Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Ash Wednesday 2021

The Lord says, “For what purpose does frankincense come to Me from Sheba and the sweet cane from a distant land? Your burnt offerings are not acceptable, and your sacrifices are not pleasing to Me.” Jeremiah 6:20

As this Lenten season begins, I am spending the year studying the Book of Jeremiah, and I find that the message for all people is the same. The Old Testament prophets Isaiah, Amos, Hosea, and Jeremiah all remind that sacrifices are not what God desires, instead He wants the people to come to Him with a sincere and repentant heart. Threads from the beginning throughout all of Scripture point to the same spiritual need - the need for grace.  

[Jesus said] "Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’ For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.” Matthew 9:13

Jesus comes for sinners, those who need His mercy. All of fallen humanity meets the requirements of ‘sinner.’ Only through Jesus can we be made holy, only through His Grace can we be made righteous. It is only our soul’s sincere repentance that invites Grace to enter. On this Ash Wednesday, many Christians around the world gather together and receive the sign of the cross on their foreheads. These ashes remind us of our need for Grace, remind us that without Jesus we are only sinners. With Jesus, however, we are sinners who find forgiveness and redemption. We can trade our ashes for a robe of righteousness with Jesus! 

Jesus, I kneel at your altar wearing the mark of a sinner. With humble awareness I examine my need for grace, my desire to serve You more. Let my love and service always be mindful of Your mercy. ~dho

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