What Exactly is Lent?

They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength. They shall mount up with wings like eagles. They shall run and not be weary. They shall walk and not faint.     Isaiah 40:31 KJV

So you might ask, “What exactly is Lent? Great question! Well, in general, Lent is the time from Ash Wednesday until either the Wednesday before Easter, Holy Saturday or Easter Sunday depending on what tradition you follow. You also might wonder why, since there is no record of anyone in the Bible observing this roughly 40-day period, why should we? For starters, it is never a bad idea to set aside special times for seeking God’s will and purpose. We call it, “Waiting on the Lord” and waiting comes with God’s promise of strength and renewal. Some people may choose to fast certain foods or commit to special acts of service, during these weeks. However, you choose to honor the season, the most important thing of all is to focus on Jesus. For me personally it brings me back to the excitement of my first months of faith in Jesus (Which just happened to be on Easter Sunday!) I come to each morning’s quiet time with an open-heart asking Jesus for a brand-new insight into His word and for His will for that day. Instead of racing ahead or lagging behind in my devotional readings I need to slow down so I can hear what God is saying. Walking with Jesus will lead us along the path that He has chosen. Following the path, He chooses will bring us to His destination for our life. My prayer is that during these weeks of Lent we will see with fresh eyes the miracles of Jesus, the table of His Last Supper, the Cross, the empty grave and most of all our Risen Lord!

God Still Answers Prayer

May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. 2 Corinthians 13:14

When you think about prayer; have you ever stopped to consider all the prayers of the Bible that God is still answering? Maybe it would help to think about them somewhat like going out to eat or stopping at the grocery store to buy milk and eggs. The first thing that happens whenever we start out in the car is that my wife begins rummaging through her purse for coupons. Somehow, whether we are going to Olive Garden, Pizza Hut or Walmart she finds one that we can use, then she looks to see if the date is still valid. Prayers in the Bible are somewhat like those coupons. We only get to take advantage of them if we ask to redeem them and the good news for us is that there is no expiration date!

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This morning as I was reading Paul’s prayer of blessing for the Corinthian church I stopped and went back over the words realizing that in my own life I desperately need the grace, love and fellowship that Paul asked for. These blessings are much more than just words on a page or the sound waves generated by our pastor as he prays them over us at the end of a Sunday service. This 2,000 year old prayer is a valid coupon, redeemable in our prayer closet to whoever presents it by faith to God.

God still wants you and I to experience the Grace of Jesus Christ every day. The love of God is more than a gift given long ago; it is valid and waiting for us to experience it this morning. And just as they say on television; “But wait there’s more!” remember that in these days of stress, fear and change; the Fellowship of the Holy Spirit is a gift that God longs to put into our hearts if we will only ask.

So why not put aside a moment right now as you are reading and ask God for:

Grace for every weakness, sin and sorrow

Love for all people you will meet in every place and hour

Fellowship In every conflict, disappointment or disaster

These are God’s precious promises; still active in the words of this ancient prayer. They never die but they wait on our faith to remember and believe!

Jesus Our Life Preserver

Because he holds fast to me in love, I will deliver him, because he knows my name when he calls to me I will answer him. I will be with him in trouble; I will rescue him and honor him. With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation. Psalm 91:14-16

Some have compared this new Corona virus to the swine flu outbreak or Ebola. But a more realistic comparison that most of us have forgotten is the polio epidemic of 1916 that swept through cities like New York and Boston. Back then, very much like today panic ensued as tens of thousands were infected and 2,000 deaths occurred in New York City alone. Because we are accustomed to thinking that there is a cure for every conceivable disease that is hard for us to imagine how generations of everyday people could face such uncertainty with courage.

The fears we face today may feel very different than those of the past but our hope remains the same. Our hope is in trusting God. He has promised to be with us. Our hope is not just a doctrine or a trophy to be kept on display but it is our life preserver in desperate times. God has not forgotten us and He has promised to deliver us; answer us in our trouble; rescue us and shows us His salvation.