Lent Day 11 The Truth Will Set You Free

Lent – Day 11

The Truth Will Set You Free

“The person with the Spirit makes judgments about all things, but such a person is not subject to merely human judgments, for, “Who has known the mind of the Lord so as to instruct Him?” But we have the mind of Christ.” 1Corinthians 2:15-16

Stop. Take a deep breath. Inhale. Exhale. Again.

You never notice that you’re breathing unless you’re asked to breathe — like right now or at the doctor’s office. But you are constantly breathing.

It’s the same with your thoughts. Every day, all day, you make choices based on thoughts you are unaware of. Often these thoughts are negative. Lies, doubts, worries and fears creep in unnoticed.

How can you be aware of and replace negative thoughts with what is true about you, about God and about reality?

Paul reminds us in 1 Corinthians 2:15-16 that those who have accepted Christ “have the mind of Christ.” With Christ’s Spirit, you have the ability to think like Him.

You can begin recognizing lies you are believing by comparing your thoughts and beliefs with God’s Word. We all have lies we believe that are sometimes hard to articulate, but when we confess them and bring them into the light of God’s Word, we can experience freedom. (For example, perhaps you’re believing that you’re alone in a tough situation and have to figure it out on your own, when, in reality, if you belong to Christ, the Holy Spirit indwells you. God is with you always and longs to give you the wisdom you need.)

I practice walking in this freedom throughout my day by simply asking, “What am I honestly believing and feeling about what I’m facing right now?” Then ask, “What would God say about what I’m facing right now?” Then I pray that God would give His wisdom and lead me to answers in the Bible. When I open a dialogue with God in prayer and depend on His Spirit to guide me, God begins to replace lies with truth I find in Scripture.

Jesus fought off lies this way when Satan tempted Him in the wilderness (Matthew 4:1-11). Satan came at Jesus from all angles, including by distorting Scripture. But each time Satan tried to tempt Him, Jesus responded by quoting directly from the Old Testament. “It is written,” replied Jesus when Satan pressed Him to change stones into bread, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God’”

John 8:31-32 is a great reminder that holding on to Christ, the Author of truth, makes all the difference: “Jesus said, ‘If you hold to My teaching, you are really My disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free’”.

Reflect and Respond

What is a lie or worry that keeps you from the freedom that Jesus offers? Is it that you are not worthy of love? That you can’t handle whatever you are facing? That God won’t take care of you? Breathe out your negative thoughts by writing them down or saying them out loud. Then ask God what He would say about these things. What does He say about you?

Don’t know what God would say? Look for Scripture related to what you are facing. Memorize these truths. Breathe in these truths every day.

Lent A Day Of Rest

It’s Sunday — a day to rest.

Did you know that ever since Jesus died and rose again, each Sunday is like a mini Easter? In addition to resting, like God commanded in the Old Testament, the first Christians remembered and celebrated Christ’s resurrection every single week.

Today, God invites you to celebrate and rest in the finished work of Christ — for you and for everyone who trusts in Him.

Lent – Day 10 The Power Of Repentance

Lent – Day 10

The Power of Repentance

Every Saturday during this study, you will learn about common spiritual disciplines that many followers of Jesus practice during Lent. Today you will learn about repentance. These disciplines are valuable tools to draw near to God when they come from a heart seeking to do just that — rather than a heart which hopes to justify itself through these works or simply check a box on its Lent “to-do” list. We hope these insights will encourage you and help connect you to the Father throughout these 40 days.

“Have mercy on me, O God, according to Your unfailing love; according to Your great compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me. Against You, You only, have I sinned and done what is evil in Your sight; so You are right in Your verdict and justified when You judge.” Psalm 51:1-4

Saying “I’m sorry” has never been easy for me. I don’t enjoy admitting when I’ve messed up. I’ve learned, though, that if I don’t apologize when I’ve done something wrong, my relationships inevitably suffer.

I see this in my relationship with God too. Sin damages my fellowship with Him, but repentance — the act of turning away from sin and surrendering anew to God’s authority — brings restoration and peace.

King David learned the importance of repentance after having an affair with a married woman and sending her husband to the front lines of war to die. Psalm 51 shows his anguish over his sins. His prayer of repentance can serve as a model for you today.

Repentance acknowledges that your heart is prone to wander away from God, and it places God back in His rightful place on the throne of your life. The purpose of repentance isn’t to spend time wallowing in shame but to allow the Holy Spirit’s conviction to draw you back to God. He has already paid the price for your sins, and He has the power to bring you victory over that sin.

If it’s been a while since you’ve practiced the healthy discipline of repentance, Lent is a great time to incorporate it into your spiritual walk. His love is perfect; His mercy is abundant. Like David, cry out to Him and trust that He’s able to cleanse you from all unrighteousness. And then enjoy the sweet fellowship that comes with being right with God.

Pray

“God, thank You for Your goodness and mercy. I acknowledge that I am guilty of __. Please forgive me and create a clean heart within me. I surrender to You and ask You to help me live a life that pleases You. In Jesus’ name, amen.”

Jayna Richardson

Lent Day 9 Shared Glory Shared Suffering

Lent – Day 9

Shared Glory, Shared Suffering

“For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by Him we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs — heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in His sufferings in order that we may also share in His glory.” Romans 8:14-17

I remember the moment I realized how tightly my heart and spirit were gripped by fear. On a summer mission trip to Juneau, Alaska, I watched everyone around me take steps of faith despite their fear. One student stepped toward vulnerability, sharing her story with courage. Another stepped toward bold evangelism, inviting locals into community with us and with God. As I observed from a comfortable distance, it struck me that I’d never experience the Lord like my peers were if I stayed on the sidelines.

I took my first real leap of faith into a lake, hand-in-hand with my small group. In total disregard for my fear of water, I jumped; when I climbed back onto the dock, I couldn’t believe I had done it. I finally turned away from fear and stepped out in faith, trusting God completely, and I felt weightless. It was liberating. No longer bound by my fears, I was free to experience the fullness of God’s presence with me as I discovered new courage to do things I had been afraid of for so long. This is exactly what the Spirit’s presence promises: disencumbering assurance, peace beyond measure and freedom from fear.

This same kind of freedom comes with your adoption into the family of God. When you invite Jesus to be your Lord and Savior, the Holy Spirit enters your life. At that moment, you become God’s child. Like an orphan adopted by a loving family, you do not do anything to earn your place as God’s child. Your adoption is a permanent gift given through the Holy Spirit.

The Greek word used in this Bible passage for “adoption to sonship” refers to the full legal standing of an adopted heir in Roman society. Through adoption, you gain an inheritance — but what do you inherit? Romans 8 says that you are God’s heir and a co-heir with Christ, meaning you share in Christ’s inheritance. Your adoption into the family of God qualifies you to share in the same victory and joy as Jesus.

While you share Christ’s victory, you’ll also share His suffering. The Holy Spirit frees you from bondage to fear, but He does not eliminate suffering from your life. You will suffer disappointment, defeat, grief, frustration and obstacles far beyond your control. But the good news of your adoption is this: even when trouble comes your way, you don’t have to be afraid. Your seat at the family table is eternally reserved. Your adoption grants you full access to a heavenly Father who sees your grief, knows your heartache and delights in caring for you.

You don’t have to fear disappointment, defeat or grief because you are a child of God. And His love for you — like His love for Jesus — is infinite. Suffering will come, but so will glory, and both are shared. As a co-heir with Christ, a child of God, whatever comes, you can rest easy knowing that you’ll never have to endure suffering alone.

Reflect And Respond

Think of a time when God used your suffering to bring you closer to Him or to accomplish something that you hadn’t expected.

What might help you to remember that you are not alone when you are suffering?

In light of your adoption, what might be keeping you from experiencing the fullness of God’s presence?

Sarah Wontorcik

April 17 MRO Egg Hunt @ Bristol Motor Speedway

Please join us on Easter Sunday for an Egg Hunt at the MRO Community Center @ 2:00 p.m.

No credential. No worries. The MRO CC is located outside of the 3rd turn tunnel. You and your family can hang out with us for the entire afternoon of fun!!

2022 MRO Easter Egg Hunt

After the Egg Hunt, you and your family can enjoy an Easter Celebration sponsored by Bristol Motor Speedway @ 4:00 p.m.

Details:

https://www.bristolmotorspeedway.com/media/news/chris-tomlin-max-lucado-gary-levox-headline-special-easter-celebration-service-bms-april.html

Lent – Day 8 Lost On The Inside

Lent – Day 8

Lost On The Inside

“There was a man who had two sons…” Luke 15:11-32

Resentment about serving builds where I used to enjoy it.

Envy rises toward people who appear to lead a simpler life.

I tabulate the work I’ve accomplished for Jesus before clocking out of good deeds for the day.

Do you, as I do, tend to function like you’re God’s employee instead of a beloved member of His family?

When I’m in this kind of funk, the story of the father and his sons in Luke 15 snaps me back to reality.

A wealthy father has two sons, and one asks for his inheritance early. This son, the younger, parties his fortune away while the other stays at the family farm, working hard to build the estate. I get that life — the life of the dutiful child.

Then the younger son returns completely broke, willing to take the place of a servant. Instead, he’s welcomed back as a cherished son.

The older brother — the responsible one — now spews his resentment. He’s never felt celebrated, and he’s angry. He was there the whole time working so hard, being so good, but missing out on life.

The father finds his older son outside the house and pleads with him. “Everything I have is yours,” the father says. “You are always with me,” he adds, pleading for deeper understanding. We are left wondering about this older brother. Does he get it? Is he ever able to receive what his father wanted to give him: an invitation into his presence, to his wealth? We are left wondering how he will respond.

Regardless of whom you identify with in Jesus’ story, this invitation is extended to you too.

If you relate to the younger son, will you come home and embrace the father waiting for you? Or will you remain far from the family, hoping to work something out on your own?

If you, like me, relate to the elder brother, will you remain in the darkness, lost outside the celebration, resentful because you worked so hard for so long to earn something that was free all along? Or will you join in on the party, accepting God’s free and complete favor extended to you through His Son, Jesus?

Respond

Spend some time reflecting on Luke 15. When have you felt lost, resentful or like you had to earn God’s acceptance? What did the older son feel that he deserved? What did the father hope his older son would see about their relationship? How is the father’s character in the story similar to or different from what you understand of God?

Alison Wilson currently works with college students at Texas A&M University.

Lent Day 7 Forgiven And Free

Lent Day – Day 7

Forgiven and Free

“The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. He will not always accuse, nor will He harbor His anger forever; He does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His love for those who fear Him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.”Psalm 103:8-12

“I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do — this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.

“So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!” Romans 7:15-25

Reflect And Respond

What moments or patterns of sin weigh you down? Write one or two down and confess them directly to God. Give them to Him, remembering that Christ paid for these sins and more when He died on the cross. Then read Psalm 51, knowing you are a new creation, clean and forgiven in Christ.

Lent – Day 6 From Broken To Whole

Lent – Day 6

You Need to Be Healed for Christ’s Sake

“He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by His wounds you have been healed.” 1 Peter 2:24

“For by one sacrifice He has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.” Hebrews 10:14

The beautiful delicately-etched drinking glass drops as if in slow motion. It can’t be grasped, so it shatters into jagged pieces as it hits the floor. The sound is final.

Some things in life can’t be glued back together — at least, not easily. Sin, which violates God’s law 1 John 3:4 and nature Romans 8:4, ravages our souls and makes them one of those things. Apart from Christ, in our sin, we’re lost in darkness and separated from God in ways that we can’t do anything about. Sin leads to death, as it fatally wounds the spirit and soul.

But God has a plan for people broken by sin. He longs to heal us. Jesus took all of your wrongdoing on Himself at the cross. The purpose of Christ’s sacrificial death, His death in your place, was to deal with your sin. Christ’s wounds heal yours when you place your faith and trust in Him to forgive you.

The sacrifice of Christ makes you right with God and brings you into a relationship with Him. It gives you a clean conscience, which brings peace with God. Because of it, you can have assurance of salvation, meaning you never have to wonder whether you can be saved. You can have the permanent gift of eternal life.

In these ways, the person who believes is perfected. To be perfected in Christ means that, while sin does remain, its penalty and power — what keeps you from God — is removed by His sacrifice. Jesus made you perfect and holy in God’s sight through His death on the cross, paying the cost for your sins.

Reflect

Take time to reflect on what Christ has done on the cross for you. If you’ve never heard of Christ’s sacrifice for you, learn more here. God offers you an opportunity to be whole. Thank Him that He takes on your brokenness and binds up your wounds because He loves you.

Lent Day 5 Transformed By The Cross

Transformed By The Cross

Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. (Isaiah 43:18-19, New International Version)

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! (2 Corinthians 5:17, NIV)

Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all. (Colossians 3:9-11, NIV)

Have you ever been thrift shopping? 

Thrifting is something I’ve loved for a while because of the unique finds, affordable price tag and the story behind each piece. Finding old treasures and bringing them new life is exhilarating. A pair of jeans or a lamp that would have been thrown away can now be your prized possession. 

This is what your identity in Christ is like. The old is gone and the new has come, as 2 Corinthians 5:17 says, because of the sacrifice Jesus made on the cross. You can trust that your old self was crucified and that you now have a new identity in Christ. That is something worth celebrating!

You can have confidence that by God’s grace He is growing you and sanctifying you. Colossians 3:10 says that those who are in Christ “have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.” You are being renewed daily by God because of His great sacrifice.

Christ delivers you from old to new through His sacrifice on the cross and resurrection. God’s grace alone can take what’s old and make it new. 

By His sacrifice, Christ takes your spiritual brokenness and introduces a new metric that says your hope isn’t in your ability to improve; rather, newness comes from redeeming love.

Praise Him that new things can come through Christ and because of Christ. As Isaiah 43:18-19 reminds us, “Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert” (English Standard Version).

May you fix your eyes on Christ and how He has made you new!

Pray

“Lord, thank you that you make old things new. Grant me the peace to see renewal in my life, and remind me to look only to you to produce this transformative change in me.”

Lent It’s Sunday- Your Day Of Rest

Lent- Your Day to Rest

It’s Sunday — a day to rest.

Did you know that ever since Jesus died and rose again, each Sunday is like a mini Easter? In addition to resting, like God commanded in the Old Testament, the first Christians remembered and celebrated Christ’s resurrection every single week.

Today, God invites you to celebrate and rest in the finished work of Christ — for you and for everyone who trusts in Him.