Lent is a time for self-reflection and deepening one’s relationship with God in Jesus Christ. For many this season leading up to Easter will be weeks of giving up something they enjoy as a sign of contrition for mistakes they have made. Others will spend extra time in devotions and prayer, while a few more will carry a cross or nail in their pocket as a reminder of the sacrifice Jesus made for them and the whole world.
If those practices work for you, wonderful! Others may want to find different ways of observing this holy season. Consider adopting one or more of the following creative uses of the days between Ash Wednesday and Easter Sunday.
- Pray for others you see as you walk to and from throughout your day
- Volunteer one hour or more each week with a local shelter, tutoring program, nursing home, prison ministry.
- Participate in a Lent-a-Day-practice and pray each day with your camera in your hand. start praying
- Cultivate a life of gratitude. Write someone a thank you letter each week and be aware of how many people have helped you along life’s journey.
- Create a daily quiet time. (this is something I do, I drive my youngest back and forth to school, and when I pick her up I am at her school an hour to spend time alone with God. Read a daily devotional for the season of lent.
- Give up soft drinks, fast food, tea, or coffee. Give the money you save to help local folks or those in a different part of the world who are in crisis.
- Forgive someone who doesn’t deserve it ( maybe even yourself)
- Go deeper into your study in the Bible, be a part of a study group, and meditate on the words “I Am” sayings of Jesus in the Gospel of John
- Start a prayer rhythm. Each day of Lent, pray for another person.
- Tray and electronic fast, give up tv, face book, tweeting, e-mail and all things electronic for one day each week.
Grace and Peace to You My Friends
Today is Ash Wednesday the beginning of the Lent Season which is forty days between now and Easter Sunday, except that each Sunday in the season of lent in not counted. Ashes is a reminder that we are dust, and to dust we shall return, and repent, and believe in the gospel. Ashes were an ancient symbol of our humanity. In Genesis 2:7 Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being. On the first day of lent, we come before God recognizing our humanity and repenting of our sins. Lent leads to Easter the day we celebrate that though our bodies are flawed, a day of resurrection will come when we lived in the presence of God forever. On Ash Wednesday we go to church remembering who we are, with the hope of who we can become.
Why Ashes? In Jewish and Christian history, ashes are a sign of mortality and repentance. Morality, because when we die, our bodies eventually decompose and we become dust/dirt/ash/Repentance because long ago when people felt remorse for something they did, they would put ashes on their head and wear “sackcloth” to remind them that sin is pretty uncomfortable and leads to a sort of death of the spirit. This was their way of confessing their sins and asking for forgiveness.
Where do the ashes come from? On what we now call Palm Sunday, when Jesus rode a donkey into Jerusalem while people waved and cheered him on. Less then a week later, Jesus would be killed. The palms that were waved in joy became ashes of sorrow. We get the ashes for Ash Wednesday by saving the psalms from Palm Sunday, burning them, and mixing them with a little oil. It’s symbolic.
What Do Christians do with ashes? At a service which is held on Ash Wednesday people are invited to come forward in the service and a pastor or priest make a small cross of their forehead by smudging the ashes. While the ashes remind us of mortality and sin, the cross reminds us of Jesus’ resurrection (life after death) and forgiveness. It’s a powerful, non-verbal way that we can experience God’s forgiveness and renewal as we return to Jesus.
Grace and Peace to You My Friends
What Is Lent?
Lent comes from the Angelo Saxon word lencten which means spring. The forty days represents the time Jesus spent in the wildness enduring the temptation of Satan and preparing to begin his ministry. Lent is a time for repentance, fasting and preparation for the coming of Easter. It is a time of self-examination and reflection. Lent begins with Ash Wednesday and this year that day is on February 14, 2018. In the early church lent was a time to prepare new converts for baptism. Today, Christians focus on their relationship with God, often choosing to give up something or to volunteer and give of themselves for others. Sunday’s in Lent are not counted in the forty days, because each Sunday represents a mini Easter and the reverent spirit of lent’s tempered with joyful anticipation of the Resurrection. Every year the day of Easter is different the reason for this, is that Easter is the first Sunday after the full moon in spring, and this year will be March 31 I believe and Easter Sunday is April 1, 2018.
Mardi Gras? What does that have to do with Jesus?? Mardi Gras means “Fat Tuesday” It refers to the day before Lent begins. Lent always starts on a Wednesday, the day before is always a Tuesday. And it’s call “Fat” or “Great” because it’s associated with great food and parties. In earlier times, people used Lent as a time of fasting and repentance. Since they didn’t want to be tempted by sweets, meats and other distractions in the house, they cleaned out their cabinets. they used up all the sugar and yeast in sweet breads before the Lent season started, and fixed meats available. It was a great feast! Through the years Mardi Gras has evolved (in some places) into a pretty wild party with little to do with preparing for the Lenten Season of repentance and simplicity. However, with the next day being Ash Wednesday can begin a time of all Christian to self-exam their own lives.
Grace and Peace to You My Friends
In the gospel of John in the fourth chapter, Jesus and his disciples were in Samaria called Sychar, near the plot of ground Jacob had given to his son Joseph. While his disciples set off to buy some food that a Samaria woman came to draw some water from the well. Jesus ask the woman to give him a drink? The Samaritan woman said to him, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink? (For Jews do not associate with the Samaritans) Jesus answered her by saying ” If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water. So the woman wanted to know from Jesus how can she get this living water that he is talking about, and if he is greater than their father Jacob who gave them the well and drank from it himself, as also his sons and livestock. Jesus then reply everyone who drinks the water from the well will become thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water that I give them will never thirst. Indeed the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life. The woman ask Jesus to give her this water that he is talking about, then Jesus went on to tell her to go and get your husband and she told him I have no husband. However that is not the end of the story, Jesus went on telling the Samaria woman the many men she had and the man she is with is not her husband, I can tell you this much I am sure she was very surprise that Jesus knew everything about her. She wanted to know if Jesus was a prophet, but he is the Messiah, but she reply that Jews claims that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem. Jesus replied believe me, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on the mountain or in Jerusalem. You Samaritans worship what you do not know, we worship what we do know. Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshippers will worship the Father in the Spirit. God is spirit, and his worshippers must worship in the Spirit and truth. Her reply is that I know that the Messiah (called Christ) is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us. Then Jesus declared I am the one speaking to you, I am He.” After her conversation with Jesus, the woman went back to her village to share with all who would listen what Jesus had said as well as what Jesus knew about her. Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony. They had ask Jesus to stay with them and he did for another two days and more become believers. They said to the woman, “We no longer believe just because of what you said, now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Savior of the world.
Jesus didn’t just come to earth for some people, certain kinds of people, he came for all might be saved. Scriptures tells us that God so Loved the world, he didn’t say part of the world, the whole world, that he sent his son Jesus. We as Christians in today’s world need to share our own experiences why we believe the way we do. What is that one thing in your own life that allows you to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of the Living God. To continue to walk with our savior each and everyday we need to spend time with him in scriptures as well as in prayer. When we do walk with Christ each day we need not worry of what to say to someone because the Spirit will do the speaking for us. As we continue to journey together let us think about this season of lent, and continue to understand why our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ had to die on the cross for all mankind
Grace and Peace to you my friends
Jesus shared this parable ” There was a man who had two sons. The younger one said to his father, “Father, give me my share of the estate. “So he divided his property between them. Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there he squandered his wealth in wild living. After he had spent everything, there was a serve famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything. When he came to his senses, he said, ” How many of my father’s hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants. So he got up and went to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him, he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him. The son said to him, Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son. But the father said to his servant, “Quick! Bring the best robe and out it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found. So they began to celebrate. Luke:15:11-24
The season of lent always follow St Valentine’s Day each and every year. As we all take the time out of our busy lives to buy cards, flowers, candies, jewelry or some kind of gift to show that special someone how much we truly love them. And yet the greatest love of all is that gift that God sent to all of us: For God so loved the world that He sent his one and only begotten Son , that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. ( John 3:16-17) Jesus always talk in parable to his disciples as well as all of the ones who followed him, they were all very curious to know who this man Jesus was, and what is this love he was talking about. As we read the story of the lost son it reminds me of all of us, in spite of our short comings in our own lives, no matter what we did or what we may ever do, there is nothing that would separate us from God’s love. Even when we turn away from God because our faith has fallen away or perhaps we just don’t have the time for God in our own lives, God waits patiently for us to return to him and we realized that we truly need him in our daily lives for than what we truly are willing to admit to ourselves or anyone else. Just like any father when we do return to our faith, to our Creator, our God, he welcome us with wide open arms, and say my child I love you, and I will never forsake you. As we are journey together during this Lenten season remember the greatest love is this: Greater love has no one than this, to lay down one’s life for his friends. (John 15:13) Are you willing right now to lay down your life for your friends, for your family, well my friend Jesus did just that he laid his life down for all of us on the cross that our sin would never separated us from God because he LOVES you that much.
Grace and Peace to you my friends
We are approaching the season of Lent this coming week. Lent begins on Ash Wednesday and last for forty days (excepts Sundays) and it last until sundown the day before Easter Sunday. During lent we as Christians enter into a season of preparation, self-reflection and repentance when we seek to literally “turn around” and realign our lives and focus toward God. It is a time to give up things as well as take on new life-giving practices, helping us rid of ourselves of distractions and our own selfish desires. By doing so, we seek to live and love as more faithful disciples of Jesus Christ. As you made realize that Easter Sunday is always a different date each year, that is because Easter Sunday is the first Sunday after the full moon in springtime that we celebrate the Resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. It doesn’t really matter what any of us give up during the Lenten season because nothing can compare with what Jesus did by sacrificing his life for all mankind.
Joel 2:12-13 Even now ‘declares the Lord return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning. Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity. (NIV)
Let us all journey together during this coming season, as we seek forgiveness from God as well as wisdom and understanding of his word (the Bible)
Grace and Peace to you my friends.