Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Rend Your Hearts

Therefore also now, saith the Lord, turn ye even to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning:   And rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the Lord your God: for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil.  (Joel 2:12-13 KJV)


Today (Wednesday, February 10, 2016), is Ash Wednesday—the beginning point of Lent—which is observed in some Protestant denominations, as well as the Catholic Church.  Lent is a time of preparation for Easter.  “Traditionally, it is a time when Christians re-examine their spiritual life and try to discern the quality of their relationship with God.  It is a time of deeper dedication to God and seeking ways in which we can help to further God’s kingdom on earth.”[1]  For more on Ash Wednesday please click here. 

During this time, some Christians choose to fast for a particular time or deny themselves a particular food or activity.  For some ideas on how to journey through this time, please see:  How can I observe Lent?

For a short video describing Lent and Ash Wednesday please click here: Ash Wednesday and Lent in two minutes

It takes humility to acknowledge this.  Just as Jesus was a humble servant; it takes humility on our part to acknowledge our need for a Savior and to confess and accept forgiveness for our sins.  “Ash Wednesday emphasizes a dual encounter: we confront our own mortality and confess our sin before God within the community of faith.”[2] 


Lent is a time of preparation to journey to Jerusalem with Jesus and His appointment at the cross.  It is a time for us to consider our own life and death, acknowledging that we area mortal beings and will one day return to the dust from which we were created.  Acknowledging this should be a humbling experience—we are finite beings created for relationship with our Creator through His Son, Jesus Christ.  Our souls are restless until we are united with our Savior, Jesus. 


Trusting God for forgiveness—repenting of your sins and be completely cleansed from the inside out—“declutters” our heart, our inmost being.  Allowing the Holy Spirit to convict you of your sins is part of the process of preparing for Easter. 

Taking stock of our life and confessing our sins to God is something that needs to be done at times other than Easter; it is an every day thing.  The process, while important, can also be “messy” and a bit painful.  However, God is thorough and gentle in the process.  

Rend your heart; let God examine it.  Confess your sins before God and accept His wonderful forgiveness and mercy.  Remember that sin weighs us down; confession of sin frees us and lightens the weight that bogs us down.  There is no need to be depressed about what we have messed up or what we have done; it is time to experience the cleansing power of the blood of Jesus’ forgiveness.

What sins do you need to confess?   


Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.  Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me.  Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit.  
(Psalm 51:10-12 KJV)


How are you journeying through Lent?

Please join with me in prayer:
Forgiving and Loving God, in humility we recognize that from dust we came and to dust we will return.  We return to You, turning from our wicked ways—confessing our sins—seeking Your forgiveness.  Thank You for forgiving our sins, for healing us, and for setting us free.  Assist us to accept Your forgiveness and live as people set free.  Create in us a clean heart—a heart fully and totally devoted to You.  In Jesus’ Name we pray.  Amen.

From My Heart to Yours,


[1] From Trinity United Methodist Church Newsletter, February 2016 (slightly edited)
[2] From The United Methodist Book of Worship (1992) pg. 321


  1. Wonderful information about the Lenten season, and why we observe it with penitent hearts. Sharing!
    Love and blessings, Kim!

    1. Martha, Thank you so much for your kind comments and for sharing. May we fully experience God's work in us during this time and always.

      Love and blessings, to you, my dear friend!

  2. Hi Kim! I sit here this morning with my purple scarf, and ashes on my forehead.
    To me, this Lent is about being more intentional. Being more present to the present. I pray for the grace to trust that I will see the Lord in every minute. A big Lenten promise for sure.
    I like the way you said that we are accompanying Jesus to Jerusalem. That's a great image. I think I'll add that to my meditation time, it's really beautiful. Thank you for that.
    Blessings on this Lenten Season,

    1. Hi Ceil! I really like your plans to be intentional during the season of Lent and more present in the present. Being present in the present can be so helpful when we become fearful, anxious.

      I'm glad my imagery of accompanying Jesus to Jerusalem is helpful to you--now that I can see it with new eyes (thanks to your comments), I see the beauty in it too.

      You're welcome. I'm blessed to know that you found my words helpful--I trust the Lord for these posts--some times I'm not sure they even make too much sense to me.

      Blessings to you, during this season of Lent,


  3. Thank you for this very meaningful devotional on the purpose of Lent. Even though my church background does not emphasize this Lenten season, I personally find great comfort in spending time during this season reflecting on my relationship with Christ and how I can draw closer to Him and also share more of Him with others. It's not so much about what I "give up" for Lent, but what I "give out" for the cause of Christ to others. It is a beautiful time of reflection and reconciliation. Thank you for your thoughts today.

    1. Hi Pam, You're welcome. I'm blessed to know that you found this devotional meaningful. The church I grew up in didn't emphasize the season of Lent at all. It wasn't until I started attending the United Methodist Church that I really learned about it. We don't emphasize Lent as some denominations do.

      Like you stated, this season is a time to reflect on our relationship with Christ and drawing closer to Him and share Him with others. It really is a beautiful time, despite the horror of the cross.



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