Prepare for Lent – before Wednesday!!

Gratitude Day 223

Mon., Mar. 4, 2019

Joel 2:12 – Yet even now, says the Lord, return to me with all your hearts, with fasting, with weeping, and with sorrow;

ash wed

It’s coming this week. Ash Wednesday is coming this week.

So, what’s the big deal about Ash Wednesday?

Would you like to know a bit more? Great. Let me share.

Blurry plant #2

Ash Wednesday is the beginning of Lent, which sets aside 40 days before Easter. Lent is a time for personal reflection; a time to re-evaluate where and how you have been drawn into the world’s ways and away from God’s ways. It’s finding the balance of living in the world as well as living in God’s way. Often, it’s a difficult tight rope between the two. Lent is a time to ponder your personal journey between these two ways. It’s a great opportunity to see where you are doing well and where you could make improvement. It’s a time when you can seek clarity in your life and relationship with God.

Blurry plant

Lent also begins a tradition of people “eliminating” or “fasting” from something so they can feel closer to God. As Jesus “gave up” his life for our benefit, we are encouraged to “give up” or “fast” something important to us during these 40 days. Historically, Catholics do not eat meat on Friday. I try not to eat sugar or sweets during Lent. One year, Hubby Rick gave up catch-up for Lent. For some people, this may not seem like a big deal. For Rick? It was a HUGE deal! (I think he ate a whole bottle of ketchup on Easter that year.)

Lent 2019

While I think fasting a food or food group during Lent helps us recognize the sacrifice Jesus made for us, there is another way to look at Lent. Maybe, the fast should be more about our hearts and less about what we put into our mouths. What behavior could we consider eliminating or reducing? What hurtful things in our lives could we live without?

This Lent

Recently, I put together my “fast from” list for Lent 2019. Here it is:

Fasting Lent

These are some areas in my life where I know I could make improvements. And while I won’t be perfect, I hope that this little list can be a daily reminder that these are priorities for this Lenten fast.

Fasting with table

What are some areas which you could fast from this Lent? Sit down and make a list. Just don’t wait until Wednesday to put the pen to the paper and the thoughts into action. Use my list as inspiration. Share it near and far. For with fasting, we can return to the Lord. With fasting, we can eliminate those things which keep us from fully loving God. With some intention this Lent, may, just maybe, we will see our personal relationship with God sour and grow and explode. Now wouldn’t that be a wonderful way to get our hearts prepared for Easter!!

Lenten Prayer

For the optimism of fasting behaviors during Lent, I am grateful.

Ideas for Lent Fasting

Lord God – May we get excited about fasting this Lent. Help us see behaviors that need some fine-tuning. Most importantly, may this approaching Lent help us truly appreciate the sacrifice Jesus made for our benefit. Amen.

Blessings –

Dianne

If you have enjoyed this blog, please pass it along to someone else who will also enjoy it.

6 For Saturday

Gratitude Day 223

Sat., Mar. 2, 2019

Philippians 1:6 – I’m sure about this: the one who started a good work in you will stay with you to complete the job by the day of Christ Jesus.

It’s Saturday morning. And before you get rolling with all the fun things you maybe doing this weekend, here are six little things to help you focus your weekend and maybe even put a smile on your face.

ash wed

  1. This Lent. Ash Wednesday begins next Wed., Mar. 6. The official beginning of Lent, Ash Wednesday is a time for personal reflection. It’s a time when we forgive ourselves, forgive others and explore how we might draw ourselves closer to God throughout Lent. There is a tradition of “giving up” things during Lent, such as candy, chocolate, sugar, etc. The idea is by giving something up, you will replace this desire for a longing to grow deeper with God and your relationship with God I have followed these “giving up” traditions in Lent. For years, I have given up sugar. I am also a proponent of “adding in” something during Lent. Maybe you decide to spend a specific amount of time with God each day. Or send a card to someone every day. Possibly read a special devotion or book during Lent. Personally, I feel adding in something during Lent can be deeply meaningful. I’ll share a few more thoughts about Lenten practices in a couple days. However, I encourage you to start thinking about what practices you want to embody this Lent.

2. This Song. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sIaT8Jl2zpI

“You Say” by Lauren Daigle

Moses in Minnesota

3. This Cartoon. For those of you who have had enough winter, this is just for you! Sent to me by my dear friend, Rhoda. I think she’s sick of winter as well!

olivia and liam

4. This Sign. Recently, I officiated at a wedding and this sign was part of the decorations. Look closely. It’s a piece of paneling! How clever!! Maybe paneling can be upcycled??!!

5. This Bible Verse. It’s one that I’ve been reflecting upon lately:

Mark 2:17 “On hearing this, Jesus said to them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”

20190221_081139

6. These flowers. The one’s Hubby Rick gave me last week. They still look beautiful this week!

God can and will do good work in you today!

For God’s ability to find good in life’s little things, I am grateful.

Almighty God – may we see you in our lives today. May you do good work in and through us. May we celebrate little things that bring us joy and a smile today. Amen.

Blessings –

Dianne

If you have enjoyed this blog, please pass it along to someone else who will also enjoy it.

The Beginning of Lent

Lent 2018 image AW-page-001Wed., Feb. 14, 2018

While most people will see today as Valentine’s Day, I pray many will also acknowledge today as the beginning of Lent: Ash Wednesday.

It’s the day Christians begin a 40-day pilgrimage towards Easter. It’s a time for us to contemplate our relationship with God: who God is in our lives and what God means to us.

I love this quote by Alicia Britt Chole: Lent is about thinning our lives in order to thicken our communion with God.

Often, Lent is thought of as a time we deprive ourselves of something. I have abstained from sweets during Lent for years. While this is OK, if Lent is only eliminating a food we love, then maybe we are missing some of the intention of Lent. Ultimately, Lent is about providing opportunities for us to feel closer to God.

I’m attaching a link to a “Daily Lent Activity List.” 2018LentList

Provided by Portico Collective, this is a nice list of ways we can maybe think about how God is part of our daily lives in a very practical and real way. I encourage you to print off the list and check off a box each day. This is one of my Lenten priorities.

Father God – thank you for this long-standing tradition of re-examining ourselves during Lent. Teach me something new about You and myself this next 40 days. May you amaze and surprise me daily.  Amen.

Blessings –

Dianne

If you have enjoyed this blog, please pass it along to someone else who also enjoy it.

Washing Away Our Messiness

Passport to Prayer Lent 2016
Passport to Prayer
Lent 2016

bar of soapAsh Wednesday – Feb. 10, 2016

Psalm 51:1-3: God, be merciful to me because of your faithful love. Because of your great compassion, erase all the wrongs I have done. Scrub away my guilt. Wash me clean from my sin. I know I have done wrong. I remember that sin all the time.

Today is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of another season of Lent. I’ve put together a Passport to Prayer, which is a way for people to work on their prayer lives during Lent. Each day, I’ll post about how we can embody prayer during Lent.

On Ash Wednesday, we remember we came out of dust and will return to dust. In between these two points in our lives, we will do many great things. We will also allow many hurtful things to happen. King David wrote these words after being confronted by his good friend Nathan for his sin. While initially he denied doing wrong, he realized how many lives his actions had affected. His response: Psalm 51.

Admitting our sin isn’t fun. In fact, it’s often very messy. Share some of the ways you’ve recently hurt God, yourself and others in this space:

Now, go to a sink. Lather your hands with soap. As you place your hands under the water and wash them, share this prayer aloud:

Gracious God, today begins a period of inner reflection and examination. May these next six weeks be a time when I become closer to you. You know all the sins that I have named as well as the ones I have not named. Please grant me your forgiveness. Thank you for being merciful with me. May I open my soul to you and allow your loving kindness to flow over me, as the water flows over my hands. Amen.

Blessings –

Dianne

If you have enjoyed this blog, please pass it along to someone else who also enjoy it.

 

 

2015 Lenten Calendar

2015 Lenten CalendarFeb. 18, 2015

 

Isaiah 58:9

Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer. You shall cry for help and he will say, “Here I am.”

 

Today begins a 40-spiritual journey for many Christians. Today is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent. Lent precedes Easter by 40 days (not counting Sundays) and is a time for Christians to ponder their lives. Are we living as God would desire? Are there ways we can implement ways to walk closer with God?

 

For some people, Lent is a time to make personal sacrifices; to “give up” something which may keep us from fully focusing on God. Meat, sweets, soda, social media – lots of possibilities. While I often make sacrifices during Lent, I also like to “add in” ways which help me to serve God’s kingdom throughout Lent.

 

This Lent, I put together a calendar with ideas of ways we can “give up” as well as “add in” things. My intention was to create opportunities every day to have some moments we dedicate to God’s kingdom. I encourage you to print off this 2015 Lenten Calendar and strive to cross off something from the list every day. If you aren’t able to do something on a particular day, pick a different day and cross this one off instead. My prayer is that this Lenten Calendar will make it a little easier to follow work doable Lenten practices into the next 40 days.

 

Lord God, as we begin the Lenten season, may we dedicate time each day of Lent to serve your kingdom. May these experiences only draw us closer to you. Amen.

Blessings –

Dianne

If you have enjoyed this blog, please pass it along to someone else who might also enjoy it.