Lent Devotion Day 6

Source: International Christian Churches : "LENT: With ONE  Voice"

British author Samuel Johnson observed, ‘People need to be reminded more often than they need to be instructed.’ Our text today reminds us of two truths - our identity is not found in what we achieve or acquire, but in our relationship with God. In a performance-driven world we can forget this. Ultimately, we are not bankers or teachers or lawyers or care givers or students or pastors or whatever – we are the ‘beloved sons and daughters of God’. Two - our true worth is not in what others think of us, but in God’s estimation. Before Jesus had done anything of note - before the amazing miracles, teaching and the cross – God affirmed, ‘With you I am well pleased.’ Other voices internal and external will link our identity and self-worth to our performance; may we hear God’s voice above all others today.

Mark 1:9-15 The Message (MSG)
9-11 At this time, Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. The moment he came out of the water, he saw the sky split open and God’s Spirit, looking like a dove, come down on him. Along with the Spirit, a voice: “You are my Son, chosen and marked by my love, pride of my life.”
God’s Kingdom Is Here
12-13 At once, this same Spirit pushed Jesus out into the wild. For forty wilderness days and nights he was tested by Satan. Wild animals were his companions, and angels took care of him.
14-15 After John was arrested, Jesus went to Galilee preaching the Message of God: “Time’s up! God’s kingdom is here. Change your life and believe the Message.”

1 Peter 3:18-22 The Message (MSG)
13-18 If with heart and soul you’re doing good, do you think you can be stopped? Even if you suffer for it, you’re still better off. Don’t give the opposition a second thought. Through thick and thin, keep your hearts at attention, in adoration before Christ, your Master. Be ready to speak up and tell anyone who asks why you’re living the way you are, and always with the utmost courtesy. Keep a clear conscience before God so that when people throw mud at you, none of it will stick. They’ll end up realizing that they’re the ones who need a bath. It’s better to suffer for doing good, if that’s what God wants, than to be punished for doing bad. That’s what Christ did definitively: suffered because of others’ sins, the Righteous One for the unrighteous ones. He went through it all—was put to death and then made alive—to bring us to God.
19-22 He went and proclaimed God’s salvation to earlier generations who ended up in the prison of judgment because they wouldn’t listen. You know, even though God waited patiently all the days that Noah built his ship, only a few were saved then, eight to be exact—saved from the water by the water. The waters of baptism do that for you, not by washing away dirt from your skin but by presenting you through Jesus’ resurrection before God with a clear conscience. Jesus has the last word on everything and everyone, from angels to armies. He’s standing right alongside God, and what he says goes.

• If God needed to verbalize his love to his Son, and his Son needed to hear it, we also need to speak and hear words of love.
• Who do you need to tell, text or write to today to affirm your love for them?
• Pull aside for a few minutes today, and listen to some music that speaks of God’s love for us, e.g., David Crowder’s ‘How He Loves’. Then silently rest in God’s empowering love for you.

God, may we hear and speak, give and receive your love. Amen.