Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Scriptures for Lent and Every Season

I started writing this at about 5 AM - I'm getting back to it now at 11.  I've got a few minutes while I'm waiting for the "Team Sports" class to finish up their broomball game.

When I get up in the morning, either when the alarm goes off or, like today, an hour or so before that, I take some time to read and meditate on the Word of God.

I've done this regularly, according to a set pattern, only since sometime in 2012 when the Lord connected me with a group of pastors and others who gather for prayer on the phone at 6:30 a.m.  For about 2 years I regularly phoned in and was a part of that group.  (See the end of Praying These Days for more about that.)

My morning bus route has changed a bit since then so I don't connect as often on the telephone for prayer, but I have continued to accompany this group in the reading of scripture--readings that follow the "Moravian Daily Texts."

If you don't have a regular pattern of scripture reading and prayer that works for you, I invite you to join me in this practice for awhile.  You might want to do this beginning tomorrow, a day that is, for some Christians, recognized as "Ash Wednesday" -- the first day of the "western" church's observance of Lent. Or, if you don't observe "Lent," it's still a good day to begin reading the Bible and praying on a regular basis. 
(For more about "Lent" as an "option" for Christians, see Gray or Grey?  If you live in the Dassel-Cokato area you might want to come to prayer tonight and on other Tuesdays.  Another option would be to come alongside our high school youth for "JAM" tomorrow night at 7:00 PM.  Give me a call and I'll fill you in on where we're meeting and what you can expect.  Those are great way to grow spiritually during this season.)
Early this morning I was reading Psalm 33:1-5, Exodus 10 (the whole chapter), and Matthew 21:12-22 together with the following key verses:
  • Watchword for the Day - "David found strength in the Lord his God."  (First Samuel 30:6)
  • Doctrinal Text - "For freedom Christ has set us free. Stand firm, therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery." (Galatians 5:1)
It's good to begin the day with God's Word.  Beginning this way brings my mind into line with God. Without a regular practice of Bible reading and prayer we end up being driven by feelings, the people around me, or popular opinion.  When I regularly read scripture and pray, however, I'm less likely to just be tossed around by whatever is going on around me.  Even the questions I have when reading scripture -- and there are many! -- even those questions will lead me to be more open to direction from God.

On Sunday (March 2) we handed out a "prayer guide" at Crossroads that provides an outline for a daily quiet time with the Lord.  This particular guide was especially provided for those who desire to observe the season of "Lent."  Download the "Lenten prayer guide" by clicking HERE.

At its heart you'll find the "Moravian Daily Texts" listed there for this week together with the following encouragements:
  • Take time for the reading of scripture.
  • As you read, don't rush.  Pause at words or phrases that catch your attention, words or phrases that push you spiritually or that make you rejoice.
  • Ask God to speak to you as you read.
  • When you have finished with your reading of scripture, take time for praise and intercession: praying for your own needs, for the needs of those you love, and for the needs of the world, that our Father God's will would be done everywhere.
    (Go here to see the Moravian Daily Texts for today.)
I don't personally identify strongly with any particular church denomination.  I appreciate the Moravian tradition of daily Bible readings, and the Lutheran focus on the Word of God, so this practice is pretty a good fit for me--though I'm not as "organized" as some... prayer flows right into the readings and the readings overflow into prayer.

I invite you to join me for this season.  Let me know you're doing so.  That will be an encouragement.

God's peace to you all.  Looking forward to seeing some of you tonight!


Added Wednesday morning - For some other ways to read scripture during this time before Easter - go to http://blog.youversion.com/2014/03/prepare-for-easter-share-in-god's-word-with-friends/.  There you'll find:
  • Lent For Everyone is a devotional featuring a daily reading from Matthew and inspirational words for reflection from renowned New Testament scholar N.T. Wright. 53 days
  • 40 Days of Lent chronologically traces Jesus’ last week on earth, through the New Testament gospel accounts. The seven Sundays are days of rest, according to tradition. 47 days
  • ReThink Life: 40 Day Devotional presents Scripture, key thoughts, and prayer to challenge you to “rethink” seven important areas in your life. 40 days
  • Hillsong: 40 Days of Revival reveals attributes from history’s greatest revivals — presence, prayer, purity, power, personal sacrifice, and praise — to help you know God and His ways. 40 days

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