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.

Lenten Devo 6: 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 John’s and is about the phrase “Hallowed be your name”. It fell on Day 13 of this series.**

Reading: John 17:6

In John 17:6 Jesus prays fervently to God “I have manifested Your name to the men whom You gave Me out of the world; they were Yours and You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word.”

Jesus is praying these words for us.  He is in the deepest of conversations with God, whose name is holy.  He is specifically praying for those that God gave him, those that call themselves followers of Jesus.  What an absolutely amazing feature that when we become followers of Jesus we are among that number who is being prayed for fervently.

It is shortly after praying these words that Jesus is betrayed by one of his closest friends, Judas.  He is then led away like a lamb for slaughter and ends up exchanging his life for the sins of man.  He does this so that we can call ourselves children of the one true King.

Jesus has prayed for us, and is now praying for us.

Stanley Hauerwas says:

‘Hallowed be your name’,

the name we have learned from Jesus,

is at the heart of what it means to be called to holiness.

To hallow God’s name is to live lives of prayer.

It is to pray that we lead lives that glorify God.

What will you do now that you know Jesus is praying for you? Will you lead a life of prayer? How will you glorify God with your life?

Please pray with us for those in church leadership.

Lenten Devo 5: 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 John’s and is about the phrase “Hallowed be your name”. It fell on Day 11 of this series.**

In Heaven

Reading: Ephesians 5 v. 25-27

Today and the next few days we’ll be focusing on the part of the Lord’s Prayer where it says, “hallowed be your name”.

The word “hallowed” is something that is holy, or set apart from the mundane. When we recite the Lord’s Prayer we are saying Lord, your name is holy.  Its this holiness that gives reason for the commandment in Exodus 20:7, “You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.”

I remember shortly before Abigail and I were married I saw her writing her name on a page of notebook paper.  The reason this stands out to me is that it’s the first time I saw her write my last name instead of her given last name.  She was writing “Abigail Carr”.  When I asked her about it she said simply that she was excited to take my last name.

In the same way, when we become Christians we take on the Lord’s name.  The word “Christian” means to be a little Christ.  In Ephesians 5:25-27 it becomes clear that Christ has made the Church his wife: “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.” So when we call ourselves Christians, we are stepping into a covenant relationship with Jesus.

This relationship is exciting! But it’s also important to remember that there is a lot of responsibility that comes with it.  God’s name is holy and if we are to take on his name, we have to strive to use it in a way that respects that holiness.  We are called to live lives that are holy and set apart.  We are called to welcome the stranger, love the downtrodden, and care for the hurting.

How will we live today as one who is set apart as a Christian? How will we honor the holy name of God?

JC

Today, lets pray for those wrestling with mental health issues.

Lenten Devo 4: In Heaven

**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 Our Father “in heaven”. It fell on Day 9 of this series.**

In Heaven

Reading: 2 Corinthians 5:2

“John, I’m 88 years old. I don’t have too many days left, but we’ll meet again in heaven.”

These were the heart-wrenching words my grandmother said to me as I hugged her good-bye before traveling to Northern Ireland.  These words echo the writing of Paul in 2 Corinthians 5:2 where it says, “We grow weary in our present bodies, and we long to put on our heavenly bodies like new clothing.”

If you’ve read C.S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia, you’ll remember the following scene in The Last Battle. After all the characters have gone through the door, Jewel the Unicorn says, “I have come home at last! This is my real country! I belong here. This is the land I have been looking for all my life, though I never knew it till now…Come further up, come further in!” Then all the Narnians charge deeper into heaven.

These two stories have something in common.  My grandma is counting the days until she can finally see her real country, the place where she truly belongs, the place she has been longing for her whole life.  As a Christian, we should all have this longing.  It’s as if, once you know Jesus and get a small taste of heaven, nothing is ever good enough again.  That’s why we as Christians have a responsibility to live as though heaven is inside of us, ready to be released for the rest of the world to see.

What can we do today to let heaven shine through?

Peace,
JC

Today lets pray for children in poverty.

Lenten Devo 3: “In Heaven”

**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 my first one and is about Our Father “in heaven”. It fell on Day 8 of this series.**

In Heaven

Reading: Revelation 22:1-5

If someone told me there was a place on earth as beautiful as that description in Revelation 22, I’d probably think, “I’ll believe it when I see it!” I mean, just imagine: a crystal clear river alongside a tree with 12 different kinds of fruit, all of which are available to eat every month (surely there’s no tree like that on this earth?). There’s even a throne in the middle of the city, no need for a lamp because there will be no night, and God will provide the light! The only reason I know I can believe a place like this exists is because I can trust what the scriptures say to be true. I know our God is big and can create a place more beautiful than what our human words can describe.

Besides the beautiful imagery of heaven, my favourite piece of this scripture is the part about how the healing of the nations will be represented by leaves on the tree. What a beautiful thought! In heaven, peace will abound.

Peace and healing among the nations is something I confess I do not pray for very often. It seems too big a job for someone small like me. But then I remember that our God is BIG!

How can we promote healing of the nations on a small scale in our daily lives? For me, it looks like healing my relationships.

French author, Jules Renard says,

“On earth there is no heaven, but there are pieces of it.”

What are some ways we can catch a glimpse of heaven here on earth?

If you’re like me, maybe you think about heaven sometimes. Let’s also think about healing, and the magnificence that is God wiping away our tears, our pain, our mourning, and our sorrow. (Rev. 21:4)

Blessings,

AC

Today let’s pray for the leaders and young people who attend drop-in on Wednesday nights.

Lenten Devo 2: “Our Father”

**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 John’s second one and is about “Our Father”. It fell on Day 7 of this series.**

Reading: Romans 8:15

Our Father

There is so much to unpack in this verse, but we’re just going to focus on the fact that God is our father. The Greek word for “adoption to sonship” is a term referring to the full legal standing of an adopted heir in Roman Culture. In other words, when Paul writes about our adoption to sonship he is saying that we are now fully able to say that we are heirs with Christ, because of Christ. 

The fact that we are able to cry Abba, Father is nothing short of amazing! A beloved child uses this as a term of tender endearment. This is the same as my small son looking up at me and saying, “Daddy, I love you”. As a father I get a small glimpse into the joy God feels when he calls us his children. 

One of my favourite parts of the day is in the evenings when I am putting my son to sleep. I will read the Bible to him, pray with him, and lay down with him for a while. It’s during this time that we talk about his day, and I always try to tell him how proud I am of him. This time of intentional relationship building brings us closer to each other every day. 

How can you personally carve out time for God?
How can you be intentional about it?

Relationship with God is similar to a relationship with a friend. You build a deeper relationship with that person by spending time with them. Start today, pray for God to help you build that relationship deeper than ever before.

JC

Today, let’s pray for the children in your area and your family.

Lenten Devo 1: “Our Father”

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 John’s first one and is about “Our Father”. It fell on Day 6 of this series.
Reading: Isaiah 64 v 8
Our Father

These are the beginning words of Jesus when teaching his disciples how to pray. What does this mean? The very suggestion that we are able to talk to God is a humbling phenomenon. Even more humbling is that the Creator of the universe takes it one step further and asks us to call Him father. Essentially this relationship is like the story of the young boy and his boat:

A young boy spent weeks working on a wooden toy boat. He carved out a mast and attached a beautiful white sail. The boat was without a doubt the most splendid little toy boat that had ever been seen. One day when the weather was nice, the young boy took his boat for a voyage. He had just placed his beloved boat in the water, when a gust of wind took the boat far out to sea. The boy cried and tried to catch his boat, but to no avail. Heart broken, he went back to that spot every day to sea if the tides had brought his boat back. Each day he trudged home empty handed, until one day he as he was trudging by the shops on his route home he spied his boat in the window. He jumped for joy and ran into the shop exclaiming that it was his boat. The shop told him their price, which he gladly paid, and as he took his boat from the shop he looked at that boat and said “little boat, now you are twice mine as I have made you and paid for you”.

Yet you, Lord, are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.

Isaiah 64:8

God, our Father created us, loved us, and then when we were lost He paid for us. Lets walk through each day knowing we are God’s beloved children. How do you think your life would change if you truly believed this? 

Blessings,

JC

Today, please join us in prayer for the teachers in our schools.