Category Archives: Lent Devotions

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God’s Word – The Place Of Victory

Category:Lent Devotions

Hebrews 13:5

Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

Philippians 4:8

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

Ephesians 6:16-17

16 In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; 17 and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

Many times in our lives, we face circumstances that make us question the love of God in our lives; but there is no issue with God’s love or His grace. God’s love is unchanging whether we are flourishing or downcast. The issue is with where our focus lies. Regardless of the situation or how we feel, God has promised he will always be there for us. When we focus on the reality of his word, peace, joy, faith, and hope become injected into our hearts to see us through the tough times which never last.

Jesus already told us there are trials and tribulations in this world, challenges of life come to everyone. However, we as Christians have a place of refuge when we turn to the word of God, e.g. Proverbs 37:19 says: “Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all”. As a child of God, this passage on its own communicates faith to you no matter what difficulty you might be facing. On the other hand, the father of lies wants us to focus on the impermanent storms of life which usually lead to a state of despondence, but we have solid hope in the word of God.

There are so many distractions which come from the system of this world, and if we do not diligently dwell on God’s word, we become susceptible to the deception of the enemy. Many people in the world are bound by the facts because that is the only truth they know or choose to dwell in. Also, many believers are saved but sometimes encounter discouragement because they consider the facts of life more superior (consciously or unconsciously) to the truth of God’s word. But the word of God remains true even when all you see around you is contrary, it does not bow to circumstances. Circumstances eventually succumb to the power of the word if you hold on to it.

Finally, in the midst of the myriad voices in the world trying to snatch our attention, please make the voice of God the sole priority in your life. Immerse yourself in His words so your profiting may appear, and by so doing, all the voices of the enemy will remain silenced. This is our place of victory.

Lord help us value your word as we ought to (being your precious gift to us), enable us to give ourselves totally to your word so we won’t be distracted or flinched by the voices of the enemy when we are faced with challenges of life. Amen.

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Keeping Watch

Category:Lent Devotions

Luke 23:49, 55-56

49 And all his acquaintances and the women who had followed him from Galilee stood at a distance watching these things.
55 The women who had come with him from Galilee followed and saw the tomb and how his body was laid. 56 Then they returned and prepared spices and ointments.
On the Sabbath they rested according to the commandment.

After Jesus had died on the cross and the crowd had left, as His teaching ceased and silence fell, there was a group of Jesus’ followers watching what the others did with his body. A detailed account between crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus is recorded in all four gospels but is often overlooked.

Looking back the night before, after sharing the Passover meal Jesus took His disciples to the Mount of Olives to pray. In Matthew 26:40-41 we read: Then He came to the disciples and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, “What! Could you not watch with Me one hour? Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

Looking much further back to the first Passover night, we see how the Lord kept vigil to bring the Hebrews out of Egypt, and thereafter commanded all Israelites are to keep vigil on the night of Passover to honour the Lord for the generations to come (see Exodus 12:42).

What a night it must have been to live through, as the lives of countless firstborn in the land of Egypt was struck down! If you had been behind one of those doors smeared with the blood of the lamb, what would have gone through your mind? Remember, the sparing of the firstborn was not because of ethnicity but the blood of the lamb on the doorposts. How would Moses’ assurance, that the Lord promised He “will not permit the destroyer to enter your houses and strike you down” (Exodus 12:23), have played in your mind as you kept watch?

In Gethsemane, as Jesus prayed and agonised to the point of sweating blood, His closest disciples were not able to keep watch with Him. Only an angel came and ministered to Him.

How about us today? Between the remembrance of yesterday and the celebration of tomorrow. Between the time before pandemic and post pandemic. Are we living in fear, losing hope and feeling lonely, without direction and purpose, sinking in our troubles? Or do we know what the Lord is doing during these days? Are we even being part of it?

Let us reflect as individuals, as household, by church groups, as the body of Christ. Watch and pray!

O Lord! Thank you for keeping watch over us. Help us to fix our eyes on you and not be distracted or paralysed by the storms in our lives. Amen.

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Declarations In Difficult Times

Category:Lent Devotions

Matthew 27:46

And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

It’s hard to imagine how Jesus must have felt in the hardest time in history, on the cross, abandoned by most of his followers, carrying the sin of the world that separated people from fellowship with God.

Maybe there are areas in our lives where we feel similar. Maybe important people have left us, we feel lonely in the midst of lockdowns and social distancing, our world feels out of control and God far away.

For a long time I thought that Jesus cried out to His Father on the cross because God the Father indeed abandoned him in that moment. But there was actually something else going on there. Jesus was referring to the Messianic Psalm 22 written by David that was prophetically describing what Jesus was going through on the day of his crucifixion. In a time without chapter divisions, saying the first line was the way to refer to the whole Psalm just as we would nowadays to a title of a song.

Like many Psalms, Psalm 22 starts with lament, describing the situation of the Psalmist, but then changing to praises to God and declaring what He was doing:

Stand in awe of him, all you offspring of Israel…he has not hidden his face from him, but has heard, when he cried to him. (v. 23b; 24b)

Posterity shall serve him, it shall be told of the Lord to the coming generation; they shall come and proclaim his righteousness to a people yet unborn, that HE HAS DONE IT! (v. 30-31)

Jesus’ cry was not a cry of hopelessness. Quite the opposite! It was a proclamation! Scripture was being fulfilled!

Despite the hard reality of the cross, the pain of bearing our sin, Jesus was enduring it all for the sake of the joy that was set before him (Hebrews 12:2).

So no matter what we might be going through, be encouraged! You are not living in the last line of your story, of your Psalm. There is still so much more to come.

What can you thank God for and declare about the Lord’s character in the midst of your troubles, just as Jesus did in the midst of his crucifixion? What would your personal Psalm look like?

Thank you Lord, that this is not the end of my story yet and that you hear when I cry out to you. I praise you because you are faithful to your Word. Amen.

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Obedience And Confidence To The Father

Category:Lent Devotions

Luke 23:46

Then Jesus, calling out with a loud voice, said, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!” And having said this he breathed his last.

The life of Jesus teaches us much about obedience to our Father in heaven and complete trust in him. Jesus lived each day of his life in accordance with God’s will He lived a purposeful life.

Up to his death, Jesus was obedient to the Father and had full confidence in him. Jesus’ final moments showed his desire to rest in the hands of his Heavenly Father, as he confidently laid down his life, doing so of his own accord (John 10:17-18).

Jesus died willingly. Jesus died confidently. He was prepared to face death in obedience to God and completely trusting in him. Through his willful death, he fulfilled prophecy and accomplished the will of the Father. His last words were a shout of victory that the work was finished and the veil was torn.

The death of Jesus is not a story of him being the victim of the cross. On the contrary, his death speaks of triumph and vigor. Jesus’ victorious death allows us to have God’s forgiveness. The obedience and confidence modeled by Jesus paved the way for us to have eternal life. The finished work of Jesus on the cross enables us to freely access our Heavenly Father.

Let us always approach the throne of grace with confidence and in obedience to the One who died willingly. Let us constantly give praise and honor to the One who died confidently so that we may live.

Thank you Jesus for choosing to die for us. Thank you for your obedience to God the Father and your confidence in him. As we live our lives, direct us to always put our full and complete trust in Christ alone. Remind us to forever commit our spirit into your hands. Amen.

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Not My Will But Yours Be Done

Category:Lent Devotions

Luke 22:41-44

41 And he withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, and knelt down and prayed, 42 saying, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.” 43 And there appeared to him an angel from heaven, strengthening him. 44 And being in agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.

Jesus and his disciples celebrated a Passover meal together the night he was arrested. The meal reminded them of how God had once delivered the Israelites from slavery in Egypt.

Four cups of wine are a traditional part of the Passover meal and each cup has a different name and significance. The third cup, the cup of redemption, is usually drunk after the meal. Jesus was not only reminding his disciples how God had redeemed their ancestors in the past, but he was also suggesting what he was about to do on the cross for all mankind. They were supposed to remember him when drinking this cup in the future.

There is no record that Jesus drank the fourth cup, the cup of praise or completion, with his disciples. Instead, he stated that he would not drink from the fruit of the vine again until the Kingdom of God had come. In the Garden of Gethsemane he even asked for this cup to pass him. The Passover ritual did not seem to be over yet.

However, amazingly, in John 19:28-29 we can see that on the cross, when all was completed, he actually drank from the fruit of the vine again. When Jesus had received this sour wine, he could finally say, “It is finished.”

Jesus was obedient to His Father and knew what was required of him, going to the cross, being the Passover lamb for mankind, ushering in the Kingdom of God. This Kingdom did not come in the resurrection; it already came right there on the cross.

What Jesus was going through in the Garden of Gethsemane is something no none of us can really imagine. None of us have ever sweated drops of blood in anguish, have we? However, being obedient and finishing what God has asked us to do affects us all. It might be something big or something small, it might feel like the cost is too great or maybe it is just uncomfortable sometimes. Either way, are we willing to drink our cup, so to speak, pray, “Not my will, but your will be done” every day, and step out in obedience until the end? Are we willing to trust that God knows what is best for us and the people around us?

Thank you, Jesus, that you were obedient and went to the cross so that I could be saved and live. Help me to follow through and give me strength in the area of _ where you are asking me to be obedient because I know you have the best plan for my life. Amen.

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He Did Not Open His Mouth

Category:Lent Devotions

Isaiah 53:7

He was oppressed, and he was afflicted,
yet he opened not his mouth;
like a lamb that is led to the slaughter,
and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent,
so he opened not his mouth.

Have you ever been accused of doing something you didn’t do? Have you ever experienced such an injustice? How did you react? How did it make you feel?… Have you ever found out that others were believing the lies and reports that had been wrongly made about you? Didn’t it make you want to rise up and come to your own defense? Wouldn’t that be a normal reaction? We would want to clear our name! Right?

Well, in the accounts of Jesus’ trial before the chief priests and elders or Herod or Pilate, we read that when accusations were brought against him, he didn’t answer or defend himself. Instead, we read again and again, that Jesus gave no response at all. Matthew 27:14 says “But Jesus made no reply, not even to a single charge – to the great amazement of the governor.” and again in Mark 15: 3 – 5 “The chief priests accused him of many things. So, again Pilate asked him, “Aren’t you going to answer? See how many things they are accusing you of.” But Jesus still made no reply, and Pilate was amazed.”

Jesus’ silence while facing his accusers astonished and perplexed Pilate! This was probably the first criminal to stand before him that didn’t attempt to escape the inevitable punishment awaiting him. Here stood before him a man, not deserving of death, and yet he would not cry out and defend himself.

I’ve often pondered over this truth about our Lord on the day of his trial…..if only for a few minutes He had opened His mouth, He could have refuted their weak and meager accusations! Just a few words from His mouth; the same mouth that preached to the thousands and drew crowds upon crowds through His powerful and authoritative teaching. Every living word from His mouth had ministered to the poor and needy, fed the hungry soul, lifted the weary, brought joy to the listener and above all, perhaps; stamped out the traps and snares laid out by his enemies in their numerous attempts to bring him down. Just one word from this mouth……

But, on this day, the Word of God was silent.

Jesus could not speak! He could not save himself, because He was saving us! On this day, the accusations, that should have rightfully been made against us, fell on Him. And, the punishment and blame that should have been ours, were placed on Him; the righteous for the unrighteous; the innocent for the guilty. The Holy Son of God stood in our place.

May we devote ourselves anew to the One whose love for us reaches heights so unimaginable, and may we grow more to become like HIM in His love, obedience and patient endurance. Amen

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The Long Road To Jerusalem

Category:Lent Devotions

Luke 9:51

When the days drew near for him to be taken up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem.

Jesus’ suffering and death in Jerusalem were no accident. He told his disciples several times that this would be a necessary part of his ministry. In Galilee, with the crowds coming to hear Jesus and the sick being healed, this might have seemed like a remote prospect for the disciples, and they didn’t understand what Jesus was saying.

But the time came for Jesus to leave the relative safety of Galilee and head to Jerusalem. A long road across hills and under a hot sun lay ahead, and as Luke reports in chapter 9, they quickly encountered trouble when a Samaritan village refused them entry. Detours on foot can be exhausting…

What does it feel like to knowingly head for trouble and suffering? Would Jesus and the disciples be frustrated by the hardships on the road to Jerusalem, and jump at the any chance to get out of their difficult and risky journey? A long journey with many opportunities to turn around and go back… No, they were not! Jesus was undeterred; the plans of the Father were clear to him, and the disciples followed along, worried and anxious, but close to Jesus.

It’s a challenging example, but can we learn from them to systematically and enduringly follow Jesus, even when there is clearly trouble on the horizon? What if suffering is written over the part of the map that we are heading to? Will we keep going?

Perhaps surprisingly, Luke does not connect the start of the journey to Jerusalem with suffering, but he writes: “As the days drew near for him to be taken up…” Jesus’ victory over death and his ascension to the Father come into view right from the onset. That may be a perspective that could cheer us on, no matter which road we are traveling on.

Lord Jesus, show us the plans of the Father, and help us to look to your glory and example when we are walking on a difficult path. Amen.

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Hope In The Valley

Category:Lent Devotions

Hebrews 6:19

We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain.

Psalm 84:5-7

Blessed are those whose strength is in you,
    in whose heart are the highways to Zion.[a]
As they go through the Valley of Baca
    they make it a place of springs;
    the early rain also covers it with pools.
They go from strength to strength;
    each one appears before God in Zion.

These verses describe part of our experience in our journey through life as Christians. It’s worth taking time to read the whole Psalm. The word Baca means ‘weeping’ – this verse can also be translated ‘As they go through the valley of weeping they make it a place of springs, the early rain also covers it with pools’. Everyone goes through at least one such valley in their life, maybe several. However, I think God wants us to know that for the believer, even in a valley of weeping, there are springs and rains of blessings, and that this is not the end of the journey – we will continue on in strength.

Hosea 2:15

“And there I will give her her vineyards
and make the Valley of Achor a door of hope.
And there she shall answer as in the days of her youth,
as at the time when she came out of the land of Egypt.”

More can be said about this passage, but what I want to draw out here is that Achor means trouble – the valley of trouble. Here, God will open to us a door of hope! In the midst of our difficulties, God speaks into our heart and life, saying, “Your hope comes from me” (see Psalm 62:5). Maybe he is even saying, “Return to your stronghold, O prisoners of hope; today I declare that I will restore to you double” (Zechariah 9:12). Our hope is not that our circumstances will change in the particular way that we want them to, so that we get what gratifies us; our hope is God himself. Our circumstances may be so difficult that in holding on to God we feel that we are prisoners of hope – there is nowhere else we would go – but God has a way of knowing our circumstances, our thoughts, our ways – and then showing us his thoughts and his ways. Let us put our hope and trust in him.

Lord, my hope comes from you. Thank you that this hope is an anchor for the soul. Thank you that you speak hope even in the valley. You know what you are doing, whatever our circumstances. Please help us to hear your voice and be strengthened, even going from strength to strength. Lord, we trust in you. Amen.

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The Sanctifying Power Of The Cross

Category:Lent Devotions

Luke 9:23

And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.

Let me remind you: Jesus used the same word that describes His exaltation in glory to also to describe His death. So Jesus knew the power that is in the cross. Now we’re not talking about ”the cross”, per se. Sometimes people think of the cross as a magical thing. For example, they think that if you wear a cross it will protect you. That is superstition and that is not what we’re talking about.

The power of the cross is not in the cross itself, the power is in what happened at the cross. Jesus knew that the power of what happened on the cross would not only save us, it would also sanctify us. It would purify us.

Look again at what Jesus said in Luke 9:23: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me”.

There have been all sorts of explanations about what this means. Some have said that the cross represents a burden that we have to carry in this life – eg. disability, illness, a difficult family member – while others argue the cross represents a sacrifice that God wants us to make – we need to ”carry our cross” for the Lord.

But only one thing happens on a cross – people die. So the cross represents death. If you’re a Christian, God will work in your life to bring you to the point where you die:

  • where you no longer put yourself first,
  • where you no longer manipulate,
  • where you no longer try to control,
  • where you die to yourself.

A dead person doesn’t criticize or grumble and complain or fight for his/her own way.

Jesus said that we should ”take up our cross daily” which means we need to die to ourselves. In fact, this is something that we need to do every day, perhaps many times a day – as many times as we need to do it.

To ”take up our cross” also means taking on an attitude of submission to God, lying down on the inside, coming to an inner condition of rest and peace because we’ve bowed to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. We’re allowing Jesus to be in control of our lives, we’re bowing down to Him as our God.

Thank God for the sanctifying power of the cross. The Apostle Paul gave us his testimony as an example to follow. He said “I have been crucified with Christ” (Galatians 2:20).

Reflect: Have you been crucified with Christ?

Dear Lord, thank you for the saving power of your cross. Thank you for the sanctifying power of the cross. Teach me to submit to you so that I may be filled with your Holy Spirit and may my life bring glory to you alone. Amen.

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The Saving Power Of The Cross

Category:Lent Devotions

John 12:32-33

32 And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” 33 He said this to show by what kind of death he was going to die.

The words of Jesus in John 12:32 are extremely important. “When I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw all men to myself.” There are different opinions about what these words mean.

  • Some say that Jesus was talking about His resurrection because He said, ‘When I am ”lifted up from the earth”.
  • Others say that He didn’t say ”lifted out of the earth”, He said ”lifted up from earth”. So He was talking about His ascension.
  • Still others say that Jesus was urging Christians to worship Him, that this verse is a promise for worship. As we worship Jesus, He’ll be lifted up and will draw people to Himself.

But none of these is the truth. Jesus himself told us what v32 means. “He said this to show the kind of death he was going to die.” So in v32 Jesus was talking about the cross and the death that He would die upon the cross.

The Greek word translated “lifted up”’ in v32 (NIV) is “hypsoō”. The New Testament uses this word to describe the exaltation and glorification of our Lord Jesus Christ (read Acts 2:33, Acts 5:31).

How amazing that Jesus used the same word that’s used to describe His exaltation in glory to also describe His death on the cross. A cross is a cruel, ugly thing. It’s an instrument of death, the worst possible way to die. But from God’s perspective, the cross was a thing of victory from which came great glory.

It’s all about what happened at the cross. So what did happen at the cross? I want to highlight two things:

  • All of our sins (all your sins, all my sins) were paid for. Jesus was the sin offering for our sins. His death satisfied the righteous wrath and judgement of a holy God. He took the judgement of God that we deserve upon Himself.
  • Satan’s power was broken (Col 2:13-15).

This means that anyone who wants to be forgiven (their sins), can be. Anyone who wants to be freed from their sins, can be. All because of the Saving Power of the Cross.

What you need to do is to:

  • recognize that you deserve the judgement of a holy God because of your sins,
  • repent (turn away) from sin, darkness and your own way,
  • believe that what Jesus did on the cross was for you.

Thank you, Lord, for dying on the cross for my sins. Thank you for taking the judgement that I deserve. I believe that you did it for me. I confess my sins to you and I turn away from sin, darkness and living my own way. I want everything that I am, do, and say to bring glory to you. Amen.