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Lent Day 36 – Who Put Jesus on the Cross?

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Insights on From the Grave: A 40-Day Lent Devotional by A.W. Tozer

by Karyn Custer-Jankowski – Director of Children’s Ministries / Valpo FUMC

This could otherwise have been titled, “He Suffered, We were saved”!

Tozer opens this devotion saying that the way Jesus was tortured, is human kind’s way of punishing someone for their wrongs. But, he says that Jesus’ suffering was not punitive for himself – not for any wrong he did – it was for US. HIS suffering ended in OUR cleansing, healing, purification…

So what does Tozer say this horrible suffering was for, in the end? Sanctification. An older, strong word meaning, the pure heart and clean hands that are a delight to God, for which a true Christian would have a “holy longing and desire” to attain. Tozer feels that the truly righteous, holy person would feel so strong a need to repent for His/Her part in Jesus’ suffering that this would be their goal in life, what they would be working toward, sanctification.

I have to wonder if we Christians today are working toward sanctification. When I think about Jesus’ suffering and death, sure, it does upset and rattle me. I become sad thinking of what He went through – for ME! But I admit, this is something that I consider, usually, during Holy Week and specifically, on Good Friday. It certainly is not an everyday consideration! Seems Tozer is opening my mind to the fact that maybe it should be.

KCJ

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Lent Day 30 – The Cross Does Interfere

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Insights on From the Grave: A 40-Day Lent Devotional by A.W. Tozer

by Karyn Custer-Jankowski – Director of Children’s Ministries / Valpo FUMC

A.W. Tozer begins today’s devotion with this quote; “Things have come to a pretty pass when religion interferes with our private lives.” Can you imagine a person making such a statement??!!!

I want to say, “HEY BUDDY! If your religion, your faith, is NOT interfering with your private life, then YOU KNOW WHAT? You’re doing it WRONG!”

Faith is not always easy. Jesus said to us in Matthew 10: 34-36 that He did not come to bring peace to the earth but a sword, meaning, He knew that following Him would be difficult. There would be painful divisions between families and friends. As Christ followers, we would each be asked to bear this cross.

Having said this though, I personally believe my faith DOES make this life and it’s trials easier to bear. It’s simple for me – I KNOW that God loves me unconditionally and has my back. I know that whatever comes along, I can handle because God comes alongside me in ALL things; good and bad. He will never forsake me.

So, the cost for following Jesus may be high but it brings eternal life at the end. So go ahead Jesus – INTERFERE in this life! Shake things up! I’ll do my best, with Your help, to follow where You lead.

KCJ

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Lent Day 24 – Crucified with Christ

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Insights on From the Grave: A 40-Day Lent Devotional by A.W. Tozer

by Karyn Custer-Jankowski – Director of Children’s Ministries / Valpo FUMC

As soon as I read the title today I thought this seems to be the definition of “Born Again Christian” – and this is what Tozer seems to be expressing in this reading.

Tozer is referring to Paul’s thoughts to the Galatians where he says that he is no longer himself. Paul has given himself, ego and all, to Christ through His crucifixion and states that Christ now lives in him. Paul continues saying that although he remains in his own body, he lives by faith in Jesus who gave His life for him.

Tozer finds it remarkable how Paul completely ‘owns’ this love OF, and faith IN Jesus Christ. He completely and unashamedly says that “I” have given up myself for Him who has saved me.

This is something we do not easily do today – to completely ‘OWN’ our Christian faith and put it out there for all to see. We tend to be a bit more quiet about it all.

What about those Christians who call themselves ‘Born Again’? This is a group we would hear from, who would shout from the mountaintops, “I am a follower of Christ, He is my Lord and Savior”.

Perfect examples would be many of the players on the Philadelphia Eagles football team after they won the Superbowl a few Sundays ago. SO MANY of the players thanked God and Jesus Christ, their Lord and Savior for their win saying, “To God goes all the glory!” They REALLY put themselves “out there’, knowing there would probably be some backlash, some eye rolling, some disdain…These are true disciples of Christ and definitely the ‘Pauls’ of today!

Isn’t this what Jesus calls EACH of us to do? Can I answer the call? Can YOU?

KCJ

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Lent Day 18 – True Cultivation

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Insights on From the Grave: A 40-Day Lent Devotional by A.W. Tozer

by Karyn Custer-Jankowski – Director of Children’s Ministries / Valpo FUMC

CULTIVATION implies PROCESS. Something slow and steady. Something for which hard work is made worthy.

Hmmmmm….. doesn’t sound like something anyone would want to do in these days and times! Everything is SO SPEEDY, SO FAST! Which is exactly the author’s point in this reading!

Tozer is stating the obvious that nowadays, if it isn’t fast, flashy, peppy, and attention-getting, we don’t want it! But, cultivating a relationship with God isn’t ANY of those things! Tozer tells us that he can’t know what God will do on a worldwide scale to change this drive-through mentality of Christianity, BUT he can tell us that by working to become more holy, more Godly in nature, and by looking to the Bible in faithfulness, trust, obedience and humility, as individuals, with time and process, we will grow in our faith and in our relationship with God.

KCJ

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Lent Day 12 – Our Enemy Contentment

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Insights on From the Grave: A 40-Day Lent Devotional by A.W. Tozer

by Karyn Custer-Jankowski – Director of Children’s Ministries/Valpo FUMC

Our devotion today speaks to contentment being our enemy OR complacency, especially in spiritual and holy matters!

As humans, we can never be DONE growing and maturing because we are organic beings with an ever present ability to learn, grow, mature, and change. The same can be said for being a Christian and having a personal relationship with God. One can never be fully THERE – DONE – FINISHED – in growing this relationship. How foolish one would be to think this was the case!

I was recently watching a show on T.V. and a man was saying to a long suffering woman, “I hope that you find happiness soon and that your suffering comes to an end.” The woman, who is very religious, said that if she had to choose between suffering or not, she would choose suffering because it is then that she spends more time in prayer and meditation with God, and she is comforted by Him.

I’m sure we’ve heard this many times in our lives, how when we suffer we look more intently to God our Father versus when times are good. We may pray daily and thank God for all of our blessings but it is in times of need where we dive into our faith and relate to Him on a deeper, more intent level.

In life it is good to be content with that which we already have, to not always be wanting more and more… but in our spiritual lives, we should never be content – we should want more and more as it relates to our relationship with our God.

KCJ

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Lent Day 6 – Be Holy!

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Insights on From the Grave: A 40-Day Lent Devotional by A.W. Tozer

by Karyn Custer-Jankowski – Director of Children’s Ministries/Valpo FUMC

“A Holy Roller!!” Have you ever been called a “Holy Roller’??

I think because I work in a church and I have faith in God, people use this ‘moniker’ for me. In fact, I’ve heard family members call me this in the past. But I wonder, am I holy?

Our reading today speaks very clearly to the point that we should, as Christians, be holy because it is important to God! Peter reminds us that we should “be holy because God is holy.”

OK then, what does it mean to be holy in “life and conversation”? According to the dictionary, holy means this: ‘dedicated or consecrated to God or a religious purpose; sacred.’ So it’s not just about moral behavior and thoughts. Holiness is MORE; a relationship and dedication to God that comes out in your behavior and conversation.

It sounds to me like being holy is a choice – which makes sense because God gave us the ability to make choices. But it also seems that being holy is not a half measure, as in I will do THIS in a holy way, but I’m going to say THAT in a way that is not so holy. It’s brings to mind one of those wonderful ‘GOD’ billboards that I’ve seen along the highways; “Love Thy Neighbor”, that was not a suggestion – God.

So, am I holy? What choices am I making day in and day out – NO! – MINUTE in and MINUTE out – that determine my ‘holiness’. Am I in relationship with God in a way that makes me more aware of my choices from minute to minute? If I am taking care to have quiet reflection time; reading my Bible and praying and therefore growing in a relationship with God, well then my words and actions would reflect that! I would be more holy. Seems to me, this is what God wants.

KCJ