“Then Jesus was led by the Holy Spirit into the wilderness, to be tempted by the devil. There he was fasting and praying for forty days – day and night” Matt 4:1,2
“(Moses), Thus I fell down before the Lord forty days and forty nights, as I fell down at the first; because the Lord had said he would destroy you” Deut 9:25
“Prepare to meet your God, O Israel!” Amos 4:12
In the Christian calendar Good Friday/Easter is the most important festival. Christmas is secondary and more joyous and a bit secular in nature. The children of Israel too had festivals of Joy, and Festivals of Penitence. And through the Bible we see the thread 40 days, all through. Whether it is 40 or 10 or 20 days, it is a season when the Holy Spirit beckons you towards Jesus. If you are sensitive to the summoning of the Holy Spirit, and his corrections, you will draw near to God. If you ignore his rebuke, you continue in your self-satisfied proud ways. So, I urge you brothers and sisters to make a plan this Lent- it could be more Bible reading, say 5 chapters a day. Or Reading 3-4 books of the Bible you haven’t read (try the prophets or Revelation). Or it could be a set time (say an hour everyday) I will spend in prayer, or whatever the Lord puts in your heart.
And secondly, out of the reading always comes the Doing. It could be an unfinished task, that needs to be completed. Cry out, not my (lazy or weak) will Lord, but thine be done and move forward. It could be standing in prayer with someone suffering or who needs your support.
And thirdly, the theme of Lent is not yourself, but understanding the sufferings of the Lord, being sensitive to him in Worship (as a response). It takes time and study (and meditation) to understand the Cross. 2 hours on a Good Friday, wearing white clothes is a meaningless ritual. To understand any subject, it takes time to read up, study. To understand any person (Christ), you need to draw near to him.
The Church is in ruins. Pulpit standards are abysmal. Its only multimedia and page views. I have not met a Preacher, who has covered even 25% of the Bible. The members are even worse, look at yourself only, don’t look far. Are we true representatives of Christ? If Peter or a Spurgeon would meet you today, will he be happy that we are their (spiritual) children that are holding up the lamp of Christ on earth?
I tell you the truth, One day each generation has to stand before God. Lord Jesus told us many times in the Gospels, The men of Nineveh will stand up and accuse you, the people of Solomon’s time will accuse you. On that day, the (first) Church at Antioch, the Ephesian Church, the Colossian Church, the generation of Evan Roberts, people at John Wesley’s time will stand and accuse us. They will say, you are the only generation that had the Full Bible, with each person having 4 Bibles, and on top of it Commentaries and concordances, laptop Bibles, Audio Bibles and Youtube, But how come you read only 3 Gospels and 4 letters.
Then we will answer, I was busy browsing websites and also building my career. The reply will be, Didn’t you know you are preparing for Eternity? not for the next appraisal or 3 BHK. We are the generation that have moved furthest away from God. In Amos, God is saying, I have sent disease, failure, famine, failure of crops etc to you, but you didn’t listen. So, Prepare to meet your God, O Israel. I am personally afraid of that moment, as I have to give a full account publicly. Don’t think that just because you are saved, that day will be all embrace and shabaash(commendation) from the Lord. I truly pray that the Holy Spirit will convict you and lead you to Christ this season.
“Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9 Lament and mourn and weep!” James 4:8,9
Alas! and did my Saviour bleed
And did my Sovereign die?
Would he devote that sacred head,
For sinners such as I?
Was it for crimes that I had done,
He groaned upon the tree?
Amazing pity! Grace unknown!
And love beyond degree!
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