Jude 1:17-23 (NIV) — “But dear friends, remember what the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ foretold. They said to you, ‘In the last times there will be scoffers who will follow their own ungodly desires.’ These are the men who divide you, who follow mere natural instincts and do not have the Spirit. But you dear friends, build yourselves up in your most holy faith and pray in the Holy Spirit. Keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you eternal life. Be merciful to those who doubt; snatch others from the fire and save them; to others show mercy, mixed with fear — hating even the clothing stained with corrupted flesh.”

The Lenten Season for 2021 started Feb. 17, Ash Wednesday. It is my personal hope to approach Lent in a simple, sincere way using the four R’s:

1. Reflection

2. Repentance

3. Reconciliation

4. Rejoicing

I see Lent as a spiritual spring cleaning, taking your own personal inventory.

I feel the same way about the Advent Season as a time in the late fall: reflecting upon what I’ve been given through the year up to that point and what I did with my time, talents and treasure.

Both seasons lead me to repentance, a turning away from that which grieves the Holy Spirit.

Ephesians 4:29-30 — “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of our mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen and do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.”

There’s like a natural push for me to rush through this time of reflection and repentance and get to the reconciliation and rejoicing. But I’m resisting that impulse so that I may be thorough in my spiritual spring cleaning.

I share with a mosaic of verses from Psalm 91:

“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust. Surely, He will save me from the fowler’s snare and from deadly pestilence. He will cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you will find refuge; His faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. You will not fear terror of night nor the arrow that flies by day nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor plague that destroys by mid-day. A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you.”

“If you make the Most High your dwelling — even the Lord, who is my refuge — then no harm will befall you, no disaster will come near your tent. For He will command His angels concerning you, to guard you in all your ways; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.”

“‘Because He loves me,’ says the Lord, ‘I will rescue him; and I will protect him, for he acknowledges My name. He will call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him.’”

May each of us be encouraged and strengthened by the Word of the Lord.

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