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A Second Chance

This has been, for me, the most unusual season of Lent and Holy Week I think I’ve ever had.

I grew up in the Baptist denomination and Lent was not observed in most Baptist churches. I’m not sure why–perhaps it was just too liturgical for them. A number of years ago, I was a charter member of a new church in a relatively new denomination, The International Communion of the Charismatic Episcopal Church. It didn’t take long for the founding fathers to realize that title was more than a mouthful, and ICCEC became the the shorter version. The word ‘Episcopal’ should be an obvious sign that this denomination is very liturgical. It is also charismatic, but that’s a topic for another day. So, for many years I’ve observed Lent.

For my Baptist friends, here is a definition of Lent: “Lent is a solemn religious observance in the liturgical calendar of many Christian denominations that begins on Ash Wednesday and covers a period of approximately six weeks before Easter Day. The traditional purpose of Lent is the preparation of the believer through prayer, penance, repentance of sins, almsgiving, atonement and self-denial.” (1) (Emphasis mine.)

The most well-known aspect of Lent is the “self-denial” or another term is “giving up.” The premise is that each person should “give up” something–it should be a sin–during the 40 days of Lent. “Lent is about conversion, turning our lives more completely over to Christ and his way of life. That always involves giving up sin in some form. The goal is not just to abstain from sin for the duration of Lent but to root sin out of our lives forever. (Emphasis mine.) Conversion means leaving behind an old way of living and acting in order to embrace new life in Christ.” (2) Many people, myself included, have given up sugar, chocolate, TV, social media and other “sins.” Although giving the above mentioned things are good for you, I’m not sure these are the “sins” God would like to see us give up. 

Now the doings (practices) of the flesh are clear (obvious): they are immorality, impurity, indecency, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, anger (ill temper), selfishness, divisions (dissensions), party spirit (factions, sects with peculiar opinions, heresies), envydrunkenness, carousing, and the like. I warn you beforehand, just as I did previously, that those who do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.” Galatians 5:19-21 Amplified Bible.

I’ve given all this information to simply say that I haven’t done anything in observance of Lent or Holy Week. And here it is Holy Saturday. And I realize that I still have a chance to give up a sin and to spend time with God and meditate on His matchless gift of His Son. 

You see, God is a God of second, third, ten, one hundred chances–as many chances as you need. And just as I have another chance to observe Lent and Holy Week today, you have another chance to renew your relationship with God, or mend a relationship with someone in your life, a chance to let go of the past or whatever you need to do to get you back on the path God designed just for you.

I encourage you to take today, Holy Saturday, to take care of any issues you may have, or just to simply draw closer to Him. 
If you do, would you please leave me a comment? I would be honored to pray for you and rejoice with you!

Blessings to everyone for a Happy Easter!

 

 
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The Peace of God

“You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in You.” Isaiah 26:3

We’ve been at a some friends’ “cabin” since late afternoon on Thursday. It is now Sunday and we will be leaving in a few hours to go home. I wish I could pack up the peace and quiet from this place and this weekend and take it home with me.

Abba Father, I know that You can and will give me peace. I ask for it now. May it be so in Jesus’ name. Amen.

I came here this weekend, partly to grieve the death of my daddy. Even though I’ve cried rivers of tears, I expected there to be more this weekend. Instead, God quietly walked with me as He led me back to a word He gave me last July. “COMFORTER In the midst of your sorrow, He comforts. The Lord longs to heal your broken places, where you are weak and weary. He will restore PEACE in the depths of your being.” And God led me to Jeremiah 8:18 and Isaiah 61:2-3.

I re-read more journal entries. I spent quiet time–curled up in a wing-backed chair–and wrapped in the loving arms of my Savior. These were the times when the almost-tangible presence of God surrounded me. Not that He hasn’t been present since my dad passed, or before, but so many times I haven’t stopped to bask in His glorious presence. It has been His peace that has surrounded me this weekend, like a soft silk cocoon.

I’ve moved to sit outside on the deck. It’s a mountain-crisp, cool morning. It is quiet. But in the quiet, I hear the birds singing. I can hear the gentle rustle of new leaves as they move in time with the breeze. I see the golden glow of the sun as it rises over the mountaintop.

It is a new day. A new beginning. And it is peaceful.

“This is the day that the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it!”

I don’t normally post a blog that is this personal. But today, I felt an urge to do so. Perhaps there is someone reading this blog and God is using it to speak to you. If that is the case, please leave me a comment so that I might pray for you.