DAY 1 - 2.17.21

ASH WEDNESDAY

“The memory of the righteous is a blessing, but the name of the wicked will rot.” – Proverbs 10:7 NRSV

You know, sometimes the Old Testament… you gotta love the language.  “The name of the wicked will rot”.  

 

What!?!?!? Two things here. 

 

We all have been hurt by someone, and as we keep living, will be hurt again.  There is no way to avoid it.  God, in the OLD TESTAMENT, is telling us to not worry about it.  Brush it off, learn the lesson, forgive them, and let it go.  Why?  Because will make their name rot… rot of the pages of the Book of Life, rot out of the memories of anyone who knew them, just rot.  Have ever seen something that has “rot”?  It is a gross and disgusting display of ugliness.

Those who are righteous, you will be blessed and a blessing.  Your name will be held in the memory of God, forevermore.  Those who are righteous, your living will be so great that it will be held in the mind and heart of God. 

Your reputation will be planted in Heaven. Stay focused.  Stay righteous.  Make the righteous choices Sisters and Brothers, it is worth it.

Rot?  Or Righteous. Choose one.

 

Be Blessed, Beloved.

Rev. Damon

www.faithfirst.me

© 2021 Faith First Project

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DAY 2 - 2.18.21

“When you are praying, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do; for they think that they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him."  - Matthew 6:7-8 NRSV

 

Lent this year is a bit different.  Which means our prayers need to be different.  Not because they were "bad", because we should adapt them to this time.

 

Let us be sincere, authentic, vulnerable, and courageous in our prayers.  Our Father knows what we need before we ask.  Also knows our confessions and our praise.

 

Let us not be afraid, ashamed or fearful to talk to our Father.  God is waiting and wanting to hear from us.

 

Be Blessed, Beloved.

- Rev. Damon

www.faithfirst.me

2021© 2021 Faith First Project

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DAY 3 - 2.19.21

 

"Ho, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and you that have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.” – Isiah 55:1 NRSV

 

It’s Friday.  It’s Lent.  It’s Cold.  It’s snowy.  It’s a Pandemic.  Life has been changing all around us.  And now, we are to sacrifice, rid our lives of things, habits, acts that we leaned on for comfort.  NOW???? 

 

Yes.  Now, more than ever.

 

Why?

 

Because we should lean on our source now, more than ever.  Jesus is here Sisters and Brothers.  Jesus is here for EVERYONE who thirsts, and I am thirsty. Yep, I said it. 

 

I am thirsty for peace of mind.  I am thirsty for my loved ones to be healed.  I am thirsty for the desires of my heart to be manifest.  I am thirsty for the left out and ignored to be included.  I am thirsty for the shades of black lives to be allowed to be loved and not hated.

 

I thirst!

 

And when I thirst, I leaned more on stuff and less on my source because I want to be quenched right now, and that was easier.

 

Sisters and Brothers, we are fasting not so much to lose, but to gain more from Jesus.  And scripture tells us that there is a lot to gain.

 

No matter who we are, what our circumstances are, we can “buy” water, food, wine, and milk, even if we are broke-broke.  Why?  Because Jesus paid it all… for you and me!

 

Shop at God’s Grocery.  Everything we need is right there, through the Son, Jesus Christ.

 

Be Blessed, Beloved.

 

- Rev. Damon

www.faithfirst.me

© 2021 Faith First Project

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DAY 4 - 2.20.21

“Whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone; so that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses.” - Mark 11:25 NRSV

 

Fasting and Praying.  Sisters and Brothers, please remember to pray while you fast.

 

And when we pray, forgive those who have harmed you.  Release the baggage of their pain so that you can go forward.

 

I know, we want to point out what they did, tell 'em off, and see them suffer for what they did.  I Know!

 

But as we sacrifice for Lent, let us learn to live without the memory of what was done by another.  Forget what they did and remember what Jesus DOES!

 

Pray to replace what they did and pray to make room for what Jesus is doing.

 

We don't have to do anything because God Got Us, Jesus Loves Us and the Holy Spirit Surrounds Us.

 

We must forgive and we have been forgiven.

 

Be Blessed, Beloved.

 

- Rev. Damon

www.faithfirst.me

© 2021 Faith First Project

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DAY 5 - 2.22.21

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways, says the Lord.  For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” – Isiah 55:8-9 NRSV

 

One of the most brilliant people I have ever read and who is a hero of mine is former Editor-In-Chief of Essence Magazine, Susan Taylor.  My favorite quote from her is, “Instead of humanizing God, divinitize yourself.” 

She has an honorary Baptist Ordination for making words up like that…. Lol.

But that quote and this scripture go together for us during Lent.

God and God’s will for us exceed our understanding.  That’s okay.  The reason we Fast and Pray is to deepen our connection to God, “divinitizing” ourselves so that we can gain a higher understating, to be in a higher relationship with God.  To strive for a goodness for us that only God can offer us.

By making ourselves better, higher, we will become closer to God, deeper in God.  Let’s shed those things we do, believe, and said that reduces God in our lives, and replace it with the divine that is God.

Sisters and Brothers, we all can be better.  Lent is a path to help get us there.  Let’s take it.   

 

Be Blessed, Beloved.

 

- Rev. Damon

www.faithfirst.me

© 2021 Faith First Project

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DAY 6 - 2.23.21

“There is a way that seems right to a person, but its end is the way to death.” – Proverbs 14:12

Of all the books in the Bible, Proverbs is the social media book.  Call it what you want, “mic-drops”, “shade”, “woke”, “one-liners”, Proverbs has it.  It was written for IG and Twitter. 

Today’s scripture is just that.  And just like characters on our devices, we do not know the “tone” that this statement is made.  Is it with care and concern as a gentle reminder or finger waving because someone got caught and is being yelled at?

 

Fast.  Pray.  In our prayers let us ask the Holy Spirit to guide us on the “right” way and to inspire us to have the courage to go the “right” way.

Sisters and Brothers, our faith is mighty, and we serve a MIGHTY GOD.  So let us have faith that God’s way is the “right way” so that we do not take a way that looks “right” (feels right, smells right, sounds right) and ends up leading us to a destination that we do not want. 

 

Be Blessed, Beloved.

 

- Rev. Damon

www.faithfirst.me

© 2021 Faith First Project

 

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DAY 7 - 2.24.21

“for now the winter is past, the rain is over and gone.” – Song of Solomon 2:11 NRSV

 

You know what is tragic?  We do not use Song of Solomon enough for study, review, meditation.  That is tragic because so many of us have had (or have) challenges in our personal relationships.  This book tells us through the story of two people, how to love.  And we can use their model not just for our personal romantic relationships, but also in our friendships, and even professional relationships. 

Take a week or so, and read it for yourselves. How to love and how to be loved, its in there.

I digress.

Today’s scripture is a weather report.  Simply, the cold, snow, winds, and rains are gone.  What is on the way are bright sun-filled days with gentle breezes that cascade all around.

As we fast and pray, let this scripture remind us of two things:

  1. As we fast to release the old, we have to make room for the new.  Although unknown, the new that is coming, is comforting, possibly even more than we can imagine.  We often hold on to the old because of the comfort or security the old provides. We all have been rocked, and seek something to steady us. So we hold on. But the new, that “new new” from God is so much better than the old. LET IT GO!

 

  1. All of us will have “seasons”. Remember, all “seasons” are temporary. I know it may feel like a particular season feels permanent and personal.  I know.  I have been there.  But I promise you, as we commit to love and deepen our commitment to love God more, love each other, love ourselves more, our seasons will be more bearable.

 

Sisters and Brothers, this Lenten season, let us love God so much that we add more of God, and release more of stuff we lean on for comfort. Let us trust God to provide the authentic, real, and made specifically for your comfort that only God can provide.

 

Trust… that Good Season is coming.

Be Blessed, Beloved.

- Rev. Damon

www.faithfirst.me

© 2021 Faith First Project

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DAY 7 - 2.25.21

"For ‘In him we live and move and have our being’; as even some of your own poets have said, ‘For we too are his offspring.’” – Acts 2:28 NRSV

 

Are you at your “Fighting Weight”?  Boxers and MMA athletes have to “weigh-in” before they begin combat.  If they are not at their proper weight, they are disqualified and their opponent wins by default. 

 

I bring that up today, during Lent to remind us that we “Live and Move and have our Being” because we are His offspring. 

 

Why this scripture today?  Lent.  This first full week of Lent, I am reminding us all that we are to Fast and Pray.  We Got stuff to get rid of so that we can get to our Fighting Weight.

 

What are we fighting?  All the noise of the world tempts us to sin.  All the evils of the world that oppress.  All the fake love, fake joy, fake support that lets us down.  All the doubt we have of ourselves.

 

We have to fight!  And we have to win.  We can’t win unless we are at our correct Fighting Weight. 

 

We can’t be at our proper weight if we are carrying, holding, bringing “dead” weight with us.

 

Let us remember what we celebrate at the end of Lent, not a dead Jesus, but a risen Jesus, who defeated death, dropped the dead weight of mortality so that He could live in us.

 

Sisters and Brothers, let’s live and move, bob and weave so that we can defeat our enemies and have the victory of being the offspring of Jesus!

 

Jesus is undefeated, and so shall we be through Him!

 

Be Blessed, Beloved.

 

- Rev. Damon

www.faithfirst.me

© 2021 Faith First Project

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DAY 8 - 2.26.21

“for the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd, and he will guide them to springs of the water of life, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.” – Revelations 7: 17 NRSV

There is a lot here for us.  “The Lamb will be our shepherd”. We think we are all that and then some.  We got tech, degrees, jobs, maybe a dollar or two saved, making it happen, right?  HA!

The Lamb.  The Lamb will be the one who leads the shepherd. Let us never be so big, think so much of ourselves that we won’t follow the Lamb of God, Jesus, who leads us.

Where?  To the springs of the water of the life.

Springs are places where rain has collected and overflows and becomes a new source of water for the lands.

Jesus will lead us to places of overflowing waters, washing away all, cleansing us, and providing for us a new source of life eternal.

Sisters and Brothers, as we Fast and Pray, be reminded that Jesus will never lead us astray.  We may have to go through dark and dangerous territories, overcome some mountains and obstacles, but Jesus is there, with us.  And when we reach our destination, the blessed assurance of a lived Faith will place us in heavenly abundance.

Follow Jesus, no matter what.  It is for our best good!

Be Blessed, Beloved.

 

- Rev. Damon

www.faithfirst.me

© 2021 Faith First Project

 

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DAY 9 - 2.27.21

Be Blessed, Beloved.

 

- Rev. Damon

www.faithfirst.me

© 2021 Faith First Project

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DAY 10 - 03.01.21

“Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you.” - Isaiah 60:1

The Joy of Lent is that our fasting and praying is going to deepen our connection to Jesus Christ.  As we going through this process, we may focus on the destination, and ignore the power in the journey.  During this journey, we may encounter challenges, heartache, disappointments, loss.  Let’s be real, sometimes it is easier, to ignore the darkness of the journey because the destination has the light.

Sisters and Brothers, I remind us all, that light is with all the time, and never fades.  That light is shining on us, from the smallest glimmer to a supernova… it’s right there.

The light that glows our journey rose and wants us, needs us, is with us, when we rise.  Rise above obstacles, rise above challenges, rise about petty messy people and situations.  RISE!

Through our fasting and praying not only can release what holds us down, we can RISE higher than we have ever been.

 

RISE!  RISE!  RISE!

Be Blessed, Beloved.

- Rev. Damon

www.faithfirst.me

© 2021 Faith First Project

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DAY 11 - 03.02.21

“the people who sat in darkness have seen a great light, and for those who sat in the region and shadow of death light has dawned.” - Matthew 4:16

Today was a day.  The message is late today because I hit with some losses over the last 24hrs that literally took my breath away.

The darkness of the current time, this pandemic, and how it has affected so many, some I didn’t personally know, and many I did… it became too much.

Only within the last few hours did I read the scripture I was led to pick for today… and THANK GOD FOR A WORD!

Sisters and Brothers, please take time to gather around the Word.  Jesus is the living word.  Jesus was there when the word was written.  Jesus provides a word for each of us, no matter what we are going through.

Darkness may be trying to surround us, overtake us, cover us… but Jesus is the light that dawns on us all.

That is not to say that we are to ignore the darkness, to act as if the darkness does not bother us.  We can.  We must. 

But today’s scripture reminds us all that no darkness is permanent.  That no matter how “all over” darkness may look, the dawning light of Jesus will overtake it, and take care of us.

THERE IS LIGHT!  THERE IS LIGHT!!

Be Blessed, Beloved.

- Rev. Damon

www.faithfirst.me

© 2021 Faith First Project

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DAY 12 - 03.03.21

“No one has greater love than this, to lay down one's life for one's friends.” - John 15:13

This morning, let us remember the sacrifice made by my Best Friend.  Jesus loved me so much that He gave His life for me. 

“Wait, what did you say?  Your best friend did the same?”

“And your best friend?  And your best friend?  Wait, you too?”

“What’s your best friend’s name?”

Jesus.

“Seriously?  That is my Best Friend.  How can He be your best friend, your best friend, your best friend, and my best friend?”

Jesus is all of our best friend.  A friend loves each and single one of us.  A friend who loves not just us, but everyone.  A friend who loves those who may not even love Him.

Sisters and Brothers, take this day of Lent and remember that we have a Friend who laid down His life us.  Let us become better, and deeper in Him so that we can be a Friend to one another.

 

 

Be Blessed, Beloved.

- Rev. Damon

www.faithfirst.me

© 2021 Faith First Project

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DAY 13 - 03.04.21

“There is no speech, nor are there words; their voice is not heard; yet their voice goes out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world.” - Psalms 19:3-4 NRSV

David is writing here two things:

1. There are no words that describe that goodness and glory of Heaven.  That it is indescribable the grace, mercy, joy, healing, laughter, and love that awaits us by giving our lives to God. 

2. That when we have no words, the Heavens still hears us, that God still hears us.  When we do not know what to say, or more accurately, cannot say, God hears our heart, our tears, our fears, and not only hears but is with us as we heal.

Sisters and Brothers, our fasting and praying is the entry to our “yet…”. 

Life may still the words we want to say, challenges may shock, confusion may gather, anger may gain ground, disappointments may hurt… “YET”!!!

Yet our spirits speak to our God… and God and His angels hear us, and reply back, reminding us that Heaven is not only our eternal destination but is also awaiting us here on earth. 

Be Blessed, Beloved.

- Rev. Damon

www.faithfirst.me

© 2021 Faith First Project

 

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DAY 14 - 03.05.21

“Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” - John 14:6

Today many will attend and watch the Homegoing Service, the “Retirement Party” of our Pastor Emeritus of Liberty Baptist Church of Chicago, Rev. Darrell L. Jackson.

No matter what anyone says, Rev. Jackson led Liberty and reminded those he ordained, of today’s scripture.

Sisters and Brothers, there is only one Way, one Truth, one Life.  That is through Jesus Christ.  Degrees or not.  Employed or not.  Wealthy or not.  It does not matter who we are or what we have achieved, there is only the way, truth, and life that comes through Jesus. 

As Rev. Jackson taught and preached and led, there is Jesus, only Jesus. 

And Jesus has redemption, restoration, mercy, grace, and love for every single one of us, no matter how we get to Him.

As Jesus makes room for all of us, as Pastor Jackson made room for me, let us all make room for others and be with all as we all seek Jesus.

Be Blessed, Rev. Jackson.

Be Blessed, Beloved.

- Rev. Damon

www.faithfirst.me

© 2021 Faith First Project

 

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DAY 15 - 03.08.21

“I know your works. Look, I have set before you an open door, which no one is able to shut. I know that you have but little power, and yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name.” - Rev. 3:8

We fast.  We pray.  We do these things to strengthen our connection to Jesus Christ.  We do this to remember the preparation Jesus went through before He began His ministry.  But, we do these things to remind ourselves that we can resist the enticements of the devil and stay committed to Jesus Christ.

The scene is set, Jesus is not in a town, a city, He is not with family or friends, He is in a desert and does not eat nor drink for 40 days. It is when His body is at its physically weakest, the devil comes up and offers Jesus sustenance if Jesus would just do a few simple things like turn stones to bread, or fall to His knees and rest (kneel) to him.

Of course, Jesus resists and fulfills His calling.

Today’s scripture is about us being in our own “desert”.  When life beats up on us, and circumstances compile on us, we may feel like we are in a desert.  That is when the devil will send something or someone to “make us feel good”, if we just give in.  That devil will surround us with all sorts of temptations, almost to the point when it looks and feels like there is no way out.

 

Jesus knows that we are going to have our deserts.  Jesus knows that we will feel powerless.  But Jesus promises us that there is a way out, through the door of Faith, Hope, Grace, Mercy and Love.  And not only is there a door… it is a door that NO ONE can shut.  No enemy, no obstacle, no challenge, no circumstance, not even our own flaws can shut the door to the Grace of Jesus. 

Sisters and Brothers, keep fasting and praying.  Resist. Know that when the desert seems all-consuming, there is a way out… “The Way, the Truth, and the Life”.

 

Be Blessed, Beloved.

- Rev. Damon

www.faithfirst.me

© 2021 Faith First Project

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DAY 16 - 03.09.21

"And after you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself restore, support, strengthen, and establish you." - 1 Peter 5:10 NRSV

 

On Earth?  In Heaven?  Now?  When?  How easy it would be to know.  "After you have suffered a little while...". 

 

Some teach that all suffering ends in Heaven, that what we endure on earth matters not, it is all about the afterlife.

 

Others teach that we can make Heaven on earth, that suffering is what can be stopped, that we can make things better now, of we work on it.

 

Which is right?  Sisters and Brothers, I offer us this.... Both.

 

Unfortunately,  we all will have "sufferings", not just one, but many.  And in our sight, these sufferings will have varying magnitudes.  As believers, when we get to Heaven, all suffering will end.

 

"AND", as it is true that we suffer here on earth, right now, there is another truth... "sufferings don't last always".  God will not only give us grace in Heaven but will grace us here on earth, right now as well. 

 

Our fasting and praying is our time to remember to do as Jesus, to keep going, keep resisting, to keep living in the word of God.

 

To remember that all that we suffer is temporary,  and God is a permanent fixture, restorer, supporter, strengthener, establisher, for us ALL!

 

Keep Giving, Sisters and Brothers, keep going!

 

Be Blessed, Beloved.

- Rev. Damon

www.faithfirst.me

© 2021 Faith First Project

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DAY 17 - 03.10.21

 

"Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,

for his compassions never fail." - Lamentations 3:21-22 NRSV

How are you doing with Lenten Fast and Praying? 

Are you staying committed?  Has it been difficult?  Have you "fallen off the wagon"? 

it's okay.  Pray for forgiveness.  Ask to be redeemed.  And Jesus will. 

Know that when we fall, when we fail, today's scripture says that we will not be"consumed" because "God's compassion never fails".

We may fail, but God never will.  Sisters and Brothers, repent, pray, and be forgiven. 

And live in the compassion of God.

Be Blessed, Beloved.

- Rev. Damon

www.faithfirst.me

© 2021 Faith First Project

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DAY 18 - 03.11.21

"Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God." - Psalms 42:11

God knows what is going on inside of you.  God sees through you to see "you".  God knows that we struggle, and will have all sorts of internal struggles as we navigate life.  And as we are fasting and praying, it probably feels like we are struggling even more.  The body is weak, the flesh is tempted and there are people and situations that are still annoying.

It feels like we are picked on, that odds and options are not just not working out for us, but are literally against us.  We may ask, "why is life disturbed with us"?

Life is not disturbed with us.  The devil is disturbed with us because we are NOT trying to yield to temptation.  Is disturbed with us because we are bettering our relationship with God through Jesus. 

Sisters and Brothers, stay the course.  Stay faithful.  Disturb the devil with our commitment to Jesus.  The feeling of the annoyances is temporary, but the relief from God is forever..

Be Blessed, Beloved.

- Rev. Damon

www.faithfirst.me

© 2021 Faith First Project