Google+ 02/13/13 What Will You Do In Between?

Ecclesiastes 3:19-20

 

For what happens to the sons of men also happens to animals;

One thing befalls them: as one dies, so dies the other.

Surely, they all have one breath; man has no advantage over animals, for all is vanity. 

All go to one place: all are from the dust, and all return to dust.  

 

In the Bible, there are 41 references to "ashes" and 107 references to "dust."  Because of these references, and the desire of many Christians to have a time of reflection prior to Easter, there is the celebration of Ash Wednesday and the season of Lent.  Because this time of the year is so confusing to many, I have chosen to allow today's devotion to be what I hope will be a clear explanation of both of these!  I am most concerned that you know what Ash Wednesday and Lent are NOT, as there is GREAT confusion regarding this part of the Liturgical Church Calendar.  Ash Wednesday begins the 40 day period preceding Easter (not including Sundays) that we call Lent.  On Ash Wednesday, Christians reflect back on our Scripture for today.  It is good for us all to remember that God created us from mere dust and ashes and that is exactly what our physical bodies will return to, upon death.  There is nothing miraculous about the celebration of Ash Wednesday.  You will find many Christians (and unfortunately non-Christians) wandering around with ashes, in the sign of a cross, on their forehead or in the palms of their hands today.  You are not a sinner if you don't participate!  Some people choose to display an outward sign, to the world today, that they acknowledge their heritage and future.  The statement is that we are all really ashes and dust without God.  During the next 40 days, you will hear many statements that actually offend God, not glorify Him.  Sacrificing or fasting during Lent is not required or expected.  If it is done, it is supposed to be a reminder of the sacrifices that Jesus made for us and to help us focus more on making Him greater and making us less.  People will talk about their Lenten "sacrifices" of worldly things, but never add the prayer and reflection component to make it honoring to God.  In this way, these "sacrifices" become as useless as "New Year's Resolutions," that by now, are all but gone.  I know you won't believe this, but during my ministry, I have actually had people give up church for Lent, saying that NOT going to corporate worship made them feel closer to God!  Yes, Satan uses Lent, also, for his benefit.  Here is my challenge to you regarding Lent 2013.  If you have never observed Lent because you didn't understand, now you do, so let's try it!  Beginning today, spend time with God through the Scripture and prayer each day.  It takes 21 days to build a Godly or non-Godly habit.  Lent is the perfect time!  If you choose, give up something for God that would truly be a sacrifice, because without it being a sacrifice, it really isn't necessary or meaningful.   As an example, if you play golf twice per week, play once and commit the rest of the time to family, fellowship with Godly friends, prayer, and Scripture reading.  To a golfer, that is a huge sacrifice.  Attend worship every week!  I know, I am meddling!  The single biggest thing God want us to do is worship and fellowship with other Christians.  Choose a house of worship that preaches the Gospel Message clearly, and go!  During Lent, we don't include Sundays in our "pensiveness" because Sunday should always be a day of "resurrection" and celebration.  So, from dust and ashes we came, and to dust and ashes we will return.  What will you do in between?