Relationship

So the Pharisees and teachers of the law asked Jesus, “Why don’t your disciples live according to the tradition of the elders instead of eating their food with defiled hands?” He replied, “Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written:

“‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are merely human rules.’ You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to human traditions.” And He continued, “You have a fine way of setting aside the commands of God in order to observe your own traditions!” – Mark 7:5-9 (MSG)

Jesus did not come to earth to establish a religion, but to restore a relationship between you and God. Are you practicing “religion” or “relationship”?

Prayer Starter

I know you as my God. Help me to know you better as my friend, my confidant, my “Abba” (which means “Daddy”). From an intimate relationship with You, I believe You will help me practice Your love in my relationships with others. Help me to set aside religion and put Your love above laws so that others may also want to enter a relationship with You.

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

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Power Play

Then the devil took Him to the holy city and had Him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw Yourself down. For it is written: He will command His angels concerning You, and they will lift You up in their hands, so that You will not strike Your foot against a stone.” Jesus answered him, “It is also written: Do not put the Lord your God to the test.” – Matthew 4:5-7

 Jesus had the power to do just as Satan asked and He would have indeed been safe, just as Satan said. Perhaps the temptation was not all about Jesus risking His physical life, but rather, a temptation to use His power for selfish gain – just because He could. We all have some measure of personal power (our position, knowledge or ability to influence others, etc.). When your power play is tempted, do you give in and use it to your advantage – because you can – or do you humble yourself, as Jesus did, and submit to the ultimate power source?

Prayer Starter

Thank you for gifting me in ways that I have not even yet discovered. Help me to discern when to use my power for Your glory instead of my own.

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

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The First Sunday of Lent – Secret Christian

Many people did believe in Him, including some of the Jewish leaders. But they wouldn’t admit it for fear that the Pharisees would expel them from the synagogue, for they loved human praise more than the praise of God. – John 12:42-43 (NLT)

It is difficult to be a secret Christian. Jesus knows that if we’re not “all in” we’re probably mostly out. Others will unmistakably know that we are Christians by His love shining through us, by His power upholding us, and by His grace bringing us to our knees. Decide where you stand and what you are willing to offer to gain the praise of God in spite of the response of man.

Prayer Starter

Forgive me, Lord, for those times when I fell short of Your expectations when others were watching. Give me the strength to stand for You regardless of the price to my popularity or position. I know my greatest reward is in You.

Delve Deeper

Start a journal for this season of Lent. Each day, note any new discoveries you may make about God and about yourself. Write down any particular prayer requests you make and be sure to document answers to those prayers. Entries need not be long or grammatically correct, this is just another way for you to communicate with God and more importantly, for Him to speak to you.

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

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Time Alone

After He had dismissed them, He went up on a mountainside by Himself to pray. Later that night, He was there alone…. – Matthew 14:23

During this season of Lent, we remember that even Jesus needed time away to regroup, relax, and re-energize His spirit. More than ever today, we too, need to turn off the TV, the computer and IPOD so that we can just be still – and know that the He is God. For even in solitude, we are never alone.

Prayer Starter

I’m so grateful that whenever I call on You, You are there. Help me to be still so that I can know You better, my God.

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

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Wine

The next day there was a wedding celebration in the village of Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, and Jesus and His disciples were also invited to the celebration. The wine supply ran out during the festivities, so Jesus’ mother told Him, “They have no more wine.” – John 2:1-3 (NLT)

A wedding was an important community event that lasted many days. To run out of refreshments for the guests would have been a great embarrassment to the family, Mary’s friends. Even though Jesus had not yet revealed Himself as a miracle worker, Mary knew that the Son she had raised would somehow help their friends. She didn’t know that in three short years, Jesus’ own blood would be the wine that saved not just the day, but the world.

Prayer Starter

I thank you today for saving me with Your own precious blood. Help me be the kind of friend that others can count on to support them in any situation as You did.

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

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Fasting

But when you fast, comb your hair and wash your face. Then no one will notice that you are fasting, except your Father, who knows what you do in private. And your Father, who sees everything, will reward you. – Matthew 6:17-18

Fasting is a practice of personal devotion to God. How we fast is never as important as why. Whether we forego one meal a day, one kind of food, or adopt any of the many other techniques of fasting, it is only the intent of our heart, not our stomach, that makes it acceptable to God. It is not how gaunt, but how grateful, we look to others that impresses our Father – not how hungry, but how humble.

Prayer Starter

Thank you for caring for me. Help me joyfully feed the hunger in my soul with You, my God, the Bread of Life.

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

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The Journey Begins – Ash Wednesday

This is how much God loved the world: He gave His Son, His one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in Him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. – John 3:16 (MSG)

Before Jesus began His ministry, He spent forty days alone in the wilderness, praying and fasting – perhaps for guidance, maybe for strength – definitely contemplating His destiny and its final destination on earth. Thanks to God’s plan, we too have a destiny and a final destination. Thanks to Jesus, it is not the lonely road to death and darkness as we deserve, but the way of peace that leads to eternal life with Him.

Prayer Starter

As I take this journey of renewal with You, help me examine myself and discover how to be more like You day by day.

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

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Join us here for daily Lent Devotions starting on February 14!

Meditations for LentJoin us here every day of the Lenten Season, starting on February 14, for a free devotion to deepen your journey of faith through Easter.

If you want your own hard copy of “Journey Through the Cross: Meditations for Lent” or to purchase a Kindle version, you can find it on Amazon.com.

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Preparing for Lent

During the forty days prior to the celebration of Easter, Christians around the world set aside time to remember the final journey of Jesus of Nazareth. We study the steps He took into Jerusalem, sacrificing Himself on Calvary, visiting death and leaving it behind for a throne in eternity. The cross was not the end of His life, but the beginning of His reign. It is just history until we take our own journey through the cross and make it our own story.

Every day of this observance, often called the Lenten season (or Lent), we have the opportunity to take a fresh look at His words, His relationships, and His sacrifice in order that we might discover how our lives can be more fulfilled by being more like Him.
Lent is a special time in the Christian calendar used particularly for fasting and self-examination, for self-denial and personal growth. It is the perfect time to engage in Worship for One, to focus your heart and mind on things that can really make a difference in your life, to your family or within your church.

This journey begins on Ash Wednesday, stepping through one meditation each day and an opportunity to consider taking greater action each Sunday; however, any time of year is the right time for personal examination. We hope that the meditations you find here will help you make discoveries in scripture and within yourself. We believe that if you delve deeper and apply yourself to His Word, you will be transformed by the experience.

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

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Christmas Day: The Gift of Tomorrow

How much better to get wisdom than gold, and good judgment than silver! – Proverbs 16:16

Christmas has come! Did you get everything you wanted? A season of material majesty is often followed by the holiday blues. The realization that “things” did not fill those empty holes in our lives is a painful reality. We sometimes buy into the commercial illusion of Christmas bliss and turn a blind eye to those that are sad, lonely, and hurting at this time of year. Christmas came not only as a time to share the joy of the season, but perhaps more importantly, to share in the suffering of others – encouraging them with the message of hope that transcends the season and reaches into eternity.

It is the life of the Christ Child, not just the birth, which can fill us to overflowing long past December 25th. Keep Christmas alive in your heart by celebrating the Savior every day.

Today’s Gift

Make a plan for how you will continue to feed your “Christmas spirit” tomorrow, next week and next month. Write down one thing you will do each month of the coming year to experience Christmas in your heart and impact your world. Write or type your plan into your calendar, perhaps on the first day of the month, so that you will not forget.  This is not a “resolution”, it is an action plan.

Advent is over. Emmanuel is here!

Sue Breland, Worship For One: Advent Emmanuel ©

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