Lenten Devotional Guide: Week 6



"Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, but emptied himself taking the form of a servant, being born in human likeness." (Philippians 2:5-6)


Our journey nears the end, an end that became the beginning of everything for those God knows as Kingdom People. It has been a journey we chose to take together; with our God, a journey made available to us by our God; a journey that began before creation saw the first ray of light, before humankind drew their first breath. It is a journey that will never end, blessed by the infinite power of God Love for all that God creates, especially God’s love for us. We are blessed to walk this journey together because the grace of Christ Jesus has made the Way for us to walk boldly before our God, with grateful hearts. Come, let us walk together...


This Week's Breath Prayer: "Hosanna! Hosanna!"

 

A DEVOTION FROM BOB EVERETT


It Is His Art

Born with Cerebral Palsy, I have always seen the world from a different perspective. A perspective from a wheelchair, but also through eyes and a heart that knows it is really what God puts in front of me.

With each project comes a new prayer asking God to guide my eyes, my heart, and my hands to produce something pleasing to him, knowing that all I do is for and because of our Almighty God.


I hope you enjoy my work and it helps bring you close to God.



 

A DEVOTION FROM TIM, TRACY & AARON CARPENTER, AND GEORGE DREWYOR



Amazing grace how sweet the sound

That saved a wretch like me

I once was lost, but now I'm found

Was blind, but now I see


'Twas grace that taught my heart to fear

And grace my fears relieved

How precious did that grace appear

The hour I first believed


My chains are gone, I've been set free

My God, my Savior has ransomed me

And like a flood His mercy reigns

Unending love

Amazing grace


The Lord has promised good to me

His word my hope secures

He will my shield and portion be

As long as life endures


My chains are gone, I've been set free

My God, my Savior has ransomed me

And like a flood His mercy reigns

Unending love

Amazing grace


My chains are gone, I've been set free

My God, my Savior has ransomed me

And like a flood His mercy reigns

Unending love

Amazing grace


The earth shall soon dissolve like snow

The sun forbear to shine

But God who called me here below

Will be forever mine, will be forever mine

You are forever mine

 

A DEVOTION FROM STEPHANIE JUDKINS


I am completely taken with the idea that God’s voice can be heard. At Jesus’ baptism God says "This is my Son whom I love; with him I am well pleased." And then at Jesus’ transfiguration "This is my Son whom I love: with him I am well pleased. Listen to Him." In Psalm 29 the voice of God is described as powerful, majestic, thunderous, like lightning, it shakes and twists. All very powerful imagery.


I also remember that God spoke to Elijah not in the earthquake or in the wind nor in the fire, but in a gentle whisper. That is how I hear God, especially in the Psalms. In so many of the Psalms, I can insert my name, or the name of a person I have on my prayer list and feel confident God hears. From Psalm 86:11 Teach me your way, Lord that I may rely on your faithfulness; give me an undivided heart that I may fear your name. Any one’s name can be slipped in: Teach Dean your way, Lord that he may rely on your faithfulness. Or Give ______ an undivided heart that she may fear your name. Psalm 25:20-21 Guard my life and rescue me; do not let me be put to shame, for I take refuge in you, may integrity and uprightness protect me because my hope, Lord, is in you. So you might pray: Guard _______’s life and rescue him. I pray that his hope, Lord, is in you.


And sometimes, God speaks to me directly through psalms: I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord. (Psalm 27:13-14) Could He be reminding me or you to remain confident in Him and wait for Him?

 

A DEVOTION FROM JACOB CURRENT


My first experience with Kingdom Warriors was an eye-opening adventure. Seeing how many people have next to nothing really opened my eyes to what I have and how grateful I am to have such a blessed life. When I went downtown with Maslow’s Army, giving coats and supplies to people who were cold and had nothing made me appreciate the little things I have.


Seeing how grateful people were to just get the necessities that I’d taken for granted, like a toothbrush, and how it changed their mood made me feel like I could bring a change to these people’s lives. Since then, I’ve started donating my old clothes and volunteering for more things at church and in the community. Overall, my experience with Kingdom Warriors has changed the way I see people in their day-to-day lives and that what one person may think is nothing can seem like a fortune to someone else.

 

A DEVOTION FROM DON & KRISTEN BAKER


Easter is an easy holiday to see in your mind. Immediately, you see beautiful early morning spring sunshine, warming breezes and beautiful tulips, daffodils, hyacinths, and lilies. You can see the cross draped with cloth, smell the scent of spring flowers, hear the sounds of our congregational hymns and the pastor’s words as we await the promise of pastel eggs, chocolate, and the joy of family. Easter is easy to remember, especially from our youth and our younger adult years spent recreating the joy for children. The memories feel eternal, but in reality, those days were fleeting.


Our age and time can brighten the colors and joy of the youthful Easter memories, while our actual life experience changes the meaning of this most holy of days. James 4:14 reminds us that we are but "a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes." The truth is we find that each loss of a family member or friend strips away a bit of the utter joy we once felt. But the experience can also deepen your understanding of Easter and the comfort it gives.


Kris and I began hosting a combined family Easter the spring that Ashleigh was born and just three months after my youngest brother’s sudden death. It was the need to wrap ourselves in family after the roller coaster of a tremendous loss and the immense joy of welcoming our first child that moved us to host. Surrounding ourselves with family and celebrating our shared faith brought us comfort. "Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see." (Hebrews 11:1) We know that no matter our earthly fate, we have the heavenly promise of reuniting again in Christ. "For since we believe that Jesus died and was raised to life again, we also believe that when Jesus returns, God will bring with him the believers who have died." (1 Thessalonians 4:13-14)


These past two years have brought us all long periods of earthly separation from our families, friends, and our congregation as we have worked to keep ourselves and one another healthy. It has coincided, for us, with a time in which our fledgling children have transitioned to adulthood and two have relocated far from us. The pandemic has taken family members and dear friends to their eternal reward. "For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven..." (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8) It has at times been easy to despair of our earthly situation.


As I write this, I am reeling from the sudden loss of a colleague to complications of Covid. That this healthy person could so suddenly fall ill and be taken was shocking to those of us who knew her. However, "it is not for (us) to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority." (Acts 1:7) I have spent the last several days reminiscing through shared photographs of her life. With each photo of her the same is said, "We were blessed by her bright smile and the love of her giving heart." She was definitely a gift of God. We are blessed with this life that God has given us. The world God has provided us, the talents he has gifted us, the resources we gain through him are all blessings. Our family, friends, and community are all his blessings for our earthly present, but they are not the Easter Promise that Christ provided the world.


The Easter Promise is not about now. Our mature Easter joy is not in chocolate eggs and family dinners, but in the knowledge that "He will wipe out every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever." (Revelation 21:4)


"For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life." (John 3:16) This is the true and eternal Promise of Easter. Praise God!


May we all approach this year with a renewed Easter Spirit!

 

A DEVOTION FROM PEG HIGHFIELD


Do you know the person sitting next to you or anyone sitting in the same row as you? Do you take the time to greet someone new or someone who has not been to church recently?


For those of you who attend early service, at 9:00, did you know Wayne McDonough? He was a first service attender. He was a quiet gentleman who was very involved in the planning of our Columbarium and saw that project through to completion. Now Wayne’s ashes, along with his beloved Cookie’s, will be together perpetually in the Columbarium on the grounds of our Memorial Garden.


After Wayne’s funeral, I learned something that touched me greatly. His daughter, Sheli Schlueter, told me that Wayne and his brother, Jim, met for breakfast daily at Cracker Barrel in Milford. When the two brothers suddenly stopped showing up for a couple of days, one of the serving staff from Cracker Barrel called to see if the brothers were ok. That is when the Cracker Barrel staff learned that Wayne was in the hospital with Covid 19 and suffering from pneumonia. When the servers later heard of Wayne’s passing, they asked his family to join them one morning for breakfast. When the family arrived they found a special section of the restaurant set up just for them, and Wayne’s serving friends were free to join the family because other staff were covering their shift. The entire table enjoyed a wonderful breakfast and shared stories about Wayne.


Wayne’s service was held at our church on Saturday, January 22nd. Among the very first to arrive were those same wonderful and caring servers from Cracker Barrel. They were there to pay their respects and to stay for the service. After the funeral, those "angel-friends" presented each of Wayne’s two young grandchildren with a special pillow of their Grandfather printed into the fabric. The children were given a special reminder of their beloved Grandfather from some special friends who loved him.


I have always heard that angels walk among us. Now I know it is true and some of them work at the Milford Cracker Barrel! Wayne was a kind, gentleman who treated other people with respect and gentleness. He touched the lives of many, including some servers from his favorite breakfast place.

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