From Pastor’s Desk
February is the month for Valentine’s Day and President’s Day. It is a time to stress love and to remember our country’s presidents, past and present. I believe that this is a time for all Christians, whether they are Democrat, Republican, or Independent, to come together in a spirit of love, forgiveness and healing and sincerely pray for our country and our leaders. The Apostle Paul in 1Timothy 2:1-3 admonished all believers to lift up prayer, petitions and thanksgiving on behalf of all people, especially those in authority. Let us all keep praying that our country may come together to work toward the betterment of world peace, justice and freedom.
In February we will begin a season of prayer and fasting. It will last forty days and nights. It isa holy season of Lent. It gives us the opportunity to face the un-realness of our sins and to be freed by God’s grace for a life that is ever so real: really free, really joyful, really happy and holy – the “new life” of Christian living.
Not everyone thinks of Lent as a welcome experience. This is probably because for years, the focus of Lent was on self-denial, on “giving something up.” There is a man who normally drinks about five cups of coffee a day. But each year he gives up coffee for the days of Lent. The first few days of Lent are miserable for him as he goes through caffeine withdrawal. Why would he say welcome to Lent? He does, though, because his devotion to God is real, and for him, giving up coffee helps him examine his commitment to Christ and meditate on the suffering and death of his Lord.
Acts of self-denial are appropriate when the sacrifice connects with Christian commitment. But there is another view of Lent: a time to prepare to celebrate the Resurrection. When we prepare to celebrate something, we often do housekeeping chores. If we are going to have a party at our house, we first spend some time cleaning the house. We lay in a supply of refreshments. We decorate. And when all are ready and the guests arrive, we celebrate. Preparing is never quite as much fun as celebrating, but it takes the preparation to make the celebration possible.
Lent is like that — a time for spiritual housecleaning, a time to dust off our faith, shine up our commitment, lay in a supply of thanks and decorate our lives with the joy of the Christian life. Then, when Easter comes, we know in our hearts what the celebrating is all about. So let me make some suggestions as we take a time to do our spiritual “spring cleaning and prepare for the “big” celebration.
Let’s make this the best Lent ever.
Let’s faithfully attend church each and every Sunday.
Let’s pray and meditate at home during the week as we read the scriptures daily.
Let’s “fast” from some favorite pleasure – to gain control of will.
Let’s take part in our church’s special Lenten services and activities.
Let’s look for ways to continue to help those in need locally, nationally and internationally.
Let’s truly and from the heart pray for each other and for the spiritual renewal of our church.
The discipline of Lent leads to the joy of Easter!
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