Lenten Devotion: Walking humbly

Image result for John 9:1-7Read John 9:13-34

A recurring theme in this story of the man born blind is that those who think they see clearly are the most blind to what is happening right in front of them. The man who is healed doesn’t claim to understand what has happened or how Jesus was able to accomplish this healing. He just knows that he had been blind and now he could see. The Pharisees, on the other hand, were certain they knew how God would act in the world, and Jesus didn’t fit the bill.

How does our religious “knowledge” sometimes get in the way of what God is doing in the world?

In what ways do we claim to know more about God than we actually know?

God has certainly revealed all that is necessary for salvation, but we are called to walk humbly with our God (Micah 6:8) and with our neighbour as we bear witness and love those God has placed in our path today.

Lenten Devotion: Seeing but not seeing

Image result for John 9:1-7 Read John 9:8-12

When his neighbors saw the formerly blind man, they weren’t even sure it was really him. Their certainty that a person could not be healed of blindness was part of their confusion. But it is also possible that they had never really seen the blind man. His presence among them as a healed man had been such a source of discomfort that they couldn’t even look at him.

What sorts of people do we prefer not to notice? In what ways are we blind to people around us who are in need?

The path of your mission trip today will be filled with people in need. Ask God to open your eyes to see them and perhaps to find a way in word (witness) or action (mercy) to extend the touch of Christ’s healing forgiveness and mercy to them.

Lenten Devotion: Whose fault?

Image result for John 9:1-7Read John 9:1-7

The question that Jesus’ disciples asked showed their ideas about how God works in the world. For a man to have been born blind, someone had to have sinned. Either the man or his parents had to be responsible for his plight. Jesus, however, rejects their premise, stating that it is not nearly so simple as that. Instead, this man’s blindness is going to prove to be an opportunity for God’s power to be displayed.

How do you understand the relationship between particular sins and particular hardships?

What do you think about the statement that the man’s blindness served a purpose for God? Does that seem just?

Today you will either face your own struggles or those in another person. How will you be part of the the power of God working through Christ in these times?

Lenten Devotion: Walking in the light

Image result for Ephesians 5:8-14Read Ephesians 5:8-14

One of the greatest challenges that comes with our freedom in Christ is sorting out how to live in this life. Every day we are faced with decisions and choices in which we have to discern the right path. In this passage from Ephesians we get a glimpse of what this Christian life looks like. Life in this world is about living as children of light. It is about
putting aside the ways of darkness. It is bearing the fruit of light in the world.

The problem for sinners is that we are not as good at discerning light and darkness as we need to be. And we’re not always great at discerning good fruit from empty calories. The Christian life is one of constant seeking to determine what actions reflect Christ’s love to our neighbors. It isn’t easy. But the Christian life is also marked by the holy and certain hope that we are daily being forgiven for Jesus’ sake.

What are some things that make it complicated for us to sort out good fruit from empty calories?

What is easy about loving others? What is difficult about it?

What are some ways of speaking of the Christian life without undermining the promise of the Gospel?

I often hear people say, “I know I’m supposed to do this or that, but I just don’t do it.” The Christian life is not an individual or private affair. It is people whom the Holy Spirit has called and gathered together to walk together. The more we are together in worship, small groups and one-on-one times, the more we can encourage one another to bear the fruit of the light of Christ in the world.

Lenten Devotion: Praying with confidence

Image result for Psalm 142Read Psalm 142

The Psalms often give voice to our most joyous praise and our darkest lament. They hold nothing back in the name of decorum. In today’s Psalm, we hear a bold cry for help from one who is lost. The Psalmist’s unrelenting plea reflects confidence that God has the power to deliver his people.

What do the Psalms show us about how God would have us pray? Does it seem strange or uncomfortable to make such direct requests of God?

Do our more timid prayers reflect less confidence in what God can do? What keeps us from praying boldly?

Today pray the Lord’s Prayer remembering what Martin Luther wrote to those opening words, “Our Father who art in heaven…”

What does this mean? With these words God tenderly invites us to believe that He is our true Father and that we are His true children, so that with all boldness and confidence we may ask Him as dear children ask their dear father.

Live boldly and confidently as God’s child today!