First Sunday in Lent
March 1, 2009
Genesis 9:8-17; Psalm 25:1-10; 1 Peter 3:18-22; Mark 1:9-15
I normally don’t have a theme or series for these weekly devotionals. The theme for the next several weeks, during the season of Lent is Cross Training. It was inspired by a sign I saw as Pam and I were taking students home last year. The sign read, “Lent is Spring Training for Christians.” If it already hasn’t happened, it soon will. Baseball players will be making their way to Florida and Arizona for Spring Training. Why spring training? They have to get their bodies back in shape for a full season of baseball. It’s been almost five months for most players since they last played, so they take the month of March to condition their bodies to play baseball.
If training is needed for our physcial bodies, how much more is it needed for our spiritual souls. Paul writes:
24 Don’t you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win! 25 All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize. 26 So I run with purpose in every step. I am not just shadowboxing. 27 I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified.
Training is important and so for the weeks of Lent, we will take a look at training our spiritual lives to run the race that Jesus has called us to.
I’ll be expanding these thoughts for Sunday morning’s message as we prepare to take communion. Several weeks ago, we studied Noah and we discovered that Noah was a righteous man. He was the only one found righteous. God commanded Noah to build a boat with his three sons. The boat was 450 feet long, 150 feet high and 75 feet wide. That’s a big boat! Especially considering that there were only four builders. When the boat was finished, they gathered the animals God sent them and put them in the ark. Then God released the boundaries that were set in place at creation. The flood was literally an uncreation. God destroyed everything except what was safe in the ark. While it rained for 40 days and nights, the actual time they spent on the boat with the animals was a little over a year. Can you imagine being in a big barn and taking care of all those animals for a year with only eight people? Finally the floods receded and Noah and his family emerged out of the ark.
God made a covenant with Noah that he would never destroy the earth like that again and place a rainbow in the sky to seal that covenant. David writes:
1 O Lord, I give my life to you.
2 I trust in you, my God!
Do not let me be disgraced,
or let my enemies rejoice in my defeat.
3 No one who trusts in you will ever be disgraced,
but disgrace comes to those who try to deceive others.
4 Show me the right path, O Lord;
point out the road for me to follow.
5 Lead me by your truth and teach me,
for you are the God who saves me.
All day long I put my hope in you.
6 Remember, O Lord, your compassion and unfailing love,
which you have shown from long ages past.
7 Do not remember the rebellious sins of my youth.
Remember me in the light of your unfailing love,
for you are merciful, O Lord.
8 The Lord is good and does what is right;
he shows the proper path to those who go astray.
9 He leads the humble in doing right,
teaching them his way.
10 The Lord leads with unfailing love and faithfulness
all who keep his covenant and obey his demands.
This is the thought that I want to leave with you this morning. As we begin our journey to the cross, we remember that God leads those who obey his commands and keep his commands with faithfulness. One of the ways that we do this is through communion. Our fellowship will be receiving communion this Sunday and it is a great reminder that we are to love God with all of our heart, mind, soul, and strength.