There is SO much meat in today’s devotion/reflection/challenge.
Once Jesus had wrestled His own will to the ground, submitted fully to the Father’s will and accepted that He would have to drink the bitter cup, and firmly faced cross-ward, He was safe from intimidation.
As Chole points out “Fear is intimidation’s oxygen”.
Read the rest here: Lenten Reflections: Fasting Fear, Believing Jesus
Listen carefully to Chole’s words here (read them aloud once or twice):
The church is both afflicted and exhausted by the dizzying notion that God-given power should be exercised in every God-given moment. Jesus makes it clear, however, that [can does not equal should]. Jesus’ voice flattened armed soldiers, yet He permitted these self-declared enemies to stand up again. Jesus had angels at His disposal, yet declined to dispatch them. We dare not mistake these choices for passivity, resignation, or weakness. This dimension of strength was the fruit of power fully submitted to love.
Alicia Britt Chole
Jesus voluntarily chose to drink the cup of sorrow, pain and sacrifice.
It was not a foregone conclusion.
Read the rest here: Lenten Reflections: Fasting Formulas
Today’s devotional is focused on Jesus in the Garden and the disciples He asked to keep watch and pray.
Three times the Lord went further into the garden, fell down sorrowing and returned to find His disciples asleep.
I identify both with Jesus begging His companions to keep watch and with the disciples for closing their heavy lids as sorrow overtook them. I want someone to be awake and alert, praying for me in my despair but can find it hard to do that for others as the weight of their sadness makes sleep a welcome escape.
Read the rest here: Lenten Reflections: Fasting Comparison and Choosing Relationship
I’ve written at length in this space regarding my conviction that denying pain diminishes the power of the cross.
If death isn’t awful, if life in this fallen world isn’t full of sorrow, if eternal separation from God is not Hell then why the cross?
Right here, in the Garden of Gethsemane Jesus acknowledges the terrible cost of salvation, of redemption, of restoration:
Only Jesus, the Father, and the Holy Spirit understood the unspeakable cost Jesus would pay for our sins to be forgiven. Under the crushing weight of all that was to come, Jesus offered variations of the same prayer three times: ‘My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will but as You will.’
Alicia Britt Chole
Read the rest here: Lenten Reflections: Refusing To Deny My Emotions, Submitting Them to God’s Will
I’ll be honest-it’s not that often that after three plus decades of in-depth Bible study that I hear or read a unique insight into familiar passages.
But today’s devotion and reflection helped me think of Jesus’ service to His disciples in a new way.
Jesus washed the feet of a betrayer, a denier, and ten deserters….Think of someone who has betrayed you, denied your love, or run away in your time of need. What would it take, what would it mean, for you to wash their feet?
Alicia Britt Chole
Chole’s words made me think back to moments where I’ve made an intentional choice to serve someone who had wounded or disappointed me.
Read the rest here: Lenten Reflections: Letting Go of Bitterness, Embracing Servanthood
I am a great lover of silence.
So today’s fast shouldn’t be that difficult for me-except that it is.
Fasting sound when I’m trying to do it on purpose and setting aside time specifically to listen for the still, small voice of the Lord can be a real challenge.
Read the rest here: Lenten Reflections: Fasting Noise, Embracing the Still, Small Voice of the Lord
Thanks to the Holy Spirit’s inspiration and John’s pen, what we witness in John 12 is a deeply significant (but not stand alone) moment in Jesus’ journey of becoming ‘obedient to death-even death on a cross’ (Philippians 2:8).
Alicia Britt Chole
One of the things I regret most in life is when I’ve had the opportunity to be honest about my own struggles but refused to share because I thought it was “holier” to act like I never had a hard time taking hold of God’s promises or living out my faith.
Holy is hard.
Being set apart for the purposes and glory of God is going to involve some real wrestling.
Read the rest here: Lenten Reflections: Letting Go of Premature Resolution and Learning Obedience
In many of Jesus’ parables, “yeast” is used as a stand-in for sin-especially the sin of hypocrisy. He called out religious leaders over and over for saying one thing and living another.
Years ago a church leader said something I’d never really considered before: “Pagans will act like pagans”.
It was a profound reminder that as a disciple of Christ, as one transformed by His grace and translated by His blood from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of light I shouldn’t be surprised that those who do not yet follow Him behave as they do.
THEY do not represent Jesus. THEIR lives are not supposed to be invitations to truth and freedom through the gospel.
But MINE is.
Read the rest here: Lenten Reflections: Fasting Fake
This reflection is challenging.
I know I’m often tempted to “work backwards” from my desired outcome/impression/position to fashion or refashion a narrative that suits my purpose. When talking to folks who weren’t there and who have no way to verify any other version of the story I might tell, I can tweak things so I come out on top.
Jesus doesn’t put up with that.
Read the rest here: Lenten Reflections: Refusing To Reframe My Past, Embracing Truth
Today’s fast is appearances.
When my kids were young we watched a movie in which one of the female characters worked hard to keep up a perfect appearance in hopes of “catching her man”. But all her efforts were undone by a child who saw through the fake.
“Does your face hurt?”, asked the little girl, referring to the obvious strain required to try to keep that smile exactly right.
I’ve often thought about how much energy I’ve wasted trying to pretend that I’m something I’m not.
It’s especially tempting to put on that “holy habit” when I walk through the doors of church or gather for a women’s ministry event.
Read the rest here: Lenten Reflections: Letting Go of Masks and Making Space for Authenticity