Tag: Lent

Giving up Your Impatience for Lent

Scripture Verses

Questions to Consider

  • What are you impatient about? What are some things that cause you impatience?
  • What are some things that help you to relax and find peace in a busy and hurried world?
  • What are some ways that you can intentionally practice patience today?
  • What does Jesus teach us about patience and peace?

Plan of Action

  • The next time you are at a busy store, pick the longest line. As you stand in the line pray for the people around you. Pray that God would give them peace and patience.
  • On your drive home from work, intentionally get in the slow lane. Listen to some inspirational music or an inspiration audiobook. Savor the moment. Thank God for this day. Thank him for the car you are driving. Consider how amazing is our modern day ability to travel and commute. Live in the moment.
  • Be still and know God.

Reflection

Someone once told me a joke that went along these lines:

There was a man who once asked God, “How long is a million years to you?”

God said, “A million years is like a second.”

Then the man said, “How much is a million dollars to you?”

God said, “A million dollars is like a penny.”

The man smiled and said, “Could you spare a penny?”

God smiled back and said, “Sure, just wait a second.”

God’s sees time very different than us. Throughout the Scriptures it seems God seeks to teach his people lessons in patience. It was 40 years that his people wandered in the desert. It was 4000 years from the time of the fall in the Garden until the time of the Messiah. And now we are 2000 years waiting for the return of Christ. But everything happens in God’s good timing.

I want you to consider 3 aspects of patience in regards to faith and life.

Patience towards God

Patience towards God is the patience to wait for God’s answer to prayer no matter how agonizing it might be. It is always believing his time is the best time. When we find our impatience towards God growing, we go back to the invitation in Psalm 46:10: Be still and know that I am God.

Patience with Yourself

Patience with yourself is is to recognize that accomplished people are not born that way. In 1 Timothy 4:7 the Apostle Paul says, “train yourself to be godly.” Training is pushing ourselves to do what we can today so that we can do tomorrow what we can’t do today. Growth is a process that takes time and does not happen overnight. Be patient with yourself. You are on the way. Don’t be in a rush to get there. Enjoy the journey.

Patience towards Others

Patience towards others is difficult when we feel they have taken advantage of us, when we feel they don’t listen to us, when we feel they have wronged us, or when when they don’t agree with us.

But the reason we can be patient with others is because God was first patient with us. Though we are sinners and do not deserve his love, he still loves us. He still waits for us and gives us the opportunity to try again. It is called forgiveness. And he doesn’t just forgive us once. He forgives us over and over and over and over. In the words of Jesus “seventy times seven” which was a way of saying he forgives us to infinity (Matthew 18:21–22).

The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. 2 Peter 3:9 (ESV)

When it all comes down to it, patience is about love. Love is patient! It is the first characteristic of love described in 1 Corinthians 13:4. Being patient towards others is making it about them rather than making it about us. Impatience happens when we are focused on ourselves and our priorities. Patience happens when our focus is on God and others. Let’s start looking outside ourselves!

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*This article was originally published on Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd.

A Wounded Heart

For I am poor and needy, and my heart is wounded and stricken within me.
—Psalm 109:22

Is it wrong to have a wounded heart? No, a wounded heart is not wrong, but you need to get it healed and go on. In Old Testament days, if a priest had a wound or a bleeding sore, he could not minister. I think today we have a lot of wounded healers. By that I mean that there are a lot of people in the body of Christ today who are trying to minister to other people but who themselves still have unhealed wounds from the past. These people are still bleeding and hurting themselves.

Am I saying that such people cannot minister? No, but I am saying that they need to get healed. Jesus said that the blind cannot lead the blind; because if they do, they will both fall into a ditch. There is a message in that statement. What is the use of my trying to minister victory to others if I have no victory in my own life? How can I minister emotional healing to others if I still have unresolved emotional problems from my past?

In order to minister properly, we need to go to God and let Him heal us first. I think we need to wake up and realize that God is not looking for wounded healers. He wants people with wounds that He can heal who will then go and bring healing to others. God loves to use people who have been hurt and wounded because nobody can minister to someone else better than one who has had the same problem or been in the same situation as that person.

I am not saying that we have to have everybody’s problem in order to minister to them. My point is that if we are still bleeding and hurting from our own wounds, we are not going to be able to come against other people’s problems with the same kind of aggressive faith we would have if we had already worked through that problem ourselves.

The bottom line is that we need to let God heal us so He can use us to bring healing to other people.

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*Article originally written by Joyce Meyer

20 Things To Give Up For Lent. What Are You Giving Up?

Lent is in full swing. How’s it going for you? I admit, it’s been tough on my end because it always hard to break a habit, especially when it’s a bad one. My resolution for Lent was to watch less television so that I could spend more time in devotion with the Lord. In the past week & a half things haven’t gone quite the way I planned. Turning off the television hasn’t been the problem.  But reading the Bible AFTER I turn off the television is the problem.  You see, I like to get on the computer, make a quick phone call or even grab a midnight snack before delving into the Word late at night.  So how do I still accomplish my goals with Lent without completely failing? Stay tuned…..later in the week I’ll talk about what changes I’ve made.

In the meantime, read below –

Many Christians have “given something up” for Lent, but it usually has very little of impact on their life and walk with Christ. The reason is that we usually give stuff up for all the wrong reasons. With that said, I want to offer up 20 things you might consider giving up this Lent. And these are things to give up not just for Lent, but for the rest of your life.

  • Guilt – I am loved by Jesus and he has forgiven my sins. Today is a new day and the past is behind.
  • Fear – God is on my side. In him I am more than a conqueror. (see Romans 8)
  • The need to please everyone – I can’t please everyone anyways. There is only one I need to strive to please.
  • Envy – I am blessed. My value is not found in my possessions, but in my relationship with my Heavenly Father.
  • Impatience – God’s timing is the perfect timing.
  • Sense of entitlement – The world does not owe me anything. God does not owe me anything. I live in humility and grace.
  • Bitterness and Resentment – The only person I am hurting by holding on to these is myself.
  • Blame – I am not going to pass the buck. I will take responsibility for my actions.
  • Gossip and Negativity – I will put the best construction on everything when it comes to other people. I will also minimize my contact with people who are negative and toxic bringing other people down.
  • Comparison – I have my own unique contribution to make and there is no one else like me.
  • Fear of failure – You don’t succeed without experiencing failure. Just make sure you fail forward.
  • A spirit of poverty – Believe with God that there is always more than enough and never a lack
  • Feelings of unworthiness – You are fearfully and wonderfully made by your creator. (see Psalm 139)
  • Doubt – Believe God  has a plan for you that is beyond anything you could imagine. The future is brighter than you could ever realize.
  • Self-pity – God comforts us in our sorrow so that we can comfort others with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.
  • Retirement – As long as you are still breathing, you are here for a reason. You have a purpose to influence others for Christ. That does not come to an end until the day we die.
  • Excuses – A wise man once said, if you need an excuse, any excuse will do.
  • Lack of counsel – Wise decisions are rarely made in a vacuum.
  • Pride – Blessed are the humble.
  • Worry – God is in control and worrying will not help.

God has so much more in store for you. But so many of these things above are holding you back from walking in the full destiny he has laid out for you. Today is a new day.

So there you have it. What else might you add to the list? Please share in the comments below.

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Right and Wrong Reasons for Giving up Something for Lent

Lent has been going for about a week now & I thought I’d check in to see how everyone is doing with their “sacrifices”. As you know it is a tradition during the season of Lent for many people to “give something up.” You may very likely practice this tradition yourself. Some examples of the things people give up include chocolate, alcohol, smoking, television, and Facebook. There are lots of different reasons people have for giving something up for Lent. As with many practices there are some good reasons to do it and then there are some not-so-good of reasons to do it. Here are some of the not-so-good reasons:

1. Because it’s tradition

There are many good traditions in the church. Most every tradition is begun for a good reason. But there often comes a time when we lose the connection with the purpose of the tradition and we continue the tradition for the sake of the tradition. If you are not sure what the purpose of the tradition is, then it may be time to stop the tradition or at the least go back and re-examine the origins.

2. It helps me relate to the suffering of Jesus

Many believe that making a sacrifice will help them better relate to the sufferings of Jesus. But if you think this through, does giving up Facebook for Lent even begin to come close to helping you relate to the suffering Jesus went through? We are totally missing the point. Jesus gave his life as a sacrifice. His suffering was brutal. The idea of giving up 1st world luxuries to help us relate to the suffering he endured is laughable at best and mockery at worst.

3. To help me feel better about myself

For some giving up something for Lent is a way to kick a bad habit. Lent serves as a catalyst for living a healthier and more balanced life. It might serve to help you eat better or make better use of your time. All that is commendable and God wants us to be good stewards of our lives. But this still falls short of the fuller Lenten experience.

 

So what is the point then? Why would I give something up for Lent?

The whole idea behind giving something up is called FASTING. Fasting is a spiritual discipline much like prayer, Bible reading, and worship. In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus said, “when you fast …” He didn’t say, “if you fast …” There was an expectation his followers would fast. But it is an often overlooked discipline in the church. And because we don’t often teach about it, there is great misunderstanding about it.

So here are some reasons why we do fast or “give something up for Lent”:

1. More of God

While the idea of fasting involves taking something away, it is ultimately about more of God. Fasting in its purest form involves foregoing food for a certain period of time. This will lead to a hunger in our stomach which has an ultimate purpose of connecting us with our hunger for God. The time you might have spent preparing a meal and eating the meal can now be spent feasting on God’s Word. In other words, spend the time you would have spent eating by reading the Bible and praying. Jesus says, “man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4). We realize our food and everything else we have comes from God. If God did not provide it, we would not have it (see John 6:68–69). We eliminate that which we think we need for that which we truly need.

2. Removing barriers

Another important aspect of fasting is cutting out that which is hindering our relationship with God. There is nothing more important in this world than our relationship with him. Yet, we allow so many other things to get in the way. In last Sunday’s message we heard Jesus say, “if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out. If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off” (Matthew 5:29–30). The principle applies here is that we eliminate that which separates us from God. There are many things in life we think we cannot do without, but Jesus says only one thing is needful (Matthew 10:41–42).

3. Re-centering

Finally, fasting has a way of centering us and reminding us what is most important. We have a lot of competing priorities in life. We don’t fast for God’s sake. It is a discipline given to us for our benefit. Fasting points us to what is most important. It helps us to keep the first things the first things. This is why we see the early church enter a time of fasting prior to making a big decisions (see Acts 13:2–3; 14:23). Fasting helps us better discern God’s priorities for life and ministry.

So how about you? What are some of the reasons you fast or “give something up” during Lent? Make sure to share in the comments below.

God’s blessings,

Pastor Phil

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*Article original published on Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd.

Don’t Miss the Season of Grace

TODAY’S SCRIPTURE

“For the turning away of the simple will slay them, and the complacency of fools will destroy them.”

(Proverbs 1:32, NKJV)

TODAY’S WORD from Joel and Victoria

God will never ask you to do something without giving you the ability to do it. You may get passive or complacent and think, “Yes, I know I need to do that. Maybe next week.” Well, next week turns into next month. Next month turns into next year. When we put off what God has told us to do, we miss that season of grace. But, if you’ll deal with things as soon as God brings them to light, you’ll have a special grace, a special empowerment. You’ll feel God’s enabling power helping you to do it.

Today, is there something you’re putting off? Something you know in heart that you are supposed to do? Don’t let the season of grace pass. Don’t let complacency destroy you. Your destiny stands before you. God has something amazing in your future. Be bold, be strong. Step out in faith, be obedient, and embrace the good things God has in store for you!

A PRAYER FOR TODAY

Father, thank You for the grace to do exactly what You’ve called me to do. I choose to step out in faith; I choose to follow Your commands. I choose to be faithful because I know that You are faithful. I love You and bless You today and always in Jesus’ name. Amen.

~Joel Osteen

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ReLENT for Lent: What Are You Giving Up?

Lent is here! I am not Catholic but I do plan on observing Lent. According to the United Methodist Church, “Lent is a time of repentance, fasting and preparation for the coming of Easter,” and is “a time of self-examination and reflection.” I like observing Lent because it means that I have to give up something that is taking my attention away from the Christian journey, away from Christ and my devotion to Him. If you are practicing Lent it’s important to give up the things in life that would be somewhat of a sacrifice to not have for a month and a half. It might be more important, however, to increase other activities that reflect upon and improve your faith and allow for spiritual growth.

Now this requires “discipline.”  Discipline through fasting, praying, and/or giving. You should reflect on Christ’s teachings to live them out more fully once this time period is over. It’s sometimes helpful to view Lent as a season of “soul-searching,” repentance (asking for forgiveness), reflection (meditation), and sacrifice. For a lot of people, they ask themselves the question: “What to give up for Lent?” When you give up something for Lent, you help develop your spiritual nature, grow closer to Christ, and realize all that He has given up for us. It’s not always about giving up something for Lent. Sometimes, it’s about doing something extra—something you wouldn’t normally do—in preparation for Easter.

We sacrifice, give things up for Lent, and take on new practices in exchange for the greatest sacrifice known to humanity. We get the opportunity to learn self-control and to improve our lives as Christians. As we give things up for Lent, we’re really finding things that are taking away from our love of Christ and giving them up so that we may improve our lives, the lives of those around us, and our relationship with the Lord.

Here are some common things that people give up for Lent –

  1. Caffeine
  2. Facebook/Social Media
  3. Sex
  4. TV
  5. Soda
  6. Alcohol
  7. Sugar/Sweets
  8. Shopping
  9. Email
  10. Meat
  11. Makeup
  12. Snooze button
  13. Cursing
  14. Smoking
  15. Chocolate

 

Here are some things that people give (meaning they do for others) during Lent –

  1. Write letters
  2. Volunteer
  3. Exercise
  4. Read the Bible more
  5. Meditate
  6. Study
  7. Attend church
  8. Give away some of your belongings to those less fortunate
  9. Practice being a better friend
  10. Spend more time with family

 

But don’t forget that kids can participate too! Click here to read more about RAK.

I’ve decided to sacrifice television for Lent. Not completely, but I’ll definitely be cutting down the amount of TV I watch, dedicating more of that time to quiet worship & reading the Bible. I’ll be posting periodically throughout the Lenten season, so stay tuned!

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