Friday, February 27, 2009

LENT>>don't just give up something, do something!

Display a picture of the death of Christ in your home or office space.

Make a list of ten people you’ll pray for daily during Lent.

Memorize Bible verses about Jesus’ sacrifice, recite them when saying family grace.

Make a table-top Easter Egg tree (the egg represents new life) with Christian symbols.

Display a palm cross in your home or on your front door, and/or a banner proclaiming the victory of Christ.

Observe a family Passover Seder or foot-washing in your home; include singing.

Construct a crown of thorns for display and contemplation.

Pin sequins on a thick candle; on one side, a cross, on the other, spell out JOY.

Make (or buy) hot cross buns.

Play a recording of Handel’s Messiah or attend a sacred music concert.

Read a devotional book; give one to a friend.

Participate in a small group Bible study; carry your Bible with you.

Give up something pleasurable during Lent to show repentance for your sins. This is not to gain favor with God but to show we’re under His Lordship and we identify with our Savior’s sufferings.

Wear religious jewelry as an expression of your faith.

Visit an art gallery, taking special note of its sacred art.

Set aside a day for prayer and fasting.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Choices - Changes

Our choices reveal what we truly are. Our choices affect our outcomes. We become unwell when we act irresponsibly. Behavior is controllable—things don’t “just happen.” Becoming well means learning to live a disciplined life.

Many things that provide pleasure cannot provide happiness. For happiness we need God, and the company of fellow believers. We may feel better with artificial means, but only in God can we overcome life’s hurts. Our discomfort in life stems from our choices; lifestyles don’t choose us. We’re either the recipients of our good choices or the victims of our bad choices. We can choose something better: God’s will. God alone can help us start a new life.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Didn't you ask?

At a local coffee shop one of the regulars mentioned that he knew John Updike; he used to see him regularly at his home here in the North Shore. I was impressed, and asked if he'd discussed Updike's books. "No, I never did, and I never read any of his books." Now I suppose this was good for Updike, to have an acquaintence who wasn't wanting to know about his literary style, yet I admit it would have been fascinating to spend time with him. This got me to thinking about prayer. We have access to God, yet we don't take advantage of this privilege like we should. We could at least spend time in God's presence, but normally we mostly pray when we want something. I'm convinced that even among devoted believers prayer is easier for some than others. There's lots of ways to pray, and some work better for some than others. I prefer to write my prayers, which helps me to better focus and concentrate and say what I really mean. This works, but I ought to do it more, be more consistent--especially when I simply want to spend time with my Lord.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Affection for God

We love God...or at least we try to. CS Lewis noted, "God's love for us is a much safer subject to think about than our love for Him." If we're honest with ourselves, we'll have to admit we usually love a lot of other stuff more than God. We may be faithful to church, but do we have a passion for God?

Jonathan Edwards pointed out: "As there is no true religion where there is nothing else but affection, so there is no true religion where there is no religious affection." It's possible to have zeal yet lack true faith that transforms one's outlook and lifestyle.

Are we inclined toward God? Do we delight in God's glory and majesty? The affection we have for God now is a foretaste of our heavenly happiness.