February 17

February 17, 2021
By: Gabriel Tseng
Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.Genesis 2:7

By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground,
since from it you were taken;
for dust you are and to dust you will return.
 –Genesis 3:19

Ash Wednesday has traditionally been where we are marked by an ash cross on our foreheads to be reminded that we came from ash and to ash we shall remain. However, in Christ, we have this new life sealed by the Holy Spirit. A combination of two symbols shows outwardly what has happened within. In our being is bound up the very picture of God’s grace poured out as a living sacrifice. 
In such a strange way, I realize I live with two feet on two different boats yearning to sail in separate directions. Unsettled yet at home. Saved but yet continuing to struggle with indwelling sin. I am hot and cold and red and blue on the whole spectrum. There are many days when my daily walk is easier and many more that I have found difficult. I have found solace in the permanent nature of the God who does not change even as He conforms me to His own image. May this prayer by John Baillie encourage and focus our eyes towards Christ. 

Eter­nal Father of my soul, let my first thought today be of You, let my first impulse be to wor­ship You, let my first speech be Your name, let my first action be to kneel before You in prayer. 

For Your per­fect wis­dom and per­fect good­ness:
For the love with which You love mankind:
For the love with which You love me:
For the great and mys­te­ri­ous oppor­tu­ni­ty of my life:
For the indwelling of Your Spir­it in my heart:
For the sev­en­fold gifts of Your Spir­it:
I praise and wor­ship You, O Lord.

Yet let me not, when this morn­ing prayer is said, think my wor­ship end­ed and spend the day in for­get­ful­ness of You. Rather from these moments of quiet­ness let light go forth, and joy, and pow­er, that will remain with me through all the hours of the day; 

Keep­ing me chaste in thought
Keep­ing me tem­per­ate and truth­ful in speech
Keep­ing me faith­ful and dili­gent in my work
Keep­ing me hum­ble in my esti­ma­tion of myself
Keep­ing me hon­or­able and gen­er­ous in my deal­ing with oth­ers
Keep­ing me loy­al to every hal­lowed mem­o­ry of the past

Keep­ing me mind­ful of my eter­nal des­tiny as a child of Yours.
Through Jesus Christ my Lord. Amen.

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