When Jesus arrived at Bethany, He was told that Lazarus had already been in his grave for four days. When Martha got word that Jesus was coming, she went to meet Him. But Mary stayed in the house. Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if only You had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now, I know that God will give You whatever You ask.” – John 11:17&20-22

Martha would have been overwhelmed by the demands of the funeral for her brother, the needs of the mourners, the financial burdens and desperate circumstances of the future, but upon this visit, she dropped everything and went out to meet Jesus. She had learned that He alone was the answer to all her well-known worries, not the least of which was the death of her brother. Like Martha, we must balance the concerns of life with the care of the Savior. Go to Him.

Prayer Starter

So often the worries and responsibilities of life weigh heavily on me. You can bring lightness of spirit back into my step. As You bring balance to the universe, You can bring balance to my soul.

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

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Without Delay

Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me. – Isaiah 6:8

We live in a “wishy-washy” world today. It seems like everything is disposable, nothing lasts forever, no one stays in one place for very long. The concept of loyalty is waning, vows are easily broken or we just avoid making promises altogether so that we always have “an out.” Through all this, our God stands firm: constant, consistent, committed to His children. How sad He must feel when His children choose to live by the world’s example instead of His. God forgive us – we commit ourselves to You this day! When you make a vow to God, delay not its fulfillment (Ecclesiastes 5:3).

Prayer Starter

God, help me stand firm in my faith even when others may fall.

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

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For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give His life as a ransom for many. – Matthew 20:28

Jesus was an uncommon child, an unlikely leader, an unfathomable sacrifice. Service would be the theme of His loving existence. The greatest gift to mankind would inspire the greatest mission for man: to love, serve and give.

Prayer Starter

Show me how best I can work in Your service. May the gifts You have given me be used for Your glory and to serve others as You did.

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

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For Jesus is the one referred to in the Scriptures, where it says, “The stone that you builders rejected, has now become the cornerstone.” – Acts 4:11

Hind-sight is 20/20. “IF” is in the middle of “LIFE.” If only we had done this, or said that, what may have been the outcome? We make mistakes, we make wrong choices. But this scripture inspires us to believe that God can still make it right.

Just as Jesus was rejected, underestimated, battered and brutalized yet rose to be the most influential individual of all time – with the power of God, we can surely pick ourselves up, brush off the disappointments, and choose a new path toward a better tomorrow.

Laid off from a job? Lost investment value in the stock market? God’s will for us can still win out when we take the “IF” out of “LIFE” and get an IV infusion of His Spirit so that we can fully “LIVE” by faith.

Sue Breland, Worship for One Journey Through the Cross©

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The Bargain

When Judas, who had betrayed Him, realized that Jesus had been condemned to die, he was filled with remorse. So he took the thirty pieces of silver back to the leading priests and the elders. – Matthew 27:3

Judas had made a bad deal and there was no way he could “undo” it. As we know, this bargain led to a negative conclusion for Judas. Yet, how many of us have made “bad deals?” Has anyone ever traded a bit of integrity for popularity, or perhaps to keep a job? Some have sold Christian convictions for anticipated financial success (is a tithe better invested in the market than in the church?). We get the best deal ever from Jesus Christ and you can be confident that it is a bargain you will never regret.

Prayer Starter

So many things sparkle and shine, drawing my attention away from what is important in Your eyes. Help me to remember that the most valuable possession I can own is only found in You.

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

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Unheeded Warning

“… but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.” Abraham said to him, “If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead.” – Luke 16:30-31

In a large crowd, Jesus told the story of a beggar named Lazarus who died and went to a heavenly reward. This could be seen by a rich man who also died, but he had been sent… elsewhere. Since it was too late for him, the rich man asked that Lazarus be sent back to earth to warn his brothers of the fate that awaited them if they didn’t change their ways. We see the response in today’s scripture. How interesting that, not too long after telling this story, Jesus’ real-life friend, also named Lazarus, was actually raised from his tomb (John 12:1). As Jesus predicted, bringing Lazarus back to life did not change the minds of those in the crowd that called for Jesus’ death just a short time later. It is not the power of our eyes, but of our hearts, that changes lives.

Prayer Starter

As I try to travel with You on this journey through the cross, may my faith grow with every step.

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

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The Fifth Sunday of Lent – Availability

…their eyes were opened and they recognized Him, and [then] He disappeared from their sight. – Luke 24:31

After His resurrection from death, on the road to Emmaus, Jesus walked and talked with disciples that did not recognize Him – so blinded by their small understanding of the greatest story ever told – in which they were living.

But eventually it became clear, and they realized that Jesus had completed His part in the plan of salvation. Now it is up to us to realize our place in the Father’s on-going mission to the world.

Prayer StarterOpen my eyes Lord, to the lives and needs of those around me. Point me to those who I can serve in Your love.

Delve Deeper – Be a part of something greater than yourself, something that can further the love that Jesus has shown to you. 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, Worship for One ©
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…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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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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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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