Thursday, April 2
Psalm 32 Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity, I said “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord.” And you forgave the guilt of my sin. (v.5 NIV)
Repentance is key to restoring my heart to unite with Jesus. The beauty of admitting my sins to Christ and seeking forgiveness is worth every painful word! Just being relieved of the guilt is like having a boulder roll off my back. Yet, often I let pride and selfishness get in the way of humility and contriteness. It isn’t fun to present our sins—it’s hard to speak them out loud—and yet the peace that passes all understanding comes crashing through once we lay our burdens down. The Lord knows our hearts and is faithful to be there and forgive us—every single time.
Exodus 7:25—8:19; Psalms 131, 132, 133; 2 Corinthians 3:7-18; Mark 10:17-31
Friday, April 3
Psalm 22 Our children will also serve him. Future generations will hear about the wonders of the Lord. His righteous acts will be told to those not yet born. They will hear about everything he has done. (vv.30-31 NLT)
One big prayer that my wife prays in the morning before the sun rises, and I agree and pray throughout the day, is the opportunity to infuse the Lord and His greatness into our conversations, texts, and interactions with our sons. We are massively thankful for everything the Lord has done for us and continue to hold hope that the legacy of the Lord will be a priority to our children and our children’s children.
Exodus 9:13-35; 2 Corinthians 4:1-12; Mark 10:32-45
Saturday, April 4
Psalm 144 Praise be to the Lord my Rock, who trains my hands for war, and my fingers for battle. (v.1 NIV)
He has told us that there will be hard times. He has also warned us about the enemy and the fact that spiritual warfare is a reality in a Christians life. But, as King David expresses in this verse, He trains us to fight and prepares us in our hardships to be stronger and stronger. His word and the Trinity teach us and enable us to withstand the attacks of the enemy. Train means to teach, to equip!
I am much stronger and wiser having been on my knees in difficult and fearful times than if I hadn’t been through the struggles. It’s sometimes hard to be thankful for them until you go through the next difficulty. I saw a saying: “They thought Noah was crazy, ’till it started raining…”
Lord, help me to embrace the difficulties and the warfare with unwavering faith and discernment.
Exodus 10:21—11:18; Psalm 137; 2 Corinthians 4:13-18; Mark 10:46-52
Palm Sunday, April 5
Zechariah 9:9-12 Lo, your king comes to you; triumphant and victorious is he, humble and riding on an ass, on a colt the foal of an ass. (v.9b RSV)
I can spend an awful lot of time looking for a BIG answer to my BIG problem. Usually I’m looking outside myself, well outside myself and my own routine, for a BIG solution.
It rarely comes. What comes, instead—though I don’t wish to rule out a “big” answer—is something near, something right at hand. Like a phone call or e-mail from an uncommon source, or a chance word from Mary or one of our children, or meeting someone while I’m walking around the track.
The answer comes, but sometimes “humble and riding on an ass, on a colt the foal of an ass.”
Lord, open me up to the answer that’s in front of me.
Psalms 24, 29; 1 Timothy 6:12-16; Luke 19:41-48
Monday, April 6
Mark 11:12-25 “Truly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and cast 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.” (v.23)
I’ve never had an easy time with “the faith that moves mountains.” Yet here, Christ gives away the store to the believer who “does not doubt in his heart.”
So, while I’m usually skeptical, the Lord promises big things to the one who believes with his or her whole heart.
Let’s go with this! The reason I say that, is that on occasion, when I have been given a mustard seed of faith to see beyond the seen, big things have happened! I was converted that way, in 1973. At a woeful period in my life, I decided to take a small but risky step. The consequences were unbelievable, and overwhelmingly good.
Lord, inspire me to take a step of faith today.
Lamentations 1:1-1, 6-12; Psalm 51; 2 Corinthians 1:1-7
Tuesday, April 7
Lamentations 1:17-22 “Behold, O Lord, for I am in distress, my soul is in tumult, my heart is wrung within me, because I have been very rebellious.” (v.20a)
I seem to have been taught by experience that there’s a lot more distress out there—I mean, serious distress—than people tend to let on. On any given day, even you and I could probably say to ourselves, “I’m in a complete state.” That feeling is what the author of Lamentations is admitting.
Note that he is admitting it to God. He is opening up to the Lord the true state of his soul, how he really feels.
Therein lies a miracle. I keep too many things to myself! Especially the angry feelings or the inconsolable ones. There is such relief when I open up to another, let alone Another.
Lord, help us not to keep our distress to ourselves.
Psalms 6, 12; 2 Corinthians 1:8-22; Mark 11:27-33
Wednesday, April 8
Psalm 55 Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you. (v.22a)
Jesus invited burdened people to come to him and be refreshed.
And who doesn’t feel burdened, at least sometimes? You can be burdened by worry, by resentment, by “baggage” from the past, by fear originating from the future. Who doesn’t desire to be unburdened?
The psalmist invites us to take the burden we carry and transfer it to God to carry. That’s such a great offer! Though oddly enough, I tend not to take Him up on it. When I think of what He could carry—from me—and how much lighter I’d feel if I didn’t have to carry it myself… I think His offer is good. And I’m determined to take Him up on it.
Lord, help me give my burden to You to carry.
Lamentations 2:1-9; 2 Corinthians 1:23—2:11; Mark 12:1-11
Maundy Thursday, April 9
1 Corinthians 10:14-17, 11:27-32 The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ? (v.16)
Today is a profound day for Christians. It is Maundy Thursday, the day commemorating Christ’s Last Supper before he was betrayed and crucified.
He equated the wine he gave to his disciples with the blood he was going to shed in dying. This is as heavy an equation as has ever been drawn. What he was saying is that our sins and our problems are so great that only his death in our place for those besetting things could ultimately save us from the consequences of them.
It was a decisive moment for the human race, and a decisive act carried out from and upon God. We needed a miracle, urgently, to save us; and we were given one. We really don’t have to live life bound and gagged by our past.
Lord, help us bring together our lostness and Your great action.
Lamentations 2:10-18; Psalm 102; Mark 14:12-25