Daily Lent Devotional #1 (March 9, 2011)

Starting today (Ash Wednesday), I will be including a Daily Devotional here to help anyone who desires to grow in their Christian faith during Lent.  My prayer is that this will be a tool to help you encounter and love Jesus more during this Easter Season!

Matthew 16: 21-25

21 From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.

22 Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. “Never, Lord!” he said. “This shall never happen to you!”

23 Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.”

24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 25 For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it.”


We’ll likely revisit this theme in many ways during the Lent Season, but I can view no other way to begin this devotional plan.  Jesus’ call to discipleship is a call of abandonment.  He purposely and directly lays it before me:  My way or His Way.  My self-focused view on things routinely shrouds my ability to catch God’s vision for my life, as well as for those around me.  There must be a laying down of our pride and plans to the submission of His Plans.  I have heard of some referring to “Submission” and “Sacrifice” as spiritual disciplines (like Prayer, Study, Worship, Fasting, etc.).  It seems apparent that the better we get at those things, the closer we get to Jesus.  Peter wanted Jesus to deny his cross.  We want to deny our own.  Because He accepted His, I can accept mine.

My challenge for this Lent Season is to fast from all “Fast Food” that I would purchase for myself.  This is a burden that is mine and need not be anybody else’s, and I will willingly eat/fellowship with others at restaurants.  This simply involves removing a temptation of the “quick fix” as a meal for myself.  I get lazy and self-indulgent (easily-acquired habits for a bachelor); choosing a quick meal rather than the sacrifice of time and energy to prepare one.  Using Biblical fasting guidelines (particularly Isaiah 58), I have chosen to save money from eating out and to donate that amount during Lent towards the “Philippine Street Children Fund” through International Child Care Ministries (our Free Methodist global child care ministry).  You can learn more about it and other “special projects” here:  http://www.childcareministries.org/give/special_funds.php

I’ll close today’s devotional with a quote from Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a German pastor and writer who ultimately was executed for resisting the Nazis during World War II.  May his call to follow Jesus stir and challenge you today:

“The cross is laid on every Christian. The first Christ-suffering which every man must experience is the call to abandon the attachments of this world. It is that dying of the old man which is the result of his encounter with Christ. As we embark upon discipleship we surrender ourselves to Christ in union with His death—we give over our lives to death. Thus it begins; the cross is not the terrible end to an otherwise god-fearing and happy life, but it meets us at the beginning of our communion with Christ.

When Christ calls a man, He bids him come and die. It may be a death like that of the first disciples who had to leave home and work to follow Him, or it may be a death like Luther’s, who had to leave the monastery and go out into the world. But it is the same death every time—death in Jesus Christ, the death of the old man at his call.”


Pastor Josh

Published in: on March 9, 2011 at 4:20 AM  Leave a Comment  
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