Sunday, April 24, 2011

40 days

Having been raised a Baptist we stayed away from anything that might resemble anything Catholic. Ash Wednesday and then Lent were things I heard about, but never participated in. Since working for a United Methodist Church, I have been exposed to another set of traditions.

What is Ash Wednesday - Jesus spent forty days fasting in the desert before beginning his public ministry, during which he endured temptation by Satan. Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of this forty day period of prayer and fasting. It marks the first day of Lent (46 days before Easter). Services are held at many churches on Ash Wednesday. During this service the minister will lightly rub the sign of the cross with ashes onto the foreheads of worshipers. This practice is a sign of mourning and repentance to God. Ashes were used in the Bible as a way to express sorrow for sins and faults. The ashes are normally used from the palms that were used last Palm Sunday.

What is Lent? It is a time when many Christians prepare for Easter by observing a period of fasting, repentance, moderation and spiritual discipline.

To me it feels like I have missed out on opportunities to worship and get closer to Jesus.

This year I felt like the Lord was leading me to give up sweets for Lent. I felt like he was whispering to me to come to him, he wanted to show me how sweet he is. I also began a devotional for this time. I opened the book and day one was ------ Taste and See That I Am Good. The devotion goes on to say...Do not try to fathom My ways. Instead, spend time enjoying Me and experiencing My goodness. I was blown away. God is amazing.

Over the last 46 days I have experienced God's goodness. There have been many opportunities to partake in sweets, but with Jesus it was not nearly as hard as I thought it would be. The first few days I struggled. Many times I had to pray to get past the temptation.

During these 46 days, work couldn't have been anymore stressful. My precious Granny died and my child pushed all of my buttons. Normally I would have turned to food. Sweets always make things better, but instead I used these times as opportunities to pray. God has been so good to me. He has comforted me and been with me every step of the way.

I am so grateful. I really just can't tell you how I am feeling. I have had a peace that passes all understanding. My God is an Awesome God.

Today is Easter Sunday and this time is over, but I don't want the closeness I have found to be over. After today's church service I have made the decision that I don't want religion. Religion is all about rules. It takes away the relationship. I want a relationship. The veil has been torn and we are now able to go into the temple and worship. God wants to call us friends. [You are my friends if you do what I command. John 15:14 and I do not call your servants any longer, for the servant does not know what his master is doing. But I have called you My friends, because I have made know to you everything that I have heard from my Father. John 15:15] I want to be His friend.

As time moves forward, I want to do the same. I don't want to go backwards in my relationship. I only want to move forward. Where is your relationship? Are you moving forward? If not why? He hasn't moved or gone anywhere. Where are you?

So thankful for a Risen Savior!!!

Happy Easter.

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