Lenten Devotional Guide: Week 5



"Jesus said, ‘Leave her alone. She bought it so that she might keep it for the day of my burial. You always have the poor with you, but you do not always have me." (John 12:7-8)


Four weeks of the journey is now behind us. We can likely feel the weight, as well as the warmth, of walking together with our God, intent on making this walk in the unity of Love, the love we call Christ Jesus. But, sometimes walking, no matter how it makes us feel, starts to yearn for something more, a change of scenery, or a change of pace, or a change of routine. And yet, we know that God never seems to tire of us. God, who designed this journey for us, to help us move more deeply into our relationship with the very One who created all things; that God, simply says to any who have the ears to hear: "You always have the needs of others with you, you always have the impoverished, the broken, and the lost with you. After all, they are you and you are them. You will not always have me, not because I have left you, but because your wanderlust has lost sight of me. Worry not. I love you still," says God.


This Week's Breath Prayer: "Center my heart on your goodness and love."

 

A DEVOTION FROM ANNETTE HARTLEY


I believe that Jesus spoke more through his actions than through his words. To me, these words of "How to Get Along with People” exemplify how we each should act, and by so doing, will reflect the loving face of God. As the saying goes, "Actions speak louder than words."


"How to Get Along With People" by Ann Landers

Keep skid chains on your tongue; always say less than you think.

Cultivate a low, persuasive voice.

How you say it counts more than what you say.

Make promises sparingly, and keep them faithfully, no matter what it costs.

Never let an opportunity pass to say a kind and encouraging word to or about somebody.

Praise good work, regardless of who did it.

If criticism is needed, criticize helpfully, never spitefully.

Be interested in others, their pursuits, their work, their homes and families.

Make merry with those who rejoice; with those who weep, mourn.

Let everyone you meet, however humble, feel that you regard him as a person of importance.

Be cheerful. Don't burden or depress those around you by dwelling on your minor aches and pains and small disappointments. Remember, everyone is carrying some kind of load.

Keep an open mind. Discuss, but don't argue. It is a mark of a superior mind to be able to disagree without being disagreeable.

Let your virtues speak for themselves. Refuse to talk of another's vices.

Discourage gossip. It is a waste of valuable time and can be extremely destructive.

Be careful of another's feelings. Wit and humor at the other person's expense are rarely worth it and may hurt when least expected.

Pay no attention to ill-natured remarks about you. Remember, the person who carried the message may not be the most accurate reporter in the world. Simply live so that nobody will believe them.

Disordered nerves and bad digestion are a common cause of backbiting.

Don't be too anxious about the credit due you.

Do your best, and be patient. Forget about yourself, and let others "remember." Success is much sweeter that way.

 

A DEVOTION FROM DEB JOHNSON


Loss...losing a loved one is incredibly painful. There are no words or actions that can console. When I think about Mary, Joseph, Jesus and his followers during Lent, I feel their incredible loss. Everything they believed to be true was taken from them.


And yet, as promised, our Lord arose! I think of those who have lost and yet have no foundation of knowing our Lord. How do they make it without a strong faith? We are called to be the hands and feet of Christ, to share that foundation with all we meet. Not just to share with our loved ones, but especially to share with the ones we meet on a daily basis. We have the opportunity to engage with the people God purposely places in our paths. There are so many out there longing for love and a listening ear. He expects us to extend His love through our actions.


This Lenten season, challenge yourself to share the blessings of faith you have. Open your heart to the opportunities our Lord provides for us. Act on those nudgings. Offer a piece of yourself. Share the Good News!

 

A DEVOTION FROM KATHY WIGGINS



 

A DEVOTION FROM BARB PERRY


A few years ago BC (before covid), I bought something at Lowe’s that had a $20 rebate. The rebate came as an email and at the time I didn’t need anything, so I kinda forget about it. A month or so later, I was deleting emails I was sure were nothing of importance. Another month or so later, I decided to use my rebate, but I couldn’t find it. It finally occurred to me that in my email purge, I had deleted it.


I was so mad at myself. I stewed about it for a week or so and finally went up to Lowe’s to see what they could do. Turns out I had paid for the rebate item with a gift card, and since there was no record of the transaction, there was nothing they could do. They said I could call Lowe’s 800 number but they were pretty sure there was nothing they could do either. I spent the next few weeks obsessing about this. By this time my anger was not only at myself, but now I was angry at Lowe’s for not helping me. I finally called their 800 number. I was prepared to tell them I would now be shopping at Home Depot.


People, the man who answered the phone could not have been nicer. He asked me for my email address, he found it and said he would send me a new rebate.

It was in my inbox within 10 minutes.


As I was thinking about how I had let this incident rob me of my peace and joy,

I was "coincidentally" reminded about something I had read years ago.


"Happiness is a byproduct of joy. Joy is a byproduct of peace. Peace is a byproduct of obedience, and there is no peace off the path of obedience."


A PRAYER: Father God, as we head into this season of ultimate sacrifice and ultimate redemption, help us to remember that these things happened so that we could live better lives through you and that there is no peace off the path of obedience. Amen.

 

A DEVOTION FROM DONNA MILLS


When I can't be out in nature, which is where I feel most connected to Spirit, the arts can sometimes ground and center me, helping me find the still point in my being, bringing me what I need in that moment, and moving me toward wholeness/holiness.

I don't have a particular story to share; I just have been doing this ever since I can remember, certainly before I had words for it. And, it is always, in some way, healing.


The artwork is a painting by Barbara Lewis.



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