Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Pastor Denton Lester February is the love month; it is also the month of groundhogs and birthdays. This year it is also the month in which Lent begins. Valentine’s Day and Ash Wednesday are both on February 14th. Of course, Valentine’s Day makes me think of Cathie, and Ash Wednesday makes me think of the love of Jesus and in what He did to give the gift of eternal life to you and me.

The season of lent is one that is to be reflective, remembering the time of suffering as Christ made His way to Jerusalem and to the cross. The season of Lent is one that is to be focused. It focuses on what our salvation cost our Savior and the great love He has for each of us.

To understand cost we must understand the need. The scriptures tell us that “there is none righteous, not even one” (Romans 3:10). The cost is simple; every person is separated from God because we have all sinned and fallen short. “There is none who does good, there is not even one” (3:12). We are all sinners in desperate need of salvation. Jesus came to take the punishment for our sin that we would have His righteousness transferred to us and that we may be saved.

Lent then is to be a time to reflect and to consider this enormous cost that our Savior was willing to pay that we might be found righteous, as He stands in our place.

““I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God.” Romans 12:1

I would like us to consider taking time from the busyness of our lives to truly spend some dedicated and special time in the study of God’s Word, in prayer, perhaps even in fasting before the throne of God in worship and thanksgiving for the blessed hope we have been given.

I hesitate to say we need to set aside these forty days and be transformed by the love of God. In fact, we need to set aside every day of our lives to give glory to God for the transforming work that He is doing in our lives through the completed work of Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. Yet perhaps, we could have a new intensity and a new burning within our spirits to refresh the relation-ship of our God and ourselves.

One of the questions for self-examination in a book on praying with John Wesley is, “Was God my last thought before sleeping and my first thought upon waking?” This has been a focus of mine for years after reading the book, and the need to make this a daily thought is continually life-changing.

I guess that is the simple subject of this letter, to make the Lord Jesus Christ the focus of our conscious thoughts, not just now and then, but daily, constantly. For a changed life is what we all need in relation to our walk with God.

James tells us, “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you” and “Be miserable and mourn and weep; let your laughter be turned into mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you” (James 7, 9-10). We need to realize the seriousness of salvation, what it cost, and how much our God was willing to pay for our salvation. It is time for each of us to be serious about our faith, perhaps to be miserable and mourn and weep, and then return to God our sacrifice of praise.

See you in church!

Pastor Denton

February 2018