Daily Lent Devotions from Church Street UMC

Sunday, February 28, Morning

By Grace Parkhill, February 27, 1980

Today — As You Make It

Read John 10:10b

“…I came that they may have life and have it more abundantly.”

   “Every morning lean thine arms awhile

Upon the window sill of heaven

And gaze upon thy Lord,

Then, with the vision in thy heart,

Turn strong to meet the day.”

(author unknown, but a favorite poem of Mimi Murphy)

I read a newspaper article the other day which commented on the first thoughts of the morning as setting the tone for the day. Several persons had given their first thoughts on awakening which ran the gamut of unlovely thoughts to very lovely ones; and so was their day.

I have found that as each day begins if I, (1) open myself to the presence of God; (2) use my awakening thoughts as one of thanksgiving; (3) and then wait for His Spirit, that my day is beautiful because I will it so. And then I can go forth with a good spirit and with power to serve, to fight wrong and to love. The morning dawns bright even though the sun may not shine because I have the feeling of being alive and of belonging.

Each day can be powerful as we find ourselves in tune with the Master Force, doing His Will and His Work. Our day depends on us.


Dear Lord, your great prophet, Isaiah, has said “They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run, and not be weary, and they shall walk, and not faint.” We want this for your children today; help us to learn to open our hearts and wait for you each new day; and give us strength to meet the challenges that come with each new day. Amen.

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Daily Lent Devotions from Church Street UMC

Saturday, February 27

By Gene Flinter, April 2, 2017

The Companion

Read: John 14:15-17 NIV 

 If you love me, keep my commands. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever—the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.”

Our world is in turmoil. However, with the assistance of Christ and the Holy Spirit in opening our hearts and minds, we may visualize a healed planet.

Find a quiet place, sit or stand, take some deep breaths and then perform the following visualization:

Visualize our church and its staff and members in an embracing silver light and then filter in a golden light. Hold for a minute or so… Expand the same sequence to the residents of our state, country and world (continent by continent)… Then, embrace our planet in the silver/golden light with its oceans, forests, jungles and deserts. Include the sea and mammal life that also inhabits the earth.


Come Holy Spirit, kindle our hearts and minds with a heavenly fire, so that we may open them to renew the face and health of our world. Inspire us to avoid anger and judgment to all persons that we may encounter. Instead, let us embrace them with love and kindness. With Jesus, the hierarchy of angels and the Father and Mother of the world, we request your blessings throughout our lives. Amen. 

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Daily Lent Devotions from Church Street UMC

Friday, February 26

By Rev. Frank M. “Bob” Bostick, April 6, 1979

Preparation Through Giving?

Read: Romans 12:1-2

      “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God.”

When a friend saw me eating only a salad for lunch, she asked, “It isn’t Lent yet, is it?” “No! It isn’t.” (The date was January 18) “Then why aren’t you eating more?” “Not because I’m not hungry for sure, but because I must lose 7 pounds before March.” Wonder why we associate Lent with less than normal!

During Lent, we prepare ourselves for the celebration of God’s sacrifice of Jesus; we make ready our minds, our practices, our life styles to be more fitting to accept such a gift of salvation. But, “giving-up-something-for-Lent” is really absurd if we live in a state of desire for the day after Easter so we can begin to abuse ourselves again.

Many of our Lenten practices are Pharisaical: We keep the law but allow the intention of the law to be missed. It’s like a child being nice just before Christmas so a lot of goodies will be under the tree or in the stocking, but on the day after Christmas becoming sassy and obstinate once again.

No!  A proper preparation for Good Friday and Easter is not in playing games with giving up candy, or alcohol, or bad habits for only a short time – and wishing time would rapidly pass. It is only as we become new persons, striving to serve God on a permanent basis that Easter morning will present its fullest glory. No sham – no games – only true justice, deep and abiding loyalty, and genuine humbleness are the desires of God for His people.

May our mental, spiritual, and behavioral preparation yield new life!


Oh God, help us seriously seek, prepare with perseverance, and thus with the direction of your Spirit awaken to new life. May the resurrection faith be spread abroad in the world of turmoil through the committed efforts of thy people. Amen.

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Daily Lent Devotions from Church Street UMC

Thursday, February 25

By Dr. Allison R. Ensor, April 7, 1977

Young Goodman Brown

Read: Romans 12:21

      “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”

One of my favorite nineteenth-century short stories is Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “Young Goodman Brown.” Set in or near Salem, Massachusetts about 1692, it is a story of a naïve young man who journeys into the forest for what he believes will be a one-time-only encounter with evil, after which he intends to cling to the skirts of his wife (“aptly named” Faith) and follow her to heaven.  Things do not, however, work out as planned: Brown meets a Satanic figure in the forest who guides him to a “wild witch meeting” attended – or so Brown believes – by all the good people of the community, even the minister and his own wife. As a result, Brown’s faith in mankind is lost; he comes to look upon everyone in his village as a hypocrite in league with the devil, and he is never happy again.

I believe that it was Brown’s own involvement in evil which led him to think that everyone else was as guilty as he, and that as Hawthorne says elsewhere, “Such loss of faith is ever one of the saddest results of sin.” Brown was mistaken to have believed that he was the first of his family ever to do anything evil, but he was equally mistaken to think that, as Satan tells his assembled worshippers, “Evil is the nature of mankind.” I take it that Hawthorne’s point is that we should recognize the evil that exists around us but having recognized it we should not become obsessed with it or overcome by it. It is an inevitable part of an imperfect world, but it need not ruin our lives or make us unduly pessimistic about our fellow mortals.


Father, help us to resist the temptation to give way to despair when we encounter evil or when we find ourselves and others failing to measure up to the best that we might be. Help us to know that the world has not really been given to the devil but that it is still under your control and that there is much good left in it. Amen.

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Daily Lent Devotions from Church Street UMC

Wednesday, February 24

By Mrs. June Ferguson, March 4, 1977

The Privilege of Prayer

Read: Matthew 7:7-8

      “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.”

Has it ever occurred to you when we kneel in our place of prayer that we have been given the privilege of being used of God to change the lives of men and nations? God has literally made available to us a vast reservoir of power, wisdom, and grace beyond words if only we are willing to believe in Him.

God said to Jeremiah, “Call unto me, and I will answer thee and show thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.”

Prayer brings us to the starting point of the great discovery of God in our personal life. Prayer does not bring God down to us but brings us near to God. When our soul draws near to God in prayer, the ground beneath our feet becomes holy ground.

Our heavenly Father waits to bestow upon us the fullness of His blessings. It is our privilege to drink at the fountain of infinite love. God is ready and willing to hear the sincere prayer of the humblest of His children. Even the angels of Heaven love to bow before God and love to be near him. It is our privilege to walk in the light of His Spirit and enjoy the companionship of His presence.


Our gracious heavenly Father, I thank you for the privilege of prayer. Thank you for your Prayer Promises in Your word. Thank you for my strength and my Salvation. Give me more love, understanding, and wisdom and help me to be more Christ-like. In the precious name of Jesus. Amen. 

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Daily Lent Devotions from Church Street UMC

Tuesday, February 23

By Jim Lees, March 19, 2017

Everyday Temptations

Read: Psalm 46:10

He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;
    I will be exalted among the nations,
    I will be exalted in the earth.”

Lent is a moment in our calendar each year, set aside by persons in our distant past. They were reaching out to God, no doubt seeking help, to find a way to remind us of the magnitude of the gift we all received in the sacrifice of Jesus. This 40-day time was and is an exciting solution now and through the ages. A period when we can really prepare for the celebration of Christ’s resurrection, a time to spread the news. Those who first set aside the time for Lent were right in their desire and in their choice. Now it is our time.

This 40-day period of Lent has been modified from time to time. Recommended fasting on special days, of making Sundays not count during this period, of recalling our baptism, of calling to mind the gift so freely given. It is a truly joyful time to share with our brothers and sisters in Christ. We now realize we are speaking with God when we pray. We realize we can call out to Him. He is listening to us. We are in his presence. God cares for you and me. In this very special time of Lent, we can reach out and be thrilled by being in God’s presence.


Dear Lord, how wonderful to know you and be in your care. To feel your touch in everything around me. For the gift of life, the beauty of this day, the love of my family, and our church. Above all, thank you for your Son. Amen.

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Daily Lent Devotions from Church Street UMC

Monday, February 22

By Mrs. Mildred Weeks, March 15, 1978 

Everyday Temptations

Read: Matthew 16:1

      “The Pharisees also with the Sadducees came, and tempting desired him that he would shew them a sign from heaven.”

When I think of Lent, I think of Jesus’ forty days in the wilderness, and the dramatic confrontation of Jesus by the devil.

In the past, I have tended to think that this single episode in Jesus’ life was His one great temptation. But this year, as I searched the records of the Gospels for a Lenten meditation, the above verse caught my attention, and as I thought about it, I had a different perspective. Now, I realize that this pattern was repeated over and over during the years of His ministry that followed.

The encounter with the Pharisees and the Sadducees was one of many daily encounters which could be called Everyday Temptations. Jesus was challenged by His family, His friends, His enemies, and by sincere followers of His way. Even His own feelings of heavy sorrow had to be faced in the Garden of Gethsemane.

Temptation may come to us dramatically in times of crisis in our lives, but surely it comes to us daily as it did to Jesus. Are we responding to our life situations in a manner worthy of a follower of Christ?


O God, during this Lenten Season, we pray for new understanding of the way we, as followers of Christ, should order our lives. Guide us through our daily encounters with our families, our friends, and all individuals who touch our lives. Amen.

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Daily Lent Devotions from Church Street UMC

Sunday, February 21, Evening

By Judy Vest, March 17, 2019

Forty Days and Forty Nights

Read Matthew 4:2

“After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry.”

Researching words to use when writing this devotion to honor our Lord during Lent, I revisited some facts I have certainly read and heard before but did not immediately recall. Have you ever wondered why the time span of Lent is forty days? That is the number of days and nights Jesus wandered in the wilderness. On the ark Noah and family watched the rain pour down for forty days and nights. In Deuteronomy references are made of Moses fasting for forty days on two different occasions.

What I do know is, following His baptism, Jesus went into the wilderness and fasted for forty days and forty nights. He was alone with only wild animals in the area for companionship. Exposed to the elements, Jesus was surely hot, cold, dusty, dirty, hungry and thirsty. Being alone in such a barren place with wild animals, in the dark, becoming hungry and thirsty, is way more than I can fathom. Not only did Jesus willingly go into this place for the sure suffering He would experience, it got worse; along came Satan to tempt and taunt Him. Jesus was suffering from the ordeal, weak in body, but He stood his ground with the devil and won the victory.

We have known of this battle since childhood; we have heard it preached from the pulpit. We know it happened but do we really comprehend and think it through? Do we reflect on this story during Lent? Yes, I believe we do as we humble ourselves and make our plans to deny self by choosing to give up something during Lent. We may be led to fast, give up a habit, or set aside money to do good for someone other than ourselves. Considering what Jesus has done for us I can not see anything we do for Him being much of a burden. He gave all and then arose from the dead to assure each of us eternal life with Him.


“O God our deliverer, you led your people of old through the wilderness and brought them to the promised land. Guide now the people of your church, that following our Savior, we may walk through the wilderness of this world toward the glory of the world to come; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, One God, now and forever.” Amen. (Prayer taken from The Lutheran Book of Worship, reprinted in UM Hymnal)

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Daily Lent Devotions from Church Street UMC

Sunday, February 21, Morning

By Rev. Palmer Cantler

Ducks, Dish Soap and Discipleship

Read Ezekiel 36:25-27a (The Message)

“I’ll pour pure water over you and scrub you clean. I’ll give you a new heart, put a new spirit in you. I’ll remove the stone heart from your body and replace it with a heart that’s God-willed, not self-willed. I’ll put my Spirit in you and make it possible for you to do what I tell you and live by my commands.”

God’s words to the Israelites, proclaimed through the prophet Ezekiel, seemed to be a perfect pairing with today’s item in the Lenten Countdown. Have you ever seen the Dawn commercials where they clean ducks with dish soap? I cannot help but imagine those ducks being held in a strong, but gentle grasp as they are washed clean when reading this text. New life is given in this careful cleaning, and the ducks are free from oil and impurities once again.

Lent provides the perfect time for us to slow down and listen for God’s voice. Maybe we give up a habit that is not life-giving and distracts from the Spirit’s guidance. Or maybe we take on a practice to cultivate a pattern of giving, like the Lenten Countdown. This time of preparation is counter-cultural in that it encourages us to look, not upon our own desires, but where God is leading.

I hope you will take on the practice of giving this Lent and join us in the Lenten Countdown. Over the course of Lent, you will collect 10 items needed by the mission ministries of our church: Beacon of Hope, Sharing Shop, and Soup Kitchen. Through the accompanying prayers and explanations, may this practice of giving fill you with the Spirit of God.

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Daily Lent Devotions from Church Street UMC

Saturday, February 20

By Dr. David Craig, March 22, 2017

Talk to Yourself

Read: John 14:16, 26

Recently I toured a prison on Robben Island, one hour from off the coast of South Africa. I asked the guide, who was a former prisoner there, how he dealt with solitary confinement. He replied, “I talk to myself and think happy thoughts. Away from the monitoring cameras I like to sing and dance.” He implied that these actions got him through each day.

Nelson Mandela spent more than 20 years in that prison for leading a movement to bring equal rights to black people. He would have answered the above question by saying “physical discipline, exercising two times a day and mental discipline to study and pass law degree exams at night.”

Like these men, many of us face a variety of gods each day. As we go through trial and error and grow, we figure out who is good and helpful and who is evil. The talk is much easier if we read the Word, pray and befriend other Christians.

Lent is a time for reflection, to examine our sinful souls, to ask forgiveness and to accept a resurrection for our souls on Easter. Jesus said, “I will send you a helper . . .” to dwell within you. Christians believe that this helper is in fact the Holy Spirit; and through belief in the holy trinity, that God and even Jesus Christ dwells within us.

Hence when we talk to our self, are we not talking to God and Jesus Christ? And when we discipline ourselves to read God’s word we receive strength for each day.


Thank you for being present in our lives each day and hearing our problems and concerns. Help us to show more love to you and all those around us. Amen.

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