The Lenten season starts Wednesday 2/22/12. Instead of giving something up for Lent, you might consider a commtiment to find quiet space each day to reflect on God's goodness, mightiness and love. Check out this 40-day reading that my talented friend Emily Huff has written. Each day has 2 pages of quotes and scriptures. It's only $5 to get your own paperback copy to keep at your bedside or near your favorite chair. Here's the intro to the book:
This collection of quotes that I have gathered over the last year is called “FORTY3”
because it is the third one of these that I have compiled and it is meant to be read over
a period of 40 days. These quotes are from some of the books, websites or blogs I have
been reading this year, and they reflect some of the truths that I want to sink deeper
into my heart. As one friend put it, these are like literary “speed bumps” that I hope
will help me slow down each day.
Eugene Peterson writes, “forty is a stock biblical word that has hope at its core. Forty
days is a period of testing the reality of one’s life—examining it for truth and for
authenticity. The forty days in Noah’s ark was used to cleanse centuries of moral
pollution. The forty years in the wilderness was used to train the Israelites to live by
faith in the promises of God. The forty days of Jesus’ temptation was used to explore
his calling and test his commitment. The forty days of Jesus’ appearances after his
death was used to verify his resurrection and characterize the new life of God’s
kingdom. In each case, the number forty works eschatologically: The last day, the
fortieth day, shapes the content of the preceding thirty-nine days. Each of the thirtynine
days experiences eschatological pressure- the days become a womb, pregnant
with new beginnings. If the span of forty days does its proper work, life begins in a
new way. (Conversations; The Message with its Translator, page 1416-1417)
As I shared in the last two compilations:
The number 40 holds particular significance in the Bible and refers to a precise
number, not just a long period of time…. A 40-something time period, whether days,
months, or years is ALWAYS a period of testing, trial, probation, or chastisement (but
not judgment) and ends with a period of restoration, revival or renewal. Thankfully,
God is consistent, so the meaning of a number in Genesis remains the same all the
way to the book of Revelation. Sometimes the spiritual significance is not revealed
directly, but in the case of "40" and its many examples throughout the Bible, we can
be certain of its importance and significance. (from Wikianswers.com)
One other reason that I wanted to call this collection “40” is because Psalm 40 speaks
to me in this season of life for many reasons. U2 has put it to music in their classic
I waited patiently for the Lord
He inclined and heard my cry.
He brought me right out of the pit,
out of my miry clay.
I will sing a new song,
How long to sing this song?
He set my feet upon a rock,
and made my footsteps heard.
Many will see,
Many will see and fear.
I will sing, sing a new song.
How long to sing this song?
So whatever season you are in, may these words bring you restoration, revival and
renewal. May God’s love be more real to you as you soak these words up over the
next 40 days. As the picture on the cover says, may this be a time in which you make
space to be listening for hope.