Saturday, March 1, 2014

Lent is a Blessed Time of Year

By Lolcatss (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
by Gregory A. Johnson

Every year, Lent begins on Ash Wednesday and continues until Easter. Spanning approximately six weeks, it is a wonderful season on the Christian calendar, being observed by Christ’s followers, Protestants and Catholics alike, who desire to fast something in recognition of our Lord's sacrifice for us.

It is good to give the cost of what is given-up during Lent to the work of the ministry, and the time associated with what you give up to works of faith and justice (Isaiah 58:6-11 ESV).

What are you giving up for Lent? The Spirit within you will help you decide as you pray and ask the Lord.

Christ gave up much to be our Savior. He left the riches of heaven and was birthed into poverty. As he walked this earth, he experienced hunger. He experienced homelessness. He experienced rejection of people. Weeping at the entrance of Lazarus's tomb, he experienced grief at the loss of someone he loved. He experienced injustice, being falsely accused. He experienced those closest to him being nowhere to be found in the time of his greatest need—his disciples hid in fear as he hung on an old rugged cross. He experienced pain and suffering. He experienced feelings of forsakenness by people and by God. He experienced the sting of death. Yes, Christ gave up much to come into our world and take the penalty of our sin—death.

As we live reminded of the ultimate sacrifice that Christ made for each of us, also be reminded of the joy of the resurrection. Some only celebrate an empty tomb once a year on Easter Sunday. The Christian church celebrates an empty tomb every single Sunday.  It would do us good to celebrate an empty tomb every day of the week. Because of the resurrection, we are given life—abundant and eternal.

Additionally, be reminded that, as a Christ-follower, you have resurrection power dwelling within you. "Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day" (2 Corinthians 4:16, NIV).

Aging, sickness, and disease take a toll on our bodies. The longer we live, the more we realize the limits of our earthen vessel. The outside may be wasting away, but those who have been birthed into the Kingdom by the Spirit are continually renewed on the inside. The Spirit brings life!

Beloved, you have resurrection power residing within you. The Spirit will keep you renewed on the inside, as the outside steadily heads back to dust.

Know that you are loved,
gaj

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