From Ghuna Kumar in India: During Lent it is quite edifying for us to spend 40 days reflecting on what the Lord has done for us on Calvary.
Beauty Instead of Ashes
Ashes in the Bible means sin and shame. When Tamar was put to shame she put ashes on her head and tore the long robe that she wore. (2 Sam 13:19) . When Job realized his blunders and sins, he despised himself in dust and ashes (Job 42:6). When the king of Nineveh realized their sins and judgment, he sat on ashes (Jonah 3:6). But God gives us beauty instead of ashes. He clothes us with the beauty of SALVATION FROM SIN AND SHAME.
Isaiah 61:10 says, “I will rejoice greatly in the Lord; My soul will exult in my God, for He has clothed me with garments of salvation; He has wrapped me with a robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself with a garland and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.”
The Oil of Gladness Instead of Mourning
Mourning in the Bible means loss of beloved ones or properties. We all go through losing our loved ones, job, children and so on. Abraham mourned when Sarah died (Genesis 23:2); Jacob mourned for Joseph (Genesis 37:34-35); David led the people as they mourned Abner (2 Samuel 3:31-32); Mary and Martha wept over their brother Lazarus (John 11:31). Tears are mentioned in the Bible in several places. “My tears have been my food day and night” (Psalm 42:3 ). “Record my lament, list my tears on Your scroll” (Psalm 56:8). But the Lord promises us the oil of gladness which means the SPIRIT FILLING LIFE. Hebrews 1:9 speaks of the oil of joy. Anointing of priests for setting them apart for God’s purposes is found in many places (Exodus 30:30). Oil was used for healing and casting out of demons. (James 5:14; Mark 6:13). Our lives will overflow when God anoints us (Psalm 23:5).
A Garment of Praise Instead of the Spirit of Heaviness
Heaviness means dimness, darkening , dullness and weightiness. Many times in our lives we experience something which is pulling us down. Our hearts are downcast. We feel hopeless as if a cloud is hanging over our spirits. At times we get oppressive feelings, too. But God promises a garment of praise. I would like to call it a SONGS OF PRAISE (WORSHIP). He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God; many will see and fear and will trust in the LORD (Psalm 40:3). By singing and praising the Lord our burdens and heaviness are rolled away. “I will bless the LORD at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth.” (Psalm 34:1) Hallelujah!
Thank You, Lord, for giving me SALVATION from sin, shame, sickness and Satan; SPIRIT FILLING LIFE to over come my misfortunes and SONGS OF PRAISE in the place of feelings of oppression. May this Lent be days of experiencing these blessings.
Praises and Prayer Needs
- Praise God for His grace and Strength. I have been unwell for the past twenty days. I have had a severe chest cold and cough. Despite all kinds of treatment, still I am not returned to normal. Of course, I carried on the regular work. Please pray for me.
- Jaya had her left cataract done. She is improving. God willing, tonight we will be leaving Mount Zion and then on to Trichy and Coimbatore before we will arrive Chennai. Pray for my preaching in a retreat in Coimbatore on Sunday, February 17.
- Praise God for we had some rain at Mount Zion yesterday after a gap of almost two and half months. Please pray for more rain. This time our rice crop almost failed. The prices of rice has gone up again. What we used to buy for Rs. 32 has gone to Rs.40 this month.
- We are working for Government recognition of the sixth grade class we began in our Primary School. Pray that we will get this recognition.
- Please pray for the people who lost almost everything as a result of devastating tornado in MS and AL in USA.
- Pray for Angoon who is suffering much with her knee pain.
- Yesterday I was able to win Mariappan to come to faith in Jesus Christ. Pray his commitment will be strengthened.
- Pray for the certificate of accreditation which is yet to come from Asia Theological Association even though all the process from our end is over.
I want to thank all those who gave liberally for the cause of reaching the poorest and the downtrodden in India. Thank you and Praise God for His enabling grace bestowed on you. We certainly remember to pray for you more often these days.