The Fifth Sunday of Lent – Thank You for the Cross

How do we really say thank you to someone that saved our lives through the sacrifice of His own? Not merely trading places, but enduring the very worst of pain, suffering, sorrow, humiliation, death, and the gates of Hell, to ensure a chance for us to never again be alone in our life or death. The debt we owe to Christ can never be repaid, but we can say thank you in every act of love and service performed in His name. Share His story and ensure that every generation has the opportunity to know a life of relationship with Him.

Prayer Starter

Thank you for accepting me as Your child, bringing me into Your family, offering me a place in Your Kingdom. Once on the outside, You brought me to the inside of Your love. Help me commit myself to sharing Your love with others who do not know what they are missing.

Delve Deeper

Too often, Christians inadvertently end up huddling together within our churches, denominations, even cliques, building barriers between Christ and the “outside” world. We are called to reach out to others with His message, but it is easier, less painful or threatening to stay safely on the inside. During this week, read the book of Luke in any version of the Bible you prefer. This writer, Luke the doctor, was a Gentile (a non-Jew) and as such, really noticed the “outsiders” that Jesus touched in His ministry, since that was his own story. He seems to be the champion of those who were not part of the Jewish culture or the establishment: women, people of different races or persons discarded because of physical disability. With Christ’s example fresh on your mind, reach out to others this week and share His message in kind and simple ways. This is why Jesus made His journey through the cross as the ultimate sacrifice, so that everyone might know God’s love and be saved. Be part of His mission.

-Sue Breland, Journey Through the Cross: Meditations for Lent ©

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Metamorphosis

…walk in newness of life. – Romans 6:4b

The butterfly begins its life as an ugly, blind, worm-like creature confined to the ground and considered a pest. Yet the lowly caterpillar has the opportunity for transformation into one the most beautiful expressions of God’s spectacular creation; migrating thousands of miles, no longer bound to the earth, awe-inspiring bits of stained glass in graceful movement. While miraculous, the caterpillar has but one chance for new life. Through our relationship with Christ, we can start each day anew, leaving behind the shackles of sin, ugliness of spirit, pain that cripples us to emerge a new creature – forgiven and transformed by grace, reborn to continually experience newness of life!

Prayer Starter

When I find myself surrounded by ugliness or confined by a situation that is out of my control, I pray You will help me to wait on You. I trust that what You have in store for me is more beautiful, more prosperous, and more wonderful than I can imagine if I but let You transform me in Your time.

-Sue Breland, Journey Through the Cross: Meditations for Lent ©

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Gratitude

Wherever He went, village or town or country crossroads, they brought their sick to the marketplace and begged Him to let them touch the edge of His coat—that’s all. And whoever touched Him became well. – Mark 6:56

The Master’s power was free for the taking – and so they took. They were blessed, but were they grateful? Throughout the scripture, we are told of many that were healed, but few who thanked Him. His touch may have been free, but we know that it didn’t come cheap.

Prayer Starter

I pray that I never under value our relationship, my Savior and friend. Forgive me when I have neglected to say “thank you” for Your hand on my life.

-Sue Breland, Journey Through the Cross: Meditations for Lent ©

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Partnership

If My people, who are called by My name, will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land. – 2 Chronicles 7:14

God responds to prayer, but not without action on our part. Grace is free, yet God has expectations for those who bear His name, just as parents’ guide and discipline the children they love. To experience the forgiveness and healing we desire, we must bow to the power of God, long to know God and eliminate those things that separate us from God. Walking with Him is a journey in partnership. God does His part – each day we must strive to do ours.

Prayer Starter

Help me dear Lord, to uphold my end of our partnership. I know I don’t always live up to Your expectations for me, so I am all the more grateful that You stay at my side and see me through.

-Sue Breland, Journey Through the Cross: Meditations for Lent ©

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The Prescription

The Lord has told you what is good, and this is what He requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God. – Micah 6:8

God has given us the prescription, the recipe, the path to Christian life in a few simple steps. We make it complicated. Here it is from the prophet Micah: 1) do what you know is right, 2) be merciful – compassionate and generous – and, 3) be humble, remembering that bad things can happen to good people and don’t think yourself better than someone else. It doesn’t take extraordinary courage, wealth or strength to live like Christ – just humility enough to let Him live through you.

Prayer Starter

May I act justly, love mercy and walk humbly with You every day.

-Sue Breland, Journey Through the Cross: Meditations for Lent ©

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Too Much

…do this in remembrance of me. – Luke 22:19

In His time, Jesus was considered outrageous, renegade, and even irreverent. He loved too much, forgave too much, gave too much of Himself for too many. He wore a cloak of humanity just to show us the way, to set the example, to help us understand the true meaning of sacrifice. We become more like Him with every one we love and every gift we give without expecting anything in return.

Prayer Starter

I want to embrace Your radical kind of love and then throw open my arms to share it with everyone in my world. I will remember Your example and know that there is never too much grace to go around.

-Sue Breland, Journey Through the Cross: Meditations for Lent ©

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Child-Like

He put a child in the middle of the room. Then, cradling the little one in His arms, He said, “Whoever embraces one of these children as I do embraces Me, and far more than Me—God who sent Me.” – Mark 9:36-37

Again we see Jesus with children – on His lap, in His arms, on His mind. He must have been comforted in their company, being those who could see the simple truth, un-callused by adulthood, unfettered by the pursuit of power. They longed to be with Him just to hold His hand, to see His smile, and to share His laughter. He pours out His compassion on us every day. His tender heart and strong arms open to embrace us, His “children.” Put away the childish attitudes and behaviors. Become child-like and really begin to know God.

Prayer Starter

Forgive me for my selfishness, for my temper tantrums and for so often, not playing well with others. Hold my hand and teach me how to grow into the person You want me to become.

-Sue Breland, Journey Through the Cross: Meditations for Lent ©

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The Fourth Sunday of Lent – Do Something

Mother Teresa of Calcutta once said, “If you can’t feed a hundred people, then feed just one.” This small, fragile woman was not wealthy, nor beautiful, nor in a position of power, but her acts of simple kindness to the poor and dying brought her world-wide recognition. She practiced a great truth, shared by Helen Keller who said, “I am only one; but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something. I will not refuse to do the something I can do.” May we also be ever ready to do the something we can do.

Prayer Starter

I offer myself to You and in so doing, to others. I don’t always know what I can do, but I know that You can help me to seize the moment when I can be used for good.

Delve Deeper

Volunteer with any church or other nonprofit organization in your community whose mission is important to you. Giving of yourself, your time, your talent – asking for nothing in return – is a powerful gift. Remarkably, you will likely find that you will reap the greatest reward. Be sure to include your experience in your Lenten journal.

-Sue Breland, Journey Through the Cross: Meditations for Lent ©

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Do the Do’s

 Jesus said, “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” – Matthew 11:28-30 (MSG)

Too often we shackle ourselves to the burden of the “Don’ts.” Remember that the opposite of every “Don’t” is a corresponding “Do.” It may seem like a small thing to change your focus from the negative to the positive, but doing so can make a big change in the weight of your life. Lighten up and dance your life to the “unforced rhythms of grace.” Couldn’t you use a real rest?

Prayer Starter

You are God of the positive, the possible, even the improbable. When nothing is impossible with You, how can I be less than optimistic in my outlook on a future held in Your hands? I ask You to redirect me when my attitude is less than worthy of You.

-Sue Breland, Journey Through the Cross: Meditations for Lent ©

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The Offer

For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him will not perish, but have eternal life. – John 3:16

If you are a bargain shopper, this is the deal of a lifetime. Jesus lived on earth, so that we wouldn’t have to live alone. Jesus died a sinner’s death, so that we wouldn’t have to die in our sin. Jesus arose from the dead, so that we could have eternal life with Him. All this for simply believing in Him. This wasn’t a weekend sale or a time limited special, the offer still stands today. Our service, our resources, our trust in Him seems such a small exchange for the treasure that awaits us!

Prayer Starter

Savior, I accept Your offer that has stood the test of time. I believe in You and take hope knowing that You believe in me. How can I thank you for such a great exchange?

-Sue Breland, Journey Through the Cross: Meditations for Lent ©

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