Wednesday, February 18, 2015

A Time to Pause

Today is Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent.  I was raised in a non-denominational church and don’t know much about Lent, other than it is the period of time leading up to Easter.  It is a time for people to reflect on Christ, and often includes the observance of a ritual such as fasting. While I do not feel led to fast, I do have a personal desire to take the next forty-seven days to focus my thoughts and heart on Christ and all that He has done for me.  I have never really done that before, in terms of preparing for Resurrection Day.  My life usually moves at breakneck speed, and each year it feels as if “suddenly it is Easter.”  This year I want to intentionally "hit the pause button" on my life, and approach that special day with a quiet and reflective heart.

During my devotions this morning, I read about the Fall of Man in Genesis 3:1-19, as well as the general condition of Man and his desperate need for redemption through Christ Jesus in Romans 3:9-26.  I encourage you to read and reflect on those passages.  I was reminded that I am but dust, and will return to dust.  The passage in Romans says that “there is none righteous, not even one” (3:10) and “all have turned aside; together they have become useless; there is none who does good, there is not even one.” (3:12)

This is exactly why Christ came.
Without Him, we are but dust and our condition is hopeless.

He is our Living Hope.

The Deeps
(prayer from The Valley of Vision, A Collection of Puritan Prayers & Devotions; edited by Arthur Bennett, The Banner of Truth Trust, 1975, page 75)

Lord Jesus,
Give me a deeper repentance, 
              a horror of sin, 
              a dread of its approach;
Help me chastely to flee it, 
              and jealously to resolve that my heart shall be thine alone.
Give me a deeper trust, 
              that I may lose myself to find myself in thee, 
                       the ground of my rest, 
                       the spring of my being.  
Give me a deeper knowledge of thyself 
              as saviour, master, lord, and king.
Give me deeper power in private prayer, 
              more sweetness in thy Word, 
              more steadfast grip on its truth.
Give me deeper holiness in speech, thought, action, 
              and let me not seek moral virtue apart from thee.
Plough deep in me, great Lord, heavenly husbandman, 
              that my being may be a tilled field, 
              the roots of grace spreading far and wide, 
                        until thou alone art seen in me, 
                        thy beauty golden like summer harvest, 
                        thy fruitfulness as autumn plenty.
I have no master but thee, 
              no law but thy will, 
              no delight but thyself, 
              no wealth but that thou givest, 
              no good but that thou blessest, 
              no peace but that thou bestowest.
I am nothing but that thou makest me,
I have nothing but that I receive from thee,
I can be nothing but that grace adorns me.
Quarry me deep, dear Lord, 
              and then fill me to overflowing with living water.

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