Bruce and I attended the memorial mass for Father James Norwood today at Arlington Heights Christian church in Fort Worth. This coming Friday Father Jim would have celebrated 53 years in the ordained ministry as an Episcopal priest. Arlington Heights houses three churches; a Christian Church, Disciples of Christ, an Episcopal congregation and a Lutheran congregation. Father Jim had served in the Kairos community as a part of his service to Christ. Please pray for his family in this time of their loss.
Prayer: Lord, as we enter this season of Lent let us remember the journey you have traveled from Nazareth to the cross. Not once did you let your eyes story from the purpose your heavenly Father put before You. Help us during these 40 days to keep our eyes on You at all times so that we, too, may journey to be closer to You with each breath and step we take. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
“Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.”
Matthew 4: 1
If we read this entire story carefully we really only hear the beginning and the end. In the beginning of the story Jesus is led from baptism (in Mark) into the wilderness. We do not hear the middle of the story. We do not hear of His feelings of emptiness, loneliness and progressive helplessness throughout these forty days. So at the end of the forty days Jesus is starving, dehydrated and exhausted. Satan appears on the last day and offers the three great temptations to Jesus. If Jesus succumbs to these temptations in His most vulnerable state then the gospel story ends right here. But during those 40 days I have to believe that Jesus spent concentrated time with His heavenly Father learning about the journey He was about to begin.
I cannot imagine that any of these words were comfortable or filled with joy. The words must have been harsh in their language of sacrifice of body and blood. In their demand to share the love of God for the people of the earth without identifying who He was. How to tell others to love their enemies and pray for them? And then to top off these difficult words with the temptations by Satan. But somewhere deep down in the soul of the Master, He remembered the words of His youth. The words he learned in temple: love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength, have no other gods before Me. Man shall not live by bread alone but on every Word that proceeds out of the mouth of God. Satan was defeated that day. Then the angels came and attended to the Son of God.
Jesus passed the test. During this season of Lent I have taken on two disciplines and am asking God to help me to remain committed to these disciplines for His glory. I am sure Satan will make an appearance and I pray that I will recognize Him and pray this prayer, “Lord, Satan is knocking, could You please get the door for I am foundering in my discipline.
Jesus stood firm on the Word of God and defeated Satan that day. Let us be in prayer during this season of Lent claiming God’s Holy Scripture when we feel tempted keep our commitments for the glory of God in Christ Jesus.
Take joy in the journey. Wear comfortable shoes, throw an extra blanket on the bed tonight and get some sleep. Pray with a heart filled with gratitude and peace be with you. Love you all, Bruce, Gaylene, Geni, Travis and Sarah.
I am not moved by what I see. I am not moved by what I feel. I am only moved by what I believe and I believe God.