Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Ash Wednesday

We Come Into the Presence of God

Joel 2:12-15

12"Yet even now," declares the LORD,
"(A)Return to Me with all your heart,
And with (B)fasting, weeping and mourning;
13And (C)rend your heart and not (D)your garments "
Now return to the LORD your God,
For He is (E)gracious and compassionate,
Slow to anger, abounding in lovingkindness
And (F)relenting of evil.
14Who knows (G)whether He will not turn and relent
And leave a (H)blessing behind Him,
Even (I)a grain offering and a drink offering
For the LORD your God?
15(J)Blow a trumpet in Zion,
(K)Consecrate a fast, proclaim a solemn assembly,

Oh Lord, rend my heart.

We Accept the Call to Repent

Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18

1"Beware of practicing your righteousness before men (A)to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven.
2"So when you give to the poor, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they (B)may be honored by men (C)Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full.

3"But when you give to the poor, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing,

4so that your giving will be in secret; and (D)your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.

5"When you pray, you are not to be like the hypocrites; for they love to (E)stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners (F)so that they may be seen by men (G)Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full.

6"But you, when you pray, (H)go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and (I)your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.

16"(A)Whenever you fast, do not put on a gloomy face as the hypocrites do, for they neglect their appearance so that they will be noticed by men when they are fasting (B)Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full.
17"But you, when you fast, (C)anoint your head and wash your face

18so that your fasting will not be noticed by men, but by your Father who is in secret; and your (D)Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.

The 3 Traditions are alms-giving, prayer, and fasting. You don't do this to be important and seen, you do this in secret so that God rewards you and you don't get your reward from those who see you.

We Confess

oh Lord, i see my own weakness and brokenness. i confess my lack of faith and wandering faithfulness.

We Receive the Ashes

God remembers you are dust and calls you to a new life.

We Journey into Lent with Assurance

4I will (A)heal their apostasy,
I will (B)love them freely,
For My anger has (C)turned away from them.
5I will be like the (D)dew to Israel;
He will blossom like the (E)lily,
And he will take root like the cedars of (F)Lebanon.
6His shoots will sprout,
And his beauty will be like the (G)olive tree
And his fragrance like the cedars of (H)Lebanon.
7Those who (I)live in his shadow
Will again raise (J)grain,
And they will blossom like the vine.
His renown will be like the wine of Lebanon.
8O Ephraim, what more have I to do with (K)idols?
It is I who answer and look after you
I am like a luxuriant (L)cypress;
From (M)Me comes your fruit.

when i think of the story of Hosea being about Hosea redeeming an unfaithful spouse then i know very well of how God waits for me in my unfaithfulness toward Him. may i again raise grain and blossom like the vine.

as i think of the next 40 days of Lent i know i'll need to realize that God calls me back to Him. may i realize more and more my own need for redeeming as i try to come back on my journey toward God.

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