Reality Check

But don’t begin until you count the cost. – Luke 14:28

Jesus was clear throughout His ministry, that being His follower would come with a cost. There was no “sugar coating”, no “rose-colored glasses,” for the truth of discipleship. The road was hard then, it is still hard today.

He would pay the ultimate price, and every follower should be ready to do the same. Many have done so through the ages around the world. We cannot follow in hiding, so sit down at the beginning of each day, decide what you are willing to sacrifice as you follow Him out of yourself and into the world.

Prayer Starter Lord, the road ahead is not easy, but I know that I do not walk it alone. I will honestly express my fears and failures, so that You can work in me to grow stronger, more resilient and better equipped to serve You.

  • Sue Breland, Worship for One ©
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Jesus, the Water of Life

Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” – John 4:13-14 (NIV)

There is such a thing as “dead” water. It may be polluted with toxins or so clean that it is stripped of its nutrients from over filtering. It can sustain life, but not real health. “Living” water not only brings hydration, but essential minerals necessary for bone growth, muscle function and connective tissue. It is also special on a molecular level, more alkaline than acidic, more quickly passing into our cells and fully nourishing our bodies.

Jesus is Living Water to our souls, bringing cool, refreshing relief to the dryness of our lives. He changes us from our atoms outward, ridding us of toxic thoughts and acidic desires that drain us of the little life we have. Drink Him in deeply, immersing yourself in the flood of His love and splashing with joy into eternity.

Prayer Starter Lord, submerge me in Your Living Water. Surround me, fill me, wash over me with Your love and may it spill over onto all others that you put in my path.

  • Sue Breland, Worship for One ©
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Bread of Heaven

The true bread of God is the one who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world. – John 6:33 (NLT)

The Jews were well aware of how God sent manna as their ancestors wandered desperately in the wilderness. This flour-like substance made into bread saved their lives. While God’s “chosen” hungered in the desert forty years, deferred from entering the Promised Land because of their sin, God sustained them.

Jesus, the Messiah, came to save an aimless, starving world. We are all now “chosen” and offered the Bread of Life that will sustain us as we await our promised final destination. We are born hungry into a wilderness of uncertainty and endless choices. That which we chose to satisfy our hunger will determine the quality of our health and the hope of life worth living.

Prayer Starter: As the song writer wrote, “Bread of Heaven, feed me til I want no more,” I will sing of your faithful provision. Both my physical and spiritual needs are met by You, day by day, and I will express my gratitude!

  • Sue Breland, Worship for One ©
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The Son

Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” – Matthew 16:16 (NLT)

Why would God reveal Himself as “the Son”? He could have appeared as a powerful prophet, easily accepted in the Jewish culture. He could have come as a political king, much desired by the people of Israel oppressed by Roman rule. He could have burst onto the scene as a conquering warrior, expected by many to battle and bend the world into their vision of the future.

He could have come in any form, but He chose to arrive as a child, a Son. One of us, responsible to a family, obedient to the Father, accessible to everyone. Only the sacrifice of a true Son, spilling His own blood, breaking His heart, would be enough to speak the Word, end oppression and make a better future beyond any vision we can foresee or imagine.

Prayer Starter That You would come to live like me in order to reach me is almost beyond my ability to comprehend. I humble myself to the Son who brought me into His family.

  • Sue Breland, Worship for One ©

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The Way

Jesus told him, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.” – John 14:6

When we are lost, there is no relief like finding the way home. When we are accused, confused, or living a lie, only the truth can bring us peace. When we merely exist from day to day, the promise of real life brings joy unspeakable to endless cloudy days.

Jesus was, is, and will be the answer to the questions that haunt us, hunt us down, and keep us trapped in meaningless pursuits. He provides the way out of despair and truth that you can depend on. He gave His own life so that we could have life that was abundant in every way – full, free, motivated and miraculous.

The Way is before us. Accept His Truth and take the Life that is just one step away.

Prayer Starter Lord, when my way is cloudy, light Your way before me.

  • Sue Breland, Worship for One ©
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For Such a Time

And who knows but that you have come to this position for such a time as this? – Esther 4:14

We have each come to this moment cocooned in all our personal challenges of the past, failures, victories, lessons learned, and mistakes made. If we believe in life that is directed by an unseen hand through a precarious world within a well-designed plan, we must too then believe that every twist and turn has prepared us for the next step we take, for now and our best choices for the future.

So congratulations! You are where you are meant to be. Serve God with gratitude for bringing you safely this far. Give back like there is no tomorrow, for we were made for such a time as this.

Prayer Starter: When the unknown closes in and tomorrow’s light is obscured, I will stretch my faith to accept that You have brought me here, to this place and time, not to abandon me, but to make me strong.

  • Sue Breland, Worship for One ©
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The Fourth Sunday of Lent – Visibility

Afterward Joseph of Arimathea, who had been a secret disciple of Jesus …asked Pilate for permission to take down Jesus’ body…With him, came Nicodemus, the man who had come to Jesus by night… – John 19:38–39

Joseph and Nicodemus believed, but no one knew. They hid their secret, visited Jesus under the cover of darkness, and were limited in what they could do for Him or what He could do for them. Only with His death, did they expose their secret and with His resurrection, they became two of the most memorable men of the New Testament Bible.

A secret life is not useful to God. Let the “cat out of the bag” and let God use you to do the unimaginable in His name.

Prayer Starter – Give me courage, God, to stand for you in the hard places. I ask for Your light to shine in me and through me, so that You can use me wherever darkness falls.

Delve Deeper – During this week, read the book of Luke in any version of the Bible you prefer. Luke, believed to be a physician and likely the only non-Jewish writer included in the Christian Bible, has a unique perspective on Jesus’ life, death and resurrection. As a healer, Luke had expert skills of observation giving him special insights to the human condition and focus on details that other less trained writers would miss. As an “outsider”, not part of Jewish establishment or culture, he noticed how Jesus interacted and engaged with other outsiders: women, shepherds, Samaritans, the poor, the sick – ultimate outsiders in a very rigidly divided and socially stratified world. As you read, see Jesus by the light that Luke shines on Him and all those sharing the spotlight along His path.

May this exercise encourage you to begin a Bible reading plan that will enable you to read the entire Bible in one year. Understanding our God in full context, through time and the eyes of many inspired writers, will enrich your life and your journey with Him.

  • Sue Breland, Worship for One ©
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God’s Favor

The Spirit of the LORD is upon me, for He has anointed Me to bring Good News to the poor…the time of the LORD’s favor has come. The Scripture you’ve just heard has been fulfilled this very day! – Luke 4:18 & 21

Who is He? He is who He said He was. He is the fulfillment of prophecy. He is the One who brings Good News, good gifts and God’s Grace.

He was the sacrifice so that we could be saved. He is our Source, our Strength, our Escape. He is more than we think and all that we need.

Prayer Starter You are today as You always were and forever will be. In this may my faith be encouraged and my doubts diminished.

  • Sue Breland, Worship for One ©
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Pause

But let a man examine himself, and then let him eat of that bread and drink of that cup. – 1 Corinthians 11:28

Hit pause.

Our busy lives go by so quickly, we’re often on “auto pilot,” acting without thinking – going through the motions just as we’ve done so many times before. At this time of the year, the Christian calendar reminds to stop and examine ourselves with an honest look at our actions, motivations and witness. Our Savior gave His all – are we, at least, giving our best? His body broken. His blood spilled.

Think about it.

Prayer Starter I stop today…breathe You in…feel Your touch on my heart…and listen for Your voice.

  • Sue Breland, Worship for One ©
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Who Do You Say I Am?

Then He asked them, “But who do you say I am?” Peter replied, “You are the Messiah.” – Mark 8:29

During His life, Jesus was called by many names: Nazarene, carpenter, teacher, instigator and insurrectionist. Both His supporters and detractors formed opinions of Him and gave Him names, spreading His public persona across tabloid-like sources of the day.

He knew what they said about Him. Whether right or wrong, it didn’t really matter to Him what strangers said about Him. He was only concerned about how His friends knew Him and what they would say about Him. They would be His witnesses when the time came. When He needed them to carry His message to the world.

Today, Jesus is still called by many names: Savior, God, prophet, myth, imposter, object of the joke – and He is still not concerned by what they say – just about them. We, His friends and closest to Him, remain His witnesses to those who don’t know Him, who mistake Him for someone else, who don’t care. So when He asks you – who will you say He is?

Prayer StarterJesus, my Friend and Savior, give me the strength to stand for you and the wisdom to know how to share Your name through Your love even in the face of ridicule.

  • Sue Breland, Worship for One ©
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