February 2013


Feb. 28 – Thursday                                         Read Romans 10:8b-13

“The word is near you, on your lips and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); because if you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For one believes with the heart and so is justified, and one confesses with the mouth and so is saved. The scripture says, “No one who believes in him will be put to shame.”

For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; the same Lord is Lord of all and is generous to all who call on him. For, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

 

from Daniel Harry, Community Christian Church, Beech Bottom

            You can talk the talk but can you walk the walk?

In Romans 10 Paul turns this popular saying on its head. It’s not enough to believe with one’s heart, one must confess with one’s lips. During Lent, our thoughts turn to repentance and service to God. Belief leads to action. Service is important but others need to know why we serve. In the Chinese practice of Feng Shui, one’s actions are guided by one’s intentions. Paul tells us our actions should be guided by our belief in Jesus, but we also need to tell others about our belief. We are good at “doing” but less so at “telling.” Good deeds may benefit others; they only benefit us when we confess that we do them in the name of Jesus.  In this season of repentance, we need to turn from just walking the walk to also talking the talk.

Open our lips, O Lord,

and our mouths shall pour forth your praise!

 

Prayerscapes for Lent is presented by the Order of Ministry of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in West Virginia.  ©2013.  All rights reserved.  Duplication and distribution for profit is not permitted.

Feb. 27 – Wednesday                                              Read Isaiah 55:1-5

Ho, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and you that have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy? Listen carefully to me, and eat what is good, and delight yourselves in rich food. Incline your ear, and come to me; listen, so that you may live. I will make with you an everlasting covenant, my steadfast, sure love for David. See, I made him a witness to the peoples, a leader and commander for the peoples. See, you shall call nations that you do not know, and nations that do not know you shall run to you, because of the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel, for he has glorified you.

 

from Aaron Watkins, First Christian Church, Bluefield

            I have often wondered that if I were to carry a pen and a piece of paper around me for one day from the moment I woke up to the second my head hit the pillow that night, how many sins would I have committed against God? I would hope the tallies would be few, but usually they are not. It’s an uncomfortable thought for me.

It is said that the lack of water in this passage from Isaiah is in fact an image of God withholding blessings from us when we do sin. Does God withhold his blessings from us when we sin? Sin is the act of being separate from God. At least that is my understanding of this biblical concept.

How often on a daily basis do we find ourselves separate from God? Ask yourself that question. It happens more often than we like to admit. The thing is it’s just as easy to come back to God when we are distant in hearts and minds. Believe me He welcomes us every time. He welcomes us because God has made an everlasting covenant with us and will keep that promise. When we put our faith in Him, we too make a covenant. We make a promise to hold God in our hearts every day. This Lenten season, let us examine our inner lives.  Let us examine who we are in relationship to God and to each other. Let us dig down deep into our spiritual well and drink that spiritual water we know to be God.

Thank you for your gracious forgiveness, Lord,

which springs up in our world and in my life.

 

Prayerscapes for Lent is presented by the Order of Ministry of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in West Virginia.  ©2013.  All rights reserved.  Duplication and distribution for profit is not permitted.

Feb. 26 – Tuesday                                                  Read 1 John 3:1-3

See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God; and that is what we are. The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God’s children now; what we will be has not yet been revealed. What we do know is this: when he is revealed, we will be like him, for we will see him as he is. And all who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure.

 

from Jamie Gump, Madison Avenue Christian Church, Huntington

            We could read this passage and feel comforted that we are children of God, basking in the love and care of a divine parent, and that when Christ returns we will be like him.  That is well and good and wonderful, yet we’d be negligent if we missed the challenge here. It says that the world doesn’t know us – doesn’t understand this comfort and hope that is in us. That the world does not understand our joy, that the world does not know God through Christ, is on us. Those of us who accept this incredible position as children of God have the responsibility to “purify ourselves” – to make ourselves over by following the teachings and example of Jesus.  Our lives are to be the invitation to others to become part of the family and meet our Loving God. So, how many invitations are being answered as a result of your life?

Lord, strengthen our focus as we try to live Christ-like lives

so that others may come to know you.

Prayerscapes for Lent is presented by the Order of Ministry of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in West Virginia.  ©2013.  All rights reserved.  Duplication and distribution for profit is not permitted.

Feb. 25 – Monday                                                   Read 1 John 1:5-9

This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light and in him there is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with him while we are walking in darkness, we lie and do not do what is true; but if we walk in the light as he himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.

If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he who is faithful and just will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

 

from William Pollack, First Christian Church, Princeton

            How different things appear in the dark. Everyday objects take on shapes that are ominous, eerie and downright spooky! Hitchhikers by the roadside at night become simple signposts lavished with ivy in the daylight. And so, I prefer the light. I like seeing where I am going. I feel safer driving winter roads in the daylight. There was a time I enjoyed the security of the dark. Then, the true Light came to me and offered me a different way to live.  He offered the warmth of His love and a promise to forgive if only I would ask. Admitting my sin allowed me to experience renewal in my life; and I revel in the warmth His light provides. How different things were in the dark. I could have remained there. But, it is not where I belong. Thanks to God, because of His grace and love, I still prefer the Light.

O Lord, You are light. Help us to walk in the light and come to know your love, grace and forgiveness as we continue our Lenten  journey with you, in the name of Jesus the Christ we pray.

 

Prayerscapes for Lent is presented by the Order of Ministry of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in West Virginia.  ©2013.  All rights reserved.  Duplication and distribution for profit is not permitted.

Feb. 24: Second Sunday in Lent                        Read Luke 13:31-35

At that very hour some Pharisees came and said to him, “Get away from here, for Herod wants to kill you.” He said to them, “Go and tell that fox for me, ‘Listen, I am casting out demons and performing cures today and tomorrow, and on the third day I finish my work. Yet today, tomorrow, and the next day I must be on my way, because it is impossible for a prophet to be killed outside of Jerusalem.’ Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often have I desired to gather your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing! See, your house is left to you. And I tell you, you will not see me until the time comes when you say, ‘Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord.'”

 

from Jayne L. Chafin, First Christian Church, Ravenswood  

            The warning given to Jesus becomes a warning to Herod and all who would hear the words of Jesus.  Jesus lets us know that despite the threats around him, he will continue on. “Today and tomorrow I will be about my work.  On the third day I finish my work.  And even while that is happening, today, tomorrow and the next day I must be on my way.”  In other words, the work of Jesus, the work of the church goes on.  Our work goes on.  Despite the danger, despite the inconvenience, despite the interruptions, the work continues.  And the work is always on the move.  We are always following along, always trying to keep up with the leading of Christ in the world.  And while we may not see him now, we will indeed see him when we are able to cry in abundant joy, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.”

When we are tempted only to follow when the path is easy,

call to our memory, O God, the journey of Christ’s faithfulness.

 

Prayerscapes for Lent is presented by the Order of Ministry of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in West Virginia.  ©2013.  All rights reserved.  Duplication and distribution for profit is not permitted.

Feb. 23 – Saturday                                   Read Philippians 3:17 – 4:1

Brothers and sisters, join in imitating me, and observe those who live according to the example you have in us. For many live as enemies of the cross of Christ; I have often told you of them, and now I tell you even with tears. Their end is destruction; their god is the belly; and their glory is in their shame; their minds are set on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven, and it is from there that we are expecting a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. He will transform the body of our humiliation that it may be conformed to the body of his glory, by the power that also enables him to make all things subject to himself.

Therefore, my brothers and sisters, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm in the Lord in this way, my beloved.

 

from Rodney Hubbs, First Christian Church, McMechen  

            Have you ever heard the saying, “Sunday morning Christians, every day devils?”   My wife’s grandfather used to say that all the time.  After reading this passage of scripture, it reminded me of this saying.

As I am writing this devotion we are preparing  to celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior.  I cannot understand how anyone who has ever read the story of Jesus can go worship him on Sunday morning and then live their lives so that people don’t know they are Christians.  I preach this all the time.  My question to my parishioners is, will they know you are a Christian by the way you act the other six days of the week?

It would be so easy to let yourselves, as they say, go and live your life as a non-Christian.   God never promised that being a Christian would be easy, but that He would be with us in all our times of trouble.

We need to stand out all seven days as Christians, so that no one will ever be able to say about us, “Sunday Morning Christians, everyday devils.”

As Paul encouraged the Philippians to stand firm in believing in our Savior, so should we encourage each other to live our lives as Christians and people will know that we are Christians by our actions.

All loving Father, we ask you to strengthen us

so that we can live our lives according to your will. 

 

Prayerscapes for Lent is presented by the Order of Ministry of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in West Virginia.  ©2013.  All rights reserved.  Duplication and distribution for profit is not permitted.

Feb. 22 – Friday                                                           Read Psalm 27

The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? When evildoers assail me to devour my flesh– my adversaries and foes– they shall stumble and fall. Though an army encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; though war rise up against me, yet I will be confident. One thing I asked of the LORD, that will I seek after: to live in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to inquire in his temple. For he will hide me in his shelter in the day of trouble; he will conceal me under the cover of his tent; he will set me high on a rock. Now my head is lifted up above my enemies all around me, and I will offer in his tent sacrifices with shouts of joy; I will sing and make melody to the LORD.

Hear, O LORD, when I cry aloud, be gracious to me and answer me! “Come,” my heart says, “seek his face!” Your face, LORD, do I seek. Do not hide your face from me. Do not turn your servant away in anger, you who have been my help. Do not cast me off, do not forsake me, O God of my salvation! If my father and mother forsake me, the LORD will take me up. Teach me your way, O LORD, and lead me on a level path because of my enemies. Do not give me up to the will of my adversaries, for false witnesses have risen against me, and they are breathing out violence. I believe that I shall see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the LORD!

 

from Janice Hill, First Christian Church, Parkersburg

            Wow, God.  I can really count on you!  When things are going badly, when it seems like everyone is against me, you protect me.  No matter the externals, inside I am calm.  In a world that has so many things going wrong, it’s wonderful that I don’t have to be at the mercy of things I have no control over.  And to know that I have this confidence in you in spite of my failings.  All I want to do is be with you – and you have given me assurance I can do just that.

God, you’re all I need.  Thank you, God, thank you.

 

Prayerscapes for Lent is presented by the Order of Ministry of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in West Virginia.  ©2013.  All rights reserved.  Duplication and distribution for profit is not permitted.

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