2012 Theme: “Manifesting GOD’s Greatness!”
Greetings to All:
“Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin….Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me” (Psalm 51:1-2, 11-12, NIV).
Journey to the Cross: Today, Ash Wednesday, marked the beginning of the season of Lent for Christians. This 40 day period encourages a time of self-examination, spiritual redirection and repentance. Although we as Christians can and should participate in a daily renewal, this time reminds us of the significance and power of prayer and fasting. Sometimes we are so intertwined in the issues of life until we do not realize when we are covered in chaos. Such a spiritual unbalance causes us not to hear clearly from God or more lethal, not hear His voice at all. It was first a minor missed devotional period. Then only prayer once a week. Soon we found ourselves wondering when did we forget our armor, shield and sword. We are not only faced with a period of stagnation, but we are stuck in reverse. We are almost on empty. A filling station seems to be miles away. The report is inclement weather. Shelter is no where in sight. Hunger and thirst have not been satisfied. You passed by disappointment three exits ago and what appeared to be a new direction landed you back in a deserted place. Now what?
“Even now, declares the LORD, return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning. Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the LORD your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love and he relents from sending calamity” (Joel 2:12-13, NIV).
Spiritual Manifestation: When King David cried out to the LORD and asked for forgiveness and restoration, he had committed the sins of adultery and murder. Because of his walk with God, he found himself wrestling with his own spirit. David was not content with his spiritual position. He could not find the peace he sought in his court, his counselors or his concubines. David remembered that he was not solo on his unpleasant journey. It should provide great comfort in knowing that God is with us on our journey. Even when we have committed sins that we never thought we would commit or repeated an action from a lesson we thought we had learned, God is still there with an invitation for us to return to Him. Jesus journey to the Cross consisted of good and bad, messages and mess, blessings and curses, yet He bared and endured His cross. He made the sacrifice. During this period, dare to take the journey not being covered by the garment of materials, money or mere accolades but rather a willing spirit, pure heart and a mindset of Christ. Manifest God’s Greatness!
With Love in the Spirit,
Evangelist SJ Hastings