Into the Wilderness of Lent

The first Sunday of Lent is always devoted to remembering Jesus’ 40 days in the wilderness being tempted by Satan. The length of the 40 days of Lent is modeled on these 40 days of Jesus, and reading an account of this time in Jesus’ life helps us to frame these 40 days of fasting leading up to our celebration of Easter.

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Rose-Colored Glasses

Sometimes we see our lives through rose-colored glasses. We see all of the ways that we consider ourselves to be “good Christian people” when the reality is that we could all use a little (or a lot!) of work. Today is a day to admit our wrong-doings and the impurities of our hearts.

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Stuck in Fear

Today we meet Elijah, sitting in a cave, exhausted and fearing for his life. Elijah feels alone, he feels like a failure, he feels exhausted, and he is scared for his life. Elijah was paralyzed by fear to the point where he could no longer move forward. He was stuck. I think we all get to that place sometimes. Things seem to be falling apart all around us and we are scared to move forward and scared to turn around and go back. Where do we turn? What do we do?

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Blessing the Nations

When God called Abraham in Genesis 12:3 he told him: “in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” God didn’t save you to keep that blessing for yourself, he wants you to share it. There is no treasure greater than a relationship with the Living God! By sharing this treasure you lose nothing and those who receive the gift gain everything. We are called to take the Gospel to the ends of the earth. What part is God calling you to play in his mission?

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What is Your Good News?

What brings a smile to your face when you read the newspaper? (I’m not talking about the comics!) I enjoy stories about exciting emerging technology, long-awaited justice, undeserved kindness, truth coming to light, and beauty. These are generally seen as “good news” to me. You might get excited by different stories. In the Gospel today, Jesus brings good news to the region of Galilee. Even though he spoke of this news 2,000 years ago, the news is just as good and exciting as the day he first spoke of it.

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Hearing God

It is easy to take hearing God for granted, forgetting that in the days of the Prophet Samuel, the word of God was “rare” (1 Samuel 3:1). Today, every believer has the ability to hear directly from God through the Holy Spirit who dwells within us. How often do we take the time to listen? Some may have never learned how to hear God’s voice at all.

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How Does God’s Kingdom Come?

The Kingdom of God is not a place, it is not the same thing as any of the nations of the world, it is not even precisely the same as the Church. The Kingdom of God is wherever Jesus reigns as King, chiefly in the hearts of believers. In a post-Christendom world we are to do what we should have been doing all along, focus on bearing the light of Christ.

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The Heavens Declare

Did you see the “Christmas Star” a few days before Christmas? Some have speculated that a similar astronomical event may have been what the wise men saw after the birth of Jesus. Is this possible? Probably not. I like to think that God caused whatever it was as a supernatural event to announce the birth of his Son! “The Messiah is here!” was literally written in the sky!

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Meet the Word

John designed his Gospel to introduce people to Jesus and to help them “believe that [he] is the Christ, the Son of God” so that they can “have life in his name” (John 20:31). To really know someone, you have to know their story. How do you introduce yourself to someone you have never met before? What do you say about yourself? What do you want to know about that new person? What is their name? Where do they come from? Who are their people? What are their interests? The prologue to the Gospel of John answers these kinds of questions as it introduces us to Jesus, the Word.

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The Weary World Rejoices!

When things feel hopeless, we need a source of hope. I don’t mean simply saying, “I wish things were better.” Rather, we need something that makes us say “things will be better.” We can find this hope in something that has happened which points to something that will happen. One night, more than 2,000 years ago, hope entered the world in the form of a baby.

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