One thing that is helpful for me on my lenten journey is music, and there is some great Lenten music out there.
I have 2 GREAT Lenten albums for you to listen to today!
The first is my favorite. It’s on repeat every Lent!
I purchased it on iTunes.
The album is simply entitle LENT and it’s by the group The Brilliance.
Here is their song Now and at the Hour, and I post a video to their song DUST WE ARE back on Day #2.
The whole album is amazing! I'm not sure why it's not on Spotify but some of their other stuff is. It’s really good!
My other recommendation is by New York Hymns and the album is entitle Songs for Lent. The good news about this album is that you can get it for free on Noise Trade!
You can also listen to it right here! Check it out…
Enjoy your Lent listening!
There are so many good resources out there. Maybe you have a good one you want to share. Tweet it out, #LentJourney
I want to share a couple devotional resources I have used with you today.
The 1st is The Upper Room Daily Reflection. It’s a pretty simple daily reflection and bible resource that you can sign up to receive via email. It’s great and often times they post some really great reflections, which is why i read it.
LIKE the reflection they posted on Sunday entitle Experiencing Desert, really good! Check it out and be encouraged on your Lenten journey.
The second Lenten devotional resource for today can be found on YouVersion. This is a Bible app on your phone and computer but hey often have great devotional plans as well. Here is a link to a list of Lent devotional plans they have. One of these plan is by N.T. Wright, it's entitled Lent For Everyone, definitely worth checking out. And incase you didn't know, NT Wright is a world class biblical scholar and an all around awesome fella, one of my favorites! All these are plans so you can sign up and then do the daily reading. Here is the another plan I ran across that looks cool but there are plenty of others, just look around. YouVersion LENT Plan
And to cap of the day I thought I would share this image that I ran across awhile back.
CRM, the ministry that posted this has done quality Lent devotionals in the past but unfortunately they don't keep their content up on their site. Check them out, you never know when they are gonna have great stuff up on their site.
The bible reading for today is James chapter 1. I hope you read this passage in your preferred translation but i also wanted to post the Message version of James chapter one. I really enjoy how Eugene Peterson puts it and for me these words phrased a bit differently have helped me to think about these familiar ideas in some new and fresh ways.
1 I, James, am a slave of God and the Master Jesus, writing to the twelve tribes scattered to Kingdom Come: Hello! Faith Under Pressure
2-4Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.
5-8If you don’t know what you’re doing, pray to the Father. He loves to help. You’ll get his help, and won’t be condescended to when you ask for it. Ask boldly, believingly, without a second thought. People who “worry their prayers” are like wind-whipped waves. Don’t think you’re going to get anything from the Master that way, adrift at sea, keeping all your options open.
9-11When down-and-outers get a break, cheer! And when the arrogant rich are brought down to size, cheer! Prosperity is as short-lived as a wildflower, so don’t ever count on it. You know that as soon as the sun rises, pouring down its scorching heat, the flower withers. Its petals wilt and, before you know it, that beautiful face is a barren stem. Well, that’s a picture of the “prosperous life.” At the very moment everyone is looking on in admiration, it fades away to nothing.
12 Anyone who meets a testing challenge head-on and manages to stick it out is mighty fortunate. For such persons loyally in love with God, the reward is life and more life.
13-15 Don’t let anyone under pressure to give in to evil say, “God is trying to trip me up.” God is impervious to evil, and puts evil in no one’s way. The temptation to give in to evil comes from us and only us. We have no one to blame but the leering, seducing flare-up of our own lust. Lust gets pregnant, and has a baby: sin! Sin grows up to adulthood, and becomes a real killer.
16-18 So, my very dear friends, don’t get thrown off course. Every desirable and beneficial gift comes out of heaven. The gifts are rivers of light cascading down from the Father of Light. There is nothing deceitful in God, nothing two-faced, nothing fickle. He brought us to life using the true Word, showing us off as the crown of all his creatures.
19-21Post this at all the intersections, dear friends: Lead with your ears, follow up with your tongue, and let anger straggle along in the rear. God’s righteousness doesn’t grow from human anger. So throw all spoiled virtue and cancerous evil in the garbage. In simple humility, let our gardener, God, landscape you with the Word, making a salvation-garden of your life.
22-24Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you are a listener when you are anything but, letting the Word go in one ear and out the other. Act on what you hear! Those who hear and don’t act are like those who glance in the mirror, walk away, and two minutes later have no idea who they are, what they look like.
25But whoever catches a glimpse of the revealed counsel of God—the free life!—even out of the corner of his eye, and sticks with it, is no distracted scatterbrain but a man or woman of action. That person will find delight and affirmation in the action.
26-27Anyone who sets himself up as “religious” by talking a good game is self-deceived. This kind of religion is hot air and only hot air. Real religion, the kind that passes muster before God the Father, is this: Reach out to the homeless and loveless in their plight, and guard against corruption from the godless world.
“If we paint a picture of Jesus, we’re not trying to show a humanity apart from divine life, but a humanity soaked through with divine life. The working of God, the ‘energy’ of God, to use a favorite word of Eastern theologians, are all the time acting on and in the human nature of Jesus. We don’t depict just a slice of history when we depict Jesus; we show a life radiating the light and force of God. And this means also that if we know what we’re doing when we represent Jesus, if we approach the whole matter in prayer and adoration, the image that is made becomes in turn something that in its own way radiates this light and force.”
—From the introduction of The Dwelling of the Light by Rowan Williams
The issue of influence is what today revolves around. The influencers in our life can either tempt us away from God or provoke us toward God. I love Hebrews 10:24, " let us consider how to provoke one another to love and good deeds..." We usually consider provoking someone as a negative but here the script is flipped and it becomes the very thing we are to do when we are in a position of influence. Could we say that we should tempt each other toward love and good deeds? That might sound weird, it probably is but you get the idea. We should be the person who instigates holiness of heart and life in those around us. And we should place people the closest to us who provoke us toward Christlikeness. This is a key part of discipleship.
As you asked in the book today, is the character of Christ increasing or decreasing in your life? I would add, who are the people helping you with this and who are those that are hindering you? Maybe even make a list. Then commit to putting the godly influencers closest to you. In doing this you then can become the influencer of those who might otherwise influence or even tempt you.
Keeping the theme going, here are some more prayers to guide through times of temptation.
* Psalm 95:8-9
(What better than some prayer from scripture)
Today if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts * as in the provocation,
and as in the day of temptation in the wilderness;
When your fathers tempted me, * proved me, and saw my works.
Matthew 6 (The Lord's Prayer)
Lead me not into temptation but deliver me from evil.
These are abundant, check out this list of scriptures for help in times of temptation.
From the Book of Common Prayer
We prayer our prayers through Jesus Christ our Lord, who was in every way tempted as we are, yet did not sin; by whose grace we are able to triumph over every evil, and to live no longer unto ourselves, but unto him who died for us and rose again. Amen.
O Lord Jesus Christ, who didst first love us, who until the end did love them whom Thou did love from the beginning, who unto the end of days dost continue to love him who would belong to Thee; Thy faithfulness cannot deny itself—oh, only when a man denies Thee can he compel Thee as it were to deny him also, Thou loving One. So be this our comfort when we must accuse ourselves of the offenses we have committed and of the things we have left undone, of our weakness in temptation, of our slow progress in the good, in short, of our unfaithfulness to Thee, to whom once in early youth and oftentimes again we promised faithfulness—this be our comfort, that even if we are unfaithful, Thou dost remain faithful, Thou can not deny Thyself.
Almighty and most Merciful God, graciously hearken unto our prayers; and free our hearts from the temptations of evil thoughts; that we may worthily become a fit habitation for Thy Holy Spirit.
The Saint Augustine's Prayer Book
May the power of the holy cross +, O Lord, go before me wherever I may be and lead me through the day. In thy mercy, so guide me today that my enemy may find in me nothing that is his, but all that is thine. Or, should aught of evil be so found by reason of my frailty, may thy loving-kindness quickly blot it out. May thy holy angels guard me and bring me safe and unharmed unto the evening house. Amen.
My hope is that you are apart of a Church or community that is taking this lenten journey together, Sunday have that in mind and I will simply point you back to week ones Sunday post, linking you to reading and resources for your journey.
As mentioned, the Sunday readings in your book are for year B of the Revised Common Lectionary.
The best place to find all of these years & readings listed are CRI / The Voice website
The Church Year begins with Advent in November/December.
Take a quick look at the breakdown of years from the Revised Common Lectionary.
Click on the years below to take you to the Sunday readings you are looking for.
Year A: 2016-2017, 2019-2020
Year B: 2017-2018; 2020-2021
Year C: 2015-2016; 2018-2019
For more Sunday resources refer to the post for the 1st Sunday in Lent.