FaithSpring Staff Blog

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Day Forty-Six: Spend time with Family and Friends

Posted By at Saturday, April 20, 2019

Saturday, April 20: Trust It: Spend time with family (and close friends).

Today is Holy Saturday, the day that Jesus’ tomb remains closed. In Scripture, it’s the day that the stone is sealed and the guards arrive to prevent Jesus’ followers from stealing the body. Or, from another viewpoint, Holy Saturday represents another time that humankind attempted to lock-up the power of God. But no matter how hard the world tried, nothing was going to overcome the love that God has for all people.

On this Holy Saturday, celebrate God’s love for the world by spending time with your family and/or closest loved ones. Go to an Easter Carnival, climb a mountain, or plant a flower together. Go shopping or dye some Easter eggs, or maybe even just enjoy a meal together. Whatever it is, let’s demonstrate to God our thankfulness for the way He has loved and protected each of us.

Today is the final day of our Lenten Challenges. God has blessed us so let’s spread those blessings to everyone around us. Spend some time with family and close friends!

“The next day, on the Sabbath,the leading priests and Pharisees went to see Pilate. They told him, ‘Sir, we remember what that deceiver once said while he was still alive: “After three days I will rise from the dead.”So we request that you seal the tomb until the third day. This will prevent his disciples from coming and stealing his body and then telling everyone he was raised from the dead! If that happens, we’ll be worse off than we were at first.’”

Pilate replied, ‘Take guards and secure it the best you can.’Sothey sealed the tomb and posted guards to protect it.” (Luke 27:62-66, NLT).

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Day Forty-Five

Posted By at Friday, April 19, 2019

Friday, April 19: Trust It: Complete Fast from Food (drinks are okay).

Today is Good Friday, the day in which we remember the sacrifice that Jesus made on our behalf. On this day we remember his torture and death, ironically called “Good” because we know the Resurrection is coming. But until then, the Christian Church typically reflects on these next couple days with great emotion and awareness. One of the primary ways that the Church reflects upon Good Friday is through fasting,recognizing that Jesus was unable to eat anything following his Last Supper with the Disciples (and doesn’t eat again until later on Easter day).

In sync with many Christian Churches on Good Friday, today’s challenge is a complete fast (or withholding) from all food for 24 hours (drinks are okay). People who normally do not have access to adequate nutrition are encouraged to avoid today’s challenge. Those with necessary dietary and medical needs are also not subject to this ancient Church tradition and are encouraged to spend much of the day in prayer, Bible reading, and reflection. For the rest of us, we’re about to be hungry, but that’s okay.

Consider this: 13% of the world’s population goes to bed each night without access to food. In America, this number is actually higher, exceeding 20% of our population. Over 41 million people in America go to bed hungry each night, including 13 million children. This is a shocking statistic in a country blessed with high-speed internet, digital television, and incredible medical technology. Those of us who are reading this devotion have plenty of food in our pantry. Most of us are not worried about where our next meal originates, so we shouldn’t blink an eye at taking 24-hours to honor Jesus with a fast.

You can do it. If you haven’t eaten since last night, you’re already ahead. Just complete the challenge for remainder of the day. By dinnertime tonight, you’ll have succeeded in the challenge. Today, fast from all food!

“Now there was a good and righteous man named Joseph. He was a member of the Jewish high council, but he had not agreed with the decision and actions of the other religious leaders. He was from the town of Arimathea in Judea, and he was waiting for the Kingdom of God to come. He went to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body. Then he took the body down from the cross and wrapped it in a long sheet of linen cloth and laid it in a new tomb that had been carved out of rock. This was done late on Friday afternoon, the day of preparation,as the Sabbath was about to begin.” (Luke 23:50-54, NLT).

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Day Forty Four: Receive Holy Communion/Lord's Supper/Eucharist

Posted By at Thursday, April 18, 2019

 

Wednesday, April 18: Trust It: Receive Holy Communion/Holy Eucharist/Lord’s Supper

On Thursday of Holy Week, we remember the Last Supper that Jesus celebrated with his disciples.  On the Thursday evening of the Jewish Passover, Jesus called his closest followers together to share a meal together, after which he presents the Church one of the greatest gifts we could have received: The opportunity to receive God’s grace and love through the elements of bread and the cup.Today’s challenge is to receive Holy Communion (Holy Eucharist, the Lord’s Supper, or a combination of these terms is widely accepted.)

Maundy Thursday, which is the term used to identify this special day in our Christian Faith, is one of the most Holy days on the Christian Calendar.  Churches everywhere will be offering Holy Communion today. It is one of the two Sacraments celebrated by all Christians (the other is Baptism) and recognized as a way that God nourishes us for our Spiritual journey. Some churches celebrate Communion every day, while others celebrate Communion weekly, monthly, and at other special occasions.

FaithSpring Church will be serving Holy Communion throughout the day from 12pm to 6pm.  It’s an opportunity for anyone and everyone to stop by and receive this special gift that Jesus provided for the Church.  It is an open table and anyone can receive, so if you don’t know where to go today, you are welcome at FaithSpring! (1514 Market Street, Little Rock, AR72211).

Receive Holy Communion today!

While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body.”Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you.This is my blood of thecovenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.” (Matthew 26:26-28, NIV).

 

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Day Forty Three: Do Good for Others

Posted By at Wednesday, April 17, 2019

 

Wednesday, April 17: Trust It - Do Good for Others

We’ve arrived at the mid-point of Holy Week with a challenge that should be easy for everyone.  Our challenge today is to Do Good for Others.

Doing something good for other people is one of the basic principles of Christianity.  Over the last several weeks, we’ve been challenged with a number of good and positive deeds for others.  Today’s challenge brings them all together by just finding a way to help someone else.

There’s always a way to do something good for other people.  Doing good can include showing kindness to someone with a smile or allowing someone else to merge ahead of us in traffic.  Doing good can also include providing for those in need, apologizing for a wrong committed, or providing encouragement for those in doubt.  We don’t need to receive anything in return or even an acknowledgement from another person.  God knows what we’re doing and that’s enough!

Jesus taught us how to be kind to each other by openly accepting everyone around him.  Jesus paid special attention to the lower class people, outcasts of society, and well-known sinners.  This should be a clue for us as well: That no matter who crosses our path, we should be able to do something good for them.

Friends, strangers, and loved ones will be blessed through us today!  Do good for other people today!

Let’s not get tired of doing good, because in time we’ll have a harvest if we don’t give up.” (Galatians 6:9, CEB).

 

 

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Day Forty-Two

Posted By at Tuesday, April 16, 2019

 

Tuesday, April 16: Trust It: Repay something owed.

In today’s Holy Week challenge, we focus on trusting God by repaying something owed. This could be something that we owe to a person, business, utility, or any number of other potential entities. Today’s challenge could include anything from returning your neighbor’s hedge-clippers to issuing an apology to a loved one. It also can include returning a favor (or a thank you) to someone who did something nice, or even just a personal acknowledgement of the kindness showed to us and our loved ones.

Sometimes, we may not feel as though we owe anything to a specific person, even if they do something extravagant for us. Other times, we may not feel that the kind act they did for us is big enough for our repayment efforts. We must be careful with either of these arguments, because they infer that we are either entitled or superior to another person, and that can be dangerous ground to travel.

What about taxes? Is that a debt owed? Yes, it is. As my tax accounting professor said, “There’s two ways to look tax accounting: One is tax evasion, which is illegal. The other is tax avoidance, which is smart.” Unlike my professor’s advice, we don’t want to get caught up in the fine lines of whether it’s legal or not. We know if we owe something or not. If we choose to not repay it, that’s our problem that we are forcing someone else to accept.

Thankfully, God didn’t hold our misgivings against us, despite our inability to repay. When we borrowed from God with sin, rather than call in the debt, God gave us even more. He forgave us despite our worst efforts and God continues to forgive our debts every day. We may never be able to repay God for what He did, but we can repay someone else, demonstrating that we love, honor, and respect them as an extension of God!

Go repay something owed!

“Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.” (Romans 13:7, NIV).

 

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Day Forty One

Posted By at Monday, April 15, 2019

Monday, April 15: Trust It:Silence

Given April 15th is a day of gloom for most US taxpayers, and also given that Mondays are often not accepted with parades and fanfare, today’s Lenten challenge might actually be a welcome assistant to the day. Today’s challenge?Silence.

Silence is an important part of Faith discipline.  While there are many times that we need to speak or engaged in activities that create noise, there are also times that we need to be able to experience silence. Silence (and vows of silence) are among the earliest of the Christian disciplines, dating back well into the 3rd Century AD as a way to connect with God on a more intimate level.

Our words are important.But when we are talking, we aren’t listening - and we should always be listening for God’s voice.  Yes, sometimes God shouts.  But other times, God is heard best from the softest whisper of wind. If we pay attention to the silence, we can hear the source of the wind, whether it is rattle of the leaves, the fan motor in the air conditioner, or the breath of life in our lungs.

Silence can teach us many things.  It is doubtful that many of us can achieve complete silence today.  That is not the goal of this challenge.  Rather, on this first challenge of Holy week, we are challenged to honor God by our silence.

Early in the morning, well before sunrise, Jesus rose and went to a deserted place where he could be alone in prayer.” (Mark 1:35, CEB).

 

 

 

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Day Thirty-None

Posted By at Saturday, April 13, 2019

Saturday, April 13: Start a New Healthy Habit!

Today’s challenge is to start a new healthy habit. This is something that all of us need, so what is the first thing that comes to your mind?

Some of us might be thinking about our physical health, such as physical exercise, a healthier diet, or stopping that worst habit. Or maybe we’re thinking about our mental health, such as reading good books, interacting less with social media, or removing junk entertainment. Or we might be considering improvement of our emotional health by loving on our beloved, spending time with friends and family, or maintaining a positive attitude.Hopefully all of us are at least thinking about one new healthy habit for our spirit, such as regular prayers, bible reading, or volunteering in a church or ministry activity.

Why is today’s challenge important? Because all of us need to strive to become healthier.There’s plenty of people who haven’t participated in “giving up something for Lent”, so if that’s you, consider doing it now and continuing it until Easter. Others of us started some healthy habits at the beginning of Lent, but then tripped up along the way. If that happened to you, take another jump at it and continue it every day until Easter.Others of us have been successful sincewe began at the start of the Lenten season, so if that’s you, simply add one more to your list today.

Today is the perfect day to start something healthy.Let’s say a prayer and thank God for all the blessings He has already provided, then let’s start a new healthy habit today!

“And so, dear brothers and sisters,I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” (Romans 12:1-2, NLT).

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Day Thirty-Eight: No In Between Snacks

Posted By at Friday, April 12, 2019

April 12: Restore It -Balanced Meals only; No In-Between Snacks

During the Lenten season, our Friday challenges are food-related. Today, we are challenged to avoid all in-between snacks and eat only balanced meals. This should be an easy challenge, after all, most of us learned this in grammar school. Remember that “Food Pyramid” that includes breads and cereal, fruits and veggies, meat and fish? If you’ve forgotten it, just Google it and take another look. This is going to require some planning, but we can do it. Eat balanced meals and no in-between snacks!

This author often receives questions about the Friday dietary-challenges. The reason we include them in our devotions is because food-related objectives affect everyone. God created our human bodies to require the consumption of food and water, so each of us knows what it’s like to be hungry and thirsty. God understands this even better than us, which is probably why He provides us with fasting as one way to demonstrate our sincerity, faithfulness, and commitment. This is precisely why we strive to make personal sacrifices during the Lenten season. It’s important that we show God that we care and that His hard work matters. We might not be able to do everything, but we can certainly do something.Given everything that God provides, food is an easy one for us to adjust on His behalf.

Today’s challenge isn’t as strict as some of our earlier Friday challenges, but this is still one that takes some thought and discipline. We need to be practicing better dietary habits. Our body is God’s temple and we need to do a much better job of taking care of it!

Balanced meals only today! No cheating with in-between snacks!

Or don’t you know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you? Don’t you know that you have the Holy Spirit from God, and you don’t belong to yourselves?You have been bought and paid for, so honor God with your body.”(1 Corinthians 6:19-20, CEB).

 

 

 

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Day Thirty-Seven: Restore it - Reconcile with someone

Posted By at Thursday, April 11, 2019

Thursday, April 11:Restore It: Reconcile with Someone

Reconciling with family and friends is one of the most difficult things we do as Christians. It’s just as difficult for believers to reconcile with each other as it is for nonbelievers, and in some respects, it’s even more difficult. Why? Because we recognize that reconciling with people is one of our primary tasks as Jesus’ followers, so our awareness just makes it even more urgent that we accomplish this challenge.

What is reconciling? Simply stated, reconciling is the patching-up of a relationship that went wrong because of a harmcommitted by one or both parties. The Bible is full of reconciling language because the Bible describes intimate details of many such relationships, including the relationship between God and His people. When God sent Jesus to the cross, He was reconciling with us. However, God wasn’t overcominga wrong He committed. Rather, God overcame the many wrongs that we committed. Through the cross, God overlooked our many sins and offered us another chance through Eternal Life.

In the Gospels, Jesus spends much of his time helping people reconcile with God and each other. He did it by teaching people about the magnitude and magnificence of God’s love for each person, and in the process, Jesus also taught people how to love each other.

As Jesus’ followers, we have a responsibility to continue to teach His work by example, one of the greatest of which is reconciling with the people around us. Today, we can be a follower of Jesus and restore a relationship. Today, let’s reconcile with someone!

“Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.” (Colossians 3:13, NLT).

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Day Thirty-Six

Posted By at Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Wednesday, April 10: Restore It: Positive and Encouraging Speech

Is it possible to only speak in a positive, encouraging, and uplifting manner for an entire today? We’re about to find out because our challenge for the day is to ONLY speak in a positive and encouraging manner.

This ought to be easybut don’t set the cruise control yet. Things will occur today that will cause us to have negative thoughts and emotions. Typically, these negative experiences are quickly followed by negative and discouraging speech (even if we are just talking to ourselves). Today needs to be different by paying close attention to the words we use.

We don’t give enough credit to the power of positive and encouraging words, especially in the face of adversity or challenge. Even if we don’t agree with something that someone else does or says, we can demonstrate Christ’s love by finding a way to be positive and encouraging. Positive words provide evidence of our faith in God and our love for other people.

What kind of coach can you be for someone today? Try this challenge for 24-hours: No matter what, offer positive and encouraging speech to (and about) everyone.

“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” (Ephesians 4:29, NIV).