Lenten Devo 16: As We Forgive Our Debtors

**We were tasked with writing some devotionals alongside Ruth for the Lenten season. Our theme for these 40 days is The Lord’s Prayer. This is about the phrase “Forgive us or debts, as we forgive our debtors”. It fell on Day 30 of this series.**

Reading: Ephesians 4:32

Forgiveness can be really difficult. Sometimes it seems like it would just be easier to hold a grudge against someone rather than forgive them. Today I want to share an amazing story of forgiveness.
Corrie Ten Boom was a Christian woman who lived in Holland during World War II. This is when Nazi Germany persecuted and killed Jews as well as anyone who stood up for them. Corrie’s family owned and operated a longstanding watch shop and it had become a well-known fixture of their city. The Ten Boom family was known for their kindness and as the situation for Dutch Jews became desperate, their family shop became an underground hub for finding hiding places for their Jewish friends. After helping hundreds of Jews escape to safety, the Ten Booms were caught and taken to concentration camps. Even in the horrible conditions, Corrie was encouraged by her sister’s unshakable optimism and faith. They worked hard to bring the comforting Word of God to the women within the nightmarish camps. While in the camps, Corrie’s sister and father both died and then she herself was released due to a clerical error right before she was set to be executed.
She then devoted her life to spreading a message of love and forgiveness to both former prisoners and Nazi soldiers. The people who imprisoned her and her family never asked her for forgiveness, and yet she was able to offer it to them anyway. Corrie Ten Boom was the embodiment of forgiveness.

This story is so inspiring and challenges us to have a similar mentality of forgiveness.

Corrie was able to forgive, because she knew that Christ had first forgiven her.

AC

Prayer Focus: Join me in giving thanks to God for all He has done.

Lenten Devo 15: Forgive Us Our Debts

**We were tasked with writing some devotionals alongside Ruth for the Lenten season. Our theme for these 40 days is The Lord’s Prayer. This is about the phrase “Forgive us or debts, as we forgive our debtors”. It fell on Day 29 of this series.**

Reading: Matthew 6:14-15

Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.

Easier said than done, am I right? Jesus knew what he was talking about when he said, “For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.” Evidently forgiveness has more positive impacts than spiritual.  There is scientific proof that forgiveness is good for the body as well as the soul.

Forgiveness is good for your health. It’s a fact. It turns out that revenge or “getting even” is not nearly as good for you as you might have been led to believe. The evidence from the research studies is compelling about the benefits that forgiveness brings. Those who forgive have better physical health and better mental health too. They have better outcomes from diseases like cancer. Even their blood pressure is lower. To put it simply, their response to stress is less distressed and so they report higher levels of subjective happiness.

I remember I was once struggling with holding onto some hurt and anger against another person.  I asked my good friend if I needed to forgive right away, or if it would be possible to gradually forgive. I’ll never forget what he said, “The funny thing about forgiveness is that it comes from the Holy Spirit. The mark of a Christian, the thing that makes us different is that the Holy Spirit gives us the power to forgive right away.” That was a hard thing for me to hear, but the Lord has given me a great gift in the Holy Spirit. Praise God from whom all blessings flow.

Today, let’s pray, and meditate on each word of the Lord’s Prayer.

Peace

Lenten Devo 14: Forgiveness

**We were tasked with writing some devotionals alongside Ruth for the Lenten season. Our theme for these 40 days is The Lord’s Prayer. This is about the phrase “Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors”. It fell on Day 27 of this series.**

Reading: Psalm 103:12

Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.

Psalm 103:12 says as far as the east is from the west, so far he has removed our transgressions from us

Lets rejoice at this! How wonderful that God has done this for us!

I recently read a piece by C.S. Lewis in The Weight of Glory, where he writes about the difference between forgiving and excusing:

Forgiveness says ‘Yes, you have done this thing, but I accept your apology; I will never hold it against you and everything between us two will be exactly as it was before.’ But excusing says, ‘I see that you couldn’t help it or didn’t mean it; you weren’t really to blame.’ If one was not really to blame then there is nothing to forgive. In that sense, forgiveness and excusing are almost opposites.

This really got me thinking about how often I come to God and say I want “forgiveness”, but in my heart I am actually making excuses for the sin that I committed.  I am trying to justify it in some way. The problem is that if I am simply asking to be excused, then the parts that are inexcusable won’t go away.  Excuses are simply a way for me to feel better about my mistakes, a way for me to satisfy myself.  The only one who truly needs to be satisfied is God.

Let’s seek to be forgiven instead of excused.

Join me in praying for the areas of your life that need reconciliation.

Lenten Devo 13: Our Daily Bread

**John and I were tasked with writing some devotionals alongside Ruth for the Lenten season. Our theme for these 40 days is The Lord’s Prayer. This is one of mine and is about the phrase “Give us this day our daily bread”. It fell on Day 25 of this series.**

Reading: James 6:35

In Biblical times, when people shared a meal they would say that they had “broken bread” together. This shows us that the word “bread” was often used simply to refer to any type of food. Knowing how people used and thought about bread gives us a new understanding of this portion of The Lord’s Prayer, “Give us this day our daily bread”. We need daily nourishment to sustain our physical bodies, and God calls us to trust that He will provide our literal daily bread.
But we also need spiritual nourishment to sustain us. In John 6, Jesus says, “I am the bread of life.”
What if, in The Lord’s Prayer, Jesus is asking us to pray that Jesus be part of our daily lives? What if we prayed, “Lord, give me Jesus every day!”
As food sustains our physical bodies, a personal relationship with Jesus is what will sustain our spiritual selves.
How can we pray for our daily bread?
What are some ways we can invite Jesus to be part of our lives every day?
Join me in praying for my family, The Carrs, as we serve in the Millbrook community.

Lenten Devo 12: Our Daily Bread

**John and I were tasked with writing some devotionals alongside Ruth for the Lenten season. Our theme for these 40 days is The Lord’s Prayer. This is one of John’s and is about the phrase “Give us this day our daily bread”. It fell on Day 24 of this series.**

Reading: Matthew 7:7-8

Give us this day our daily bread

Jesus teaches us to ask God for our daily bread, for something that will divinely and providentially sustain us.  God is our deliverer in this respect, he responds as a joyful Father.

When my wife and I lived in Haiti working with orphaned and abandoned childred, I was responsible for building, and starting a bakery.  For a couple weeks I went to different bakeries in the area and sampled breads, and scouted out prices.  I contracted a guy to finish the building that would serve as a bakery.  The only thing we were missing was bakers.  If there’s a way to put out a classified ad in Haiti I didn’t know about it.   So I was at a loss as to how to find good bakers.  I decided to pray about it, and the very next day, a couple came knocking on my door asking if there were any jobs available.  I asked them if they had any skills and they proceeded to tell me that they had just closed down a bakery in another town, and wanted to know if our kitchen was hiring.  They didn’t know anything about the bakery! God provided bakers for us, and through those bakers He literally provided bread.  The children had fresh bread to eat, and the bakery was able to employ five people.

God provided in a much bigger way than I could have imagined.  Everyday God is providing much more than bread! He has provided something greater than we could ever imagine.  He has provided a personal relationship with himself through His son Jesus Christ who died in our place.

In Matthew 7 V. 7-8  we are told to “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.”

Lets be bold in the way that we ask because God loves to show up, and he loves to provide!

Today, lets boldly pray for the work of the DORCAS foundation in Ethiopia

Lenten Devo 11: God’s Will Be Done

**John and I were tasked with writing some devotionals alongside Ruth for the Lenten season. Our theme for these 40 days is The Lord’s Prayer. This is one of mine and is about the phrase “Thy will be done on Earth”. It fell on Day 21 of this series.**

Reading: 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

The other night at Home Group we talked about this idea of God’s will and what it might mean for us specifically as people at Millbrook. Often times we think of God’s will as something we need to “figure out” so that, in the distant future, we can “achieve” it. I’ve heard people get down on themselves for working a so-called meaningless job and praying every day for God to make His will known in their lives. I’ve heard people say,

“I know God’s will for my life is to be a missionary/teacher/doctor someday. I’m just waiting for Him to make it happen.”

But we can participate in God’s will every single day.

I’d like to challenge us to re-frame how we think about God’s will for our lives. Read the scripture for today if you haven’t already. As the Apostle Paul wrote to the church in Thessalonica, God’s will for us is to rejoice always, pray continually, and give thanks in all circumstances. These are three things we can do daily! Maybe our job seems mundane, but we can give thanks for having one. We can rejoice because we have family, friends, and people at church who care about us and love us, despite our differences. And we can pray continually, for others, for ourselves, and we can even pray The Lord’s Prayer. Especially the part about God’s will being done on earth as it is in heaven.

Join me today in thanking God for all He has done.

Lenten Devo 10: God’s Will

**John and I were tasked with writing some devotionals alongside Ruth for the Lenten season. Our theme for these 40 days is The Lord’s Prayer. This is one of John’s and is about the phrase “Thy will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven”. It fell on Day 20 of this series.**

Reading: James 2 V. 15-16

Jesus’ brother James wrote,

“Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, ‘Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,’ but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it?” James 2:15-16.

In other words, If I see someone who is in need and I have the ability to fulfill that need, then it’s my responsibility to do so.  The God we serve is a God of justice, mercy, love, and kindness.  He has a heart for the hurting, the orphaned, and the widow.  There are people in need all around us, and God is calling us to respond to their needs.

When we pray the words, “Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven”, we should be surrendering to that call of response.  God’s will is beautiful and wonderful and good.

Maybe you know someone who has a deep need for relationship, someone who is living in shame, or despair.  Reach out to your neighbour today.  Reach out to your co-worker today.  Be the person who will listen to them, meet their need. Maybe the Lord is calling you to get involved with foster care, or with Scripture Union.  Listen to the burden that the Lord is placing upon your heart.

If you’re able to look around and see a need, then meet that need.

Join me in coming before God to confess the areas where we need God to take control.

Lenten Devo 9: Thy Kingdom Come

**John and I were tasked with writing some devotionals alongside Ruth for the Lenten season. Our theme for these 40 days is The Lord’s Prayer. This is one of mine and is about the phrase “Thy kingdom come”. It fell on Day 18 of this series.**

Reading: Luke 17 v.20-21

My 2 year old is a very curious boy and he likes to ask a lot of questions. Sometimes he asks us practical things like, “What are we having for dinner?” or, “Can I ride my new bike?” But sometimes he asks more difficult ones like, “Why is it windy outside?” or, “Where is God?”

It’s questions like these that make me delight in being a parent. I love that he comes to me to ask about what’s on his mind, and I love even more that he thinks about where God resides. When I answered him, I said, “Oh, He’s everywhere!” But then I thought about it and I started asking myself the same question.

Because God is often referred to as King, Lord, and Prince, it makes sense that He would have a Kingdom. But where? Jesus tells us that the Kingdom of God is among us. Inside us. In our midst. It involves living with goodness, peace, and joy.

While sometimes I tire of Hosea’s questions, it’s lovely to be challenged in this way by my own child.

How can we live like the kingdom of God is among us? How can we show His great kingdom to our families, friends, and those in our community?

Today let’s pray for our hearts to be open to hear God.

Lenten Devo 8: Thy Kingdom Come

**John and I were tasked with writing some devotionals alongside Ruth for the Lenten season. Our theme for these 40 days is The Lord’s Prayer. This is one of John’s and is about the phrase “Thy kingdom come”. It fell on Day 17 of this series.**

Reading: Mark 1:15

What is the kingdom of God? When Jesus wanted to tell people what the kingdom of God was he told them stories.  Stories that gave a window illustration into what the kingdom of God actually was.  I recently read an article about addiction, and it made me wonder if maybe this could have been a parable that Jesus would have used.

There is a simple experiment that is designed to determine which drugs are the most chemically addictive. The experiment goes like this: Put a rat in a cage, alone, with two water bottles. One is just water. The other is water laced with heroin or cocaine. Nearly every time the experiment is run, the rat will become obsessed with the drugged water, and keep coming back for more and more, until it kills itself.

This seems to be pretty conclusive; however on a second take of the experiment we notice that the rat is put in the cage all alone. It has nothing to do but take the drugs. A professor from Vancouver named Bruce Alexander noticed the same thing, so Professor Alexander built “Rat Park”. It is a lush cage where the rats would have colored toys, the best rat food, tunnels to scamper through, and plenty of friends: everything a rat could want. What, Alexander wanted to know, would happen then?

In Rat Park, all the rats obviously tried both water bottles, because they didn’t know what was in them. But what happened next was startling.

The rats with good lives didn’t like the drugged water. They mostly shunned it, consuming less than a quarter of the drugs the isolated rats used. None of them died. While all the rats who were alone and unhappy became heavy users, none of the rats who had a happy environment became addicted.

If I may be so bold, the Kingdom of heaven is like “Rat Park”.  No one is lonely, and people live in loving Christ-like community.  This community is more attractive than the strongest of drugs because this is God’s kingdom.

How can we be about God’s kingdom this week? What can we do to reach out to the lonely and hurting?

Today, please join me in praying for someone in your life that needs God.

Lenten Devo 7: Hallowed Be Your Name

**John and I were tasked with writing some devotionals alongside Ruth for the Lenten season. Our theme for these 40 days is The Lord’s Prayer. This is one of mine and is about the phrase “Hallowed be your name”. It fell on Day 15 of this series.**

Reading: Luke 11:1-2

When John and I found out we were expecting our first baby, we had such a fun time choosing a name. We decided we wanted something biblical and unique, but nothing too “out there”. After much discussion, we eventually landed on one. We realized that it was much harder to choose a name than we had thought it would be! We wanted something that had a great story behind it and could be (somewhat) easily pronounced. We didn’t want our child to be embarrassed by it or deemed “too common”. I mean, this was his NAME after all! People would be saying it every day of his life, and he would be stuck with what we chose for him. He only gets this one name for the entirety of his life. A name is a big deal.
I’m sure you’ve heard people at church refer to God, or Jesus, in various ways. Our Healer, Prince of Peace, Alpha & Omega, Lion of Judah, Our Provider, Bread of Life, Everlasting Father, and one of my favorites, Wonderful Counselor. Isn’t it amazing that our God has all these names? There are so many different qualities about him that there isn’t just one name to encompass them all. And for every unique situation that we find ourselves in, there is a specific name of God that we can call out. God, Our Ever Present Help in Trouble.
In The Lord’s Prayer we have “your name” preceded by the word “hallowed”. What does hallowed mean? To honor as Holy. Sacred. Blessed. Consecrated. Sanctified. Revered.
“Hallowed” only appears twice in the Bible (Matthew 6 and Luke 11) and both times it refers to The Lord’s Prayer and the phrase “Hallowed be your name”.
We may think our earthly names are important… but God’s name, it is Hallowed! Praise Him for being more than just an earthly name.

Today let’s pray for our Sunday School teachers.