Pause for Thought

 

 6th March         Lent 1                 Luke 4 v. 1- 13                                        

Then Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, where for forty days He was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and when they had ended, He was hungry. The devil said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.” But Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone’ ” Then the devil led Him up to a high place and showed Him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. “I will give You authority over all these kingdoms and all their glory,” he said. “For it has been relinquished to me, and I can give it to anyone I wish.  So if You worship me, it will all be Yours.” But Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve Him only.’ ” Then the devil led Him to Jerusalem and set Him on the pinnacle of the temple. “If You are the Son of God,” he said, “throw Yourself down from here. For it is written: ‘He will command His angels concerning You to guard You carefully; and they will lift You up in their hands, so that You will not strike Your foot against a stone’ ”But Jesus answered, “It also says, ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test’ ”When the devil had finished every temptation, he left Him until an opportune time.

According to Luke's Gospel, Jesus went straight from His Baptism into the desert to be with God and to prepare for His future ministry on earth.  After 40 days of fasting and prayer, He was tempted in three ways  -   to use His powers to satisfy His own hunger: to use the standards of the world to make life easier for Himself: to gain followers using sensationalism rather than showing what God was like by living a life of self-giving love.  These three temptations of Jesus make it appear to be a single event.  Read the last verse again, though, and you will see that Jesus was tempted throughout His life as we are.  He understands!

What things are tempting you at the moment? Choose one that really worries you and concentrate on conquering that during Lent.  You will need God's help through prayer.                         

 

13th March            Lent 2                                                                           Luke 13 v. 31 – end                         

Some Pharisees came to Jesus and told Him, “Leave this place and get away, because Herod wants to kill you.” But Jesus replied, “Go tell that fox, ‘Look, I will keep driving out demons and healing people today and tomorrow, and on the third day I will reach my goal.’ Nevertheless, I must keep going today and tomorrow and the next day, for it is not admissible for a prophet to perish outside of Jerusalem. O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those sent to her, how often I have longed to gather your children together as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were unwilling! Look, your house is left to you desolate. And I tell you that you will not see me again until you say, ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.’”

Herod, a tyrannical ruler ( where have we heard about one of those recently?!) was threatening to have Jesus put to death.  Jesus was not to be deterred.  He expressed His love for Jerusalem and its people with deep emotion, and longed to help them.  He had to carry out His Ministry in His own way regardless of Herod's threats.  The way of Christ was to be the way of the Cross for that alone would save the world.

Think of all for whom you care and feel concern at the present time, particularly all Ukrainians throughout the world..... God loves them as deeply as Jesus loved the people of Jerusalem.  Join with millions of others across the world to pray for all whose homes, families and lives are threatened in some way.

How will God help?  We don't know, but we know He will.  Trust Him.

 

20th March                Lent 3                                                                     Luke 13 v. 1-9                                                                          At that time some of those present told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. To this He replied, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered this fate? No, I tell you. But unless you repent, you too will all perish. Or those eighteen who were killed when the tower of Siloam collapsed on them: Do you think that they were more sinful than all the others living in Jerusalem? No, I tell you. But unless you repent, you too will all perish.” Then Jesus told this parable: “A man had a fig tree that was planted in his vineyard. He went to look for fruit on it, but did not find any. So he said to the keeper of the vineyard, ‘Look, for the past three years I have come to search for fruit on this fig tree and haven’t found any. Therefore cut it down! Why should it use up the soil?’ ‘Sir,’ the man replied, ‘leave it alone again this year, until I dig around it and fertilize it. If it bears fruit next year, fine. But if not, you can cut it down.’ ”

Jesus was giving a warning.  Punishment for God's people is not the action of a vengeful God, but the result of sin.  It is the turning away from God which brings its own trouble.  Jesus calls each one of us to repent – to turn our backs on what we have done wrong.  It must be a conscious action of turning back towards God, being sorry and accepting His forgiveness

For what do I need to repent?

 

27th March                  Mothering Sunday                                                     Luke 2 v. 33 – 35

The Child’s father and mother were amazed at what was spoken about Him. Then Simeon blessed them and said to His mother Mary: “Behold, this Child is appointed to cause the rise and fall of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed— and a sword will pierce your soul as well.”

Mary and Joseph had taken baby Jesus to be presented at the Temple in Jerusalem according to the Jewish law.  They were surprised to be greeted by Simeon, who recognised Jesus as the one for whom he had been waiting – the one who would eventually save the world.  At the end of his words, though, he said to Mary -” a sword will pierce your own heart.” We shall hear of that on Good Friday, as we read of Mary watching her son die nailed to a cross.

 Today is Mothering Sunday.  Being a mother is a joy and a privilege  -  but no-one said it is always easy!   Let us pray today for all mothers.  Let us pray also for grandmothers, foster mothers, godmothers and for all who play a part in the care of children.                                                                                                                        

 

 




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