Today is Ash Wednesday ya’ll! That means Easter is almost here!!!
I thought that I would break it down for those that don’t recall the reason for this day or the Lenten season. Here is some info I gathered for ya…
Ash Wednesday is a day of repentance and it marks the beginning of Lent. Ashes were used in ancient times, according to the Bible, to express mourning. Dusting oneself with ashes was the penitent’s way of expressing sorrow for sins and faults. An ancient example of one expressing one’s penitence is found inJob 42:3-6. Job says to God: “I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee. The other eye wandereth of its own accord. Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.” (vv. 5-6, KJV) The prophet Jeremiah, for example, calls for repentance this way: “O daughter of my people, gird on sackcloth, roll in the ashes” (Jer 6:26).The prophet Daniel pleaded for God this way: “I turned to the Lord God, pleading in earnest prayer, with fasting, sackcloth and ashes” (Daniel 9:3). Just prior to the New Testament period, the rebels fighting for Jewish independence, the Maccabees, prepared for battle using ashes: “That day they fasted and wore sackcloth; they sprinkled ashes on their heads and tore their clothes” (1 Maccabees 3:47; see also 4:39).
Other examples are found in: Numbers 19:9, 19:17, Jonah3:6, Matthew 11:21, and Luke 10:13, and Hebrews 9:13. Ezekiel 9 also speaks of a linen-clad messenger marking the forehead of the city inhabitants that have sorrow over the sins of the people. All those without the mark are destroyed.
Ash Wednesday marks the start of a 40-day period which is an allusion to the separation of Jesus in the desert to fast and pray. During this time he was tempted. Matthew 4:1-11, Mark 1:12-13, and Luke 4:1-13. While not specifically instituted in the Bible text, the 40-day period of repentance is also analogous to the 40 days during which Moses repented and fasted in response to the making of the Golden calf.
[Taken from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ash_Wednesday]
“Devotions for Lent from Holy Bible: Mosaic.” Day 1
What is Lent?
For some Christians, Lent has always been a part of their spiritual life, but for others it is unfamiliar. Lent is a season leading up to Easter, a time when Christians have historically prepared their hearts for Easter with reflection, repentance, and prayer. Lent begins with Ash Wednesday and proceeds for forty days, excluding Sundays, and culminating with Good Friday and Holy Saturday. Since Sundays are weekly celebrations of the resurrection of Jesus, the six Sundays in Lent are not counted as part of the forty-day season, which focuses on introspection, self examination, and repentance. Many Christians choose to celebrate a fast throughout the season of Lent, but the focus is not on depriving themselves of something as much as it is on devoting themselves to God and his purposes in the world.
Lent is an important season of the church year. The church year is an excellent way to help focus our attention on God with the way we organize our time. Rather than following the solar calendar’s more familiar structure, organized by the rhythms of nature, the church calendar is organized around God and his activity in the world. The church calendar follows six seasons of varying length: Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, Lent, Easter, and Pentecost. Each of these seasons have different focuses: Advent focuses on the anticipation of God’s coming into the world, both in the incarnation and in Christ’s return. Christmas focuses on the birth of Christ. Epiphany focuses on the light of God’s presence shining in the world. Lent focuses on human sin and God’s gracious solution. Easter focuses on resurrection life. Pentecost focuses on the ongoing activity of the Holy Spirit in the world. The annual rhythm of these seasons can have a powerful effect on personal and communal spiritual growth. [Tyndale House Publishers generously provides this: “Devotions for Lent from Holy Bible: Mosaic.” Courtesy of http://www.Youversion.com reading plans]
Joel 2: 12-15
A Call to Repentance
12 That is why the Lord says, “Turn to me now, while there is time. Give me your hearts. Come with fasting, weeping, and mourning. 13 Don’t tear your clothing in your grief, but tear your hearts instead.” Return to the Lord your God, for he is merciful and compassionate, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. He is eager to relent and not punish.
14 Who knows? Perhaps he will give you a reprieve, sending you a blessing instead of this curse. Perhaps you will be able to offer grain and wine to the Lord your God as before.15 Blow the ram’s horn in Jerusalem! Announce a time of fasting; call the people together for a solemn meeting.
Today I begin my journey of heightened repentance, fasting, and prayer.
I would appreciate your encouragement throughout this season.
Some ideas for fasting and different types of fast can be found here.[http://www.allaboutprayer.org/types-of-fasting-faq.htm]
Personally, I will be committing to a personalized fasting plan combining sun up sun down fasting, Daniel Fasting, and full fasting.
Daniel Fasting? [http://www.daniel-fast.com/about.html]
For more on my journey in fasting watch the video below.
As you fast remeber this:
“And when you fast, don’t make it obvious, as the hypocrites do, for they try to look miserable and disheveled so people will admire them for their fasting. I tell you the truth, that is the only reward they will ever get.”
Be blessed and be a blessing!!!
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