Lent Day 30 Pure Water For Your Thirsty Soul

Lent – Day 30

Pure Water for Your Thirsty Soul

“He satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things” Psalm 107:9

Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to Me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in Me will never be thirsty.” John 6:35

In John 6:35, Jesus promises that with Him, you will never be thirsty. This metaphor of living water took on new meaning for me when clean water no longer flowed easily from my tap. In the days of the prophets, and in many places of the world still, water is neither conveniently available nor guaranteed. And sometimes, like with my well, it’s contaminated.

Sin, like the pollution in my well, muddies our longings to the point that it’s hard to make sense of what’s true.

It’s human nature to mistake our lack of something for a lack of God’s provision. When I peer deeply into my desires, I usually find that what I’m longing for is more of God, not the thing I thought I needed.

Jesus says when He gives you water, it’s like your soul returning home. Jesus promises companionship (Matthew 28:20), shared glory (1 Corinthians 2:9) and joy that leads to dancing (John 15:11; Psalm 30:11). God can even use hardship to quench your thirst because it forces you to rely more on Him. In the end, you get more of what you really need: Him.

God’s Word brings prosperity, not by way of convenience or material wealth but in sustenance. He guarantees that His Word always produces fruit in your life. That’s the kind of promise only God can make! Only His guarantee of “always” can quench any and every longing that you or I might mistake for lack.

Reflect, Respond and Pray

What do you feel you are lacking right now? How does what’s missing help you identify an aspect of God that you long for?

Read Isaiah 55 and circle or list the things from this passage that God promises to provide.

Praise God for His promises, and pray that He will quench your thirst by giving you more of Himself.

Lent Day 29 Learn To Sleep Like A Baby

Lent – Day 29

Learn to “Sleep Like a Baby”

Your Daily Lent Devotional

“Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palms of My hands; your walls are ever before Me.” Isaiah 49:15-16

People often use the phrase “I slept like a baby.” I’ve always found that funny. When my children were babies, they woke up every three hours and cried, which didn’t exactly make for a restful night’s sleep.

But there may be another way to understand this phrase. You see, when babies are awake, they are generally demanding, needy and completely helpless. They are also incredibly fragile, and the world around them is too large for them to grasp, understand or navigate.

Maybe that’s not so different from your everyday experience. The world is too big — it’s too complex, too intense and too mysterious. You’re ultimately out of control. That can make you feel deeply anxious, restless and insecure.

In Psalm 131:1, the author gives you a helpful way forward. He says that he chooses not to “concern myself with matters too great or too awesome for me to grasp.”

He chooses to surrender his proud need to know and control everything around him. Instead, he quiets himself. And what does this feel like?

Picture this image: a sleeping child melted into the safe, protective arms of the one who has already met and will always meet its needs. This is the image of complete peace.

With God, you are like a child in its mother’s arms. In a few hours, you may wake up screaming and demand to have your needs met yet again — and God will be there, ready. This is the image of God the Scriptures present — moment by moment, whenever you feel anxious, restless or insecure, come and surrender your need to know everything and to be in control. He’ll be there to give you the nourishment, comfort and rest you need so you can “sleep like a baby.”

Respond

Go to a quiet place to pray, and hold your palms out in front of you. As you do this, acknowledge every thing or situation in your life that is causing anxiety, restlessness or fear. Tell Jesus how each thing is affecting you. Ask Him for what you need — not what you need Him to make happen, but what you need as you’re going through it. It might be peace, rest, freedom from fear or something else. At the end of this prayer, turn your palms over symbolically, as if you’re dropping something out of your hands and into His. Practice this every day for a week, asking the Holy Spirit to help you release your cares to Him (1 Peter 5:7).

It’s Sunday 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 28 Serving Others Out of Gratitude

Lent – Day 28

Serving Others out of Gratitude

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 service. 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.

So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. (Philippians 2:1-4, English Standard Version)

Ipeered into a mostly dark storeroom. Light glinted off of coins filling 21 large plastic buckets. It looked like my eight-year-old self would have expected a pirate’s cave to look, plastic aside. 

Two of the stronger men grabbed a bucket. Struggling together, the bucket just inches from the ground, they moved it outside. Men and women wearing plastic gloves — instead of eye patches — pulled out coins.

Coins went onto a screen laid over a trough. Small rocks and trash fell through. The coins were rinsed. 

Next, they poured the coins into a pan of cloudy liquid that emitted a mild chemical odor. They massaged the coins, removing accumulated corrosion and grunge. Then the coins were sorted by value and, in a few cases, country of origin. 

As they worked, the men and women chatted cheerfully. Words about children, grandkids, gardens and lawns filled the air. But instead of working on their own yards or spending time with their families, they were there to serve. 

The coins came from fountains at a local theme park. The park donated them to a home for children with serious disabilities. But in the buckets, the coins weren’t bankable. Only after sorting and cleaning would they be usable. 

The joyful afternoon ended with treasure for the children living at the home. And for the adults there to help, it didn’t feel like work. They’d experienced the love of Jesus, shown by His willingness to give His life on Good Friday, and they shared that love in a small way with others. As the home’s staff members and residents saw the volunteers work, they were seeing Jesus’ love in action.

Respond

How would you like to share your experience of Jesus’ love in action? Today, would you pair up with a friend and find a way to show the love of Jesus through a nonprofit organization in your community? Serve a meal, clean a lawn or, if you’re fortunate, sort a bucketful of coins.

Lent Day 27 The Power To Live Courageously

Lent – Day 27

The Power to Live Courageously

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9

When I am afraid, I put my trust in You. In God, whose word I praise — in God I trust and am not afraid. What can mere mortals do to me? Psalm 56:3-4

What does fear look like for you? There are two things I tend to experience in the midst of fear:

I feel alone.
I feel stuck.

Fear makes me feel unable to live out my faith. It keeps me from standing boldly in my convictions. Sometimes I lack the confidence to share my faith, or I say no when God is calling me to say yes.

While Christians are not immune to feeling afraid, God has provided everything we need to move from a life of fear to one of courage.

Joshua was called to step into the role of leading God’s people after Moses died. Moses was a great leader, so Joshua felt intimidated and fearful.

Then, in Joshua 1:9, God tells him, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” God’s command is to be courageous and keep going where God is leading. God’s promise to Joshua is also ours: He will be with us wherever we go. So why remain stuck in fear?

The Bible reminds us how to move from fear to faith. In Psalm 56:3-4, David says, “When I am afraid, I put my trust in You. In God, whose word I praise — in God I trust and am not afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?”

These verses are a declaration of what it means to move from fear to courage by trusting in God. When you remember that God is in control, that He is with you and that He has called you to keep moving forward, then your fear fades and courage grows.

Fear produces things in your life that prevent you from living for God. You cannot conquer fear on your own, but God has given you everything you need through His Spirit, who can help you choose to act in faith even if you still feel afraid.. In all things, God is with you. And remembering you are not alone but have the sovereign God of the universe by your side makes you brave.

Respond and Pray

What is one way you can choose courage over fear this week, in the power of the Holy Spirit, and trust God to use you for His Kingdom? What does it look like for you to trust God in the midst of something that makes you afraid?

Consider this prayer: “Jesus, I know that I can do nothing without You. Any courage I have comes from You. I believe that You will give me the strength and boldness I need to live out my faith and walk with You daily. Help me to rely on You to take me from a place of fear to a place of courage and faith.”

Lent Day 26 Freed To Focus On God and Others

Freed to Focus on God and Others

Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.’” (Matthew 22:37-40, New International Version)

“Whoever has My commands and keeps them is the one who loves Me. The one who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I too will love them and show Myself to them.” (John 14:21, NIV)

At the sprawling green botanical garden in Lilongwe, Malawi, a young mother, child on hip and Bible in hand, paces back and forth in prayer. 

I wonder what trouble brings this mother out here to pray. Is a crucial relationship in trouble? Is someone she cares for sick? Is her business failing? Or perhaps she is just out here spending time in prayer with the Lord. 

A person can go out of their way to spend time with the Lord — and not just when their world is caving in. Perhaps she moved the focus from herself and the harried life of motherhood to steal away a few minutes to focus on God. If so, as the Lord renews her strength, she can face the world and be there for her family and others.

Christ’s top two commandments are to love the Lord and love others. Every other commandment simply details how to live this out.

How do you know that you love God? It turns out that obeying God can be an indicator of your love for Him. The true mark of your love for God is that it causes you to become more willing to do what He asks of you. 

If you love God, you will care about what He cares about. You will want your thoughts and actions to be pleasing to Him. 

And how do you measure your love for others? How you love yourself is the measure you will use to love others. You must put others before yourself if you are trying to truly love them. (Although, we also must remember to share the love of Christ with others, we need to spend time being filled with Him ourselves.)

As you focus on loving God and others, you will begin to experience the resurrected life of Christ in a very real way.

Respond and Pray

What areas of your life do you need to bring to the obedience of Christ? In what ways have you put yourself before others lately?

Consider this prayer. “Father, I desire to love You by my actions as well as my words. Help me to be fully yielded to You and to consider others better than myself. Amen.”

Lent Day 25 Pride, Humility and Surrender

Lent – Day 25

Pride, Humility and Surrender

“All the rich of the earth will feast and worship;
all who go down to the dust will kneel before Him — those who cannot keep themselves alive.” Psalm 22:29

“He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.” Colossians 1:17

Many years ago I attended a women’s retreat at the beach. The library in the reading room was expansive. So I took advantage of a few days of respite to refresh my spirit. I finally landed on a book of Charles Spurgeon’s sermons. It wasn’t long until I was swept away not only in the manner of his words but the wisdom therein.

His paraphrase of Psalm 22:29 tugged deeply at my heart. In it, he says, “No one can keep their soul alive, not even for an hour.”

I was truly swept up in imagining the work of the God of the universe keeping me alive — body and soul.

At the end of the weekend, I had learned so much about myself. The speaker was a woman of grace, wisdom and humility. I was inspired to evaluate my own life that weekend. There were many things I had gleaned from the lessons, the other incredible women and my time lingering among the words of Charles Spurgeon.

When we think of pride or self-righteousness, we often conjure up images of the ultra-religious, who must do everything perfectly and believe that is their salvation. But, in truth, pride is more than that. It’s any desire to have control over our lives, rather than trusting them to God. Humility is realizing that God is the one who keeps our heart beating moment by moment — and He controls everything else as well.

In the years since, I have experienced the realities of my inability to control, manage, change or improve many things in my life. I continue to learn how to trust fully; to surrender control to the One who holds it all.

Reflect and Respond

Take a few moments now to sit in silence with God. As you close your eyes and breathe deeply. Notice what feels unmanageable to you. Imagine bringing yourself to Jesus, who has a look of compassion on His face. Rest a while with Jesus, knowing you are loved and you are safe with the One who keeps your soul alive. Talk to Him as you feel led, or simply enjoy being with Him in silence.

Lent Day 24 Have It Your Way Lord

Lent Day 24

Have It Your Way, Lord

“Humble yourselves … under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time He may exalt you.” 1 Peter 5:6

“What sorrow awaits those who argue with their Creator. Does a clay pot argue with its maker? Does the clay dispute with the one who shapes it, saying, ‘Stop, you’re doing it wrong!’” Isaiah 45:9

The season of Lent occurs during springtime, when, in much of the U.S., bare ground appears after the snow has melted away. Has the lifeless soil ever reminded you that God formed Adam, the first human, from dust?

Imagine the Lord bending down to scoop up fine clay. Now, imagine yourself in the hands of God.

God says several times in the Bible that you are like clay in a potter’s hands. He is making you into an object of beauty to display Christ to the world.

But if you’re like me, you often resist God’s molding.

Isaiah 45:9 explains that opposing God’s shaping is as absurd as clay that talks back to the potter. God created you, loves you and wants what’s best for you, but you resist because of your sinful nature.

God told the prophet Jeremiah to watch a potter at work. The potter began spinning the clay, carefully but firmly shaping the lump of clay into a beautiful vessel. Through observing a potter at his craft, Jeremiah could understand the importance of God’s people submitting to God’s gentle, forming power. Jeremiah received this message from God for the people: “O Israel, can I not do to you as this potter has done to his clay? As the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are you in My hand” Jeremiah 18:6

In the same way, Jesus speaks to you. You don’t have to grasp for control. You’re in the hands of a potter who has proven with His own life that you can surrender without risk of harm. “Learn from Me,” Jesus says, “for I am gentle and humble in heart” Matthew 11:29

Respond

Watch a potter transform lifeless clay into a useful and beautiful vessel. Think about how the form adds to its function and consider how God’s artistry is at work in you. Choose a verse to write on a card and keep it with you, reminding yourself that you are clay in a faithful potter’s hands.

Lent Day 23 Steady In The Storm

Lent – Day 23

Steady in the Storm

Soon a fierce storm came up. High waves were breaking into the boat, and it began to fill with water. Jesus was sleeping at the back of the boat with His head on a cushion. The disciples woke Him up, shouting, “Teacher, don’t You care that we’re going to drown?” When Jesus woke up, He rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Silence! Be still!” Suddenly the wind stopped, and there was a great calm. Then He asked them, “Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?” (Mark 4:37-40, New Living Translation)

I keep my eyes always on the LORD. With Him at my right hand, I will not be shaken. (Psalm 16:8, New International Version)

Few experiences produce as much suspense, uncertainty and sheer panic as being on the deck of a ship in the middle of a sudden storm, like in the scene from Mark 4.

Perhaps this imagery stirs up memories of experiences you’ve had. The vast ocean, like the circumstances and situations of your life, can change underneath you without warning. Your boat is completely rocked, taking on water, while you desperately try to keep your footing to steer toward safety. 

The disciples in this passage could certainly relate. Jesus asked them to sail to the other side of the Sea of Galilee — this was His mission they were on — when they were caught off guard by a sudden storm. They scrambled to handle it on their own, which makes sense, since there were experienced fishermen in this group. Likely, they thought they could get through with enough strength and skill. 

When did the panic start to sink in? My guess is when their own efforts failed and they realized the fierce waves were simply too much. 

You’ll notice their question to Jesus, “Don’t You care about us?” Their panic reveals two lies you might also believe:

  1. This storm is not only out of your control but out of God’s control.
  2. Because of what’s happening, He must not care about you. Maybe He has abandoned you.

In the moment, it can feel impossible to entertain anything other than lies like these. The disciples likely believed them because their eyes were on the size of the waves and strength of the storm. They forgot who was in their boat. 

When your focus is on your circumstances, no matter how overwhelming or dangerous, it can be easy to forget Jesus is right there with you. 

As the storm disappeared with just a word from Jesus, the disciples realized He was sleeping because He was in complete control the entire time.

Reflect and Pray

Spend time reflecting on a situation in your life that feels as hopeless or overwhelming as this storm.

Ask Jesus “Where are You in this situation? How can I focus on You and not the storm?”

Invite the Holy Spirit to remind you, as the disciples were reminded, that Jesus is greater than the storm. Even if the boat feels rocky, with Him right beside you, you’ll be unshakeable.

It’s Sunday Ya’ll

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.