Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Lenten Devotionals and Music

I never observed Lent growing up. Raised in a nondenominational charismatic church, we really didn't feel the need for such a season (although curiously enough my family did do Advent devotions). I still don't feel the "need" for Lent but find it a helpful season to be more intentional in study of Scripture and meditating upon the truth of the Gospel.

Rather than boiling down Lent into giving up some vice or guilty pleasure (such as chocolate, sugar, etc.), I'm hoping by God's grace to grow into deeper, more prayerful, Christ-centered living. After all, "self-made religion and asceticism and severity to the body... are of no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh." Rather, it's setting my mind on Christ and putting to death the sinful desires that lurk in my heart that are really at issue for me and for anyone really (SEE Colossians 2:20-3:17).

To that end I'd highly recommend what I'm using as a Lenten devotional John Piper's "Fifty Reasons Why Jesus Came to Die."

I read it a few years ago and it blessed me then. Originally published as "The Passion of Jesus Christ" in 2004, the book was a concise 2-page-per-chapter book designed to give readers an introduction into the glories of Calvary. Each chapter is based on at least one Scripture and delves into the purposes and ends of Christ's atoning work in the lives of believers. Meditating on these truths will greatly help renew your focus on Christ and His finished work.

I also recommend listening to and worshiping God with Gospel-rich and cross-centered music. I highly recommend Sovereign Grace's "Songs for the Cross-Centered Life."

That album has been a blessing to sing along to many a time driving to or from work. It's a great way to worship the Lord in the morning and prepare your heart for the day ahead by remembering the Lord's steadfast love for us in Christ Jesus.



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