05 March 2014

Lent - A Time of Reflection, Repentance, and Renewal

The time flies, but I am sure that I am not telling you anything new. I can't belive that Easter is only 40 days away - can you? Spring has not sprung over here, so it is hard to believe that it is suppose to be around the corner.

That being said, today is the day that lent started. I have never done this time of reflection and repentance before, but I thought this would be a good year to start this tradition. And I wanted to include the kids in this, at least my two oldest.

What I read about this special time is that it is a reflective time of repentance and renewal. A time of examining ourselves and to make that conscious decision to turn away from things that are not glorifying God in any way. The suggestions go from adding something that pleases God, to removing something that distracts from God, or even takes His place. This is a time to grow in our relationship with Jesus.

For myself, I decided to add a daily devotional time and a prayer for a person that I felt I needed to pray for. I have not been very consistent with my devotionals over the past year and a half, and I feel the need to bring that good habit back into my life. After all, when I do spend special time with God and in His word, I feel so much better. So I recommit my life to more prayer.

The idea of removing something distracting was a bit harder. Finally, I decided to stay away from cheating. I am sure you are shocked now, but yes, I cheat. I dislike to claim that I am Vegan when fish is part of my diet, but unfortunately, lately, I have also had alot of dairy intake. And I felt convicted to change that. So no more cheese or ice cream for the next 40 days. Of course, I am doing that with the hope to slip back into the habit of being a full Vegan once again. 

My kids decided to stay away from candy and snacks - which I think at their age, is very appropriate, AND it was alone their choice. Coqui will do a 40 day devotional on his own. I hope that will lead to some great discussions between the two of us. Of course, we will include some of the bible stories involving Easter and the time before and after, in our school schedule.

What I want for them to take away from this experience is the feeling of grace and forgiveness. I want them to understand that we are all sinners and that we all need our loving God to forgive us, to show us mercy and grace. Eventually, I want to introduce them to the idea of salvation. (Romans 5:19 "For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.")

I am looking forward to the special time with God and with my children. I am praying for many blessings for us and for others that we are praying for. I am praying for further healing for myself and for a life that is filled with love rather than war. I want to commit my life to loving others, spreading the good news, and to being a light in this world. 

How about you, are you following the tradition of lent? What are you doing? 

Finally, here is a Prayer for the time of Lent:
Psalm 51:3-17 (NIV)
For I know my transgressions,
    and my sin is always before me.
Against you, you only, have I sinned
    and done what is evil in your sight;
so you are right in your verdict
    and justified when you judge.
Surely I was sinful at birth,
    sinful from the time my mother conceived me.
Yet you desired faithfulness even in the womb;
    you taught me wisdom in that secret place.

Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean;
    wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
Let me hear joy and gladness;
    let the bones you have crushed rejoice.
Hide your face from my sins
    and blot out all my iniquity.

10 Create in me a pure heart, O God,
    and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
11 Do not cast me from your presence
    or take your Holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation
    and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.

13 Then I will teach transgressors your ways,
    so that sinners will turn back to you.
14 Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, O God,
    you who are God my Savior,
    and my tongue will sing of your righteousness.
15 Open my lips, Lord,
    and my mouth will declare your praise.
16 You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it;
    you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings.
17 My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit;
    a broken and contrite heart
    you, God, will not despise.