This is the episode for Ash Wednesday as we begin a new season in the Christian year calendar, the season of Lent.
Reading from Romans 12 verse 2.
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. NIV
Listen also to the subtle nuances of this passage form these translations. First the NLT
2 Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. (Romans 12:2 NLT)
And the Voice translation.
2 Do not allow this world to mold you in its own image. Instead, be transformed from the inside out by renewing your mind. As a result, you will be able to discern what God wills and whatever God finds good, pleasing, and complete. [VOICE]
OK – the word of God for the people of God. Thanks be to God!
God has a dream, it is for you and me to be transformed from “what we used to be” into “who we are created to be”.
Why? For relationship, fellowship, intimacy. That is the fruit of love.
We see throughout scripture, throughout the story of God, He declares this purpose as great desire of His heart,
“I will be their God and they will be my people.”
Therefore, God has each one of us on a personal development plan, and that is to “be conformed to the image of his son” (R8:29) or – to look and be like Jesus; and to fulfill our potential and our destiny in God.
So for me, and for millions of Christians over centuries over centuries of time, the Christian year calendar is a wonderful resource to live in alignment with God’s ways and to walk in the rhythms of His story and timing.
We do that by choosing to make space for God, to increase our awareness of God by carving out time and space on our calendars to meditate, contemplate – who God is, what He has done for us, and who we are now as new creations in Christ Jesus. I really like how Brian Hardin said on the Daily Audio Bible podcast, “The church calendar is intended to help us focus our heart on God.”
Now a few words about Lent. Lent is a 40 day season to prepare us for the harsh realities of the cross and the good news of the Resurrection.
The season of Lent is intended for us to consider our mortality – that Life is short and precious, and our morality – that sin carries a huge price. “The wages of sin are death and separation and loss” …. but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (see Romans 6:23)
During Lent we engage in spiritual practices that will actually help us fulfill the challenge of Romans 12 to change and transform us from the inside out.
These primary spiritual practices are:
1. Self-examination, reflection and repentance.
2. Fasting and prayer.
3. Reading and meditating on the word of God.
In DWD series, we’ll continue to focus on the life and ministry of Jesus and his journey to the cross.
With that in mind, let’s close this session by looking at how Jesus taught his disciples to pray from his sermon on the mount, reading from Matthew 6: 9-13
Your prayers need not be labored or lengthy or grandiose—for your Father knows what you need before you ever ask Him.
9 Your prayers, rather, should be simple, like this:
Our Father in heaven,
Holy is Your name.
10 Your kingdom come.
Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us this day our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debts,
As we forgive our debtors.
13 And do not lead us into temptation,
But deliver us from the evil one.
For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.
Daily Worship Devotionals is a 5-minute podcast dedicated to studying the Word of God and hearing the voice of the Holy Spirit. Currently, we are following the Christian year calendar as our framework. We’re in the season of Epiphany – the Season of Light and exploring the early life of Christ.