Dear Friends Around the World,
Welcome to Lent 2020! Last evening I had the privilege of attending “Pancakes & Jazz” at my church. It’s an annual event we sponsor to provide support for “Family Promise” a local organization that provides for the Homeless of Hendricks County.
Ash Wednesday is a Christian holy day of prayer and fasting. … Ash Wednesday derives its name from the placing of repentance ashes on the foreheads of participants to either the words from Mark 1:15 “Repent, and believe in the Gospel” or Genesis 3:19 “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”
Week 1 – REPENT
The scripture verse for today is Matthew 6:6, “But whenever you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.”
Lent can be different things to different people for a multitude of reasons. The season of Lent is preparation leading up to Easter. Some may choose to give something up during this season such as chocolate or soda, an item that serves as a luxury and might even be difficult to give up for the season of Lent. Other devote themselves to doing acts of kindness and generosity during Lent. There’s no wrong way to experience Lent as long as the goal is to draw yourself closer to God. It an opportunity to deepen and strengthen our relationship with God, our Savior and Redeemer. Jesus was driven into the wilderness and was tempted by satan, and although Lent quite different from what Jesus endured it is similar to a wilderness in that it is uneasy and often very uncomfortable since it is a time of reflection and repenting. The scripture verse for today provides instructions on how we should pray, we should go into a secret place where we can seek and ask for God’s forgiveness. While in this wilderness we are to examine our lives, how we live them and how we treat others. The two greatest commandments are “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind” and “‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” -Matthew 22:37,39
Matthew 22:36-40, “Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”
I hope you choose to join me on my journey through Lent, the next forty days will hopefully lead us to a revival and a renewing of ourselves and revive as well as deepen our relationship with God, ourselves and our neighbors.
“Beware of practicing your piety before others in order to be seen by them; for then you have no reward from your Father in heaven. “So whenever you give alms, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be praised by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your alms may be done in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you. “And whenever you pray, do not be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, so that they may be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. But whenever you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you. “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. “Pray then in this way: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And do not bring us to the time of trial, but rescue us from the evil one. For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you; but if you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. “And whenever you fast, do not look dismal, like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces so as to show others that they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that your fasting may be seen not by others but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you. “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal; but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
Oh God, my rock and my redeemer! Thank you for the opportunity to share your words with the world. My prayer is that all who read and hear your words would come to know you in a personal way. I ask that the Holy Spirit will lead us towards your Son, Jesus. May we all seek forgiveness and renewal as we travel through life’s wilderness. I ask all these things is Jesus name. Amen. 🙏🏻
The Ballad of Reading Gaol
And thus we rust Life’s iron chain
Degraded and alone:
And some men curse, and some men weep,
And some men make no moan:
But God’s eternal Laws are kind
And break the heart of stone.
And every human heart that breaks,
In prison-cell or yard,
Is as that broken box that gave
Its treasure to the Lord,
And filled the unclean leper’s house
With the scent of costliest nard.
Ah! happy day they whose hearts can break
And peace of pardon win!
How else may man make straight his plan
And cleanse his soul from Sin?
How else but through a broken heart
May Lord Christ enter in?