I want to invite you to journey together for the next 40 days! There will be personal reflections, bible passages unpacked and reframed, challenge, and sharing… I hope you will join me!! and feel free to share this link with anyone that you think would be blessed to journey with us!
Lent is the season in the church calendar when we reflect and prepare our hearts and minds to celebrate the Passion of Christ. Join me for the next 40 days as we look at various passages of Scripture, writings, quotes and images to delve deeper into this season to grow deeper in our relationship with God in anticipation of Easter.
The Lenten season is characterized as a time of prayer, repentance, good works and fasting for the 40 days preceding Easter Sunday. It is commonly celebrated by giving up something- a food, a luxury, a habit, or activity- and using that sacrifice as a marker to turn our heart and minds to God. What will you sacrifice this season and will you use that sacrifice to draw you closer to God?
Sacrifice causes me to squirm a bit, to wonder if I can tough it out… really do it? I have already failed in a number of my New Year’s resolutions, but somehow, this season feels different. As I anticipate Lent this year, it is more about my walk with God than me proving something or setting a goal and meeting it for accomplishment sake. This time of sacrifice has Jesus’s sacrifice as the energy behind it, the reality that compels me to make a choice to give up something that I want or think I need. Somehow this feels like a holy offering to the One who gave up everything for me.
So I will give up comfort foods and eat clean/paleo for 40 days… chocolate and carbs- are my go to comfort foods, that “help” when I am feeling down, when I am wanting a treat, when I am tired, whenever!! ! Dark chocolate, a homemade bowl of popcorn, a warm baguette with brie cheese & a glass of wine, are all favorites at the end of a long day. Giving up comfort foods and eating only that which is “on the list” is a type of fasting for me. It won’t be fun, but it will be worth the sacrifice as I reach for my ‘memory verse” instead of the piece of dark chocolate that tastes so good with coffee in the morning or afternoon… as I meal plan instead of read the latest FB posts… as I open my Bible instead of a bottle of wine in the evening. This will be my 2014 Lenten journey. What is yours?
It doesn’t have to be big or monumental… just do something different for this Lenten season. Maybe it is simply committing to do the daily reading that I send. Maybe it is taking the time to post a sticky note of gratitude on you fridge or dashboard each morning, or giving up that extra 30 minutes of sleep to go for a walk, make a lunch to take to work (thus saving $) or giving up a TV show to get to bed early so you are healthier, more cheerful in the am. Just choose something and begin! What has been niggling in the back of your mind as some action to take? Something to do or sacrifice that will require the strength of God and your obedience to see it through? Let’s travel together these next 40 days as we dive into God’s word and grow.
Post your Lenten sacrifice in the comments and check FB for the link to the daily post/devotion for the next 40 days. Looking forward to the joy, struggles and growth we will share together during this Lenten season!
Lent 2014 Day 1
Read: Psalm 51
I love the Message translation:
Psalm 51 The Message (MSG)
A David Psalm, After He Was Confronted by Nathan About the Affair with Bathsheba
51 1-3 Generous in love—God, give grace!
Huge in mercy—wipe out my bad record.
Scrub away my guilt,
soak out my sins in your laundry.
I know how bad I’ve been;
my sins are staring me down.
4-6 You’re the One I’ve violated, and you’ve seen
it all, seen the full extent of my evil.
You have all the facts before you;
whatever you decide about me is fair.
I’ve been out of step with you for a long time,
in the wrong since before I was born.
What you’re after is truth from the inside out.
Enter me, then; conceive a new, true life.
7-15 Soak me in your laundry and I’ll come out clean,
scrub me and I’ll have a snow-white life.
Tune me in to foot-tapping songs,
set these once-broken bones to dancing.
Don’t look too close for blemishes,
give me a clean bill of health.
God, make a fresh start in me,
shape a Genesis week from the chaos of my life.
Don’t throw me out with the trash,
or fail to breathe holiness in me.
Bring me back from gray exile,
put a fresh wind in my sails!
Give me a job teaching rebels your ways
so the lost can find their way home.
Commute my death sentence, God, my salvation God,
and I’ll sing anthems to your life-giving ways.
Unbutton my lips, dear God;
I’ll let loose with your praise.
16-17 Going through the motions doesn’t please you,
a flawless performance is nothing to you.
I learned God-worship
when my pride was shattered.
Heart-shattered lives ready for love
don’t for a moment escape God’s notice.
18-19 Make Zion the place you delight in,
repair Jerusalem’s broken-down walls.
Then you’ll get real worship from us,
acts of worship small and large,
Including all the bulls
they can heave onto your altar!
This is the Psalm that David prays after he is confronted about his sin with Bathsheba. David has missed the sweet fellowship with God that wanes when our hearts are harboring or hiding our sin. We have a good God who cleanses us from all unrighteousness and as believers we get to stand washed and redeemed by the blood of the Lamb! We wear the robe of Christ’s righteousness, but we don’t always live that way. We are in process, growing and being pruned. That pruning includes God clearing out the sin in our lives… jealousy, greed, immorality, unrighteous anger, harbored resentment, etc… we know the dark and ugly places in our hearts we don’t want to be seen.
This Psalm owns up to the reality of sin and invites God to clean us, purge the sin from our lives, and wash us white as snow. David says, “I am guilty, and only the Lord can wash me clean.”
Imagine God actually washing you clean- water pouring from His hands, gently rubbing away the dirt that is the evidence of sin, His fingers massaging your scalp, washing the suds from your hair…
Jesus did this when he washed the disciple’s feet. – a job that was relegated to the lowliest of servants.
We must have a posture of repentance and humility to receive this washing… to be vulnerable and naked body and soul before the Lord. it is frightening and thrilling at the same time. We long to be seen and known, warts and all… and yet we hide from the eyes that we are afraid will turn away when they see our shame our sin.
But God doesn’t lower His eyes, or turn away in condemnation. There is no condemnation in Christ. We are not too much for Him, but instead He doesn’t drop His gaze, but knowing our sorrow, our shame…our sin… He longs to cleanse us and forgive us and have us walk boldly and confidently clothed in His righteousness!
We cannot wash ourselves, we are dependent on God to wash us– (thoroughly clean) and to blot out (keep no record of ) our sin. This is where we find freedom!
Take some time today on your knees before God and confess your sins to Him, (He knows them anyway!) and then be still in His Presence as He washes you white as snow. Receive this cleansing and with a humble and repentant heart and then rise with a joy that can only come from being forgiven… completely and fully.
Imagine as you rise, God continuing to look into your eyes, seeing all, knowing all and smiling at you His precious daughter… then taking the Royal Robe of Christ’s righteousness and wrapping it around you. To clothe you, to protect you…this Robe is what God sees when He looks at us – this Robe of Christ’s righteousness guarantees our ability to stand before Him white as snow! Forgiven and redeemed.
Listen to the song: Create in Me a Clean Heart http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mM7UAM0xsN4
Ezekiel 36:26 says, “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you!”
Please post your thoughts and comments in the section below!
I am looking forward to learning and growing together with and from you!!
Daily Lectionary Readings:
Ash Wednesday 2014:
Joel 2:1-2, 12-17, 2 Corinthians 5:20-6:10, Mathew 6:1-6, 16-21
Psalm 51: commentary:
David uses 3 verbs for removing his sin:
- Blot out- “macah” is the Hebrew word that signifies to literally erase, wiped out, Paul uses exaleipho (Greek) litearllay meaning “to wipe off” like erasing a blackboard, or when ink was used to write on papyrus, it didn’t have acid in it, so it didn’t soak in, but could be wiped off – not leaving a trace. Paul use of this word tells us that God has wiped off the debt we owe for our sin, it has been nailed to the cross and there is no record of it, nothing is held against us.
- Wash away –“askab” thoroughly wash, David is comparing forgiveness with washing clothes- so what was once dirty is now completely clean
- Cleanse- “taher” purify Being made ceremonially clean was important in the Old Testament. It was necessary for those who would come before a Holy God. God makes us pure. It is a statement of our condition before Him as believers who are clothed in Christ’s righteousness.
Do you live in the reality of being forgiven… being washed clean? or do you let your view of sin hold you back from living in the freedom of the forgiveness offered by God? David received and rejoices in God’s forgiveness… do you? if not, why? What lies do you believe that keep you from receiving and living in Gods forgiveness and seeing yourself with the way that God sees you? Often pride can keep us from living in the freedom of forgiveness as we falsely believe that we must do penance, or are somehow beyond God’s forgiveness or need to “add” to the blood of Christ. These are subtle lies of the evil one that prevent us from living washed clean…forgiven…fully loved and sustained by grace. Ask God to reveal any place in your mind or heart that you harbor uncertainty about the reality of His forgiveness and love for you, His precious princes daughter.
If you want to read through the New Testament during Lent (about ½ hour a day)
Read on Day 1: Matthew 1-7