Lean into Lent: An Invitation to Journey

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. 

Even now—
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)

Summer Scriptures Series: Revelation

©2015 PurePurpose.org
©2015 PurePurpose.org

Then the One seated on the throne said, “Look! I am making everything new.” He also said, “Write, because these words are faithful and true.” And He said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give water as a gift to the thirsty from the spring of life. (Revelation 21:5-6)

Today’s Challenge: Live today as a beginning. Live today as an end. Appreciate God’s gift. He nourishes you with His truth. Know Him well.

Summer Scriptures Series: Jude

©2015 PurePurpose.org
©2015 PurePurpose.org

Have mercy on those who doubt. (Jude 22)

How merciful are you with people who doubt, question, and analyze?

Today’s Challenge: Listen well. Engage in uncomfortable situations. Trust God to guide the conversation and each person’s heart. You don’t have to resolve everything. He know His eternal timing.

Summer Scriptures Series: 3 John

©2015 PurePurpose.org
©2015 PurePurpose.org

I have no greater joy than this: to hear that my children are walking in the truth. (3 John 4)

What is your greatest joy?

What are you willing to sacrifice to experience it? What are you willing to do for it?

What conditions or timeline do you place on the results you expect to accompany your joy?

Today’s Challenge: Give God control in the big and little things today. Choose Him instead of trying to figure out, manage, even manipulate the details. He is in charge. You are not. Follow Him well. Honor Him. Seek joy, not control.

Summer Scriptures Series: 2 John

©2015 PurePurpose.org
©2015 PurePurpose.org

And this is love: that we walk according to His commands. This is the command as you have heard it from the beginning: you must walk in love. (2 John 1:6)

How have you experienced love and obedience going hand in hand?

Today’s Challenge: Which do you tend to lean into more often: love or obedience? Intentionally link the two today. They are inseparable. Refuse to untangle them.

Summer Scriptures Series: 1 John

©2015 PurePurpose.org
©2015 PurePurpose.org

This is how we have come to know love: He laid down His life for us. We should also lay down our lives for our brothers. (1 John 3:16)

How have you learned about love? What examples of love do you most often follow to make your own decisions about love?

Today’s Challenge: Laying down you life doesn’t always require a physical death. Often, the death is a sacrifice of status, time, pride, control, and so on. Lay down your life for someone today. Be generous and humble.

Summer Scriptures Series: 2 Peter

©2015 PurePurpose.org
©2015 PurePurpose.org

Make every effort to supplement your faith with goodness, goodness with knowledge, knowledge with self-control, self-control with endurance, endurance with godliness, godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. (2 Peter 1:5-7)

Which of these do you struggle with the most? How can keeping the context of the other qualities equip you to grow in your area of struggle?

Today’s Challenge: “Make every effort to supplement your faith” today. That means intentional decisions each step of the way. Choose goodness, knowledge, self-control, endurance, godliness, brotherly affection, and love.