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Lenten Devotionals 1: February 23rd

From our February 23rd Prayer Service … 

Scripture …

Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.  Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

All of us, then, who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. Only let us live up to what we have already attained.

Join together in following my example, brothers and sisters, and just as you have us as a model, keep your eyes on those who live as we do. For, as I have often told you before and now tell you again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is set on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.

– Philippians 3:12-21

Reflection …

In the reading of Philippians this week, we find Paul, once again, using a comparison of athletics to Christian life.  Paul talks about sacrifices and keeping our eye on the ‘prize’.  In the sermon that Pastor Sue delivered on Sunday she spoke of taking time to pray.  She gave us tools to help create a mantra of prayer for our daily lives.  How often are we praying?  Are we making sacrifices to get to know our Lord better?

We are all facing challenges now, more so than most of us have had in the past.  From the pandemic, to isolation, to job loss, to the lack of human interaction.  We need to make sure we are doing self-care.  There is one way that is more powerful than others and that is to pray.  To take prayer and make it part of our daily life.  That is where self-care starts.

As Christians we know the power of God.  We know the sacrifices that our Lord has made for us.  It’s amazing that to better help ourselves it is us praying to God for what we need that can actually be the most impactful action that we can take.  Our athleticism is not the strength that we carry within our muscles rather it is the strength that we carry in our heart.  The strength that we hold up to you Lord.

Take this week and focus on two things.  The first, how do you still live as ‘enemies of the cross’?  Second, Pray!  Pray about being a stronger Christian.  Pray about your self-care.  Pray about your needs, your blessings and your love for our Lord, your family, your friends, and, most importantly, yourself.  For God does NOT make mistakes.  And he didn’t with you.

Prayer …

Lord our Father, thank you for giving us citizenship in Heaven.  Thank you for allowing your Son Jesus Christ to take hold of us.  To show us the way.  Give us the strength to press on and know you better.  Help us see how we can be better Christians.  How we can do self-care through your teachings.  Please help those around us that do not know You as we know You; that do not realize the glory that You hold.  That cannot see the gifts that You bring.  Dear Lord, please help us continue to see the gifts that you provide us.  Help us continue to worship you through daily prayer.  Look to our brothers and sisters and protect them.  Keep them safe from harm as we continue to worship you through your Son’s name, Jesus Christ.  Finally, help us remember that You don’t make mistakes and you didn’t start with any of us.  Amen.