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Passed Over

“On that day there shall be a fountain opened for the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, to cleanse them from sin and uncleanness.” Zechariah 13:1

“On this day in Jerusalem a fountain has been opened for Jew and Gentile alike. It flows and flows, on and on, from his pierced side and covers over all our sin. It covers our religious sin. It covers our religious sin. It covers our irreligious sin. In one stroke, the Father has opened this fountain and with it he washes away all our sin and uncleanness. Our souls are cleansed by this water, atoned for by this blood. He opens a fountain that will never run dry; this well is sufficient for us all. We have pierced him. He has taken that blood and water and made us his own.”

“Dear friend, the day you are facing may seem like any other day: uneventful, business as usual, nothing to celebrate. But ask yourself, what makes this day different from any other day? Then look on him whom we have pierced and remember, there is a fountain opened to cleanse you from all your sin and uncleanness. “For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. Let us therefore celebrate” (1. Cor. 5:7-8). Yes, let us celebrate Christ, our Passover Lamb today.”

Lenten devotion form Comforts from the Cross by Elyse Fitzpatrick. Day 28.

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Controlled by Love

“The love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died.” 2 Corinthians 5:14

“The desire to change isn’t exclusively Christian. Everyone, Christina and non-Christian alike, wants to change. That’s why bookstores are filled with self-help books and meeting halls are filled with people trying to overcome addictions to everything from gambling to pornography to shopping. Everyone wants to get better, to approve of herself, to have the respect of others, to be mentally “healthy,” to keep her family together, to learn to be productive. Christians don’t usually say, “I want to approve of my record.” Instead they say things like “I want to feel good about myself,” or “I know that this weakness of mine doesn’t please God, and I’m so embarrassed.” But there’s a problem here for us: self-improvement isn’t a Christian construct; death and resurrection are.”

“God isn’t interested in self-improvement regiments. He isn’t impressed by our resolutions to do better, to get those devotions in, pass out tracts, cut down on our online time by fifteen minutes every day, or fast from shopping channels during Lent. In fact, he isn’t impressed with us at all. He’s impressed by his Son. He’s impressed with the perfect life, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus the Christ, his beloved Son. He’s impressed with his love… Here’s the crux of the matter: you shouldn’t hope to be impressed with yourself…”

“We who live in Christ are no longer to live for ourselves, not even for our good record, our family’s approval, or our clean conscience. We are to live for him who for our “sake died and was raised” (2 Cor. 5:15).

Lenten devotion from Comforts from the Cross by Elyse Fitzpatrick. Day 27.

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Rest

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Matthew 11:28-29

Israel, as a people, had heard the promise of rest preached to them since Abraham. It was the gospel really, the message of God working to provide for his people and grant them rest. But stuck in the wilderness, with the utmost of provision and even God’s presence, the people did not have faith. They didn’t believe and they died in the desert.

We hear the same preaching. The calls of Jesus to come to him and rest. We are given eternal life and are commanded to have joy, yet we are in danger of lacking belief in rest. We turn inward on ourselves and attempt to reach perfection through our own work and we never rest. And it is not that we are not called to strive, but what we strive for is different.

“We are to strive to do something even more difficult (than work). We are to strive to enter into rest. “Let us therefore strive to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience” (Heb. 4:11). We are to strive to turn our hearts away from the false security of slavery and toward his great work through his Son. We must strive to remind ourselves continually of the work that’s already been done. If we don’t, we will fall into the “same sort of disobedience” the Israelites succumbed to.”

“It is this rest, and this rest only, that will cause you to willingly accept his yoke. It is only from a position of rest, as a beloved daughter or son, that you will learn what it means to be his. You will see him as he is, not as a severe taskmaster, demanding what you cannot give. You will see him as he is, a gentle and lowly servant. Day after day you will see life with him as it is, a refreshing reception of delight and joyful service. Every day with him is easy; his burdens are light because he has borne the labor. He carried the heavy burden for you. Strive today to shed the yoke of the law and believe that his is that good. Accept his invitation: “Come to me and I will give you rest.”

Lenten devotion from Comforts from the Cross by Elyse Fitzpatrick. Day 26.