Joy in the Journey

For this day is holy unto our LORD: neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the LORD is your strength. – Nehemiah 8:10 (KJV)

If we had to depend on just our own strength, where would we be? If we had to travel our lives alone, where would we end up? We see it everyday in people all around us – shallow lives, lonely passages, fear and weakness hover beneath smiling facades, but we escape this fate by the grace of God.

By His Spirit, He fills us with His strength, His courage, and His comfort to overcome everything that would discourage, derail or destroy us. Be strong through the Lord and rejoice!

Prayer StarterI resolve to meet this day with gladness, to glory in You. Whatever circumstance comes my way, I will rejoice and be glad for You are my strength and my source of joy.

Sue Breland, Worship for One©

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Tackling Temptation

When the devil had finished all this tempting, he left Him until an opportune time. – Luke 4:13

The opportune moment is the one when temptation hits us hardest. It comes when we least expect it, are most unprepared for it, and at our weakest. The allure of all we desire so often comes wrapped in deception and stealth, so quiet we don’t hear its voice or recognize its dangers. Our greatest temptations are not always the most obvious, inherently valuable or clearly definable, but those which make their secret home within us, lying in wait for the opportunity to boost our fragile spot or pamper our pleasure point.

Fortunately, this also provides us a way to fend off temptation by allowing time to strengthen our defenses, to do a daily room to room sweep of all our hidden closets and to become more sensitive to its slightest vibration. As we are less and less susceptible to its tricks, there will be fewer and fewer opportune moments and the Tempter will just have to walk away- – again.

Prayer Starter I sweep my closets clean today and give no quarter to the temptations that would hide, hurt or hinder me from walking closer to you.

Sue Breland, Worship for One©

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Everything We Could Want

For the third test, the devil took him [Jesus] to the peak of a huge mountain. He gestured expansively, pointing out all the earth’s kingdoms, how glorious they all were. Then he said, “they’re yours – lock, stock and barrel. Just go down on your knees and worship me, and they’re yours.” Jesus’ refusal was curt: “Beat it, Satan!” He backed his rebuke with a third quotation from Deuteronomy: “Worship the Lord you God, and only him. Serve him with absolute single-heartedness.” The test was over. The devil left. – Matt 4:8-11 (MSG)

Satan made quite an offer – everything Jesus could want – but when you really think about, those things were never Satan’s to give.

He uses that same lie on us today. Remember that there is nothing of any value that Satan can offer, regardless of its pretty packaging, because he is only the King of Lies. You serve the King of Light!

Prayer Starter Lord, lies are so pretty and sound so soft to my ears, give me Your discernment to see the truth.

Sue Breland, Worship for One©

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Back Doors

Then the devil took Him into the holy city and had Him stand on the highest part of the temple. He said to Jesus, “If you are the Son of God, jump! Scripture says, ‘He will put his angels in charge of you. They will carry you in their hands so that you never hit your foot against a rock.’” Jesus said to him, “Again Scripture says, ‘Never tempt the Lord your God.’” – Matthew 4:5-6

Satan often sneaks into our lives through our pride, our rights, even our religion. In “The Screwtape Letters” by C.S. Lewis, he writes that “the gentle, sliding slope of habitual small sins is better, than any grandiose sin for the devil’s purposes.”

Lewis shows how evil can seep into a Christian’s relationships with friends and family, in his views on the church, and even in his practice of prayer. Recognize the tempter when he comes and let God’s Word and His love guide you.

Prayer Starter – Lord, guard the back door to my heart that I might be keep my face forward toward You.

Sue Breland, Worship for One©

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Power Source

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 – Lord, help me use my power, my political capital, my bank of influence as an investment in others.

Sue Breland, Worship for One©

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The First Sunday of Lent – Fragility

We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. – 2 Corinthians 4:7a

The human body is a fragile thing. Just a fall, a few days without water, exposure to temperatures too cold or too hot; and our bodies will cease to function. It is not our physical frame, a shell of flesh and bone, wherein we find our real strength, but from the inexplicable spark within that drives us to go on when there seems to be nowhere to go. It is an ineffable quality that fortifies our emotions and steels our mental toughness beyond mere corporeal matter.

For Christians, we know that it is God living in us that generates that power which holds us together when our frail vessels should fall apart. While it is unlikely that one would put a treasure in brittle clay container, God came to live inside the vulnerable human heart to make us stronger than we could ever be without Him.

Prayer Starter Jesus, in my brokenness, may I be remade in Your image and filled with all that You would pour into me.

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, Worship for One©

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The Word Revealed

He made this known at the right time through His Word. – Titus 1:3

God reveals Himself to us in many ways; at the right time, in the right way, always ready to meet our needs. His “Word” is one, very profound, revelation of who God is. In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God – (John 1:1).

The Word is more than just a book we read, an ancient text, a documented history, written biography or allegorical fable. It is the living bridge from God to us across the span of time. The link that was embodied in the being of Jesus Christ, who gave it breathe and voice for our understanding. It continues to manifest as pulsating life blood in us as we read it, hear it, digest it for the nourishment of the body, mind and soul. Through the Word, God is revealed in us!

Prayer Starter – Lord, reveal Your Word in me. May others read the story of Your life through me.

Sue Breland, Worship for One©

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An Open Invitation

The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let the one who hears say, “Come!” Let the one who is thirsty come; and let the one who wishes take the free gift of the water of life. – Revelation 22:17

Jesus was an open book, a generous spirit, a welcoming hand of friendship wherever He went. People flocked to His side, not only for His message, but for His person: His gentle touch, His hearty laugh and kind eyes. Children would not have longed for His lap were He any less inviting. He touched the “untouchables” and looked with love on the unlovely.

When He said, “Come unto Me” it was sincere. The invitation was made in His own blood. All were welcome, none turned away. The invitation still stands.

Prayer Starter – I am humbled by Your invitation, extended to one such as I, just as I am.

Sue Breland, Worship for One©

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The Time to Act

God’s Spirit is on Me; He’s chosen Me to preach the Message of good news to the poor. Sent Me to announce pardon to prisoners and recovery of sight to the blind. To set the burdened and battered free, to announce, “This is God’s year to act!” – Luke 4:18-19 (The Message)

And so it began. Upon emerging from the wilderness, Jesus read these words from the prophecy of Isaiah and set a plan in motion that would change the world in just three short years.

For Him, it would lead to Calvary – for us – eternity.

Prayer Starter – Help me Lord to follow your example, to speak Your love to those who are in bondage and blindness. May I make this my time to act in Your name.

Sue Breland, Worship for One©

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Ash Wednesday – The Hunger

Then the Spirit led Jesus into the desert to be tempted by the devil. Jesus did not eat anything for 40 days and 40 nights. At the end of that time, He was hungry. The tempter came to Him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become loaves of bread.” Jesus answered, “Scripture says, ‘A person cannot live on bread alone, but on every word that God speaks. – Matthew 4:1-4

Physical hunger is the most primal of human desires. So powerful and universal that we can often understand and even excuse how people go to extreme lengths to fill that void.

Satan knows how to hit us at our weakest point – but Jesus showed us that we a more than our basic instincts. When we are weak, He is strong.

We begin this Season of Lent, of remembrance, humility and self-denial, to learn more about how strong He can become in us.

Prayer Starter – Lord, I begin this walk with You today, as I seek to know You more and to submit myself to You.

Sue Breland, Worship for One©

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