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Pauses for Lent

Easter Sunday - Pauses for Lent


UNDEFEATED   “When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they could go and anoint Jesus’ dead body. Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they came to the tomb. They were saying to each other, "Who’s going to roll the stone away from the entrance for us?" When they ...

Day 40 - Pauses for Lent - Die


“DIE”   “Very truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies,  it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.”  John 12:24   These springtime days in Mississippi are constant reminders of life that comes after death.  Looking around our gardens we see blooming redbud, dogwood, spirea, iris, spring ...

Day 39 - Pauses for Lent - Gethsemane


My first year at Duke Divinity School, my husband and I did what every good southerner does, we went to the first home football game of the season.  When we got there we soon learned that Duke had not won a football game in the past 3 years and unlike the basketball games where you have to camp out for even a chance at a ticket, all you really ...

Day 38 - Pauses for Lent - Prune


 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit, he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit, he prunes that it may bear more fruit.  Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. 4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it ...

Day 36 - Pauses for Lent - Stranger


Stranger “I was a stranger and you welcomed me” Matthew 25:35 It was sometime between 1983 and 1986 and I was sitting in the choir loft of the church I attended in Nashville, TN while attending Vanderbilt Divinity School.  It was a “normal” Sunday service, until he walked in.  “He” was a person who, by the looks of him, lived on the streets.  He ...

Day 35 - Pauses for Lent - Judge


Pauses for Lent –Day 35 –Judge “Judge not, that you be not judged. 2 For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you.” Matthew 7: 1-2 I have three teenagers in my house, and a nine year old who acts like he is sixteen.  If I had to say my children had a favorite scripture it would be ...

Palm Sunday - Pauses for Lent


Mark 11:1-11   Palm Sunday: today marks the beginning of the biggest week of the year in Christiandom. It certainly is an exciting time when you reflect on all the events that transpired in Christian history this week - the triumphal entry, the last Supper, the prayer and betrayal in the Garden of Gethsemane, the questioning, the beating, the ...

Day 34 - Pauses for Lent - Light


I Saw the Light "I am the light of the world.  Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life."  John 8:12   I recently returned from an amazing experience in Israel! It was my first trip there.  Thirty two of us, many of that number from our church, spent a little over a week exploring this sacred land.   I was ...

Day 33 - Pauses for Lent - Pray


“Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.” Matthew 26:39 NIV   As a youth, I attended Vaiden High School in Vaiden, Mississippi. One of my favorite teachers was Mr. Van Simpson.  Mr. Simpson gave us a Geometry exam ...

Day 32 - Pauses for Lent - Temptation


Temptations …..  --Yet he did not sin.   When we think of temptation, we may think of David’s weakness when he sees Bathsheba for the first time. Another thought would possibly be of Adam and Eve’s failure in the garden, when they decided to believe the serpent rather than God himself. We may even think of Esau’s moment of weakness, when Jacob his ...

Day 31 - Pauses for Lent - Body


BODY Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God, and that you are not your own?  For you were bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body.  1 Corinthians 6:19-20 (NRSV)   “The body of our Lord Jesus Christ, which was given for thee, preserve thy soul and body unto everlasting ...

Day 30 - Pauses for Lent - Money


Money “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, and in their eagerness to be rich some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pains.”  1 Timothy 6:10 NRSV   “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”  Matthew 6:21 NRSV   “No one can serve two masters; for a slave will either hate the one ...

Day 29 - Pauses for Lent - Serve


“Everybody can be great...because anybody can serve. You don't have to have a college degree to serve. You don't have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.”  Martin Luther King, Jr.   My favorite memories of Asbury UMC in rural Prentiss County Mississippi is rising at 5:00 AM on...

Day 28 - Pauses for Lent - Enemies


Matthew 5:44 – 45 – “But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father in heaven.”   Wow.  Love your enemies?  Pray for those who persecute you?  Sounds outrageous, doesn’t it? But that is what Jesus said to do.  Moreover, that is what Jesus modeled for his disciples and for us. I ...

Day 27 - Pauses for Lent - Sin


SIN   “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” 1 John 1:8   Businesses seduce us into buying their products by affirming that “the customer is always right.”  This sales tactic appeals to the shadow side of us that believes that we are first above everything and everyone else.     Unfortunately, this “me first” ...

Day 26 - Pauses for Lent - Free


Free “The truth will make you free.” John 8:32   We all teach our children that we should always tell the truth, but then we teach them things that just aren’t true.  Ever tell a child; “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me?”  We all know that’s just not true.  Words hurt.  We know that but are trying to convince the ...

Day 25 - Pauses for Lent - Way


Way “I am the way…” John 14:6   If you ask me how to get to the nearest McDonalds in the area where I live, I can show you the way to get there. If you ask me how to start a vehicle I can show you the way to start it. But all I can do is show you the way. Jesus did not come just to show us a way into the Kingdom. Jesus came and said “I am the way.”...

Day 24 - Pauses for Lent - But


Pauses for Lent: but “Everyone who believes in Him may not perish but may have eternal life.” John 3:16   but….a tiny word really, useful primarily as a conjunction. I’m wondering how many of you remember Schoolhouse Rock and the segment called “Conjunction Junction.” It was a cute cartoon series on Saturday mornings aimed at teaching children ...

Day 23 - Pauses for Lent - Wept


W E P T   My first thought when I saw these letters was what radio or television station is this.  Then I read that this is in reference to the shortest verse in the Bible, “Jesus wept.”  John 11:35.  Interpretation is a matter of “sizt en leben” or situation in life.  We all interpret from our present perspective.   Psalm 14:1 “Fools say in their ...

Day 22 - Pauses for Lent - Rest


“…and I will give you rest.”  Matthew 11.28 I asked Grace Bennett what she might draw based on this passage and the word “rest.”  The drawing above and the one at the end of this post are her artistic expressions of the good news of rest in Jesus.     Fatigue ambushes us when we work too hard, when we get up too early and go to bed too late, when...

Day 21 - Pauses for Lent - Peace


PEACE   "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you.”  John 14:27   Have you ever been shaken with fear, anxiety or disappointment? Have you ever received bad news? A discouraging word? Maybe missed a possibility you were hoping?   We have all had marvelous opportunities to fret and worry.   But the one who walks with the Lord and keeps his trust ...

Day 20 - Pauses for Lent - Forgiven


The “F” word--Forgiven That’s a scary thought for a title; the “F” word. It’s really a scary word too. It’s a word that’s easy for us to say but a bit more difficult word for us to practice. It’s a word we all pray for, if not every day, at least every week; “…forgive our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.” The ironic thing is, we pray it...

Day 19 - Pauses for Lent - Poor


“Poor”   Jesus didn’t own a home. He stayed at his friend’s wife’s mom’s house.    He did not have a grave plot to be buried in. He had to borrow one!   He walked everywhere he went, except one time on that donkey.    Jesus was poor?    Was he impoverished? Underprivileged? Low-income? Itinerant?    Do you know anyone who has to walk everywhere? ...

Day 18 - Pauses for Lent - Listen


“Let everyone be quick to listen, slow to speak…”  James 1:19   To “listen” seems like a simple proposition doesn’t it? In principle it is, however; in practice, well…most of us could use some improvement.  The word listen is both a verb and a noun, with the verb meaning to “give ear”.  As a noun it means, “an act of listening”.  In my humble ...

Day 17 - Pauses for Lent - Treasure


Today's video reflection on "Treasure" is from Rev. Andy Stoddard, Senior Pastor of Saint Matthew's UMC in Madison.  

Day 16 - Pauses for Lent - World


World The world is smaller than it has ever been. In an instant, we can know what’s happening on the far side of the globe. You can maintain close connections with friends 2 blocks or 2 continents away. Our kids can follow every move of their favorite celebrity’s life on Instagram.   And that means we can see the darkness and violence of the world ...

Day 15 - Pauses for Lent - Peacemaker


Peacemaker A guided meditation using a Lenten devotion from Henri J.M. Nouwen’s From Fear to Love   “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.”  Matthew 5:44   One of the core messages of the Gospels is "Love your enemies." When we're dealing with our own needs, anxieties and fears, we tend to divide the world into enemies and ...

Day 14 - Pauses for Lent - Time


TIME FOR GOD Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us.                                             We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.  2 Corinthians 5:20 “In my life right now, it is God’s time for…” me to… Take Time to Be Holy Take time to be holy, speak oft with thy Lord; Abide in Him ...

Day 13 - Pauses for Lent - Water


WATER    “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but those who drink of the water that I will give them will never be thirsty. The water that I will give will become in them a spring of water gushing up to eternal life.” John 4:13-14   We recently traveled to the mountains. The high altitude and low humidity threw my body into a ...

Day 12 - Pauses for Lent - Bread


BREAD   “Give us this day our daily bread.”  Matthew 6:11   It never ceases to amaze me how often Jesus talks and teaches us using analogies and stories related to bread and water.  He talks about our natural needs and how hunger and thirst are affected by our condition—both physical and spiritual.   Depending upon the source, experts estimate that...

Day 11 - Pauses for Lent - ABBA


A B B A   “Abba, Father, everything is possible for You.” Mark 14:36   As Jesus entered the Garden of Gethsemene located at the foot of the Mount of Olives, He separated His disciples by leaving some behind and carrying Peter, James, and John deeper into the garden. Soon He told these three (the members of His inner circle) to stay at a certain ...

Day 10 - Pauses for Lent - Words


Today’s Scripture:  Matthew 12:36 Words do matter.  We will be held to account for our words.  The words that we use to others, about others and to and about ourselves have such power.  The right or wrong word at the right or wrong time can have lasting effects.  Choose your words carefully.  The book of James reminds us:  My dear friends, you ...

Day 9 - Pauses for Lent - Ask



Day 8 - Pauses for Lent - See


Read John 3: 1-17 CEB   “God did not send his Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through him.” John 3:17 CEB   Most of us would agree, at our best, a Christian is a follower of Jesus. Sometimes, however, the two identifiers (Christian or follower of Jesus) seem to be in direct conflict with each other. ...

Day 7 - Pauses for Lent - Light


As I gaze out my window this afternoon, what do I see? I see seven deer, grazing in my back yard. A thing of beauty! A gift from God! I was reminded of a slogan from a conference I attended a few years ago--- SEE ME! It makes me mindful to not just scan people as I shop in Walmart but really look into their faces and maybe even say 'HELLO'. It ...

Day 6 - Pauses for Lent - Love


“Let us love, not in word or speech, but in truth and action.” — 1 John 3:18. Practice loving. That’s an interesting thought for people who profess to love. There was a time that I had a personal encounter with the reality of practicing it “in truth and action.”    I worked with a woman who was like family. I had known her all of my life. When I ...

Day 5 - Pauses for Lent - Still


Day 4 Still "Be still and Know I am God."  Psalm 46:10 It is very difficult to find quiet in this world today full of 24 hours news, and technology at our fingertips.  We have learned not to be quiet, and be busy all the time. So how are we to find quiet with God? We intentionally carve out time. A few years ago, I was listening to a preacher on a ...

Day 4 - Pauses for Lent - Fast


Matthew 6:17-18 The Message (MSG)   16-18 “When you practice some appetite-denying discipline to better concentrate on God, don’t make a production out of it. It might turn you into a small-time celebrity but it won’t make you a saint. If you ‘go into training’ inwardly, act normal outwardly. Shampoo and comb your hair, brush your teeth, wash your ...

Day 3 - Pauses for Lent - Choose


Day 3 - CHOOSE Today’s scripture:  “Choose life so that you and your descendants may live, loving the Lord your God, obeying him, and holding fast to him”  [Deuteronomy 30: 19-20].   Famous author John C. Maxwell once stated:  “life is a matter of choices, and every choice you make makes you.”   All of life is about making choices.  Each morning we...

Day 2 - Pauses for Lent - Return


“Return to the Lord, your God, for he is gracious and merciful” Joel 2:13   I read Henri Nouwen’s book, The Return of the Prodigal Son, just a few weeks before my first mission trip to Russia. Some of the inspiration for his work came from Rembrandt’s painting of the prodigal son’s return to his father. The author reported that he was tempted to ...

Day 1 - Pauses for Lent - Dust


DUST… A Ritual for Preparing Holy Ashes   Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of the season of Lent.  Ash Wednesday emphasizes a dual encounter:  we confront our own mortality and confess our sin before God within the community of faith.   *Opening Prayer Gracious God, out of your love and mercy                 you breathed into dust the breath of ...

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