If yesterday’s thoughts on Ash Wednesday were my first round of Lenten Thoughts, here are just a couple more.
Yesterday I linked to Pastor Sumpter (a friend, and previous pastor of ours) in defense of observing Lent. Here I will link to Pastor Wilson (another friend, although a peer of my parents rather than myself, and another previous pastor of ours; in fact, the pastor who baptized us when I was 12) in defense of not observing Lent. What I love most about the juxtaposition of these two links I’m sharing is that these two pastors, and their two churches, live in an incredibly tight community, work together in Kingdom work & ministry opportunities, and have the most incredible amount of public grace toward one another. I can not tell you what a blessing it is to witness unity & diversity, smothered with abundant grace, encased in flesh. This is the love of Christ! This is one of the mercies that I long for, as I seek to put my heart into observing the Lenten season this year (not in any prescripted ways, but in whatever way the Lord has put upon my heart to do it): that I would grow in the godliness that rejoices in the unity & diversity of Christianity that comes from God’s people as they trust in Him.
…when things are difficult, when we are disappointed, when it feels like God is taking things away that we love, when it feels like He isn’t loving us, it is frequently just the opposite. It is frequently in those moments that God is actually most loving us. He has something far better in store for us. He has a glory for us that will only fit us if we are dramatically changed. So during this season, fix your eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of your faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising its shame and has now sat down at the right hand of the Father. Run with endurance. Keep running even when it feels like you’re going to die. Keep trusting your Father that He knows what He’s doing. You know you can trust Him because He sent His beloved Son first. We know that glory awaits, that resurrection awaits because Jesus is risen from the dead, so we can trust Him.
~Toby Sumpter, blog~
Today I have been meditating on Psalm 91, and spent some time using it as a springboard for prayer:
You who dwell in the shelter of the Most High, who abide in the shadow of the Almighty, Say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress, my God in whom I trust.”
For he will rescue you from the snare of the fowler, from the destroying pestilence. With his pinions he will cover you, and under his wings you shall take refuge; his faithfulness is a buckler and a shield.
You shall not fear the terror of the night nor the arrow that flies by day; Though a thousand fall at your side, ten thousand at your right side, near you it shall not come. Rather with your eyes shall you behold and see the requital of the wicked,
Because you have the Lord for your refuge; you have made the Most High your stronghold. No evil shall befall you, nor shall affliction come near your tent. For to his angels he has given command about you that they guard you in all your ways. Upon their hands they shall bear you up, lest you dash your foot against a stone.
Because he clings to me, I will deliver him; I will set him on high because he acknowledges my name. He shall call upon me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in distress; I will deliver him and glorify him; with length of days I will gratify him and will show him my salvation.
And as I continue to meditate on Scripture, study Ecclesiastes, and seek diligence in prayer through Lent by God’s grace (and like someone else said, yes, I should do these things diligently always, but I am a sinner & need reminding!), I am seeking to hold fast to these three points of the Lenten season:
- Remind us of our own sinfulness – “my offences truly, I know them; my sin is always before me…” (Ps 50:5)
- Call us to turn to God with open hearts – “O today listen to His voice, harden not your hearts…” (Ps 94:8)
- Proclaim God’s unending mercy – “if you, O Lord should mark our guilt, who would survive?” (Ps 129:3)