Tuesday, Feb. 20

Read Romans 5.12-19

From Paula Krauss

Sayre, PA Sayre Christian Church

I am reminded of the Temptation Marshmallow Test YouTube Video. Children are placed in a room with a single marshmallow on a plate and told they can eat it now or wait until the adult returns and they can have two marshmallows. This is a humorous three-minute video with various young children squirming in their seats weighing the temptation of instant gratification against the promise of a reward if they can wait.

Our lives can be like that – through our births we have been placed on Adam’s path which leads to death. Christ, however, offers the gift of righteousness and eternal life.

All that is required of us is to switch paths, follow Christ. Resist the temptations and instant gratification of sin and wait for Christ’s return.

One marshmallow now, or two later.

 

Holy and generous God, you place us on a road with two choices:

do we choose you or the world?

Guide us to your path and strengthen our resolve against the temptations of the worldly way. This we pray in Jesus name. Amen.

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Monday, Feb. 19

Read Psalm 25:1-10

From Doug Shoaff

Wheeling, WV

Can we trust God? Within the Lenten journey—from Ash Wednesday to Easter Morn–are events that without a doubt say, “YES!” We can trust God because our lives and experiences are grounded in the spiritual reality that “God is Good, All the Time.” Whether we walk in the green pastures and quiet waters, or travel through the dark valley, He is good, and He is God, and He is there.

He is God! Therefore, he is all powerful and knows nothing that is impossible for him to do—except to do evil! There is no power upon the earth or in the heavens that he is not LORD over. Nothing we ask of him is too difficult!

He is GOOD! He is not capable of evil. We can trust him. We know where evil comes from, and we know that God is always good. Therefore, we journey this life knowing he will work out all things for GOOD for those who love him and are called according to his purpose.

We may not see this good as it unfolds, but this lack of knowledge is to build faith in the power and goodness of our Father.

Remember the words of David: “Good and upright is the LORD…all the ways of the LORD are loving and faithful toward those who keep the demands of his covenant” (Psalm 25:8, 10). His command to love is demonstrated by the cross. We keep this covenant as we love. His “Godness” is demonstrated in the empty tomb. The power of his resurrection is lived out in our lives!

 

Lord of power and goodness, give us the faith to trust you because of what you did and what you are doing. Amen.

First Sunday in Lent, Feb. 18

Read Mark 1:9-15

From Marsha Brown Woodard

St. David’s PA, Palmer Theological Seminary

Life is full of ordinary days, where on the face of it nothing unusual has happened. In the passage for today verse nine begins with, “in those days, Jesus came”. It is direct and to the point, Mark brings Jesus on the scene without any angels, shepherds or wise men, simply with an almost offhand comment, in those days. We live in a society that often focuses on the glitter, the bright lights and drama, and we can be seduced to follow suit, but this passage reminds us that on an ordinary day we can encounter God. I imagine that it may not have been his first time to hear John preach, but without an entourage, Jesus simply shows us and is baptized. And that ordinary day became extraordinary. God showed up and said “this is my son in whom I am well pleased.”

Lent is the season to remind us that in the ordinariness of life we can have amazing and life changing experiences, that lead us to encounter God and being reminded that we are indeed his sons and daughters with whom He is well pleased.

 

Help us to set these days apart, O God,

for your glory and for our good. Amen.

Saturday, Feb. 17

Read 1 Peter 3:18-22

From Kevin Bowers

Weirton, WV First Christian Church

The words: “Christ suffered for our sins” haunts me.  This verse reminds me that there is a great love and grace that comes in Christ.  That love and grace was paid with a price – one which I can never repay, but which I will forever be grateful.

In this Lenten season I have so many reasons to give thanks, and his is at the very top.  As those who know and have received this grace – we must let the world know about it as well.  That God so loved the world that God gave God’s one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him, will not perish, but have ever lasting life.

Thank you for loving us.  Amen

Friday, Feb. 16

Read Genesis 9:8-17

From William Flewelling

Proctor, WV

In the heavens beauty beckons

as the sun arraigns the rain.

There, the bow in splendor arches

circling the wide earth below.

Then remembrance floods the moment,

love divine, compassion reigns

to attain the sacred story,

God’s eternal covenant.

 

As with Noah in the freshness,

once the Ark had settled still,

now the fresh compassion hurries

to complete the promise forged.

In the time of lean perversion,

in the hour of dismal turns,

yet remembering the promise

God arrays the rainbow arch.

 

Now, in this compassion-meadow,

as we satisfy thy call,

come into remembrance ever,

Lord, the lure to honor love.

For in your love we answer hope,

and by your love do we rise,

rise into compassion’s fullness

to abide thy buoyant care.

 

(Hymn Meter: 8.7.8.7.D        Suggested tune: Austria)

Thursday, Feb. 15

Read Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21

From Shawn Van Dyke

Schuylkill Haven, PA First United Church of Christ

Jesus doesn’t seem a likely advocate for secrecy.  Yet in the middle of the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus launched into extended instruction about secrecy.  “When you give, do so in secret; when you pray, pray in secret; when you fast, fast in secret.”

During Lent, church tradition encourages us to add spiritual disciplines like giving, praying, and fasting. The intent of these disciplines is to imitate Christ who prayed and fasted regularly to know God’s will.  This is the reason Jesus encourages us to practice secrecy in our spiritual discipline: we give, pray and fast not to impress others but to please God.  When God sees our efforts, we will be rewarded with a fulfilling relationship with God.

 

Giving God, teach us to put aside earthly treasures

 of possessions, profit and power, so we may receive the reward of unity with You, our ultimate treasure.  Amen.

Ash Wednesday, Feb. 14

Read Joel 2.1-2, 12-17

From Thaddaeus B. Allen

Regional Minister

God calls us to return with “all your heart,” and to “Return to the Lord, your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love.”   The good news, Brothers and Sisters, is that we are being called together afresh this Lent.  Lent can be a very powerful time of renewal for the faithful.  A solemn assembly of God’s very own (infants, youth and those who have the Gift of Years) is called into being.  Thus, holy Lent is a time of great gathering of Christ’s Church.  The body of Christ is being consecrated again in the great anticipation of God’s grace and forgiveness.  We are not just being called into a private time of reflection and examination, although this is never to be underestimated; but we must be mindful that the community of the baptized is being called collectively to turn to God and to avail ourselves of all that God wants us to have and to experience.

Even in the midst of a world that too often times makes no sense. our God calls us home to grace, mercy, halted anger, and abundant steadfast love.  Together we are called towards God in these important and life giving holy days.  Let us go together.

 

May we return to you Dear God with loving and trusting hearts.  

May we be made one and share this gift