Thursday, March 17, 2011

Lenten Devotional Series

I realize I am getting to this a week late, but for all five of you who might see this, I would guess that you've been pretty busy anyway. Part of Lent this year has been developing an online devotional series for the church website. Each week, we will be discussing a particular piece of the Whole Armor of God. This week it is the Belt of Truth. Here are the devotional entries since Sunday, with additional ones to follow on a daily basis.

Thursday, March 17
“And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you forever. 17 This is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, because he abides with you, and he will be in you.”
John 14:16-17

All around us, voices of the world tell us what we should be or do. These voices can tear us down and make us fearful in the face of all that goes on around us. God has given us a great gift, however, in the Holy Spirit, which speaks truth and abides with us.

Wednesday, March 16
“The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a sharing in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a sharing in the body of Christ? 17 Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread.
1 Corinthians 10:16-17

Our faith is shared in community with people all over the world—it began halfway around the globe from us. In truth, no matter how far apart we are, we are connected through the body and blood of Christ. We must listen and honestly hear our brothers and sisters in faith when they tell their story, even as we live ours.

Tuesday, March 15
“Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Philippians 4:6-7

We seek truth. We hunger for the right answer or the real story, and we have anxiety when things just don’t feel right. However, we are given a great gift in the form of prayer, that we may lift every joy, sorrow, hope and fear to God. Whether we pray constantly without ceasing or set aside specific times, we are promised God’s peace guards us. As you listen to Bach’s music, intentionally enter into a time of prayer.
Prelude and Fugue in C Major

Monday, March 14
“In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth, 2 the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a wind from God swept over the face of the waters. 3 Then God said, "Let there be light"; and there was light.”
Genesis 1:1-3

God speaks, and light breaks forth as the first day dawns. In many parts of our lives, truth becomes overwhelming for us—often grasped only in a moment of awareness. Linda Gregerson captures some of that wonder and truth in her poem, “Varenna.”

Sunday, March 13
“See that none of you repays evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to all. Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise the words of prophets, but test everything; hold fast to what is good;”
1 Thessalonians 5:15-21

Sundays in Lent will be days of activity designed to be flexible enough to done in solitude or in community with family and friends. This week, we will consider the truth of the world, how we seek it, and what that means for our lives.

As you go through today and this week, be conscious of finding truth by testing unexpected places.

As an exercise in this, try to find three news sources that you don’t regularly go to for stories. For example, if you’re usually a Fox News person, watch CNN, if you utilize American sources, try something international like BBC, if you always read the New York Times, try the Journal Star, etc. Read or watch these sources for the perspectives they present, and expand your information base in the process.

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