Daily Lent Devotions from Church Street UMC

Sunday, March 21, Evening

By Ann Dooley Parsons, April 12, 1979

He Will Take Your Guilt Away

Read Isaiah 53:4-6

In Isaiah 53, we see a striking description of the suffering Christ. But doesn’t this also depict humanity in its sin? Look at the words — sorrows, griefs, transgressions, iniquities and lastly: “All we like sheep have gone astray.”

This adds up to one fact: each of us has a flaw, a blemish or several. Think of yourself or those you know and love – your friends, your relatives or your immediate family. There is something imperfect about each one of us. We aren’t willing to do our share, we lose our tempers, we’re selfish, we gossip, we’re too easy or not easy enough, we’re greedy. We too have fallen short – we too have turned to our own ways – we too have gone astray.

These flaws we have create guilt feelings and because of guilt we lose our peace of mind. Somehow the joy gets rendered out of life because of these flaws.

Is there any hope? Isaiah 53 tells us there is all the hope in the world. Truly we have gone astray, but remember that there is the Lamb of God who has not. Jesus Christ has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows. He Will Take Away Our Guilt.

Once again read Isaiah 53 and notice the plural. ALL have gone astray and ALL have been forgiven. But don’t be misled by the plural. Each one of us must believe, each one of us must accept to receive the blessed healing.

In the words of a beautiful and familiar hymn …


Come ye disconsolate, where’er ye languish, Come to the mercy seat, fervently kneel; Here bring your wounded hearts, here tell your anguish, Earth has no sorrow that Heaven cannot heal. Amen.

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Daily Lent Devotions from Church Street UMC

Sunday, March 21, Morning

By Betty Craig, April 14, 1976

O Death, Where is Thy Sting?

Read 1 Corinthians 15:51-58

Many individuals make tremendous impacts upon our lives. Often it is not until their death that we, through reminiscence, begin to fully realize what they meant to us and others through the types of lives they lived — their beliefs, dedication and commitments.

During the years 1957-62, Robert H. Hamill served as pastor of Wesley Foundation at the University of Wisconsin. We knew Bob, and his beliefs, dedication and commitment affected our lives. From the University of Wisconsin, Bob went on to serve as Dean of the Chapel of Boston University School of Theology. His writing, preaching and teaching affected many individuals. His death in February 1975 caused us to reflect upon the impact of his life. Although Bob surely will be missed by many, he will, more importantly, be remembered with joy by many. He was a man of compassion and vision; he lived his Christian beliefs with zeal and intensity. With thanksgiving he will be remembered in death as in life, as Bob himself said, “the demand of death is that I turn from the past to the future, and decide all over again what my life is all about.  Death intensifies my living and sends me back to all that is basic and elemental, and I find it good, very good.” And Bob’s life was very, very good.

The days of Lent cause us to focus on another very, very good life — that of Jesus Christ — a son given for the sins of the world. A man who neither asked for, nor needed, any worldly goods; one who believed in turning from the past to the future; one who knew what his life was all about; a life shared with others.

What a tribute to have said of one’s life: “It was very, very good!”.


We are thankful for your Son and for the many individuals who affect our lives daily. Open our eyes that we may see them as you do. Open our lives that we may turn from the past to the future and thereby determine what our lives are all about. Amen and Amen.

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Daily Lent Devotions from Church Street UMC

Saturday, March 20

By Mrs. Mamie Lee Finger, Jr., February 19, 1978

Life Within You and Me

Read: John 1-17

“In him was life, and the life was the light of men. …He came to bear witness to the light,… that all might believe. …And the Word became flesh…full of grace and truth. …From his fullness have we all received, grace upon grace.”

With the coming of the movie, I Never Promised You a Rose Garden, I went back to Hannah Greene’s original written words. Again, I was moved by the reflective and deep thoughts of this young out-patient from the hospital:

“Over the text of John Stainer’s ‘Seven-Fold Amen’, she looked out into the congregation on

Sunday and wondered if they ever thanked God for the light in their minds, for friends, for cold

and pain responsive to the laws of nature, for enough depth of insight into these laws to have

expectation, again for friends, for the days and nights that follow one another in stately rhythm,

for the sparks that fly upward, for friends . . .

Did they know how beautiful and enviable their lives were? She realized more and more that

her few spare hour pastimes provided too little in which to test and exercise her fragile ‘Yes’

to a newborn reality.”

I began to wonder – do we actually test, or exercise, our sometimes fragile YES to reality, which can be newborn for us each day?






Thank you, God, for the gifts of our life – for the light in our minds – for friends, for the expectations of living. May we be transmitters of life, agents of Your activity, facilitators of living fully. With Faith and in hope, may we break open and see the world of opportunity that is ours as we ourselves are open. Then, through Grace and Truth and Light, may we lay claim to our greatest potential, Christ within us. Amen.

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Daily Lent Devotions from Church Street UMC

Friday, March 19

By Rev. Eldon A. Moore, February, 1981

There is Life!

Read: Romans 15:13

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

It will be our hope for a better tomorrow that will keep us going today. Our faith is one of hope. In the New Testament world, God in Christ gave hope to a world which had no hope, and in today’s world we still have this same hope.

Ours is a faith that tells us no man need despair, for God is good and merciful, and active in the affairs of each of us. We don’t always have to accept situations as they are. We can help create circumstances and not merely adjust to them. Creativity is a God-given capacity. Man creates his own hopes, but God fulfills them. God is working his purposes in each of us. He will change us, discipline us, save us from futility. His steadfast love endures. Such an attitude of hope will not fail us. It is like a true compass to guide us.

Not too many days ago, while I was raking long fallen leaves in our backyard on a cold dismal day, and pondering the troubles of the world-what should appear from under the decaying leaves, but a tender green fern to remind me that no one should give in to despair or hopelessness.

There is life! There is light! There is hope! Yea, wait for the Lord!


Dear God, help us to find new meaning in our faith as we put our trust and our hope in Thee. We praise Thee that Lent is a time that renews the vision of our life in Christ, our hope, and our joy. Amen.    

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Daily Lent Devotions from Church Street UMC

Thursday, March 18

By Carl M. Bennett, March 17, 1979

The Loss of Power

Read: 1 Chronicles 29:12

On a recent winter morning, I drove to the campus of one of our Holston Conference Colleges where I am Chairman of the Board of Trustees. In mid-afternoon of the day before my visit, the entire area experienced a cold rain which was accompanied by freezing wind. The combination of these two forces of nature caused trees and their limbs to be covered with thick layers of ice.

When I reached the campus, the weight of the ice had already caused many tree limbs to break and fall to the ground. Trees that had not broken were leaning toward the ground. An Executive Committee Meeting was just getting ready to start in the library when all of the lights in the building went out. A tree limb broke at that moment, fell across the electric wires leading to the library and pulled the wires loose from the source of the electric power.

The power for our lives comes from God. The strength for our bodies comes from God. So long as we hold God’s hand we can receive the power to do great things, bring honor to our families and our associates and ourselves. Riches, whatever we conceive them to be, are possible through God’s powerful hand.

At times, when we have experiences that are difficult, unpleasant and unrewarding, we may feel that everything is against us. At such times we may have doubts not only about ourselves but about our connection with God. We may feel a loss of power.

When these things happen we need only stop and reassure ourselves that nothing can separate us from the love of God. All we need to do is reach out in prayer in order to find that God’s hand, with his strength and power, is always within reach. Then we will know that the connection has not been broken.


Our Heavenly Father, we thank you for the strengths in our lives. We pray that we may never forget that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen.         

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Daily Lent Devotions from Church Street UMC

Wednesday, March 17

By John Scott, February 13, 1978

Jesus is God’s Child

Read: John 14:6-7

Our Church School Class of Fifth Graders recently studied how God reveals Himself in Jesus. The previous Sunday, Lila Boehms had suggested that the children bring a baby picture of themselves and everyone brought one, including the teachers.

The class enjoyed guessing which picture belonged to whom. They noticed how a child often resembled a parent or a brother or sister. We discussed how children also can resemble a parent by facial expressions, gestures and in the way they express themselves. One can tell a lot about a parent from observing their child.

Likewise, we can tell a lot about God by studying about Jesus. Jesus is God’s child – Jesus “takes after” God.

Jesus said:

“I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really knew me, you                     would know my father as well.”


Our Heavenly Father, may your plan for our lives be revealed to us through the early life of your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen.

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Daily Lent Devotions from Church Street UMC

Tuesday, March 16

By Harvey and Kayla Carruth, April 1, 1979

Have You Hugged Your Kid Today?

Read: Romans 12:9a,10 (The Living Bible)

The popular bumper-sticker whose inscription appears above brings a haunting question to mind. Have you noticed how quickly time passes and before you know it those you love are suddenly “just not around anymore?” The one who used to be the baby is now into soccer and basketball-diapers and baby bottles are things of the past. Our little girl is suddenly eleven and going on eighteen! Family members are located hundreds of miles away. Parents, who never grow old, have joined the ranks of the retired. Even close friends are frequently transferred and move far away.

How often do we fail to express the love we have for family members and friends? Do we just assume that they will know we love them? To be sure, we have only the best of intentions but somehow those important words go unspoken until it is too late.

In John Powell’s book The Secret of Staying in Love, there is an account of a man whose father has just died in his arms.

His mother looked at him and said, “Oh, he was so proud of you. He loved you so much.” As tears streamed down the young man’s face he realized that he wasn’t crying because his father was dead but rather because his father never told him that he was proud of him and that he loved him. The son was just expected to know the great part he played in his father’s life and the great part he occupied in his heart – but the son was never told.

What a waste! Why do we let it happen? How long has it been since we told someone how much we cared about them? Do so today – don’t wait until it is too late.


Dear God, there is a wealth of unexpressed love in the world. Today, help us begin to say those simple but all important words that have for so long gone unspoken. Amen. 

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Daily Lent Devotions from Church Street UMC

Monday, March 15

By Nancy Carmon, March 24, 2019

A Personal Discovery 

Read: Hebrews 4:15-16

Several years ago I participated in a Walk to Emmaus, an intensely personal three-day weekend Christian retreat. Attendees, pilgrims, are challenged to silence, prayer, and contemplation with workshops, small group discussions, great meals, singing, worship, daily communion and finally commitment or “Fourth Day”.

The first event was the challenge of self-denial. Just as Jesus went into the wilderness to contemplate his mission and was met with temptation, we were asked to discover our own personal temptations. Was it pleasures “of the flesh”, personal comforts, eating, drinking? Was it personal goals, life in the world and the sometimes-overwhelming concerns of daily living? Was it power and prestige given by others and society? For me it was the surrender of self-will, letting go of my own desires and plans, and opening myself up to the possibilities of a God-filled life.

Perhaps Lent and practice of “giving something up for Lent” is more about spiritual renewal and prayer than it is about what we plan to give up. Perhaps for me it is a time to revisit my temptations and to re-surrender myself. This Lenten season might be an opportunity for you to contemplate and pray about your temptations, to discover what pulls you from a faith-filled life, to recommit yourself to the vows you said when you joined the church – “to support the church with your prayers, your presence, your gifts, your service, and your witness”…and then to surrender self.


Holy God, Help me to discern your will for my life during these days ahead…to live within your will each day. Forgive my human weakness and my sin. Strengthen me to celebrate Easter with a new heart. In the name of Jesus the Christ, Amen.

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Daily Lent Devotions from Church Street UMC

Sunday, March 14, Evening

By Ruth L. Defriese, April 3, 1976

Fountains of Life

Read Psalm 36:9

“For with thee is the fountain of life, in thy light shall we see light.”

A constant wonder to behold is a fountain with its spontaneous and constant flow of life giving water. The sureness of this ever flowing stream of water brings joy and satisfaction. There are numerous kinds of fountains and each in its own way serves a purpose.

Perhaps one of the most fascinating is the tiny bubbling clear stream to be discovered deep in the rocks and ferns of the mountains. When compared to the impressive multi-lighted high leaping fountains, this tiny bubbling mountain stream might seem insignificant. Yet how like the fountain is God’s plan for man.

Some individuals in their Christian endeavor reach spectacular heights while others might be compared to the tiny mountain stream. Each serves its purpose and each is dependent upon a deep inner source to fulfill its purpose.

Christians too are dependent on an inner source, which is the love of God, to fulfill their purpose in life.


Heavenly Father, give each of us the wisdom, grace and understanding to know that with thee is the fountain of life. May our love be constant and may we serve thee joyfully and fulfill our purpose in life. Amen.

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Daily Lent Devotions from Church Street UMC

Saturday, March 13

By Dona McConnell, Director, Beacon of Hope, April 19, 2019

Under the Bridge

Read: Luke 19:10

“For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”

On my way to work at Beacon of Hope I pass under the bridge overpass where many homeless gather. People are hunched on the side of the street with blankets wrapped against the bitter cold.  There are people of all ages and races, males and females, young adults and children. Extreme poverty does not discriminate. Sometimes it’s especially hard to bear, like a recent day when I spied a young boy, maybe 12 or 13, wearing socks but no shoes.

I hear all the arguments. “They should get a job.” “They want to be homeless.” “They are all on drugs.” All I know for sure is that no one under the bridge is happy. No one grew up dreaming of this life. No one “prefers” being cold and hungry.

So what can I do? I can’t help everyone, but I can try to love those who are sometimes hard to love. During Lent, as we reflect on Jesus’ life and death, we can reflect also on his lessons of unconditional love. Jesus’ mission on earth was based on inclusion. He loved the poor, the homeless, the lepers, the sinners. No one, not even the thief on the cross beside him, was beyond the reach of His love. As a follower of Jesus, am I not also called to love those whose lives I may not understand?

This Lenten season, I’ve decided to pray every day for someone under the bridge. I’ll pray for them to escape the cycle of pain they’re in, regardless of the reason, and to get another chance at a life of blessing. I’ll try to remember that we all deserve equal measures of mercy as children of God.


God of love, grant us the ability to love others, especially those who are lost in the world. Help us not to turn away from their pain, but to follow Jesus’ teachings and love them.

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