Not lent, just love.

A quick study of the History of Lent leads one to believe that it appears to be instituted and mostly observed by those in the Catholic faith.  Now, that’s not to say that born-again evangelicals can’t or don’t observe it but typically it is a liturgy reserved for more traditionally observant groups.

A couple of years ago I went on  a fast for lent which was interesting.  I also fasted from Facebook last year. Did I reap the benefits that I was hoping for?  Not too sure.  What I’m realizing now is that although the premise behind Lent~ to focus on the sacrifice Christ made and the road to the Cross~ is noble and righteous “looking” it is mostly for selfish gain.  Meaning, that the super-spiritual people who fast or deprive themselves during this season do so in an effort to gain some “brownie points” in the Church or in the Kingdom.  I’m not saying it’s wrong…but it sounds a lot like legalism to me.

I actually like the ideas around lent.  I like the daily study into God’s word, the intense process of preparing for Easter.  But as a Christian, should I not be living that in my daily walk anyways?  Should I not be remembering the Cross, the Sacrifice, the Blood, the Resurrection all the days of my life?   Isn’t that what LIVING out my Faith really is?  It should be.  And sadly, it is not.   I lack the discipline and the commitment that is required.  I am simply not diligent.  But I want to be.  I so want to be. I want my walk with Christ to be real, obvious and practical.

Jesus healed on the Sabbath~ much to the disdain of the Pharisees….the legalists.    They had rules for how a Godly person should act and Jesus was bending, breaking and bull-dozing through every rule.

I am by nature, a non-rule breaker.  I find it hard to fathom how it is fun to break rules.  And yet, when it comes to the commands of Christ(notice I did not say “rules”) I fail miserably.  Why do I find it so easy to not follow the simplest of commands?  He made it so easy.   I mean really, the Pharisees made it hard to do good.  They made it hard to follow the “right” path, but not Jesus.  His way is simple~ Love your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength and love your neighbour as yourself.  That’s it.  Just love.

By the power of the Holy Spirit, my passion, my goal, my prayer  is to live out the Love of Christ.  This is not a Lenten goal~ this is my life’s goal.  Do away with the rules and the legalism and get to the heart of it all.

I’m feeling lost in my life right now.  Things aren’t really going as I had planned.  I feel disconnected, not productive.

I’m praying for the Lord to have His way with me.  Not my will but His be done.

My new favourite song is my prayer.

Giving thanks…and then some.

I’m reading this book.  It will be my undoing.  Why?   Because it is challenging the very core of  my existence.

The challenge is not to GIVE THANKS.  The challenge is to find the GIFT in everything. In every moment.  In every sacred breath.  We are here but only for a glimpse of eternity and yet we spend so many days, so many hours caught up in what is wrong and what we don’t have.

As I read today, my heart became full ~ recalling the moments this week that  I may have missed.  Moments, gifts and treasures.

A text from a head-strong daughter who I sometimes wonder if she’s listening.  “I love you , Mommy.” -I fired back a “I love you too, now whaddya want!”….she “LOL’d  , nothin'”.

Well, it wasn’t nothing.  It was the sum total of everything.  I’m so thankful for a teenage daughter who, in spite of all my failures, still loves me.

Or this morning in church, the youngest one who sometimes is so overwhelmed by her stature in the family she can barely hold in the tears~ leaned in on my shoulder, my hand stroking her long hair.  A moment.  A breath.  Thank-you Lord for my healthy, beautiful children.

Or the touch of a man, whose love has seen me through the darkest hours of my life.   His hand on my head , tenderly loving me when I find it hard to love myself.  Thank you God for his love and his touch.

Or the thousand other moments

~ a joke across the dinner table from youngest to oldest

~a cat laying in the warm sunshine

~a warm breeze after the coldest day of the year

~ the moose who trotted into the yard without warning; so majestic and graceful

….i could go on and on and on…………and so I should.

Why is it that we have fishes in the ocean that the human eye has never seen?  Why do birds take flight without effort and stay in line, filling the sky with their family flocks?

Why do snowflakes fall and land on the window pane suspended and crystallized only for a few moments~ maybe no one will ever see them and yet they are breathtakingly beautiful!!

The glory of the Lord is EVERYWHERE!! Gifts for us.  Gifts for Him, by Him.   We too are His glory.

Thinking back on my babies I can’t help but grin when I reflect on chubby 5 month old feet kicking in the air at diaper time.   Or the way a baby’s tiny fingers grasp at my own in the quiet morning hours of nursing.  Moments to savour and remember.  I don’t have a photo but being thankful for these precious times grows them in my heart more vivid than any album I could share.

I’m challenged.  1000 gifts…….gratitude……….can I write a thousand?  It starts in this moment.  Thank you Lord for this moment to consider all the blessings that you have given just for my enJOYment.

Broken and waiting…..

It’s been 6 months since we packed up our house and moved with barely 2 weeks notice.  Leaving behind one of the most beautiful places on earth for something somewhat inferior has been a really hard pill to swallow these past few months.  I admit that I am not feeling my usual “self” nor am I being a very good role model for my kids.   Every day I wake and think I’m going to do better, be productive and shake off the blues.  And every night, I go to bed upset with myself that I blew it again.  These months have passed by and I have very little to show for it.  In the midst of it all~ the move, the sadness, the regrets, we’ve managed to whittle our little bit of financial cushion down to almost nothing.  It is scary and sobering.

I keep thinking that God’s going to show up big and everything’s going to be okay….but I’m still waiting for that.  It’s tiring. Maybe that’s where my lack of motivation is coming from.

Someone said to me this week that she and her husband keep things simple to avoid the stresses of life.  Oh, if only it were that easy.  Well , maybe it is, but not for us.  We’re sort of restless people I guess.  Always feeling like there has to be more, there has to be a break out there for us.   If 4.5 years ago we had stayed where we were, this is what I know:

  • We would not have snowmobiles and quads for family fun
  • Our girls would not be in figure skating and our son likely would have never played football
  • We would not have our 2 dogs whom we love to death
  • none of our kids (or my husband) would likely be loving skiing and snowboarding like they do OR be as good as they are
  • we wouldn’t have met some people who we consider wonderful friends
  • we probably wouldn’t have the same experience at church leadership and serving as we’ve been able to do
  • we wouldn’t have likely had to rely so heavily on God’s mercy and grace for every facet of our lives…literally.

Yes, there’s so much to look back on and be thankful for.  I just hope that we come out of this dark tunnel soon. It’s breaking me down.

The Message is Still Good…

…but sometimes the messengers aren’t.

Ya, I’m talking about THE message~ The Good News.  The stuff you hear about but do you really understand.

I think it’s important every once in a while to turn off the radio, shut down that TV, get off the internet and get your butt to church.  And not just any church, sorry, but there’s a lot of duds out there.  I’m talking about a church where when you walk in, you immediately know that you’re with people who really live what they preach.  A church where the Word of God is not only spoken about but is revered and cherished above all other things.

The message of Jesus and His redeeming love is a 2000+ year old message and it’s a good one.  It doesn’t need to be dressed up, tweaked or watered down to make someone hear it or get it.  People will get it, if we tell them.  But yes, we’re not really telling, are we? Nope, we’re “shy” and “busy” and we don’t really want our neighbours and our friends to think we’re weird so we just sort of sneak in an “inspirational” Christmas card or a cool somewhat-Christian like CD of music, hoping that one way or another they’ll get the hint.  Ya, that’s not working so well is it.   Currently 55 to 75% of Canadians have no clue how to get to Heaven(if there is one-or so they say).  Most of them know someone who is born again but they’ve never heard the message of the Cross.    There are literally thousands and thousands of people that you see each day that are dying and with their blood on your hands, if you’re a born-again Christian and they’re not.

Did you know that the Muslim faith is actively converting people to their faith? They are currently praying for 50 Canadian youth, 30 Canadian families and 20 Canadian clergymen to embrace Islam this year.   They already have at least 2 clergymen, one was a Baptist minister~ who is now Muslim.  Scary.

What are we doing? Are we praying? Are we compassionate enough to realize that if we don’t say something someone may go to Hell?  Are we living a life that is Godly and Righteous that shows the world that we mean and live what we believe?   It’s time we did.   74% of people who get saved have done so because of a friend or family member who shared Jesus with them.

I pray that this year, 2011, will be the year that we see many come to know Jesus…and then they’ll tell two friends and they’ll tell two friends and so on and so on…..

If you are reading this and you don’t know where you stand.  If you don’t know if when you die you’ll see an eternal Heaven and life everlasting or an eternal death, then please, message me or find a church pastor and talk with them.  Being a Christian doesn’t mean your problems disappear, it just means that Jesus gets to shoulder the burden and guide you through the tough stuff.  Jesus said He came that we might have LIFE and have it more ABUNDANTLY.  Isn’t that what we all want? Abundant life?

We’re sinners, we all are.  We sin each day and bring condemnation on ourselves.   I am so grateful for Jesus~ who came as a man and was mocked, rejected and crucified so that you or I would not have to die for the sin that binds us up each day.  He came, He lived, He died….and then He rose again.  He’s coming back too~ let’s not forget that as we get so busy in our lives.  Jesus is coming soon and we gotta get out there and let this message be heard~ that’s what we’re here for, in case you didn’t know.  That is exactly why we’re here.