Monday, March 4, 2013

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

Lent: a time to repent
Isaiah 1:1-30
“Don’t continue bringing me worthless sacrifices, I hate the incense you burn… Even if you say many prayers I will not listen to you”. Isaiah 1:13-14
The city of Jerusalem was once God‟s own city. But in the course of time they gave up their loyalty to God by leading wicked lifestyles filled with sin. “Israel is a nation of sin, a people loaded down with guilt…Children who are full of evil, they have left the Lord”; they hate God, the Holy one of Israel. (Isaiah 1:4).” The pre-sent day society and church are not so different than the Israelites at that time. Our so called modern day world is filled with sin and immorality and teaches us that these lifestyles are the accepted norm.
Isaiah asks people to return to God
Isaiah was a wise man who had seen life beyond the present. The message from Isaiah was crucial for at that time, the country was desolate with cities being burned to the ground. He warned the people of Israel to stop destroying themselves with their continuous sin and pleaded with them to return to God with repentance. Instead, the people began to perform religious ceremonies and brought offerings to God in hope that they would be saved. But the Lord called their offerings “futile sacrifices” and an “abomination.” For what difference would it make to offer sacrifices and perform ceremonies if their hearts weren‟t truly renewed and surrendered to God?
Lent – A time to repent and be closer to God
The season of Lent is a season of sacrifice and prayer. We fast and offer our sacrifices to eliminate the distractions in our lives so we can completely focus on God. It is easy to get preoccupied with the rules and traditions of Lent, but let us not forget the reason we fast- to prepare ourselves mentally and spiri-tually and be closer to God.
The lent season ends with Easter. It is very sad that we Christians celebrate the ending of the lent (Easter) without even starting it. It has become normal for us believers and church-goers to „go with the flow‟ and not practice lent. Our lives have become so busy and our faith so weak that these things become insignificant.
This Lent season, let us cast aside all distractions and let us offer true sacrifices to the Lord that comes from within. Let us surrender ourselves wholeheartedly. “Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean; Put away the evil of your doings from before My eyes. Cease to do evil, Learn to do good. (Isaiah 1:16)” In this way, we will celebrate the true meaning of Lent and be witnesses of Christ throughout the Easter season.
Thought for the Day: Repentance and return are the paths to walk with God

Prayer: Lord, I am leading a life that is not acceptable to you. Help me not to repeat

Georgy Varughese, South Florida Mar Thoma Church