The Journey to the Cross” Devotional Day 23: “Covenant”

The Riverbank Lent 2011 Devotional Plan
“The Journey to the Cross”
Day 23: Reading – Mark 14:12-26

Focus: Verse 22 And as they were eating, he took bread, and when he had blessed, he brake it, and gave to them, and said, Take ye: this is my body. 23 And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave to them: and they all drank of it. 24 And he said unto them, This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many.

Meditation:
Surface relationships are limiting; lacks depth, knowledge, and understanding and are easily ruffled at the slightest intrusion. Such indeed lack perspective, foresight, insight and most definitely hindsight. Friendships at these levels fizzle out quickly due to lack of depth. Only the deep can reach and call out to the deep.

God’s children must therefore no longer stay at the surface for the ability to comprehend, appreciate and maximize God’s best plans, purposes and intentions as sons and daughters we must go deep, yearn for more than the basic human needs. We must seek and desire to fully understand God’s will and purpose for us (individuals, single, married, divorced, separated etc.), our families (children, siblings, parents), our societies, our cities, our nations and our generation.

In John 6, when Jesus broached the subject of the covenant of his body and blood a significant number of followers, actually disciples left Jesus permanently. Classical examples of platonic relationships without any long lasting viewpoint. I suspect their mind(s) couldn’t wrap itself around this level of depth, who would demand such ‘gory’ instructions they must have reckoned?

Well, the same offer remains for us today on our journey; we must partake in the Lord’s body and blood often in remembrance of Him. A critical ‘next’ step for those yearning for a deeper relationship, a deep devotion, effective discipleship, consecration and fellowship.

Deep? Absolutely, but let’s go, for it beckons for us.

Prayer:
I pray that your mind, your heart and your soul will long for Jesus more than life itself in Jesus Name, Amen

God’s blessings,
Pst Flo

The Journey to the Cross” Devotional Day 21: “Alone”

The Riverbank Lent 2011 Devotional Plan
“The Journey to the Cross”
Day 22: Reading – John 12:20-50

Focus: Verse 24 "Listen carefully: Unless a grain of wheat is buried in the ground, dead to the world, it is never any more than a grain of wheat. But if it is buried, it sprouts and reproduces itself many times over.25 In the same way, anyone who holds on to life just as it is destroys that life. But if you let it go, reckless in your love, you’ll have it forever, real and eternal.

Meditation:
You want to grow, increase, and be fruitful, useful, and effective in God’s house, vineyard and purpose.
Get ready for some ‘alone’ time, Get ready for contradictions, Get ready for pain and Get ready for death.

When you understand that death is a passage way, it loses its stigma and its morbid twist.
Understand that actually all things work together for you and I in accordance to God’s will. When you get ‘buried’ in the ground and you shouldn’t fight it there is a grand design. Some friendships, relationships, associations, interactions, challenges, open issues will naturally fall off when you get ‘buried’. You alone! Scared? Fix your gaze on what happens shortly afterwards; you will sprout and reproduce many times over. It is a great trade off.

Prayer:
Pray for God’s will to be done in your life in Jesus Name, Amen

God’s blessings,
Pst Flo

The Journey to the Cross” Devotional Day 21: “Balance Sheet”

The Riverbank Lent 2011 Devotional Plan
“The Journey to the Cross”
Day 21: Reading – Matthew 25:31-46

Focus: Verse 32 Then all the nations will be arranged before him and he will sort the people out, much as a shepherd sorts out sheep and goats,33 putting sheep to his right and goats to his left. Message Version

Meditation:
Leaders have this uncanny ability to separate or distinguish their human resources, an ability upon which many critical systems e.g. compensation, succession planning, retention strategy, reward structures rely upon to maintain the healthy balance required within an enterprise, organization or institution. A flawless, equitable, unbiased HR system that truly reflects the value and worth of each employee however only resides with our Lord Jesus Christ isn’t that comforting?

On our journey therefore; a weekly, monthly, quarterly and yearly assessment is in order. Everyone must perform a self-evaluation before the final ‘life-end review’. Remember that great intentions will not count; genuine ignorance won’t hold up; youth, inexperience, lack of adequate training or background is inadmissible. It’s pretty ‘cut-and-dry’, it’s “show-me” time! What have you done for the homeless, hungry, thirsty, estranged, naked, sick, and imprisoned (physically, emotionally, financially etc.) folks around you? Look at your life’s balance sheet and I pray it’s not ‘red’ when it really counts ? Perform this review now.

It is ‘what did you do’ and not ‘what will you do’?

Prayer:
I pray that your eyes will open to see the needs of humanity around you and loving respond in Jesus Name, Amen

God’s blessings,
Pst Flo

The Journey to the Cross” Devotional Day 20: “Profit”

The Riverbank Lent 2011 Devotional Plan
“The Journey to the Cross”
Day 20: Reading – Matthew 25:14-30

Focus: Verse 24 And he also that had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art a hard man, reaping where thou didst not sow, and gathering where thou didst not scatter; 25 and I was afraid, and went away and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, thou hast thine own. 26 But his lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I did not scatter;

Meditation:

High Risk, High Reward. ‘Playing it safe’ is wickedness and evil and as a strategy will backfire and lead to great loss. Custodians of God’s immeasurable grace and gifts must make a profit, posturing and playing ‘not-to-lose’ is wickedness and slothfulness. A selfish proposition, a great wickedness!

Consider a few examples; if someone has a great voice and intentionally decides to stay oblivious, hide that voice, remain silent while others could greatly benefit from one’s singing and there has been an open invitation, an interest and yet the ‘gifted one’ decides otherwise that is indeed wickedness and slothfulness. This assumes all other factors remain constant.

If one is articulate with numbers or perhaps dexterous and capable of many great things, yet decides to hoard and hide those great talents and chooses to remain in obscurity (gifts and not publicity) despite the many opportunities to improve others and invariably themselves then no doubt that is also wickedness and slothfulness.

It somewhat sounds mean and callous but one must understand the natural order as designed by God: In Genesis, God’s mandate for all remains – be fruitful, replenish, dominate, increase, expand, and bless others. Anything contrary is ungodly and mustn’t be embraced. Increase is the supernatural order and a conscious attempt to stifle growth, destroy fruitfulness is wickedness, slothfulness and indeed contrary to God’s intention. You lose what you refuse to nurture and increase. Plain and Simple.

Prayer:
I pray that you will discover, develop and deploy all the God given talents and abilities in you for God’s glory in Jesus Name, Amen

God’s blessings,

Pst Flo

The Journey to the Cross” Devotional Day 18: “Fools”

The Riverbank Lent 2011 Devotional Plan
“The Journey to the Cross”
Day 18: Reading – Matthew 25:1-13

Focus: Verse 3, For the foolish, when they took their lamps, took no oil with them:

Meditation:

Heaven, Hell, Bridegroom, Cross are not ancient relics for history or casual conversations. These are relevant terms for everyday use. Our mandate as Christians is clear- add flavor to the earth, illuminate the earth, be an example, be real, make disciples, live, bless and live with eternal consequences in your daily actions.

Do you know that these foolish virgins were pretty identical to the wise virgins? They all had the same teachers, training,environment and exposure yet they differed from the wise virgins in one critical area called preparation. In verse 3; we read “…they took no oil with them”. The foolish virgins must have assumed the bridegroom was a few miles away. So they had a short term solution, myopic view point, shallow thinkers. However before you condemn the foolish virgins, consider your current philosophy.

  • Are you living only for yourself and all that’s yours?
  • Is heaven in your front view or rear view mirror?
  • Have you become fixated with just the now?

Honestly, Jesus Christ is coming back and He is coming for the elect or the bride, the church. Christians who have accepted his sacrificial gift on the cross, Christians who continue to profess the faith, Christians who live out their convictions (in accordance to the gospel of Jesus Christ) daily. Jesus is coming back again.

Prayer:
I pray that you will prepare for the future now. Accept Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior and start living with a long term strategy. It pays to go with Jesus Christ.

God’s blessings,
Pst Flo

The Journey to the Cross” Devotional Day 16

The Riverbank Lent 2011 Devotional Plan
“The Journey to the Cross”
Day 16: Reading – Matthew 24:15-35

Focus: Verse32 – 33
“Now from the fig tree learn her parable: when her branch is now become tender, and putteth forth its leaves, ye know that the summer is nigh; 33 even so ye also, when ye see all these things, know ye that he is nigh, even at the doors”.

Meditation:
If one cannot decipher signs, one is certain to remain in captive to those who can. If one is unable to understand seasons one remains ‘out-of-sync’, irrelevant and useless. The ability and capability to read signs, understand seasons is paramount. Leaders with this ability are visionaries but don’t buy the lie that this is an exclusive gift.

You and I must learn to decipher seasons; can you imagine dressing up for summer in winter’s classic fall collections? I don’t care how great you might look, you are out of order. Or imagine the dilemma of dressing up in gym wear for a formal dinner? Absurd, you bet! Ask any husband who forgets a wedding anniversary for more clarification on this subject. Well, let’s go back to verse 34 again; doesn’t it seem like Jesus Christ expects us to be alert and aware of the seasons of life we are in and especially when He returns for the elect? So why all the worry and fear about Jesus’ return ? You must learn to decipher seasons.

Prayer:
Will you be ready when the Lord returns? I pray so, I really do.

God’s blessings,
Pst Flo

The Journey to the Cross” Devotional Day 15

The Riverbank Lent 2011 Devotional Plan
“The Journey to the Cross”
Day 15: Reading – Mark 13:1-13

Focus: Verse 5: “5 And Jesus began to say unto them, Take heed that no man lead you astray.”

Meditation:
Be on high alert for your faith! Guard it, protect it, Fight for it, and develop it. Do you know that healthy grown-ups demanding to be spoon fed constantly are abnormal? Even though it is natural to yearn for warmth, care, love and pampering whenever it is available but to demand such always is overbearing, irresponsible and dangerous especially in the affairs of our faith. A total dependence on just what was preached, taught and spoken without a corresponding personal study, research is a recipe for spiritual disaster.

We must be responsible and accountable for our faith akin to athletes today who are solely responsible for their diet. No excuses! Abdicating these responsibilities to others is immature and un-scriptural. We must take heed, be aware, remain vigilant and on high alert about your faith such that no one (including yourself) leads you astray.

We have a responsibility to grow in our faith daily, the onus is on us to carry our cross daily, read our bible daily, pray every day, show mercy and compassion, care for the sick, feed the hungry, cloth the homeless and much more. We have a great example, read Acts 17:11; the Berean Jews were eager and studious! What a great example for us to follow.

Prayer:
I pray that each one of us will become more studious and more responsible for our faith regimen today more than ever before in Jesus Name, Amen.

God’s blessings,
Pst Flo
Follow: @Pst Flo

The Journey to the Cross” Devotional Day 11

The Riverbank Lent 2011 Devotional Plan
“The Journey to the Cross”
Day 11: Reading – Matthew 22:34-46

34 But the Pharisees, when they heard that he had put the Sadducees to silence, gathered themselves together. 35 And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question, trying him: 36 Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law? 37 And he said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second like unto it is this, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. 40 On these two commandments the whole law hangeth, and the prophets.

41 Now while the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them a question, 42 saying, What think ye of the Christ? whose son is he? They say unto him, The son of David. 43 He saith unto them, How then doth David in the Spirit call him Lord, saying, 44 The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, Till I put thine enemies underneath thy feet? 45 If David then calleth him Lord, how is he his son? 46 And no one was able to answer him a word, neither durst any man from that day forth ask him any more questions.

Meditation:
Wisdom is critical on the Journey to the Cross. We need wisdom for life, safety and protection. Read verse 35 again, “…one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question, trying him”. In the Message Version, it reads, “posing a question they hoped would show him up”. Isn’t that so true today? These questions are so prevalent at the different life’s intersections around us, our offices, schools, colleges, recreational centers, gyms, playgrounds, hospitals and our houses. These questions are intended to trap, embarrass, derail and destroy, but for Godly wisdom! Godly wisdom within us is designed to protect and prevent grave mishaps. Proverbs 2: 6 discloses the source of this wisdom and subsequent verses afterwards highlight the value or benefit of wisdom.

Here are some more reasons to encourage your pursuit of Wisdom:

• Discretion will preserve you after wisdom has found residency in your soul.
• Understanding will keep you and deliver you from negative and bad company.
• Deliver from evil intentions, perversity of the wicked, dubious and devious characters.
• Wisdom will deliver you from the immoral woman or man, from the seductress who flatters with her words.

Prayer:
Pray that God’s wisdom will permeate your heart and will be readily available when difficult questions are posed with the evil intentions to ‘bury’, ‘smear’, ‘destroy’ you in Jesus Name, Amen.

God’s blessings.

“The Journey to the Cross” Devotional Day 8

The Riverbank Lent 2011 Devotional Plan
“The Journey to the Cross”

Day 8: Reading – Matthew 22: 1 – 14

1 And Jesus answered and spake again in parables unto them, saying, 2 The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a certain king, who made a marriage feast for his son, 3 and sent forth his servants to call them that were bidden to the marriage feast: and they would not come. 4 Again he sent forth other servants, saying, Tell them that are bidden, Behold, I have made ready my dinner; my oxen and my fatlings are killed, and all things are ready: come to the marriage feast. 5 But they made light of it, and went their ways, one to his own farm, another to his merchandise; 6 and the rest laid hold on his servants, and treated them shamefully, and killed them. 7 But the king was wroth; and he sent his armies, and destroyed those murderers, and burned their city. 8 Then saith he to his servants, The wedding is ready, but they that were bidden were not worthy. 9 Go ye therefore unto the partings of the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage feast. 10 And those servants went out into the highways, and gathered together all as many as they found, both bad and good: and the wedding was filled with guests. 11 But when the king came in to behold the guests, he saw there a man who had not on a wedding-garment: 12 and he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding-garment? And he was speechless. 13 Then the king said to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and cast him out into the outer darkness; there shall be the weeping and the gnashing of teeth. 14 For many are called, but few chosen.

Meditation:
The provision of our heavenly father is one of God’s many attributes and proof of God’s love. If you have attended a feast, a royal feast you can begin to appreciate the detail, the ambiance, the completeness of such an event. The food, the drinks, the music, the ‘take-away’ packs, the ambiance, the venue, the people, the MC, the DJ, the decorations and much more. God’s provision for us his children is complete. Every conceivable need adequately accounted and met. Our simple task then is to receive, accept and enjoy God’s provision.

So why is accepting God’s gift so difficult ? Do you know that making excuses is comparable to making light of God’s provision (verse 5) ? Even ‘fool-proof’ excuses do not measure up. Revelation 3, verse 20 says, “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hears my voice, and opens the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.”

Prayer:
I pray that you will open your ‘door’, and let God into your life, your business, your family, your career, your home…When God enters, life begins laced with great and true fellowship.

Questions, feedback and comments are welcome.

God’s unending blessings,
Pst Flo
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The Journey to the Cross” Devotional Day 7

The Riverbank Lent 2011 Devotional Plan
“The Journey to the Cross”

Day 7: Reading – Mark 12: 1 – 12

1 And he began to speak unto them in parables. A man planted a vineyard, and set a hedge about it, and digged a pit for the winepress, and built a tower, and let it out to husbandmen, and went into another country. 2 And at the season he sent to the husbandmen a servant, that he might receive from the husbandmen of the fruits of the vineyard. 3 And they took him, and beat him, and sent him away empty. 4 And again he sent unto them another servant; and him they wounded in the head, and handled shamefully. 5 And he sent another; and him they killed: and many others; beating some, and killing some. 6 He had yet one, a beloved son: he sent him last unto them, saying, They will reverence my son. 7 But those husbandmen said among themselves, This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and the inheritance shall be ours. 8 And they took him, and killed him, and cast him forth out of the vineyard. 9 What therefore will the lord of the vineyard do? he will come and destroy the husbandmen, and will give the vineyard unto others. 10 Have ye not read even this scripture: The stone which the builders rejected, The same was made the head of the corner; 11 This was from the Lord, And it is marvelous in our eyes? 12 And they sought to lay hold on him; and they feared the multitude; for they perceived that he spake the parable against them: and they left him, and went away.

Meditation:
God provides! God does provide. God really provides for his children. Our image of God is somewhat distorted by natural fathers who do not measure up on many levels. Do you know that the best of the greatest fathers doesn’t even measure up to God’s smallest acts on your worst day? Our God is so good, too good, amazing, awesome and just beyond comprehension.

In our reading today, we read about God, who owns the vineyard; an immaculate well prepared vineyard with all needs imaginable and real accounted for, quite similar to our lives isn’t it? A fact totally lost on the husbandman, well God kept sending people (resources) to the husbandman, first a servant, then another servant and eventually God’s beloved son. Our focus today is on God’s benevolence! His provision and rationale for blessing us is beyond me, but I accept it, I embrace it and I receive it. You should do the same, daily. It’s a better life option than the converse.

Prayer:
Pray that you will not trivialize God’s grace, mercy, love, goodness and kindness. Accept it, Embrace it and enjoy it.

Catch Up:
If you have missed any of last week’s devotional, catch up now: http://relationshipsdomatter.wordpress.com/

Devotional Plan – Overview

  • Lent has always been a time to turn our attention to all that has been done for us on the cross in Christ. This lavish gift can be meditated on year after year, and still would leave us to wonder in amazement. Through this reading plan created by The Journey Church for the ‘You Version’ reading plan, we will walk through the gospel accounts in chronological order, tracing the steps of Jesus during his last week of his earthly ministry. This plan is 47 days in length, but the seven Sundays are days of rest according to tradition.

The Riverbank Adaptation:

  • Each Sunday during lent, we will perform a weekly review of key points.
  • Every Friday during lent, will be a day of fasting for grace, wisdom and power for the Christian Journey. Fasting guideline will be provided.

I am extremely glad for this opportunity and excited about what lies ahead in our respective lives. If you have any questions or comments, please do not hesitate to contact me via email pastor or devotional

Your best days are ahead of you in Jesus Name, Amen.

Pst Flo
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