Lenten Devotional Guide: Week 4

"'Quickly, bring out a robe – the best one – and put it on my child...for this child of mine was dead and is alive; this child was lost and is found!'" (Luke 15:22a-24)

Step by step our journey together continues, as does the journey Jesus made through the wilderness of our need; the vast wilderness of human separation from God and one another. Along the way, we have prayerfully discovered exactly how far God has gone, and continues to go, in order to give us a Love that is undeniably strong, trustworthy, and true. We need only give thought to the many times we have walked away from God, in big and small ways, only to discover that God has never left us. That is a remarkable Truth about our Lord. God never walks away from us. Christ never abandons us. The Holy Spirit never leaves us to walk life’s journey alone.

This Week's Breath Prayer: "I am so grateful for your great Love!"



Some years ago mission teams began working in the country of Nicaragua. Those teams were usually made up of two groups, construction and medical. Someone from Milford First UMC made a donation to a team to be used as they needed. The medical group of the team brought duffel bags of medicines and supplies with them to be used for the five days of in field clinical work. Toward the end of the week the medical team had run out of needed medicines that would be needed for the final days of field clinic work, which meant that the clinics would have to be canceled. The $300 gift from the Milford First member was then used by the medical team to buy the needed medicines locally, so the clinic could remain open and the team could finish their work. So, as the last day began, the medical group members headed to the local pharmacy, buying what they needed with the $300 donation and they completed their last field clinic well supplied.

As some of the team went into the pharmacy, the rest of the team stood outside on the sidewalk. Then in the distance a man very poorly dressed and stumbling along, approached the folks on the sidewalk. There was some concern this might be dangerous, but the man kept on approaching right up to the group on the sidewalk. One of those standing there spoke some Spanish and asked the man what his name was. He said, "Roberto." It was apparent he was in very bad shape as both his arms were covered with very dirty and ragged bandages, which he said were covering wounds he has given himself unsuccessfully attempting suicide. The nurses in the group began to dig into their supplies and were able to clean his arms, apply antibacterial ointment to his wounds and rewrap them with clean bandages. Another in the group had a Spanish Language New Testament which he gave to Roberto and began to tell him about Jesus and the availability of salvation, if one truly believes Jesus to be the Savior. Roberto began crying and fell to his knees on the sidewalk proclaiming he wanted to believe in Jesus and accept salvation. When asked why he came up to this group of foreign strangers in the first place, Roberto said, "As I was walking up the road I saw you on the sidewalk bathed in a cloud of light. I just went to the light!!!"

One of my favorite Bible verses, which I chose to guide my life, is Matthew 5:14-16; "You are the Light of the world. Let your Light shine before others so that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven."



God's Plan

This morning as I sat down to do my devotions I was drawn to read the book of Job. In closing the verse states: "Job lived 140 years after living to see his grandchildren and great-grandchildren too". What a believer he was. He lost so much but in the end what riches God gave him.

Life's journey is different for all of us. God teaches us to trust him every step of the way for he will be with us always.

Job's story reminds me of someone I truly admire. Born with a learning disability to an unwed mother at the age of 18 months she was orphaned, placed in an orphanage. A few months later she was adopted, traveled from Colombia, South America to the United States. There she thrived and was a true gift from God to her parents. As she grew she developed the most amazing outlook on life. She had many friends and was a joy to be with.

Then came a time in her adult life, like Job, she lost everything. Wrongly accused of a crime she lost her job, her home, her children. And if that wasn't enough her first born child died. Through it all she remained hopeful. God had a plan.

Today she is blessed with a good job and friends that truly love her.

She is a witness for the Lord, Spreading good deeds, encouraging those around her and being supportive to all she meets. She never complains and if asked she will tell you that every day is a good one. She is truly a blessing from God.



How God speaks to me – God speaks to me through nature.

When I first visited Pikes Peak, as a five year old child, I thought it was God’s chair in heaven. I could feel an energy I had never felt before. Ever since then being outside is where I feel closest to God. Whether it be walking outside in my neighborhood in the middle of the night or early morning, or hiking high up in the mountains in Colorado and New Mexico or sitting still in the mountains in Sedona-noticing the sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and feeling/touching – it is God fine tuning my senses to appreciate the earth with gratitude.

We get free gifts God has created for us to heal physically, emotionally and spiritually. Using those gifts with gratitude means taking much better care of creation and one another. That is how God speaks to me, saying, "Take better care of the earth and of all people."



To me, Milford First means strength and comfort. The last 2 years have been a struggle & I couldn’t have made it without help from God, my family & my church family. You see, I had to admit my daughter to a nursing home (the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do) because she has Huntington’s Chorea, a debilitating disease. Andrea receives cards of encouragement & love from many of the women here. She receives birthday cards, Christmas cards, Halloween cards, "just-because" cards, gifts & prayers...and most of the senders don’t even know her!

It makes her long days of sitting in her room more bearable. She excitedly asks me to open and read her cards because she knows someone else, other than her mom cares, too. It gives her strength & courage to keep fighting this disease & the cancer that is now threatening her. Knowing we have the love & prayers of Milford First gives us both strength and comfort.



God talks to me every morning when I wake up, telling me he is blessing me with another beautiful day. When I do a good deed without thinking about it, God encourages me and reminds me sometime later that I did something good with what I call a God wink. God talks to me through nature, reminding me humans have to do a better job protecting our earth. And God talks to me through my friends, children, and grandchildren, reminding me how lucky I am to have all these wonderful people in my life. God also talks to me through our pastors, teaching me to be a better Christian.

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