Daily Lent Devotions from Church Street UMC

Sunday, March 7, Evening

By Nelle Kroll, March 22, 1976

Tuned to Receive

Read Psalm 46:10-11

“Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth. The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge.”

As a member of the Radio Amateur Service, I’ve become especially conscious of the need in this technical area for a good receiver. No matter how great the output of a transmitter, to get the best reception I must have a directional antenna and receiver capable of precise tuning to a frequency which will receive that signal, cutting out as much of the interference as possible.

This has a message for me. There is a constant challenge to receive that distant signal which may be available to me at this instant. And yes, there is a signal there at this very moment! I am the receiver, capable of accurate tuning. I only need to set my senses Godward, attune myself to the proper frequency and “Be still . . .” and listen. He is transmitting. He has given me the license to operate through Jesus Christ and a receiver capable of picking up His most distant signal without interference. My message: Make all of the adjustments to being properly tuned. Be sure you’re on the right Frequency. Sit back and listen. Give Him a call. He is there!


Father, help me be still and listen so that I will be attuned to your spiritual messages and can apply them to the forwarding of your kingdom here on earth. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

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Daily Lent Devotions from Church Street UMC

Sunday, March 7, Morning

By Col. Joe R. Shepherd, March 2, 1979

A Program for Spiritual Growth

Read Psalm 100:1-5

“My help cometh from the Lord which made heaven and earth.” Psalm 121:2

In our world today most of mankind’s endeavors are based on a program of some kind. There are business programs built into elaborate computer systems, athletic programs, and individual success programs. Our church has a program for growth and development which was devised by the Council of Ministries and approved by the Administrative Board. Successful programs are based on goals and objectives supported by well conceived plans and a lot of hard work.

If our goal in life includes a meaningful relationship with GOD, then we would do well to consider a personal program for spiritual growth. For a time, my life was without such a program. Having been born in a Christian family where going to church and reciting our prayers at bedtime was the accepted way of doing things, I felt pretty comfortable about my spiritual situation. However, this changed early in my military career, when I found myself directly responsible for the lives of many other young men who were assigned to military organizations under my command. During critical situations, I found the need for reinforcement from outside my own resources. When I turned to GOD for help there was no meaningful response. My arrangements with Him had been too superficial to support a viable communication relation between us.

With the help of a chaplain friend, I developed a spiritual growth program. The goal of my program was to find a meaningful relationship with GOD. The supporting plans basically consisted of rededication to the Christian principles that I had learned earlier, but had neglected to practice. This was not a story of instant success, however, there was the immediate feeling that this was the right direction and the realization was there that with faith and work, my goal could be reached.


Father, we pray that during the Lenten season, many of us will re-evaluate our spiritual lives and consider rededication and renewal programs to strengthen our spiritual growth and development. Amen.

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Daily Lent Devotions from Church Street UMC

Saturday, March 6

By Steve Roberts, March 5, 2017

Help Who You Can

Read: Proverbs 1:8-9

Like many fathers, mine shared with me the wisdom of his life hoping it would influence my life. While a natural story teller, or parables in ecumenical terms, the ones I remember were not parables but aphorisms – short, catchy phrases that are easy to remember. I hate to think how many I’ve forgotten; I’m certain the few I remember are the wisest and the ones I’m sure he would have chosen for me to remember. I am also certain that they are his creations and not transgenerational tradition. “You give what you have and you help who you can,” and “Put one foot in front of the other, and if you can’t do that, stand still” immediately come to mind. But the one that seems to be the most thematically theological is “if you have to choose who to save, save the first one you come to.”

I have thought about “save the first one you come to” some over the years but only in the past two or three have I realized that I have heard the same message all of my life. It is the heart of every parable Jesus told, the heart of our faith. He did not decide who was most worthy or had the greatest need. He had no priority list, no minimum qualifications. He “took” everyone. As my father told me, so He told us, “you save the first one you come to.”


Creator God, guide us to give what we have and help who we can, right where we are. Amen.

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Daily Lent Devotions from Church Street UMC

Friday, March 5

By Steve Richardson, March 18, 2018

A Lesson From Seaweeds

Read: Mark 4:30-32

One of my brothers, Joe, is a marine biologist. For as long as I can remember, he’s had a passion for all things marine. One of my earliest memories as a toddler was going with him to “fish” in a tiny run-off creek in our backyard after heavy rains. All we ever caught were leaves, but Joe still deemed it fishing. 

In his teens, Joe discovered the renowned oceanographer Jacques Cousteau. Even I was fascinated by the images and films of Cousteau diving among marine life like whales, sharks, dolphins and giant octopi.

When Joe entered graduate school to attain his doctorate at North Carolina, I was certain he, too, would ultimately be diving among the great species of the seas to study their habits.

However, Joe’s dissertation dealt with the life cycles of seaweeds. Seaweed?! To me, that was the most mundane, obscure, seemingly purposeless thing the sea could render.

“Not so,” says Joe. Seaweeds are essential to our oceans’ ecosystems. They’re a food source for many forms of marine life, including fish. They’re hosts and hiding places for protection of other species. Although seaweeds lack the charisma of great sea animals that share the spotlight in documentaries and coffee table books, they serve a grand and important role for all marine life.

Isn’t that similar for all of us as people of God? Even those who our society may label the least, the lowest, the weakest, the obscure – in God’s eyes each of us has purpose, meaning and a role to play. To God, we all have worth and value. To God no one is least or low or weak or obscure.  Rather, we are all vital to the enhancement of God’s creation and kingdom.


God of the sparrow, God of the whale… How does the creature say Awe?” With great gratitude for your grace, we pray you remind us that such grace is unconditional for all people and we pray you grant us the wisdom to share it likewise. Amen.

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Daily Lent Devotions from Church Street UMC

Thursday, March 4

By Ann Jourolmon, February 27, 1978

Welcome, Friend

Read: Romans 15:7 (The Living Bible)

      “So, warmly welcome each other into the church, just as Christ has warmly welcomed you; then God will be glorified.”

One of the International Sunday School lessons this past fall was based on the above scripture.  The key word is welcome. I thought how true it was that as Paul preached the Good News, always he proclaimed that it was for all. Again and again, he stressed that Christianity had a welcome sign out for every person. Someone has said that for Paul, the Gospel had so changed the world, that all the “Keep Out” signs were replaced by “Welcome” signs.

This reminds me of an incident that happened to my father. When he first built his mountain cabin, he put up a sign, “No Trespassing.” Someone did not like this. He found his sign torn down several times. Finally, he posted a sign: “Private Property – BUT – Welcome, Friend.”

Paul was positive that all the “Keep Out” signs were replaced by “Welcome” when Jesus Christ came to this world. As God welcomes every person through His Son, so we who are His followers must welcome all into the Christian fellowship.

We are told that the word “welcome” is an Old English word, originally spelled “wilcoma.” I suppose that it means well come – it is well that you have come. God says to us, “It is well that you have come to Me, through Christ, your Saviour.” And, in turn, we must say to all who would be a part of the Christian fellowship, “It is well that you have come -WELCOME.”


Our Father, may we realize that Thy Son is an inclusive Saviour and that His church must be inclusive, too. Amen.

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Daily Lent Devotions from Church Street UMC

Wednesday, March 3

By Dr. Felix Line, March 12, 1980

Faith With Works

Read: James 2:26

…Faith without works is dead.”

The Christian religion makes many demands upon one who accepts it. The first step in becoming a Christian is to have faith. This concept emphasized by Paul is discussed at length in his various letters which make up a large portion of the New Testament.

There is a small book of only four chapters which I believe strikes a balance between faith and works. I am referring to the book of James about which there has been and still is controversy.  Martin Luther wished to exclude the book from the canon because of the appearance of an apparent contradiction of Paul’s teaching on justification by faith.

It seems to me that James is expressing the same concept that Paul is saying, namely, that when one is a Christian and attempting to do the will of God the natural and normal sequence of that faith is “good works.”

Over the centuries Christianity has been talked about, argued, debated and has been encrusted with observances, confessions, rituals and prayers. The writer of James gets down to the essentials by stating that the Christian faith makes a difference in the way a person lives regardless of the rituals and observances in which he participates.


Help us to live by what the writer of James says:

  “Be doers of the word and not hearers only.” 1:22

  What does it profit my brethren if a man says he has faith but has not works?” 2:14

  Show me your faith apart from works and I by my works will show you my faith.” 2:18

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Daily Lent Devotions from Church Street UMC

Tuesday, March 2

By Rev. William H. Balch, March 15, 1979

The Call Worth Answering

Read: Luke 14:16-24

The teachings of our Lord are very real in our present day. I would like to share a parable that is written in response to the one found in Luke’s writings.

The telephone rings and John answers. Could he come for dinner, the caller asks, and John started to think. No, he could not come tonight since he was thinking about a new visitation program for the church. After hanging up the phone, he returned to the details.

The telephone rings, Tom answers. Dinner, tonight, — no I’ve just bought a new home and we’ve got a good deal to work on around the house.

Another call, Jean answers. She really cannot make the dinner since they are having company. When she hangs up, she calls The Browns to invite them to play bridge.

The calls continue but they all seem to be busy, happy, good people who just cannot make the dinner.

But what do you do with a meal you’ve prepared for those you care about? You call others – the man who lives in one room of a downtown rooming house; the girl whose life has been crowded with wild dreams from her drug use days; the woman with three fatherless children; the student who feels hopeless . . . other persons we all can name. And the dinner was a great celebration of life, for someone cared.

God invites all, but few of us respond. We may be about the good works of the world and fail to hear Him.


Help us, O God, to listen for your call. Strengthen us to respond and to join in the celebration you bring to all of life. In Christ we pray. Amen.

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Daily Lent Devotions from Church Street UMC

Monday, March 1

By Mrs. Gladys Phillips, March 12, 1978


Read Matthew 6:9-13; 6:7-8, Mark 1:35, Luke 18:1; 6:12, Matthew 7:7-8; 7:11; 6:6

Dr. Frank Laubach called prayer “The mightiest force in the world,” yet it is said to be the most neglected practice among Christians. One has but to study the life of Jesus to learn what importance He placed on prayer. It was a constant practice in His life, and He commanded His followers to pray. He taught His disciples that prayer was to be the means by which they were to release the resources and energies of God. Pentecost was an awesome example of prayer power.

Bishop Cushman asks, “What does all this mean if not that Jesus taught, and Pentecost illuminated, His message that prayer is and has always been the greatest need of the church and of the world?”

The framers of our Constitution solved a serious problem after pausing to ask God’s direction. In World War II massive prayer brought a miracle from God that saved the troops at Dunkirk.

All of us have had prayers answered individually, and recently God sent a miracle of healing in my own life in response to a small prayer group uniting in earnest intercession for me and prayers of others.

Prayer is not only a need for us each day, it is also a means of service available to everyone – the well, the sick, the lonely, the shut-ins, the elderly, the younger. One of our church vows is to pray for our church. It is a duty and a privilege for every member.

With prayer so great a need, why do people neglect to pray?


Gracious Lord, Thank you for the privilege of prayer. Help Christians everywhere not to neglect it. Amen. 

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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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