Category Archives: Ashland Church Lenten Devotionals

Devotion for April 8, 2012

Today’s Reading: Mark 16:1-20

People many times wonder what happens in the afterlife. Will we have a body, will we be just some sort of phantom spirit floating around, or will we know or be able to recognize one another? The scripture indicate to us that when Jesus was raised from the dead, that he had a real, although different in some ways, physical body. The Gospels speak of Jesus being physically touched, having conversations, being recognized, and in Luke’s Gospel we read that he even ate broiled fish. Even though there was some continuity, with his pre-resurrection body (the nail prints in his hands) there was something which had changed as well.

The good news for us is that the scriptures indicate, that for those who are in Christ, our bodies will be changed as well. The scriptures teach us that our souls go directly to be with Jesus after death until that time which he comes back to this world and sets everything right. At that point, those who are in Christ who have died, their bodies will be raised to life, and those who are still alive will be “caught up” to meet Jesus upon his return. (1Thes 4) Why is this such good news? Think for a moment what life would be like, if this world had no sin, no evil, no pain, no suffering, no sorrow. Seems like heaven doesn’t it? We read in the prophets, as well as the book of Revelation of a new order of things, a new Earth, and a new Heaven, where all is made new and perfect. We will be able to enjoy the earth in the way God originally intended. The arts will be expressed in ways and forms like we have never experienced. The creation will exemplify the beauty of Eden and perhaps beyond. Relationships will be without arguing, strife, hatred, and turmoil. Wars will cease, disasters will be stilled, and life will be truly wonderful and exciting, with never a boring moment and complete peace. We will also know fully what it means to live in unrestricted worship and relationship with God. We will be his people, and he will be our God.

Rev 21:3-4 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

Jamie Cupschalk

 

Lenten Devotion for April 7, 2012

Today’s Reading: Mark 15:21-42

The Perfect Gift

Gifts, gifts, and more gifts. Often times we find ourselves struggling to find the right one; the perfect one. We put ourselves through such dilemmas trying to find tokens of our love and affection and admiration for a friend, relative, or significant other. It is our greatest desire that these gifts will be accepted with gratitude, that the gifts linger in the recipient’s memory long after the celebration. However, not even the most beautiful, lavish present could hope to surpass that given by Jesus Christ, our Savior. Through death and bloodshed has the sacrificial lamb given us the greatest gift of all, salvation.

This gift was given at great expense. Jesus gave his own LIFE for us, his freedom and all he cared for on Earth. He allowed himself to experience some of the worst types of pain and torment, just so that you and I may experience eternal paradise. He didn’t have to do it. Should he have simply chose not to die, he would not have to face crucifixion. He submitted to the will of God the Father. God’s endless love for us, his children, has saved us from our rotten-sinful lives, even though we couldn’t possibly deserve it! It constantly amazes me how much the Lord loves us. This love without limits, without rules, without exception is alien to us. None of our human relationships could match such love.

Liam Fleming

Lenten Devotion for April 6, 2012

Today’s Reading: Mark 15:1-20

He Knows Your Pain

How many of us go through trials thinking we’re all alone, or “nobody would understand.” It’s easy to isolate ourselves from others, or contemplate on just how bad things really are. Yet, the truth is this: ““For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are – yet was without sin” Hebrews 4:15 (NIV)

When I read these verses in Mark, I can truly see that he really does understand our pain. To all who have ever been ridiculed for just being themselves: “And they began to call out to him, “Hail, king of the Jews! (v 18)”  To all who have been abused: “Again and again they struck him on the head with a staff and spit on him. (v 19)”  To all who have been wrongly accused and punished for something: “The chief priests accused him of many things. (v 3)” To all who have been maliciously humiliated: They put a purple robe on him… Falling on their knees, they paid homage to him… And when they had mocked him, they took off the purple robe and put his own clothes on him. (v 17-20)”

To all who have felt pain and endured tragedies nearly unimaginable, know that there is One who understands. He endured much pain and temptation on his journey to the cross. Also know, he took that journey for You, so that one day you could experience peace unimaginable.

Challenge: Allow Jesus to come alongside you, and sympathize with you, in your time of struggle, temptation, or pain. Also, remember his painful journey to the cross was for YOU.

Prayer: Dear Jesus, I thank you for being the One I can count on and trust, the One who can sympathize with my sorrow, and the One who is able to, and one day will, bring complete restoration to my grieving soul.

Robin Thompson

 

Lenten Devotions for April 5, 2012

Today’s Reading: Mark 14:53-72

Devotion #1

Jesus was before a council. Many people came up as witnesses to sentence Him to death, though everyone’s protests and testimonies could not be proved. One person claimed that Jesus said “I will destroy this temple that is made with hands, and in three days I will build another not made with hands.” Not even this testimony could be agreed. Then the high priest said, “do you have nothing to say? What is it that these men have against you?”. The priest then asked Jesus if he was the Son of God. Jesus replied that He was. Then suddenly, the priest went on a rampage and tore off his clothes in anger. Some began to spit and cover Jesus’ face. They called him a blasphemer and the guards beat Him.

Peter was below in the courtyard waiting. A servant girl of the high priest recognized him and asked him if he was with Jesus and Peter denied it. The servant girl told others standing nearby that Peter was a follower of Jesus and again, Peter denied it. A little while later, the bystanders again asked Peter if he was one of Jesus’ followers and he denied it a third time. When he did this, the rooster crowed a second time. Peter was immediately ashamed of himself and wept and remember that Jesus had said one of them would deny Him. Jesus called it.

Matt M.- Here we see that the Sanhedrin went to great lengths to find something to convict Jesus and justify their arresting Him. When their feeble attempts failed, the high priest just flat-out asked Him if he was the “Son of God” to which Jesus replied “I am” knowing that the answer would lead to His death. This is another example of the strength and bravery of Jesus and His willingness to serve God’s will.

The opposite could be said for Peter. Peter was scared. He was afraid of what would happen to Jesus and what would happen to those who served alongside Him and followed Him. When asked if he knew Jesus, he denied it. He then remember that Jesus predicted this and was ashamed. He looked Jesus in the eye just hours before and said “Surely it will not be I” and sure enough, it was him. Our prayer is to brave. If ever given the opportunity to share our faith or chose God over all, we would be brave enough to stand up for Christ.

By Elyse Proctor and Noah Beasley (with help from Matt M.)

 

Devotion #2

 Will you stand up for Jesus?

Sandwiched within these Bible verses is the Sandhedrin trial of Jesus.  The Sanhedrin was the high court in Israel – and supposedly consisted of the wisest men in the Jewish nation.  The chief priest was Caiphas –who had plotted against Jesus for many months before this trial.

Jesus spoke little during the trial but did answer truthfully:

Again the high priest asked him, “Are you the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed One?”

62 “I am,” said Jesus. “And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.”

The men on the Sanhedrin should have judged Jesus fairly but instead allowed the following to occur against Jewish law:

  • Conducted the trial at night, even though they were considering a death penalty
  • Asked him to witness against himself
  • The chief priest acted as prosecutor, asked for a public vote, and declared blasphemy without discussing the merits of Jesus stating he WAS the Son of God

How sad it was that some of the wisest men in Israel were so focused on delivering a sentence of death that they MISSED the opportunity to realize that the true Son of God was before them!  If one of us had been a member of the Sanhedrin, would we have spoken up for Jesus?  Would we have recognized that all the things that Jesus had accomplished in his lifetime were signs that he was the long-awaited Messiah?

The beginning and ending verses in the passage are focused on Peter, the disciple who pledged his commitment to Jesus.  However – Jesus predicted Peter’s denial:

Peter declared, “Even if all fall away, I will not.”

30 “Truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “today—yes, tonight—before the rooster crows twice[e] you yourself will disown me three times.”

31 But Peter insisted emphatically, “Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you.” And all the others said the same.

Peter was brave enough to enter the courtyard to view the trial, but did not speak up for Jesus during the trail, and when confronted – three times denied that he even knew Jesus!  Certainly – we can feel Peter’s pain when he realizes his denials and then “broke down and wept”.

After the resurrection, Jesus met Peter in Galilee and reaffirmed him as a disciple in John 21: 15-17:

17 The third time he (Jesus) said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”

Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.”

Jesus said, “Feed my sheep.

Challenge: Many of us will not be facing death when we “Stand up for Jesus” – telling others about Jesus, why he came to earth,  the miracles that he accomplished, the wonderful words he spoke, the love that he showed when he died for sinners like us.  Let us not deny Jesus but instead take every opportunity to proudly declare that Jesus is God’s son and gift to all who will believe in him!

Prayer Focus: Pray that God will give each of us the opportunity to tell others about Jesus.  Pray that we will show our love for Jesus by sharing him with others and can in reality “feed his sheep”!

Peg and Randy  Buckley

 

 

Lenten Devotions for April 4, 2012

Today’s Reading: Mark 14:32-52

 

Devotion #1

Jesus went with Peter, James and John to Gathsemane. Jesus told them “my soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death”. So He went to pray and left the others and prayed, “Father, everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not I will, but your will be done.” Then, an hour later when He came back, the disciples were asleep. Jesus told Simon to make sure they kept watch and to also pray so their bodies would not give in to sleep. Jesus went away again to continue praying and when He returned again, the disciples were asleep again. Jesus told them that while they slept “the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners”.

Judas had come with a crowd armed with clubs and swords. He kissed Jesus as a signal to the crowd to identify Jesus. Jesus was arrested. Jesus had told the crowd “every day I was with you, teaching in the temple courts and you did not arrest me. But the Scriptures must be fulfilled.”

Matt M.- Here we learned that Jesus fully understood God’s plan for Him while praying. Jesus had, for lack of a better term, a “moment of humanity”. He prayed to God and said “let this cup pass from me” but followed it up with “Yet not I will, but your will be done.” It is our prayer that when faced with a difficult challenge, whether it be at school or work, that we remember to pray to God for strength. When faced with a problem or challenge, we should use this example of Christ’s strength and understanding to know that no matter what happens, we accept and live in God’s will.

By Conner Fleming and Connor Tracey (with help from Matt M.)

 

Devotion #2

Not what I will, but what you will

When I read the bible I don’t often think about Jesus as a man. In the first part of this passage we see the human side of Jesus.  He is distressed and troubled, knowing what is to come and he has gone with his disciples to Gethsemane to pray to his Abba Father.  He has asked Peter, James and John to keep watch and pray with him.  He goes apart from the disciples and he prays that if possible, the hour might pass.  He is praying to his Father to be spared.  Not from death so much, but being separated from God and taking on “the sin of the world” so that we can be saved.  How hard it was for him, knowing that he was going to be separated from God, yet he prayed not what I will, but what you will.

He went back to his disciples and found them sleeping, unable to stay awake for an hour.  He asked the disciples again to keep watch and said to Peter 14:38“Pray so that you will not fall into temptation.  The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.” Jesus returned to prayer, returning two more times finding Peter, James, and John sleeping.  Finally on the third time he said to them 14:41“Enough! The hour has come.  Look, the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of the sinners.”

Judas betrayed Jesus with a kiss and he was arrested by a crowd armed with clubs.  Jesus said to them 14:49 “Every day I was with you, teaching in the temple courts, and you did not arrest me.  But the Scripture must be fulfilled.”

How often when we pray do we remember – not what I want, but what God wants?  Jesus gave us words to use in the Lord’s Prayer – “thy will be done” and “lead us not into temptation.”  Those are the same words he used when praying to his Father and telling Simon Peter to pray.  Not only did he give us the words, he gave us the example by dying for our sins and fulfilling the Scripture.

Peg and Randy Buckley

 

 

Lenten Devotions for April 3, 2012

Today’s Reading: Mark 14:17-31

Devotion #1

At the Last Supper, each of the disciples questioned Jesus (paraphrased): “Could I be the one to betray you, Lord?” I would guess at that moment they were also questioning their own hearts. A little while later, Jesus predicted Peter’s three-fold denial.

Are there times in our walk of faith when we should stop and question, “How true is my commitment to the Lord?” Do I profess to love and follow Christ, yet deny him with my actions?

Denise Connell

Devotion #2

In these verses, the Bible talks about how Jesus is the Shepherd and we are like His sheep. He protects us, feeds us, and leads us in the right path. These verses also talk about how Jesus knows that bad things will happen. Jesus was talking to the disciples and said that before the rooster crows twice, that one of the disciples will deny Jesus. Then Peter knew it was him and told Jesus he will not deny Jesus.

Matt M.- Here, Jesus was having the “Last Supper” with His disciples. He was warning them that one of them would betray him. The disciples all said “surely not I” and Jesus assured them that he would be betrayed. Knowing that He would be betrayed, Jesus still ate and drank with the disciples. Although this passage is often used to demonstrate communion, we learned here that Jesus also gave us an example of patience and forgiveness. He knew one of them would betray Him that would ultimately lead to His death, but still dined with them anyway like they were his brothers. If in the same shoes, would we do the same? This is our prayer for this example of Christ’s patience and ultimate forgiveness.

By Erin Fleming (with help from Brittany Dyck and Matt M.)

 

 

Lenten Devotion for April 2, 2012

Today’s Reading: Mark 14:1-16

In this scripture a woman anoints Jesus with expensive perfume, which offended others who were seated at the table. While they scolded her for “wasting perfume that could have been sold for a year’s wages and then distributed to the poor”, we would soon see that in the case of Judas he was more upset because of selfish motives. While the woman was willing to sacrifice to Jesus what was a precious possession, Judas had a greedy desire for money. And when he finally understood that Jesus kingdom was not physical, he realized his greed could not be satisfied by being a follower of Christ. So he betrayed him in exchange of money and favor from the religious leaders.

Challenge: Does greed interfere with your ability to worship unselfishly? Are you willing to sacrifice to Christ what is most precious?

Prayer Focus: Ask the Lord to grant you the grace to keep your heart detached from the temporal things of the world.

Dave Riddle

 

Lenten Devotion for April 1, 2012

Today’s Reading:  Mark 13: 24-37

In the 23 verses preceding our readings for today, Jesus detailed the signs that will foretell his return. Our passage today begins with Jesus description of his arrival “the sun will be darkened, the moon will give no light, the stars will fall from the sky, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken.” This may not be the most pleasant image, but it is the image that will announce his coming. Jesus couldn’t have been any clearer that “no one knows the day or hour when these things will happen, not even the angles in heaven or the Son himself.” This is the reason we need to be sure we are prepared for Jesus arrival by studying God’s word and living by its instructions each day.

Challenge: We can spend months planning for life changing events such as weddings, children, home ownership, etc. Do you place the same importance on preparing for Christ’s return?

Prayer Focus: Ask the Lord to help you prepare for his coming. Pray for guidance and let Him lead you in your walk with him.

Dave Riddle

 

Lenten Devotion for March 31, 2012

Today’s Reading: Mark 13:1-23

In Mark 13:1-23 Jesus is telling his disciples of the end that is to come. He tells his disciples not to lose heart and to be prepared for the oncoming trials and tribulations. Jesus also tells his disciples to be on their guard against false prophets.

Question: How are we supposed to respond to the worldwide suffering that we hear reports about everyday?

Prayer: Dear God we ask you to help us to be prepared for whatever you wish to happen. We also ask you to gaurs our hearts against and falsities that may come our way and that we would meditate on your word. Amen.

Sr. High Students

 

Lenten Devotion for March 30, 2012

Today’s Reading: Mark 12:35-44

In this verse the wealthy people were willing to give a lot, but in comparison to the widow who did not have as much they only gave a little. When the widow gave everything, she was not in control to provide for herself she had to trust God to provide.

To some having less can mean having more. Because as long as you have your faith and continue to grow in your relationship with God, material things like money shouldn’t matter Like the widow we should all faithfully trust Jesus to provide for our needs.

Challenge: Step out of your comfort zone and try to give more today. Take a leap of faith and give what you have and trust God to provide the things you need.

Prayer: Dear Lord, Thank you for all you provide. Please help me to trust that you will provide for me. Help me to step out in faith and give with out holding back when you call me to. Amen.

Angela Morrison, Krystal Buzard