Lent Devotion Day 1

Source: From our Ash Wednesday Service, by Pastor Rob Wilson.  March 6, 2019
WHAT IS LENT?
Lent is the six week period (46 days) that precedes the remembrance of Jesus Christ’s suffering and death on the cross.  It is set apart as a special season of fasting, penitence, prayer and any other spiritual discipline.

WHY DOES LENT LAST 46 DAYS?
Lent was given it’s time period from the time in Jesus life when he spent 40 days fasting and being tempted by Satan in the wilderness.  The six additional days added to Lent are because Sunday in the Christian tradition is considered the ‘Day of the Lord’ or the ‘Day of Resurrection’.  Since there are 6 Sundays in the 40 day period, these days are not counted towards the 40 days of repentance, fasting & prayer.  

WHY IS IT CALLED LENT?
The word ‘lent’ comes from an old Saxon word which means ‘spring’.  The Easter celebration and thus lent are determined by date of the spring equinox.  Since this time changes each year, the celebration of Easter and Lent also change.  This makes Lent and Easter fall on different days each year. Easter can fall as early as March 22nd or as late as April 25th.  

WHY IS THE FIRST DAY OF LENT CALLED ASH WEDNESDAY?
Ash Wednesday gets its name from the custom of sprinkling ashes on the heads of penitents in the Old Testament (Daniel, David, People of Ninevah, Matthew 11:21).  This sprinkling of ashes has come to symbolize our humility before God, our sorrow for sin and reminds us that from ‘dust we came and to dust we will return’.  Ash Wednesday then begins the Lenten season and we are marked with a cross on the forehead (with ashes) to commence the Lenten season.

HOW SHOULD CHRISTIANS TODAY OBSERVE LENT?
The Christian today should understand Lent to be a special season in which we draw near to God and take stock of our spiritual lives with Christ.  We do this through acts of penitence, charity & devotion.  This may include fasting on set days, abstaining from all things that tend to draw the heart from God and/or committing to a specific spiritual discipline that will help one draw close to God.  As with all spiritual practices and disciplines, it is easy to lose our focus and sight of the ultimate purpose for doing them.  The human heart has a tendency to move the focus off of God and onto ourselves in any and all things that we do.  Thus it is critical for any spiritual practice to be kept in focus.  The object and focus of Lent must always be to deepen our religious life, to purify our hearts from sin and to unite us more closely with our Savior.

BEGINNING THE LENTEN JOURNEY THROUGH WORSHIP & WORD
Read Scripture:            
Luke 4:1-13 The Message (MSG)
Tested by the Devil
4 1-2 Now Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, left the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wild. For forty wilderness days and nights he was tested by the Devil. He ate nothing during those days, and when the time was up he was hungry.
3 The Devil, playing on his hunger, gave the first test: “Since you’re God’s Son, command this stone to turn into a loaf of bread.”
4 Jesus answered by quoting Deuteronomy: “It takes more than bread to really live.”
5-7 For the second test he led him up and spread out all the kingdoms of the earth on display at once. Then the Devil said, “They’re yours in all their splendor to serve your pleasure. I’m in charge of them all and can turn them over to whomever I wish. Worship me and they’re yours, the whole works.”
8 Jesus refused, again backing his refusal with Deuteronomy: “Worship the Lord your God and only the Lord your God. Serve him with absolute single-heartedness.”
9-11 For the third test the Devil took him to Jerusalem and put him on top of the Temple. He said, “If you are God’s Son, jump. It’s written, isn’t it, that ‘he has placed you in the care of angels to protect you; they will catch you; you won’t so much as stub your toe on a stone’?”
12 “Yes,” said Jesus, “and it’s also written, ‘Don’t you dare tempt the Lord your God.’”
13 That completed the testing. The Devil retreated temporarily, lying in wait for another opportunity.

BEGINNING THE LENTEN JOURNEY THROUGH CONFESSION...
 God our Creator,
You have formed us from the dust and our lives are a pure gift  from You.  We have failed to thank You enough for our lives and  our blessings.  Forgive us.
                                                                                      Silent Confession

   Lord Jesus Christ, our Redeemer,
You are fully God, fully human. You know what it is to be tempted beyond our strength for You spent 40 days in the desert under the tempters hand. You Jesus are the One who came to intercede on our behalf, to take away the sting of death, to fight the power of the grave and to give us eternal life which is our never ending story.  We have not loved You enough Jesus for what You have done.  You offer us a personal and daily relationship and yet we have let things get in the way.  You offer us a way to love others and be in healthy relationships with them but we have instead chosen selfishness, pride and anger. Forgive us Lord Jesus Christ.          
                                                                                     Silent Confession

  Holy Spirit our Comforter,
You live and move and have Your being in our daily journeys. You  seek to lead, comfort, convict, and encourage us but instead we close our ears to Your voice.  Forgive us Holy Spirit.  
                                                                                     Silent Confession

God who is Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
Place now upon our hearts the thing, the emotion, the person, or  
the sins that You would have us earnestly remove from our lives  in the next 46 days so that we may grow closer to You.  
               Silent Confession


BEGINNING THE LENTEN JOURNEY THROUGH REFLECTION

In choosing to restore the classroom of my soul, to realize my total dependence upon God and grow closer in my relationship with Jesus Christ and others, I resolve to give up:  ____________________________ this Lenten season.

In choosing to restore the classroom, realize my total dependence upon God and grow closer in my relationship  with Jesus Christ and others, I resolve to take up: ________________________________this Lenten season.

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