Morning by Morning, February 10 - The Mark of Ashes
Good morning, Lord Jesus. You are my Lord and my Savior. As I begin this day, I embrace Your salvation and surrender to Your lordship, as best as I can and all by Your grace. ...
"Now the glory of the God of Israel had gone up from the cherub on which it rested to the threshold of the house. The Lord call to the man clothed in linen, who had the writing case at his side; and said to him, 'Go through the city, through Jerusalem, and put a mark on the foreheads of those who sigh and groan over all the abominations that are committed in it" (Ezekiel 9:3-4).
On the cycle of seasons that mark Christian traditions, today begins the season of Lent, marking the spiritual journey from Ash Wednesday to Easter Sunday. Around the world, many will receive a mark of the cross in ashes upon their forehead as a sign of the mark of the cross upon their hearts. As I understand it, it's a mark that speaks of humility and repentance, turning away from our sins and turning to God. It's an outward sign of an inward grace, a physical indication of a spiritual dedication.
No matter our tradition, whether we receive the imposition of ashes on our foreheads or not, whether we participate in the season of Lent or not, we are all invited to set our lives apart as holy unto the Lord. We are all invited to stand out from our culture, to identify ourselves with Christ, not merely with outwards symbols or statements of belief, but also with the deep commitment of our hearts that manifest through our actions in the daily choices of our lives. "Everyone therefore who acknowledges Me before others, I also will acknowledge before My Father; but whoever denies Me before others, I also will deny before My Father in heaven" (Matthew 10:32-33).
"But what does it say? 'The word is near you, on your lips and in your heart' (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); because if you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For one believes with the heart and so is justified, and one confesses with the mouth and so is saved" (Romans 10:8-10).
Come, Holy Spirit. Help me live a lifestyle of humility and repentance, before My Father in heaven and My Savior in my heart, turning away from the stains of sin in my soul and my culture to embrace the truth of the love and grace of God -- not just for the forty days before Easter, but for every day of my life. In Christ, I am "marked with the seal of the promised Holy Spirit; this is the pledge of our inheritance toward redemption as God's own people, to the praise of His glory" (Ephesians 1:13-14). "For I am not ashamed of the gospel; it is the power of God for salvation for everyone who has faith" (Romans 1:16). In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.
Be encouraged today! In the Love of Jesus, Tommy Hays
I pray you will be empowered by the Holy Spirit to live a lifestyle of humility and repentance in the truth of the grace and love of God through Jesus Christ, in Jesus' name. Please pray the same for me. God bless you, my friend!