The Lenten Blog Tour

Forty-one. That’s the number of days of Lent this year between what many know as Ash Wednesday (March 9) and Easter Monday (April 25). It also happens to be the number of Scriptures and bloggers that will be engaged in the Lenten Blog Tour. I’m privileged and excited to be one of those writers (Isaiah 55:1-9; April 5).

In this Tour you’ll find writers from a number of branches of Christendom: Disciples of Christ, Methodist,  Presbyterian and more. Peruse the list and you’ll find that along with myself, Jim Martin (Waco, TX) and Mark Stevens (Adelaide, South Australia) have their roots in Churches of Christ.

Here’s a link to the text of the Scriptures that will be used during the Tour and’s here’s a link to the complete schedule (dates, Scriptures, and bloggers).

Those of you who follow my blog know that I pen a brief devotional thought each day. The devotionals currently going up here find their inspiration from some Scripture in each particular day’s assigned reading in my church family’s ninety-day journey through the New Testament, the Fresh Eyes project. These devotionals I regularly refer to as Fresh Bread and they will continue through the project’s completion date, April 1.

However, starting tomorrow (March 9), God willing, I’ll double up on those devotionals for a time as I join the Lenten Blog Tour, March 9 thru April 25. One of those daily devotionals will be my regular Fresh Bread posting, while the other will be from that day’s Scripture in the Lenten Blog Tour.

Both of these devotionals will make use of a new Bible translation known as the Common English Bible (CEB). The New Testament has been available for several months now and the Old Testament portion is scheduled to go to print this August. I’d encourage you to become familiar with this fresh, pleasant-reading rendering of the word of the Lord. In fact, I’ll give a free, first edition copy of the New Testament portion of the CEB (a $15 value) to the first person who, upon seeing this post, contacts me and says: “I want my CEB!”

your game face of grace

So, my child, draw your strength from the grace that is in Christ Jesus. (2 Timothy 2:1 CEB)

Self is the god of this world. Self-consciousness. Self-confidence. Self-esteem. Self-image. Self-importance. Self-motivation. Self-reliance. Self-respect. Self-sufficiency.

What’s wrong with this picture? It’s all rather self-centered.

To be a Christian is to be the opposite of being self-centered. A believer’s life is Christ-centered. We believe only Jesus Christ can give us what we truly need to live life as it was intended to be lived. And that giving from God we know as “grace.”

So Christian, “draw your strength from the grace that is in Christ Jesus.” Refuse to rely on yourself. Rather than looking within, look without, to God in Christ, to give you what you need to go on.

“And just where might this grace from God come to me and how am I to embrace it?,” you ask?

I’m glad you asked. This very same passage that tells us to seek our strength from Christ’s grace goes on to tell us of a powerful means through which his grace can come to us and of two ways we can latch hold of it.

Take the things you heard me sayand pass them on …” (vs.2) As we saturate our mind with the word of the Lord and engage the minds of others with it, we will find God at work within us and in our ways and that is great grace.

Accept your share of suffering …” (vs.3) and “remember Jesus Christ …” (vs.8). As we make up our mind to trust that our life situation is always in God’s good hands and to trust his Son in wherever he would lead us, even to a cross, then we will find his grace sufficient for all of our weaknesses and his grace to be the source of all our strength.

Heavenly Father, in the name of Jesus, I thank you for this encouragement you’ve given us, this endurance with which you enable us, and this energy you pour into us. May I put on my game face today, remembering Christ all the way, in every way, accepting what you bring my way and living by, and sharing, your will all day. Amen.