the most positive things you can do to counteract the negativity that comes into situations and spoils your joy and anticipation of all that God has promised you. Lent is a season of preparation as we wait for the fulfillment of the promises of God. Sometimes, as we wait, doubt and fear can creep in. As a result, we get despondent and discouraged. This is the time to pray.
 
Prayer routes the enemy and promotes faith. Prayer gives you the strength to stand upon the promises of God and to believe them. Prayer assures you not only that God can, but that God will. It is time for us to pray!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



FOLLOW THE GUIDE (Lent Day No. 6)

By Pastor S. Zurcher
Scripture Reading: Proverbs 3:5-6

“Is anything too hard for the Lord?”  Genesis 18:14a (NIV)

My wife and I love nature. When we were offered the opportunity to go white water rafting, we jumped at the chance.
 
After a 30-minute safety presentation, we set off. Our guide was in the back; paddle in hand, helmet drawn tight, screaming instructions. All we knew was that the rapids were fast, scary, and crazy fun. But he knew every rapid, every current, every undercurrent, and it seemed like every rock along the miles of river. He knew which ways were safe and which banks would push the raft over.
 
Above all things —the waves, the laughing, the screaming — we had to listen to His voice and respond immediately to what He said.
 
At the end of our adventure, I was reminded of Proverbs 3:5-6 — trust in the Lord, do not lean on what you know, pay attention to God and He will direct you.
 
So often, we have no idea what life has for us. But God knows  every trial we will face, every hurt we will feel, and every road we will walk. He also knows just how to get us through it. He knows which current leads to more pain, which bank is safe to rest on, and which direction to take at the split. Not only can He lead us through it, He can give us the time of our life as we follow Him. 
 
God is strong, wise, seasoned, and able. Follow the Guide. He’s got you. You can trust Him.


HOPE THROUGH THE STORM (LENT DAY #5)

By Pastor Trevor Young
Scripture Reading: Genesis 9:12-16
 
“Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth.”  Genesis 9:16 (NIV)
 
It can be difficult to see God in the tough times. The storms come, and we find ourselves wondering why this is happening.           Sometimes difficult times are self-inflicted, the consequence of bad decisions or even sin in our lives. Some storms come from other people as their poor choices impact us. 
 
Many times, we don’t know why we are experiencing trouble, and we may even begin to question where God is, or if He is angry with us.
 
But just like the storms Noah and his family faced on the ark, we know they will not last. The sun will break through the clouds, and God will once again prove His faithfulness. God will remember His promises. The question for us is, in the midst of the storm, will we remember?

 



YOU ARE HOLY (Lent Day #4)

By Pastor S. Zurcher
Scripture Reading: 1 Corinthians 6:19-20
 
“Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit …?” 1 Corinthians 6:19 (NASB)
 
We give respect and reverence to the church building, more so than any other place. But is the church really God’s holy place?
 
Jesus flipped the script on what was truly considered holy. At His death, the curtain of the temple that separated the most holy place from all of God’s people was torn apart, and God’s Spirit was unleashed. God is no longer just near His people, His Spirit is now living in every person who calls Jesus Lord. And all this was done just as Jesus told His disciples, shortly before His death.
 
So what is holy now? You are! If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that He rose from the dead, God’s Spirit is planted firmly inside of you. He is there to teach you, guide you, love you, and lead you to love others.
 
God’s holy place is no longer a building, but you! What a humbling and exciting thought — that God would humble himself and become a  baby; die the death that should have been mine; adopt me as an heir; and give me a place in bringing His Kingdom to Earth! And now He leaves the glory of His temple to make my heart His home.
 
Suddenly, sin is no longer just sin — against flesh — because our physical bodies are God’s most holy place. The church is just a     building to gather in, but we are holy and sacred.

 

 



SHOW AND TELL (Lent Day #3)

By Pastor Shane Guldi
Scripture Reading: Psalm 25:4-10
 
“He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them his way.”  Psalm 25:9 (NIV)
 
The other day I was thinking about my dad. I wish everyone could have had a dad like mine.
 
He showed me a lot of stuff, like how to throw a ball, how to hunt, and how to change a flat – important boy stuff. He also taught me kindness, how to use common sense, how to love people, and how to be there for your family. He was always there for me.
 
I know dad tried to tell me things, but most of what I  remember are the things he showed  me. He was a great example.
 
In Psalms 4:4, David asks God to show and tell. He says,  “Show me your ways, Lord, teach me your paths.” David asks for quality time with God.
 
Maybe you can picture yourself sitting with God, your heavenly Father, talking with Him. Maybe you have a crisis in your life and you need guidance. Maybe you need to know what to do with a situation at home, work or school. Ask God to show Himself to you. Ask Him to teach you His ways.
 
 Psalm 25:9 says that God will be faithful to do it: “He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them His way.” Take time today to sit and humble yourself before your Creator. Pray and ask Him to show you His way.

 

 

 



RESCUE (Lent Day #2)

By Pastor Liz Robinson
Scripture Reading: Psalm 123:2

“Behold, as the eyes of servants look to the hand of their master, as the eyes of a maid to the hand of her mistress, so our eyes look to the Lord our God, till he have mercy upon us.” Psalm 123:2 (RSV)

We have a dog, Smash, with only three legs. He is a rescue, having been used as a bait dog in fights, and came to us with various injuries.
 
As those of you who are dog lovers know, dogs can appear to     embody human attributes or feelings. If I were to describe Smash in one word, it would be “grateful.”
 
He is my shadow. When I sit, he stares at me, motionless, waiting for my next move. Smash’s behavior, while at times disconcerting, often reminds me of Psalm 123:2, “Behold, as the eyes of servants look to the hand of their master, as the eyes of a maid to the hand of her mistress, so our eyes look to the Lord our God, till he have mercy upon us.”
 
I, too, am a wounded rescue.  As such, is gratitude the hallmark of my attitude toward my Rescuer? When He stops, do I fix my eyes on Him, awaiting the next move? Do I look to Him till He has mercy on me?

 



PREPARATION (Lent Day #1)

By Pastor David Leeder

Scripture Reading: Acts 1:1-8

Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about.” Acts 1:4b (NIV)

The period of Lent is like a journey where many spiritual experiences can be had that draw us closer to the Lord. The journey eventually leads us to the cross and the empty tomb. As we celebrate the death and resurrection of our Lord, He meets with us and shares the lessons He desires us to learn.
 
For me personally, the journey experienced through this Lenten season is a preparation for what God is wanting to show me. Sometimes that preparation is one of patience. We must learn to wait on God as He reveals Himself to us.
 
Another lesson is one of surrender, being willing and open to learn all that God has for us. And yet another preparation is that of obedience, allowing God to direct our steps and our obedience in following Him wherever He leads.
 
You see, this preparation was experienced by those who waited in the upper room. The cross and the resurrection of Jesus had passed, and the ascension was ahead of them. Jesus had said that He was going away, but they needed to wait in surrender and obedience. The next step God was going to reveal to them was the coming of the Holy Spirit.
 
I challenge you to use this special season to allow God to prepare your heart for all that is to follow. He has so much to teach us, if only we will wait on Him.

 



Day 23: When God Drew Near

Scripture Reading: Matthew 1:18-25
“Immanuel– which means, ‘God with us'” (verse 23).
 
A few days ago we began this series of devotionals together. Since then, we have walked a journey and anticipated the joy of this season of the year. Advent, which means ‘coming’ has prepared us for this day and now we celebrate. It is Christmas, yes, it is finally here!
 
Two thousand years ago God drew near in the form of a tiny baby. He was placed in a manger, entering our world, taking on our humanity in order that we might experience the wonder of God’s love.
 
Whenever God draws near something dynamic happens. For Mary and Joseph it was the wonder of the moment, the fulfillment of a joy long anticipated. For lonely shepherds, the despised of society, it was the feeling of hope as they realized they had touched the sacred. For the wise men it was the end of a journey and an opportunity to worship. God impacted their world just as He longs to impact us  today.
 
As we celebrated this day, God is drawing near to bless you and guide you, to comfort you and help you, to speak to you and to listen. God is drawing near to remind you He is with you no matter the circumstances you find yourself in today. God has drawn near in the person of His Son and long after our celebrations are done. The trimming put away and Christmas is forgotten, He will still be near to you for He said, “I am with you always…” Matthew 28:20
 
God is with us!

 



Day 23: When God Drew Near

Scripture Reading: Matthew 1:18-25
“Immanuel– which means, “God with us” (verse 23).
 
A few days ago we began this series of devotionals together. Since then, we have walked a journey and anticipated the joy of this season of the year. Advent, which means ‘coming’ has prepared us for this day and now we celebrate. It is Christmas, yes, it is finally here!
 
Two thousand years ago God drew near in the form of a tiny baby. He was placed in a manger, entering our world, taking on our humanity in order that we might experience the wonder of God’s love.
 
Whenever God draws near something dynamic happens. For Mary and Joseph it was the wonder of the moment, the fulfillment of a joy long anticipated. For lonely shepherds, the despised of society, it was the feeling of hope as they realized they had touched the sacred. For the wise men it was the end of a journey and an opportunity to worship. God impacted their world just as He longs to impact us  today.
 
As we celebrated this day, God is drawing near to bless you and guide you, to comfort you and help you, to speak to you and to listen. God is drawing near to remind you He is with you no matter the circumstances you find yourself in today. God has drawn near in the person of His Son and long after our celebrations are done. The trimming put away and Christmas is forgotten, He will still be near to you for He said, “I am with you always…” Matthew 28:20

God is with us!