1st Sunday of Lent

Lenten Sunday’s are a time apart to get recharged and worship our Savior.  These last weeks I have been studying King David’s life and was brought to my knees by Psalm 51.  David wrote this psalm after his great sin with Bathsheba and the ordering of the death of Uriah, her husband.  David’s confession is real, heartfelt and gives us hope that God can indeed forgive all our sins and restore us.   Be restored and seek God’s forgiveness as you meditate.  Psalm 51: 1-4, 10-12, 17

Have mercy on me, O God,
    according to your unfailing love;
according to your great compassion
    blot out my transgressions.
wash awayWash away all my iniquity
    and cleanse me from my sin.

For I know my transgressions,
    and my sin is always before me.
Against you, you only, have I sinned
    and done what is evil in your sight;
so you are right in your verdict
    and justified when you judge.

psalm 51 10David acknowledges his sin and knows God can forgive and wash him clean.

Create in me a pure heart, O God,
    and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
11 Do not cast me from your presence
    or take your Holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation
    and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.

David knows God can restore, renew and bring joy where there was sorrow over sin.

My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit;
    a broken and contrite heart
    you, God, will not despise.

David’s humbly offers God is his broken and sorrowful heart.

Prayer:  May it be so with me too.  Forgive my sins and create in me a new restored, resolved and committed heart to serve you.   Amen.

praise Lord peanutsLinda

Suggestion:  attend a worship service really focusing on the praise and worship of God,  so that you can soak in His restoring power.

Lent- let it begin with my heart, mind and soul

Lent is a time of reflection, fasting, praise, worship and thanksgiving as we walk daily towards the cross.  The number 40 is used in the Bible to signify a time of testing and trial.  During your Lenten journey which is from today, Ash Wednesday, to Good Friday when Jesus died on the cross, we are to think about the price Jesus paid for our sins through His own death.  How we do that can take many forms.  Daily devotions with prayer and scripture, fasting for a meal or even a whole day can bring your focus on Jesus to a greater height.  Or you can choose to let go of something you really like to do, say or eat as a form of penance or identification with Christ’s suffering for you and your Pope Lentsin.  Last year, I found this quote from Pope Francis and it brought a new perspective to fasting during Lent.  It isn’t just denying myself chocolate or alcohol,  it is denying myself in other ways.  I love his suggestions to fast from stress and pressure by being intentionally more prayerful, or letting go of bitterness and focusing on love.

Today as you think about Christ and His suffering and the price He paid for your sins- think about ways you can honor Him in the next 40 days.  Each day at the end of my devotion I will have a suggestion of what you might do that day to honor Christ by doing for others in love as Christ did for you at the cross.   My daily blogs will focus on what we have in Christ because Jesus died on the cross and rose again.  I pray that my blogs and suggestions will help you to gain greater love and appreciation for your Lord and Savior and be prepared in your heart, mind and soul when Good Friday and Easter arrive.

Let the journey begin today in your heart as you set your mind towards the cross.

Linda

Suggestion:  attend an Ash Wednesday service or spend some time reflecting on your own sins.  Take a piece of paper and write them down.  Then take that paper place it before you as you pray and ask God to take those sins away and fill you anew with His love and devotion.  Symbolically placing your sins on the cross of Christ helps us to see that He died for me and my sins. Romans 5:8 “But God clearly shows and proves His own love for us, by the fact that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

 

Prepare the Way for the LORD!

Isaiah 40 1Isaiah 40:1,3,4 opens the Messiah and that is where our Advent story begins.

Comfort, comfort my people, says your God.”  A voice of one calling:
“In the wilderness prepare
    the way for the Lord;
make straight in the desert
    a highway for our God.
Every valley shall be raised up,
    every mountain and hill made low;
the rough ground shall become level,
    the rugged places a plain.

It had been 400 years since the prophet Malachi had spoken and the people were hungry and eager to hear from God.  Hundreds of years before Isaiah had prophesied that the people would be comforted by the voice of one crying in the wilderness who will proclaim the arrival of the Messiah.  The one spoken of here is John the Baptist.  His mother Elizabeth was Mary’s Aunt and their babies were due months apart.  Zachariah, John’s father, had received visit from the angel Gabriel foretelling the birth of this forerunner of Jesus.  Luke 1:13-17 “But the angel said to him: “Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to call him John. 14 He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth, 15 for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He is never to take wine or other fermented drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even before he is born. 16 He will luke 1 17bring back many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God. 17 And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the parents to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous—to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.   Just as Isaiah had prophesied,  John came and proclaimed a message of repentance and prepared the people for the Lord’s coming.

Isaiah also spoke of leveling the ground in Isaiah 26:7 The path of the righteous is level;
    you, the Upright One, make the way of the righteous smooth.”   Jesus, Messiah, would come and make way for the righteous.  Jesus indeed smoothed the way for mankind to be made righteous through His coming, His death and His resurrection.  All the mountains of sin that stood between God and man were made low through His sacrifice.  Jesus made “every mountain and hill made low; the rough ground shall become level, the rugged places a plain” for those of faith to come to God.  He removed the barrier of sin between us and holy God.  Jesus made the way for us to be saved.

John, the herald of Jesus, came to call Israel to repentance and faith.  Let us answer his call today  as we meditate on the beauty, exactness and completeness of God’s Word and the hope we have in Jesus.

Let our Advent journey begin with repentance,

Linda