Today is Ash Wednesday on the church calendar. It’s the day that marks the first day of Lent, the 40-day ascent toward Easter (Sundays aren’t included in the count of 40 days), when Jesus Christ overcame death after sacrificing His life for yours and mine.
Some of us grew up with a Lent characterized by fasting from something in sacrifice and preparation. Some of us have little idea what Lent is and only know Ash Wednesday as the odd day when we encounter people who have a smudge on their foreheads. We could get into all kinds of doctrinal details of Lent, but let’s stick with the basics:
Lent is a preparation, a spiritually-disciplined journey, a purposeful reflection on Jesus Christ.
Maybe you’re not sure who Jesus truly is, or perhaps you’re carrying around your childhood notion of Him.
I invite you to take a journey–not with me, but with Jesus.
Each day through Easter Sunday, I’ll post Scripture verses to read. I challenge you to read them first thing in the morning and reflect on them throughout the day.
- Read them multiple times, aloud when possible.
- Write something that stands out to you on a sticky note, and carry it with you throughout the day.
- Journal sometime throughout the day or write reflections in the comments section below each post.
- Refuse to treat the daily reading as something you “have to” do. Challenge yourself to lean into the verses, open your heart to them, and journey toward Jesus through them.
Each Sunday, I’ll announce the overall theme or focus for the week. Each day, I will give you little more than the verses themselves. It’s not what I have to say about them that is important. It’s what God says about them. So I want to stay out of the way. Let the Holy Spirit pour into you, challenge you, and nourish you.
If you are purposeful, disciplined, and humble, I am certain you will get to know Jesus better by leaning into Lent.
Let’s get started with today’s reading:
Blow the horn in Zion;
sound the alarm on My holy mountain!
Let all the residents of the land tremble,
for the Day of the Lord is coming;
in fact, it is near—
a day of darkness and gloom,
a day of clouds and dense overcast,
like the dawn spreading over the mountains;
a great and strong people appears,
such as never existed in ages past
and never will again
in all the generations to come.
this is the Lord’s declaration—
turn to Me with all your heart,
with fasting, weeping, and mourning.
Tear your hearts,
not just your clothes,
and return to the Lord your God.
For He is gracious and compassionate,
slow to anger, rich in faithful love,
and He relents from sending disaster. (Joel 2:1-2, 12-13)
Jesus went out with His disciples to the villages of Caesarea Philippi. And on the road He asked His disciples, “Who do people say that I am?”
They answered Him, “John the Baptist; others, Elijah; still others, one of the prophets.”
“But you,” He asked them again, “who do you say that I am?”
Peter answered Him, “You are the Messiah!”
And He strictly warned them to tell no one about Him. (Mark 8:27-30)