Thursday, April 1, 2021

Lent – A Lifestyle, Not A Season

My teenage son decided a few years ago to give up pizza for Lent. My first thought was ugh, not pizza!

I was also amazed and proud that he would give up something he loved so much. So I suffered sacrificed with the rest of the family through forty days with no pizza. The experience is amusing now. At the time, I grudgingly embraced it as a learning experience for my son.

Yet, in our quest as Christians to observe spiritual holy days and seasons, do we miss the mark with our sacrifices for Christ—as if we can really give up anything for Him? Lent is supposed to be about reflection and self-denial to commemorate Christ’s sacrifice as we approach Easter. The intention is to spend more time in Scripture and prayer with God in place of the item we have sacrificed.

But what if we were to embrace the idea that Lent is a lifestyle for Christians instead of a season? Not self-denial in the pre-Protestant manner. We all need downtime and recreation. Rather, give up the things that mindlessly occupy our time or are harmful to our spirits—and replace them with Christ-honoring activities so that we may become more Christ-like.

You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. Ephesians 4:22-24

We put off our old self when we became Christians. To be made new in our attitudes and put on a new self, created to be like God, takes conscious effort. Lent offers a new beginning in this regard, a chance to reflect on old ways and create new spiritual habits.

… the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. Romans 8:6

The peace we yearn for, the new beginning—like spring after a long, cold winter—comes when we allow ourselves to be governed by the Spirit of God. As Lent ends and we approach Easter, fellowship with the Spirit of peace in a way you never have before. Then challenge yourself to embrace the idea of Lent as a lifestyle—a constant renewing in the midst of life’s challenges. The reassurance of God’s peace and our spiritual growth is worth any sacrifice we’ll make.

Photo courtesy of Pixabay.

Saturday, January 16, 2021

We Put Our Hope In You

Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people he chose for his inheritance. From heaven the Lord looks down and sees all mankind; But the eyes of the Lord are on those who fear him, on those whose hope is in his unfailing love. Psalm 33:12-13, 18 

If you’re like me, you looked forward to 2021. A new start, a fresh slate to create beautiful memories. To laugh and hope again. Instead, it seems the beast of 2020 threatens to engulf those hopes. Without a doubt, our nation is hurting—collectively and personally.

Yet, as Christians, our hope is in an unfailing love—that of God through our Savior Jesus Christ. God looks down from heaven and sees us. Wow, such comforting thought!

God is not caught unaware of any trial we walk through. No matter how bleak the present feels and the future looks, we can embrace that hope and the strength that comes from the Holy Spirit residing in us.

‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the Lord Almighty. Zechariah 4:6 

As we face next week and the months ahead as a nation, let us consider this prayer from President George Washington:

I now make it my earnest prayer, that God would have the United States in his holy protection, that he would incline the hearts of the Citizens to cultivate a spirit of subordination and obedience to Government, to entertain a brotherly affection and love for one another, for their fellow citizens of the United States at large, and particularly for their brethren who have served in the Field, and finally, that he would most graciously be pleased to dispose us all, to do Justice, to love mercy, and to demean ourselves with that Charity, humility and pacific temper of mind, which were the Characteristics of the Devine Author of our blessed Religion, and without an humble imitation of whose example in these things, we can never hope to be a happy Nation.  Amen (adapted from Washington’s Circular Letter to the States, in June 1783)

May God continue to bless us, according to His holy will.

I’d love to join you in prayer! Please leave a comment or email me your requests. 

What Bible verse sustains and encourages you in difficult times? 



May your unfailing love be with us, Lord, even as we put our hope in you. Psalm 33:22

Photo courtesy of Pixabay.