Lent 2018: Through the Wilderness

Come on a journey with us this Lent as we learn to navigate our faith through different types of wilderness and how, during these times, we can keep Jesus at the very centre of our lives.

8. Through the Wilderness Summary - Rev Betty King

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

John 3: 16 (NIV)

What Next:

From all of us at MAF UK, thank you for joining our journey through the wilderness this Lent. We hope it’s been an encouraging and inspiring experience, which has strengthened your faith and drawn you closer to the King.

Rev Betty King and her international mission are partnering with MAF to deliver ‘For the Sake of the World’, a mission-focused prayer experience, taking place on 3 November this year in Birmingham. We’d love for you to join us.

Please click here to find out more about the event and how to purchase tickets

We hope you have a wonderful Easter and as you celebrate His death and glorious resurrection, may you be richly blessed by His love. 

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7. Blessings Through the Wilderness

For the LORD your God has blessed you in everything you have done. 

He has watched your every step through this great wilderness. 

During these forty years, the LORD your God has been with you, and you have lacked nothing.

Deuteronomy 2:7 (NLT)

Go Deeper:

Take some time to read Deuteronomy Chapter 2

Even though God allowed the Israelites to experience the consequences of their rebellion, not once did He abandon them.

In fact, God blessed them – despite the fact that they were wandering in the wilderness because of their own sin and unwise choices. He watched over their every step. He took care of them. He made sure they lacked nothing.

Despite their debauchery. Despite their stubbornness. Despite the fact that their wilfulness and disobedience led them into the wilderness in the first place, God did not allow them out of His sight.

Even as they turned their backs on God, He kept them in His sight and didn’t let them go. He supernaturally supplied for their every need – from food to clothing and everything in between. 

God stayed with the Israelites when they deserved abandonment.

And that’s how He treats us to this day.

Pray:

Think about some of the ways in which God has blessed you during your life, especially during a time of wilderness. Spend some time in prayer thanking God for His faithfulness to you, and provision for your needs. If you are walking through a wilderness today, be reminded that He will never leave of forsake you – He never has before.

Take Action:

Phillipians 2: 3-4 says: ‘Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.’

With these verses in mind, think about who it is in your sphere of influence, whether it be a family member, a friend or maybe a colleague. Ask yourself, ‘How can I be a blessing to this person or to this situation?’ Take the step, be the blessing. You could just be God’s supernatural provision in the midst of their wilderness.

Please continue to join with us this Lent as we go ‘Through the Wilderness’, in search of our King.

Get these Lent Devotions by email  

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6. Hope Through the Wilderness

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

Philippians 4:13 (NKJV)

Go Deeper:

Take a few moments to read Luke 4:1-13.  What did Jesus do every time he was tested? He quoted Scripture. There is power in Scripture. You must be in the Word to know what power you have. When you are in the middle of testing times in the wilderness, you can stand strong on what the word of God says – that is, eternal hope. He will not leave you. He will not forsake you. He holds you up with His victorious right hand.

Through the leadership of Moses, the Israelites were rescued from slavery. He led a national revolt, because God spoke to him to do so. He gathered the people and they literally ran for their lives as the Egyptians came chasing them. They had been beaten, abused, malnourished, and mistreated. And they get to the other side of the Red Sea - God showed up and gave them a miracle. That’s where the real testing began; they waited for their deliverance to the Promised Land for 400 years!

Exodus 13:17-18  says that God did not lead the Israelites along the easiest route, even though it was the shortest way. He said that if it got too tough and they were faced with a battle, they might just change their minds and give up! They might just turn around and go home!

Think about that for a minute. Have you been asking God why? Why am I here? Why am I wandering? Could it be that you’re being led in a roundabout way because God is teaching you? Psalm 78:7 reminds us ‘That they may set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God.’ Be encouraged today that we have a powerful God that can do the impossible, we don’t have to rely on our own strength and abilities.

Pray:

Spend some time alone to rest in Christ’s eternal peace. One of the fruits of the spirit is hope. Hope was given when you accepted Christ as your Saviour.

Maybe you have experienced a temporary set-back. It could’ve come in the form of abuse or divorce or death or a disappointment or loss of job or hardship. Be reminded today that God has given you every tool you need to survive the set-back. He is the God of yesterday, today, and tomorrow. He is the God of second chances. He is hope for those of you who find yourself hopeless today. He is strength for the weary, overworked, exhausted, and overwhelmed. He is your all in all, your everything. Ask Him to bring you hope today where you need it.

Take Action:

Sometimes God brings hope to us, and those around us, through the actions of others. Challenge yourself this week to bring hope to another person. Maybe it’s a colleague that needs some help, a family member struggling with a tough situation, or someone who is in need of resources or finance. It could be a whole number of things. Ask God if and how you can help bring hope to their situation.

 

Please continue to join with us this Lent as we go ‘Through the Wilderness’, in search of our King.

Get these Lent Devotions by email  

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5. Discipline Through the Wilderness

Discipline enables us to place ourselves where God can bless us.

Vivienne Pattison, Head of Communications, MAF UK

Go Deeper:

Before Jesus began His public ministry, He went into the wilderness (Luke 4:1-13). Sometimes we too can we find ourselves there. Maybe we’re feeling lost, or things appear to be falling apart.  

Jesus’ time in the wilderness wasn’t accidental. He went there on purpose. It was a disciplined journey, and was part of God’s plan.

The same Holy Spirit who, at Jesus’ baptism, reminded Him of His identity as God’s beloved Son, also led Jesus into the wilderness. And it was there that the devil confronted Him with the things that could have separated Him from God and from His Father’s purposes. 

We too can set out for the wilderness intentionally – recognising that being there puts us in that open, vulnerable, risky place where it’s probably easier to hear God’s voice, listen to what He is saying, and then answer His call.  

This is where spiritual disciplines can help put us in a position where God can come close. ‘Discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness,’ exhorts 1 Timothy 4:7.

Our wilderness expedition will no doubt be challenging. But we’ll find Jesus there, so it’s a good place to go! We go as He did – a beloved child of God, accompanied by God’s Spirit.

Open your heart, let yourself be vulnerable to God meeting you, and be ready for what God can do with your life – not only in the wilderness, but once you’ve emerged from it. May we leave our wilderness time with the same clarity and urgency that we see in Jesus.

Pray:

Spend some time alone with God and ask Him to reveal areas of your life where you need to exercise more spiritual discipline. Matthew 7:7 encourages us, ‘Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.’ 

God wants to help us be more like Him. Call out to Him and listen for His ‘still small voice’ as He highlights areas of your spiritual life that could be sharpened by applying some key disciplines in your daily life.

Take Action:

Read Richard J Foster’s classic book, Celebration of Discipline. Named by Christianity Today as one of the top 10 books of the 20th century, it explores the inward disciplines of prayer, fasting and meditation, the outward disciplines of simplicity, solitude, submission and service, and the corporate disciplines of confession, worship, guidance and celebration. 

The book shows how each area contributes to a balanced and fruitful spiritual life.

 

Please continue to join with us this Lent as we go ‘Through the Wilderness’, in search of our King.

Get these Lent Devotions by email  

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4. Compassion Through the Wilderness

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathise with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are — yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

Hebrews 4:14-16 (NIV)

 

Go Deeper:

Take some time to read the Parable of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10:30-35. Here we see a powerful demonstration of compassion. Samaritans and Jews generally despised each other, but this Samaritan throws aside cultural expectation and helps this injured man. How might you have acted in this situation, had you been confronted with one of your ‘enemies’ begging for help? Would you have been so compassionate? What can you glean from this parable and why do you think showing love and compassion to others is so important?

Pray:

Spend some time thanking God for the compassion he has shown to you in sending His own Son in your place. Maybe you can recall some specific times where God has met with you in the midst of a crisis, possibly as result of a bad choice you had made. Praise God for His faithfulness and ask Him to show you how you can be more compassionate to those around you.

Take Action:

As you pray and seek God for His compassion, keep an eye open for people, places and situations where He might lead you this week. Ask yourself, “What is the need here?”. As you take this approach, trust that God will help you show compassion to those around you and see what a difference you can make.

 

Please continue to join with us this Lent as we go ‘Through the Wilderness’, in search of our King.

Get these Lent Devotions by email  

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3. Peace Through the Wilderness

'He will be called... Prince of Peace.' 

Isaiah 9:6 (NIV)

Go Deeper:

MAF works to bring peace to a great number of those living in the wilderness. One particular story is from our work in Chad, where we are helping to bring dental care to some of the worlds most isolated people in need. 

Service with a Smile in the Sahara

Anyone who has experienced the pain of toothache will know how vital having access to dental care is. So, imagine living in a Chad, where just 15 years ago there were no trained dentists and, even today, many people live with tooth pain for years on end due to the inaccessibility of dental services.

Since 2002, MAF have been partnering with American dentist Dr Kevin Ackerman, to bring regular dental safaris to some of the most remote and isolated places in Chad.

In November 2017, we flew Dr Ackerman and his dental assistant Erika to Bardai, a village in northwestern Chad in the heart of the Sahara where trained dentists are still non-existent. 

Dr. Kevin and Erika work on approximately 25 people per day, but there are more people than time, more pain to be addressed than hands to fix it. Mostly they extract teeth but sometimes the patient may receive a filling as well. 

“They start to get desperate and panic that they won’t get seen,” Dr. Kevin explains. “The tensions can get pretty high as they’re living in pain for years.”

“In America our dogs get better dental care than the people of Chad,” Dr. Kevin observes. “I feel like God’s given me the gift that I can alleviate a lot of that suffering.” 

The dental clinics evolved as a mission from a church in California. Pastor Brian leads a team each year, always flying with MAF to get the most out of their time. “We simply wouldn’t be able to do this without MAF,” he explains. “We get to see God on the front lines and that’s a huge privilege to be a part of.” 

Pray:

Please consider the country of Chad in your prayers at this time. Chad is a desperately poor country covered in desert, where many people struggle to survive in harsh conditions. Pray for MAF’s life-saving work, flying doctors, dentists and Christian missionaries who share God’s love and healing in the wilderness. 

Take Action:

Spend some time this Lent, seeking small ways to encounter Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace. Take a moment to pause and reflect, finding space and time alone with Him, away from the distractions of life. Maybe for you that might mean taking a nice relaxing walk, or sitting down with a warming cup of tea? As you do this, allow these verses from Scripture to refresh your soul:

He brought his people out like a flock; he led them like sheep through the wilderness. (Psalm78:52)

The desert and the parched land will be glad; the wilderness will rejoice and blossom. (Isaiah 35:1)

Comfort, comfort my people says your God… your sin has been paid for, A voice calls: ‘In the wilderness, prepare a way for the Lord’ (Isaiah 40)

He will be called.. Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6)

 

Please continue to join with us this Lent as we go ‘Through the Wilderness’, in search of our King.

Get these Lent Devotions by email  

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2. Praise Through the Wilderness

'You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you, in a dry and parched land where there is no water. I have seen you in the sanctuary and beheld your power and your glory. Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you. I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands' 

Psalm 63: 1-4 (NIV)

Go Deeper:

Take some time to read Pslam 63. Praising God through the challenges of life can be difficult. Often, we are distracted by circumstances, people or patterns of thought. King David was a man who knew what it meant to live under pressure. As the King of Israel, he knew the responsibility of leadership, the weight of suffering and the anxiety of war.

During David’s reign, his own son Absalom led a rebellion against him, and he was forced to flee for his life. During that time, David spent a short while in the wilderness of Judah before he crossed over the Jordan River. In that barren land, hiding from his own son, feeling disgraced and rejected, with an uncertain future, David wrote Psalm 63. The verses in this passage show us the priority of a Godly man in the eye of the storm.

Can you imagine facing the sort of pressure David did in this wilderness – let alone taking the time to express it through a hand-written song of praise? If you did, the song would probably contain a lot of desperate and anxious requests: “Help, God! Get me out of here!” As you read the passage, think again about what it means to you personally to praise God through the wilderness.

Pray:

Hebrews 13:8 reminds us that ‘Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever’. Even though our emotions, our circumstances and those around us may change, God remains true and faithful – and so do his promises. Ask God to give you strength as you praise Him earnestly today, even in the wilderness.

Take Action:

Spend some time this week seeking after God. Maybe put on some music that helps you focus on Him and will help you to lift Him up in praise. If you personally are in a place of wilderness right now, try to hand it over to God and praise Him nonetheless. A song that may help remind you of His greatness and encourage you at this time is ‘So Will I’ by Hillsong united, Sung here by Amanda Cook https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rMcOpekXREU

 

Please continue to join with us this Lent as we go ‘Through the Wilderness’, in search of our King.

Get these Lent Devotions by email  

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1. Faith Through the Wilderness

A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out. 

Isaiah 42:3 (NIV)

Go Deeper:

The Bible is full of stories of people who have put their faith in God and as a result, seen some amazing things happen. Why not take a few minutes to read the story of how Gideon defeated the Midianites in the Book of Judges, Chapter 7? Imagine what it must have been like for Gideon to trust God in the wilderness, having faith that He would intervene miraculously and help his small group of men defeat the Midianites. 

Pray:

Spend some time alone with God and ask Him to increase your faith. Maybe today you are finding yourself in some form of wilderness, and need God to break into your life. In Philippians 4:6 we are encouraged: ‘in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God’. As you do this, invite God to grow and deepen your faith through this experience. He wants to lead you to a new place with Him.

Take Action:

Faith is more than believing; it’s also about also taking the next step. Be encouraged that we have a faithful God. Ask Him to show you during this reflective time of Lent, how your faith can be deepened and how that could outwork practically. Then, when you are ready, take that step and see what God may do.

 

Please continue to join with us this Lent as we go ‘Through the Wilderness’, in search of our King.

Get these Lent Devotions by email  

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Our Lent 2018 Campaign has finished!

Thank you for joining our journey through the wilderness this Lent. We hope it’s been an encouraging and inspiring experience, which has strengthened your faith and drawn you closer to the King.