The Prescription

The Lord has told you what is good, and this is what He requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God. – Micah 6:8

God has given us the prescription, the recipe, the path to Christian life in a few simple steps. We make it complicated. Here it is from the prophet Micah: 1) do what you know is right, 2) be merciful – compassionate and generous – and, 3) be humble, remembering that bad things can happen to good people and don’t think yourself better than someone else.

It doesn’t take extraordinary courage, wealth or strength to live like Christ – just humility enough to let Him live through you.

Prayer Starter

May I act justly, love mercy and walk humbly with You every day.

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

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Too Much

…do this in remembrance of me. – Luke 22:19

In His time, Jesus was considered outrageous, renegade, and even irreverent. He loved too much, forgave too much, gave too much of Himself for too many. He wore a cloak of humanity just to show us the way, to set the example, to help us understand the true meaning of sacrifice. We become more like Him with every one we love and every gift we give without expecting anything in return.

Prayer Starter

I want to embrace Your radical kind of love and then throw open my arms to share it with everyone in my world. I will remember Your example and know that there is never too much grace to go around.

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

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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, uncalloused 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 – 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 fully accepted in 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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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, 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. Perhaps we need to extend such grace to others within our reach.

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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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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Women of Action

Then Esther sent this reply to Mordecai: “Go and gather together all the Jews of Susa and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. My maids and I will do the same. And then, though it is against the law, I will go in to see the king. If I must die, I must die.” -Esther 4:15-16

We can have faith in the silence of our hearts. We can exhibit courage of conviction without taking a step, but taking action requires leaving the safety of our homes and churches and risking something for the cause of Christ. The risk may be great or small, exposing us to ridicule, rejection or perhaps even death.

We find in the Gospels, that no one is more supportive, more encouraging, more unexpectedly the champion of women, than Jesus. Wherever Jesus was, you will find women. They followed Him, helped Him, served Him, reached out to touch Him at great risk. Jesus always met them where they were, as they were, with love and respect.

Those women knew that action requires movement, not just thought, not only faith, but actually engaging with the world to make something happen. Women of today, let’s do it – let us become the “movers and shakers” of our age and act!

Sue Breland, Worship for One ©

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