2017 Lenten Season

Thank-you for your interest in taking a 40 Day devotional journey this year.

You can choose any one of the three devotional versions available online:

When you subscribe,  email reminders will be sent to you each day (from March 1st-15 April), with a link to your devotional journey page.

Don’t forget, this is an interactive devotional journey, so please share your journey with us and inspire others on the same journey by commenting on each devotional page.



Ruthless Compassion


“Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.”


Our culture has created a “must-have” generation. We are consumed with the middle-class dream of personal wellbeing and comfort. With the convenience of extended credit we can buy what we want today and, hopefully, pay for it later. Money and possessions define who we are. We have become inwardly focused.

But God wants us to focus on him. He wants us to show ruthless compassion which will bring out the best in us and change us to become more like him.

This summer at our kids’ soccer camp, we challenged our small group of children to think about kids in another country who did not have soccer balls or cleats or even T-shirts. We asked them to gather up some change and see if we, as a small group, could make a difference. I threw in a handful of spare change while several of the children showed great maturity by going home
and taking out all of the money from their piggy banks to make a difference in a child’s life across the world.

I, who have so much, gave a handful of coins, while these children who have been saving their pennies and nickels and dimes for something special gave everything. Have I bought into today’s culture? Where is my heart? Where is my generosity and willingness to sacrifice?

We need to see the world through the eyes of our children. They were able to see beyond what they wanted in order to give freely and thus make a difference in the lives of children who they may never meet. It’s time for some ruthless compassion, adults.


Day 26 pull quote1. When have you seen your kids, or your friends’ kids, outdo you in joyful generosity? Was your response to encourage them—and be more generous yourself—or to damper their excitement?

2. Whom can you have a dialogue with about “ruthless compassion” this week?


Jan Gray is National Children’s Ministry Coordinator for the C&MA in Canada. Children’s Ministry is an important part of the C&MA mandate to create a chain of discipleship that reaches the youngest members of our Alliance churches.

Note:  Club 57 kids at Mission Alliance Church will surely move you with an incredible story of inspiration – watch how one simple idea multiplied to inspire a community.

The Sacred and Secular: Does Christ Differentiate?


“The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.”


Ultimately, this passage is about the supremacy—the authority and sovereignty—of Christ. He, as part of the triune God, is the creator and sustainer of all creation. That includes everything spiritual and physical, unseen and seen. All things were created through him and for him. All things find their end, their purpose, their goal in Jesus. Too often we separate life into sacred and secular compartments. We tend to see the spiritual things we do as being more important to Jesus. These verses remind us that as we respect and enjoy all that Christ has created, we honour and worship him. As we go about our day, working or playing—even doing our mundane chores—we are doing it for Christ.

We tend to mainly focus on the spiritual when we think of the reconciling work of Christ. These verses remind us that Christ is redeeming all things. His death and resurrection are about bringing peace and healing to all of creation (and Isaiah 65 gives us a glimpse as to what this will ultimately look like). We are called to be agents of reconciliation which involves seeking to reverse the effects of what sin has sought to destroy—spiritually, physically, and relationally.

This process of reconciliation is under way. It is not just some future moment in time when Christ returns. It is an ongoing process that we are called to participate in now, to live in the way that God intended for his creation. Yes, one day it will be fully realized. Yet in the meantime, it is up to us to make it tangible as we live as agents of reconciliation—offering a foretaste of what is to come.



Day 25 pull quote1. What are the signs of a broken, sinful world in your community? How can you and your church community be agents of reconciliation in order to bring healing and restoration to the situation?

2. When you consider that all things—spiritual and physical—were created through and for Christ and that through his work on the cross all things are being reconciled or made right, how should this influence our actions and attitudes toward both the spiritual and the physical parts of creation?

Joanne Beach serves the C&MA in Canada as the Director of Alliance Justice and Compassion.

Noteworthy Resources:  The Christian & Missionary Alliance is a member of the Canada Foodgrains Bank. CFGB offers a wealth of information related to creation care and how we can be involved in fighting global hunger. Watch this eye-opening video: Hunger and Climate Change and perhaps be inspired to start a harvest of letters campaign or make a designated donation to the Christian & Missionary Alliance in Canada’s Food Aid fund. You can also read about the current agricultural projects C&MA is funding.

Welcoming the Foreigner


“The community is to have the same rules for you and for the foreigner residing among you; this is a lasting ordinance for the generations to come. You and the foreigner shall be the same before the Lord.” — NUMBERS 15:15

Immigration statistics will never motivate us to welcome the foreigner into Canada or into the family of Christ. Something more fundamental has to occur.

Most churches and individual Christians, I would hope, aspire to be welcoming to newcomers to Canada. However, moving from mere aspiration to tangible welcome first requires some honesty around our thinking. How we think impacts how we act (Romans 12:2).

We begin at the beginning. The creation story establishes that God created all humans “in his own image” (Genesis 1:27). He makes absolutely no distinctions of value among people when it comes to his love. He expects us to treat others similarly. Note that Israel, the exclusively set-apart people of God, was commanded not only to take in the foreigner but to treat them with respect and equality (Numbers 15:15; Deuteronomy 10:19).

Now think about who you see when meeting an immigrant. “In his own image” means you are to see them as created with the same value as you, and therefore equally deserving of respect, no matter if they have reconciled with God through Jesus Christ or not. This is because in Christ we do not evaluate others using the world’s standards such as ethnicity, religion, morality, or economic status (2 Corinthians 5:16). All are of inherent worth to him and therefore to us. When we view others as persons created in his image, we have common ground from which to start a relationship.

Here’s a simple initial step to move from right thinking to right action: Be a good neighbour. The basic act of neighbourliness empowered by the Gospel message will not only be a positive welcome into Canada, but an introduction to another “immigrant,” Jesus Christ. We were all foreigners at one point. He welcomed us.


Click to zoom pull quoteREFLECTION QUESTIONS

1. What does it mean to have inherent worth?
In what ways are we made in his image?

2. Is your church welcoming to newcomers to Canada?
Is your family?
Are you?

Harv Matchullis is Facilitator of Encompass Partnerships in Calgary, AB. Encompass is a mission agency designed for partners who are focused on taking the Gospel to the ends of the city where it has not yet gone or gained full expression. Harv’s passion comes from a ministry career of starting new ventures in Canada and internationally. Frontiers still exist.

Noteworthy Resources: For further information on how you can respond to newcomers to Canada, Harv has written a fabulous document for Encompass Partnerships called PARTNERING TO REACH THE NATIONS AMONG US. You may also feel led to check out information on how to become involved in refugee sponsorship; feel free to contact Alliance Justice and Compassion by email or visit www.justiceandcompassion.com/canada-initiatives/refugee-sponsorship

Defending Dignity


“Defend the cause of the weak and fatherless; maintain the rights of the poor and oppressed. Rescue the week and needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.”

PSALM 82:3–4

Human trafficking, with its most common endpoint of prostitution, is a $32 billion business around the world, according to the United Nations. This means it nets more than Nike, Starbucks, and Google combined. The average amount a trafficker or pimp makes by selling one girl in a year in Canada is half a million dollars. Unlike drugs, which the buyer uses once, a woman is sold again and again and again, which is why human trafficking is so lucrative.

Psalm 82:3–4 tells us to defend the weak and the fatherless and maintain the rights of the poor and oppressed. Prostituted women fall into those categories. Most come from dysfunctional homes, most are poor, and they are certainly oppressed. They are at risk of abuse and violence. Canadian women and girls in prostitution have a mortality rate that is 40 times higher than the national average.

God is expecting us to join him in his work of bringing justice to this group of children and women who are most often stigmatized and vulnerable to oppression in our country.

Part of bringing justice to bear on this issue is to look at the demand side of prostitution.

As the gender that typically purchases sex, men need to be made aware of the realities that exploited women face and then do their part to change prevailing societal attitudes that say there should be a group of children and women available to be bought and sold at all times.
Every woman and girl is worth this defence.



1. How much do you know about the realities of prostitution in your city?

2. Can you challenge yourself to become more aware of the issue over the next few weeks?
Check out www.defenddignity.ca for resources. Prayerfully consider your next steps.

Glendyne Gerrard is Director of Defend Dignity, an abolition of prostitution initiative of the C&MA in Canada. Defend Dignity raises awareness through education about the issues of prostitution and acts as a catalyst for churches and individuals to become part of the solution to this human rights issue. Defend Dignity also advocates for law reform with our governments and networks with other organizations involved with victims of exploitation.

Mini-Easter Celebration Sunday

Sunday 4

The six 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.

But he has given proof of what he is like. He has shown kindness by giving you rain from heaven. He gives you crops in their seasons. He provides you with plenty of food. He fills your hearts with joy.”

— ACTS 14:17 New International Reader’s Version (NIRV)

Let this video (linked below) inspire you and awaken your soul to the joy of the created world which He has given to us.

Kayden + Rain | Little Girl Experiences Her First Rainfall

Then let joy fill your heart as you celebrate today. You might choose to take a walk outside in His creation to witness, experience and celebrate how God has made himself known to all, through His kindnesses and provisions.

How to Do Our Good Works


“Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to live in peace. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, as you sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”


When we consider our purpose—to stand for justice and respond to the lost and needy with compassion—we must do all, both word and deed, in Jesus’ name. What does this mean?

It surely must mean that as we speak and as we act, we do so in conformance with his will. The apostle Paul warned the people of Corinth of works that are useless for God’s kingdom—just wood, hay, and stubble, or works that are like a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.

How do we serve our neighbourhood and community differently? How can whatever we do, whether in word or deed, be done in Jesus’ name? By having the mind of Christ. By discerning his plan, purpose, and perspective. By living at peace with one another, and letting God’s Word dwell in us richly.

Paul told the Ephesian church that, “We are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Ephesians 2:10). So surely we must inquire of him, asking, “What good works have you assigned to me?” while understanding that God’s plan for the world is to bring glory to himself.

All that we do must be done as we walk closely with our Saviour, listen to his voice, and love as he loves. Let us love humbly in his name, and always for his glory.



1. What effect do our words and deeds have if not done in Jesus’ name and for God’s glory? Are they still worth doing, even when not for the right reasons?

2. Has God commissioned you to do some specific “good works”? Are you regularly asking him what he has for you to do?

Rev. Eunice Smith has served with the C&MA for more than sixty years in Ecuador. In June 2013, Eunice became the first woman ordained through The Christian and Missionary Alliance in Canada.