Daily Lent Devotions from Church Street UMC

Wednesday, March 3

By Dr. Felix Line, March 12, 1980

Faith With Works

Read: James 2:26

…Faith without works is dead.”

The Christian religion makes many demands upon one who accepts it. The first step in becoming a Christian is to have faith. This concept emphasized by Paul is discussed at length in his various letters which make up a large portion of the New Testament.

There is a small book of only four chapters which I believe strikes a balance between faith and works. I am referring to the book of James about which there has been and still is controversy.  Martin Luther wished to exclude the book from the canon because of the appearance of an apparent contradiction of Paul’s teaching on justification by faith.

It seems to me that James is expressing the same concept that Paul is saying, namely, that when one is a Christian and attempting to do the will of God the natural and normal sequence of that faith is “good works.”

Over the centuries Christianity has been talked about, argued, debated and has been encrusted with observances, confessions, rituals and prayers. The writer of James gets down to the essentials by stating that the Christian faith makes a difference in the way a person lives regardless of the rituals and observances in which he participates.


Help us to live by what the writer of James says:

  “Be doers of the word and not hearers only.” 1:22

  What does it profit my brethren if a man says he has faith but has not works?” 2:14

  Show me your faith apart from works and I by my works will show you my faith.” 2:18

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Daily Lent Devotions from Church Street UMC

Tuesday, March 2

By Rev. William H. Balch, March 15, 1979

The Call Worth Answering

Read: Luke 14:16-24

The teachings of our Lord are very real in our present day. I would like to share a parable that is written in response to the one found in Luke’s writings.

The telephone rings and John answers. Could he come for dinner, the caller asks, and John started to think. No, he could not come tonight since he was thinking about a new visitation program for the church. After hanging up the phone, he returned to the details.

The telephone rings, Tom answers. Dinner, tonight, — no I’ve just bought a new home and we’ve got a good deal to work on around the house.

Another call, Jean answers. She really cannot make the dinner since they are having company. When she hangs up, she calls The Browns to invite them to play bridge.

The calls continue but they all seem to be busy, happy, good people who just cannot make the dinner.

But what do you do with a meal you’ve prepared for those you care about? You call others – the man who lives in one room of a downtown rooming house; the girl whose life has been crowded with wild dreams from her drug use days; the woman with three fatherless children; the student who feels hopeless . . . other persons we all can name. And the dinner was a great celebration of life, for someone cared.

God invites all, but few of us respond. We may be about the good works of the world and fail to hear Him.


Help us, O God, to listen for your call. Strengthen us to respond and to join in the celebration you bring to all of life. In Christ we pray. Amen.

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Daily Lent Devotions from Church Street UMC

Monday, March 1

By Mrs. Gladys Phillips, March 12, 1978


Read Matthew 6:9-13; 6:7-8, Mark 1:35, Luke 18:1; 6:12, Matthew 7:7-8; 7:11; 6:6

Dr. Frank Laubach called prayer “The mightiest force in the world,” yet it is said to be the most neglected practice among Christians. One has but to study the life of Jesus to learn what importance He placed on prayer. It was a constant practice in His life, and He commanded His followers to pray. He taught His disciples that prayer was to be the means by which they were to release the resources and energies of God. Pentecost was an awesome example of prayer power.

Bishop Cushman asks, “What does all this mean if not that Jesus taught, and Pentecost illuminated, His message that prayer is and has always been the greatest need of the church and of the world?”

The framers of our Constitution solved a serious problem after pausing to ask God’s direction. In World War II massive prayer brought a miracle from God that saved the troops at Dunkirk.

All of us have had prayers answered individually, and recently God sent a miracle of healing in my own life in response to a small prayer group uniting in earnest intercession for me and prayers of others.

Prayer is not only a need for us each day, it is also a means of service available to everyone – the well, the sick, the lonely, the shut-ins, the elderly, the younger. One of our church vows is to pray for our church. It is a duty and a privilege for every member.

With prayer so great a need, why do people neglect to pray?


Gracious Lord, Thank you for the privilege of prayer. Help Christians everywhere not to neglect it. Amen. 

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Daily Lent Devotions from Church Street UMC

Sunday, February 28, Morning

By Grace Parkhill, February 27, 1980

Today — As You Make It

Read John 10:10b

“…I came that they may have life and have it more abundantly.”

   “Every morning lean thine arms awhile

Upon the window sill of heaven

And gaze upon thy Lord,

Then, with the vision in thy heart,

Turn strong to meet the day.”

(author unknown, but a favorite poem of Mimi Murphy)

I read a newspaper article the other day which commented on the first thoughts of the morning as setting the tone for the day. Several persons had given their first thoughts on awakening which ran the gamut of unlovely thoughts to very lovely ones; and so was their day.

I have found that as each day begins if I, (1) open myself to the presence of God; (2) use my awakening thoughts as one of thanksgiving; (3) and then wait for His Spirit, that my day is beautiful because I will it so. And then I can go forth with a good spirit and with power to serve, to fight wrong and to love. The morning dawns bright even though the sun may not shine because I have the feeling of being alive and of belonging.

Each day can be powerful as we find ourselves in tune with the Master Force, doing His Will and His Work. Our day depends on us.


Dear Lord, your great prophet, Isaiah, has said “They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run, and not be weary, and they shall walk, and not faint.” We want this for your children today; help us to learn to open our hearts and wait for you each new day; and give us strength to meet the challenges that come with each new day. Amen.

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Daily Lent Devotions from Church Street UMC

Saturday, February 27

By Gene Flinter, April 2, 2017

The Companion

Read: John 14:15-17 NIV 

 If you love me, keep my commands. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever—the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.”

Our world is in turmoil. However, with the assistance of Christ and the Holy Spirit in opening our hearts and minds, we may visualize a healed planet.

Find a quiet place, sit or stand, take some deep breaths and then perform the following visualization:

Visualize our church and its staff and members in an embracing silver light and then filter in a golden light. Hold for a minute or so… Expand the same sequence to the residents of our state, country and world (continent by continent)… Then, embrace our planet in the silver/golden light with its oceans, forests, jungles and deserts. Include the sea and mammal life that also inhabits the earth.


Come Holy Spirit, kindle our hearts and minds with a heavenly fire, so that we may open them to renew the face and health of our world. Inspire us to avoid anger and judgment to all persons that we may encounter. Instead, let us embrace them with love and kindness. With Jesus, the hierarchy of angels and the Father and Mother of the world, we request your blessings throughout our lives. Amen. 

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Daily Lent Devotions from Church Street UMC

Friday, February 26

By Rev. Frank M. “Bob” Bostick, April 6, 1979

Preparation Through Giving?

Read: Romans 12:1-2

      “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God.”

When a friend saw me eating only a salad for lunch, she asked, “It isn’t Lent yet, is it?” “No! It isn’t.” (The date was January 18) “Then why aren’t you eating more?” “Not because I’m not hungry for sure, but because I must lose 7 pounds before March.” Wonder why we associate Lent with less than normal!

During Lent, we prepare ourselves for the celebration of God’s sacrifice of Jesus; we make ready our minds, our practices, our life styles to be more fitting to accept such a gift of salvation. But, “giving-up-something-for-Lent” is really absurd if we live in a state of desire for the day after Easter so we can begin to abuse ourselves again.

Many of our Lenten practices are Pharisaical: We keep the law but allow the intention of the law to be missed. It’s like a child being nice just before Christmas so a lot of goodies will be under the tree or in the stocking, but on the day after Christmas becoming sassy and obstinate once again.

No!  A proper preparation for Good Friday and Easter is not in playing games with giving up candy, or alcohol, or bad habits for only a short time – and wishing time would rapidly pass. It is only as we become new persons, striving to serve God on a permanent basis that Easter morning will present its fullest glory. No sham – no games – only true justice, deep and abiding loyalty, and genuine humbleness are the desires of God for His people.

May our mental, spiritual, and behavioral preparation yield new life!


Oh God, help us seriously seek, prepare with perseverance, and thus with the direction of your Spirit awaken to new life. May the resurrection faith be spread abroad in the world of turmoil through the committed efforts of thy people. Amen.

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Daily Lent Devotions from Church Street UMC

Thursday, February 25

By Dr. Allison R. Ensor, April 7, 1977

Young Goodman Brown

Read: Romans 12:21

      “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”

One of my favorite nineteenth-century short stories is Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “Young Goodman Brown.” Set in or near Salem, Massachusetts about 1692, it is a story of a naïve young man who journeys into the forest for what he believes will be a one-time-only encounter with evil, after which he intends to cling to the skirts of his wife (“aptly named” Faith) and follow her to heaven.  Things do not, however, work out as planned: Brown meets a Satanic figure in the forest who guides him to a “wild witch meeting” attended – or so Brown believes – by all the good people of the community, even the minister and his own wife. As a result, Brown’s faith in mankind is lost; he comes to look upon everyone in his village as a hypocrite in league with the devil, and he is never happy again.

I believe that it was Brown’s own involvement in evil which led him to think that everyone else was as guilty as he, and that as Hawthorne says elsewhere, “Such loss of faith is ever one of the saddest results of sin.” Brown was mistaken to have believed that he was the first of his family ever to do anything evil, but he was equally mistaken to think that, as Satan tells his assembled worshippers, “Evil is the nature of mankind.” I take it that Hawthorne’s point is that we should recognize the evil that exists around us but having recognized it we should not become obsessed with it or overcome by it. It is an inevitable part of an imperfect world, but it need not ruin our lives or make us unduly pessimistic about our fellow mortals.


Father, help us to resist the temptation to give way to despair when we encounter evil or when we find ourselves and others failing to measure up to the best that we might be. Help us to know that the world has not really been given to the devil but that it is still under your control and that there is much good left in it. Amen.

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Daily Lent Devotions from Church Street UMC

Wednesday, February 24

By Mrs. June Ferguson, March 4, 1977

The Privilege of Prayer

Read: Matthew 7:7-8

      “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.”

Has it ever occurred to you when we kneel in our place of prayer that we have been given the privilege of being used of God to change the lives of men and nations? God has literally made available to us a vast reservoir of power, wisdom, and grace beyond words if only we are willing to believe in Him.

God said to Jeremiah, “Call unto me, and I will answer thee and show thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.”

Prayer brings us to the starting point of the great discovery of God in our personal life. Prayer does not bring God down to us but brings us near to God. When our soul draws near to God in prayer, the ground beneath our feet becomes holy ground.

Our heavenly Father waits to bestow upon us the fullness of His blessings. It is our privilege to drink at the fountain of infinite love. God is ready and willing to hear the sincere prayer of the humblest of His children. Even the angels of Heaven love to bow before God and love to be near him. It is our privilege to walk in the light of His Spirit and enjoy the companionship of His presence.


Our gracious heavenly Father, I thank you for the privilege of prayer. Thank you for your Prayer Promises in Your word. Thank you for my strength and my Salvation. Give me more love, understanding, and wisdom and help me to be more Christ-like. In the precious name of Jesus. Amen. 

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Daily Lent Devotions from Church Street UMC

Tuesday, February 23

By Jim Lees, March 19, 2017

Everyday Temptations

Read: Psalm 46:10

He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;
    I will be exalted among the nations,
    I will be exalted in the earth.”

Lent is a moment in our calendar each year, set aside by persons in our distant past. They were reaching out to God, no doubt seeking help, to find a way to remind us of the magnitude of the gift we all received in the sacrifice of Jesus. This 40-day time was and is an exciting solution now and through the ages. A period when we can really prepare for the celebration of Christ’s resurrection, a time to spread the news. Those who first set aside the time for Lent were right in their desire and in their choice. Now it is our time.

This 40-day period of Lent has been modified from time to time. Recommended fasting on special days, of making Sundays not count during this period, of recalling our baptism, of calling to mind the gift so freely given. It is a truly joyful time to share with our brothers and sisters in Christ. We now realize we are speaking with God when we pray. We realize we can call out to Him. He is listening to us. We are in his presence. God cares for you and me. In this very special time of Lent, we can reach out and be thrilled by being in God’s presence.


Dear Lord, how wonderful to know you and be in your care. To feel your touch in everything around me. For the gift of life, the beauty of this day, the love of my family, and our church. Above all, thank you for your Son. Amen.

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Daily Lent Devotions from Church Street UMC

Monday, February 22

By Mrs. Mildred Weeks, March 15, 1978 

Everyday Temptations

Read: Matthew 16:1

      “The Pharisees also with the Sadducees came, and tempting desired him that he would shew them a sign from heaven.”

When I think of Lent, I think of Jesus’ forty days in the wilderness, and the dramatic confrontation of Jesus by the devil.

In the past, I have tended to think that this single episode in Jesus’ life was His one great temptation. But this year, as I searched the records of the Gospels for a Lenten meditation, the above verse caught my attention, and as I thought about it, I had a different perspective. Now, I realize that this pattern was repeated over and over during the years of His ministry that followed.

The encounter with the Pharisees and the Sadducees was one of many daily encounters which could be called Everyday Temptations. Jesus was challenged by His family, His friends, His enemies, and by sincere followers of His way. Even His own feelings of heavy sorrow had to be faced in the Garden of Gethsemane.

Temptation may come to us dramatically in times of crisis in our lives, but surely it comes to us daily as it did to Jesus. Are we responding to our life situations in a manner worthy of a follower of Christ?


O God, during this Lenten Season, we pray for new understanding of the way we, as followers of Christ, should order our lives. Guide us through our daily encounters with our families, our friends, and all individuals who touch our lives. Amen.

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