The season of Lent gives us a chance to slow down and to take time.
Take time in prayer. Take time with God.
Take time to walk through the scriptures and figure out what this Lent thing is, anyway (even if all you know until now is that you usually give up soda for a few weeks).
Take time to repent, to turn your heart toward Jesus.
And consider that at the end of the day, what God really wants is your sincere self — no more, no less.
You can learn a lot in this season, if you take time.next >
About that time, Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and John baptized him in the Jordan River. While he was coming up out of the water, Jesus saw heaven splitting open and the Spirit, like a dove, coming down on him. And there was a voice from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I dearly love; in you I find happiness.”
At once the Spirit forced Jesus out into the wilderness. He was in the wilderness for forty days, tempted by Satan. He was among the wild animals, and the angels took care of him.
Mark 1:9-13next >
The word wilderness means "an uninhabited, uncultivated region.” Yet for me, the wilderness has never been a static idea. Sometimes the wilderness is a place that I want to go, where I can be alone and think in peace. The wilderness could also be a place where only me and the One who created me can dwell together, without everything else that clouds my mind. But sometimes the wilderness brings fear: fear of the unknown, fear of darkness, fear of what I cannot see, touch, or control.
This passage from Mark reminds me of Jesus’ humanity; Jesus, too, has spent time in the wilderness and understands the complicated thoughts that go through our minds in the wildernesses of our own lives. This is as an incredible gift of understanding and comfort. Knowing that Jesus has experienced these moments, too, takes my faith that much deeper.
What does it mean for you to be in the wilderness? How do you handle your wilderness moments? Do you have people in your life to walk with you through them?
Emily Millernext >
God, whatever wilderness I find myself in — whether it feels dangerous or peaceful — remind me that you, too, have been here before and are here now. Remind me that I am not alone. Amen.next >
"O to grace how great a debtor
Daily I'm constrained to be!
Let Thy goodness like a fetter,
Bind my wandering heart to Thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love;
Here's my heart, O take and seal it,
Seal it for Thy courts above."
from “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing,” by Robert Robinson
Emily Miller is a pastor in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), currently serving in the Young Adult Volunteer office, where she invites young adults into year-long service opportunities around the world. Emily lives in Louisville, Kentucky and FaceTimes with her nephew every chance she gets.
Wondrous Love: I Surrender All
Mark Hayes - markhayes.com