Lent – A Time Set Aside

lent
I never really thought much about Lent and why it is important to give things up for Lent? I always thought it was more of a Catholic kind of thing. But, I do think there are some important things to remember when giving up for Lent. I do want to point out that if  someone wishes to observe Lent, they are free to do so.  My reason for doing Lent this year is because I have found myself not spending enough time studying the Bible and praying. It isn’t  a time to be boasting about what you are giving up or trying to earn brownie points with God.  God’s love for us could not be any greater than it already is. 
Lent is a good time for Christians to reflect, repent, and pray as a way of preparing their hearts for Easter.  Since at my house we do our Christmas at Easter, this is a good way to prepare my heart, reflect, repent, and pray for whoever or whatever God puts on my heart. For those who choose to observe Lent it is a personal choice. I think only a few years I have observed Lent. Usually when I did it was because I really needed to focus on Christ more.  This is one of those years I feel I need it the most. 
war-room-ms-claraI have many friends who don’t know what Lent is. I didn’t either. But, when I was watching the movie “War Room” I made a conscious decision to spend more time in prayer and to spend more time studying the Word of God. Life happened and I was spending less and less time. It wasn’t because I didn’t have the time,  I have a lot of time. But, I was spending all of my time doing unimportant things. Facebook is great for many things and I love that I can use it to witness to others and share the Word of God.  
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Joel 2:12-14 – “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. 
I had to look up what the meaning was for Lent and the importance. My church doesn’t do Lent, at-least I don’t think they do. I wasn’t raised doing Lent either. I came across this devotional about what Lent is and I found it helpful.   Read More On Crosswalk.com

What is Lent and Ash Wednesday for?

Last weekend our church had a program called “Christ in the Passover” presentation. Click Here for Video About “Christ in the Passover”.  I have been to a number of Sader Dinners (Passover). I didn’t know until the presentation that Lent actually begins on Ash Wednesday, which is today February 14th.
jewsforchristI also had to look up Ash Wednesday also since I also thought it was a Mardi Gras thing.  The gentleman that came to our church for the presentation mentioned that Lent starts on Ash Wednesday. As I was listening to the presentation, I must have learned something lol. I did have to go home and read up on things though. I wish more people would have come to the Christ in the Passover presentation. They did a wonderful job and those who didn’t come really missed out. I was a little bit upset that more people didn’t come. My pastor made sure to do radio spots and it was in the newspaper. The couple that came lives in the Phoenix area. They had to fly out and they take free will offerings. But, this topic is for a different blog since it is a pet peeve of mine.
This is what Wikipedia says about Ash Wednesday and Lent. The link to the page is at the bottom of this blog.

Ash Wednesday is a Christian day for peace and the first day of Lent, which is six weeks of repentance before Easter. Ash Wednesday is observed by many Western Christians, including Anglicans, Lutherans, Old Catholics, Methodists, Presbyterians, Roman Catholics, and some Baptists. Read More…

  • The ashes are to remind you of your mortality. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust.
    Fat Tuesday and Mardi Gras precede Ash Wednesday as the last day to sin before repentance.  I should point out that you shouldn’t be going out and sinning intentionally.
  • Ash Wednesday is the beginning of the 40 days and nights Christ was in the desert which is called Lent.
  • During lent you are to give up something meaningful to you as a sacrifice similar to what Christ sacrificed in the desert. You give it up for 40 days as Christ did.

Lenten or “giving up” is about turning our lives over to Christ and turning away from sin.   I personally think it is a good idea to set time aside for Christ. I read on crosswalk  that Lent is a time that offers us an opportunity to come to terms with the human condition we may spend the rest of the year running from and it brings our need for a Savior to the forefront. Read More On Crosswalk.com

facebook-page

I don’t think Facebook is a sin, but it does get in the way when it comes to my time. Facebook for me is more of a distraction and a hindrance. Anything that takes our focus off of Jesus Christ is a good thing to do, even though it is just 40 days. I have been keeping track on how much time I spend on Facebook and it is a lot. I can’t 100 percent stay off of Facebook since I do my churches website, manage the churches Facebook page and I also have to get information from those at my church. If I’m on Facebook, it will be in hiding and only doing church things and things that are focused on Christ.

40-Things-for-Lent-List

The idea of “giving up something” for the 40 day season of Lent sounded kind of strange considering I came from a Nazarene background. Lent wasn’t talked about at any of the churches I went to until we moved to St. George. There are many verses that speak about denying ourselves and taking up our crosses daily.

The idea behind Lent is based on Luke 9:23 “Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.”.
I have thought long and hard on what it is that has gotten in the way of focusing on my personal relationship with Jesus Christ. I personally don’t think we are required to take part in Lent.  There isn’t anything we can do to earn our salvation… Only through the saving grace of Jesus Christ can we be saved.  Lent is something that’s done in a prayerful way, and a time of renewing ourselves in Christ.
Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And he fasted forty days and forty nights, and afterward he was hungry. Matthew 4:1-2

As I began thinking what I needed to give up for Lent and what was hindering my spiritual life, I had to ask some serious questions, pray about it and be willing to follow whatever it is that God puts into my heart.  It’s important to assess what is going on in my spiritual life. It’s a humbling time or for me it was. I asked myself and God a few questions and I had to trust God in all things. These are the things I had to pray about as I prepared for Lent.

  1. Is there material items or habits that have been getting in the way of my spiritual health?
  2. Are there things that I am attached to that prevents me from growing spiritually?
  3. What is it that I devote to much time doing? Or what don’t I devote not enough time doing?
When I think about the one thing that really gets in the way of worshiping Christ, it is Facebook. I spend way to much time on there and I think during Lent, which starts today, February, 14th.  Facebook is the one thing that I need to spend less time on. I will still be on the computer and I can get messages through my email that I have synced. So, if people don’t hear from me on Facebook, then don’t stress or worry. It’s only 40 days.
Last year I tried to give up Facebook for the whole 40 days. I failed miserably. I did make it a couple of weeks. I am going to work at it and pray about it again this year.  There are kinds of things that can be given up for Lent. I have heard of people who have given up chocolates or sweets. It may not seem like a big deal to me, but for those who go to chocolate as a way to sooth their emotions, it is big deal for them.

There are various things that people do for Lent. I’m hoping to be able to deal with the Facebook thing. During my time on the computer I will be focused on things I do for my church, which is a lot of computer time. Instead of being on Facebook, it will be a great opportunity to focus more on prayer, devotionals and reading the Bible. Which is something I really need to do more. I have been a slacker. Instead of opening the Bible, I just search for the answers online by googling.

What is Lent and how long does it last?

Lent is a 40-day fast, so will run up until the Thursday before Easter Sunday, March 29, which is known as Holy Thursday.

It originated as a mirroring of Jesus Christ’s 40 days fasting in the desert, where, according to the gospels, he endured temptation by Satan.

There are many websites that will give you ideas on what to give up for Lent. I have listed some of the things most people give up or choose to do. I will highlight the things I’m doing.

  • Give up or limit the amount of time spent on video games.
  • Write a letter to God each day.
  • Give up or limit coffee or soda. I would say that if you live in a home with a coffee drinker and they are grumbly without it, you may want to stay somewhere else. They can get grumpy lol.
  • Give up or limit snacks between meals.
  • Give up Chocolate or sweets
  • Spend more time with family by turning off the television or limit the amount of time spent watching TV.
  • Do something nice for a neighbor or someone in need
  • Spend more time in prayer
  • Give up fast food
  • Limit your computer time
  • Give up or limit your social media time. 
  • Make a special prayer notebook and list all the people in your life who need prayers; pray for them each day. Add someone new every day.

If you want to learn more about Lent I have included some links below. One of the links is from Crosswalk.

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