Over this Lenten season, the Spiritual Formation team at First Presbyterian Church in Bend put a call out to all to submit writings for a Lenten Devotional. I will do my best to post those here daily. You can also go to our website and access all of the devotions on a pdf file.
Here is the fourth submission:
The concept of Lent leads to reflection upon the times and seasons within our own lives. As we prepare for the radical changes ahead, we might consider the role of a Pilgrim on a Journey of Faith…
Lent reminds us of the temptations Jesus experienced. It is very similar for us today (Matt. 4:1-11), and yet very different, in terms of outcome. Jesus prevailed; we oftentimes fail. Our lives can get tough, painful and insufferable. We can even disregard our past and the bountiful blessings and providence, the support and people that were there for us during those difficult times. These provisions are evidence of the unlimited Mercy and unconditional Love of God.
On our Faith journey, we Pilgrims need to practice living as though we stand on the promises of His unconditional, gracious Love. God demonstrated His Love for us unconditionally, at The Cross. His Love means that He will never leave nor forsake us (Heb. 13:5). How do we demonstrate our devotion and love of God? How do we, as His children, keep our faith strong, even as we walk through the adversities that come?
In Matt. 4:8, Jesus says, “It is written, ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve only Him.’” I see the direct link between WORSHIP and SERVICE. It seems that whatever or whomever we worship will not be told by our words, but by our actions–and whatever or whomever we serve, that is our God. Who do you serve?
Currently, we are traveling through a period of great testing of our faith, a re-assessment of religious, social, and economic systems, our very climate and atmospheric systems, and just about every aspect of our Life on Earth. Pilgrims of Faith have the opportunity to show their love of God and strong faith by concentrating on doing the sacred job that God has given us: worship our Lord, care for (serve) every living thing and each other, keep His Earthly Gardens thriving and providing. Let’s resolve to be mindful of the effects our actions and inactions have in this sacred job with which we’ve been entrusted and charged. We are to do the good deeds of service, be charitable, be the hand and feet of Him, and try harder to better ourselves as truly caring, thinking people of faith.
Our culture seems to have lost its way these days. Many have forgotten God’s Covenant, cast aside moral values and service, turning to war, enslavement, power-grabbing, pillaging, greed and all manners of debauchery and cruelty. By keeping pace with our walk through Godly service, we help bring better balance and order on earth. We can be an inspiration to and support for each other, and lift up those who may be faltering. We may remind others of God’s everlasting, unconditional Love through silent testimony of our faith in action. We are never alone on our journey of faith; and we are never unseen in our deeds.
God, through his Imminent Mercy and Amazing Grace, provides the ultimate earthly challenge. We grow through them. He further provides us the inner strength to rise above any difficulty, any circumstance, and successfully and powerfully journey through our faith walk. He inspires within us attitudes to be resourceful, creative, inventive, reflective, and productive; to peacefully resolve problems, think flexibly, and speak with Him whenever we need, in gratitude, through song, meditation and prayer, asking Him for wisdom and strength.
Life is a never-ending journey of faith. Lent is but one Season of Reason. What is your reason? Let us walk together in His Light and know that we are of God! That we are to demonstrate His Unconditional Love this Season. SELAH!
–Carolynn Black Klindt-Stoops