Lent, pt. 8

God gave me a sign today.

I wait tables at the Olive Garden a few days a week.

og

I wouldn’t say it is rare but I don’t see people praying for their meals very often.

Today was different. It was a lady in her early thirties and, perhaps, her mother or even grandmother. Please forgive me if I am way off on these estimates.

After I had set down their salad, they bowed their heads and prayed. I was at another table so I don’t think they saw me.

Until I asked them permission to use their example in this blog.

Little did they know that earlier today, I had been thinking about the following verse:

“But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” NIV, Matthew 6:6 

Click here for the entire chapter.

There is much focus on the outward appearance when it comes to Lent.

What are you giving up?

Are you praying more?

Did you attend church/mass this week?

Those things are good so please keep doing them if you have started.

But don’t announce it.

By all means, keep praying at restaurants. These things speak volumes.

What I am saying is that being with Jesus will have a natural effect.

Spend time with Jesus and let him seep out of you.

Overflow with the Spirit because you have let him fill you.

Actions speak louder than words but silence shouts the loudest.

“When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.” NIV, Acts 4:13

How loud are you talking?

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Lent, pt. 6

A big juicy hamburger makes a fantastic meal.

hamburger

But why is it that eating meat during Lent is forbidden?

And fish on Friday is okay?

Some things I just don’t understand.

I do, however, understand that God set dietary restrictions for the Israelites in the Old Testament. They could only eat certain things. There were also proper ways to prepare the meals. So yes, I get that some things are meant to not be eaten.

But I also feel that Jesus changed all of that stuff. He did not come to abolish or take away the law but rather, he fulfilled it!

We are no longer bound by the law but by grace!

If you are fasting specific things for this time, I commend you. I have fasted and it can be really difficult!

But, if you are just blindly following some religious rule that has no meaning for you, I urge you to rethink your motives.

And then go eat a hamburger!

Pretty sure that God cares more about the condition of your heart rather than the contents of your mouth!

eating a burger

Don’t Forget to Clean the Lint Trap!

Have you ever forgotten to clean the lint catcher thingy in your dryer?

clean-the-filter

It’s called a lint trap. It traps the lint into a confined space so it can be easily removed. Hopefully before starting any fires!

It is recommended that the trap be cleaned after every dryer use. Safety first! =-)


The season of Lent is almost here. Ash Wednesday, March 6, marks the beginning of Lent. Over a month later, 40 days later, we arrive at Easter.

Disclaimer: With my background, I have never intentionally observed Lent. It was not something I was taught while growing up. My comments about Lent are based upon my observations and conversations alone. If I get something wrong, I apologize. Please feel free to provide correction in the comments.

Now that I have cleared that up, let me ask a question:

How is a lint trap connected to Lent?

Keep reading and we can make that connection together!

For my purpose here, I will define Lent as I understand it:

Lent: a season of prayer and fasting to grow in relationship with God.

As I stated, Lent is not in my personal history. But I like the idea.

As a follower of Jesus, growing in relationship is my primary goal. God is largely unknown to us, but He wants to reveal Himself to us. The Bible makes this clear that God has provided access to Himself. All we need to do is to accept that gift and press in!

Lent seems like a great way to accomplish this goal!

But there is a trap! No, not a lint trap but a Lent trap! (see the connection?)

Matthew 6 describes people who have fallen into the Lent trap. Here is the first verse:

“Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.”

He, Jesus, goes on to talk about prayer and also fasting. This passage contains the Lord’s Prayer as well.

The summary goes like this: when you pray, fast, give money, serve etc., do it for God, not the approval of man. There is no reward for showing off for people. God honors those whose motive is pure.

It seems that some people can observe Lent but for the wrong reasons. They give up meat on Fridays. Perhaps they forego sweets. But why? Just because the church said so?

I want this post to address the heart of the matter. If you observe Lent or not, you can still fall into the Lent trap.

Why you do something can be just as important as what you do.

In case you are wondering, I am going to observe Lent this year. First time for everything!

I have my list of things that I will do or not do. I am ready.

list making

As we embark on the Lent this year, do it for God. He wants a deep and fulfilling relationship with you. And frankly, that is what we need also!

So in the midst of your prayer, fasting, giving, etc., make God the priority. Do your best to avoid the Lent trap!

One last thing before I sign off. If you are curious or wondering what the 40 day journey of Lent looks like, come follow me on mine.

I will be posting every night during Lent. Let us share in God’s goodness together!

God bless you in your endeavors this year!

 

Chemistry, Christ, and Colossians

Today is the first day of Lent so I thought I would post my wonderings about it. To do this, I want to make a comparison from the realm of chemistry. Please keep reading even if you hate science! This will worth two minutes of your time. =-)

The Law of the Conservation of Mass states that mass cannot be created or destroyed; it is merely rearranged.

Here is a chemical equation with chemical symbols: CH4 + 2O2 = CO2 + 2H2O

Same equation in word form: methane gas + oxygen = carbon dioxide + water

Again but in picture form:

conservation of mass 3

If you look at all the atoms, they are the same on both sides of the equation. There are four different substances but the amount of matter is the same.


 

Now let’s take a look at the idea of giving up chocolate for Lent. Fred is pretend. I am using Fred as an example so anybody named Fred is not to be directly associated with this post. =-)

Fred has 100 units of energy to spend each day of his life. These 100 units can be divided up however he wants to divide them. Fred really likes chocolate. He devotes 10 units of energy to chocolate. Thinking, buying, making and the eating of chocolate takes up 10 units of the 100 units that Fred has each day. The other 90 units are spent on everything else. Fred is disciplined so he only devotes 10 units for chocolate. Never more and never less. For Lent, Fred decides that he will give up chocolate. It will be difficult be he thinks he can do it. Now, he has all 100 units of energy to delegate to whatever he wants. Just because he always gave 10 units for chocolate does not mean that he loses those 10 units when he gives up chocolate. He has 100 units and will always have 100 units to spend. This is the law of the conservation of mass working in his life.

Let’s see if we can put this all together.

I can pursue God however I would like. Reading my Bible, praying, going to church, worshipping, or having coffee with another believer are all ways I can do this. I have the same amount of time that everyone else has. There may be a myriad of ways to spend it but it is there everyday. For Lent, the idea is that I am supposed to give up something. Great! But now what do I do with the extra time I have? Fred has 10 units of energy (that he used to spend on chocolate) that he gets to spend on some other thing. Maybe he will read or write or play a board game.

If I give up something, what will I do in place of that thing?


 

Whatever you are doing this Lenten season, I hope it helps you to draw closer to God. If you need to fast or give something up for these weeks leading to Easter, than do it. Make an effort to find God in a new way. I think Lent is about clearing the clutter and listening for our Lord. Whatever actions that means for you, awesome.

Remember the law of the conservation of mass. You will spend your effort on something so you might as well make it something great.

Colossians 3:17 says “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”