Lent has begun, and we are all walking to the cross.
How are you honoring your walk? Are you fasting, giving up some favorite food for the forty days? Or are you participating in a small-group study? Have you committed to resurrecting your prayer life, or meditation, or daily Bible reading or weekly worship? Did you decide to donate your time, resources, or talents to those in need?
I would love to read your Lenten faith practices in the comments, and especially how those practices deepen your relationship with the Savior.
If you've not committed to honoring Lent in some specific way, I encourage you to do so. It's not too late to make that commitment, whatever form it takes, to walk mindfully in Jesus' footsteps to the cross.
It's my belief that our Lenten walk needs to be meaningful to us...not the fulfillment of some rule or suggestion from someone else. There is no one right way to live into Lent. Explore your spiritual gifts, pray, talk to others for ideas, maybe even sit down with pen and paper to brainstorm ideas. Lenten practice should be individual, personal, and meaningful to you. If it draws you closer to Jesus, it's a good practice.
Fasting and giving up chocolate never made me think of Jesus, and when, some years ago, a youth pastor suggested adding something for Lent, my brain kicked into over-drive. So many ideas popped into my head! In the years since, I've tried a number of things, and almost all have blessed me greatly.
This Lent, I'm reading Ann Voskamp's new book The Broken Way. If you're struggling with brokenness and guilt, the crushing weight of worry and pain, this might be the book for you. Voskamp's writing is raw, lyrical, deep. She has suffered far more than I have, and reading her experiences in facing the suffering, struggling with it, processing it, and ultimately trusting God and thanking Him in deep, abiding gratitude inspires me in so many ways.
I'm also sending a card for every day of Lent, just as I did last year. My crafty gift for making cards, my spiritual gift of encouragement, and my joy in sending happy mail come together perfectly for this Lenten practice. Giving something of yourself to others on the journey to Easter mimics Jesus' giving to His disciples and other followers during his life. While nothing can compare to His sacrifice for us on the cross, we can share that love in small ways and big each and every day.
What are you doing to honor Christ's great gift of salvation, His great suffering and sacrificial death?
Saturday, January 14, 2017
Please share one good, bright, hopeful thing in your life right now. Leave a comment and spread the good things. Don't we have too much spreading of the bad things? Be a part of the positive.
I'll start. I experienced two positive meetings at my sons' schools in the past two weeks. Jack's ETR/IEP meeting went very well, and so did Nick's 504 meeting. These meetings went so well because teams of teachers and administrators care about my kids. It's amazing!
Sunday, January 1, 2017
Christians are called by God to be a people set apart by love. We trust God, we know He loves us, and we share that love in a hurting world. That's our job. Yet too many of us are hunkering down in fear and confusion, wondering where God is. We're being drawn in by faulty, distorted theology that teaches us to watch out for our tribe...those who believe the same way we do, look like us, think like us.
Fear leads to anger, and anger leads to hate.
We're even closing the doors to the church and guarding the gates to keep out the marginalized, the poor, the hurting, the broken, those who are sinning differently from us. We've become the Pharisees, expecting a messiah who comes bearing a sword to beat down his enemies with bloodshed and domination until we special ones are all that's left.
God, help us.
Three little words. A prayer. Already answered.
The psalmist wrote, "And I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living" (Psalm 27:13)
I believe this has been fulfilled and is being fulfilled every single day. Every. Single. Day.
I reject the fear that the mongers are working in our world. God's work is ongoing and glorious in the here and now...and the most awesome news of all is that we can choose to be a part of it. He wants us to be a part of it. In fact, He's given each of us gifts to use in service to His kingdom for just this purpose.
Are you using your gifts? Do you even know what they are?
This year, Transforming Common Days will focus clearly and without distortion on what we can do for God's kingdom which is here and now, a positive response to fear and anger and hate. And it all starts with claiming the psalmist's words. Believe you will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living...and you will.
I do. And it's glorious. And there's so much more we can do to spread the glory, grow the goodness, overcome oppression, and communicate the love.
Will you claim these words with me? Will you believe?