Granbury First UMC Blog Posts

Lent Devotionals: Wednesday, March 15

Road Trip

 
One of my favorite things to do is go on a road trip. As the trip draws nearer, I plan out the route and make sure I have everything I need to have a successful trip. I always head to the store the day before the trip to buy the last minute stuff, and inevitably end up on the snack aisle.  Of course by this point in the day I am starving and before long I have enough snacks to last me weeks in a global apocalypse. I check out, trying to not make eye contact with the cashier, to not see the judgment over the 5 boxes of zebra cakes I had just purchased. I get home and I pack everything up nice and neat, and get the car ready for the trip the next morning.
As I get in bed ready for the trip, I find that my mind is racing over everything that has to happen in the morning before we leave. Suddenly, I realize it is 2 am. The alarm goes off. 6 am came fast! I snooze the alarm and say 15 more minutes, that quickly turn into 45 minutes. I get up and get loaded and check the clock. It’s only 7:30, not too far behind. I plug our destination into my phone’s GPS and it states that we will arrive at 8:30 pm, not ideal but manageable. I put the car in drive and we are out on the road; the vacation has begun!
Then I see it… Starbucks, I remember how tired I am and I pull into the drive thru. I order my deliciously overpriced beverage, and as I receive it I look down at the ETA on the GPS… 9 pm. Where did 30 minutes go? I get back on track and make up a little bit of time talking and laughing and telling stories with my family.  Then it hits me, my digestive system has done its job with the coffee and I need to use the restroom. We find a place to stop. “I’ll be fast. In and out.” I say to myself as I run inside. I take care of business, and as I head out I find myself looking at the snacks. I grab a soda and some beef jerky. I get in the car and have lost all the time I have made up, and then some. This pattern continues throughout the trip and we finally arrive at our destination and it is 11:15pm. I am exhausted and start to unpack the car. As I do, I come across the horde of snacks I had purchased the day before… untouched. I had spent all this time planning and preparing for the trip, purchasing resources to help us stay on course and on time, but in the spur of the moment, I didn’t use them. I allowed my lack of self control and the temptations of what was easy to get in the way of my end goal.
In our spiritual walk, how many times do we let what is easy and right in front of us get in the way between us and God? What is your biggest off ramp on your road to Sanctification? How can we do better using and remembering the provisions God has given to us?
 
Josh Leblo
Youth Ministry Director


Lent Devotionals: Tuesday, March 14

You are God’s Treasure

So this week’s scripture from 2 Corinthians can pretty much sum up the feelings of a lot of us today.  “We are experiencing all kinds of trouble, but we aren’t crushed.  We are confused, but we aren’t depressed.  We are harassed, but we aren’t abandoned.  We are knocked down, but we aren’t knocked out.”
Paul was under attack by people who were accusing him of being deceptive, that he was twisting God’s word, his motives were interpreted wrong and his actions were misunderstood.
Those same attacks are alive and well in our lives today.  People talk badly about you, they will criticize you to others, and they will complain that you fall short of what they think you should do. 
Each one of us has been on the receiving end of such talk.  It is amazing how such things cause us to question ourselves, to doubt ourselves.  Am I worthy?  Why can’t I be like so-and-so?  Why is this happening to me?  Am I a bad person?  The questions will fly from there.  You need only read the beginning of the scriptures to understand that as believers we are called to live above the questions.  We are God’s treasure.  “But we have this treasure in clay pots so that the awesome power belongs to God and doesn’t come from us.”
You see just as with Paul, it is with us, we all live imperfect lives.   Paul was created for a purpose.  We are created for a purpose.  God uses our strengths, our weaknesses, our abilities, our afflictions and our less than stellar moments.  We are God’s treasure in the clay pots.  You can never understand how your life can make a difference until you share your life with others.  Your strength and your shortcomings lived for God’s purpose can further God’s kingdom here on earth in powerful and meaningful ways.  
Living for God’s purpose is sometimes easier said than done.  It does require something of us.  It requires us to let go of ourselves and let God’s power work through us.   It takes practice.  It takes us making mistakes.  It takes us falling short.  It takes us carrying Jesus’ death around in our bodies so that His life can be seen in ours.    We won’t be perfect, but God’s perfect love WILL work through us.
As the Lenten season continues, may God work in all of us to help us let go of ourselves so that all anyone can see is Him living in us!  God Bless you and keep you in your Lenten journey.
 
Karen Cooper
Children’s Ministry Director