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Lenten Creation

March 8 Psalm 19 This psalm reminds us that the ancient Israelites might have understood God's teachings about creation (verses 1-6) and law (verses 7-14) as the same. For example, the psalmist calls God "rock' and "redeemer" in verse 14. How does that affect our understanding of God's creation and God's law today? Creator God desires for us to rely on God and live in harmony with creation. This is a perfect message for Lent, a time when we are called to recognize and appreciate our dependence on God. This week, look for God's glory around you. Each day, write down examples of God's glory in your calendar or journal, or snap a photo with your mobile phone and post it to social media such as Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.

March 15 Numbers 21:4-9 We can probably identify with the Israelites in the desert as they faced moments of despair, surrounded by a dangerous wilderness. They don't like the food. They become impatient with God and with Moses. Biting serpents get their attention, and they are encouraged to confront their fears - their impatience and inner despair - by looking at a bronze serpent on a stick to heal their wounds. Trusting God helps them through this difficult time. What healing might come if we trust in God's presence and face our inner fears this Lent? This week, look for an opportunity to help someone going through a difficult time or personal wilderness. How might you encourage them or help them along their journey?

March 22 Jeremiah 31:31-34 "I will write my covenant on their hearts." "I will forgive them." God seeks to bring hope out of despair, even God's own despair over the actions of the people. God is with those who suffer, and the people hearing Jeremiah's prophecy are suffering and in despair. They are exiled and without hope. God's covenant is broken. The people forgot and distanced themselves from God. But God will restore God's people. They will know God in their hearts. This week, when you read a news story of suffering, look for evidence of God's presence - hope, comfort, healing. And keep searching through newspapers, magazines, and on the Internet until you find these stories. Seek to find the moments in life's suffering where God is present. Share these stories with others.

March 29 Mark 11:1-11 Jesus rides a colt into Jerusalem where there are two kinds of crowds to greet him - those cheering "Hosanna!" and those calling for his death. Palm Sunday marks the beginning of Jesus' Passion. His real identity is about to be revealed. He is the Messiah and this is the week life turns to death and to life again. This week, reflect on your Lenten journey and share that story of faith with someone. What has challenged you? What has surprised you? What do you most look forward to in the Easter season?

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