Holy Week begins with Palm Sunday, the day of Jesus’ return to Jerusalem. His reception was loud and colorful with waving palms, cloaks on the ground, shouting, chanting of praises and Jesus riding on a humble donkey. It was the conclusion of three years of public ministry that ended in His death on the cross on Friday. However, all was not lost as He miraculously rose from the dead and appeared on Easter morning just as He said He would. His ‘life’s ride’ on earth was a wild one filled with compassion, love, obedience and sacrifice for us. As we enter this Holy Week let us ponder anew how we personally have felt His compassion and love in our lives. How we have benefited from His obedience to the cross and the sacrifice of His life for ours. We have much to be thankful for, even in the hardest of times. Only you can answer today’s sentence, Because Christ died on the cross and rose from the dead, I am or can_____________________.
Some time today read one or more of the Palm Sunday Triumphal entry passages: Matthew 21:1-11, Mark 11:1-11, Luke 19:28-38, John 12:12-15.
Here is the summary from this weeks passages in Ephesians. We meditated on Ephesians 5:21-6:14. Think about: **Which truth have you seen in your life this week? **Which is the most meaningful to you in your life right now?
we can live lives submitted to one another in love that mirror Christ’s love for us. Ephesians 5:21-33
we (both parent and child) are able to submit to one another with love and respect. Ephesians 6:1-4
we can show God’s love and care whether we are the employer or employee bringing glory to God and blessings upon ourselves. Ephesians 6:5-9
we are able to battle against unseen forces through the power of the Holy Spirit. Ephesians 6:10-12
I can be filled with His Holy Spirit and protected by His armor to face the challenges of each day. Ephesians 6:13
I can have godly character that is based on His truth and righteousness. Ephesians 6:14
Personally, the truth from Ephesians 6:10-11reminded me of the unseen forces of evil that we face each day. This truth really resonated with me, especially during this Covid-19 Pandemic. It is something I never envisioned and pray fervently that God will cause the virus to be contained and that the evil effects would be lessened. We need to humble ourselves and pray for His mercy. The most meaningful truth this week that brings me real encouragement is from Ephesians 6:14, that I can have godly character if I am rooted and grounded in the truth of Christ and put on His righteousness. It is an eternal hope filled with promise. In Christ, I can be a new creation.
Walk with me during Lent through the book of Ephesians as we meditatively think about all that we have and are in Christ. Let’s look at the unity of the body of believers growing there as Paul preached and taught for 2 years. Later John also came to Ephesus and lived among the believers. We will see the aspects of who we are in Christ, what place the body of believers called the church is to God and finish with the wonderful words about the armor available to us in Christ. Each day we will see the amazing provisions and position we have because Christ died on the cross and rose from the dead.
As we begin this Ash Wednesday, let’s look at Ephesians 1:1-2. Paul introduces himself in the letter, tells who he’s writing to and pronounces a preliminary greeting that is typical of his writing.
“Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God,
To the saints who are in Ephesus, and are faithful in Christ Jesus:
2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.”
Put yourself in Ephesus and become one of the believers who received this letter from the Apostle Paul. He is addressing you as a saint, a faithful believer and he is sending greetings of grace and peace from God. Do you think of yourself as a saint? The New Testament repeatedly refers to believers as ‘saints’. He also attributes faithfulness to their walk of faith. How would you describe your daily walk with Jesus? Are you faithful? Paul also sends you grace, which is God’s unmerited favor, and His peace. What precious gifts these are. How will you use or experience God’s favor today? Will you rest in His peace? As Ephesians opens we see that because Jesus died on the cross and rose from the dead, we can be His saints and faithfully, walk in His grace and experiencing His peace. Praise God!
Walk with me towards the cross, contemplating our sinfulness and His blameless character. Join me in daily meditation and prayer for these coming 40 days of repentance and focus on who God desires us to be because of Jesus and His sacrifice.
Lent is a time of reflection, fasting, praise, worship and thanksgiving as we walk daily towards the cross. The number 40 is used in the Bible to signify a time of testing and trial. During your Lenten journey which is from today, Ash Wednesday, to Good Friday when Jesus died on the cross, we are to think about the price Jesus paid for our sins through His own death. How we do that can take many forms. Daily devotions with prayer and scripture, fasting for a meal or even a whole day can bring your focus on Jesus to a greater height. Or you can choose to let go of something you really like to do, say or eat as a form of penance or identification with Christ’s suffering for you and your sin. Last year, I found this quote from Pope Francis and it brought a new perspective to fasting during Lent. It isn’t just denying myself chocolate or alcohol, it is denying myself in other ways. I love his suggestions to fast from stress and pressure by being intentionally more prayerful, or letting go of bitterness and focusing on love.
Today as you think about Christ and His suffering and the price He paid for your sins- think about ways you can honor Him in the next 40 days. Each day at the end of my devotion I will have a suggestion of what you might do that day to honor Christ by doing for others in love as Christ did for you at the cross. My daily blogs will focus on what we have in Christ because Jesus died on the cross and rose again. I pray that my blogs and suggestions will help you to gain greater love and appreciation for your Lord and Savior and be prepared in your heart, mind and soul when Good Friday and Easter arrive.
Let the journey begin today in your heart as you set your mind towards the cross.
Suggestion: attend an Ash Wednesday service or spend some time reflecting on your own sins. Take a piece of paper and write them down. Then take that paper place it before you as you pray and ask God to take those sins away and fill you anew with His love and devotion. Symbolically placing your sins on the cross of Christ helps us to see that He died for me and my sins. Romans 5:8 “But God clearly shows and proves His own love for us, by the fact that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”