A People on Purpose

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.
1 PETER 2:9–10

A theme that saturates both the Old and the New Testaments is that we are not merely a group of saved individuals; we are far more: we are an interconnected people who have been forged together with a common purpose and a manifest destiny, a unique calling and a characteristic like no other nation on the planet. We are born anew so that we can become a people whose distinguishing characteristic is that we are saturated, together, with the Divine Presence (God himself), that we hear and obey the voice of God together. Our presence filled with God’s Presence speaks.

This was God’s intention when he spoke to Moses and all Israel before he gave the Ten Commandments:

“Now if you…keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine, you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation”… (Exodus 19:5–6).

That purposeful promise, made to Israel, has been fulfilled in Jesus. All of Hebrew history was collapsed into him. When we enter into who he is, we do not merely escape the fires of hell; rather, we become the people that God intended in the first place. We are people of the Word marked by the voice of the Spirit together. Then, together, as a people, our submersion in the Word gives voice to the God we hear and love.


1. In comparing Exodus 19:3–6 with 1 Peter 2:4–10, make a list of what we are to become.
2. Pray to be a people on purpose.

David Chotka is the Lead Pastor of Spruce Grove Alliance Church in Spruce Grove, AB. David is married to Elizabeth, and they have two children, an adult son and a teenaged daughter.

New Seasons with Jesus

On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.
JOHN 20:19–20

As my wife and I enter into the early stage of an upcoming new season, we are in a process of pondering our heart’s disposition for what could lie ahead. Musing on John 20:19–23 brings a confidence and hopefulness for the changing seasons of our lives and vocation.

A new season? The frightened disciples were behind locked doors after the close of a heart- wrenching week where hope had risen and fallen to extremes. They realized things would never be the same; the intimate times of teaching and awe-inspiring miracles with Jesus were in the past. As enjoyable as it is watching the seasons fade, entering and exiting seasons of life present questions and fears.

Lord, could it just remain the same longer, not change? Is there a locked door which I would rather hide behind?

A new Jesus? Jesus made his way in through the locked doors, reminding us and his disciples that he is present, real and himself in the midst of uncertainties. In their joy of witnessing his return, they must have thought things would continue as they were before, but Jesus showed them that he would not be the same. So often I am caught in my classical restricted view of Jesus. I don’t mind the occasional mind-stretching Jesus, but usually, I determine the boundaries.

Lord, am I willing to let go of my pre-fixed understanding of you and allow myself to experience you in new and fresh ways?

A new mission? Peacefully walking in the midst of their fears, Jesus breathes on them: “… As the Father sent me, I am sending you (John 20:21).” Every aspect of this account asks for a courageous step of sacrificial faith. With faith we move to another season, experiencing a renewed understanding of Jesus to receive a new and challenging mandate with a fresh Spirit encounter.

What is in store Lord? How much do we want to be open to all that you have? Spirit of the Living Jesus fall fresh on me.


1. Are there any locked doors that I are hiding behind instead of breathing in the freshness of the Holy Spirit?
2. Does my view of Jesus change with each new season of my life? Do I trust him to take care of the small details as my life develops into further stages?

Francis Pearson is the District Superintendent of the St. Lawrence District, located in Montreal, QC

Eat, Drink and Breathe

Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.

For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit
ROMANS 14:17

What happens when the “treadmill” of life seems to be too fast, too steep? In the last year, I’ve intentionally improved my physical health. Two changes were needed: healthier food choices and increased exercise. I’m grateful for a treadmill in the basement, which was most helpful in the winter months. Normally, I eat a light snack prior to exercising. Water consumption also goes up, naturally. A good treadmill workout creates a thirst for about a litre of water.

And what about breathing? Unlike the deliberate choices for additional food and water, increased breathing just happens automatically. As the treadmill load increases through a faster pace or an increased incline, my breathing pace and volume go up—automatically!

What about our spiritual lives? What happens when the “treadmill” of life seems to be too fast, too steep? Do we thirst for living water? Do we spend more time spiritually hydrating with Jesus, the source of living water?

What about our spiritual breathing? Do we spend more time in prayer seeking the presence and power of the Spirit? Or, as life’s challenges increase, is our tendency to spend less time with Jesus, less time keeping in step with the Spirit?

The words of Galatians 5:25 and Romans 14:17 invite us to consider the importance of keeping in step with the Spirit’s presence, power and joy.

Dear God, help me to breathe you in. Even when I don’t feel particularly aware of my dependence on you, I know that I need you. Help me to live in the presence and power of your Holy Spirit today..

1. Am I in step with the Spirit? Is my spiritual breathing being hindered by the busyness, worries and pace of life?
2. How can I structure my days to ensure that I am exercising dependence on the Spirit?

Paul Lorimer is the Vice President, Finance for the C&MA

Image By Staff Sgt. Anthony Hyatt [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

And He Shall Reign Forever

…“Oh, how my soul praises the Lord. …His mighty arm has done tremendous things! He has scattered the proud and haughty ones. He has brought down princes from their thrones and exalted the humble.”
LUKE 1:46–52 (NLT)

Perhaps you’ve seen the big Atlas statue in front of the Rockefeller Center. Did you know that directly across the street is a church? On one side of the street is a tribute to man’s strength, industry and self-sufficiency; on the other is an image of Jesus atop an open door, welcoming one and all to his grace and into a community of forgiven and transformed men and women “spread out through all time and space and rooted in eternity” (C.S. Lewis).

Another contrast is the Rockefeller estate: part art collection, architectural marvel and story of three generations of very wealthy and important people. It sits on the east side of the Hudson River on a high hill, across from the first Alliance school, Nyack College!

At the Rockefeller estate, our learned tour guide pointed out the story of the family and art history — things that were clearly meant to impress us. At the college, however, it was a third-year nursing student who told us how amazed she was by the character of the Alliance missionaries in residence, and how important the spiritual life practices were at the school.

Simple, straightforward thought: the legacy of the school was actually far more impressive than all we had seen on the other side of the river! There is a legacy of thousands of trained people who went on to give the Gospel treasure across our continent and among the nations, which has led to other nations carrying it still further on. Incredible harvest!

However humble we may feel our efforts are in light of other contemporary empires of glimmering power, technology or cultural influence, remember that God is at work amongst his people. It is through us, he is building his eternal Kingdom.

1. While human effort expires, God’s work is continuous. What part of my life is a tribute to his work within me?
2. What does my spiritual life look like right now? Am I carrying the world on my shoulders like Atlas, or have I entered through Jesus’ door of rest?

Mike Linnen, C&MA’s Director of Seamless Link, served as a pastor in an Alliance church in Ottawa for 11 years, and as the District Missions Consultant for the churches of the Eastern Canadian District for five years. He is married to Michelle and lives in Oshawa, ON with their two sons, Christopher and Nicholas.

Light and Momentary

For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

A former pastor of mine, when facing surgery, made this telling remark: “You can call it major surgery or minor, but if it’s on me, it’s major!” While we chuckle at this, there is quite a bit of truth here. Things feel quite different when they are happening to us.

The interesting thing is that the Apostle Paul says exactly the opposite when recounting his trials. Paul lists various trials and persecutions and then has the audacity to refer to them as “light and momentary troubles.” The word light in the Greek actually means that it is “easy to bear.” The word momentary means “for the moment.” Paul is saying that the problems we think are major, in the eternal scheme of things, are actually minor.

How can this be? Our problems are minor in comparison to the major impact they are having in the eternal realm. Each trial that you and I face, as we keep putting our trust in the Lord, is actually an investment into a currency that does not depreciate: “eternal weight of glory.”

While the pain on this end feels insurmountable and even causes us to question our faith, that very struggle is planting seeds of glory in an eternal Kingdom. While our natural inclination is to focus on how major it is, shifting our perspective lessens the pain and helps us rise above it. When suffering enters our lives, the question we really want answered is, “Why? Was it for nothing?” Paul is saying here that through eternal lenses, there is no such thing as a wasted trial. They are all achieving an eternal weight of glory.

1. Is there a major trial I am facing right now? Instead of rehearsing the “why” question or the “when will it end” question, ask the Spirit of God show you how he might be using this to benefit you eternally.
2. When standing with another in their struggle, ask the Lord to allow them to see what he is up to. Don’t tell them that their trial is “light and momentary,” but ask God to lend them his wide-angle lenses.

Kathy Klassen was raised in Ethiopia as a daughter of missionaries. She now serves at First Alliance Church in Scarborough, ON and ministers to people in the Spirit’s power to encourage an abundant life in Jesus.

I Can’t Wait to See Jesus!

The disciples went and did as Jesus had instructed them. They brought the donkey…and those that followed shouted, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Hosanna in the highest heaven!” When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, “Who is this?” The crowds answered, “This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.”
MATTHEW 21:6–11

I visited the Holy Land and walked the Jerusalem road where Jesus had humbly ridden that donkey. Like those who gathered 2,000 years ago, my heart was filled with faith, thanksgiving and praise, but I didn’t see Jesus. I could only imagine the scene and would have traded my present situation with anyone in that biblical crowd to witness his triumphant entry.

I yearn to see Jesus. I ache for the day when my knees will instantly yield to him whom my eyes see. Along with the Church throughout the ages, my faith waits to see him,[1] but wait a little longer I must.

Meanwhile, my faith hangs on; better yet, it grows. These eyes of faith, they see what is invisible. My faith rests upon the testimony of those who saw and touched him many years ago. My faith is deepened and empowered by the living Spirit who assures me that one day I myself will see Jesus. Faith both responds to what it sees and what it yearns to see. Today I believe that the Jesus who rode the donkey and the Jesus who will ride on a white horse is present right now, although invisible (Revelation 6:2). His Holy Spirit empowers my faith, but all the while my heart aches, and my eyes look to the skies, hoping to see Jesus.


1. Do I really thirst to see Jesus one day, or have I grown dangerously accustomed to not seeing him? How does that influence my daily Christian walk?
2. In the midst of my own trials, what can I do to be centred on a very present yet invisible Jesus?

Jean Martin is Professor and Director at l’Institut Biblique VIE (Life Bible Institute) in Quebec, which prepares lay and licensed workers for ministry in French. Visit ibvie.org

[1] Article 11 of the Statement of Faith of the Christian and Missionary Alliance in Canada: “The second coming of the Lord Jesus Christ is imminent and will be personal and VISIBLE…”

image: Palm Sunday at the Basilica del Santo Niño by dbgg1979.com https://flic.kr/p/9zki8G

Celebration Sunday

Sundays are not counted among the forty days of Lent because each Sunday represents a “mini-Easter” – a celebration of Jesus’ victory over sin and death.

Celebrate what God has been doing in your life through these devotionals with thousands of others on this journey.

Share a verse of scripture or words of encouragement for others online at
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