Friday, February 20, 2015

40 Days of Focus...To The Cross...

I have never really thought about or focused on Lent before. It is not a practice that the Christians that we fellowship with have ever focused on or thought about much. So- I looked it up and this was the first definition that popped up:

  1. Lent (Latin: Quadragesima - English: Fortieth) is a solemn religious observance in the liturgical calendar of many Christian denominations that begins on Ash Wednesday and covers a period of approximately six weeks before Easter Sunday.   And this:

    Lent is a time when many Christians prepare for Easter by observing a period of fasting, repentance, moderation and spiritual discipline.  The purpose is to set aside time for reflection on Jesus Christ- His suffering and His sacrifice, His life, death, burial and resurrection.  Not all Christian churches observe Lent. Lent is mostly observed by the Lutheran, Methodist, Presbyterian and Anglican denominations, and also by the Roman Catholics.  

    The Bible does not mention the custom of Lent, however, the practice of repentance and mourning in ashes is found in 2 Samuel 13:19; Esther 4:1; Job 2:8; Daniel 9:3; and Matthew 11:21
  2. So, as interesting as all that is and by the way- seemingly a man made idea I looked up these verses:
  3. 2 Samuel 13:19- Tamar put ashes on her head and tore the ornate robe she was wearing. She put her hands on her head and went away, weeping aloud as she went.
  4. Daniel 9:3-6 So I turned to the Lord God and pleaded with Him in petition, in fasting, and in sackcloth and ashes.
  5. I prayed to the Lord my God and confessed: "Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps His covenant of love with those who love Him and keep His commandments, we have sinned and done wrong.  We have been wicked and have rebelled; we have turned away from Your commands and laws. We have not listened to your servants the prophets, who spoke in Your name to our Kings, our princes and our ancestors, and to all the people of the land. 
  6. Job 2: 5-7 But now stretch our your hand and strike his flesh and bones, and he will surely curse you to your face. The Lord said to Satan, "Very well, then, he is in your hands; but you must spare his life." So satan went out from the presence of the Lord and afflicted Job with painful sores from the soles of his feet to the crown of his head.  Then Job took a piece of broken pottery and scraped himself with it as he sat among the ashes.
  7. Matthew 11:20- Then Jesus began to denounce the towns in which most of His miracles had been performed, because they did not repent.  "Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes.  But I tell you, it will be more bearable for Tyre and Sidon on the day of judgement than for you.
  8. Esther 4:1- When Modecai learned of all that had been done, he tore his clothes, put on sackcloth and ashes, and went out into the city, wailing loudly and bitterly.

  1. Wow. All of the Bible references and examples of ashes are all about the need for forgiveness or help from God. Great need.  All I have ever heard about Lent was "oh, I'm giving this or that up for lent." I have never heard anyone in anguish or pleading for forgiveness when talking about lent. But, like I said, I have not been around the concept much or studied it. 
  2. It is intriguing though, to have a focused time of asking God to reveal in our lives what we need to lay down and walk away from. A focused time to see the real need for forgiveness and clarity in our lives about the strongholds that satan has on us all. 
  3. So- I think this man made idea is good. We have implemented lots of man made ideas to help in our spiritual walk. Bible class for instance. Just a thought. I believe today marks 38 days away from Easter.  We would love for you to join us.
  4. Here is what we are doing:
  • We are trying to truly lay down and walk away from one thing that keeps us from drawing near to God, something that we have made an idol of in our lives. Even if it is a small as not being on facebook, or not mindlessly watching television. Maybe all of that time we spend doing those things could be spent reading the Bible through in the next 38 days- like a novel. Yes. Let's do that. 
  • We are reading 6 Psalms each night from here to Easter together or by ourselves (we hope together as a family) and talking about them. 
  • We are intentionally THINKING about the Cross. Every day we thank our Jesus for saving our lives. (Find a resource that helps you to focus on the cross.) This resource below comes from Ann Voskamp-
  •  Free Tools- Downloads
    Do you want to do this together? The next 38 days of focus like this can only do us good and draw us closer to our life line, our rock, the precious lamb, our mighty God. Oh, how I long to be closer to Him.
Here is a powerful blog post by Ann Voskamp about lent and her take on what to focus on. 
Blessings on your day as we focus on Jesus...

1 comment:

Wa Wa Waughs said...

Thanks for sharing with us. I too find it a strange thing since I didn't grow up doing this and thought only a certain group did it. I just had a conversation with my son over it, since the community church he attends is encouraging it. I'm going to check out your links!