WRBC Daily Devotionals - Lent 2021

These devotionals are a labor of love by many White Rock Baptist Church members. We thank each person who contributed their time and their thoughtful words to this project. Although each submission was edited for clarity, the thoughts and ideas presented belong to each individual author.


May God bless you this Lenten season as you spend time with Him

and, through these writings, with each other!


Pastor Jennifer Friesen


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Click here for Table of Contents (includes list of daily scripture readings)


Click here for the entire WRBC 2021 Lent Devotional Booklet (pdf - statement size)


As you read the devotionals below, you can click on the scripture reading to read it on Bible Gateway.


Day 21: Making the Disaster Perfectly Clear

Friday, March 12 by Ward Cowie

Scripture Reading: Romans 7:14-25 (click to read)

 

Key Verse: “What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death?”Romans 7:24

 

In his letter to the Romans, the apostle Paul keeps moving towards a wonderful and soaring conclusion in chapter 8…but in chapter 7 he first takes us through his personal “war zone” from previous days.

 

In verse 13, Paul summarized his disaster that occurred when the Tenth Commandment had stripped away any of his pretenses as a total law keeper…“sinful beyond measure” he declares. But the apostle must be concerned that the Romans will not take his confession and inability seriously enough.

 

So in verses 14 to 25 he just continues to underline and emphasize this disastrous conclusion with more and more agonizing detail. Ouch. In spite of his elite education, in spite of his zeal for the law as a Pharisee, in spite of his best will power, Paul found himself helpless and doomed as a total law-keeper. And his repetition is just so harsh, even in Lent.

So why is the apostle taking the Romans (and us!) down into his very nasty spiritual portrait from former days? Why grind in his failures and wretchedness so emphatically?

 

It would appear that Paul the Pastor wants the Romans to give up on any and every idea of finding salvation or spiritual growth or a joyful future by trying to completely obey the laws of God. He does not negate the OT laws at all (verse 22) only his complete and utter inability to obey them perfectly.

 

Then finally the conclusion comes in verse 24: “Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?”

 

The rough ride of Chapter 7 is done. Paul is finally satisfied that we are ready to leave behind any old self-salvation plans and to join him in turning to the “Who,” the “Who” that towers above our great need. The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are waiting for him (and for us) in Chapter 8.

 

Prayer: Heavenly Father, your laws are so very good to remember and to live into. But now we join with Paul in realizing our utter need for the work of the Holy Spirit to take us into true freedom and into resurrection power before we can live as your Kingdom people. Amen.

Day 22: Flesh and Spirit

Saturday, March 13 by Susan Kim

Scripture Reading: Romans 8:1-11 (click to read)

 

Key Verse: “The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace.” Romans 8:6 

 

God gave me His own Son in order to save me from death. I was a slave to sin, but now I’m free! 

 

Even though I call Him Abba Father, I sometimes stand in between flesh and Spirit. The flesh sets my mind on anxiety, grudges, hatred, and jealousy but the Spirit helps me to focus on Him, guiding me to peace, forgiveness, love, and humility.  

 

We are all in the midst of unprecedented times with COVID. However I fully trust in the presence of the Spirit to help me overcome this tough moment with his endurance. 

 

Prayer: Father, thank you that you delivered me from the sinful flesh to the Spirit of life. The mindset is what people think about and what they focus on. Let me set my mind on you, not to be separated from you Lord forever, Amen!!

Day 23: The  Joy of His Presence

Monday, March 15 by Janet Kirkley

Scripture Reading: Romans 8:12-17 (click to read)

 

Key Verse: “The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.” Romans 8:16

  

Yesterday was my spiritual birthday. On that day back in 1973, life changed from being far from the Lord to the joy of his presence. 

 

I had been searching for God, but in places that brought no joy.  Finally in desperation, I was led by caring people to read John 14:6, “Jesus said, ‘I am the way, the truth and the life...’” Those words jumped off the page and into my heart, and humbled me with their power and depth.  I was His!

 

Then one of God‘s children showed me Romans 8:16, and I understood the great joy I felt in my heart - His glorious presence that I had never known before. Then I knew that the Spirit was bearing witness to my spirit, my deepest self, that indeed Jesus had become my Saviour and Lord.

 

In the 48 years since then, God has been faithful to live in me and to bring me his joy.  And except in short times of disobedience, I have grown to walk stronger in the Spirit and to enjoy being his son and servant. 

 

Birthdays are good times to think back on our story and to remember God‘s blessings upon us, eh? 

 

 

Prayer: Lord God, you are mighty and full of grace.  Thank you for saving me, and for filling me with your Spirit and the joy of your presence. Amen.

Day 24: Suffering Now and Glory in the Future

Tuesday, March 16 by Lisa Streu

Scripture Reading: Romans 8:18-30 (click to read)

 

Key Verse: “But if we were more discerning with regard to ourselves, we would not come under such judgment. Nevertheless, when we are judged in this way by the Lord, we are being disciplined so that we will not be finally condemned with the world.”1 Cor 11: 31-32

 

Right now, I have a couple of friends who are dealing with unbelievably difficult situations. My heart breaks for them and I wish, more than anything, I could fix things for them. They’re dealing with things that no one should ever have to go through. It feels absolutely hopeless, at times, but by God’s grace, with His love and His mercy, they are managing to survive. 

 

These verses, from Romans 8:18-30, don’t minimize the pain we can experience here on earth—they simply put that pain into an eternal perspective. Romans 8 begins and ends with declarations of a believer’s absolute security in God. For those in Christ, there is no condemnation and absolutely NOTHING can separate us from His love. As believers we now live in the Spirit of God. And His Spirit lives in us! That means we can call God our Father. 

 

We will suffer here on earth, but we know that this world isn’t the end. With the help of the Holy Spirit, we can be confident that God is for us, loves us and will never leave us. We live in a broken world and bad things happen. But God has promised that for those who love Him, He will work the bad things together for good. Is it easy? No. Do we wish we didn’t have to go through it? Yes. But, ultimately all that matters is that everyone comes to know Jesus as their Lord and Savior. 

 

With the Lord’s help, He can use these trials not only to change us and help us fall more in love with Him, but He can use them to reach those who don’t know Him yet. And that’s what makes going through the trials we face worth it. 

 

Prayer: Jesus, thank you for taking my punishment on the cross. Thank you that I do not need to fear God’s judgment, but can accept it as your loving correction. Please help me never to be judgmental of others, but to focus on taking the log out of my own eye. When I can’t see it, please reveal it to me gently. And may your Spirit give me the power and strength I need to change, producing fruit in me at the right time. Thank you that your mercy triumphs over judgment! (James 2:13) 

Day 25: What Can Separate Us from the Love of Christ Jesus Our Lord?

Wednesday, March 17 by Eric Finch

Scripture Reading: Romans 8:31-39 (click to read)

 

Key Verse: “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?” Romans 8:35

 

Dear Brothers and Sisters, 

 

Are you feeling confined or lonely? Are you feeling depressed or isolated in these strange times that we live in because of the pandemic? A survey was conducted recently that showed that 40% of Canadians are in a mental health crisis.

 

Yet as Christians we have our faith, we have God’s Word and his promises to comfort us. In this passage from Romans 8:31-37 there are so many comforting promises: 

 

“If God is for us, who can be against us?” (v.31) 

 

“Yet in all these things” such as pandemics, loneliness, depression, “we are more than conquerors through him who loved us!” (v.37) 

 

“It is Christ who died and is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us.” (v.34)

 

Our Lord has us in his loving hands. He cares for us, he watches over us as the loving Shepherd he is. Trust in Him, he is with us, dwelling in us. He is only a prayer away; he is only a verse of his Word away!

 

So what can separate us from the love of Christ? Answer: Nothing! Because nothing, no one is greater than Jesus and his love.

 

Prayer: Lord thank you for your love. Help us to trust in you, and remember you are always with us, and nothing can separate us from your love, because you are sovereign over all things. Help me to stay close to you through your Word and prayer. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Day 26: Part 1 - Seeking the Truth

Thursday, March 18 by Eleanor North

Scripture Reading: Romans 9:1-9 (click to read)

 

Key Verse:“Theirs are the patriarchs, and from them is traced the human ancestry of Christ, who is God over all, forever praised! Amen.” Romans 9:5

 

v. 1 – 3    Paul speaks truth powerfully, pouring out his heart to Jews who considered Paul a traitor and enemy. He is in spiritual anguish over broken relationships and deeply desires that they recognize Christ as Messiah. He even considered laying down his own life if that would bring his friends to faith.

 

v. 4 – 5   God has blessed the Israelites with unique privileges: adoption as his people; visible glory; covenants; the law; the worship and the promises. Also, patriarchs through whom God would send Christ in human form, the promised Messiah! Paul testifies with passion that Jesus Christ is God. “Christ, who is God over all, forever praised! Amen.”

 

v. 6 – 9     God’s plan of justification by faith unfolded in the history of his people and the gift of the Messiah; Paul rejects that hard heartedness to the gospel represents a failure of God’s Word. Finally, he makes clear that God’s promises apply to the descendants of Abraham and Sarah through the promised spiritual heir, Isaac

 

Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you that your ways are perfect. We are privileged to be your sons and daughters. May we live lives worthy of your love for us and bring glory to your name. Amen.

Day 26: Part 2 - Concern for Others

Thursday, March 18 by Sue Paul

Scripture Reading: Romans 9:1-9 (click to read)

 

Key Verse: “I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my people, those of my own race, the people of Israel.” Romans 9:2-4

 

The thing that strikes me most forcefully as I start to read Romans 9 is Paul’s great concern for the lost souls of the Jewish people. He loves them and his concern is that they have missed the wonderful gift of God’s love and salvation through Christ’s sacrifice.

 

We meet and know many people who are, just like the Jews Paul is writing about, lost and missing out on this wonderful gift. They live their lives, possibly thinking they are OK. Maybe they go through the motions of religious practice, but they have never accepted the fact that Christ died for them. I ask myself if I care enough to get this wonderful news to them. This passage is a challenge for me, and for all of us who love and know Christ to share this wonderful message.

 

Rebecca Pippert’s book, Out of the Salt Shaker and into the World outlines the dilemma many of us feel: “Should I be sensitive to people and forget about evangelism, or should I blast them with the gospel and forget about their dignity as human beings?” (pg. 15) I think that Paul is demonstrating the importance of loving them, and having the willingness to share this good news, even if we are rejected. Indeed, all people have to make a choice about whether to accept God’s gift. But how shall they hear about it? It must be through those of us who have already experienced this great news.

 

Prayer: Dear Lord, Help me love those around me with Your passion for them, and help me be sensitive but bold to share the news of your wonderful gift of forgiveness and salvation. Give me courage, grace and discernment. Amen

Day 27: The Gift

Friday, March 19 by  John Block

Scripture Reading: Romans 9:10-21(click to read)

 

Key Verse: “I will have mercy on whomever I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whomever I will have compassion. So then it is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God who shows mercy.” Romans 9:15-16

 

As we continue our Lenten journey, this verse is a reminder of the incredible gift that we have been afforded as God's children. Mercy is not getting what we deserve and cannot be earned. We should never regard God's mercy toward us as our right. If God was in any way obligated to show us mercy, then it would not be mercy. 

 

Judge Frank Caprio is a municipal Judge in Providence, Rhode Island. He is known as the compassionate judge. He often reduces fines and/or dismisses charges based on his assessment of the person's needs and life circumstances. The Judge is in total control and he alone decides who will receive the benefit of his compassionate rulings. 

God is in total control; he alone decides what happens to all of us. He is all about compassion and grace and love which is available to us all. Our Heavenly Father loves us unconditionally and is always looking for an opportunity to demonstrate his love and mercy, despite the fact that we often turn our back on him and focus on our own selfish desires. 

 

God's greatest act of mercy was sending his precious son Jesus to die for us, so that we could receive the most precious gift of mercy: eternal life with him. 

 

Prayer: Heavenly Father, we know it's not possible for us to fully comprehend and appreciate the gift of love and life eternal you've given us. Please forgive us for taking your gifts for granted. Help us become your true disciples so we can shine your love and light of mercy wherever we go.

Day 28: Christ, the Stumbling Stone

Saturday, March 20 by Jennifer Friesen

Scripture Reading: Romans 9:22-33 (click to read)

 

Key Verse: “As it is written: ‘See, I lay in Zion a stone that causes people to stumble and a rock that makes them fall, and the one who believes in him will never be put to shame.’” Romans 9:33

 

The New Testament uses many positive metaphors for Christ: Light of the World, Bread of Life, Lamb of God, Good Shepherd, Prince of Peace, the Word of God. But in this passage we are told that Christ also has a negative effect on many people. Just like a rock in our path can make us trip and fall, Christ’s offer of grace is something that many people can’t get past. This passage in Romans talks about “a righteousness that is by faith,” and says that the people of Israel missed out because they could not stop pursuing righteousness as if it were by works. They still believed keeping the law was possible and would please God.  

 

Grace means that Christ has done all the works, kept the law perfectly, fulfilled all the expectations God had for humanity, and that because of his sacrifice for us, we are off the hook. There is nothing we need to do, literally nothing we cando, to make ourselves righteous in God’s sight. This is an offensive message to those who have spent their lives doing all the right things: going to church, giving to the poor, keeping the ten commandments. “Righteousness by faith” means that none of that is worth anything, that it’s all a waste of time in terms of making you righteous in God’s sight. Because, as James tells us, “whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it.” (James 2:10) And all of us mess up somewhere; no one can keep God’s law perfectly, not even you. 

 

Accepting Christ means admitting that you can’t do it, that you are incapable of being a righteous person. That nothing you do will ever be good enough. It requires humility, the admission that you are a sinner and will always be a sinner, and only God’s mercy can save you. We don’t want to hear this. We would like to believe we can improve, that we can do anything we put our minds to. But God says we can’t.


Are you willing to give up and admit you can’t do it? That you are not as good a person as you may have thought? That Jesus is your only hope? If you do, then you will never be put to shame: your sins are washed away, you are a child of God, and you are free!

 

Prayer:  God, we can’t keep the law. We can’t be righteous. We are all sinners deserving of punishment. Why you chose to take that punishment for us we will never understand. But we are grateful, and we will spend the rest of our lives trying to show you that we love you back. Amen.

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DAY 29: Deeply Devoted to God?

Monday, March 22 by Faith Knoll

Scripture Reading: Romans 10:1-13 (click to read)


Key Verse: “My friends, how I wish with all my heart that my own people might be saved! How I pray to God for them! I can assure you that they are deeply devoted to God; but their devotion is not based on true knowledge.” Roman 10:1-2


In this passage Paul is writing about his own people, the Jews, but when I thought about it, my thoughts went to another group of people who are also deeply devoted to God but without true knowledge: the Muslim people with whom I have lived and worked. But you could put in any similar group of people who are devoted to ‘a god’ but not to the truth of Jesus, ‘your people’ whomever they may be.


Do we have the same passion as Paul to pray for them that they might be saved? That they would come to the true knowledge of God in Jesus Christ? I hope that we do but I know myself that I often fall short in praying. May I also be passionate about the salvation of ‘my people’ and make known that: “Whoever calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”


Prayer: Lord, give me the passion to pray for those who worship ‘a god’ but not the True God. May they come to know You, the only True God and Jesus who is ‘The Way, The Truth, and The Life.” May your Holy Spirit work in their hearts and minds to see and understand the Truth of salvation through Jesus Christ. In His Holy and Majestic Name, I pray. Amen.

Day 30: No One Ever Excused Their Way to Heaven

Tuesday, March 23 by Drew Gauntley

Scripture Reading: Romans 10:14-21 (click to read)


Key Verse: “But I ask: Did they not hear? Of course, they did…” Romans 10:18


Have you ever tried to explain away your behaviour through some form of excuse? Most of us learn as children that our parents are not easily fooled by excuses, no matter how elaborate or pathetic, and we abandon the practice, but some continue to offer excuses right through adulthood. Paul explores every excuse for rejecting God, but demonstrates that none is acceptable.


In the first 13 verses of Romans 10, Paul has demonstrated that salvation will come to any Jew or Gentile who will “call upon the name of the Lord.” To illustrate how that can actually take place, he now draws out the necessary elements of salvation – how can you call without belief, how can you believe without hearing, how can you hear without a preacher and who can preach if they are not sent. At this time, the Jews as a nation had rejected Jesus as their Messiah and helped to have Him crucified, while the Gentiles are coming to faith and acknowledging Jesus as the Christ.


Paul points out, as in Psalm 19:4, that God’s glory has been proclaimed over all the world. If the Gentiles are hearing it in the far reaches of the Roman Empire then the Jews to whom it was first proclaimed had certainly heard it. He then goes on to quote Moses in Deuteronomy 32:21 to establish that the Jews knew the implications of the message to the Gentiles. He thus establishes that Israel’s problem was not a lack of hearing or comprehension so they cannot plead deafness or ignorance as excuses in the courtroom of God. They are guilty of rejecting God’s clear message of salvation through Jesus Christ.


Prayer: Father God, help us to strengthen our faith and belief in You so we never have to make excuses to You or anyone else. We want to trust You completely for the forgiveness of our sins so that we will be invited into heaven to spend eternity with You. Thank You for loving us and gifting Your son, Jesus, to die on the cross for us to take the punishment that we truly deserve for failing You in so many ways. We are sorry for all the sins in our lives and we trust in what Jesus did for us for our salvation. We give thanks for His coming and for His presence in our hearts and lives today. In His glorious name we believe and pray, Amen.

Day 31: A Remnant, Chosen by God's Grace

Wednesday, March 24 by Leslie Strome

Scripture Reading: Romans 11:1-10 (click to read)

 

Key Verse: “So too, at the present time, there is a remnant chosen by grace. And if by grace, then it is no longer by works ...” Romans 11:5-6a

 

After a year of world-wide pandemic, spent huddling in my small home with my husband and a small dog, I was feeling cut off from my larger family, from neighbours and friends, and from my church family. TV news has been troubling and depressing, and I’ve felt myself becoming reclusive and too comfortable retreating into my lifelong favorite fallback … reading!  Not educational books, but escapist fiction that keeps me happily slipping through endless non-productive hours every day.  

Then I was assigned this passage of Scripture to consider for a Lenten devotional.  After spending time with it, I talked with God, confessing my own “lack of works” and my desperate need of “His Grace” … and there it was.  An elderly friend phoned, just out of loneliness.  A church “pew buddy” wrote, and I knew he missed us just as we’ve been missing him and others.  Several family members have written or e-mailed, sharing troubles or triumphs or just telling a funny story.  The “disconnect” has been in me, cocooning here in my quiet home, and I am reminded there are still lots of happy and safe ways to be in closer contact with family and friends even while staying safe and quiet at home. I feel connected again, and very blessed by God’s grace.

 

Prayer: Lord, knowing we don’t have to work to earn your love, but instead just have to accept it and share it with others, is such a relief and such a blessing.  Thank you for your many blessings.  Please help me to be open to recognizing and appreciating them and just as open to seeing where I might pass blessings on to others.

Day 32: God the Arborist

Thursday, March 25 by Christians Schroedter

Scripture Reading: Romans 11:11-24 (click to read)

 

Key Verse: You do not support the root, but the root supports you.” Romans 11:18

 

Given that antisemitism has been around for as long as there have been Jews, people generally don’t wish to be potential recipients of that kind of discrimination by identifying with them, just in case. So, I am perhaps one of the few people who, at some point in life, have wished to be Jewish just so that they could be part of ‘God’s chosen people,’ those who have the blessings, the covenants and the promises (Rom. 9:4,5). A short stint of living in the ‘holy land’ didn’t seem to advance that wish in any way, rather, I felt at the time (1980s) that Israel was just another developing country and most young people there wanted to live the American Dream. 

 

It wasn’t until later that I came to understand that in Christ we did inherit it all: the adoption as children, the new covenant, and the promises (Eph. 2:11-22; Rom. 2:29), just like the Jewish people! “Salvation,” Jesus states, “comes from the Jews.” (John 4:22) Rejected by most of his generation and nation, he became the Savior of all people. God grafted us who believe into the Jewish olive rootstock and we get to be part of their amazing history with the giants of faith like Abraham, Sarah, Moses, Ruth (who was a Gentile), David and many more! Honestly, which other nation’s history does any believer know better than that of Israel? However, the gate is small and the path is narrow that leads to life and few find it (Matth.7:14), whether Jew or Gentile. 

 

Prayer: Father, open the eyes of both Jews and non-Jews, to recognize that salvation is found in no one other than Jesus, the Messiah. Thank you for grafting us into the root and enabling us to yield fruit that glorifies you.

Day 33: What Can We Give to God?

Friday, March 26 by Tony Wagemakers

Scripture Reading: Romans 11:25-36 (click to read)


Key Verse: “Who has ever given to God, that God should repay them?” Romans 11:35

 

It gives an ironic feeling to think about giving something to God when there is nothing that we have that is not first given by God for us to use. We have our dreams and fantasies to be strong and healthy, to gain knowledge and wisdom, to acquire possessions and wealth, in order for us to use and to be fulfilled.

 

We sometimes miss the mark in thinking that we can choose and do whatever our feelings dictate, and fail to realize that what is entrusted to us has been given to us to manage on behalf of God. Who has ever given to God something that he did not already have? Everything we are and have comes from him. God gives to us; we do not give to him. “For from him and through him and to him are all things” (v.36). For us to manage the riches of what God has provided is a great privilege. Let us use that privilege with wisdom and joy.

 

Prayer: Dear Lord, thank you for the privilege we have to manage your resources. Let us do it with cheerfulness and joy. To Jesus be the glory forever! Amen.  

Day 34: A Living Sacrifice

Saturday, March 27 by Lydia Liu

Scripture Reading: Romans 12:1-8 (click to read)

 

Key Verse: “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God-this is your true and proper worship.” Romans 12:1

 

This verse does not say to give our "heart"; it says to give our "body." The sacrifice of the body is the sacrifice of the whole person. My mouth, ears, eyes, hands, and feet are not my own. The whole person also includes everything we have: time, money, talents, and so on. All of your daily life belongs to the Lord; you are just a manager. Dedicating the body is to live and to use it for the Lord. As soon as we sacrifice our bodies, we no longer have our own freedom, our own plans, our own enjoyment, our own future, our own usefulness; there is only one thing, and that is to live for God's purpose, God's plan, and God's will. While we are priests who "present the body," we are also the “living sacrifice."

 

Being a living sacrifice means that our life is to die to ourselves and live to God. We place the sovereignty over our life in the hands of God and let God's will be implemented in our lives. A sacrifice is burned to ashes before it becomes a fragrant fragrance and becomes God's enjoyment. True service is to allow God to enjoy our work, life, and dedication.

 

Prayer: Thank the Lord, let us all willingly dedicate our whole being, including body, mind and will, to the Lord. May we be used only by the Lord; please the Lord; live for the Lord. We pray this in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen! 

Day 35: Behave Yourself

Monday, March 29 by Benny Jones

Scripture Reading: Romans 12:9-21 (click to read online)

 

Key Verse: “Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them.” Romans 12:9

 

(In preparing this devotional, I used my favorite translation of the Bible, “The New Living Translation.”)

 

When I was a young boy (many years ago) my favorite place to visit was my uncle’s farm. It was a real treat to stay overnight, get up early, eat a farmer’s breakfast, and then help to feed the animals.

 

When my mother gave me permission for the “over-nighter” her parting instruction was, “Now: behave yourself!”

 

In our scripture reading the missionary, Paul, is writing to the young church in the great city of Rome. They are a small group in a pagan city with many “gods.” In his letter he stresses the fact that they should “Behave Themselves” in the way that they live, talk, and act as followers of Jesus.

 

Let’s read what Paul says to us about our behavior when we are with our fellow Christians and also as we live and work with unbelievers.

 

1. “Don’t be a phony!” Let your words always be true and your love, genuine. Be a good example at church, home and in your daily work. (Romans 12:11)

 

2. “Be patient with folks in the church family, and those you meet at school and work.” Never hesitate to share a meal or a night’s lodging to someone who is lonely or in need. “They will never forget your generosity and may even ask “Why is he or she so generous and caring?” (Romans 12:12 &13)

3. “When people laugh at you for the things you believe about Jesus, don’t get upset.” Pray for them and always treat them with respect. (Romans 12: 14-16)

 

4. “Don’t play Tit for Tat.” Don’t throw back dirt when it is thrown at you. Be a peace maker – make the first move for reconciliation. (Romans 12: 17-20)

 

5. “Remember! Everyone you meet is fighting a battle. Sometimes it is obvious, sometimes hidden.” Come alongside the hurting person and offer your help. (Romans 12:21)

 

We hear you, Paul! With God’s help we’ll follow your advice to “Behave Ourselves.”

 

Prayer: Lord, may we daily repent of sin in our lives, without having someone else challenge us about our sin, and then experience the joy of your forgiveness. Help us each remember that we are God’s temple, indwelt by the Holy Spirit.

Day 36: The Treasure of Our Greatest Doubt

Tuesday, March 30 by John Law

Scripture Reading: Romans 13:1-14 (click to read)

 

Key Verse: ““Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law.” Romans 13:8

 

We owe many things to many people and we are obligated to pay what is owed, whether it is our student loan, our car loan, our mortgage or, as in this passage, our taxes. The one greatest debt that we will never be able to repay is the love of Christ. He calls us to love one another as He has first loved us. If I understand the love He has shown me “while I was a sinner” (Rom 5:8), how can I NOT love my “fellowman”?

The degree of love I have for my neighbor is a reflection of the love that I understand that I have been shown.

How much of His love have we understood? His sacrificial love is a treasure that I do not fully appreciate but many times have forgotten.


I can see that I am indebted to the love He has shown me through His sacrifice but I also see that I am called to love out of abundance that overflows, not from myself but from the Spirit that fills me. The tone of Love is an anthem not a dirge!


“Love each other as I have loved you.” John 15:12


This should make the imperative to love kind of redundant. Don’t you agree?

 

Prayer: May we be fulfilled to know we have the greatest treasure in our greatest debt to YOU. May Your Love be overflowing in our lives so that You can be seen in us.

Day 37: Differences without Dissension

Wednesday, March 31, 2021 by Susan Janetti

Scripture Reading: Romans 14:1-23 (click to read)

 

Key Verses:“It is written: 'As surely as I live,' says the Lord, 'every knee will bow before me, every tongue will acknowledge God.’ So then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God. Therefore, let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister.” Romans 14:11-13

 

The church is made up of people who have different abilities and diverse opinions on many subjects, but who are completely united in the love and truth of Christ and serving Him.

 

These past 8 months have surely divided the church with differences of opinions: to insist on gathering or not, to wear masks or not, to get together with friends or not and recently to take the vaccine or not.   

I admit to having shared a few thoughts of my own, either by correspondence or in person, which did not go down too well. I admit to watching YouTube and reading some Facebook views that left me wondering what the truth was. Some of what I read could certainly have been scary, worrisome, and definitely controversial. And if I insisted on my personal view being the RIGHT view, I could certainly have been put in a position of anger and rejection. 

 

Thank goodness we have the teachings of Christ to turn to: the gospel that will set our thinking straight, the words of God to rely on and calm us, and enable us to not be anxious. 

 

The teaching of Christ reminds us not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister but to be completely united in the love of Christ. We are each responsible for our actions - actions that best of all are guided by Scripture. We may have different viewpoints, but they should never divide us or cause dissension. If dissension arises, let us remind ourselves that it is not our responsibility to judge one another nor be a stumbling block. Rather, we are united in the truth and love of Christ which is to be in all things God’s love in action.  

 

Prayer: Heavenly Father, let us learn how to fully love each other as you love us.

Day 38: A Life Worth Living

Thursday, April 1, 2021 by Ferris Sutjiadi

Scripture Reading: Romans 15:1-13 (click to read)

 

Key Verses“May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Romans 15:5-6

 

When I look at Jesus, I find it hard to picture him not meeting needs. Imagine for a moment Jesus refusing to turn the water into wine. It wasn’t his time to show himself yet, but he did it anyway (John 2:1-12). Or what if Jesus saw Zacchaeus up in the tree, knowing what a bad man he was, but decided to do nothing and go on with his day (Luke 19:1-10)? Or what if Jesus was at the well and saw the Samaritan woman coming by and got up and left because he knew all the bad things she had done, how she was rejected by the community, and how conversing with her would be looked down upon and would take up his valuable time (John 4:1-26)? And what if Jesus only fed his 12 disciples instead of the five thousand because it would just be easier and quicker (Matt.14:13-21)? It is hard to imagine that kind of Jesus. But it is pretty easy to imagine that kind of me. 

 

I most often like to do things that are convenient, comfortable, and easy. But, as followers of Jesus, we have a greater purpose than living for ourselves. As Jesus saved us and continues to meet our needs, we can be motivated to joyfully help others and meet their needs, even if it’s an “inconvenience.” 

 

I like the chorus of the song Build My Life, which says,

 

Holy, there is no one like you

There is none besides you

Open up my eyes in wonder

And show me who you are and fill me

With your heart and lead me

In your love to those around me

 

Prayer: Father, you are such a good God. You are so good to me. Lord, I am sorry for the times I choose to do the easiest thing instead of the best thing. Teach me to do your will. I ask for your loving kindness to propel me into action for building others up and lifting high Your name. It is all about you. Help me to live in unity with the people you have placed in my life and lead me to love those who are hard to love because you also love them. Amen. 

Day 39: Calling to Serve

Friday, April 2, 2021 by Donna Humphries

Scripture Reading: Romans 15:14-33 (click to read)

 

Key Verse:  “He gave me the priestly duty of proclaiming the gospel of God, so that the Gentiles might become an offering acceptable to God, sanctified by the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:16

 

Paul felt he was calledto be a minister to the Gentileswith an ambition to preach the gospel where Christ was not known. He didn’t want to build on someone else’s foundation. Rather, he was willing to walk into the unknown; to reach out to people who did not know him or Jesus Christ. 

 

When I worked in downtown Vancouver, next to the Gastown district, there was a man that stood outside the building almost every day. I decided to speak to him and gradually, over two years, got to know more about him, his habits, and some of his beliefs. Eventually, I worked with Social Services to get him into permanent housing, but that fell through. Why? There was a matter of trust: he wasn’t willing to move into a semi-communal situation that he associated with the night shelters where fights and thefts were commonplace. Where do we place our Trust?

 

Paul urges us to join in the struggle by praying to God that we will be kept safe while doing ministry. Are you willing to talk to that person sitting on the cold sidewalk begging for money, or the one wrapped in a blanket to keep warm? Relationships take time to build. Words of kindness – a simple greeting – raises self-esteem and encourages a person struggling with life. When we acknowledge someone as a person, only then can we talk about his or her value as one of God’s children.

 

Prayer: Lord, during this time of Lent, help me to give up my inhibitions and give me strength to politely begin a conversation with those who are less valued by Society but highly valued by you as one of your Children.

Day 40: Unity in Proclaiming Christ's Message

Saturday, April 3, 2021 by Christel Taylor

Scripture Reading: Romans 16:1-27 (click to read)

 

Key Verse:“I urge you, brothers and sisters, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them.” Romans 16:17

 

Verses 1-15 tell us how the early church in Rome worked together in making the Gospel of Christ known.

 

Paul’s words speak of the respect he had for all the people mentioned by name, and the big contributions they had made. It emphasizes the unity and togetherness of everyone to reveal the long-hidden mystery, so that all nations might believe, obey, and follow the eternal God.

 

In verse 17 we are strongly warned not to be the cause of divisions that could so easily occur even among believers, and anyone who disturbs the unity and peace of the Church.

 

William Barclay says in one of his commentaries, “The peace of God is not the peace which submits to the World, but the peace which has overcome the World.”

 

Paul’s letter speaks of a Gospel that shows God’s love to both Jews and Gentiles.

 

Prayer: Father, we pray that our actions will always glorify your Holy Name, as we remember your sacrifice for each one of us. Amen!

Day 40 - Saturday, April 3

Congratulations, you made it! 


During this 40-day journey of Lent you have read the entire book of Romans, and considered the thoughts of 40 different members of our church! I hope that you feel a renewed connection with God and with our congregation, even though we can’t yet be together in person. 


To those of you who contributed to our Lent Devotional this year, thank you once again for participating in this ministry. Your words were an encouragement to me and many others! I have really enjoyed taking this journey with all of you.     

                   

Easter blessings, 


Jennifer 

Easter blessings!

God's grace and peace to you and your family!