Glad to have you reading today. It is official, we have begun our Lenten journey. Thank you for participating in our Ash Wednesday Service last night. We had great attendance. You should also remember that we were just a small group who joined with millions of other Christians to participate in that service as we prepare our hearts towards Easter.
As I told you in some of my comments last night, we have "set our faces towards Jerusalem" as Jesus does in Luke 9:51. There is only one place a journey like this will lead us and that is to the cross.
Many of you have asked me about giving things up for Lent. You should know that the act of giving up is patterned after Jesus' time in the desert where He fasted and communed with God. We give up certain things to deny ourselves, and to let us experience just a small sacrifice as we draw near the cross.
Just so you know, I have given up sweet tea, and sweets this year...for many that does not seem like much, but for me, it is quite difficult. What did you give up this year? Please put your answers in the comments below...it would be good for you to make them public so that you would be even more accountable.
With that said, it is day two of the Lenten journey and I have already been tempted. After officiating Mrs. Oreta Bishop's funeral this morning, I was invited to eat with Derrell and Judy Lynn at their home. There was more food there than at our Wednesday night suppers. I was okay until I saw the sweets (pecan pie, key lime cake, and of course, Mrs. Judy's famous caramel cake.) I resisted, but the devil rode home with me because Mrs. Judy insisted that I take a piece of that cake home for Ginger. If that is not temptation, then I do not know what is.
Our text Sunday, Mark 1:9-16, tells us of the first steps Jesus takes on this road...it covers His baptism, His temptation, and then His first message. In these verses, Mark outlines for us our own journey to the cross. You should know that the road is never easy, nor is the path straight...but the calling for you and me, especially in these forty days is to keep our eyes upon Jesus, and to keep the cross central in our lives.
May you turn your attention to Christ, especially when you are tempted to look away.
In His love and grace,