Sunday, April 12th

Happy Easter!  As a lead in to the Easter service today, I talk about this idea of resurrecting hope and God’s great love for us, as we see in our text from Jeremiah 31, written to a people who were in exile.  Despite their time in exile and all the bad that had happened to them, God still loved Israel and planned to use them for great things.  What they needed was some hope.  Likewise we need hope too, but not a hope in a return to the past, but a resurrection hope and the new thing God may be doing.

Saturday, April 11th

On Holy Saturday, the day between Good Friday and Easter Sunday, we are in a period of waiting.  But if we have to be waiting, it’s good to wait on the Lord, for God will be with us and will give a new song for our hearts to sing.

Friday, April 10th

Jesus experienced the cross as abandonment from God, as Jesus became the sin offering for all humanity.  While that is a terrible thing to think about, we are blessed that because of Jesus’ act on the cross, we ourselves will never be separated from God.  God will never abandon us or leave us.  In the midst of possibly feeling lonely during our time of social isolation, it is important to remember that God is always present with us, walking with us, whether we realize God is present or not.

Thursday, April 9th

On this Maundy Thursday, what if we thought about worshiping God through serving others, as Jesus demonstrated when he washed his disciples’ feet?  How powerful would it be if we, as the body of Christ, came to see serving others not as a part of our faith but as something that was central to our worship of God?  I think Jesus lays the case for something like this, by washing the disciples’ feet prior to teaching them about what he is doing in the Lord’s Supper.

Wednesday, April 8th

We often think of the sin of Judas as his betrayal of Jesus, but what if the real sin, which is what led to the betrayal, was his lack of willingness to change?  Judas had this one idea of who the messiah should be, and when Jesus did not align with Judas’ vision, Judas discarded him and handed him over for a paltry sum.  As we journey through this holy week, we should ask ourselves, before God, is there any area where God is calling me to change but I haven’t been willing to do so?  This is important to do because, if we’re not careful, this attitude could lead us down the same paths of darkness walked by Judas.

Tuesday, April 7th

In this story today, we see the value of Jesus in the eyes of one woman vs the value ascribed to Jesus by Judas, as Judas agrees to betray Jesus for the lowest amount of money that the law proscribed as restitution for the loss of human life.  What about us?  What value do we ascribe to Jesus?

Monday, April 6th

Today’s devotional has an activity challenge for you.  In thinking about Christ’s glory, Paul writes that one day every knee will bend and every tongue will confess that Jesus is Lord.  Where do you see the glory of God in your life now?  Where do you see examples of God’s goodness, beauty, and love?  A favorite pastime that now you have time for?  A spot in nature?  A place you love to sit and think or pray or listen to music?  Take a picture of this and post it in the comments, either with an explanation or just on its own.  Let’s see those examples of God’s glory in your life!

Sunday, April 5th

What does waving the palm branch mean to you?  That we recognize Jesus as king?  Sure.  But what kind of king?  The king of our choosing, as was the problem with those who initially welcomed him, or the king that he is?  The challenge today, and every day, is to receive Jesus as he actually is, and not welcome him simply out of a desire our own blessing or prosperity.

Saturday, April 4th

Paul encourages the Philippians, and by extension I would say us, to live our lives in a manner that is worthy of Christ, striving to be united in faith.  We can be united, in some sense, because we’re all suffering the same things together.  We are all in this time together, and so let us use this time fruitfully, that we may grow in faith and in spirit, so that when we are able to come back together, we will unleash a fresh wave of service and energy in our community.

Friday, April 3rd

Paul loved Jesus so much that all he really wanted was to be with Jesus, which meant he would have to die.  That would be gain, he said.  But life itself – that belonged to Jesus, to preparing things on earth for God’s coming kingdom, and he knew was would be around for that fruitful work.  This should also be the goal of our hearts – to love Jesus so much that death would be gain, and the life we lead now would be centered around preparing ourselves and this world for Jesus to return again.