Lent, a time of reflection, repentance, and renewal

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Today is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the 40 day Lenten Season. It is a time
to reflect on the life and death of Jesus. A time to repent of our sins and

deny ourselves of things that would distract us from fulfilling our mission in life.

Jesus said, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross,

and follow me. Matthew 16:24

Immediately after Jesus’ baptism, he was led by the Spirit into the wilderness

for 40 days of fasting and prayer. He knew this self-denial of the flesh was necessary,

to strengthen him mentally and spiritually. He was tested many times by satan,

but did not give in to the temptations, because he had learned obedience,

through his suffering. God honored his son, and sent angels to strengthen and

comfort him.

In the last few days, we’ve watched many athletes compete in the Winter Olympics.

They endure strict training for years…disciplining their bodies and minds, so they can

be ambassadors for their nations. Their eyes are focused on the goal of winning the gold

medal.

As Christians, our goal is to be ambassadors for Christ. Our prize is not a

medal of gold or silver…but rather a spiritual reward in heaven.

The Apostle Paul suffered many hardships for the LORD and wrote…

Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize?

So run, that ye may obtain. 1 Corinthians 9:24

He kept his body under subjection, so he could fight the good fight, and be a

godly example to others. He knew his prize was a crown of life in heaven.

Perhaps today, you feel like you are in a wilderness on this earth.

You may be sick or a care giver for someone who is.

You may feel tired, alone, or afraid…

You may have just lost someone very close to your heart…

or all your worldly goods.

Beloved, don’t loose heart…

The LORD also will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble. Psalm 9:9

I encourage you to use this season in your life… to grow in your faith. Trust the LORD

has a plan and will work all things out for good.

He sees your pain and understands how much you’re hurting… because he

was tempted, despised, rejected, beaten, and died a horrible cruel death for us.

It is comforting to remember… though our outward appearance may be getting

older or weaker…the time spent alone with God, meditating on his word or

singing his praises, will inwardly renew us day by day.

It is through these times of reflection and self denial… God speaks his messages of wisdom

and direction for our life. As a father pities his children, Our heavenly Father, comforts and

loves unconditionally, all those who fear him.

Our lives are “lent” to us by God.

Our gifts and talents are “lent” to us… to use in service to others and to build up the body

of Christ.

Our children, parents, spouses, and friends are “lent” to us, so they can fulfill their

mission in life for God. We are strangers here…heaven is our home.

God sometimes uses death, tragedy, or illnesses, to draw us closer to him.

The Bible says…

Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though

some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s

sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.

1 Peter 4:12-13

Beloved, before you were ever formed in the womb, God knew you and had

a plan and purpose for your life. Stand in the gap and stand up for Jesus.

Offer him your body as a living sacrifice. Whether you eat or drink, or whatever

you do, do all to the glory of God. Don’t waste today grumbling and complaining

about your life. Offer God your thanks and praise every day, no matter what you’re

going through.

Jesus is standing at the door knocking…

He is waiting with outstretched arms to welcome you into our family.

He’s our Saviour and our friend.

What a privilege it is to carry…

Everything to God in prayer…

Confess your faults, one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed.

The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. James 5:16

Heavenly Father,

Holy is Your name…

Thank you for the gift of this beautiful day and for lending us our lives, families, friends,

gifts and talents. Thank you for rain and snow to refreshing our land and for resurrecting

new life up from the frozen and dry earth.

Thank you for sending Jesus to earth to die for our sins and to rise victorious over

death and satan. Come into our hearts, homes, schools, government, and

churches. Rule and reign according to your will. Take out of power the

wicked and raise up godly men and women in all nations of the world.

Since you suffered so much for our sins, help us to suffer our trials

and test, victorious. Transform us by the renewing of our mind,

so we may willingly and sacrificially deny ourselves of things that

would weaken our faith or distract us from the call you have on

our lives.

You heal the broken in heart and bind up their wounds. Lift up the meek

and cast the wicked down to the ground. Make peace in our borders and

fill us with the finest of crops. You are gracious and full of compassion;

slow to anger and of great mercy. Turn the hearts of all who are unsaved

to surrender their lives to Jesus. You are good to all, and your tender

mercies are over all your works. Teach us to do your will, and lead

us to the path of righteousness. Thank you for your word, which makes

us wiser than our enemies. You fulfill the desire of those who fear you.

You hear their cry and save them. You preserve all those who love you,

but the wicked you will destroy.

We lift up prayers to you for Martha and Bill who are going through

a difficult time suffering and illness. Pour out your loving spirit

upon them. Bring them hope and help in their time of adversity.

Heal this broken marriage and cast out the spirits of depression,

sickness, and addictions. You alone can make them whole.

Teach them to love and forgive, as you have forgiven us.

We lift up prayers to you for the people of Haiti.

Fill them with the power of the Holy Spirit. Bring repentance, revival

and transformation to this nation. Guard their minds with the helmet

of salvation. Help them to know the truth, so they may be set free from

the powers of satan and evil. Bless them with a united faith and trust in

Jesus as their provider and protector. Bring healing and strength

to them in their time of need. Reach down your hand of hope and send

them a word of encouragement…for you are a God of mercy and

compassion.

We lift up prayers to you for the people of India, the U.S. China, Russia, Brazil,

Bhutan, Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, Malaysia, the Dominican Republic, Belize,

Mexico, Cuba, England, Asia, Portugal, Viet Nam, Korea, Afghanistan, Canada,

Italy, Finland, the Philippines, Africa, Cambodia, Taiwan, Poland, Turkey, Egypt,

Saudi Arabia, Eritrea Yemen, Oman, Chad, Libya, Greenland, Morocco, Mauritania,

Mali, Colombia, Venezuela, Guyana, Ireland, Algeria, Syria, Kazakhstan, Hungary,

Mongolia, Thailand, Burma, France, Puerto Rico, Trinidad, and all nations of the world.

Bring peace and freedom to your people. Unite them in love, faith, and focus. Carry

this message of hope to every corner of the globe. Bring willing translators and

disciples to lead your people to faith in Jesus as their Saviour, through the power

of the Holy Spirit. We know that happy are those people, whose God is the LORD.

Though we walk in the midst of trouble, you will revive us. You will stretch forth

your hand against the wrath of the wicked and save us. We know that you will

maintain the cause of the afflicted, and the right of the poor. We can do all things

through Christ, who strengthens us.

Let our prayers be set forth before you as incense; and the lifting up

of our hands as a evening sacrifice. Hide your word in our hearts, so

we will not sin against you.

Our help is in You LORD, the Creator of heaven and earth.

We wait expectantly for your help and deliverance.

In Jesus’ name we pray.

Amen

Jesus said…

These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might

have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be

of good cheer; I have overcome the world.

John 16:33

I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen;

and have the keys of hell and of death. Revelation 1:18

Your sister and servant of the LORD,

Valerie Rousseau

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