Let’s just say that I’m glad February is over. It’s time to wipe the slate clean. February started off with great promise, but then the cold and snow kicked in. It left me almost 60 miles short of my goal. I am going to have to work hard next month just to get in 100 miles for the month – which will still leave me short. I did try to run today, but the cold got the better of me. Today I am really claiming my life verse for March.
but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us. – Philippians 3:13b-14a
Genesis 17:1-7, 15-16 • Psalm 22:23-31 • Romans 4:13-25 • Mark 8:31-38
23 Praise the Lord, all you who fear him!
Honor him, all you descendants of Jacob!
Show him reverence, all you descendants of Israel!
24 For he has not ignored or belittled the suffering of the needy.
He has not turned his back on them,
but has listened to their cries for help.
25 I will praise you in the great assembly.
I will fulfill my vows in the presence of those who worship you.
26 The poor will eat and be satisfied.
All who seek the Lord will praise him.
Their hearts will rejoice with everlasting joy.
27 The whole earth will acknowledge the Lord and return to him.
All the families of the nations will bow down before him.
28 For royal power belongs to the Lord.
He rules all the nations.
29 Let the rich of the earth feast and worship.
Bow before him, all who are mortal,
all whose lives will end as dust.
30 Our children will also serve him.
Future generations will hear about the wonders of the Lord.
31 His righteous acts will be told to those not yet born.
They will hear about everything he has done.
“Take a look at your heart. Everything you see in it that might sadden God, remove. God wants to come to you. Listen to Christ your Lord: “My Father and I will come to him and make our home with him” (John 14:23). That is God’s promise. If I were to tell you I was coming to stay with you, you would clean your house.
Now it is God who wants to come into your heart. Do you not hasten to purify it? How could he dwell with avarice? …God has commanded you to clothe the naked. But avarice induces you to strip the one who is clothed…I am looking at your heart. What do you have in it? Have you filled your coffers but thrown away your conscience? …Purify your heart.”
Augustine of Hippo (354-430) in Sermons 261.4 (PL 38,1203-4) as recounted in “Passions Transfigured, Thoughts Transcended” in The Roots of Christian Mysticism by Olivier Clément, 2.4.
While I have featured Matt Maher’s “Your Grace Is Enough” before, I thought I would do it again. This is an acoustic version that I like more than the band version.
Almighty God, whose blessed Son was led by the Spirit to be tempted by Satan; Come quickly to help us who are assaulted by many temptations; and, as you know the weaknesses of each of us, let each one find you mighty to save; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
First Sunday in Lent (February 22, 2015)
1 O Lord, I give my life to you.
2 I trust in you, my God!
Do not let me be disgraced,
or let my enemies rejoice in my defeat.
3 No one who trusts in you will ever be disgraced,
but disgrace comes to those who try to deceive others.
4 Show me the right path, O Lord;
point out the road for me to follow.
5 Lead me by your truth and teach me,
for you are the God who saves me.
All day long I put my hope in you.
6 Remember, O Lord, your compassion and unfailing love,
which you have shown from long ages past.
7 Do not remember the rebellious sins of my youth.
Remember me in the light of your unfailing love,
for you are merciful, O Lord.
8 The Lord is good and does what is right;
he shows the proper path to those who go astray.
9 He leads the humble in doing right,
teaching them his way.
10 The Lord leads with unfailing love and faithfulness
all who keep his covenant and obey his demands.
What a great prayer for the First Sunday in Lent. Let us use this season – as we prepare for the resurrection of Jesus – to be taught the ways of Jesus.
Pam just got done reading this book. Here is a review from The Gospel Coalition
Nabeel Qureshi. Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus: A Devout Muslim Encounters Christianity. Zondervan, 2014. 296 pages. $16.99.
Every conversion is a miracle. There is no such thing as a boring testimony. Each story of coming to faith in Christ is an example of God invading the soul like a bolt of lightning, granting faith and repentance to a sinner in need. Moreover, we should praise God for the “boring” conversions. No Christian mom prays over her infant, “Lord, please give him an exciting testimony.”
And yet there is a reason Nabeel Qureshi’s spiritual autobiography, Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus: A Devout Muslim Encounters Christianity [interview], is such compelling reading. The heart sings to see God at work among Muslims. Though many are hostile to the gospel of Jesus Christ, God is faithful to reveal himself to the nations—and this includes our Muslim friends. Nabeel was one of them, and his story is profound.
Here is a quote from a much larger article from Seedbed:
The movement in Lent is from a participation in Christ’s sufferings to the glory of his resurrection. It serves as a reminder that the way of holiness is a re-ordering of affections and desires that sanctifies and enlarges one’s vision.
Lent: A Time of Covenant Renewal