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Category: Devotions

Lent 2020 – Saturday, March 28

TOWARD THE CROSS—Luke 17:20-37

“Whoever tries to keep their life will lose it and whoever loses their life will preserve it” (Luke 17:33).

As this season of LENT continues, we come closer and closer to the dangerous CROSS. We realize that Jesus Christ paid an enormous price for our SALVATION. And he did it so willingly as he “resolutely set out for Jerusalem” (Luke 9:5). As the anointed one, (Messiah) Jesus was obedient to the Father.

As our chief Prophet, Jesus revealed to us the will of God concerning our salvation. As our only High Priest, the one sacrifice of his body paid the penalty for our sins. And today, as our eternal King, he governs us through his WORD and SPIRIT, always defending and preserving us for the work of the KINGDOM.

God calls us to join in his Holy work as prophets, priests and rulers, serving the KING. We too are anointed and share in his grand work of redeeming LOVE.

As we worship, pray, and share his good news and bring blessing to others, we grow nearer to God and help to bring others into his presence.

The words of Jesus in today’s verse remind us that, if we shy away from the things of God’s Kingdom, we will miss out on the full life God intends for us. If we accept and embrace our SPIRIT-LED and true identity, we will experience everlasting life in Jesus Christ. As we proceed toward becoming more like Christ, we may lose our life as we know it, but will gain so much more—ETERNAL LIFE WITH HIM.

PRAYER

Thank You, LORD, for a new life in CHRIST. May I live to the glory and majesty of the true Prophet, Priest and King, in whose name I pray. Amen.

Barb Hofmeister, elder

Lent 2020 – Friday, March 27

Why didn’t God just let Jesus show us how to be fully human and reconcile us to Godself without Jesus suffering on the Cross? Why didn’t God just make it so that humans never fell anyway? Was the love incomplete between God and Adam and Eve before they took the fruit of the tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil? Why is there suffering?

Job asks God why there is undeserved suffering. All of Job’s friends’ theological answers God declares untrue. Their answers are an all-too-human attempt to give an easy meaning to suffering. To them, it was either Job’s fault because of sin known, unknown, or unacknowledged  (see Job 4 and 11), or there was some lesson to be learned from the suffering, or that we are not wise enough to know (Job 8), or that Job sinned without knowing (Job 18), or that God’s justice is simply indiscernible to us (Job 34). Job defends himself as in the right despite all of these; he claims his suffering is undeserved, more than that, God shows up and declares all these arguments are untrue and that Job was right about God (Job 42:7). Job never learns about the wager between God and the Satan. 

Making meaning of undeserved suffering and assigning blame is a dangerous game. Now we must look to the Cross in this season of Lent. On Golgotha, God suffers with us. George MacDonald in The Hope of the Gospel says that part of the hope is that, through the Cross, God can redeem our suffering by making it like God’s. Struggle is now part of the Divine Life in the Trinity. 

In a culture of “fun-hogs,” and the implicit demands of social media, this means we are precisely allowed not to enjoy. Traditionally Lent is a season of struggling with oneself. Now as we are forced by an unprecedented form of struggle against a new threat, we are allowed to embrace the Way of the Cross. We are free from the pursuit of happiness to love others as Christ loves. From this path comes the fruit of the Spirit in our lives and the life of our community.

Stefan Seeling, student ministries director

Lent 2020 – Thursday, March 26

I know I don’t have to tell you how crazy the world is right now. News stories air continuously on the rising rate of COVID-19 infections and deaths. We’re unable to purchase toilet paper or hand sanitizer from local stores and online retailers. And, you would be well advised not to cough in the medicine isle at City Market or you’ll be met with skeptical, angry glances from fellow shoppers.

During Lent we spend time in reflection of the sacrifice Jesus made for us and we are asked to refrain from both food and festivities for the 40 days leading up to Easter. I can’t help but identify the irony that we’re currently under the directive from local government to ‘socially distance’ ourselves and not partake in festivities such as St. Patrick’s Day gatherings in order to minimize the risk of spreading COVID-19. 

Perhaps this distancing will allow for us to spend extra time in reflection of the meaning of Lent and our role as Christians in a world filled with chaos. While we are quarantined in our houses, separated from friends, family and fellow believers, seize the opportunity to dive into the story of Lent and get excited for what is to come. Perhaps we can reflect on the ultimate sacrifice Jesus endured for us and use this social quarantine to find time to talk with our families in preparation for the celebration of Easter. 

Jim Anderson, elder

Lent 2020 – Wednesday, March 25

Growing up, Ash Wednesday was a big deal in our house. Mom and Dad would round up all four of us kids and take us to church where we would get our foreheads marked with a cross. We were then told that it would be a good thing to give up something we liked in remembrance of Jesus who gave up his life for us. They probably preferred that we give up tattling on each other or bickering but we chose to give up chewing gum or jumping rope instead. For the first few days it didn’t seem like a sacrifice but given a bit of time I would start to yearn for that Juicy Fruit. Sacrifice—‘tis the season! 

As we experience Lent and all it entails leading up to the ultimate sacrifice recalled by Christians worldwide at this time of year, we are (for the first time ever) experiencing another type of sacrifice. Regardless of country, political system, race, religion, education or any of the other things we identify ourselves by, we are all in the beginnings of sacrificing something—our life styles, our financial security, our preferences, our movement patterns around the world, around the country, around town, around our neighborhood. We are asked to do or not do things that aren’t common for us and our families. It is shaking us up! It is causing panic for some, profound fear for others—uncertainty for everyone. It has hit fast and hard and has not taken me much time to start yearning for “normalcy” like I yearned for a stick of Juicy Fruit. 

Many of the sacrifices we are experiencing are for the safety and welfare of people in our world who are vulnerable. It has been difficult to convince many of the importance of this when their own experience has been so unaffected. All of this upheaval will be temporary. This time of isolation will end and we will resume our social lives and habits… we will start chewing gum and jumping rope again. 

Jesus’s sacrifice was also for those who were vulnerable—all of mankind, yesterday, today and forever. It was a huge price to pay—one that was never intended to be temporary. It changed the world forever. That realization may help us to put our own present sacrifice in perspective.

Judy Morgan, elder

Lent 2020 – Tuesday, March 24

I miss doing some of the things I take for granted: going to a busy restaurant with friends, working out at the Recreation Center, skiing, watching NCAA basketball or The Masters on TV. And I’m especially sad that Cindi and I won’t enjoy the fellowship we value so much at Dillon Community Church each week.

But this is temporary. And Christ already dwells with us, and in us, every moment of every day. Church is important to me for many reasons, but my faith stands strong in the absence of corporate fellowship. I already find myself revisiting my faith and examining its roots, drawing inward to appreciate the simple facts that draw me to God in the first place. It’s good spiritual exercise.

Romans 8:38-39 reminds us that, even in the absence of each other, “…neither death, nor life, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Our church family is already engaged in serving each other and the community at large, and I am proud to be part of this team! I know when DCC reopens for Sunday services (whenever that is), we will return enriched by how God has acted in our lives, our faith and our friends during this time apart.

Kevin McDonald, elder

Lent 2020 – Monday, March 23

I remember the polio quarantine of 1948 or 49. The worst thing for me, a 13 year old, was the closed swimming pool. I had earned a free pass the previous summer when my friend Jerry and I landed the job of cleaning the pool.

Guess what? That situation is just a past memory. One that I hardly ever think about. Now I remember, there was considerable damage. Several classmates contracted polio. Most cases were mild and the kids returned unscathed. Some were not so fortunate. The fastest kid in the class found his way to an iron lung and ended up in a wheelchair. But, most are probably like me and completely forgot about the brief scare. For most it was a short lived inconvenience.

The Coronavirus reminds me to be mindful of all the circumstances of life. There are many who are hurt badly by a circumstance they didn’t create. Life is not just about me. It is more about living together in unity with our circle of friends and acquaintances.

The current situation will also pass. It is an opportunity for all to grow wiser, stronger, more loving and closer to our God.

Frank Butler, elder

Lent 2020 – Saturday, March 21

Lent is a time of reflection… a time to reflect on our spiritual lives and seek authentic transformation and a deeper walk with Christ. This is a time to reflect on how easily we drift thru life busy with our “things”, our mobile devices, entertainment, work, success, wants, needs and so many other of life’s distractions. We often fail to contemplate that which is eternal and life giving…our living faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

As Christ came from 40 days of testing and contemplation in the wilderness (Matt.4), he called his disciples and gave us a picture of how his followers should impact the world. “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men. You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; not does anyone light a lamp and put it under a blanket, but on a lampstand and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven” (Matt 5:13-16).

As we spend these 40 days of Lent, let’s remember Christ’s supreme gift of his very flesh and blood for us and let’s consider in this time of national crisis how we can, in thanksgiving to him, be the Salt and Light he has called us to be to our neighbors and needy community.

Don Wolf, elder

Lent 2020 – Friday, March 20

However seriously one takes the threat of Coronavirus, it is very clear that, as Christians, we now have a great opportunity to profess our faith in God’s promises to the world. As believers, we know our sins are forgiven and I am reminded of Paul when he was imprisoned facing potential death at the hands of the Romans in Philippians 1. Paul recognized that he was in a win-win situation where if he lived, he would continue to spread the Word. And, if he died, he would gain being in the eternal presence of Christ.

The opportunity we currently have to show our confidence in Christ by witnessing and caring for our community is one that we should not squander. The anxiety observed throughout the world is an opportunity for us to show that our faith, hope, and love are rooted in Christ’s person and work.

When practicing the new form of “social distancing”, remember that we are all inside God’s plan and we should never let fear reign. “Yes, and I will rejoice, for I know that through prayers and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ this will turn out for (our) deliverance, as it is (our) eager expectation and hope that (we) will not be ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored whether by life or by death. For to (us), to live is Christ and to die is gain.” (Phil 1:19-21)

Friends, “do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:6-7). 

Also, keep this in mind: TP’ing someone’s house is now an act of generosity! 

Ryan Odell, elder

Lent 2020 – Thursday, March 19

I have recently been reading The Point Of It All by the late, great Charles Krauthhammer. He writes, “So the next time you find yourself in the midst of some national hysteria with sensible people losing their heads, with legislatures in panic and with media buying it all and amplifying it with a kind of megaphone effect, remember this: Remember that a people—even the most sensible people—can all lose their heads at once. Remember the tulip craze that swept Holland 3 centuries ago….” 

In light of recent Coronavirus events, many of us may in fact be losing our heads—watching too much television, falling for the attendant media hype, resorting to hand wringing, worrying, anxious thoughts and even panic. What is going to happen, how many will be infected and/or die, how long will it last, what will happen to my retirement funds? While this is a serious world event, and is affecting many segments of our society, ones similar have occurred before and will likely happen again in the future. When we are confronted with doomsday type statements from experts, talking heads or online opinions we should strive to keep our wits about us and things in perspective. I am reminded of the Apostle Paul’s letter to the Philippians in which he reminds us to: “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” I pray that we will all take Paul’s advice and concentrate on these important truths. Our Lord and Savior has this and all perceived crisis under his control. He will protect us from harm. Be strong and courageous. This too shall pass.

Tim Glasco, elder

Lent 2020 – Wednesday, March 18

Prayer… little conversations with God

Having just returned from another DCC Mission Trip I am grateful for all of you who took time to pray for our team! It really does matter! Our Team protocol is that each member share a daily devotion and time of prayer. Meal times, prayer walks, beginning of each clinic day, praying with our patients as needed, and at day’s end…whew! That’s lots of PRAYERS!

For some team members this is an “out of my comfort zone” experience! I try to reassure them nobody is going to critique their methods, nobody’s prayers need to be perfect. Prayer is just a heartfelt conversation with God… RIGHT? There is no magic formula, and it’s not in the words we pray that matter; it’s what comes from within, the condition of our heart. JAMES 5:16 says “Pray for each other.”

I know developing a prayer life is a continual learning/growing experience for me. As an elder (we pray at each board meeting for our DCC community and beyond). I’m still learning to ask God to give me wisdom and confidence in knowing how to pray for others. It’s time to focus on our conversations with God – PRAYER… it will bring us into a deeper and more intimate faith in Him.

For more inspiration Read:  James 5:13-18

Cindi McDonald – elder & DCC Haiti Mission Team Coordinator