Psalm 45:10-11, 13-15

Listen to me, O royal daughter; take heart to what I say. Forget your people and your homeland far away. For your royal husband delights in your beauty; honor him, for he is your lord. [...] The bride, a princess, waits within her chambers, dressed in a gown woven with gold. In her beautiful robes, she is led to the king, accompanied by her bridesmaids. What a joyful, enthusiastic procession as they enter the king's palace!



Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Lent


How blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered!
How blessed is the man to whom the LORD does not impute iniquity,
and in whose spirit there is no deceit!
Psalm 32:1-2

Today marks the first day of the Lenten season. Lent is a time of prayer and preparation for Easter. It's 40 days, not including Sunday's, set apart for reflection and repentance. What better time to reflect on the graveness of sin and the beauty of grace than the weeks prior to the resurrection of our Lord.

I'd encourage you to use these weeks to focus on Christ and the cross. As I've grown older, I've realized how quickly we rush by the cross and Christ's sufferings. It's painful to look at. Seeing our own sin at his expense. At first glance, there's not much joy in the cross. It's a uncomely, bloody death marking the sins of all humanity. Who takes joy in reflecting on their own weaknesses?

But without the cross, there is no joy. Without Christ's suffering, there is no life. Without his despair and sorrow, there is no hope.

We need to spend time before the cross, kneeling in retrospection at the sacrifice that was made on our behalf. For if we do not, then do we really know what we've been saved from? Do we really know how deep our sins and misery are apart from Christ? Reflect with me on the passion of Christ, so that we might to take part in His joys.


Resources for Lent:

Contemplating the Cross: a 40-day Pilgrimage of Prayer by Tricia Rhodes is a great devotional for Lent. The author is my pastor's wife, a truly gifted writer and speaker who has a heart for God and helping others know him personally. You can find the devotions on her website (click here). I read this last year during Lent and am planning to read portions of it again this year. On her website Tricia has different ways you can observe Lent (click here).

The Passion of Jesus Christ by John Piper is another good devotional for Lent. Piper shares 50 reasons why Jesus came to die.

CRI/Voice Institute: The Season of Lent - Gives a brief history of lent, practices, and lenten readings.




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