Jesus Keep Me Near The Cross: Day 3

Springtime

by

Today's Text: Isaiah 43:16-21, 2 Corinthians 5

Text: Isaiah 43:16-21, 2 Corinthians 5:1-21

I keep seeing everyone else’s adorable pictures on Instagram of their kids and their friends playing in the snow. And even though I really have no business hauling my pregnant self out to walk on ice, I took my kids sledding this morning. And it was the worst! How do you guys do it? We were crying and falling down and fighting—by the time we left, I was done with winter. (But seriously, how do you guys do it?)

I know why my kids fight and cry, and why I curse the seasons. We are sinners. On our own, we are diametrically opposed to the way of Christ and when given the chance to be selfish or selfless, we choose selfish every time.

Honestly, it would be nice to skip over the hard parts of life: these cold, wintry seasons of hurt, anger, or loss. I just want to hide under my blankets and shut out the ugly and difficult parts of life. I don’t want to fight with the people I’m supposed to love!

But I’m so afraid that God uses bitter, icy times to reconcile us to Him. I’m scared that I have to go through the winter of the soul so I can enjoy the springtime of the soul.

When I peek out from under the covers, I know the truth. I know I have to give up my own will, repent, and be reconciled to God, or I’ll never see springtime. I have to do more than hide and wait for winter to end; I have to allow God to change my heart.

During the season of Lent, we try to give things up to train our raw fingers to let go of old ways. But to reconcile with God and to breathe in the springtime, we have to do more than just let go. We have to replace our icy vices with the good, warm things of God.

I’m forever stuck in the winter of sin until I let go of myself and receive the good things of God. Christ is the best gift of God—He is worth more than anything we could ever give up.

We don’t make this happen. We just cry out for help, and our Savior thaws our bitter hearts. I don’t understand how it happens. But I believe that He is our only hope to free us from our sin.

Springtime is coming! Christ Himself is a real answer to the cold ache of our souls. It’s not an easy answer, but He is the answer that actually addresses the heart of my need. He is the relieving thaw of spring.

This lenten season, let’s do more than suspend our vices—let’s run to Christ. Let’s be brave, come out of hiding, and be reconciled to Him.

“Yet whatever else it may be, Lent should never be morose – an annual ordeal during which we begrudgingly forgo a handful of pleasures. Instead, we ought to approach Lent as an opportunity, not a requirement. After all, it is meant to be the church’s springtime, a time when, out of the darkness of sin’s winter, a repentant, empowered people emerges.”

– from Bread and Wine: Readings for Lent and Easter

 

SRT-Lent2015_instagram3

  • how old is ed sheeran

    cooking is my passion and a hobby for me, besides, i love to eat lots of foods-

    http://www.edsheeran.co.uk

  • bvlgari jewelry rose gold price

    Maybe a baby yogi at best. I love it, but I’m not particularly good at it. (Which is why I do it!)
    bvlgari jewelry rose gold price http://www.top-bulgari.ru/

  • Dorinda

    I am also reading this out of season but He knows exactly where my heart is – it is in the deep winter – I trust Him as my Savior but have been going through and am still traveling journey that has caused my heart and soul to be where it is stuck in the ice and snow – please pray with me that He will melt my heart and bring in the freshness of Spring

    • Rachal T.

      Dorinda,

      I, too, am reading this out of season but needed a melting away of my own soul. My expectations of a loved one and others were from a genuine need and desire I had in my heart. When others failed, it made me upset and then I realized who put these desired in my heart; our Heavenly Father. I’m learning to shed expectations of others and seek God and His kingdom for filfullment and the rest will be added into me. (I’m still holding on for the latter part).

      I say all this because you’re not alone. God is with you and has you exactly where He wants you. Trust Him and run to Him for the planting and growing of this season to bloom you into a new version of His creation as His daughter.

  • JanieRose

    Just started this plan for 2016’s Lent Season, and I have loved every day of it. Today’s was especially helpful as I’ve already begun to grumble over the things I’m giving up for Lent. I love being able to think of this time as a positive rather than an a negative – instead of complaining about what I’m missing, I get to rejoice over what I’m gaining, that is, more of Christ!!

  • So, perhaps I am the only woman reading this now, just 1 month before Christmas 2015, but hey, if anyone does read this, let me tell you why I’m so grateful to be taking time to repent and lent now.
    January 8th I am getting married to a man I love so much and who is a source of strength and friendship for me. But during our engagement, as I like to put it, I have loved him too much, poor guy, as a sinner loves, instead of as Christ loves. Consequently, I’ve been selfishly choosing impure actions with him rather than God’s pure, selfless, build him up actions. We both struggled to get impurity out of our relationship, but as anyone who is married or even in a relationship knows, it’s so so hard to deny yourself the things you, or at least I, desire to use to show love to this man, but it’s not good as God made it because we are not yet 1 flesh and can’t become 1 till our wedding night. So that’s my struggle that’s leading both me and my fiance to work more on our relationship with God, so these sins that will pass won’t create weeds that take away from the growth of our marriage in God. (feel free to insert prayers here)
    Now what I’ve been enjoying so much about Jesus keep me near the cross during this season, is I’ve never been one who gets to Christmas and feels this overwhelming joy for the birth of our savior, but I’ve had that at Easter. And I’m realizing why might be because I’ve never taken true time to get broken over my sin and rejoice that I don’t have to hide it. Christmas season is becoming to me a breath of fresh air, because in all my sin that I’ve felt shamed and hid, this is a time to rejoice, rejoice, Emmanuel has come for me!
    So if you’re reading this “out of season” like me, I hope you too find a blessing of joy this Christmas as we celebrate something truly worth a celebration!

    • Star Surgeon

      No you are not the only one.

    • Geordie

      And now I’m reading this a few weeks after Christmas,. And I myself have the same situation. Thank you so much for sharing.

    • Stephani

      I’m reading this “out of season,” too, but it has been just what my soul needs!

      • Erica

        So powerful! I am praying this morning that your marriage is a beautiful testament of what christ’s love can accomplish when two unite with Him as their cornerstone. I too am reading this out of season and am so very thankful I am, as my family and I prepare for our 7th move in 10 years. (army family). We have so much to be thankful for, and this is really helping me weed out all the negative behaviors and thoughts that come along with the stress of a big change. So glad to have this community to help me keep my eyes fixed on God and his mercy and many, many blessings!

  • Katelyn Howe

    Hey everyone, I’m 13 my name is Katelyn. I am looking for a women of Christ to mentor me.. I’ve been lost and I find it so hard to focus myself on God and it’s so hard and I don’t have many people I can be completely truthful about myself with so please let me know if anyone would like to help.. 720-660-7667

    • Shay Hess

      Hi Katelyn, did you find someone to mentor you? I think it would be nice if you had someone local to meet with. It looks like you are from Colorado? I am wondering if Young Life or Youth for Christ have a group near you? Both organizations would have some great ladies who could mentor you.

    • Kaytee Faye

      Hi Katelyn:) I would love to help you in any way that I can. I am originally from Colorado- I do now reside in Florida. I am a certified life coach, and specialize in women your age. Email me at [email protected] and let’s see if we can work something out. Sending love and blessings.

  • But I’m so afraid that God uses bitter, icy times to reconcile us to Him. I’m scared that I have to go through the winter of the soul so I can enjoy the springtime of the soul.
    Love this study today

  • ‘So that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life’ -love this passage!

  • This is good news, “God made home who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”

  • C.S. Lewis song by Brooke Fraser, “Speak to me in the light of the dawn, Mercy comes with the morning. I will sigh and with all Creation groan, as I wait for Hope to come for me.”

  • Deborah Biddle

    This ministered to my brokenness today – “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing!
    Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
    I am making a way in the wilderness
    and streams in the wasteland.” Is 43:18-19

  • Have you heard the song Every Season by Nicole Nordeman? It’s one my new favorites and fits so well with this lesson.

  • I've never observed Lent, but i have to say that last year's and this year's Lent study really has touched my heart. Based on what I have observed other people around me doing, Lent has always just been a season of giving stuff up, which I guess that is why to me it never attracted me. Not because of the giving up of things, but because it seemed as just that. Sadly many of us, even with fasting, it just means giving up meals during a day, for lent certain things during a season. But what then?
    'During the season of Lent, we try to give things up to train our raw fingers to let go of old ways. But to reconcile with God and to breathe in the springtime, we have to do more than just let go. We have to replace our icy vices with the good, warm things of God.'
    That is what it's about. More than just letting go of things for a certain period, but allowing the Lord to change our hearts during that season. He is so good. Praise Him.

  • Dorothy_Gale

    WOW so freaking powerful. I feel like someone just splashed a bucket of ice cold water on me and now I have realization..

  • Jealeyni

    Your words express what each of us are thinking but fail to say out loud. Such beautiful words! I look forward to your daily reads. They fill my heart with so much joy! God Bless!

  • Alexis Couture

    This is so great! Jesus need’s to be the thing I search for to quench my thirst.

  • 1 Corinthians 5. What an amazing chapter. Reading it today in light of the recent beheadings of our Christian brothers in the Middle East…this passage takes on a whole new, and much more real, meaning to me.

  • Oh, only if the ministry of reconciliation, to which I have been called an ambassador, were easy. It is not, easy I mean, to not count people’s sins against them, but then I remember the cross, and all my filth and shame that has been nailed to it, and the kindness I have found at the foot of Christ, and somehow, my heart is melted, and with ease, I can forgive, and overlook, and bear offenses.

  • BELOVED_YE

    Thank you SRT for this refreshing opportunity to come to the Lord on a daily basis as well as fellowship with wonderful ladies through their posts. Last week's snow literally found me sometimes taking extra 'naps' to keep from arguing with my adult son or catching up on the things I needed to do for work. I identify with the line "Honestly, it would be nice to skip over the hard parts of life: these cold, wintry seasons of hurt, anger, or loss. I just want to hide under my blankets and shut out the ugly and difficult parts of life. I don’t want to fight with the people I’m supposed to love!"
    This week my son is on vacation from work while I'm back at work and alas things are not resolved between us. It's hard for me to accept my timing is not always God's timing. Our similar personalities and love for the Lord used to make us best friends with an insight into each other that my husband didn't quite understand. Now my son's purity and love for The Lord is not as evident and has put a horrible strain on our relationship and often leaves me emotionally, spiritually, and physically drained. I need your prayers to melt and heal my heart like I need the Lord's sunshine to melt away the icy spots of my driveway that I'd hope my son would have shoveled last week. My husband hasn't been able to clear the driveway since he moved to Heaven when my son was in second grade. Physically I'm alone (and overweight) in this journey and that makes it hard as well. According to Isaiah 54:4,5 I know the Lord is the husband to the widow and my Redeemer. Thankfully as I took the time to look up the reference, the Lord is using verses 6-10 as a Balm in Gilead. Thank you Lord for using SRT to remind me that Your Truth (your son Jesus Christ John 14:6 and 1 John 4:4) lives in me.
    Help me Father to rely more on your Comforter (John 14), than my physical blankets during this time in my life.

    • Christy

      Amen to your prayers.

    • Cherish

      Praying for you and this difficult time with your son. May God be your comfort and strength and let that truth be shown in action to your son. If he sees your peace and joy in Christ hopefully he will be drawn to Christ as well. You seem like a beautiful person and I know God absolutely adores you!

  • ON a light note, I wanted you to know you are not alone. Whenever I take my kids out to play in the snow it ends in disaster. I don't know how people do it. It is so hard!!! So we don't too often.

  • Here I am under my covers after a good cry. Tomorrow I have to tell my pastors I’m leaving the church. God has shown me things that were not right and He has told me it is time to go. So what is my first instinct? To ignore Him… For months… Now after prayer and fasting and wise council I’m hiding under the covers hoping this winter season will just pass me by! But my good God is trying to teach me something about reconciliation with him and His church. He has drawn me in closer than ever before and through his word in Issaih He has given me the good courage I need to follow Him into a new season. Spring starts tomorrow for me!

  • Gretchen Bloomstrom

    This evening, I was hauling and shoveling snow thinking about the pain and shame I’ve been harboring this season as I’m trying to reconcile with God’s love. This devotional made my heart feel warm- instantly – with His grace.

  • Regina Marie

    Wow love this devotional!

  • Praising God for these truths as a our friends lost their father suddenly tonight. Believing that it is better to be out of the body and with Christ and that God can make rivers out of the wilderness in their lives right now.

  • "We just cry out for help, and our Savior thaws our bitter hearts."
    What a beautiful way to put it. All we have to do is dive into Him and His Great Presence will set us free!

  • Ashley Johnson

    this was an amazing message about looking forward to God throughout this cold time

  • I am loving this study, devotional

  • Savannah

    This post put into words what my heart has been feeling and finds hard to express. Thank you so much!

  • Praising God for His love for me.

  • Destinee Rea McGinnis

    “I have to do more than hide and wait for winter to end. I have to change my heart.” Being from Texas and living in NYC this is so real for me. I want to hide from the cold, bitter, pain of winter, but I’m seeing how much this true of my personal life. I am seeing that my hiding is such a reflection of my shame but also in how little I see my God and how big is see my problems. Is he not bigger than them to forgive and heal my heart? HE TOTALLY IS!

    God I cry mercy! Come change my heart and help me find my hiding place in you!

  • Kasey Tuggle

    Wow!! Talk about the Lord speaking directly to you!! I hear him saying… “Run to me! I am what matters not the childish things of this world!” Praying the Lord will set my mind on him!!! Constantly!

  • Rosemary

    I needed this!

  • Lord, I turn from me, and to you. May I anticipate the spring, and endure the winter, because you are a good and faithful God. To You be the glory. Amen.

  • Tiari C.

    What does it mean to be reconciled to God?

  • 'But I’m so afraid that God uses bitter, icy times to reconcile us to Him."

    I'm having a hard time figuring out what reconcile means in this context. Could anyone help?

    • Brigetta

      Jess, I interpret it as “restoring a relationship” with God. During times of hardship and difficulties, we seem at the end of our rope and feel we have fallen away from God, but it is in these circumstances that He wants us to draw even closer.

    • Amanda

      Absolutely– I agree with Brigetta! I know the times that I have felt very, very alone or wanting to “fix things myself,” are the times when I have been “forced” to give in and there is no choice but to turn to God. I am so thankful for those dark, bitter moments because in them I have found so much love and closeness with God. Those are the times that my relationship with Him grows even stronger.

  • Ashley Smeddle

    Best devo I have read in a long time. So pertinent to my life today. My husband and I, along with our teenager, are in a winter season. We are sad and angry and hurting, and we know we are being called by God to return, b reconciled, and die to ourselves. Why is this so hard? I wish there was some 5 steps to a new heart program. You are right when you say Christ is not the easy way…but I know he is the way, the best way. And I want more of Him.

    • Lisa

      I was drawn to your post this morning and will be praying for your family Ashley. These winter seasons of life can be so difficult. But, what I know is that we belong to Jesus – He never leaves our side. I found myself holding on tighter to Jesus – even in those times when all I could say was ‘help me/us Jesus’. He knows your heart…dig in deep and hold tight to Him. I’ll be praying for you!

  • Becki Morton

    Couldn’t help but sing “Fairest Lord Jesus” while I read these verses and devotion. The image of spring in this coldest of winters is a miracle to even imagine. But God, who is so good, warms our souls and send daffodils bursting forth. Praise Him whom all blessings flow.

  • Kendra Wheeler

    today I felt the despair of winter cold (with another storm in the forecast) more than u have the past several weeks of winter. this was such a good reminder.

    people say that bugs, sicknesses, germs etc die during the cool winter months so that makes sense in the winters of our souls…taking out the bad. making room for new life.

    yes, lord, open my heart.

  • These passages were super awesome for me tonight…I love hearing that in Christ we are a new creation. It always provides so much hope and happiness, kind of like spring when there seems to be new creations everywhere!

  • Anna Buchanan

    My counselor and I are working on what it means to surrender. I love how this devotion talks about letting go in order to receive. I grip so tightly to what I think is control. Day 3 has reminded me to stop holding on so tightly to comfort and fall into the mess of beauty.

    • Amanda

      Oh my gosh, my therapist and I have discussed the same!! The control is in the letting go, and leaving it to God. Thanks for sharing this– good to know we are not alone :)

  • Sarah Jane

    Goodness, I love the idea of turning our cold vices to the warm things of God. Thank you!!

  • I loved today’s reading! Last year I very clearly went through a fall/harvest season and a winter season (it was HARD) – I have recently begun to see the light again, and, guess what sisters? It’s spring! This reminds me of the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (C.S.Lewis) – that when Aslan returns to Narnia, the White Witch’s winter begins to thaw – and spring comes! (That’s one of my goosebumps moments in the series of books). What amazing news. Christ comes to us with a ministry of reconciliation – the gospel – and when we receive it, the old goes and the new has come. Welcome, o season of return & repent!

    • Becki Morton

      This is exactly what I journaled tonight. We are reading the C.S. Lewis Classic to our kids. The picture of springs thaw and our own souls thaw is so very beautiful. I don’t know you, but just another Holy Spirit reminder of our oneness in Christ. Be we’ll!

  • Antimony

    “Springtime is coming! Christ Himself is a real answer to the cold ache of our souls.” This isn’t a change I can just make happen. It has to be God, doesn’t it? I can’t just decide to want God. Or decide to return. I have to ask God to change my heart. So that I want what He wants. So that I can respond to Him.

  • Mary Siems

    For the first time in my life as a Christian, I think I am coming to understand the purpose of the season of lent. This reading especially speaks to me and my view of Christ. What a wonderful reminder of God’s amazing grace! Winter/springtime metaphor could not be more perfect. I’m amazed at how much God is already doing and it’s only day 3. So beautiful.

  • Georgie Mallins

    Our God is so good!!!

  • amycook1939

    Love the connection to the seasons. I think with this bitter winter we are all feeling this way and we need the reminder of going through all the seasons God gives us to appreciate the renewal of spring. Beautiful lesson.

  • Hiding under the blankets–love this analogy.

  • Beth Warner

    Thank you SRT for this study.

  • Shelly H.

    I am thankful for these Lenten devotions and scripture, really preparing my heart and focusing on what He has done for each of us. I pray to never take His love for granted, nor fail to recognize what He was willing to endure to reconcile us to Himself.

  • LaurenC_

    So much of today's Scripture fills my heart and soul with such peaceful reassurance, I could copy and paste it all here. This verse in particular — "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away, and look, new things have come." 2 Corinthians 5:17 Praise God and Amen!

  • Caroline

    Friends remember… He is good ALL the time and All the time he’s good!

  • Caroline

    This morning it was -8 degrees in springfield oh and it brought out such an ugly miserable flashiness within myself. It’s those moments that I have to remind myself that the winter is worth it to get to spring. And Therefore the difficult times in life are necessary for the Lord to use to build our character and continue our sanctification process

  • Very disappointed that SRT is getting caught up in the Catholic garbage of "Lent".

    • Debbie Lambooy

      Lent isn’t garbage it is a time for us to think on what Christ did for us. What he gave up for us. Giving something up for lent I fine if it’ll help you focus more on Jesus but the main thing about lent is to focus on on Jesus.

    • Lauren

      This is a very unloving comment. Have you actually been reading the devotionals?

    • Ingrid

      Nudie, Why the harshness? What about Lent makes you uncomfortable

  • So thankful for the promise of springtime. And the promise of Jesus. What an incredible analogy. Thank you guys so much for this study-it’s enriching my days!

  • Bind My Wandering Heart

    I love this, it’s so challenging to draw close to God at times, but thank you so much for this beautiful reminder of our need for relationship with Him!

  • Beautiful devotional and post today! I know its only day 3 so far but my heart is so full. Its exciting to see what God is doing in all of ya’lls lives and mine as well. This lent season has already been so refreshing. ♡

  • I really love this, and that picture.

  • These passages keep getting juicier and juicer. Really has been stirring lots of deep emotions in my heart. This reading plan couldn’t have been available at a better time. Really have been needing this encouragement and the fruit of these words!

  • There was so much richness in the scripture for today, that I found myself needing to go back to it a few times to soak it all in. This season of Lent has been a time for me to not physically give up something but to open up my heart to see the cold icy places that need to be made new and give that new heart back to God. Everyday I pray that God would expose the sin that I haven't confessed yet.It is so frustrating to see me revisit these sins over and over again. But I have confidence that he will continue the good work he has begun. I love the verses in 2 Corinthians..
    Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.
    Praying that we can all….. "come out of hiding, and be reconciled to Him"

  • this spoke deeply to my heart. thank you!

  • I absolutely love the springtime – all of it – the rain, the sun, the abundant growth all around. Yet these days, my heart has been mirroring the winter that is currently outside my windows.
    As I read today – Run to Christ. Be brave. Come out of hiding. Be reconciled to Him. – I desperately wanted to do these things but…the whys began to cloud my mind. Why was I continually overcomplicating these simple actions? Why did repentance feel so hard and laying down my burdens feel impossible? Why did my heart hold on to the hiding, the wintertime like a security blanket?
    And then I realized the answer to all of these questions was fear. Fear. Such a small word that I was allowing to have such a large hold on my life. Fear of letting go of control. Fear of failing…again… Fear of losing the comfort I'd found in the winter of my heart. Yet acknowledging the fears changed the questions in my heart: Can I choose to trust God, give Him control, and surrender it all at the foot of the cross? Can I accept the possible uncomfortable and potential future failings? Are not His love and grace and good gifts worth more than these fears?
    And my heart resounds, even now, YES! Because His way is the only way. He is the only One who can show me my sins and bring me out of this winter.
    Isaiah 43 reminds me: He is mighty. He wants me to forget the former things. To dwell on the past no more. And the best part is that he wants to do a new thing (amen!) Not only that, but "now it springs up" meaning it is happening right now. And no, I have not perceived it because I have been so focused on the 'former things' and my fears.
    I felt God gently nudging my heart, "Beverly, open your eyes. I am working. I am doing a new thing. Springtime is on the way!" Thank you, Lord.

    • Ashlee

      I can relate to this. I think we all can. You are able to put it into words better than I can, though! Loved to read your thoughts here Beverly :-)

  • saraswelland

    Just what I have been needing to hear. The encouragement to be set apart and reconciled to the God I serve. Where there is light in the spring time, that is where I want to be because it heals all wounds.

  • Christ Himself is THE answer to the heart of our need. The heart of my need seems so complex right now. I’m trying to remind myself and understand how despite all of my confusion and pain, even with religious authority and church, Jesus is the ultimate answer.

  • Gabrielle

    So thankful for this study and for the wonderful women I get to do it with! Today’s message really hit home with me. I’ve really been in the thick of my “winter” for a few years now, basically a time of godlessness. I heard about this study and really felt the pull to do it and I’m so glad I did! I’m feeling like springtime is coming near and Christ is bringing me to him. I’m being shown amazing truths that I really needed to hear. I’m already looking forward to what I get to read tomorrow!

  • This is beautiful and reminds me of Song of Solomon 2:10-13 a plea from our Beloved that the winter is past and it’s time to come away! He will always be better than our winter but yet uses it to reconcile us afresh to Him. What a sweet Savior we have!

  • I so love today’s message. I myself took my kids sledding just this morning. It was 12 degrees out. They fought and argued and when we got home and thawed the fighting only worsened and my frustration heightened. I knew I should have read this earlier because I need Christ to thaw this mamma’s frozen, frustrated, bitter heart. All the sudden I feel a song coming on, a little ” Let it go.” chorus anyone? But seriously, I need the Lord to renew my heart with my kids today. This is a great example of how getting right with God puts us back in our “right mind”. A mind that looks to love others and not attack, to show compassion and not contempt, to build up and not tear down. Gods love can thaw a frozen heart.

  • Rebecca, such a delight to see your heart in scripted form here. I love how the Lord makes connections, even across many miles. The Nesbitt family sends their love to the Faires home and to all those we miss in TN.

  • I think I will be going to reconciliation for the first time in years tomorrow. My faith had been rattled after losing three family members last year and a college friend. Christmas Eve 2014 I finally went to mass by myself and began to feel inspired. I now look forward to going to mass every week and feel that each time I go my spirit is refreshed. I am praying the rosary everyday of lent and have been keeping up with the current plan-I haven't felt this light in a long time. Thank you

  • Loved today’s messages. I lost my husband 2 year’s in November. Seems like from the start of the ” death season”, depression looms around me. Isolation finds me and keeps me. Truth is as life starts to begin to bloom as the season changes. The real Life started when Jesus rose again. I saw that into today message life is in Christ not a season. Know matter the season, we live, we keep going, we keep moving forward,because He is alive in us.# I want a knew heart

  • “Spring” has been a word/theme God has been bringing up repeatedly lately, so today’s title was a clue in — but every line of today’s word got me. I struggled to finish for the tears obstructing my vision. I want to release my grip on things that are keeping me in the cold of winter and be brought into the springtime of my soul by the Only One who can get me there. Such sweet, powerful imagery. Vibrant life, in abundance – newness, blooming and beautiful.

  • This devotion’s focus on springtime reminded me of this old hymn, Sunshine in My Soul. Its lyrics go along with the study so well: http://www.hymntime.com/tch/htm/s/u/n/sunshine.htm

  • Samantha Chaffin

    I love this! It’s such a beautiful reminder of why Lent is important – this time of preparation, a time of conviction and reconciliation. I’ve been in a long winter, and it felt like I would never come out of it. This Ash Wednesday, God reminded me that I didn’t need to just give things up, but also replace them with better things, His Things! I’ve never really kept Lent before, so I’m excited to see what God does in this season. He has already moved so much.

  • strengthtoloveblog

    I LOVE this parallel between sin and reconciliation- between winter and spring. Desperately looking forward to Easter's tulips, warm spring breeze and the grace of our savior.

  • Please say a quick prayer for my aching family today, sisters. I lost my aunt in a terrible car accident on Monday night. Help us find peace and comfort and hope in the Lord. Help our family grow closer together through tragedy, and give us all courage to make it through Saturday's services.

  • I loved the ending quote from Bread And Wine: “approach Lent as an opportunity, not a requirement. After all, it is meant to be the church’s springtime, a time when, out of the darkness of sin’s winter, a repentant, empowered people emerges.” I’m loving each of these devotions so much. Schools been out this week and I’m enjoying the extra time to linger here reading comments, following links. Moved to tears today as I pray to draw closer to my savior, to know Him better, soon the springtime will be here and we will make Him known!

  • Kimberley

    2 Corinthians 5:18-20 mentions reconciliation 5 times. Here is a link I found further discussing the passage and the act of reconciliation. Enjoy! https://freeingthecaptives.wordpress.com/2013/03/11/what-does-it-mean-to-be-reconciled-to-god/

    • Mae

      Thank you for sharing!! What an amazing insight on what it really means to be reconciled. This study has already been so encouraging. So thankful for this ministry and sisters in Christ!

    • Kyla

      Thank you for sharing what you found! I saved the article for future reference, too. Be blessed, Sister!

    • Ashlee

      Thank you so much for sharing! Helped me dig a little deeper in today’s meditation.

  • Ruth Ohlman

    Wow I needed this. I'm loving this blog and the Lent book. Thank you for your work and how it encourages others in their faith.

    The scripture reading today reminded me of hope and how C. S. Lewis expresses it in The Last Battle. I love the end of the books description of "heaven".

    Also the following quotation and truth from above!! Thank you.

    "During the season of Lent, we try to give things up to train our raw fingers to let go of old ways. But to reconcile with God and to breathe in the springtime, we have to do more than just let go. We have to replace our icy vices with the good, warm things of God.
    I’m forever stuck in the winter of sin until I let go of myself and receive the good things of God. Christ is the best gift of God—He is worth more than anything we could ever give up.
    We don’t make this happen. We just cry out for help, and our Savior thaws our bitter hearts. I don’t understand how it happens. But I believe that He is our only hope to free us from our sin."

  • Vada Vick

    This devotional today is so exactly what I needed. Jesus has been drawing me to Himself for awhile now, and the imagery of thawing snow and awakening spring is exactly what the Holy Spirit has been doing in my heart. Thank you!

  • Instead of letting go I will try to be intent on running to Christ with open hands and open heart.

  • Grandma Kelli

    It’s been -10 with a -30 windchill where I live…so I can relate to the yearning for Spring…A yearning for more of Jesus!

  • It's not only been an icy cold winter but a cold, hard 3 years… sometimes, our souls ache MUCH longer than a season. I'm feeling the "thaw" start, so eloquently paralleled to this season of Lent, and even this devotional. But, I think of all those whose cold hard season with God are lasting much longer than that, who are in the dark for long periods and may even struggle with mental illness. He can even reach these depths, His love and understanding and peace reach so, so deep into our souls. "I have to do more than hide and wait…" but even if we can't physically do it, if our souls are just that weak and weary, He is there. He can reach us even if we can't reach for Him. Thank You, Jesus! Thank you for giving me the strength to reach for you after such a long time of hiding and waiting. Thank you for this ministry!

    • Mindy

      So resonate with what you said Lizzy! For me it was hardest to trust God when I had no where else to turn. It took so long to turn my gaze to Jesus and see his promise to be my strength in weakness… Blessing to you girl! Thanks for sharing :)

    • Carissa

      Beautifully written… Brought tears to my eyes because I was there just a little over a year ago. Finally, Jesus did reach me and I’ve come out of “hiding” and This past year and a half of reconciling has brought so much peace. I’m praying for you.

      • Lizzy

        thanks Carissa! Isn't it wonderful to know you're not the only human who has these times- b/c in the middle of it, it is SO lonely. I love finding others who say "me too." praying for you too.

        • Carissa

          I completely agree. The more I shared my experience, the more “me toos” surfaced. It was so healing to know that I really wasn’t alone. Hugs!

  • Charlotte

    The winter of our souls is longing for spring! I know that’s not exactly what was written but my does this speak to me! This is a season of gladness and of rebirth and being reconciled to my first love! This truly is a growing season for me! I pray all of you are getting so much out of this study! I am getting my socks blessed off!

  • Shannon Tyson

    Today’s post was spot on for me.
    Yesterday, with a clingy sniffly sick 9 month old attached to me most of the day… I cried a lot and found myself just wishing I could crawl in bed under my covers and hide from the world. Literally, I looked at my bed and loathed the fact that I couldn’t get in it.
    I found out yesterday that my grandmother has stage 4 lung cancer that has spread to her spine… Dangerously encompassing her spinal cord.
    But she loves Jesus.
    And I know His glory will be revealed through this. And I also know that I have to allow God to do what He is doing in my heart instead of hiding under the covers.
    Please pray for my family and mostly for us to trust in His goodness and sovereignty during this cold hard time.
    Love you all.

  • Thank you for this. I am so glad these words were shared!

  • I’ve felt moved to give up noise during lent, and replace it with quiet. We almost always have music playing in our home and car, and I can’t go to the gym without it. This post reminded me today that in fasting from noise, I’m actually embracing quiet. Lent comes from the Latin to lengthen, and our practices of lent are meant to give more space to God in our lives. I hope into find God in the quiet moments these next 6 weeks.

  • Oglatha McLaughlin

    Thanks for this study.. I always wanted to learn more and study lent season..It’s really blessing me..Bless day to you all!!

  • Candice McNair

    Love the biblical reminder to put off sin and put on Christ. It is so easy to be caught in the rut of put off, put off, put off. When we try and do this, without putting on (Christ), we find ourselves sinking (like a boat who has a hole and is throwing over cargo!) Praise be to the One who is the perfect good we have to clothe ourselves, when the filthy rags are removed, times after time again.

  • SarahMarieT

    I read The Message translation for the 2 Corinthians passage and was struck by the last part of this: "14-15 Our firm decision is to work from this focused center: One man died for everyone. That puts everyone in the same boat. He included everyone in his death so that everyone could also be included in his life, a resurrection life, a far better life than people ever lived on their own."

  • Sherri B

    “I have to do more than hide and wait…” So tempting!

  • "But I’m so afraid that God uses bitter, icy times to reconcile us to Him. I’m scared that I have to go through the winter of the soul so I can enjoy the springtime of the soul.
    When I peek out from under the covers, I know the truth. I know I have to give up my own will, repent, and be reconciled to God, or I’ll never see springtime. I have to do more than hide and wait for winter to end; I have to allow God to change my heart."

    Oh gosh. How this has resonated with my soul this morning. So thankful for this community of sisters.

    Change my heart God! Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life. (Psalm 139:23)

  • I'm doing a bible study by Precept Ministries called Covenant and we're learning about the different covenants in the bible and how they relate to the covenant we have with Jesus. This week we're learning about dying to self and how seriously God takes it. To die to self means to put Him before everything and everyone. Including our husbands and children. Today's SRT devotional was very timely. In order for the ice to melt, we must make the daily decision to die to self, die to independent living, independent thinking. And if we ask God to help us examine our hearts for the areas we try to independent, you'd be surprised at what you'll fine.

    For me, it's my sleep. I dream of waking up every day before the sun rises to spend a few hours alone with Jesus, but instead I squint zombie-like at the clock and mumble to myself "Maybe tomorrow morning." and I say it every. Single. Morning. And then when I do get up, I get my bible studies done in a rush so I can check it off the to-do list rather than let it saturate. But then I'll sit forEVER on social media. I'll be in the floor of my toddler's room staring at my phone while she plays by herself. I'm just being honest here. And I think we all do it. Right?

    That's why I'm going to give up those few hours of sleep and all social media for Lent. I believe the things we need to give up for Lent are the things that are hardest for us to give up. It needs to feel like a sacrifice. I mean, that's kind of the point. I'm going to give myself a 30 minute window at the end of the day to check my social media profiles except on Sundays were I'll give it up completely. I'm going to replace those few hours of sleep and screen time with diligent prayer, intentional bible study, and quality playtime with my littles.

    Whatever we give up this Lenten season, let it be something that causes us to die to self. That's where the melting process happens. That's where the spiritual growth begins.

    • Prairie Girl
    • Jenny Raymond

      I’ve done the children’s version of that study with my kids! It’s good. And I’m right there with you and mornings. And sitting on my phone while kids play.

  • Thank you so much SRT for this study! Learning so much!!! Girls you can read my post on Instagram @hpcoffeegirl

  • I needed to hear this so much! Sinning is constant, but new seasons of our lives renew us! Each day is a renewal!

  • Let us focus on eyes in HIM

  • Winter is such a dreary and isolated time, especially as a mother of young children. But what if everyday was accepted as a gift and we rejoiced knowing that whatever we do today should be pleasing to God? I hope I use today as a gift and know that we can be reconciled and know that everyday can feel like spring time!

  • Bethany M

    Cannot believe how relevant this is for me today. I have had such a cold and hard heart over the past few months towards people and to God. Praying that God would turn my heart of stone into a heart of flesh.

    • Alyssa

      Me too. He has softened my heart in a way I thought I would never see. Praying He continues our growth!

  • Please pray for me. I feel numb. I can put on a smile and attempt to show God’s love to strangers, but when it comes to family I close myself off and it can seem unloving. I thought I had changed and became grounded in Christ knowing who I was, but trouble after trouble came and I broke. I feel tired and I don’t want to feel that way. I want God’s abundant joy and peace. I shut myself off from family because I don’t think they’ll understand. They want to fix my problems and have me do things as they would. I just need support. I need family to say it’s going to be okay.

    • Sherry

      Crystal… I am praying for you. I have just been through a long season of numbness…know that “even there His hand shall lead you and His right hand shall hold you.” Psalm 139:7
      Praying that spring is just around the corner for you!

    • Rosa

      Praying God will lift your head and speak truth to your soul. God wants u to have that joy and peace!

    • Lizzy

      Crystal, I "broke" two years ago and am just now getting to a place of reconciling with God and others. Sometimes it takes a looooong time. It is going to be ok! Not easy, not instagram worthy, not pretty, but you are changing. Keep looking to Him the best you can and put one foot in front of the other. I am so here right now and can't believe I am encouraging someone else, so thankful for your honesty.

    • s.pipes

      Crystal…we can’t receive love that can thaw our hearts if it is closed off. Just like a plant will not turn green if hidden forever from the sun. Let Him in that you may see a sprig of green take root in your heart. Teach those closest to you how to support you. Praying now.

      • Crystal

        Rosa, Lizzy and S.Pipes thank you for your prayers and honesty. Today was a much a better day.

    • Jeni

      Crystal,
      God seems to still be sending Sisters to lift you up in prayer! I am ! And months after your revealed heartache. He still is rounding up prayer warriors for you!!! ❤️❤️❤️ it IS going to be ok!

  • I know my victory is in the Cross, that Christ has paid the price already, but it's time to step out of this frigid season (and it is freezing where I live) and gear up for some spring cleaning. I feel like I have conveniently let an ice sculpture form around my *besetting sins, and all I can see is the stunning swan. I'm praying that the Holy Spirit will slowly melt this block of ice (for if it all happened at once I surely couldn't handle it).

    This Lent — a time to pause is a good thing.

    I'm not begrudging it at all, and I have given up precious sleep as one of my pleasures, because I have the Spirit as my helper to keep me balanced.

    *Therefore, we also having so great a cloud of witnesses set around us, every weight having put off, and the closely besetting sin, through endurance may we run the contest that is set before us, Heb. 12:1

    • Janee White

      Hello my friend…. I am in a season of spring cleaning as well. Allowing the new – excising the old. Embracing the new – letting go of the old.

      He is calling us to a new season – a new life. But for me, I keep trying to live this new life the old way. I treat this new way of life with the same old broken and cold heart. He's longing for spring in my heart, yet I keep living in the winter.

      I pray for us both my friend, that we allow the winter of our hearts to end and allow the spring to come. He is the giver of New things, and I for one, am in desperate need of New.

      • Valanne

        Oh, this makes me think of Matthew 5:30 "And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell." So if it's winter that's causing the problem–let's move to where there's no winter!

        Of course, I'm being lighthearted here, we can't just up and move when sin comes knocking at our door. No we must get on our knees, reach into that cupboard beneath the kitchen sink and grab a rag along with the cleaning solution and get to work.

        We can do it–we've got the power of Christ residing in us!!!

  • I grew up in the Great Lakes region. I love fresh powder and a good ski run (or sled run with my kids). But after the fun of skiing or sledding is over, I'm left with a pile of damp, cold clothes. I start to shiver. I feel like that's how my worldly habits and vices can be- they're fun for awhile, but they leave a damp, cold trail in their wake. I want to enjoy springtime. I'm praying that God would reveal my icy vices to me, and that I would bravely seek after Him to thaw.

  • Dana, many times I feel the same way. Sometimes I feel powerful, intimate moments with God, and so I want every moment to feel that way. I think we just need to persevere even when we don’t have that feeling. Lord, I ask you to reach down and take hold of Dana and all of us, draw us out of deep waters, rescue us from the enemy. Bring us into a spacious place. Deal with us according to our righteousness. (Psalm 18:16-19) Let us simply be still and know you are God. We love you. Amen.

  • Sonja Cox

    So good & timely word today! My aim: to please the Lord. 2Cor.5:8 ❤️
    Let His Spirit melt my icy cold heart so He can make spring happen in me!

  • Sometimes I have a hard time connecting that days bible reading to the devotional. Paul is speaking of dying to self, living for Christ, aiming to be pleasing to God, the ministry of reconciliation, and being made righteous through Christ. I don’t see any of that in the devotional?

  • Sisters, can you pray along with me.I don’t often like to ask for prayer but I feel “fogged” I read these studies and don’t seem to get out of them the same as what you beautiful ladies do.I want Gods truth to resonate in my heart and to do a mighty work in my life. I want the Holy Spirit to make me Sensitive to the studies she reads truth has to offer to drawer me near to our Heavenly Father. Lord lift this fog of worry that paralyzes me and wants me to think I’m not a daughter that belongs to your kingdom that I’m worthy and that these studies are helping me further understand you and the beauty of what you do for each of us. I pray this for any sisters that are going/feeling fogged may our minds not be distracted and the enemy flee from making us think we are not learning from these studies.

    • Hannah Loren

      My heart feel for you, Dana. Praying God will pull you through the fog to clarity of your identity in Christ as a precious daughter of the King. Love to you, sister!

    • Rosa

      Focus on learning from the Word, not the devotional. There is power in the Word only. Ask God to open your eyes and speak to u. Come with a humble heart who fears the Lord and He will do it. We all have doubts. His Word dispels them. It reminds us who He is and what He has said. Take captive every thought. You know they are not the truth, find the truth in His Word.

    • Beth

      Thank you Dana… I started my reading this morning with the same prayer. It does feel foggy but some days I feel like I am seeing better through it so I am just going to keep on reading in anticipation of that bright clear day… Prayers for you and any others walking through the mists with us!

    • Caroline

      Dana, your humble frustration so resonates with me. Sometimes I feel that I spend more days in the foggy seasons than out. I pray that He comforts you with knowing that He is ever present, always at work in your heart. Our perception of his closeness (or distance) is often at odds with reality. Praying for eyes and hearts to be opened, and rejoicing for your heart that craves true restoration and communion!

    • Oglatha McLaughlin

      Bless your heart Dana, I am praying for you..

    • Cass

      I feel that fog sometimes, too. I have found that it is helpful to read the passage in several translations so that I can fully comprehend the meaning. If I still have questions, I usually ask my husband or a friend for insight.

    • celia

      Praying for you. I feel that way too sometimes. God knows your heart and is close by even if it doesn’t feel like it.

    • Andrea

      I feel the same sometimes too Dana. The comments are filled with such beautiful prayers and insightful encouragements from these wonderful women that I wouldn't have thought of myself– but that is why I like reading them and enjoy the community we have here! It helps me see scriptures from different points of views and examine my heart in ways I may not have thought to without them. We all go through fogs and phases where we just don't "feel it" and its okay. You do belong, so just stick with us! We're praying for you.

  • Truly enjoyed today's reading, especially 2 Cor 5…..what a powerful chapter!

    Can anyone help me out with the verse 2 Cor 5:13???—- "if we are out of our mind, it is for the sake of God. If we are in our right mind, it is for you". Any interpretations out there? My Bible has a note off to the side about how some thought Paul was "out of his mind" on his Damascus road experience. For some reason I feel like there's deeper meaning behind this one verse, though…..

    • Kelsey

      I took it to mean that “if we are acting crazy with passion about this subject, it’s because it compels us to. But if we tried to tone down our crazy passion, we would be doing so because we cared what you think, and it wouldn’t we’ve our God.” ThAts at least how in saw it. Tricky one.

      • Tess

        Thanks Sonja and Kelsey! :)

        It did strike me as tricky. I'm not sure why it caught my attention– but I just thought out of the context of the chapter, it was so interestingly worded. It seemed to be a pause from all of the convicted words Paul was speaking, and kind of a sidenote. Just seemed funny it was thrown in there like that.

    • Sonja Cox

      Paul’s teachings about CHRIST were so radical that some thought he was crazy but others saw and heard his zeal for the truth. He is basically saying here: whether you think I’m crazy or not: that doesn’t matter but what compels Paul is the love of Christ. He doesn’t care what man thinks of him. Hope that helps a little!

  • God’s timing is perfect. I got up this morning thinking that I am sick to death of winter. Now, I can look out the window and remember that God is working. The snow will be a reminder to ask Him to change my heart.

  • This hits home: "I have to allow God to change my heart." Thank you!

  • Dear Sister in Christ. I don't believe you are "wrong" to have a heart full of joy. " rejoice in the Lord again I say rejoice! A heart full of gratitude brings us close to the One who loves us unconditionally and gave His life. You said you are aware of your sin and have struggled with condemnation. Then walk in the truth of God's word one day at a time. "There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of Life has set you free from the law of sin and deAth. Romans 8:1-2 I see lent as a time for self examination, a time to draw near, but I realize that my sin has been crucified with Christ I no longer am burdened but set free. I am a new creature in Christ. Yet, I still sin as I am still bound to this world. In the readings of the last couple of days I am awAre that God uses the sin in my life to draw near to Him, giving me a heart full of gratitude for His mercy and grace. I say embrace the joy God has placed In your heart, don't allow yourself to be robbed of this gift from above. Be open and aware, for He will be faithful to show you your sin and bring you to repentance. Trust in Him and lean not to your own understanding (Proverbs 3) Fret not,Rest in Jesus.

  • girl, IG i a hoax! they take one cute pic, their kids totally lose it, they all are freezing and crying, and they go inside.

  • Thank God for this message!!!! Like a balm for my soul on this icy New York day ❤️

    • strengthtoloveblog

      me too! The middle west is covered in snow. This is definitely a good word today :)

  • Is 43:18 “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. … Stepped on my toes big time. I have struggled letting go of past hurts. I thought I was past it, but then I let Satan remind me of it & I have to let it go all over again. No more, I’m done letting him try to drag me back down into the pit of depression! I can’t do it on my own strength, but I can through the power of the Holy Spirit! I am surrendering it all to Jesus & allowing Him to restore my broken friendship or to help me move past it. The choice is up to Him & I will have to accept it.

  • "But I’m so afraid that God uses bitter, icy times to reconcile us to Him. I’m scared that I have to go through the winter of the soul so I can enjoy the springtime of the soul."

    As I go through a harsh winter season, both literally and metaphorically, I see so much of myself in this statement. I know God is using this pain to draw me closer to Him, to change my sinful heart. It is so hard to let go of the things I love in this world, but I know He is calling me to do just that. Praying that I can find joy in Him alone. That I can fully let go and trust Him without my constant fears and panicked heart.

    "Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?"
    This verse jumped out at me today. I believe God is working behind the scenes of my life, doing something new, healing what needs to be healed. My hope is in Him.

  • Kelly_Smith

    I love the promises in today's readings, promises that we do not have to be stuck in winter. Or the desert.

    "See I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?" (Is 43:19). God does that new thing. He doesn't ask the Israelites to dig wells or do a rain dance. He brings them to the desert and simply asks them to hold out their hands and receive the Living Water as it flows from the hot, dry rock.

    "If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation" (2 Cor 5:17). The created can not create themselves. It is a work of the Creator. The same hands that formed us in our mothers' wombs form us now as fully grown women. We do not self-create the new woman. We allow the creating by standing still at the foot of the cross. He breaks us and puts us back together again, more in His image than ever before.

    The moving from winter to spring was done at the cross. We must walk in the path that Jesus Christ walked to find our way to the warmth of the sun. There we can begin to see ourselves as God sees us, "the righteousness of God" (2 Cor 5:21). Unbelievable, yet the only thing worth believing.

    • Beverly

      Beautifully said, Kelly. Especially this: “We do not self-create the new woman. We allow the creating by standing still at the foot of the cross. He breaks us and puts us back together again, more in His image than ever before.” So true. So necessary. Thanks for sharing!

  • Alice Swearingen

    I’m convicted about the way I represent Christ in the world…. I’m too self-absorbed and often walk right by someone who needs His love. I’m trying to slow down and be more aware of His leading in this Lenten season. Thank you for these devotions that help me refocus in Jesus!

  • This was such a timely post. We are in the midst of thawing from an ice storm and my husband and I reflected on my response last night. We laugh every winter how I should be a bear And hibernate bc I dislike the cold so much. This will be our 3rd Easter since we were thrust into a “winter of the soul” and several months ago things began to thaw. It has been a hard season and so often I’ve wanted to hibernate but I’m starting to see the growth from the death. He has made all things new and like he promised when we entered this season, He has redeemed what was broken.

  • morganzoeller

    I love the imagery of being "swallowed up by life" in 2 Cor 5:4…and that inasmuch as we have put on our heavenly dwelling we won't be found naked (v.2-3)!!! Continuing to clothe ourselves in the Word, refusing to ponder the things of the past, beholding the NEW. Jesus is springtime. He is the mark of all new life. Amen!

    • Elizabeth S

      Amen, Amen!!! Its a beautiful thought and even more beautiful when we can off put the sins of yesterday to live the new life He is making in us today! Blessed are we, his daughters. Thank you Lord for the beautiful new day in this season of your healing.

    • Katie_K

      "Jesus is springtime". YES and AMEN to that

  • Considering I am a teacher and this is my fourth day off this week due to Snowmageddon 2015, a post of the hope of springtime is just what I needed!!

    I have been reminded several times over the past season of the necessary painful truth of humble repentance and growth. I have asked Jesus why this season has been more painful than I expected, and He gently reminded of how repentance is painful, but is the only thing that yields true life.

    John 12:24 says, “Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.”

    Without death, life cannot begin. Without true (and sometimes painful) repentance, change cannot come.

    And I have to admit, I have learned and grown more in this season than ever before.

  • To add to my above comment, I started this study of Lent because I was drawn by this:
    "Only at the Cross will we see the full weight of our sin. Only at the Cross will we see the full height of His glory. Only at the Cross will we grasp the full joy of our salvation. At the Cross we see clearly what is true."

    It is written in the invitation to the Lent study, which is a great read. I want to more fully come back to the Savior and I am reminded of why I came in the first place: His love told me that I am worthy and forgiven. I realized this yesterday as I was reminded of why the Cross is so important.

    • Brigetta

      Amen! So excited for you that you are able to rejoice in the realization of the grace Christ has given you! Be blessed sister!

    • BELOVED_YE

      Rejoice in The Lord always! And again I say Rejoice! I praise The Lord with you for the great and mighty things He has done in your life. Thanks for sharing. Remember YE are BELOVED!

  • I have a question/concern, maybe you ladies can help me out. And I am just being honest here.

    I know that Lent is about coming near to the cross, facing and grieving at the sight of our sins. And then drawing near to God because He is the life-giving solution to our sin.

    But what if I have grieved my sin so much already that I don't wish to grieve any longer? I have struggled with condemnation in my life and through yesterday's study, I see that the answer lies in focusing on what Jesus has done and not continue dwelling over what I have done.

    I want to rejoice! I want to rejoice over this good news; that He took it all in my place and though I do wrong and come up short, He makes the way for me still! I want to rejoice also because I am looking at a promotion at work and getting married in 8 months! I am so excited for these things, but almost feel bad that I am not somber over my sins right now like I feel I ought to be because it is Lent.

    Maybe I'm having emotional confusion? Am I being prideful? Because I am fully aware that I am naturally inclined to be sinful. And I believe in my need for a Savior. But for the above reasons, it makes it difficult to want to grieve.

    Am I wrong?

    • Ruth

      Hi Jessica!
      Romans 9 tells us that there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Pray that the Holy Spirit would make that real to you!
      I can see why you would struggle with condemnation, I was also brought up Pentecostal :P So, i feel you. But remember (and believe!), Jesus' blood IS powerful enough to cleanse you of your sins. Do not allow the enemy to deceive you and overwhelm you with guilt and shame. (I'm preaching to myself too lol). The promotion and marriage are good gifts sent to you from your Father so you should absolutely rejoice over them whether it is the Lenten season or not.
      Hope this helps :)

      • Jessica

        Ruth, thank you so much for your answer! It does help, more than you know :-) Thank you for your reassurance!

    • Tanya

      Jessica,
      I feel you. Rejoice! He wants that for you. You are in a new season. His kindness leads to repentance not our self condemnation. Our sins have been nailed to the tree. It's not our job to try to pry them off of there again. Lent is about Him and His outrageous, scandalous love.

    • Kelly_Smith

      Yes, Rejoice! He has done great things! Forget those past sins. Live as a new creation.

      I see this godly sorrow and repentance as applicable to today's transgressions. It is too easy to assume yesterday's grace will cover tomorrow's sin. While it is the same grace, I think we need to find it anew. To not allow our souls to become dull to our sin. Preach the Gospel to yourself daily and rejoice over the work Christ has done.

      • Tess

        Wonderfully put :) "To not allow our souls to become dull to our sin" …..I think it is so easy to get comfortable….or as in much of our world today, desensitized to things that are clearly sinful. Each day is a new day, a new opportunity for repentance, reconciliation, and most definitely for rejoicing and praise!!! I think our Savior truly delights in seeing us rejoice in Him and His provisions.

    • Jennifer C

      Have you ever read Ann Voskamp's book One Thousand Gifts? She speaks boldly on the practice of thankfulness, and active joy. Counting the gifts of grace we've been given, whether they be "big" gifts like Christ's sacrifice on the cross, or "little" gifts like a parking space right in front of my city house on a cold day with a trunkful of groceries and 2 toddlers :) God has showered us with gifts of grace. Yes he wants us to grieve our sins and repent…but not to dwell on guilt. Easier said than done, but making actual lists of God's gifts, as Ann Voskamp suggests, is a tangible step toward joy.

    • Tiari C.

      Thanks for sharing, Jessica. I am thinking and feeling the exact same thing through this Lent season. Let's rejoice together!! :)

    • Beth

      Hi Jessica,

      It's so great that you want to rejoice!

      I don't think that Lent is about making ourselves feel one way or the other (sadness or joy), so much as a chance to really look at what motivates us, and bring that more in line with the Gospel. I think for most of us this does bring grief, at least at first, when we realize how much we've been deceiving ourselves and rationalizing our sin. It's so easy to get caught up in thinking we're happy because of God's love but really valuing his gifts more than we do our relationship with him, and part of the reason for making sacrifices during Lent is to get us out of that trap. It sounds like you're a step ahead, though, because the ultimate goal is just what you said: not to focus on what we've done wrong, but on the amazing things Jesus has done for us. And how could we not respond to the incredible gift of salvation with incredible joy?

      If you're not sure what to do with Lent this year because you're feeling so joyful, my suggestion is to make a special effort this season to share that joy with other people. There are so many wonderful ways to share God's love, and there are so many people who desperately need to know how much God loves them! You probably already do some things like this, but some practical ideas that come to my mind are going out of the way to encourage someone, taking some extra time out of a busy day to listen to a friend, volunteering a few hours of babysitting to a stressed out mom, and visiting a nursing home. These acts of service all fit in with the tradition of making sacrifices and giving to charity during Lent, but they're also areas where a joyful person (rather than a somber person) would be especially appreciated.

      All the best, and congratulations on your approaching marriage and promotion!

  • "I have to do more than hide….I have to allow God to change my heart". That is what spoke to me this morning. I've been keeping my heart closed off from God and everyone for fear I would be hurt again. Please allow me to open my heart, God!

  • Definitely needed this…. happy Friday all!!

  • Thank you God for giving us Christ so we can reconcile and allow our hearts to be changed. Jesus I am running right into your arms and after your heart.

  • Amen!!!

    Yesterday I didn’t have the “fuzzies” and prayed that God would heal my indifference to him, that he would speak powerfully though his word. I cried because I felt so close to my old self and so far from the new one Christ has given me.

    And today, reading “Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?” (Isaiah 43:9) I realize that sometimes we are the first ones to disqualify God’s work in our lives and forget his power yet he is working miracles in us(!!!!)… Can we dare to see it?

    This season I am giving up sleep to meet with God early! Please pray for me!

    • Christy

      Amen Adriana! Praying for you that in your abiding time you can feel His grace that is there and abundant always.

    • Tess

      Adriana, we gave up our snooze buttons for this season too!! It's been tough, but the feeling of peace that resonates throughout the day is so worth it. :-) I'll be praying for you sister– we can do this! <3

    • Elizabeth S

      Ditto Adriana, and I will be praying sister! The thing that came to mind reading your post, is that our loving, merciful God is so kind and patient in spite of our stubborn, thoughtless ways and he is not going to scream or scare or push us into wanting and loving Him. He calls us gently to be cleansed in His waters and nourished by His truth. There is no begging or pleading, just a gentle whisper to believe in the God of Truth. I think because He is not on obtrusive, circus clown of a God, it makes it so much sweeter to find Him and hold on when we have. You are right that his miracle abound daily, but I believe He must open the eyes of our heart, and the best way for this to happen is for us to BELIEVE that He is patiently and powerfully working in us, whether we appreciate.

      I pray for us, early bird sisters today, so that our hearts of sin may be torn open and strewn at the foot of the cross and that in our brokenness the light of spring, healing and Christ's miracles may abound in our lives and that others may see and that we all can give glory to the Lord. Blessings on you Adriana!

  • Kendall_S

    am i just waiting for my "winter" to end….

    or am i refusing to waste this "season" and…..

    allowing God to change my heart….

  • "This lenten season, let’s do more than suspend our vices—let’s run to Christ. Let’s be brave, come out of hiding, and be reconciled to Him."

    As a girl who loves the thesarus I looked up 'reconcile' and love what I found…. restore, make peace, harmonize, balance….

    I am making Lent a season to be reconciled to Him, not an obligation to give up things! Beautiful message today!!!!

  • This >>>>>> "We don’t make this happen. We just cry out for help, and our Savior thaws our bitter hearts. I don’t understand how it happens. But I believe that He is our only hope to free us from our sin."

    It spoke to me so much when you were honest about not knowing how it happens, but it takes faith and trust in Him who leads us through the winter of our souls!

    • Elizabeth S

      Jessica, exactly! Faith that only Jesus can bring us out of our seasons of sin and trust that He certainly will! Its quite lovely to think about, I think the most difficult thing for me is to always believe, always trust that He does want the best for me and is working all things for his good plan. May the Holy Spirit guide our hearts and minds so that we may be eternally compelled to lay our doubts and despair at the foot of the cross and just believe! Amen!

  • Tonight I toss and turn in my bed. My husband lies sleeping peacefully beside me. I’ve been awake since 3 something. It’s now 5:09. Worry about things global and local consumes me. I prayed. I did some computer work for tomorrow. I prayed some more. I opened my She Reads Truth…

    The Isaiah scriptures bring an immediate measure of peace. God’s promises comfort my soul.

    I turn to 2 Corinthians… Oh God, every scripture slams into my heart. I am definitely groaning and burdened… God, thank you for your Spirit. I’m trying to be of good courage here Lord, but things are scary. God, we are a military family. I just want to live in peace… without having to loose sons… without the threat of war and terror. Rescue us from the evil that seems to prevail. But God concerning the “would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord”, I’m a selfish woman, God. I confess it. I ask for your hand of mercy and grace. Please, God, fix my selfish heart. Bring peace Lord, I ask even while I’m praying for deliverance so that our lives of comfortable freedom can continue. God, help me to rest in knowing that you are in control and YOU hold the world in your hands and you can certainly adjust my heart… bring balance. Bring peace.

    “We don’t make this happen. We just cry out for help, and our Savior thaws our bitter hearts. I don’t understand how it happens. But I believe that He is our only hope to free us from our sin.”… She Reads Truth

    • Kendall_S

      beautifully said Tammy….

    • Tabitha E.

      Tammy yesssss! I am with you – "would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord."
      On our knees, we humbly say, Please God, fix OUR selfish hearts.
      He hears our cry. I believe.

    • Nana C

      You put my thoughts in your words. He is surely in control …..our anchor

  • thelittlelaurents

    "But I’m so afraid that God uses bitter, icy times to reconcile us to Him. I’m scared that I have to go through the winter of the soul so I can enjoy the springtime of the soul. When I peek out from under the covers, I know the truth. I know I have to give up my own will, repent, and be reconciled to God, or I’ll never see springtime. I have to do more than hide and wait for winter to end; I have to allow God to change my heart." Praying that God will change my heart and that I will not stand in His way.

  • mandy English

    psalm 51 v 10
    create in me a pure heart, o God, and renew a right spirit in me.

  • Rebecca Faires, beautifully and heart awakeningly written…totally ..

    This sentence…right here…..'But I’m so afraid that God uses bitter, icy times to reconcile us to Him. I’m scared that I have to go through the winter of the soul so I can enjoy the springtime of the soul'……clawed at my heart….I felt my heart leap from my chest, to fall, boom, down into the pit of my stomach…Remembering my own harshest of harsh winters, and all the scenarios that came with it, I totally resonated with this statement…He, God, got my attention, be it at the beginning, rants and raves, the whys, the you promised you would heals, …but slowly, lovingly and consistently, but surely…His loving arms began to envelope me, until such time that I could believe…and truly know in my heart… giving me a will, showing me a purpose,Offering me a HOPE….a Hope, I now so so hold on to, a hope, I trust and know to be absolutel TRUTH …Jesus…Jesus..is my HOPE, my springtime…and in the words of Mary when she visited her cousin Elizabeth…John the Baptists mother… .Luke1:46..My heart praises the Lord; my soul is glad because of God my Saviour…He saved this wretch, that once was I…now a work, oh so in progress, ….
    I do believe, as you have stated, my beautiful friend…there are winters to get through, but with God's hand, and that amazing Grace…springtime is all the more joyful, because our God is right there alongside us….Amen…

    Rebecca, I have so enjoyed, with tears, writing my truth, in response to your devotion…Thank you….

    Sister's, May the Lord God, turn His face to shine on you today….be Blessed totally and abundantly…Love, Tina….xxx

    • teawithsb

      Hope. The beautiful concept and gift from God. Hope is such apart of Spring. The tiny buds bursting through the ground, promising new life and beauty after a time of winter. Jesus is my/ our hope. Romans 5:5. Thank you for reminding me of hop, and how it goes hand in hand with springtime and His love.

  • Spot on, speaking my language today. So needed this this morning. I was pondering yesterday as I ran a few errands early, the cold weather. My small folk have been out of school all week because of the bitter cold and snow and yesterday as I stepped out of my car into a parking lot, the bitter cold hit me like a prickly slap in the face. I tensed up, hunkered into myself and bulldozed my way through the nipping and biting winds. As I stepped into the warm and lovely store, my posture naturally changed and my step lightened, but as I finished my shopping and stood in front of the doors to go out, I readied myself for the rigid absoluteness on the other side of those automatic doors.

    The reality of winter IS sin in our life. When confronted with our sin, sometimes it hits us in the face and our immediate reaction is the hunker down and barrell our way through it, either in defense or fear. Then when the awareness, the tangibility of it lessens, we straighten up, walk a little more calmly and a little more assuredly, all while that sin looms in the background waiting to pounce again until crushed. Like the beautiful white snow blanketing my back yard. It just lends itself to cover a multitude of disparities that is our yard this time of year. In other words, no matter how much snow we get, how beautiful it is, how much it hides stuff, the truth is…..it's just hiding stuff. The muck is still there. The popped ball I meant to pick up before the snowfall is still inflicting itself on our yard, the remnants of two dogs remain under that beautiful white blanket, the vines growing over the logs in the back corner – yup when the snow melts, still there. No matter how pretty we make it, how warm we are or how thick our blanket of covering … the sin of ourselves or hurts in our lives are still there, muddying it up. Confronting our sin, our hurts is a very necessary part of making it through Winter. It is an abosolute to approaching our Spring, because although the remnants of sin & hurt remain under that sweeping snow the seeds of Spring and healing do to. And that is what I want to cultivate and not just for others, but for myself.

    Prayerful that when the bitter winds of past or present sin nip at my nose and cheeks and heart, when someone in my life may see things differently, that I will ready myself, prepare myself and step into it with a grace, confidence and repentance that can only come from God. I want to conquer the Winter of my sin, walking hand in hand with Christ. I want to accept His covering over me, His pristine righteousness for me, like our ground accepts this lush and perfect snow, knowing full well I am covered. ~ B

    • MNmomma (heather)

      Beautifully said!

    • Tess

      I really enjoy reading your posts each morning :-) you have such a beautiful perspective in framing the days readings within your own thoughts and a God given talent in written word and description.
      Praying for you all up there in the snow and the bitter cold!! I imagine it has to be miserable day in and day out seeing all that snow pile up— praying relief is in sight for you all soon!

      • Onfaith

        Tess, your words are wonderful to me. I am so glad that something I pen speaks to someone. Thank you for your kindness and encouragement. I can't get over the women here. Such an amazing community God has brought together. Hope whereever you are that you have the warm sun beating down. I am not going to complain too much, until now we've had a fairly mild, albeit cold, winter. I did wake up to a fresh five new inches of snow today and more coming though….. :) ~ B

    • Logan Hubbard

      So lovely and well said lady.

    • Lisa

      Beautiful! Thank you for sharing…

    • Katie_K

      Your analogy of the covering snow really spoke to me today. I feel like suddenly everything hidden under the snow in my life has been revealed and is now this great burden threatening to suffocate. Some of it is sin based, some of it is just hard things that need to be faced and worked through. Today I'm praying for God to melt my and my husband's heart so we can get rid of these burdens once and for all. We can lay them at the cross and heal from them completely so that Spring may come and He may be glorified.

      • Onfaith

        Katie – you are still on my list of people to pray for. I know the struggle is a hard one and I hope that on the occassion you're feeling superlatively stressed that you remember there is a woman you don't even know who prays for you and your marriage. The snow lifting is a blessing, but it does reveal such a mess. I know I'm going to have to devote a day we all get out for a good cleaning. These seasons are so much like that. God allowing things to be revealed so that we may be refined. The beauty is God won't allow anything that truly suffocates you, but I know those feelings, like a fish out of water. I am prayerful that God settles the uneasiness and that in the midst of your mess He provides the glimpse of growth. Truly praying Katie! ~ B

    • Laura E

      thank you for sharing your thoughts!

    • Ashley

      I agree with Tess, your perspective and eloquence are an added blessing to the already beautiful daily readings.

      • Onfaith

        Thank you also for your kind words and thoughts to me. I am thankful God has found a way that what He puts on my heart can be shared. He is the everything in those words! ~ B

    • Brigetta

      Thank you for your beautiful artistry of words!

      • Onfaith

        I am humbled by your description. This community is such a wonderful community of encouragers. ~ B

    • Nancy

      Sorry hit the thumbs down by mistake.

      As I was reading your post I feel so grateful that God has given you the wonderful talent to put into words your feelings that paint a picture we can all see, relate to and appreciate. Thanking you and especially Him – feeling blessed.

      • Onfaith

        Thank you Nancy for your incredibly kind words. I am so appreciative for the work God does in my life. ~ B

  • Juanita J.

    Dear sisters, I hope you are all well.
    Please take a few minutes to read this story and help this sister and her family.
    Please pray for them, share her story with those around you and please donate as you can.
    Let us all come together for her especially during this period of lent.
    http://www.gofundme.com/Electa-Medical-Bil

    Remain blessed.

  • We can do it.

  • Sarah Abigail

    “Behold, I will do something new,
    Now it will spring forth;
    Will you not be aware of it?
    I will even make a roadway in the wilderness,
    Rivers in the desert.”

    He indeed makes all things new!

    • Beverly

      Indeed He does! This verse filled me with such hope today.

    • Caroline

      That scripture spoke right to my heart today. I am about to get married in May and everything in my life is changing….. Except Jesus! Yay!

  • Thaw out my soul, Jesus! Quench my thirst!

  • Amy Luna

    Amen. Spoke to my heart! Thank you Jesus.

Further Reading...