Lent is a time where we learn how to wait.

Lamentations 3:25 says, “The LORD is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him” This verse is part of the lament of Jeremiah, who expresses his hope and trust in God in the midst of his troubles. 
Isaiah 40;31 says, “but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” What an encouragement for those of us who found ourselves weary.

We are in the midst of the 40 days of Lent https://www.learnreligions.com/what-is-lent-700774which started back on February 14th. We are now a little more than half way to culminate this time of waiting with Easter.  I have always been intrigued with how many of God’s chosen were put in some sort of “time out” before God released them for His purposes. Noah, Moses, Abraham, Joseph, King David, Ruth, Esther, Paul, and of course Jesus just to name a few. This was written (author unknown) back in 2020 titled “just maybe” during Covid. My additions to it are in parenthesis. • 40 days the flood lasted…• 40 years the Exodus lasted…• 40 days of fasting in the desert where Jesus was tempted…• 40 days of appearances of Jesus after his crucifixion and resurrection…•Number 40 specifically in the Bible attracts much attention, even to today. • 40 days is what is recommend for a woman to rest after giving birth. • 40 is the weeks of gestation.• A group of theologians think that number 40 represents “change”, it is the preparation time of a person or people to give fundamental change. • Will something happen after these 40 days (of lent)• (During Covid) The earth was on rest for first time in many years. • Rivers are cleaning, vegetation is growing, air is clean due to less pollution, the starry sky in the evening is visible even where it was covered by pollution, less theft, less murders.• I would like to (how will you) take advantage of these 40 days.• In the Bible, every time number 40 appears there is a “change.”• So, (as you spend this season of Lent) enjoy it with family; it could be of great blessing, and we will see the changes God will make in our lives (as He did with those He put in time out)• The word quarantine is from Italian and means 40 days. (Just maybe Lent is supposed to be spent allowing yourself to lay low and finding ways to draw closer to God)

Just maybe we are to seek and wait upon the Lord like Lamentations and Isaiah encourage us to do.  Think about why God made those He had chosen to do His work wait for a period of time.  He forced folks like Moses, David and Paul into their times of waiting.  Like them, how many of us might have tried to run out ahead of God before He was ready for you to do so? We are half way through but while you await the celebration of the resurrection, use these next three weeks to find ways to wait on the Lord with the intent of drawing closer to God  Brother Lawrence writes about waiting on God in this way.  ” Having a silent conversation with Him, a rest in Him, desiring the life and peace of our Soul.” May the rest of Lent be a time where you seek what Lawrence describes as an “unbroken communion with God, asking Him to supply all your needs so that you might find fullness of joy in His Presence.”  May that unbroken communion and the fullness of joy result in you feeling released to do what He has willed for your life to accomplish His purposes.  

May you feel God’s face shining upon you and may His love for you reflect on those who God has cross your path.  I can be reached by email at [email protected]

The importance of getting to know one another.

Author of Lead for God’s Sake and friend, Todd Gongwer, posted this the other day.  
Most everything we
do brings with it an opportunity to shine a light!
Every word we speak
Every attitude we display
Every behavior we model
Never underestimate this call on your life!
So…..”Let your light so shine before others, that they see your good works and glorify your father in heaven”
Matt. 5:16

His words took me down two paths.  1) Everything we do matters and will have an impact on those around us and we are responsible as to whether the impact will be positive or negative. 2) Are we willing to take the time to really get to know those who matter most so we can make a difference in each other’s lives?
Both paths ask the question, “Will we live in a selfish manner or be people who want to shine a positive light in our actions and desire to know one another well?” I shared about the beauty of being unselfish in a recent blog post.  https://thankfulinallthings.com/the-beauty-of-being-unselfish/  It focuses on the 1st question and easier accomplished matter regarding what we do when given the opportunity to shine a light.  I hope you will take the time to go back and read it.  This children song certainly conveys the mindset we all should
have. https://youtu.be/yRhDi2aK5ac

The second question is more perplexing.  Why do we find it so hard to engage folks, especially those closest to us, in more serious conversation?   We talked about this in a fellowship group I lead on Friday mornings.  I found that it was not just me that struggled in this area.  Everyone said they found it easier to have an in depth conversation with those who weren’t friends or family members. Shouldn’t it be the exact opposite?  Why wouldn’t we want those who are closest to us to know who we are and what matters to us most?  Shouldn’t we find ways and create opportunities for others to share what is important to them?  
I have more questions versus answers as to what causes this dilemma but here are some tips from me and others I have asked. 
Build the relationship first. Don’t force your thoughts or advice on someone.   
Wait until you are asked to weigh in on a particular topic or if you feel you need to initiate it, ask permission first.   
Ask Wopen questions in the conversation (What, Whow, Where, When) that can’t be answered with just yes or no.
Communicate your desire to have someone speak into your life as well as you speaking into theirs. 

It really is about seeking to understand and having a desire to be understood. As I think about finishing my life well, I want God’s light to shine through me in a way that I will be remembered as someone who truly cares about others and is open to being shown my flaws.  That way, I can say, 
“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge will award to me on that day”  2 Timothy 4:7-8

I hope in some way this blog will encourage you to ask the Lord to do the same for you.  I would welcome your thoughts on this topic.  I can be reached by email at [email protected]