A Matter of the Heart: Fasting and Prayer according to the Teachings of the Apostles, Didache 8

Fasting and Prayer

When living in the Community of Believers or Body of Christ there are times that worship is done as a community and times that worship is a private matter. Worship, as we know is a many faceted thing. The Community of Believers that received this writing had basic understandings yet needed warnings and a how to since it was a young community. One thing they did learn is that each person is known to God and wants to hear their needs, their praises, and they understood that they cannot do things which involve their eternal rest, alone.
Your fasts should not be with the hypocrites, for they fast on Mondays and Thursdays. You should fast on Wednesdays and Fridays. And do not pray like the hypocrites, but rather as the Lord commanded in the gospel: Our Father in heaven, holy be your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us enough bread day-by-day. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And do not bring us to the time of trial, but rescue us from the evil one. Pray this three times each day.
This part has to do with devotional piety. How one fasts is a personal direct reflection of their desire to rid themselves of the world and be closer to God. Prayer is both corporate and private but not boasting nor for the attention of other people. This issue is prevalent even today where people will shout personal prayers out loud in a non-body of believers environment while boasting of their achievements and problems in prayer. One thing to note right away, this prayer was not ended with “In Jesus Name”. It is because this is a direct prayer to God as well as our way of expressing full devotion and worship of God alone. Praying in Jesus name came after the need to recognize Jesus as mediator. That aside, let us see what the writer is saying.
Fasting: A Private Matter
The writer notes that a separation between hypocrites and their fast days was necessary to make things right with God. Thing is, there were those that fasted Mondays and Thursday while the Way believers fasted on Wednesdays and Fridays. The reason, the believers fasted in preparation for the Sabbath while the hypocrites fasted after the Sabbath and not right before. The other part is openly stating and boasting of the fast. Fasting is not a public event. It is a private, physical showing of the spiritual, personal devotion to God. Jesus said that it is a private matter between the sinner and God, the same as prayer.
Prayer: Communication with God
Jesus presented a way to pray with the Lord’s Prayer. This prayer begins with praises to the Father and asks for the will of the Father to be the main activity on earth as it is in Heaven. Now the bread is a two-fold meaning, continue to sustain us with physical nourishment as the Word nourishes our soul. The debt is our sins to which we are slaves to. God forgives us but to receive ultimate forgiveness we need to forgive others as god has forgiven us. The time of trial is asking that we stay from the temptations in life through staying in the Word and understand that He is our rescuer. Basically, Praise God and know that we cannot do things without Him. We cannot save ourselves nor recover from our sinfulness without God.

The writer notes that we should pray three times a day. These prayer times were instituted by Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob respectively. Abraham instituted Morning Prayer, Isaac prayed mid- day and Jacob closed out his day in prayer. Jesus proclaimed we should pray constantly and persistently.

All in all the message being revealed here is that there are matters which are of the heart that should not be boasted in public. The other piece is not to be openly zealous in presenting the fact that you are a believer, rather show by simply living life as a person of faith. Remember the story of the boastful priest versus the humble thief in prayer. Be like the humble one but in all things. Love to all and blessings.



Parables: Not Just Children’s Stories

ParablesDo you remember hearing and reading fairy/morality tales and other bedtime stories when we were young? These were stories on how to live a right and good life while on earth that told us how to be good and the possible consequence if we do not listen. God has a way of teaching about Himself, what it will be like to live with Him in the Kingdom, and how we can start living that way while here on earth. They are the Parables but why did God have Jesus share in this way?

10 Then the disciples came and said to him, “Why do you speak to them in parables?” 11 And he answered them, “To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given. 12 For to the one who has, more will be given, and he will have an abundance, but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. 13 This is why I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. Matthew 13:10-13

During His time on earth, Jesus spoke to the people in ways they could understand. He spoke to the multitude by giving great sermons that convicted and healed. He had many dinner conversations that were lessons on faith. He had chance meetings, synagogue preaching, private conversations, and many others; but the one way he spoke to every soul was through the Parables. In this age we would call them illustrations and the point would still get across. Now every Parable that Jesus spoke was directly linked to the God.

14 Indeed, in their case the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled that says:
“‘“You will indeed hear but never understand,
and you will indeed see but never perceive.”
15 For this people’s heart has grown dull,
and with their ears they can barely hear,
and their eyes they have closed,
lest they should see with their eyes
and hear with their ears
and understand with their heart
and turn, and I would heal them.’
Matthew 13:14-15

Parables and illustrations help the hearers and listeners to visualize what is being said because they take situations from the timeframe they originate in. Simple words for a simple time. Jesus gave the people a visual representation so that they could see and relate the stories to the Word which they had lost and get a picture of God’s desire for the personal relationship with His Creation. You see, it is all part of God’s timing and He picked the right moment where He knew that many of His Chosen People would return to Him. However, the people needed that physical representation and the Isaiah prophecy fulfillment of the Messiah (we always need something physical for some reason) in order to believe in the spiritual when it is revealed.

16 But blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear. 17 For truly, I say to you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it. Matthew 13:16-17

Jesus knew how to get to the heart of the matter and speak to the very soul while giving a visual and sometimes physical representation on how people should live with each other and then compared it to life in the Kingdom. When God spoke the Word into mortal existence, He brought the Kingdom with Him. Many people who sought (and seek) Him found (find) Him and those who were and are blinded by their righteousness are still seeking Him. The Parables are a great reminder that we will never be fully right while on earth unless we serve and are faithful to God through Jesus. Saying this reminds me of the old hymn, “Trust and Obey” that goes:

When we walk with the Lord
In the light of His word
What a glory He sheds on our way
While we do His good will
He abides with us still
And with all who will trust and obey
Trust and obey
For there’s no other way
To be happy in Jesus
But to trust and obey
But we never can prove
The delights of His love
Until all on the altar we lay
For the favor He shows
For the joy He bestows
Are for them who will trust and obey
Trust and obey
For there’s no other way
To be happy in Jesus
But to trust and obey
Then in fellowship sweet
We will sit at His feet
Or we’ll walk by His side in the way
What He says we will do
Where He sends we will go
Never fear, only trust and obey
Trust and obey
For there’s no other way
To be happy in Jesus
But to trust and obey


When Zacchaeus Met Jesus

Zacchaeus and Jesus

We are small, God is bigger

Jesus, the Word made Flesh, encounters all types of people and only a few ended up in the New Testament. The Twelve Disciples saw all the encounters and were party to most of them and there always seemed to be questions, at least to the ones recorded in the Gospels. The story of the wee little man, Zacchaeus, was no different but it was made into a children’s song. All we know about this person was that he was short, a dishonest chief tax collector with some others under him. Let’s look at Luke’s account of the meeting between Jesus and Zacchaeus:
He entered Jericho and was passing through. And behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus. He was a chief tax collector and was rich. And he was seeking to see who Jesus was, but on account of the crowd he could not, because he was small in stature. So he ran on ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see him, for he was about to pass that way. And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, hurry and come down, for I must stay at your house today.” So he hurried and came down and received him joyfully. And when they saw it, they all grumbled, “He has gone in to be the guest of a man who is a sinner.” And Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, “Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor. And if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I restore it fourfold.” And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, since he also is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” Luke 19:1-10 (ESV)
Scripture tells us that Jericho was destroyed when God had the Israelites march around the city yelling, screaming, singing and blowing their shofars. The walls came a tumbling down then the Israelites rebuild and took over the city. Many years later the Romans occupied the area and they chose locals to collect the taxes so that others would trust them. Most of these tax collectors were dishonest men with few morals because they were corrupted by the false idol of money.

Now Zacchaeus heard that Jesus was coming into town and wanted to hear Him and see Him but couldn’t see because of being short. Jesus sees hearts and could see Zacchaeus even before he got up in the tree. Jesus knew that people would be aggravated that He chose to share a meal and stay with Zacchaeus and his family but He did it.
What did Jesus show others and how did hearts change?
First let’s review what was said of Jesus by the onlookers in the crowd, “He has gone in to be the guest of a man who is a sinner.” Jesus had mentioned numerous times that He is here to save the sinner. By that, He meant, those who are willing to accept the fact that they are sinners. The more you willing accept the fact that you cannot save yourself on your own, the easier it is for you and Jesus to come together. He does enter houses of other Rabbis but only after He sees their hearts and if they could be turned. He also knew what had to happen for those hearts to be returned to God.

God welcomes home the truly repentant because they fully understand that they are not in control of their lives. Those who believe they are good to go just because they believe, have done all the sacrifices, but go right back to their lives, are not truly turned back to God in their hearts. Also, you have those who worshipped the man and not what/who He is. He is the Incarnate Word of God, to worship the man you worship flesh. He worshipped God so we should do the same.

Zacchaeus somehow was immediately changed as he saw not the man, but the Word. He knew his wrongs and repented both physically and spiritually. He gave up his job, his livelihood, his life, so that he would be saved. He received forgiveness for his sins against God first by his repentance, then forgiving others, asking for forgiveness, and receiving forgiveness from man. This is an example of what man needs to do to receive have a heart filled with God.

Have you repented, forgiven, asked for forgiveness, and received forgiveness? When your heart isn’t right with people here on earth, what makes you believe your heart is right with God, it isn’t. Remember that Jesus said that those who cannot forgive (make things right) with their family, their neighbors, should not enter the temple because their heart isn’t right. Do you want your heart to be clean? It is all up to you to make things right, then your temple cleaning will be god for God to come in and finish the cleansing.
Be Blessed today and every day. Spread God’s Word without fear. Jesus gave us simple stories with Eternity in mind. Have a Great one.
Pastor Rob



Do you remember this song from your youth? I want to thank members of the NPWI Choir at Trevecca Nazarene University in Nashville, TN: Noah Starr, Collin Montgomery, Zoe Pearce, Kyle Laird, and Kavanah Manswell for performing and my daughter Katie for arranging and directing it. Brought back memories of singing it during Vacation Bible School.

Thank You

Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

We here at Path-Way Worship Ministries just want to give a message of appreciation and blessings to all who read the blogs, the lessons, and listen to the music we present. Sometimes we get so caught up in life, research, study, and doing things for Christ that we forget the simple things like sharing our love and compassion for you with a simple thank you.

We are moving forward with many projects in the next few months that are challenging but rewarding (Spiritually). These projects need much prayer. If you are interested in how the Lord is moving us in these mission projects and desire more information, click here: Path-Way Refuge and Retreat Center

This will take you to the main page. As part of the Refuge and Retreat Center we are working on a Prayer Path and Garden Prayer/Reflection Path Project  and something that is near and dear to my heart Reignite Living Center 

All these projects are a big part of what we believe we are called to do. The place for the ministry and mission is still undetermined but it is looking like Tennessee. If you feel that you would like more information about the ministry and mission please do not hesitate to contact us here: Contact 

If you have enjoyed our posts and lessons please do not hesitate to share. In fact please share the Good News as that is what God wants us to do. We are a World Wide Ministry and hope and pray that God will allow us to continue sharing the Gospel with the world.

God Bless and Thank You once again

Baptize in the Name of the Father, The Son, and the Holy Spirit


Jesus commanded His Disciples to “Go make Disciples of all men, Baptizing in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. The Teachings of the Apostles explains Baptism in a short but informative instruction.

Concerning baptism, you should baptize this way: After first explaining all things, baptize in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, in flowing water. But if you have no running water, baptize in other water; and if you cannot do so in cold water, then in warm. If you have very little, pour water three times on the head in the name of Father and Son and Holy Spirit. Before the baptism, both the baptizer and the candidate for baptism, plus any others who can, should fast. The candidate should fast for one or two days beforehand.

Baptism is the outward expression of the inward acceptance of the covenant made through the blood, death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus. John the Baptist made people clean through a repentant baptism in preparation for the coming Messiah by washing the sins away in the flowing water of the Jordan. For he said, “Repent and be baptized”.

The best way to baptize is in water that flows. This is done so to symbolize a removal of the sins. Nowadays we have a Baptismal that water is poured into and is still. It is good but a flowing one would be better. Why cold water? the temperature of the water is important because if you are baptized in cold water the pours stay closed so that no new sin can enter in. But it is ok for warm water due to the temperature of the surrounding area and how quickly the pours would close. Full immersion is preferred but a pouring is acceptable. Even before going into the water one should not eat or drink for one to two days. Why? Because you must enter the covenant humbly, with the understanding that the earthly foods only fill the body while the spirit needs the bread of life. By fasting, the body becomes dependent on God’s Word so it is a full acceptance of Jesus through the trust that His Word is sufficient for life.

Notice two things that did not have an alternative mode here. First the person must understand and accept the Word and the sacrifice that Jesus made finishing the need for the blood sacrifices for our salvation. Secondly, the fasting. The only thing about the fasting is the time limit. A child can fast for one and be good but an adult, two days.
The waiting for Resurrection Day to be baptized did not start until late first century to early second century. Instead it was basically an on the spot acceptance and washing bringing more and more into the Body of Christ. This was both right and proper going along with the Great Commission.

Perry Stone wrote on the first century Byzantine Church. In his explanation of things the men and women were baptized separately because they went into the water in the nude. This was the process: After the fasting was complete, the candidates lined up dressed in white robes and entered into a cavern inside a hill. At the lowest point there was a pool of cold flowing water. Upon entering the water, the outer garment was removed and the appointed priest, deacon, or elder, asked for confirmation of beliefs then the person was immersed in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Upon exiting the water they were given their white garment and a glass of milk mixed with honey to cleanse the inner self. When all Baptisms were complete, the whole Community of Believers shared in Communion then a celebration meal. Now that is a blessed time.

Baptism has sure changed since then as it is a full community observance. Certain denominations do things a little backwards by baptizing before the candidate even realizes what is going on, then later has to go through classes to explain everything and then accept the covenant. There is a clear statement that in order to be baptized, one has to personally make the choice to accept Jesus. Someone else cannot make that choice for you. The Great Commission that Jesus spoke before He ascended said to make Disciples of all mankind baptizing and maintaining obedience to the Word. To make Disciples one must first explain everything to which they outwardly show their acceptance through baptism then they are followed up with constantly through the speaking of the Word. That is the process of Baptism.

Have you been immersed in the waters of Baptism? I personally was Baptized as a baby through the Lutheran Church, went through the Catechism, and had my first Communion by the time I was 8. But I did not truly know Jesus. I was chosen to give a sermon when I was 9 on a children’s Sunday, but I still did not know Jesus. I went through 25 1/2 years thinking I was good to go until I truly discovered what Jesus was doing in my life. When I truly became aware of Jesus, I gave a public confession and was Baptized by immersion. I was 26 when I truly gave my life to God. When did you?

The Importance of Understanding Scripture

When any person starts talking Scripture and begins quoting the New Testament, that person does not understand that The New Testament is the retelling and spreading of the Scriptures (teachings of God) given to man. Yes Paul was inspired but what he was writing was the correction of Scripture that were confused and perverted by the Sanhedrin. The term Scriptures actually refer to the Old Testament or the Tanakh, the Hebrew writings also called the Mikra. The Scripture is what Jesus taught and made it more understandable to the Jewish nation at the time while correcting the man made traditions and perversions of the Father’s Truth. The Disciples spread the Gospel truth of Jesus which was a retelling of the Scriptures. The letters of the New Testament Canon were the follow up check in through instruction, praise, and admonition for the peoples of whom heard and believed.
For example, Paul’s words in Galatians 2:20, , “I have been crucified with Messiah. It is no longer I who live, but the Messiah who lives in me. And the life I know live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me”. That is a confession on how the truth in Scripture worked in Paul’s life. You see, God wants communion with each one personally and that was attained through the final blood sacrifice, the ultimate showing of God’s Love. God started the blood sacrifice when He gave Adam and Eve the hair and skin of the innocent lamb to cover their nakedness (they were still vegetarians and only used the wool for clothing). He completed it with the sacrifice of the sinless one, His own Son, the Word Made Flesh, Jesus. But we are still not there and that is why Jesus must return to complete the process of ridding sin and death from the world.
So what is the Tanakh? First is the Torah (Law) which can be interpreted as a teaching or the theory of God. It consists of the Pentateuch, the first five books also found in the Christian Old Testament. The second part of Scripture is called the Nevi’im or Book of Prophets to whom God spoke His teachings and gave praise and warnings of what will happen if the people continued in faith or disobedience. They also were presented with information of the future Kingdom of God. The third part is the Ketuvim, or writings. Basically the histories and wisdom books. The Tanakh concludes with Daniel, Ezra, Nehemiah, and both books of the Chronicles of the Kings. So together Scripture is Torah, Nevi’im, and Ketuvim, the Tanakh.
The New Testament is the sharing of how God ensured His Word was sent to the world which was originally intended to be the mission of the Israelites. They are still God’s Chosen People and we are still Gentile but we are commissioned to ensure God’s Word through Jesus gets to all mankind. This means we have to understand the Scripture as it was intended. A bit ago I wrote on King Josiah and the first great revival. That would have almost worked if the priests had not gone back to their old ways and stayed with the traditions. This being said, the New Covenant through Jesus was still necessary to get Israel back on track. The first people that Jesus transformed were Jewish then those transformed were commissioned to share the Word with the world. That commission then falls on all who hear, understand, and accept the Truth of Scripture which is where we come in.
So we are under the New Covenant but must adhere to the Scripture minus the ceremonial (blood sacrifice, sin offering) laws. Yes that means we must adhere to the Ten Commandments and moral laws. Remember, Jesus condensed the Ten down to the basic two which still spoke of the ten of which we are still bound. We are remade and found in Jesus to become one in communion with the Father as originally intended.

Translations: The Christian Confusion

TranslationWe are Lost in Translation.
Translations of the Holy Scripture are made for a people group to receive the Bible in a language they should understand. The problem is that so much can get lost in translation if there is a word that has no real exact translation then the whole sentence or even sections meaning could be a risk of changed meaning. The Scriptures we have today are translated from three different previous works. There is the Masoretic Hebrew text which is the Scriptures in the original language, the Greek Septuagint (S) which was written by Hellenized Rabbis for the Greek Jews, and the Latin Vulgate (V) or Roman Text. There are many differences just in these three from the original Hebrew/Aramaic to the other languages that there is truly a lot lost.

Students of Scripture can take many years to learn the original languages and be able to interpret meanings to gain better understanding and to be able to put the Scripture into words that others would understand. I personally use the Tenach (Hebrew Scriptures), the Complete Jewish Bible (translation from Masoretic), the English Standard Version (KJV 1611, S, V), and the NIV (KJV, S, V) to give me a better understanding.

The first thing that is misunderstood for the beginning reader is how is it that God separated light from the darkness making day and night, yet did not create the sun and moon till later? Answer… The first light is the enlightenment that separated order from chaos, good from evil. When God said, “Let there be Light” this was the creation order that caused the “order” of things to settle and begin life.    

The King James Version of 1611 is a very good interpretation but there are some things that just do not work. For example, no one is converted, that is a term that means physically transformed. The original Hebrew is actually translated to turned or returned. As we change our ways and our spirits are turned and tuned in to God. Now I understand that many churches refuse, even today, to use another version but please consider the children. There are many words used that even adults these days have to look up the modern term to understand the meaning so just think of when you tell a child to read it. I observed a children’s study at a church I used to preside over and cringed at the sound of children struggling to read from the KJV. No wonder we have confused youth. And guess what, when words are translated down to modern times from this original, you have to look at over 400 years of language change!

When the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered and the copies of the Book of Isaiah were translated, it was found that all three of the versions in the first paragraph were similar if not almost an exact translation. Others were close but not as good as Isaiah. This definitely tells us the early translators paid close attention.

Today we are so inundated with many English translations that are given to having personal interpretations which change the original meaning. This makes it easy for people to get lost. In fact, there are even versions of Scripture that are changed so much that God’s Word has been perverted to a complete mistranslation so that man can feel good about himself. This is wrong. This is against God. What makes it worse is that the versions still put in the last two verses in Revelation thereby convicting and condemning those who made the translations.

 When one talks Scripture that person should be referring to the Tenach or Christian Old Testament. Those scrolls are what the people who wrote the New Testament had and what Jesus proclaimed as truth. He did not reinvent anything but emphasized and made things easier to understand for the generation that was present in order to bring them back to God and to spread the Word to the world. 

When choosing a translation to read, do some research. What might seem like a comfortable and easy read may have many misinterpretations. If the translation has a name attached to it, research the person. Study Bibles are at most sometimes one sided with small print that shares what other translations may say to open the eyes of the reader to differing points of view or share synonyms. Remember this, words have different meanings and if mistranslated will cause confusion in what God is telling us.   What I ask of you is that you prayerfully consider the version you read. Brothers and Sisters in Christ, be blessed today and every day. Treat your fellow man with the kindness and love of God.

Do You Truly Repent of Sin During Lent or Return Right After

ASH Wednesday

Repentance is asking for forgiveness from God for falling into temptation and sin. The Ash and Sackcloth were used to symbolize the fact that we are of the earth and not worthy of the grace of God. The individual wore the sackcloth and prayed for repentance of sin while covering him/herself in ash. This was a common practice when unable to perform the blood sacrifice for repentance.

Now, before you read further I have to disclose that individuals may be offended, it may cause some backlash of which I will gladly take, and this may make you rethink some things and your eyes opened. But if it is not said, souls may continue down a dark path.

We are unable to cover ourselves for our sin, only God can do that through the sacrifice of the blood of the lamb. Adam and Eve tried to hide and covered themselves with leaves but God saw their sin and covered their nakedness (physically and spiritually) with sheep skin. Abel knew this and sacrificed the innocent firstborn male and best of the flock in repentance. Jesus was sent to us and was the final blood sacrifice necessary to appease God for our sins and His communication line with us became open once again. But God, did allow the ash and sackcloth when one could not sacrifice.

Pouring ash and wearing sackcloth is an act of humility and a penitent heart. God wants our hearts to be clean and filled with Him and His Word. Sin contaminates the heart and pushes God out. Having a clean heart is not easy due to our nature but it is a choice we must make to return to God.

Scripture gives us many different scenes where the Ash and Sackcloth were used in conjunction with prayer when repenting. Here are a few of them: “O daughter of my people, gird on sackcloth, roll in the ashes”, Jeremiah 6:26. In Daniel 9:3, He clothed himself in sackcloth and sprinkled himself in ashes as he pleaded with God in prayer and fasting. In Job 42:6, Job exclaimed, “I take back everything I said, and I sit in dust and ashes to show my repentance.”

Covering oneself in ash is a Hebrew custom that dates way back in early biblical times. The practice of covering in ash and laying in sackcloth was still used in the early Believer Community and is talked about by the early church fathers in the second century A.D. Somewhere after this it changed.

John W. Fenton wrote, “By the end of the 10th century, it was customary in Western Europe (but not yet in Rome) for all the faithful to receive ashes on the first day of the Lenten fast. In 1091, this custom was then ordered by Pope Urban II at the council of Benevento to be extended to the church in Rome. This destroyed the original intent of the individual recognition of the need and desire for repentance and condensed it to a once a year “celebration”.

Ash Wednesday is the first day of Lent that consists of a 24 hour fast from sun up to sun up. Lent is the commemoration of Jesus’ 40 day fast in the desert and the defeat of temptation after. The issue I have with the practice is that some who accept the ash, continue their carnal or sinful lifestyles during the whole season and just take it for show. Or they abstain for the season and return to sin after. They really do not repent and if they do it is not sincere because they stay in the world.

Thus leads to the issue with Lent. Lent in this day and age is a total of 46 days and many who practice it just give up something that they know they will pick back up at the end of it. The “fast” is not practiced on Sunday as it is the Lord’s Day. I am not judging but being perfectly clear about this. Abstaining from social media is not a right thing to say when you pronounce, “I am giving (Insert social media name here) for Lent” because you will be right back on it when Lent is over. Giving up things of the world on the short term does not the penitent heart make. The truly penitent will give up something they know is harmful to body and spirit and never go back to it.

FUN FACT: It takes 6 weeks to create a habit and just as long to break it. (6X7=42)

Lent, in original form was a straight up 40 day (no break) penitent fast. Those who needed to repent were given a shirt, covered in ash and could not return to the church for 40 days without food and had to be in consistent and persistent prayer. This has transformed into just giving up a habit or something that a person can live without for 46 days while still doing it on Sunday, leaving it to be 40 days. Those who go back to the habits given up were not truly repenting and were just giving lip service to the symbolism. To truly practice Lent one must go back 40 days from Resurrection Sunday and fast with only water to drink (to keep the body alive), be in constant and persistent prayer, and then have a little feast (not a big one) on Resurrection Day. If you cannot do that then take into account something you do that harms the temple (your body) and give that up for the full 46 days and do not return to the habit. That is repentance.

Ash Wednesday this year falls on February 14th. I bet there will be some who have the Ash on their foreheads that will still take their loved one out to dinner when the fast is to be until morning.
Look, the Bible never mentions the observance of a single day to spread ash for repentance, man came up with that to help those who could not break ungodly habits well after the books were written The intention was and is good but when it is perverted by some, as it has become, it loses its original meaning. God does not need us to set aside 46 days to show that we have a repentant heart, it is a 24 hour a day event. God desires that Self-examination, moderation, giving up of sinful habits, and being repentant from sin be life-long practices for believers. Man’s word and practices are corruptible and will fade, God’s Word is eternal.