Go In Faith
Second Sunday of Lent
SUNDAY, March 5
Sometimes I wish God would construct a neon sign telling me exactly where to go next. But if he gave me a sign, I’d probably ask for a map. And if he gave me a map, I’d ask him to identify the easiest route.
And if he identified the easiest route, well, if you’ve ever read the book If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, you can imagine just how long I could do this without ever going anywhere.
God told Abram to go. God didn’t go into detail about the challenges he might encounter or how God’s promises would come to pass, yet Abram went. What reads as a simple act of obedience is an incredible act of faith in the God who keeps his promises. Like Abram, may we go forth in faith, entrusting the details to God.
Father, may we be like Abram, trusting in your promises and stepping out in faith even when the way is unclear. AMEN.
PRAYER FOCUS: DISCIPLINE TO WALK THE WAY OF THE CROSS
The God Who Keeps Watch
MONDAY, March 6
As I write this, I am six weeks past surgery on a ruptured Achilles tendon. For the first four weeks, my foot was set in a cast so that it would not move. While a significant hindrance to my comfort and mobility, it was essential to my recovery—a safeguard to ensure proper healing and protect me from reinjury. It was also a clear reminder that God is very much present in our helplessness.
God’s care and provision often take unexpected forms. Sometimes he allows circumstances to still us, sometimes he uses them to move us in new directions. But no matter the situation, we remain ever under God’s watchful gaze. What a gift to know that the same God who created the heavens and the earth loves us enough to keep watch over our comings and goings.
Father, thank you for your ever-present care and provision. Grant us confidence in your protection as we go forth to do your will. AMEN.
Faith Over Obedience
TUESDAY, March 7
Have you ever worked really hard on a project only to feel you didn’t receive the credit you were due at the end? When it comes to our faith, it can be easy to fall into a similar trap of believing we are owed something for our obedience. However, such a mindset is dangerous as it puts God in our debt rather than acknowledging that without Jesus we are very much in his. Even Abraham, the father of our faith, could not boast of justification through his obedience; it was only through faith that he was credited with righteousness. As we work our way through Lent and look ahead to the resurrection, may we remember that salvation is a gift of God’s unfailing love, not a reward for anything we’ve done.
Father, we acknowledge that nothing we do can earn us the righteousness credited to us through Christ’s death and resurrection. May we humbly receive salvation as your gift. AMEN.
PRAYER FOCUS: COOPERATIVE SPIRIT IN GOVERNMENT
A Promise Fulfilled
WEDNESDAY, March 8
When someone makes us a promise, it is up to that person to fulfill it. We can cajole, remind, be on our best behavior, worry about follow-through, make our own promises in return—but at the end of the day, we cannot guarantee the other person will keep their word. We have to trust that the promise will be fulfilled.
The Jewish teachers of Paul’s day taught that Abraham’s righteousness was a result of his obedience to the Law, but Paul tells us that Abraham’s righteousness was a result of his faith that God would indeed fulfill his promises. If obedience to the Law secured one’s righteousness, the scope of God’s promise would be diminished. But because God is true to his promises, and because righteousness is established through our faith in those promises, all who believe are rightful heirs to the gift of salvation.
Father, thank you for including us in your promises to Abraham so that we might be saved. AMEN.
Love Poured Out
THURSDAY, March 9
“And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us” (v. 5, NIV).
Have you ever tried pouring water from a pitcher half-filled with ice?
If you aren’t careful, all the ice rushes forward and water gushes forth, causing your cup to quickly overflow. This is how I imagine the love of God poured out. In his great love for us, God doesn’t provide just enough love to fill us almost to the brim; rather, he pours until our hearts overflow. It is this overflow of love that fuels our hope. By pouring his love out through the Holy Spirit, God has set in us a life source for his love that we can draw from again and again when our faith feels small and hope seems dim.
Holy Spirit, thank you for taking up residence in our hearts as a constant reminder of God’s overflowing love for us. AMEN.
PRAYER FOCUS: OBEDIENCE TO GOD’S LEADING
A Disoriented Faith
FRIDAY, March 10
One night after surgery, I thought I could see well enough to navigate to the bathroom, so I didn’t bother with my lamp. I made it across the hall just fine, but when I flipped off the bathroom light to head back to my room, my eyes struggled to readjust to the dark. As I neared the bed,
I became disoriented and fell off my crutches, suffering some heavy bruising. Nicodemus’s encounter with Jesus reminds me of that disoriented, stumbling-through-the-dark experience. Under the cover of night, Nicodemus approaches the Light, but he struggles to “see” because he still hasn’t fully left the darkness. I love that Jesus engages Nicodemus in his half-in, half-out state. Later we see evidence that Nicodemus eventually comes to a full understanding of who Jesus is.
In moments where your own faith feels uncertain, may you continue to seek Jesus and allow him to draw you fully into his light.
Jesus, thank you for meeting us where we are, even when our faith is uncertain. AMEN.
A Love that Saves
SATURDAY, March 11
Like many, I memorized John 3:16 as a young child. But even with the knowledge that my sins had been forgiven, I felt an intense need to be good, as if God were just waiting for me to slip up. It wasn’t until I was in college that the verse that follows challenged my narrow understanding of forgiveness: “Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world but in order that the world might be saved through him” (v. 17, NRSV). Waiting for us to slip up simply isn’t in God’s nature. Rather, God in his great love sent his Son to save us from certain condemnation. If I’m not careful, I can easily revert to the merit-based faith of my childhood. I am so grateful for the gift of God’s Word that reminds me of his perfect love and his plan for complete reconciliation.
Father, thank you for sending your Son so that we might have everlasting life. AMEN.
PRAYER FOCUS: COMPASSION FOR THE ANIMAL WORLD