If you wish to receive forty days of devotions by email, please email me (JT@TheRiverNRV.org) and I'll add you to our list. This will be the only of our devotionals that I'll post to our blog, and I do so because this list is different than our congregational list. To be added to our congregational list, please email me.
Note about Lent devotionals:
These devotionals can take you ten minutes or one hour, if you’d like. Do what you can, and don’t get discouraged if you miss a day. Having two or three times with the Lord in a week is much better than zero! Don’t let legalism get the best of you; do what you can and don’t beat yourself up for what you can’t do.
God loves to spend time with you, so don’t let satan get the upper hand; remember that we are always the prodigals son, returning from the world to be in the presence of our loving Father. He always lifts His robe and runs to us the moment He even SEES us in the distance!
My suggestion is to find a quiet place, and if possible a regular time when you can be with God without being disturbed or self-conscious. I often start by listening to worship songs on YouTube or a CD, to get the prayer-furnace going. The Word often comes best on the heels of worship! I recommend also using a journal so you can write down thoughts or prayers.
Know that I as your brother, friend and Pastor, am praying that you Encounter the Lord, are Established in your faith, Equipped for ministry and that through Lent, are enabled to Engage the world with the love of Jesus.
Exo 1:1-14 These are the names of the sons of Israel who came to Egypt with Jacob, each with his household: (2) Reuben, Simeon, Levi, and Judah, (3) Issachar, Zebulun, and Benjamin, (4) Dan and Naphtali, Gad and Asher. (5) All the descendants of Jacob were seventy persons; Joseph was already in Egypt. (6) Then Joseph died, and all his brothers and all that generation. (7) But the people of Israel were fruitful and increased greatly; they multiplied and grew exceedingly strong, so that the land was filled with them. (8) Now there arose a new king over Egypt, who did not know Joseph. (9) And he said to his people, "Behold, the people of Israel are too many and too mighty for us. (10) Come, let us deal shrewdly with them, lest they multiply, and, if war breaks out, they join our enemies and fight against us and escape from the land." (11) Therefore they set taskmasters over them to afflict them with heavy burdens. They built for Pharaoh store cities, Pithom and Raamses. (12) But the more they were oppressed, the more they multiplied and the more they spread abroad. And the Egyptians were in dread of the people of Israel. (13) So they ruthlessly made the people of Israel work as slaves (14) and made their lives bitter with hard service, in mortar and brick, and in all kinds of work in the field. In all their work they ruthlessly made them work as slaves.
The story of Exodus begins with Israel, the chosen child of God, being oppressed and afflicted by the careless, ruthless and heartless enemies of the God of Israel.
Our spiritual exodus was secured by Jesus who also endured careless, ruthless and heartless oppression by the enemies of God. As one reads the Gospels, we see increasing intensity as Jesus turns His face towards Jerusalem (Luke 9) and is unwilling to change His course of action from the cross (even though the religious, the crowds or His disciples constantly opposed, rejected or misunderstood His purposes). Yet unlike Israel, Jesus went into the wilderness, into suffering and temptation WILLINGLY, knowingly … surrendered to the Father. Jesus, the 2nd Adam, led us into our spiritual Promised Land (the Kingdom of God) to show that He would not die but THRIVE in the place where the 1st Adam failed. Because of Jesus we ALSO have the power not to DIE under temptation, duress, pain or suffering, but THRIVE in the midst of it (see James 1). We do so not because of our own might, but because of the presence of Jesus in and through us, who gives us victory.
Perhaps God has also allowed you to go through trials, like the people of God. What are those trials that face you today? Write them down on paper … no matter how big or small. Sometimes they feel overwhelming, but after writing them down you see there are only five, or three or two. Get them out of your head, they may look less powerful when you just see them on paper. Lift those trials up in prayer. If Jesus were right next to you (which He is), what will you say to Him? Pray as you are talking to your best Friend (which you are). Write next to the trial what you are realizing about God, life or yourself through that trial. Like Israel, could there be strengthening and maturity coming as a result? How about compassion? I encourage you to thrive in the wilderness like Israel, and Jesus, and not be dismayed. See Joshua 1 for what God told Joshua. Why did He need to hear this? What was Joshua feeling as he, a typology of Jesus, stood on the verge of the wilderness.
Adoration – what is it about the Father, Son and Spirit that you adore today?
Confession – what is it you realize about yourself that you want to tell him, or others?
Thanksgiving – what are you thankful for, keeping you from sins of covetousness, jealousy and ingratitude?
Supplication – who has God laid on your heart to life up in prayer? Ask specifically … you pray to a loving, powerful and generous God.