Category Archives: Lent

The Front Row

You Did It
lent-challenge-day-30

The Front Row

Scripture

But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb, and as she wept she stooped to look into the tomb. And she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had lain, one at the head and one at the feet. They said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping?" She said to them, "They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him." Having said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing, but she did not know that it was Jesus.  Jesus said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?" Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, "Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away." Jesus said to her, "Mary." She turned and said to him in Aramaic, "Rabboni!" (which means Teacher). Jesus said to her, "Do not cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brothers and say to them, 'I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.'" Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, "I have seen the Lord"—and that he had said these things to her.—John 20:11-18

Devotional

Of all the historic moments in our nation's history, name one you wish you could have seen and experienced live and from the front row.

As a history buff, I wish I could have sit front row at Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream Speech," given on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. Yet the music enthusiast in me would have loved to hear Jimmy Hendrix playing live at Woodstock. And of course, the sports addict in me would have enjoyed sitting center ice at the "Miracle on Ice" standoff between the USA and the USSR in 1980.

But I think Mary Magdalene had the best front-row seat of all time. She had a front seat to the most significant moment in redemptive history—the resurrection of Jesus Christ and humanity's victory over sin. Could there be a more significant moment in all history?

It's Mary Magdalene, a little known woman, who gets to witness the epic defeat of evil in salvation's knock-out punch. A battle that lasted thousands of years, beginning in the Garden. While the story to spectators appears to culminate on a cross, this was not the end of the story. While they defeated every other man who hung on a cross, this was not the case for Christ—not our God.

For Jesus, the mockery, beatings, judgment, sentencing, cross, and even the grave were the path to ultimate victory. What looked to be inevitable defeat was just delayed gratification for Jesus—he had one more overtime period to play. And in this period, sudden death golden goal victory. And then he reveals his resurrected body to an unlikely quiet woman, Mary Magdalene. It was just the call of her name that gets her attention – "Mary." I find this to be just like Jesus. He was always calling out by name the most unlikely of people through unusual means.

Yet this is you and me. We are little known people who are in desperate need of salvation from our sin and selfishness. We, just like Mary, are the most unlikely of candidates who are defeated by sin but find victory in the resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Savior of men.

Insert yourself into the story. And insert your name into the most incredible and loving comment spoken by a resurrected Savior, “Jesus calls to you—“____________________.” 

This week we are focusing on the discipline of ministry.

Your Call To Act (C.T.A.) today is:

  • Pray: for 5-minutes, thank God for his victory over your sin.
  • Share: in the comments below, how these last few weeks of traveling with Jesus has affected you and share this with a friend or family member today.

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Real Courage

Day 29
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Real Courage

Scripture

Later, Joseph of Arimathea asked Pilate for the body of Jesus. Now Joseph was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly because he feared the Jewish leaders. With Pilate’s permission, he came and took the body away. He was accompanied by Nicodemus, the man who earlier had visited Jesus at night. Nicodemus brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds. Taking Jesus’ body, the two of them wrapped it, with the spices, in strips of linen. This was in accordance with Jewish burial customs. At the place where Jesus was crucified, there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb, in which no one had ever been laid. Because it was the Jewish day of Preparation and since the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there.—John 19:38-42

We may be so familiar with the account of Jesus’ death and resurrection, that we may miss the significance of his burial. But burial wasn’t guaranteed for criminals who were crucified. In fact, the Romans often provided no burial at all to those they crucified. To add to their shameful death, they would leave them on the cross at the mercy of scavenger animals like vultures. But in some cases, they would relent and release them to family members to be buried. Add to this that Jews at this time, would not bury the executed in a traditional family tomb. The most likely resting place was a common grave with other criminals. Imagine if this had been the fate of Jesus.

It might have been except for the courageous act of Joseph and Nicodemus. Both, who ironically, had come to follow Jesus in secret. Even in the midst of fear, Joseph takes a significant risk. Mark 15:42-43 describes Joseph’s actions this way:

“It was Preparation Day (that is, the day before the Sabbath). So as evening approached, Joseph of Arimathea, a prominent member of the Council, who was himself waiting for the kingdom of God, went boldly to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body.”

Joseph was a prominent member of the Sanhedrin, the leadership council who had just convicted Jesus and sentenced him to death. Luke tells us that Joseph was one of the council members who made it clear that he did not agree with the decision. Think of this: Jesus’ family members didn’t go to ask for his body, but Joseph, a member of the council who sent Jesus to his death, did. That is courage.

Think of how far Joseph had come. From someone who must have been quite skeptical of Jesus at first, given Joseph’s role as a Jewish leader, to someone who takes great risk to ensure Jesus has a proper burial. A burial not in a mass grave, but in a tomb—a tomb that would soon be empty and reveal a resurrected Lord. Today take a risk and share Christ with someone else. They may be skeptical at first, but you have no idea how their life may change and the role they will have in Christian history.

This week we are focusing on the discipline of ministry.

Your Call To Act (C.T.A.) today is:

  • Pray: for 5-minutes, for one person you know who needs Christ.
  • Tell: us in the comments below this person's name.
  • Call: and tell this person that you prayed for him/her today.

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Real Masculine Strength

Day 28
lent-challenge-day-28

Real Masculine Strength

Scripture

Two other men, both criminals, were also led out with him to be executed. When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified him there, along with the criminals — one on his right, the other on his left. Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.—Luke 23:32-34

How does Jesus have the composure and presence to make a statement as he does at this moment? “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” I have often reflected how much inner strength is required to endure this moment of cruelty; much less still have the composure to make a declaration that is completely others-focused. Now that is a real man and real strength.

I believe many men are stumped by the best definition of "masculine strength." As people who are genetically designed to be men, I still think we are stumped by what it means to be a man. Of course, the answer is not easy to find because strong godly male role models are in short supply. Because of this, we often default to turning to a fallen world of inadequate role models to assess the distinctive qualities and features of true masculine strength. And as we all know, our culture poorly defines masculine power, and I know this because I have embraced wrong beliefs on this subject that have led me to poor behavior.

I believe we see a profound example of masculine strength in these twelve words of Jesus. I think Jesus’ posture here represents a glimpse of real power; masculine and spiritual. Strength like no other. Not strength that conquers people through authority, manipulation, or domination, but rather a paradoxical force, one that appears weak yet is superhuman to those with spiritual sight. A strength that makes us uncomfortable because our flesh wants to reject it. It is a strength we rarely witness in ourselves or others.

In Christ, I see the greatest strength at this moment, and this moment he is the model. Strength is to possess the inner power to submit to God’s sovereign plan while living through injustice while remaining focused on the eternal destiny of others. While we may not be able to understand the complexity of this moment, this is Christ’s definition of strength.

As you look for ministry opportunities today, seek to live out spiritual, not physical strength. Find ways to go low before others, think of others first, being mindful of God, and less of yourself. Strength is found in using your gifts in the most humble of ways.

This week we are focusing on the discipline of ministry.

Your Call To Act (C.T.A.) today is:

  • Pray: for 5-minutes, and confess your need to look strong and to man-up before others
  • Tell: us in the comments below, one you need to do to serve and go low before others.

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That Next Big Step

Day 27
lent-challenge-day-27

That Next Big Step

Scripture

Again the high priest asked him, "Are you the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed One?" "I am," said Jesus. "And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven." The high priest tore his clothes. "Why do we need any more witnesses?" he asked. "You have heard the blasphemy. What do you think?" They all condemned him as worthy of death.—Mark 14:61-64

This is a moment that reveals exactly who Jesus was. While for a long time, he concealed this, he did this only because he knew that the revelation of deity would lead to his death. His confession is powerful if heard in light of Daniel 7:13-14.

In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all nations and peoples of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed.—Daniel 7:13-14.

Jesus is using the scriptures from this prophet of old, as evidence for who he is. The response is so blasphemous to the high priest that he tears his clothes. But the declaration and proclamation of Jesus are finally made. In light of Peter's denial in yesterday's devotional, we see a remarkable contrast. Jesus is a man of conviction. Sold out. Willing to die. Ready to sacrifice. His time has come. The torture of the cross could be on his mind, but even more, the truth must win out. It was not time to back down or hide; it was time to step out and to finish the final act of his life. He was not a martyr—he willingly died. He gave his life because he valued ours.

Today take a risk. Make a decision for Christ, one with consequence. Maybe consider living out the ministry he has called you to do. Stop putting off the calling and ministry for later, do it today. Maybe schedule a meeting to talk with someone about how they took the first step. Build a website and promote it. Gather a prayer team. Write a business plan. Invest some money. Take a small step that you cannot retrieve. And go all-in, living with conviction.

This week we are focusing on the discipline of ministry.

Your Call To Act (C.T.A.) today is:

  • Pray: for 5-minutes, about your need for godly conviction.
  • Tell: us in the comments below, one thing you need to do today to live out your calling and ministry.

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The Cost of Conviction

Day 26
lent-challenge-day-26

The Cost of Conviction

Scripture

Then they seized him and led him away, bringing him into the high priest's house, and Peter was following at a distance. And when they had kindled a fire in the middle of the courtyard and sat down together, Peter sat down among them. Then a servant girl, seeing him as he sat in the light and looking closely at him, said, “This man also was with him.” But he denied it, saying, “Woman, I do not know him.” And a little later someone else saw him and said, “You also are one of them.” But Peter said, “Man, I am not.” And after an interval of about an hour still another insisted, saying, “Certainly this man also was with him, for he too is a Galilean.” But Peter said, “Man, I do not know what you are talking about.” And immediately, while he was still speaking, the rooster crowed. And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the saying of the Lord, how he had said to him, “Before the rooster crows today, you will deny me three times.” And he went out and wept bitterly.—Luke 22:54-62

Today’s scripture draws on an abrupt contrast between two declarations of Peter. Peter’s earlier profession, a few chapters back, was rather bold. His declaration was, “You are the Christ, the son of God.” But here amidst the mild pressure of a servant girl he changes his conviction, “Woman, I do not know him.” It’s pretty amazing how within a short period of time his profession changes.

Some men might think how could he do this? And why the abrupt change?

When a profession has a relational cost we always evaluate it a little differently. While we may be willing to confess Christ before followers in the Christian community, it’s professing it in front of non-believers that puts us at risk. It’s here we evaluate. When the cost of the proclamation may put us at risk of being ostracized, passed over, fired, or in this case put to death, the real value of the declaration is honestly assessed. The greater the value, the more willing the profession, and the more willing the risk. In the case of Christ, he was willing to risk his life. But for Peter, he was still in the process of evaluating. He was in, but just not all-in. For him, Christ was not yet worth his very life. But, this one short-coming is not the entire story. There was more to come from this man who Jesus called “the rock” and his conviction would grow leaps and bound in the days to come.

I think we too are just like Peter—men of conviction in the making. We at times lack the confidence to boldly proclaim our faith, and thus at times fail to take a stand. But if we lack confidence we should seek it and ask for it. God wants us to grow in confidence in Him daily. While we may deny today, tomorrow is another day to take another step of faith.

This week we are focusing on the discipline of ministry.

Your Call To Act (C.T.A.) today is:

  • Pray: for 5-minutes, and God to grow your confidence to do his ministry.
  • Tell: us below, in the comments something you are willing to proudly profess to others about Christ.
  • Share: this with one other person you encounter today.

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A Right Response

Day 25
lent-challenge-day-25

A Right Response

Scripture

While he was still speaking, there came a crowd, and the man called Judas, one of the twelve, was leading them. He drew near to Jesus to kiss him, but Jesus said to him, “Judas, would you betray the Son of Man with a kiss?” And when those who were around him saw what would follow, they said, “Lord, shall we strike with the sword?” And one of them struck the servant of the high priest and cut off his right ear. But Jesus said, “No more of this!” And he touched his ear and healed him.—Luke 22:47-51

There are two striking interactions in this scripture.

The first is the interaction of Judas. Judas intends to betray Jesus with a customary greeting—a kiss. And Jesus confronts Judas headlong and essentially calls out publicly what he has tried to conceal privately. This betrayal had to sting, even though Jesus knew it was coming. And if you have ever been betrayed by someone you've trusted, then you know how this feels. If not, imagine investing selflessly in someone for a couple of years and then being betrayed for personal gain. The pain feels like you just got the emotional wind knocked out of you.

The other interaction is the violent act of Peter, who cuts off the ear of the high priest’s servant. I think that most of us, if we are honest, find this action protective and thus admirable. While, in this case, we witness a loyal disciple who is willing to fight for his master; this act of aggression is not what was needed. And thus, Jesus responds not with hostility but with compassion, love, and healing. One again, Jesus performs an unexpected miracle in a rather tense moment to change the mood of a rather challenging moment.

We all experience days like this. Days filled with a mixture of emotions that demand a response. Sometimes our feelings carry us away, and we end up acting vengefully toward unsuspecting people. The pain that is buried deep inside tends to be directed at the wrong people the wrong way. Jesus shows us here that while the challenge presents itself, it is not impossible to hurdle. We need to keep our eyes fixed on the prize, the mission, and the end goal. We need to realize that along the way; we will encounter obstacles that will elicit some emotion. But don’t let your feelings detract you from the mission.

This week we are focusing on the discipline of accountability.

Your Call To Act (C.T.A.) today is:

  • Pray: for 5-minutes, and ask forgiveness for wrong responses to your emotions and ask for God's guidance.
  • Invite: a man for guidance on how to handle these emotional moments.
  • Share: below one man who you need to ask for advice in the area of your emotions.

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Watch & Pray

Day 24
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Watch & Pray

Scripture

And they went to a place called Gethsemane. And he said to his disciples, "Sit here while I pray." And he took with him Peter and James and John, and began to be greatly distressed and troubled. And he said to them, "My soul is very sorrowful, even to death. Remain here and watch." And going a little farther, he fell on the ground and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him. And he said, "Abba, Father, all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will." And he came and found them sleeping, and he said to Peter, "Simon, are you asleep? Could you not watch one hour? Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak."—Mark 14:32-38

Devotional

These are the last moments of Jesus' earthly freedom before being handed over to the governing officials. It was the beginning of the end of the human mission of Jesus. They had just finished eating the supper, and now the weight of the world lay on Jesus' shoulders.

A cloud of final temptations overshadowed this moment. The betrayal of Judas was approaching as he was now missing from the group. Peter is headed into a foretold denial. An angry mob would soon approach to hunt him down. Disciples would soon scatter upon his arrest. And Jesus bore the weight of knowing all these burdens, including the anticipated physical suffering.

The only place to go would be to God in prayer—which is what Jesus does. He spends the next moments agonizing in prayer. He also gave Peter clear instructions on how to meet with the next moments by emploring him to intercessory prayer, and then Jesus modeled it for him. Yet Jesus soon returns to find them sleeping.

Fellas we need brothers we can count on in life. Those who can correct us and call us on the carpet in moments we need it. Men who can see ahead of us and the approaching temptations that will befall us. And often, these men are there; we don't willingly listen to them or seek accountability and wisdom from them.

If you want to turn a corner in your life, then invite men to speak truth to you. The truth you may need to hear that you may not want to hear. Invite it. Ask for it. Seek it out. Don't wait too long or temptation may befall you.

This week we are focusing on the discipline of accountability.

Your Call To Act (C.T.A.) today is:

  • Pray: for 5-minutes, that you will have the courage to invite accountability into your life.
  • Invite: a man to hold you accountable in regard to sin, discipline, or a challenge you are facing.
  • Tell: us below what you are seeking accountability for.

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Melded

Day 23
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Melded

Scripture

After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed: “Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you. For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him. Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do. And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.”—John 17:1-5

Devotional

There is an old 20th-century word for blending together, its the word "meld." It means to mix, to blend, to combine two into one. This word is probably the combination of two better-known words; melting and welding.

When Jesus said, "Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent," he was declaring that how we know God is through the life of himself. It's the bold proclamation he has kept hidden, that he now declares openly in prayer. You see to know Christ is to know God, and thus to know eternal life. Jesus' life is melded to God's—they function in a relationship and have since the beginning of time. To have our hearts melded with Christ means that we too have access to a relationship with God and have an intimate knowledge of this-—eternal life. We only know, therefore, through the knowing and the melding.

Today spend some time knowing God. There are three ways you can do this. First, by reading his Word. Second, by talking with him in prayer. Third, by doing both of the previous in community with other men. We have spent a lot of time over the previous 22 days understanding this. But if you are not in an ongoing community with other Christian men, you might be missing out on a powerful ongoing melding experience. Choose daily to seek out Christian brothers through whom you can know Christ, the Father, and eternal life more intimately.

This week we are focusing on the discipline of accountability.

Your Call To Act (C.T.A.) today is:

  • Pray: for 5-minutes, praying that God would make himself known to you through your relationships.
  • Tell: other men in the comments below, why brotherhood is important to you.

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All-in Denial

Day 22
lent-challenge-day-22

All-in Denial

Scripture

And Jesus said to them, “You will all fall away, for it is written, ‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered.’ But after I am raised up, I will go before you to Galilee.” Peter said to him, “Even though they all fall away, I will not.” And Jesus said to him, “Truly, I tell you, this very night, before the rooster crows twice, you will deny me three times.” But he said emphatically, “If I must die with you, I will not deny you.” And they all said the same.—Mark 14:27-31

Devotional

In our Christian walk as men, most of us realize we have a lot in common with Peter. He speaks without fully thinking about what it is he is saying and makes bold, impulsive promises. Peter is a doer, and he likes to jump in headfirst—and I love it. I believe many men can identify with that. When you've tasted the grace, forgiveness, and mercy of Christ you want to jump in headlong.

And yes, Peter made a bold boast here. Yes, Peter followed his heart, and in a moment of emotional strength, he declared he was "all-in" without thinking through the implications. But read on. He wasn't the only guy to do this. They all said they were all-in. They blindly follow Peter as he leads the way. No further thought or discussion,

But yet the voice of accountability is there to offer some commonsensical advice. It's Jesus. With a voice of understanding, he declares, "I say to you that today, even this night, before the rooster crows twice, you will deny Me three times."

We all need the voice of biblical reason. Here Jesus offers it free of charge. But we need it too. Sound biblical counsel that helps us to reason the implications of our decisions. So today, seek out a man who follows God, whose been in your shoes and get wisdom before making that big all-in decision.

This week we are focusing on the discipline of accountability.

Your Call To Act (C.T.A.) today is:

  • Pray: for 5-minutes, about the wisdom you need regarding that life decision you're about to make.
  • Call: a brother today and ask for his wisdom.
  • Tell: other men in the comments below, the kind of wisdom you need. They may just come to your aid.

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A Covenant

Day 21
lent-challenge-day-21

A Covenant

Scripture

And when it was evening, he came with the twelve. And as they were reclining at table and eating, Jesus said, "Truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me, one who is eating with me." They began to be sorrowful and to say to him one after another, "Is it I?" He said to them, "It is one of the twelve, one who is dipping bread into the dish with me. For the Son of Man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been better for that man if he had not been born." And as they were eating, he took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to them, and said, "Take; this is my body." And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, and they all drank of it. And he said to them, "This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many. Truly, I say to you, I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God." And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.—Mark 14:17-26

Devotional

This is a great moment in Christian history. It's an old covenant that is combining with a new covenant. But it's the background of this moment that gives this extraordinary meaning.

While this meal is often referred to as the Last Supper, it was not originally called initially. Instead, Jesus and the disciples made arrangements to celebrate the Passover meal (which was a Jewish dinner that commemorates the Exodus from Egypt).

For those that don't know, this Passover meal commemorated a night in Hebrew history just before being released from years of captivity in Egypt. God commanded that the blood of unblemished lambs was to be spread on the doorposts of homes so that the Angel of Death would see it and pass-over the house, not harming the firstborn males who resided within. This commemorative meal was a celebration of God's salvation in the past and future. While the men thought they were celebrating a past meal, they were celebrating two: the Passover, and Jesus' Last Supper. The Last Supper was a celebration of spiritual freedom from sin. A passing over of death, through the sacrifice of the perfect Lamb of God, who is about to be sacrificed for the sins of all mankind.

This night in history, Jesus appended a meal that was celebrated for 1200 years giving it universal meaning for all followers—it's a new covenant. The covenant that God made with the Hebrews 1200 years prior had rich meaning. But this was only a shadow of the salvation God would provide for all people in all time. And Jesus and his men celebrate this with a simple meal.

Today eat, but as you do remember. Remember Christ and his work and this new covenant—one made with the flesh and blood promise of God, not man. It's a covenant that will never end.

This week we are focusing on the discipline of brotherhood.

Your Call To Act (C.T.A.) today is:

  • Pray: for 5-minutes, and give thanks to God.
  • Eat: and each time you do today, give thanks to God for the new covenant. If you have time, take a Christian brother out for a special lunch today, or this week.

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Prayer’s Power

Day 20
lent-challenge-day-20

Prayer's Power

Scripture

As they passed by in the morning, they saw the fig tree withered away to its roots. And Peter remembered and said to him, "Rabbi, look! The fig tree that you cursed has withered." And Jesus answered them, "Have faith in God. Truly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, 'Be taken up and thrown into the sea,' and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will come to pass, it will be done for him. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses."—Mark 11:20-25

Devotional

A couple of days ago, we discovered that Jesus cursed this little unfruitful tree. But today, we discover why he did it.

It was a lesson in faith, belief, and the power of prayer.

I think most men, most of the time, doubt God will do something we ask of him. We hesitate to ask because we hesitate to believe, and thus nothing happens. I have often wondered if this natural world and the "nature" of physical, material, and natural solutions prevents us from seeing the spiritual reality that surrounds us each day. Jesus has a heightened sense of this spiritual reality and turns this fig tree into a teachable moment for his men. He is imploring his men to look beyond the physical—to see the spiritual in these moments and the ones to come.

We will only see supernatural things if we surround ourselves with people who believe that God will do the supernatural. The natural world we see is only part of our reality. There is a power present to us that can and will move mountains, but we have to acknowledge the spiritual reality and ask with spiritual confidence. One thing that makes this easier is a Christian brother reminding us of this and reinforcing the nature of it.

Today increase your awareness of the spiritual reality that is at work around you. When you see it, say something, and then ask God to do something great. This may come in subtle forms, so keep watch.

This week we are focusing on the discipline of brotherhood.

Your Call To Act (C.T.A.) today is:

  • Pray: for 5-minutes, for increased spiritual awareness.
  • Look: for God and his working today. If you see something come back and say something in the comments below!

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Stand Against

Day 19
lent-challenge-day-19

Stand Against

Scripture

And they came to Jerusalem. And he entered the temple and began to drive out those who sold and those who bought in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who sold pigeons. And he would not allow anyone to carry anything through the temple. And he was teaching them and saying to them, "Is it not written, 'My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations'? But you have made it a den of robbers." And the chief priests and the scribes heard it and were seeking a way to destroy him, for they feared him, because all the crowd was astonished at his teaching. And when evening came they went out of the city.—Mark 11:15-19

Devotional

As Jesus enters the temple, he does not do so with joy and excitement; but rage. It's one of those rare times we see Jesus provoked by injustice. He observes that men are preying on the religious needs of God-fearing men and women and their requirements to bring penance to God. And it's not unbelievers taking advantage of God's people, it's people from their own race and religious beliefs consciously and maliciously preying on the need for sacrifice. They were using a religious practice to pad their pockets. And I bet they concluded that this was fine through years of self-justification. Justifying their actions based on other people's needs, without any consideration of God.

When men stand up for injustice, great things happen. And I think God's man should stand up for injustice. But Jesus could confidently stand up for injustice because his character and heart were pure.

Often men will see moments of injustice and do nothing and say nothing, maybe because we lack confidence or the purity of character and heart. But for men to speak up and act out we must begin with doing some business within ourselves. To build godly confidence, we must be willing to address our issues together as men and brothers and drive out the sin from our own lives first. Before we come hard against others, we must go hard at ourselves and sin that lies hidden within us.

Today go hard against the injustice that lies within you—not others. Take a stand and prevent issues from entering the threshold of your temple. Prevent the justification of your action by taking a stand and addressing sin. And as you have victory, stand against these injustices and sins on behalf of other men who need your help as well.

This week we are focusing on the discipline of brotherhood.

Your Call To Act (C.T.A.) today is:

  • Pray: for 5-minutes, about one sin that has defeated you in the past and that you have also had victory over in your life by God's strength.
  • Share: below, how God has helped you.
  • Extra Credit: if there is a man you need to reach out to for help that has had victory over a sin that you need to come hard against—then reach out to him today.

Share That You Completed Today's Challenge ⚡

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