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Posts Tagged ‘lent devotionals for women’

The next day the great crowd that had come for the festival

heard that Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem.

They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting, ‘Hosanna!’

John 12:12-13

As this final week of Lent begins before Holy Week, we are approaching what is celebrated as Palm Sunday. Reflect back to that first Palm Sunday. Jesus entered the City of David with a crowd of followers and disciples. Jesus was met by a crowd that had already gathered in the city for Passover. Imagine Jesus on the back of a colt. See the crowd and disciples with him rushing to meet him. Much like sometimes pictured on the news, the crowd pressed in on Jesus just as they surround a car carrying a dignitary or celebrity. Where would you be in that picture?

Would you be among those who throw their cloak on the ground for Jesus’ colt to walk upon? Or, would you be one of the leaders who demanded Jesus rebuke the disciples? (Luke 19:39). Would your voice be one that could be heard crying “Hosanna!” like those lining the streets that day? Would you be so excited anticipating the chance to see the Messiah that, like Zacchaeus you might climb a tree to see Him more clearly?

The celebration was wild and on the verge of getting out of control. The religious leaders were horrified that on the Sabbath the crowds were so unruly. They sacrificed the joy of spontaneity for what they felt was respectable. Nearly 45 years ago, I came in to a dorm from a church service singing, laughing and dancing. The dorm mother (yes, they had those then), confronted me about 2 inches from my face with an accusation; asking if I was drunk. My response shocked her, just as I am sure these religious leaders were shocked by what they observed watching the crowd that day. I stated, “No, I am drunk on the Spirit of Jesus.” She stumbled backwards as though she had seen something offensive. Perhaps that is how the religious leaders felt on that first Palm Sunday.

Jesus didn’t call us to be spectators. In fact, in response to the religious leaders, Jesus stated, “If they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.” (Luke 19:39-40). Today, enter into worship for Your Lord Jesus Christ. Fast being a spectator. Celebrate Jesus with the abandon of joy often seen in children. Acknowledge the emotions that rise up in you when you imagine what you would have seen on that first Palm Sunday and step out of the spectator seats to celebrate and honor Jesus with your voice and life today.

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You didn’t choose me, but I chose you and appointed you

so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—so that

whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you.

I command you to love one another.

John 15:16-17

Chosen to produce fruit! Ask any farmer, or keeper of vines and orchards how difficult it is to produce fruit and all will acknowledge producing fruit takes patience, consistency, discipline and focused attention to tasks. So it is when you seek to produce spiritual fruit, whether in your own life or through mentoring or fellowshipping with others. Generating fruit, more fruit, or much fruit, as we are called to do, demands the same dedicated consistency. (John 15:1-8) Fruit that will last does not come from avoidance, ignoring warning signs of disease or the potential harm to the critical elements that must work together. The price for a successful harvest must be paid.

So it is with the journey of faith. We cannot negotiate the price if we truly want a personal and deeply intimate relationship with our Lord Jesus Christ. Rationalization, avoidance, justification are all words that describe conduct implemented when we face the unknown, the uncomfortable, or difficult life events. Sensitize yourself today to those actions that emerge when life throws an unexpected twist in your day, week or changes your future entirely.   What are your default mechanisms when you are confronted with a challenge? Sleep? Eating? Becoming a hermit? Watching television? Shopping? Some of those are the ones that I run to when I want to avoid.

But the Lord God has called me out this Lenten season. God is challenging me to realize that turning back to those actions might bring me comfort and security for today, but none will lead to bearing fruit that will last in my life or the life of others. We are called to pour out compassion, encouragement, mercy, or other attitudes and actions that will offer the love of Jesus to a hurting life—leading to fruit that will last both in us and the ones we serve. It isn’t our job to determine the quality of the fruit; our responsibility is to “go and bear” fruit. We leave the worth of the harvest to the Lord.

This week of Lent, fast the rationalizations, justifications or those default actions that allow you to avoid the uncomfortable or unknown. It is time to stop avoiding. Notice the value—when we go as “appointed” we are being obedient to God’s directive, and the result is “so that whatever you ask” in the name of our Heavenly Father will be given to you. It is God’s command that we produce fruit by going out to love one another, and when we do, He will honor our requests in His name. Lavish love today in His Holy Name and for His honor and glory.

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