Category Archives: Lent

Journey to Easter Day 22: Prayer for crucial choices

 This week the Scriptures from the prayer book we use at Crossroads and our blog centered around the theme Crucial Choices.  We end this week with the prayer Loosen My Grip, byTed Loder.

    

Loosen My Grip

O God, it is hard for me to let go.
Please loosen my grip on those grudges
and grievances I hold so closely.
that I may risk exposing myself
to the spirit of forgiving and forgiveness
that changes things
and resurrects dreams and courage.

Loosen my grip on my fears
release me a little into humility
and into an acceptance of my humanity.
Release me from the ominous fear
of thinking some sin or failure of mine
can separate me from you.
Release me from the dark fury
of assuming I am unloved
when the day calls for sacrifice
and the night for courage.

Loosen my grip on myself
for to reach out
is to know myself held;
to laugh at myself
is to be carried on the easiness of your grace;
to attend to each moment
is to hear the faint melody of eternity.

Loosen my grip on my fears and fretfulness
so that letting go
into the depths of silence
I may find myself held by you
and linked anew to all life
in this wild and wondrous world
you love so much,
so I may take to heart
that you have taken me to heart.

 

Journey to Easter Day 21: Choose peace

Todays Scripture Colossians 3:1-17 (Full passage below)

15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16 Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.

Every time our granddaughter Adriana gets in our car she wants to us to play the “Alleluia song.”  Sometimes we sing it together.  Other times we just listen.  It calms her.  It really is the peace of Christ that starts to rule in her heart…and ours.  God’s peace, the message of Christ, comes through psalms, hymns and songs of the spirit.

Conversely, there are many messages in music and other forms of communication that disturb your soul and rob your peace.

What choices are you making to let the peace of Christ rule in your heart?  Do you see that when you make these kinds of choices for peace that the trajectory of your life changes? We do. Try out the 3G practice

Give up – choices that rob your peace.

Give in – to the beauty of psalms, hymns and songs of the spirit. Listen to this song from-Petatonix.  What happens in your soul?

Give out – to others a message of peace from a non-disturbed soul.

Peace be with you,

Clare and Scott

 Colossians 3:1-17

Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life,appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these, the wrath of God is coming.You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. 11 Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.

12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16 Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. 17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Journey to Easter Day 20: Take a risk

Philemon 8-21 (full passage at bottom of page)

8 Therefore, although in Christ I could be bold and order you to do what you ought to do, yet I prefer to appeal to you on the basis of love. It is as none other than Paul—an old man and now also a prisoner of Christ Jesus— 10 that I appeal to you for my son Onesimus,. 11 Formerly he was useless to you,17 So if you consider me a partner, welcome him as you would welcome me. 18 If he has done you any wrong or owes you anything, charge it to me.

 In today’s scripture, Paul is writing a letter to his friend Philemon to take a risk with his other friend Onesimus. It appears that Onesimus had been disloyal to Philemon in serious ways. Possibly even stolen from him.   Paul is trying to help his friend take a risk on forgiving…even “welcoming” the person who hurt him.

Amy Poehler describes the truth about risk with poignant sarcasm,  “Take your risks now, as you grow older you become more fearful and less flexible. And I mean that literally. I hurt my knee this week on the treadmill, and it wasn’t even on.”

Are you more fearful and less flexible?  Seriously, none of us are getting any younger! How about you, do you have someone God is asking you to forgive?  Do you have the spiritual viscera (that means guts!) to explore the risk?  Try the 3G practice

Give up –  inflexibility and fear.

Give in– to the possibility you are being invited to take a risk on someone who has hurt you. Ask God if this invitation comes from God’s heart.

Give out-  forgiveness and possibly welcome back the one who has hurt you.

Philemon 8-21

Therefore, although in Christ I could be bold and order you to do what you ought to do, yet I prefer to appeal to you on the basis of love. It is as none other than Paul—an old man and now also a prisoner of Christ Jesus— 10 that I appeal to you for my son Onesimus, who became my son while I was in chains. 11 Formerly he was useless to you, but now he has become useful both to you and to me.

12 I am sending him—who is my very heart—back to you. 13 I would have liked to keep him with me so that he could take your place in helping me while I am in chains for the gospel. 14 But I did not want to do anything without your consent, so that any favor you do would not seem forced but would be voluntary. 15 Perhaps the reason he was separated from you for a little while was that you might have him back forever— 16 no longer as a slave, but better than a slave, as a dear brother. He is very dear to me but even dearer to you, both as a fellow man and as a brother in the Lord.

17 So if you consider me a partner, welcome him as you would welcome me. 18 If he has done you any wrong or owes you anything, charge it to me. 19 I, Paul, am writing this with my own hand. I will pay it back—not to mention that you owe me your very self. 20 I do wish, brother, that I may have some benefit from you in the Lord; refresh my heart in Christ. 21 Confident of your obedience, I write to you, knowing that you will do even more than I ask.

Journey to Easter Day 19: Stay the Course

Todays Scripture Hebrews 12:1-14

(full passage at the bottom of the page)

“1 Therefore we must pay greater attention to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away from it. 2 For if the message declared through angels was valid, and every transgression or disobedience received a just penalty, 3 how can we escape if we neglect so great a salvation?It was declared at first through the Lord, and it was attested to us by those who heard him,”

Something we’ve observed in the over 3 decades of church leadership is that “non-drifter types” have paid greater attention to the Message they have heard than those who treat their faith journey with a laissze-faire approach.  Laissze-faire drifter-types” let things take their own course without purposeful action to stay strong in their commitment to God. They just assume their faith will stay on course with little effort. Non-drifters surround themselves with people, places and things that keep them on course.

Warren Buffet once said, “It’s better to hang out with people better than you. Pick out associates whose behavior is better than yours and you’ll drift in that direction.”

Ask yourself today,

“Am I on course with the message of Christ? Am I surrounding myself with people whose behavior is better than mine, people who attest to the message of the Gospel?” Funny thing is, most people who are engaging in this devotional practice are purposefully pay greater attention to the course of their faith. We are grateful for you. Maybe today is a day to share this devotional and the 3G practice with a friend.

Give up – places and people who are causing you to drift.

Give in – to creating space for your relationship with God and people who keep you on course.

Give out – time and help to someone who is drifting away.

Dedicated to non-drifting,

Clare and Scott

 

Hebrews 12:1-14

Therefore we must pay greater attention to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away from it. 2 For if the message declared through angels was valid, and every transgression or disobedience received a just penalty, 3 how can we escape if we neglect so great a salvation? It was declared at first through the Lord, and it was attested to us by those who heard him, 4 while God added his testimony by signs and wonders and various miracles, and by gifts of the Holy Spirit, distributed according to his will.

5 Now God did not subject the coming world, about which we are speaking, to angels. 6 But someone has testified somewhere,

“What are human beings that you are mindful of them,

or mortals, that you care for them?

7 You have made them for a little while lower than the angels;

you have crowned them with glory and honor,

8     subjecting all things under their feet.”

Now in subjecting all things to them, God left nothing outside their control. As it is, we do not yet see everything in subjection to them, 9 but we do see Jesus, who for a little while was made lower than the angels, now crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.

10 It was fitting that God, for whom and through whom all things exist, in bringing many children to glory, should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through sufferings. 11 For the one who sanctifies and those who are sanctified all have one Father.For this reason Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters, 12 saying,

“I will proclaim your name to my brothers and sisters,

in the midst of the congregation I will praise you.”

13 And again,

“I will put my trust in him.”

And again,

“Here am I and the children whom God has given me.”

14 Since, therefore, the children share flesh and blood, he himself likewise shared the same things, so that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, 15 and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by the fear of death. 16 For it is clear that he did not come to help angels, but the descendants of Abraham. 17 Therefore he had to become like his brothers and sisters in every respect, so that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make a sacrifice of atonement for the sins of the people. 18 Because he himself was tested by what he suffered, he is able to help those who are being tested.

Journey to Easter Day 18 – Put away idols

Todays Scripture-Joshua 24:14-15

14 “Now therefore revere the Lord, and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness; put away the gods that your ancestors served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord15 Now if you are unwilling to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served in the region beyond the River or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”

Do you remember commandment #1 of the 10 commandments?  “Have no other gods (idols) before me.”  John Calvin said, “Every one of us is, even from his mother’s womb, a master craftsman of idols.”  What is an idol?   An idol is anyone or anything that you live for above your reverence for God. A false god is so important, that if removed causes you to lose your  happiness, peace, or  identity. An idol keeps you off-center because you have allowed something else in the place designed for God. An idol is a pretender, a false god.

Joshua tells us “reverence the LORD and serve him with all faithfulness. Put away the gods… choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve.”  Notice if you have been off-center.  Is there something or someone in the way of your relationship with God.  Every day is full of choosing. Choose what/who will be the center of your life. Choose Life Himself and live.  Utilize the 3G practice-

Give up – anything that is competing for your relationship with God. Get honest with yourself and God.

Give in – and choose God to be your Center…again…and again…and again.  Develop a holy muscle by choosing God and letting go of pretenders.

Give out –  time to be with God that has been spent with idols.  Create space for silence and listening.