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For March 10, 2019 - First Sunday in Lent

Jesus speaks God’s word faithfully

Read: Luke 4:1-13

This story is often called the “Temptation of Jesus.” That description focuses on Jesus’ ability to resist sin. However, the Hebrew word for “tempted” can also be translated as “tested.” This other translation is helpful since the story is more about testing Jesus to see what kind of messiah he plans to be, one who seeks personal power and prestige, or one who is faithful to the God of the Bible. When the focus is on temptation, we can easily miss how we, like the devil, can try to change Jesus into someone who serves our desires for personal importance. Both Jesus and the devil quote Scripture. We can use the Bible and our faith in unfaithful ways. Part of our sinfulness is to make Jesus into someone who serves our desires instead of the one who points us to worship and trust God to take care of our real needs. Think about or discuss how Jesus is our Savior by overcoming evil and idolatry (desire for personal power and glory) and by placing his trust in God.

Pray: Dear God, we thank you that Jesus speaks your word faithfully; help us to listen to your word and trust in you. Amen.

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Ash Wednesday

Practicing The Presence of God

Read: Psalm 51:1-17 and Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21

Ash Wednesday begins the season of Lent, and Lent helps us to focus on what matters. Psalm 51 expresses how important forgiveness is. Forgiveness matters. In Matthew 6, Jesus points out that things we typically value, that we treasure, can easily be taken away or destroyed over time. This is true of health, fame, or material possessions. What really matters—is to be treasured—is God’s living presence in our lives. Instead of practicing our faith to get the attention of others—to gain a kind of approval—simply enjoy the intimacy of God’s presence in our lives that gives us a new heart and a new beginning daily. Enjoying God’s presence through faith practices like prayer, fasting, and service to others, helps us to experience the true treasure of life. This Lent, how could you enjoy the treasure of God’s presence in your life?

Pray: Merciful God, as we enter this Lenten season, guide our thoughts, words, and deeds to humbly receive your mercy and grace, the true treasure of life. In Jesus name, amen.

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March 3, 2019 - Transfiguration Sunday

God’s glory shines on the cross

Read: Luke 9:28-43a

The presence of Moses and Elijah on the Mountain of Transfiguration unites Jesus with the same God revealed in the Old Testament. Moses represents the law and Elijah the prophets. The two Old Testament figures speak to Jesus about his “departure, which he was about to accomplish at Jerusalem” (v. 31). The word for “departure” in Greek is exodus, the great act of God’s deliverance, God’s salvation in the Old Testament. Jesus’ exodus, his great act of salvation will now be fulfilled in Jerusalem through his suffering, death, and resurrection. Jesus’ dazzling white appearance shows God’s glory completed through his departure in Jerusalem. Reflect on how Jesus’ dazzling white appearance in glory is completed in what he accomplishes in Jerusalem. How does the suffering we experience today help us to experience God’s presence in our lives?

Pray: God of power and glory, help us to see your glorious presence in our lives. Be with those who are experiencing times of suffering. Amen.

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