For more than a week, the same message kept coming to me. It arrived by four very different avenues and has echoed in my prayer life and in my heart. It is the familiar passage in the 21st chapter of the Gospel of John, verses 15 through 18, in which the resurrected Savior asks Simon Peter three times, paraphrasing, “Do you love Me?” Each time, Peter answers, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.”
This week, I heard Jesus asking me over and over, “Gregg, do you love me?”
Today is Ash Wednesday and the first day of Lent, both of which mark the beginning of the observance of the Easter Season. Ash Wednesday comes from the practice of placing ashes on the foreheads of the faithful as a sign of repentance. Traditionally, the ashes used are gathered after the Palm Crosses from the previous year’s Palm Sunday are burned and mixed with oil. In the Roman Catholic Church, Ash Wednesday is observed by fasting, abstinence from meat, and repentance. It is a day for contemplating one’s transgressions. Ash Wednesday is also the first day of Lent.Pin It
I accepted Jesus Christ as my personal Lord and Savior at the ripe old age of 5. Some of you reading this may think that 5 is too young, but I knew the Truth, could answer all of the questions posed to me by my parents and my pastor, and so they determined that I would be allowed to make a public profession of faith, followed by a water baptism. I was so small that my feet flew up out of the water when the pastor dunked me. I’d love to say that my journey ended there. I’d love to say that I’ve been the epitome of the perfect Christian girl and that I lived every day in the subsequent 32 years for God. However, that’s not my story.
Sadly, our culture has shifted its focus to the dazzling lights and away from a dazzling Savior. Commercialism has swallowed whatever Christmas used to be before it was this. Battles are fought over the very name of the holiday, and Santa Claus is embraced more freely than the infant Jesus.1 Santa is an icon in modern culture, and his image is used to sell everything from soda to sports cars. How is a Christian to view Santa in light of the true meaning of Christmas?
I believe God loves the effort of more for Him. I think He wants us to make worship for Him special, remarkable, beautiful, ceremonial. If we can do that without becoming legalistic, if we keep the focus on how we’re worshiping the Alpha and Omega, our Savior, Messiah, Redeemer, and friend, then the effort ought to be nothing but pleasing to God.