Lenten Devotion Day 36

Feed My Spirit

The Last Supper

Bread is such a basic part of our lives. Most of us eat bread every day. Same thing in Jesus’ time. Bread was eaten daily. Bread was used in religious observances. Jesus understood the importance of bread in our lives. He knew bread was something we use regularly.

On the night He was betrayed, Jesus gave new meaning to wine and bread. He wanted His disciples, and us, to remember the sacrifice He made for us. He shed His blood and gave His body for us. Each time we take Communion, He wants us to remember this.

There is more to it than that. This is not just about those times we take communion. It is not just about remembering the sacrifice Jesus made for each of us. According to the dictionary, Communion is “the sharing of intimate thoughts and feelings, especially when the exchange is on a mental or spiritual level.” When we take communion, we are able to share our thoughts and feelings with Jesus. Jesus is able to share His thoughts and feelings with us. This is another very important part of communion but I believe it goes farther than that.

Communion is sometimes referred to as a “meal.” Meals are important. This is a time when we are able to come together with others, people that are important to us, and share our thoughts and feelings, the events of the day.

Unfortunately, sharing meals has become a lost activity in some families. Everyone is “too busy” to sit down all at one time to eat together. Ok. I’m not going to argue with anyone about that. You understand your family schedule better than I do. However, there must be times during the week when family meals can be scheduled.

In my church, communion is not a daily or weekly event. It is only observed every few months and on specific occasions, making this sacred meal so very special for all of us. It’s a time we come closer together as a faith family. It’s a time we come closer to God.

This sharing, coming to the table, is important whether in the church or the home. Busy or not, it’s very important for your family to find time to come to the table.

Discussion Questions

1. Communion helps us feel closer to God. Discuss communion with your family. Talk about the way you feel when you take communion.

2. Talk to your kids about other ways to communicate with God.

3. We work hard to feel people physically. How can we feed them spiritually?

4. Does your family sit down to dinner regularly? If not, how can you make this happen?

5. At dinner, do family members talk to one another? What do you discuss?

6. How can you make your dinners a time for sharing thoughts and feelings?

7. How can you help your family understand the importance of eating together?

Lenten Devotion Day 35

I Said Get Out!

Jesus Cleanses the Temple

In ninth grade, I was chosen to be on the school paper. I still remember being taught the basics of journalism: Dog bites man is not news; Man bites dog is news.

This expression seems very outdated now but the idea still holds true. Man bites dog is news not simply because it is extraordinary but also because it is shocking. News often shocks us. We are appalled to hear the actions of others, actions that go against the norm. Unfortunately, there are times when those actions are not done in one big shocking event but little by little over time. When this happens, society becomes accustom to the abnormal and accepts it as normal. Man biting dog is no longer news.

Palm Sunday

Hosanna

Jesus Enters Jerusalem

The Old Testament told people the Messiah would ride into town on the back of a small donkey. When Jesus did this, when Jesus appeared to fulfill the prophecy, the people were very excited. They waved palm branches, laid the palm fronds on the street in front of Jesus and cheered. They were so happy the Messiah had finally come to save them!

POWER Part 4 Enthusiasm

Faith must be expressed by taking action. This isn’t always easy, though. You often feel as if you are simply going through the motions and this makes your actions and faith powerless. To put power in both, you must add enthusiasm. I know how hard it can be to remain enthusiastic. Your life is busy and you get tired. There are, however, ways you can help increase and maintain your enthusiasm.

1. Energetic: Discover ways to keep your energy up. You need to have a better understanding of your body and the things that either add or subtract from your energy. Go for a walk. Eat the right foods. Take a short nap. Watch a program or film that makes you feel better. Talk to a friend that always boosts your spirit. You also need to know the things that cause your energy to lag. Too much sugar. Too much caffeine. Not enough sleep. Watching the wrong programs or reading the wrong books. You may even have people in your life that drain the energy right out of you. Do an assessment to gain a better understanding of what helps and what hurts.

2. Encouraging: It is important for you to learn ways to encourage those around you, especially women. These days, there are too many people ready to drag you down over the smallest things. You begin to doubt your ability to do anything, let alone something big. Many of the women around you feel exactly the same way. It’s important for you to encourage them. Pay them a compliment. Ask for the opinion. Ask for their help. It takes so little to boost someone, to help them feel better about themselves. There are enough people looking for ways to tear them down! You need to take time to lift them up!

3. Engaging: We were recently at a large convention looking at the exhibits. I commented on all the people walking around an incredible event while looking down at their phones. They weren’t engaged in what was happening around them at all. I thought it was sad. So many interesting people. So many incredible products and many people missed all of it as they stared at their phones. Now some of them may have had something important they needed to take care of in that moment but not all of them. And you might say some of them had already seen the exhibits. True but there is always something new. And you never know who you might encounter. It’s important for you to become more engaged in life. Do you speak to the people you meet over the course of your day? I enjoy talking to all the checkers that wait on me when we run errands. I ask how their day is going, has it been busy, do they get off soon. It’s nothing earth shaking. They may never remember our conversation. People are so interesting.You never know who you will meet or what you will learn when you begin talking to someone. And if they seem to think you’re odd for talking to them, well, that’s their problem. You just stay alert to life.

These are 3 very simple things you can do to put action into your faith. You never know what might come from a casual encounter with someone. And that’s what makes life so exciting!

POWER Part 3: Women

One of the first places you should look when determining your call & where to utilize it is among the women in your life. I believe women have an incredible opportunity right now to encourage & support one another. You may not understand right away what you should do or how you can serve anyone but these are 3 questions to ask yourself to help with the process:

  1. Who do I know?: Consider the women in your life right now. Quietly think about them & see whose name rises to the surface. I often think of this as being like a Magic 8 Ball, however, instead of shaking things up, you need to sit quietly & turn your mind to God. He knows the women in your life that need your help & He is ready to share those names with you. You must, however, ASK!
  2. What do they need?: Once you have some names in mind, you need to determine what they need. This takes a bit of time as you consider THEIR needs not what you THINK they need. This can be a problem. Yo become so anxious to help, you jump in before surveying the situation & determining their felt needs. Whether you agree or not is irrelevant. Take care of their felt needs first & then you can move on to other needs as you see them after.
  3.  How can I help?: Once you understand their felt needs, you need to gain an understanding of why God is calling you to help them with this specific issue. There may be others helping the same woman with the same problem in different ways. You bring something specific to the problem which is why God put you there. Never doubt you have something to offer.

You want to take time to determine who needs your help  & how you are able to help them, however, you still want to act in a timely matter. When God calls, you want to answer right away.

POWER Part 2: Opportunities

It can be difficult, very difficult to discern God’s call on your life. I have struggled with this many times. It becomes frustrating, floundering around, trying one thing or another as we attempt to understand just what God wants. I worry too many times we simply give up trying. Life is busy & we just don’t have time trying to figure out what we are supposed to do.

Rather than trying to do this on your own, it’s time to rely on God to show you what He wants. There are 3 things you can do to help you in this process:

  1. Stop: It’s time to stop struggling, to stop doing it on your own. Time to stop making excuses. God is waiting for you to ask Him for help. He is ready to lay out His plan. Perhaps not all at once but in bite-size pieces so you are not overwhelmed & you are able to move ahead.
  2. Look: Take time to look around & see the opportunities right in front of you. It’s so easy to spend time looking ahead, trying to see what’s coming down the road that you miss what God has placed right in front of you. I often imagine these opportunities are standing directly in front of me, jumping up & down, yelling, “Here! Here! Look down! Look at me!” The opportunity to serve may be much closer than you imagine.
  3. Listen: Listen to the people around you. Your greatest opportunity may be among those closest to you. Not necessarily your family but the people you encounter on a regular basis or someone close to a person that is close to you. Listen to the things people are saying to you or saying near you.

Finding your call may be easier than you ever imagine. You must simply take the time to stop, look, & listen to discover what has been there all along.

POWER Part 1: Positive Attitude

Nothing can revive you or awaken the Spirit within you like a positive attitude. Despite your best efforts, it can be tough to remain positive. I personally believe you have to work to remain positive. It’s not that you are a negative person. It’s just that a negative attitude tends to come more naturally.

When I talk about a negative attitude, I don’t mean a “woe is me!” approach to life. I believe it’s part of your nature to consider the worst case scenario so we can prepare for it. Usually, you don’t dwell on these negative thoughts, however there are times women struggle with worries & anxiety. These cause stress & stress reduces the ability of the Spirit to work. Therefore, it’s imperative for you to focus on remain positive. Here are 3 tools to help you strengthen your positive attitude:

1. Prayer: Prayer helps in so many ways. It allows you to surrender your fears to the Lord. Fear is one of the greatest obstacles in life so it’s important for you to take steps to reduce your fear. Prayer also puts you in touch with the Spirit. The more you interact with the Spirit within you, the more connected you become with It. Prayer also gives you the opportunity to face your negative thoughts & fears. Too often, we try to ignore them, hoping they will simply go away. They don’t go away. Instead they grow & continue to grow until our face them. Begin with prayer so you don’t face them alone.

2. Motivational Material: Discover what helps keep you uplifted & motivated then use those materials regularly. It might be books, movies, audio programs, YouTube channels, & more. You might have quotes that keep you focused. Write them on sticky notes & put them where you see them regularly. Spend time every morning, even just a few minutes reading or listening to empowering material. Begin your day with strength & energy. Consider it your spiritual caffeine. You need to determine what materials empower you. Others can make recommendations but it is ultimately up to you.

3. Scripture: The most powerful motivational material is Scripture. The Word of God has the answer to your problems, is able to overcome your fear & anxiety. On Pinterest, I have seen graphics offering passages for different issues you may face in life. These lists are handy when you are struggling. You might also make note of the different passages that inspire you. Use sticky tabs in different colors to represent the areas you need to focus on. If reading the Bible,is new to you or you struggle to understand the meaning, you might read devotions instead. Short passages with a paragraph or two reflecting on the verse may be more to you liking. Devotions may also be a quicker way for you to get your daily shot of spiritual power. I would rather have you read a brief passage or devotion daily than have you struggle to find time to study a long detailed passage.

Prayer, motivational material, & Scripture are the 3 most powerful ways for you to remain positive, control fear, & empower your life! Use daily for the greatest benefits,

Revival Introduction

When most of us think of revival, we picture a church meeting where the preacher warns us of the sinful lives we are living & works to dedicate ourselves to getting on the right path with God. This is one type of revival but I want to discuss something different.

When I think of revival, I think of reawakening. Perhaps this is what pastors are working to do at those religious meets: working to reawaken the Spirit within us. That’s part of what I help you do this month. More importantly, I want to help you reawaken the passion in your life.

Think back to when you were in high school or college. Life lay ahead of you & you were excited to go out there & make your make. You had passion. Then life go in the way. Jobs, bills, family, responsibilities, schedules, they all took up so much of your time, you simply couldn’t take time for your passion any more. Soon, you forgot all about it. God, however, never forgot about it.

I believe God put you here for a specific reason & that reason gave you your passion. The Spirit within you lit a fire that burned bright until the stress of life pushed it so deep within you that you couldn’t feel it anymore. I’m not saying you lost your faith but there is more to being a Christian than just that. Your passion, the Spirit make your faith stronger & more powerful than you imagine.

So how do you reignite your passion? How do you revive it? I believe it takes POWER to do that. Five items that help you better understand the plan God has for your live. It’s time to shake things up. It’s time to stop going through the motions. It’s time to understand your true purpose in life. It’s time for Revival!