Friday, March 12, 2010

When Giving Up is Good

By Bethany Lashbrook

This Week's Verse: 1 John 4:10, “This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.”(NIV)

Easter is fast approaching, and with that comes the season of Lent. I looked up Lent and found out that it comes from a word lenten, meaning springtime. Lent is a period of forty days of fasting, prayer, and penitence before Easter. Let’s take a look at these three words:

Fasting: abstaining from some or all food and drink.

Prayer: seeking to activate a connection to God through deliberate intentional practice. Prayer may be individual or communal and can take place in public or in private. It may involve the use of words, song, or complete silence.

Penitence: Sorrow for sins or faults.

Early Christians prepared for Easter by fasting and praying for three days. In some places this was extended to the entire week before Easter, which is now known as "Holy Week". Currently, this time has been extended to forty days because of the length of time Jesus was tempted by Satan in the desert.

I don’t know about you, but abstaining from food and Yahoo is hard enough for me. I’m not talking 40 days either – just one day!! Clint and I debated giving up something for Lent this year. We never decided on what to give up, so that’s what we did – gave up. Neither of us sacrificed anything for our God.

It’s so hard to sacrifice something, isn’t it? Yet, John 3:16 states, "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (NIV, emphasis mine)

God gave me His Son. HE SACRIFICED HIS SON FOR ME! Yet, I still find it hard to sacrifice something for Him. Even though Lent has started, I believe it is time to show the Lord how much he means to me and give something up for Him.

I have from now until Easter to do some sort of fasting, prayer, and penitence. Letting you all in on it will help to hold me accountable! I will let you know how I did after Easter. In the meantime, if sacrificing isn’t your choice for the holiday, remember to prepare your heart for Easter – for the death, the burial, and the resurrection of our Lord, Jesus Christ.

Lord, please help me to prepare my heart for Easter. Show me what it is that I need to sacrifice for this season. Help me to stay strong, remain in prayer, and keep my eyes focused on You, so that I may give YOU the glory when I complete this season of Lent.

-To prepare your heart for Easter, read one of the gospels that give details of Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection.
-Would you consider giving up something from your life with me? It would be great to have the support of Christian women on this new adventure!

Power Verses:
Hebrews 9:26, "He then would have had to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now, once at the end of the ages, He has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself."(NKJV)
Romans 1:2-7, "The sacred writings contain preliminary reports by the prophets on God's Son. His descent from David roots him in history; his unique identity as Son of God was shown by the Spirit when Jesus was raised from the dead, setting him apart as the Messiah, our Master. Through him we received both the generous gift of his life and the urgent task of passing it on to others who receive it by entering into obedient trust in Jesus. You are who you are through this gift and call of Jesus Christ! And I greet you now with all the generosity of God our Father and our Master Jesus, the Messiah."(MSG)


Debby C. said...

Hey sister, We all needed that message. Thanks for sharing - I will pray about what to give up and join you. Thanks for sharing!

Anonymous said...

Well Debby,

We decided. We are giving up Facebook. So far, it's a definite relief! I am excited about this new adventure. And, our good sista Deanna has convinced me (willingly) to give up meat on Fridays! Yahoo - I'm trying something new!!!!! Bethany