Wednesday, February 13, 2013

An Ash Wednesday reminder that we are to GIVE UP something to strengthen our spiritual journey with God.

Came across this little article by The Rev. Craig Gates, Jackson, MS, "WHAT TO GIVE UP FOR LENT". Do you remember those days when we were younger and the pastor of the church encouraged us all to give up something for Lent? He was usually thinking of us giving up a candy bar or a Coke or a slice of pizza. Our minds usually went down the line of broccoli, brussels sprouts, cauliflower or some such nonsense. We just didn’t get it did we.

Then pastors started getting creative, as illustrated by this list by Pastor Gates, as an attempt to further us along our spiritual journey. To “give up” something during Lent had a deeper meaning. We were to replace what we gave up with prayer, fasting and a deeper devotion to God during these days leading up to Easter.

Maybe as adults we still don’t get it and Mr. Gates has provided us with a valuable teaching on the purpose of our Lenten journey. At least that is my reason for sharing it in todays blog.

Happy journey!

Give Up

GIVE UP grumbling! Instead, "In everything give thanks." Constructive criticism is OK, but "moaning, groaning, and complaining" are not Christian disciplines.

GIVE UP 10 to 15 minutes in bed! Instead, use that time in prayer, Bible study and personal devotion.

GIVE UP looking at other people's worst points. Instead concentrate on their best points. We all have faults. It is a lot easier to have people overlook our shortcomings when we overlook theirs first.

GIVE UP speaking unkindly. Instead, let your speech be generous and understanding. It costs so little to say something kind and uplifting. Why not check that sharp tongue at the door?

GIVE UP your hatred of anyone or anything! Instead, learn the discipline of love. "Love covers a multitude of sins."

GIVE UP your worries and anxieties! Instead, trust God with them. Anxiety is spending emotional energy on something we can do nothing about: like tomorrow! Live today and let God's grace be sufficient.

GIVE UP TV one evening a week! Instead, visit some lonely or sick person. There are those who are isolated by illness or age. Why isolate yourself in front of the "tube?" Give someone a precious gift: your time!

GIVE UP buying anything but essentials for yourself! Instead, give the money to God. The money you would spend on the luxuries could help someone meet basic needs. We are called to be stewards of God's riches, not consumers.

GIVE UP judging by appearances and by the standard of the world! Instead, learn to give up yourself to God. There is only one who has the right to judge, Jesus Christ.

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