The season of Lent is upon me. It is a time for me of thoughtful and sorrowful delight that leads to a mighty crescendo of exiquisite, life-infused joy on Resurrection Sunday.
I delight because of the precious sacrifice and offering of Jesus and his appointed, divine days. I sorrow with the weight of sin and grief and death and loss. How grateful I am for Jesus! How I love Easter! It is hope and life to me.
I took some excerpts from different passages that spoke to my heart from today’s reading. They do not all line up with Lent and Easter- though 1 Corinthians 15 certainly does- but I will just share a bit of what impacts my heart today.
6 Therefore say, Thus saith the Lord God; Although I have cast them far off among the heathen, and although I have scattered them among the countries, yet will I be to them as a little sanctuary in the countries where they shall come.
17 Therefore say, Thus saith the Lord God; I will even gather you from the people, and assemble you out of the countries where ye have been scattered, and I will give you the land of Israel.
18 And they shall come thither, and they shall take away all the detestable things thereof and all the abominations thereof from thence.
19 And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them an heart of flesh:
20 That they may walk in my statutes, and keep mine ordinances, and do them: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God. ESV
This passage is so precious to me because when I was a young girl- before I came to Christ, a beloved mentor shared with me about the heart of flesh and the LIFE that Christ brings into our selves dead apart from him. I love that God gives me a heart of flesh- a soft tender heart that yearns for Him and loves His Word. I love when I don’t yearn for Him or long for His Word, I can ask Him to grant this to me. I want to be filled with wonder that God would call me His own, and He mine. I need grace and the Spirit for this. In addition, I love the first part of this section where the Lord says He will be a sanctuary. Ah! I have been thinking a bit on how the home can be a sanctuary for the people I love. I love that God Himself is a sanctuary for me, for us. God gives; He is an extravagant giver. He is to be praised and adored.
10 But when you are invited, go and sit in the lowest place, so that when your host comes he may say to you, ‘Friend, move up higher.’ Then you will be honored in the presence of all who sit at table with you. 11 For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” ESV
This section in Luke spoke to me because of various circumstances in my life. It is good- it is right to let the Lord lift one up. Be not as one who lifts up self. I need this timely word. I need to stay small and humble in heart and mind while still pursuing what is right, what is excellent, what is good.
And now… the mighty resurrection chapter which just makes my heart sing this beginning Lent season. What words of triumph and hope! What blessed reality!
I quoted so much of it- but I could not help myself.
1 Corinthians 15
35 But someone will ask, “How are the dead raised? With what kind of body do they come?” 36 You foolish person! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies. 37 And what you sow is not the body that is to be, but a bare kernel, perhaps of wheat or of some other grain. 38 But God gives it a body as he has chosen, and to each kind of seed its own body. 39 For not all flesh is the same, but there is one kind for humans, another for animals, another for birds, and another for fish. 40 There are heavenly bodies and earthly bodies, but the glory of the heavenly is of one kind, and the glory of the earthly is of another. 41 There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for star differs from star in glory.
42 So is it with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable; what is raised is imperishable. 43 It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness; it is raised in power. 44 It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. 45 Thus it is written, “The first man Adam became a living being”;[e] the last Adam became a life-giving spirit. 46 But it is not the spiritual that is first but the natural, and then the spiritual. 47 The first man was from the earth, a man of dust; the second man is from heaven. 48 As was the man of dust, so also are those who are of the dust, and as is the man of heaven, so also are those who are of heaven. 49 Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall[f] also bear the image of the man of heaven. ESV
51 Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. 53 For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. 54 When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written:
“Death is swallowed up in victory.”
55 “O death, where is your victory?
O death, where is your sting?”
How miraculous will be the day when we are all changed- and what ultimate hope of amazing glory 1 Corinthians 15 sings over us all. We shall put on the imperishable. There are heavenly bodies and there are earthly bodies- and it is the Lord who clothes us.
O Jesus, thank You for going to the cross to rise again for all and swallow up sin and death forever!
Easter is coming! Praise Be!
Lord, forgive me all the ways that pull me from You- and help me to understand. Help me to love You and seek You and long for You. Help me to be a vessel of love to my family and those You have placed in my life. I am astonished in Your mercy and life. Give me a heart of flesh that is sensitive to sin and wrong-doing and quick to repent. You show me the way. In Your Name, Amen.