Ash Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Each day, you may click on the scripture to go directly to the Bible passage. It will load only one chapter at a time, so click the arrow to go to the next chapter. Or if you are reading only the highlighted scripture, click on that link to read the selected verses for the day. Enjoy!

 

Read Matthew 1-3

Highlight: Matthew 3:8-10      

Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. And do not think you can say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham.  The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.

 

Everyone loves a free pass, a special privilege to cut to the front of the line! The Jews thought they had the privilege of birthright to claim they were God’s favorites. But God blessed Abraham because of his faith, as Paul puts it in Romans 4, “The righteousness that comes by faith.”

It is not enough to attend Sunday school as a child, or even to be confirmed as a youth. We can claim no special privileges before God apart from faith. To repent is to realize that our heritage or our traditions do not save us; we are saved by grace through faith in our savior Jesus Christ. God’s invitation is extended to anyone who seeks the Lord, trusting in God’s mercy alone.

This is but the first step of faith as we turn our lives over to God, believing that God sent Jesus to die for us. God also asks us to produce fruit in keeping with our repentance. It doesn’t have to be anything extraordinary or heroic – just simple acts of kindness, goodhearted generosity, and forgiving love. Share a coat, offer some food, live ethically, be content with what you have. Whatever you do, do it in gratefulness for all God has done for you. We don’t like to think about judgment, but know that God expects good things from us. Produce good fruit, because you have been blessed through faith.

 

Prayer

Gracious God, we praise you for your power but we turn to you because of your love. Help us want to serve others in everyday kindnesses as our way of saying “thank you” to you, for your gift of faith in Jesus Christ. May we live each day for you, through the grace of our savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.

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