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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Grace

For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. – 1 Peter 3:18

Jesus became the sacrifice not only for those that loved Him, but even more so for those that didn’t – for those that despised Him and even called for His death. As we are reminded by the Calvary experience that He extends His nail-scarred hand across the centuries to everyone, regardless of where or what they are, and walks with us to the throne of grace.

Prayer Starter

Today I ask that You allow me to see others through Your eyes. Help me to love the unlovely and touch the untouchables with Your Spirit through my hands and heart.

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

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Polished

Present yourselves as building stones for the construction of a sanctuary vibrant with life, in which you’ll serve as holy priests offering Christ-approved lives up to God. – 1 Peter 2:5 (MSG)

The apostle Peter wrote these words; the Peter who was a bully, loud mouth, hot head, big talker, reactionary, liar, even denying he ever knew Jesus. But this same Peter is the Rock upon which the Christian Church was built. Offer yourself, your resources, your life to Christ and the Master Builder will polish your rough exterior into a strong foundation, shinning, and ready for service.

Prayer Starter

God, I know I am rough around the edges, sometimes even hard at my core. Please soften me, mold me and make me more like You. I know polishing can be harsh and even painful, but I submit to You so that I may someday shine.

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

 

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Magnify the Lord

O magnify the Lord with Me, and let us exalt His name together. – Psalm 34:3 (NKJV)

Magnify the Lord over your own feelings. Magnify His peace over your uncertainty. Magnify Him in your heart and that will magnify Him in your life. Learn the true freedom that comes from serving Him as Master and Lord!

Prayer Starter

In all that I do or say, Oh Lord, may there be more of You and less of me. You are worthy of my praise, worthy of my trust, worthy of my life. I magnify You, my God and my Savior!

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

 

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The Narrow Way

Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life and only a few find it. – Matthew 7:13-14

Few find the road to eternal life, not because it is hidden or overly difficult, but because most people are just not looking for it. The wide path is big enough to follow the crowd, to pave with smooth walkways, and to build amusement parks full of distractions. Taking the road “less traveled” – the narrow one – does make all the difference in both the joy of the journey and the final eternal destination.

Prayer Starter

Thank you, Lord, for showing me the way. Help me to be less distracted by people and things that try to pull me off course.

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

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The Third Sunday of Lent – Time for Kindness

We can be a kinder, gentler nation and still be strong. Jesus was never weak in His ministry, but He was also never too busy to be kind. He blessed the children (Matthew 19:14), He healed many (Matthew 19:2), He spoke comfort to the thief beside Him as He hung on a cross (Luke 23:43). If we follow our Lord’s example, we will take time – indeed make time – to be kind.

Prayer Starter

I have experienced Your kindness over and over in my life. Help me to increase my awareness of opportunities to show kindness to others: family, friends, coworkers, or strangers. May it become my first thought as I interact with this world.

Delve Deeper

During this week, seek out opportunities to show kindness to someone in your family, a friend or coworker, and a stranger. Notice how these acts make you feel and how it affects the other person. Include these encounters in your Lenten journal. Consider continuing this practice throughout the season of Lent and beyond.

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

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Shine

In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven; for He gives His sunlight to both the evil and the good, and He sends rain on the just and the unjust alike. – Matthew 5:45 (NLT)

We all are subject to laws of nature and the consequences of actions beyond our control. Yet, through Jesus Christ, we have the ability to find the “silver lining” which others may miss, to live on our inheritance as God’s children and to share from the overflow of His abundance. Jesus experienced the worst the world had to offer, yet He made it possible for us to survive, thrive, and shine.

Prayer Starter

When I am overwhelmed, confused or feeling out of control, I pray for Your calming presence. Show me how my current circumstances are only temporary and how You and Your love for me will shine through.

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

 

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