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Lent for Everyone: Week 1, Wednesday (120229)

Lent For Everyone Reading Plan

This is Wedneday of the first full week of Lent. The reading is Matthew 7, with an emphasis on the Lord’s Prayer. (If you want to listen, scroll to the bottom of the page for the audio player.)

Wright focuses on Jesus’ teaching (Matthew 7:16-17) that we recognize false prophets “by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit.”

Wright says “When Jesus uses the image of the tree, he is drawing, as so often, on an ancient biblical picture. The first Psalm speaks of God’s true people like trees planted by streams of water, which will produce fruit at the right time, while the wicked are like chaff blown around by the wind. Jeremiah develops this picture (17.8), thinking of the tree that sends out its roots to look for the water it needs. Lent is a time when we should be doing that: sending out our roots to look for the water of life. The challenge of these verses isn’t simply one of learning to recognize true Christian teaching from false. The challenge is to become, ourselves, trees that bear good fruit, people who not only say ‘Lord, Lord’ when it suits us, but who apply ourselves to the much harder task of discerning and doing God’s will.”

Justin Rizzo is a worship leader at IHOP (International House of Prayer) in Kansas City. Here’s his simple song “Like a Tree”