Hearts and Ashes

📖 Read

‌Psalm 32; Isaiah 58:1-12; Hebrews 12:1-14

‌‌🔎 Focus

‌Happy are those whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.

Psalm 32:1

‌The LORD will guide you continually and satisfy your needs in parched places and make your bones strong, and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water whose waters never fail.

Isaiah 58:11

In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.‌

Hebrews 12:4

‌‌✟ Devotion

‌Saint Valentine’s trust was in Jesus Christ. He is reported to have said that Jesus Christ brought the only true and promise of a better world. That didn’t earn him any friends with the Roman rulers. It seems that converting others to Christianity led to his death. Saint Valentine was martyred on 14 February.‌

Today is also Ash Wednesday, the beginning of . This is a season of repentance and reflection. It would seem to not mesh with the dominant view of Valentine’s Day with its romantic (almost saccharine and vapid) view of love. Love, especially as lived out by Jesus, often doesn’t match the secular view of it, but our measure is Jesus, not the world.‌

While you might not be called to be a martyr, the author of Hebrews points out that we often up in our fight against sin, even though we have not gotten to the point that our blood was shed. And, yet there is a dominant trend in post-Christendom to throw our hands up, because Christendom has fallen.‌

In many respects, it seems that we are more inclined to anger and defensiveness, rather than resting in the fact that our transgressions are forgiven, our sins covered; as a result of such, we ought to be happy. Can you imagine how we could change the world not just with love, but with the happiness of that love.‌

We are talking about the love of Jesus Christ for us, and ours of him. We are not talking about the love of the world, its stuff, its powers, its parties, and so on.‌

When we this and also remember that God’s water of love and life never fail, you would think that the world would not shake us. We are , so it does.‌

There is a lot for us to reflect on: historical issues, our , our lifestyles, the wars, the sicknesses. There is so much in the world that causes us not to reflect, but to react. We react out of our humanness.‌

We are called to reflect upon ourselves and the world through the lens of Christ’s love, then we are better equipped to react in Christ’s love toward a world that desperately needs it.

‌🤔 Reflection

‌What are current areas discussed in life (politics, lifestyles, war, immigration, and the like) that you have strong feelings about? Do you default to the comfortable and/or your community? When was the last time you measured your reactions to Christ? Do you ever ask yourself, what would Jesus do?

‌‌⏏️ Act

‌As you reflected, what came to mind? All of us have earthly perspectives that are not Jesus-like, and likely need work and repentance. Think about the issues that you the most strongly about (good or bad). Look in the Bible for some possible perspectives that will bring you more in mind like Jesus.

‌🙏 Prayer

‌Jesus, help me understand how you view the world and me. , please guide my transformation from a person of this world to a person of the . Amen.

Image courtesy of Synel