I just got off the phone with Kenya.
Their churches are now into the fourth day of fasting. They have spread the message through all media possible. They now expect thousands to come and there has never been a crusade to this area before. They are praying for salvations.
They are again praying through the night for us.
Would it be possible church to begin to pray for them with fervor? These wonderful people pray for us through the night and day after day and fast for GOD’s blessing on us, can we do the same for them?
I am asking that we pray. Can we stir ourselves up in the night season? Can we pray for repentance to come on their land as well as ours? Can we pray healing from the fighting that they had two years ago? Can we pray for GOD’s mercy to run through the land? I am stirred inside as I hear their voices. They are so very excited and desire to connect with you all in prayer.
Can we pray?
Can we pray for the same fire in America?
What if the truly is Revival? Could this be the time that GOD has called us to our knees? Could it be that our brothers and sisters from Africa heard the call long before us and are moving to rend the heavens? Can we humble ourselves and recognize the day of GOD’s visitation?
The harvest is truly ripe. The workers are truly few.
Let us pray…
Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand…
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In some parts of the country you could go about your business all day and never encounter a reminder that this is Ash Wednesday. Or you could look up from your work to find someone near you wearing ashes on her forehead in a mark that looks something like a cross.
Ash Wednesday is about preparation, and the beginning of preparation at that. All of the Lenten season is focused upon preparation for Easter. Ash Wednesday is about how we can begin those preparations. It is “to make a right beginning of repentance,” as the Book of Common Prayer puts it. We are reminded of “the need which all Christians continually have to renew their repentance and faith.”
Ash Wednesday is the day when the journey toward Easter begins. I would like to suggest that Ash Wednesday helps us begin our preparation for Easter in three ways: by teaching us to mourn the past, to examine the present, and to look forward toward an inspiring future.
Mourning the past
The ashes of Ash Wednesday come from the palm leaves that were burned after last year’s Palm Sunday. Throughout the Scripture ashes speak of mourning and regret. To mark his sadness, Job covered himself in ashes. Jesus reminds us that repentance (true regret) can include sackcloth and ashes. The ashes from last year’s palms remind us that although we may have received Christ enthusiastically at the beginning of our Christian walk we have perhaps lost our first love.
What better call to return to our first love than to be marked with the ashes of our past enthusiasm? These ashes also remind us that the original celebration of Palm Sunday gave way to the crucifixion less than a week later. Psalm 51 is an excellent reading for Ash Wednesday. It is a Scriptural guide to repentance.
Examining our present
When Jesus challenged His listeners to consider the truth that those who are healthy do not need a doctor, He was asking each one of them to examine themselves. Only those who agree they are sick will submit to a doctor, and only when we acknowledge our sin can we receive His forgiveness. Ash Wednesday is an opportunity to examine our need afresh and to affirm that we will always need a Savior.
Do we agree with Jesus that we are still in need, or having received Him as Lord and Savior at one point in time, have we forgotten that our need is daily? Colossians 2:6 reminds us “Just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in Him.” Or as one pastor said, “The way in is the way on.”
As Ash Wednesday begins our voyage through Lent we are also aware that our final destination is Easter Sunday. And Easter Sunday is more than a commemoration of the past. It is also about hope for the future. We have all seen what commemoration looks like when it has lost its spirit. Some people celebrate Holy days (holidays) without ever encountering the meaning: Thanksgiving Day without the giving of thanks, Christmas day without a living Savior, and Easter Sunday without a risen Lord.
But the glorious message of Easter is that He is risen! We can prepare for Easter by reflecting on the promise of resurrection. I Corinthians 15: 20 reveals, “Christ has indeed risen from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep.” This wonderful verse assures us not only of Christ’s resurrection but also our ultimate destiny: that we too will be resurrected, and our loved ones in Christ. His resurrection is the promise of ours, complete with an eternal future of joy.
There are riches waiting in Ash Wednesday, especially for many of us who are unaccustomed to a formal church calendar. No matter how we mark the day, whether with ashes on our forehead or with reflection on the meaning of Easter, Jesus invites us journey on to Easter Sunday with Him.
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