The Shepherd's Crook
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March 18, 2019, 1:49 PM

Lenten Devotion for Monday, March 18


Colossians 1:15 says: “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.”

Have you ever tried to draw someone – or paint a picture of them? If you have, you know how carefully you look at him or her. You notice the texture of their skin – the subtle hair colors – and you pay attention to their movement. It’s kind of like being in love – yo...u pay attention to everything.

That’s what Isaiah did when he pointed everyone to Jesus. Hundreds of years before Jesus actually arrived – the Holy Spirit helped Isaiah to know exactly what Jesus would be like when He came. And Isaiah painted an exacting and loving portrait of Jesus in chapter 53 of his book.

Isaiah saw that Jesus would be humble – with nothing in His appearance to attract us. Jesus would be a man well-acquainted with sorrow and grief – someone with knowledge of loss. More than that, He would be familiar with rejection – and by the very people He came to save. Jesus would be mistreated – misunderstood – and then killed. But then – He would rise again.

Isaiah had his eyes fixed firmly on Jesus – He was the heart of what Isaiah wanted to know – of what he intended to pass on to everyone who would listen. And I believe this is true for us as well. Jesus is the One we love – the One we watch with everything we’ve got. And it’s all because He first loved us.

Isaiah writes: “Surely, He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows" (53:4). When bad things happen – it’s pretty easy to feel forgotten by God. But Isaiah shows us that never – not even for a single moment – has the Lord turned His attention away from us. He not only knows our griefs – He has carried them – and our suffering has become His own. Just because He loves us. Peace out, Pastor Craig

 
 
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March 15, 2019, 9:52 AM

Lent Devotion for Friday, March 15


What does it feel like when grace – mercy – and love goes unnoticed? In Luke 13:31-35, Jesus’ lament over Jerusalem reveals agony and grief. Most striking is that He compares Himself to a mother hen – a protector – who urges the chicks to rest sheltered under her wings. The Savior approaches Jerusalem as a mother – determined on assuring and pledging safety to her c...hildren – children that she has known and devoted herself to since before they were born. What kind of people turn away those who care for vulnerable youngsters? What kind of people scoff at folks who devote themselves to helping those without any power? What kind of people crucify and ridicule a mother who has come to nourish and provide for those who are in desperate need of her? History and the Gospel of Luke provide the answer: We ALL do.

May God help us all. Let us all pray for God’s mercy – and God’s fierce and constant commitment to us – as God pursues us – and pulls us back under those broad and healing wings. Peace out, Pastor Craig

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March 13, 2019, 8:18 AM

Lenten devotion for Wednesday, March 13


It’s easier to trust in God when things are going well – but sometimes – a crisis or two can steal our confidence. Psalm 27 describes scary adversaries: opponents – liars – back-biters – and violent attackers. They threaten our physical and social well-being. Then they gain positions of power in a myriad of situations – stealing our hope – both in an individual and communal sense. Psalm 27 shows an unrelenting trust in the benevolence ...of God. This is important for us to cling to – as we fear we’re no match for the endless stream of narcissists – manipulators – bullies – and oppressors who dot the landscape of our lives. The psalmist assures us that people who cavalierly deny our God-given dignity will never be a match for “the goodness of the Lord.” Let us expect to see that goodness right here and right now – where we and our loved ones live. And let’s pray that God will provide it to many – through our efforts on God’s behalf. Peace out,




March 12, 2019, 1:22 PM

Lenten Devotion for Tuesday, March 12


For some unknown reason – the Transfiguration of Jesus popped into my mind today. Remember the story when Jesus met Moses and Elijah on the mountaintop – with 3 of His disciples in attendance?

As Moses and Elijah stood on that mountaintop with Jesus, they represented the entire Old Testament – the law and the prophets came together. And they were talking to Jesus about His "departure" (as Luke calls it). Of course, they’re referring to Jesus’ de...ath – which would take place shortly in Jerusalem. Both men had spent their lives pointing people to the one true God. Now, hundreds of years after their earthly lives – they come one last time to serve as witnesses to the Savior promised for so many years throughout the Old Testament.

We don't know how Peter, James, and John recognized them for who they were – but somehow they did. Then Peter was foolish enough to propose building 3 shelters – 1 each for Moses, Elijah, and Jesus.

Poor silly Peter! It sounds like he thought he was honoring Jesus by placing Him on the same level with both of those ancient heroes of the faith. He hadn’t yet realized that – as great as the 2 were – Jesus was and is someone even greater – God’s own Son. God the Father corrected that mistake immediately: "This is My Son, My Chosen One; listen to Him!" And after that, they saw Jesus only.

I think Moses and Elijah would be the first to tell us to keep our eyes on Jesus. Jesus is the One Who matters – not any prophet or lawgiver – not any pastor or church leader – regardless of how wonderful or holy they might be. What we see in such people is a reflection of Jesus' own light shining through them. And for that we should love and honor our leaders. But Jesus has our hearts – because He is the Son of God – Who loves us – and gave Himself for us. No one could love us more. Peace out,




March 11, 2019, 10:00 AM

Monday Lenten Devotion


 

If God were not reliable, all of our religious devotions would be futile at best. As we read today’s Scripture from Genesis 15:1-12, 17 & 18, we come to realize that no part of this passage – Abram and Sarah’s future – Abram’s righteousness – or even God’s reassurances – would be grounds for any kind of confidence apart from one sure thing: “The Lord made a covenant.” We clearly see that God puts the whole of God’s character and reputation on the line. God pledges God’s own self to the fulfillment of the promises. The legacy of Abraham, Sarah, and their offspring does not depend on their own plans or cleverness – only God can make the promised future turn out right. Lent, with its focus on repentance and human mortality – asks us to examine the foundations of our spirituality. Without a faithful, promise-keeping God providing the bedrock of our faith – everything is fragile at best. Peace out,

Pastor Craig


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