Tuesday, March 11, 2014

thoughts on lent


I grew up in a small-town Southern Baptist Church, and for the first 18 years of my life, my only exposure to Lent consisted of my Methodist best friend who gave up chocolate around Easter each year {except on Sundays}.

Then, I went to my private non-affiliated Christian college and became engrossed in all the different flavors and languages of Christianity. There I attended my first Ash Wednesday service, and participated in my first Lenten season {I gave up ice cream if you’re wondering}.

Since then, I’ve discovered the value in depriving yourself of something you love to focus more on Jesus and to mentally, physically, spiritually prepare yourself for His Resurrection.

{Source}
For Lent this year, I’m doing a couple of things. My church is becoming immersed in the book of James, learning what it means to have freedom from dead religion. So my huddle of amazing women is memorizing James 1 together, along with a few other challenges given to us by our church.

As far as my sacrifice goes, I gave up online shopping. It took several days, but I finally unsubscribed from all the boutiques, shops and stores that regularly sent me the “latest deals.” Not only will my email be unusually empty, but also, hopefully, I’ll start to develop contentment with all the beautiful clothes I already have.



Finally, I ordered the “40 Days With Jesus” journal from Naptime Diaries, and my first few days of journaling on hope have been beautiful and life-giving. It’s incredible how what I’m reading in James corresponds with the prayer from Beth Moore’s daily praying the Scripture which corresponds with the prompt I’m given for the day.

Here are a few excerpts from my journaling so far:

“How beautiful that even in the middle of “Lamentations” there is hope. Though the brokenness of a fallen world surrounds us, we have hope and a reason to sing. We serve a God whose love never ends – we drown in the immensity of God’s love for us. We also serve a God full of compassion and mercy. We can awake each morning renewed in the knowledge that God forgives the repentant heart and nothing we do can separate us from His unfailing love. Our God is faithful – and our only response can be praise of His greatness. Lord, You are my portion – You are more than enough for every need, wish, desire I may have. You fulfill me like no other.”

“Sometimes I try to think about what it would be like to hear God’s promises of the Bible for the first time. ‘You will be a great nation though you’re childless at 99.’ ‘You will build a big boat because I’m going to send billions of water droplets from the sky.’ ‘You will give birth to the Savior of the world though you are unwed and untouched.’ And though He’s a God of crazy promises, He is faithful on those promises and each was rewarded for their faithfulness. This is the God I serve – a God who is unlimited in power, knowledge and wisdom. How unsearchable Your judgments, and Your paths beyond tracing out! Who has known Your mind? Or who has been Your counselor? Who has ever given to You that You should repay him? For from You and through You and to You are all things. To You be the glory forever! {Romans 11:33-36}”


It’s not too late to join me in “40 Days With Jesus!” The pages are undated, so you can begin any time. You can order yours here. I’m only on day five, but it’s been incredibly rewarding.


What do you think about Lent? Are you recognizing the Lenten season in any way?

Simple Moments Stick

14 comments:

  1. you have such a way with words, my friend!
    this: "And though He’s a God of crazy promises, He is faithful on those promises" just makes my heart fill with joy. i needed this reminder :)

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  2. I love hearing about how you decided to observe Lent! We really do have a similar background!

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  3. I love this! Online shopping such a great one to let go of and turn to the Lord! hours can get easily lost browsing websites!

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  4. My church is currently studying James as well! Lent is a rather new concept for me, this year I'm focusing on changing my heart to be content.

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  5. I know people shy away from James because of its directness, but I have fallen in love with this book. Praying that I will not be a double-minded man, unstable in all my ways today! And, yes, for a girl who loves change, being content with the clothes I own will be a challenge indeed!

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  6. You have been blessed with the gift of self control! I just love clothes so much, which probably stems from me loving myself too much. All the same, it will be nice to have extra time and resources, as well as a creative challenge when it comes to shopping my own closet.

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  7. Thank you, Mrs. Robyn! So happy that I could be an encouragement to you! I read today that how much we trust God directly affects everything we do (put way more eloquently than I just said it). I need a daily reminder that He is so very trustworthy.

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  8. I'm hoping that it is going to be 40 days of growing and learning. And, yes we do!

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  9. Yes, it can! Daniel also thinks that online shopping should extend to reading fashion blogs, but I told him that was a little extreme since all my favorite bloggers like to share their fashion tips.

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  10. How are you liking James? What have you learned from it? Yes, Lent is still pretty new to me, too, but I'm really enjoying it. That's a great and lofty goal, but definitely a pursuit worth committing to!

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  11. Yeah! as long as you don't click on those links to where they bought them I think you are int he clear!


    www.oakandoats.com

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  12. ok feeling inspired to jump into James!

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  13. James is actually my husbands favorite book, so we've studied it a few times before. This time, I've really enjoyed learning more about James as a person. Our pastor has been given us a lot of historical background and that has been really nice.

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  14. I know what you mean. I never realized James was so important - and it's really interesting to think that he grew up with Jesus, and at first he didn't believe Him. So he went from Jesus' pesky, unbelieving younger brother to a huge leader in the Christian church. It's an awesome story full of hope.

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