Lent is a 40 day period that precedes Easter devoted to time to repent over sin, lament over the rebellion in our hearts, and anticipate the power of Christ’s death and resurrection. Often, Christians have fasted from things or behaviors that distract them from focusing on Jesus as He headed for the cross. Some Christians also add to their lives during Lent (more steady church attendance, more prayer, more giving, or more Bible reading.) We'll be posting a Lenten devotional here on Facebook each Wednesday between Ash Wednesday, February 17, and April 31 during Easter week. Also, some focused prayers are included to help us walk with Jesus in His passion for our souls. We hope you'll join us in this time of repentance and reflection!
Week 1: February 17 Following Jesus through self-denial (Luke 9:23)
When Peter confesses that Jesus is the Christ of God, Jesus warned the disciples about not telling anyone about this. He said, “The Son of Man must suffer many things and must be rejected by the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.” That was His plan as He headed toward Jerusalem and His crucifixion. Then He said to them all: If anyone would come after Me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me.” As one who follows Jesus, think today about what it means to follow Him – He was going to be the sacrifice for sin. What is God asking of you to deny yourself, so you can follow Him today?
LORD God, today we join with our sacrificial Savior, denying all the perks and pleasures of selfish gain so that we can follow you to be a blessing to others. In Jesus' name, Amen.
Week 2: February 24 Repentance (Mark 1:15)
As Jesus was about to begin his ministry, John the Baptist was baptizing people as an expression of true repentance for their sin. When John was thrown in jail, then Jesus began His ministry, "proclaiming the good news of God. ‘The time has come,’" He said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!” Of what do you need to repent right now? Jesus is calling – Repent! If you want to walk with Me, repent! Spend time in reflection and repentance for anything that would nail Christ to the cross.
LORD God, I give you my heart to examine today. See if there is any wicked way in me and take my sin away. I repent of it. In Jesus' name, Amen.
Week 3: March 3 The Sinfulness of sin (Romans 1:32; Romans 8:1)
Do have any idea how sinful your sin is? God hates sin. The closer you are to God, the more you will be repulsed by your sin. The Bible shows us that the world is a sin-filled place. It is sin that insisted on Christ becoming the sacrifice. But because of that sacrifice on the cross, in Christ, “Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Praise God today for His willingness to die so you can be free from your sin.
LORD, thank you for dying on the cross for me. My sin has stained my heart, but you willingly died to remove that sin stain and give me a new life in Christ. I willingly accept it. In Jesus' name. Amen.
Week 4: March 10 Hunger ( Matthew 5:6)
We all grow hungry for physical food. Have you given up any particular food for Lent? Such fasting should open time for you to think about spiritual food offered by Christ. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus declares, “Blessed is the person who hungers and thirsts for righteousness.” Today, ponder what that means to hunger after righteousness in your life. So much unrighteousness is all around. We need to be filled with righteousness.
LORD, so much in this life fills me up, but today I desire to be filled with your righteousness. In Jesus' name, Amen.
Week 5 March 17: Salvation by grace (Ephesians 2:1-9)
We are dead in our trespasses and sin. Eternally separated from God who cannot look upon sin. But God has a deeper love for the sinner than we can imagine. And He walked the path to the cross to be the sacrificial Lamb, not for those already whole, but for the one who was lost. “But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in our transgressions and it is by grace that you have been saved…” Thank God for the faith that He offers to you through His shed blood on the cross.
LORD God, thank you, that though we were spiritually separated from You, that You have died for our sins and make a way for us to be your children. In Jesus' name, Amen.
Week 6 March 24 Forgiveness (Luke 23:34; Ephesians 4:32)
Whom did Christ forgive on His way to dying on the cross? “Father forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” How did Jesus get to that place of forgiving the very ones who beat him so ruthlessly? Who are you at odds with today, who needs your forgiveness? “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving one another, just as Christ forgave you.”
LORD, help us to forgive as we have been forgiven by You. In Jesus' name, Amen.
Week 7 March 31 Substitution (Hebrews 10:11-14)
The sacrifice of an animal will do nothing to cleanse away your sin. That’s why, year after year, new lambs were sacrificed. But then came the Perfect Sacrificial Lamb, Jesus Christ. “He did not enter by the blood of goats and calves, but He entered the Most Holy Place once and for all by His own blood, having obtained eternal redemption...” Spend time contemplating the perfect blood that was spilled for your sin. Thank Him for being willing to die for the likes of you. If you need to, make things right with God so that He will cleanse your soul from acts that lead to spiritual death.
LORD God, we are grateful for the passion that You suffered on the cross.
We thank You that You have substituted Your perfect self for our sinful selves. We accept the salvation that comes because of Your perfect, sinless, blood spilled on the cross to wash away our sin. In Jesus' name, Amen.