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]

How did you spend your Season of Lent

At the beginning of Lent, I challenged you to think about the 6 weeks before Easter differently than you had before.  In that blog post,https://thankfulinallthings.com/how-do-your-return-gods-love-and-favor/ I shared Joel 2:12 reminder on the purpose of fasting. ““Even now,” declares the LORD, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning. So what are you going to do differently during Lent to show God you are grateful that you are His child? How did you do?  I hope you were more successful than me. 

Like Mark 4:19 “the message of Lent was crowded out by the worries of this life, the lure of wealth, and the desire for other things, so the fruit of my labor did not get produced.” John MacArthur says it this way. “The more you focus on yourself, the more distracted you will be from the proper path. The more you know Him and commune with Him, the more the Spirit will make you like Him. The more you are like Him, the better you will understand His utter sufficiency for all of life’s difficulties. And that is the only way to know real satisfaction.” 

So if this is the case, why do I and maybe 🙂 we find it so difficult? It certainly helps me understand God’s chosen ones who the Pharoah released out of slavery. Before being set free and On their way to the Promised Land, they saw so many signs and miracles from God. Why did they keep on straying away and not trusting that God was in control of every outcome? I can ask my self the same question. The Lord has been with me through good and bad. Yet, even when I make a conscious decision for Lent, I get distracted by what the world throws at me which like the Israelites, causes me to lose my focus on the Lord.

Peter learned the same lesson when walking on the water toward Jesus. As long as His eyes were fixed on Him, he was fine. As soon as he stopped focusing on Christ, he saw the wind and the waves of the storm (like our daily challenges/distractions) had not ceased causing him to sink like anchor. https://biblehub.com/context/matthew/14-28.htm

Lent was not the deep spiritual experience I had hoped it to be but like Peter, I call out to Jesus saying, Help me! Each and every time, He forgives and is there to pull me out of whatever calamity I have caused. Why? Because He is always with me even when I take my focus off of Him because I have chosen to look the other way. As we move into Holy Week, I hope you will make the effort to look for Him. He is there, the Risen Christ who died so you might have a relationship with God for which you were created. A gift from God for the people of God. Ask and you will receive! He is Risen. Hallelujah. May the Lord’s purpose prevail in your life. Proverbs 19:11

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How do your return God’s Love and Favor?

I wrote about the fact that God wants to be your Valentine in my last blog post. https://thankfulinallthings.com/god-wants-to-be-your-valentine-will-you-accept-his-gift/ He has offered us an incredible gift that we can only enjoy if we accept it. A week later, we went from the romance of Valentine’s Day to the somber reflection that came last week on Ash Wednesday. I had never put the two together until now. Interestingly enough, next year, they will fall on the same day. https://thedialog.org/featured/rare-meeting-valentines-day-and-ash-wednesday/ I was struck how close Valentine’s Day communicating God loves us and wants to be in a relationship with us. Ash Wednesday take us into the Season of Lent which gives us the opportunity to think about how we return that love. So many people look at Lent as a period of time where they give up something that will help them in some way. What if we took the 6 weeks to move into a deeper relationship with The One who created us? As an example, maybe we give up alcohol, chocolate, snacking after dinner, etc. Good for us but do, when we miss it, do we let it remind us how God misses us when we don’t show up and spend time with Him? Joel 2:12 reminds us the purpose of fasting. ““Even now,” declares the LORD, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning.” You see, as my friend Tamra Andres reminded me, “just because something is good (giving up x…….) doesn’t mean it is from God. Only when it’s from God can it always be good.” (author unknown) So what are you going to do differently during Lent to show God you are grateful that you are His child?

I think this Season of Lent should be a time where we return the love that God has bestowed upon us. Nothing will bring the Lord more joy than if you make a decision to spend more time with Him as you prepared to celebrate His Son’s death and resurrection. Think about it. You can tell someone you are grateful for their love and that they are special to you but if you can’t find to spend time with them, will they think you mean it? Like the story of the Prodigal Son, the Father is waiting and when you choose to come be with Him, He will run out to meet and embrace you. “When the father saw the son, he did the unthinkable—he received the son back with ecstatic joy and celebration, and he ran to meet his son while he was still at a distance” (Luke 17:17-20).

Another way of returning God’s favor is by leaving behind what you think might be how you want to spend your time and resolve that over these next several weeks you will be intentional about serving others. By spending more time with God and committing to loving/serving others, we will give Him the honor and glory which He so richly deserves and for what he asks of us. Mark 12; 30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[There is no commandment greater than these.” Our obedience to Him is our greatest gift to the One who wants to be our Valentine. May Lent be a season where you run to Him who wants nothing more than for you to be in His embrace.

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The power in learning how to wait

Like Advent, Lent is another season where we are taught to wait. This blog originated after my recovery from Guillain Barre Syndrome. GBS paralyzed me from my head down. March 17th marked three years since my arms went back over my head. http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/michaelguthrie
“We will be encouraged and strengthened in our faith when we recognize the ways in which God is operating. These glimpses of His handiwork will motivate us to stay the course and help us maintain a godly perspective on life.” This Charles Stanley’s quote reminded me of the fact that God has made many wait until they were ready for what He had for them to do. Sarah, Moses, Noah, Esther, Ruth, John the Baptist, Paul and yes, even Jesus, all were made to wait. Abraham Lincoln and Winston Churchill lost elections before being raised up to do great things. We remember that Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead but forget that his sisters, Mary and Martha sent word to Jesus that their brother needed His help, but Christ delayed before traveling to their home (John 11:3-6).

As we wait over these next four weeks to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus at Easter, ask yourself, ”for what are you waiting?” Have you made a request to God that hasn’t been answered? Are you asking for relief from some type of adversity? Change your question to, ”what is it that you are preparing for me? What do I need to be doing to be ready for the task ahead?” It really is a matter of perspective. No wonder they say ”patience is a virtue” https://www.christianity.com/wiki/bible/patience-is-a-virtue.html

The season of Lent is a time for personal reflection. If you are facing what seems like a dead end, why not take the time to stop and check out what is around you. Like the Israelites in the desert, what might look like the end, may just be a bend in the road that though longer, will take you where you are meant to go. As Charles Stanley shared, no matter what challenges we face, ”we are to stay the course with the proper perspective”

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