Day 27: Self Denial

The idea is in the name, denying yourself for the sake of others or self. We abstain for all kinds of reasons. We abstain from certain foods for health. Certain purchases or spending habits for wealth. Or watching too much tv to avoid laziness.

However, when Jesus tells us to deny ourselves and take up our cross it doesn’t necessarily mean these things specifically. He means to deny ourselves the things that get between us and Him. Things that don’t fulfill the plan and purpose He has for you.

Lent is the perfect example of self denial. The time of year we deny ourselves a creature comfort or frivolous thing to replace it with something spiritually edifying. Lent is a great exercise that we should practice in some form daily, even after Easter.

My prayer today is to identify the things hindering my relationship with Jesus and for the strength to lay them down.

Peace and God Bless.

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Day 26: Prayer

You’ve had a hard day. You come home and sit down for dinner. Grace is said and the meal begins. The common question comes out, “how was your day?” This simple dinner conversation automatically invites others into your life as well as entering into their life.

This is what prayer is, an invitation. We invite God unto our lives. The good, the bad and the ugly. He wants to know it all. In return, we are invited to a life with Him. Where he guides us, loves us and comforts us.

One of the hardest habits to form as a Christian is prayer. There are so many excuses not to pray. From work, family, hobbies or any life event. But in light of Jesus wanting to be our brother, why wouldn’t we want to share these events with Him?

My prayer to day is to be more diligent about praying.

Peace and God Bless.

Day 25: Know the One You Love

I’ve been happily married for 16 years. I love my wife more now than I did when we first got married. This seems cliche, and it is, but why is it true? Because we continue to get to know each other.

This means we hear repeats of the same story. Bicker over the same issues. Make up over the same arguments, but all these things renew our understanding of each other. How often do we do that with Jesus?

The gospels are key to renewing our understanding of Him. Even though we may have read them many times before, they are still the best way to find out who Jesus is to us. Reading them daily will always reinforce or bring about a better understanding so we can love Him more.

My prayer is to read the gospels daily and grow closer to Jesus.

Peace and God Bless.

Day 24: the Metric System

Everything has a benchmark. We gauge everything by a certain metric or standard. From the food we eat, the clothes we wear or the car we drive, there is something we use to measure to decide if we buy these things.

We also have a social standard for behavior. Not too loud in public. Be patient and don’t lose your temper. Be kind and use your manners. When someone doesn’t measure up we are quick to judge them either mentally or verbally. When confronted with our own out of bounds behavior, often times we are quick to point out that we aren’t as bad as this other person.

In the gospels there is a valuable lesson in a short retelling by Jesus of the Pharisee and the tax collector. He used this to illustrate that our spiritual and social metric isn’t others, it’s Him. In order to meet this metric we need to close that gap between where we are now and where he wants us to be. Are you ready to measure up to Jesus?

My prayer is that I stop measuring myself by others and focus on the true standard, Jesus.

Peace and God Bless.

Day 22&23: Adjustment Bureau

Reading Scripture is hard.  I know we try to minimize it and say its not that bad.  When the reality is that most christians have a hard time constantly reading the Scripture.  We make excuses and rationalize this dereliction of duty because we are afraid to face the reality of the situation.

Scripture reveals to us the heart of God.  It shows us who He is and it’s transformative. Like getting to know that one friend that will change your life forever.  While the outcome is always positive the process is nerve racking and scary.  This is why we put off reading Scripture.  We know that it will be more than an adjustment.  It will be a total transformation.

Jesus transformed everyone he came into contact with in the gospels.   The woman at the well, Lazarus, Mary Magdalene, the apostles, etc.  When faced with the reality of who Jesus was there is nothing else to do but change.

My prayer today is for help to stay consistent with reading Scripture and to be open for transformation.

Peace and God Bless.

 

Day 21: Ressurection

The resurrection is a stumbling block to most.  It defies reason, logic and the laws of nature.  It cannot be explained rationally or scientifically.  It is intrinsically a matter of faith based on eyewitness testimony.

Belief in the resurrection is paramount to the christian faith.  It separates us from other faiths.  It shows that not only did Jesus claim to be God but showed it by conquering death.  Now it is a symbol of hope to all christians.

As christians we have faith that Jesus is God.  That He loves us so much that He died for our transgressions.  That through His sacrifice we have been saved.  With His resurrection we have hope.  Hope that this life is not all there is.  Hope that we will not be dead but alive with Him.  Hope, the driving factor that keeps us going towards our goal, Jesus.

My prayer today is to keep focused on the goal and hold on to the hope shown to us through the resurrection.

 

Peace and God Bless.

Day 20: No Greater Love

No parent questions why they love their child. They just do. They can and will sacrifice everything for that child regardless of what they do. They fight for them, provide for them and run themselves into the ground just so they have the best of everything. Why?  There is only one answer, because they are mine.

Honestly, I didn’t grasp this until I became a father.  I love my kids from the minute I knew they existed.  It changed the way I lived, worked, interacted and made decisions.  Everything in my life now revolves around my kids for no other reason than I love them because they are mine.

This love is the love that Jesus showed us.  The love that performed the miracles, changed people’s lives and brought Him to the cross. This same love is the love that we need to have for everyone.  Scripture tells us that there is no greater love than to lay your life down for your friends.  Are we laying our lives down for our friends?

My prayer today is to love more like Jesus loves me.

Peace and God Bless.