Lent is a season of forty days, not counting Sundays, which begins on Ash Wednesday and ends on Holy Saturday. The forty days represents the time Jesus spent in the wilderness, enduring the temptation of Satan and preparing to begin his ministry. Lent is a time of repentance, fasting and preparation for the coming of Easter. It is a time of self-examination and reflection. In the early church, Lent was a time prepare new converts for baptism. Today, Christians focus on their relationship with God. Sunday’s arenot counted because they represent a mini-Easter.
Ash Wednesday is the first day of Lent and is often marked as a day of fasting. Lent is also a time of spiritual discipline, moderation and repentance. Ashes are applied to the forehead as a reminder. This service is somber and reflective.
Service will be at 7PM, March 6th.
As I sit down to write this article, I can see the snow cover out of my window. Many of us, including myself, have grumbled about all the snow. I certainly did my share of grumbling when we had to cancel our worship service, February 24. I also grumbled when I would go outside into the frigid temperatures. I could think of a dozen things I wanted to do (all out- of-doors) that just had to be put on the back burner. Oh, how I loved snow when I was still in school. The more the better was my motto.
And, while I am ready for spring, I do admit that the snow is beautiful. Our neighbor children love to play in it and slide down a small hill by the bike path. The other thing that snow does is cover up all the dirt and filth.
Snow reminds me of God’s love and how he blankets us with spiritual snow, covering up our sins. God’s snow reminds us of the blood of God’s Son, Jesus Christ. In 1st Peter 4:8, the Disciple says, “”Love covers a multitude of sins.” The only love that can cover sin in that sense, is the love of Jesus Christ. His love led him to the cross, where he shed his blood that sins repented of might be blotted out and never to be remembered again. As you may know, my favorite song of all time is “It is No Secret.” It truly is no secret what God can do.
God’s love, God’s forgiveness, God’s mercy is the reason we have Lent. It’s a time to examine ourselves. It’s a time of repentance, maybe make things right with someone we have held a grudge against. Look what we did to God’s Son, and he still forgave us from that and all our sins. The 40 days of Lent reminds us of the 40 day’s he spent in the wilderness. You and I have had our wilderness experiences. Yet God will lead us thought those times and blanket us with His spiritual snow which covers all our sins, doubts and fears. He say’s “Do not fear, for I am with thee.”
We are talking about real, God made rocks. Go find a rock or two about 4 1⁄2” and put a little note on them and then hide them. No name, no church name, just the note on a rock. When you have yours done, we will have a blessing of the rocks praying for the person who finds your rock. Below is the sample. But let’s try to get this done by February 10 so they can be hidden by Valentine’s Day.
As I write this letter we have been struggling with a signal issue on one of our television sets. We have tried unplugging it from the box and then plugging it back it. So far, there still is no signal. It occurs to me that as Christians we sometimes feel like our signal, our connection with God is broken. That’s especially true at moments of crisis in our lives. Perhaps it is a health issue with ourselves or a loved one. We pray and pray and nothing seems to happen. Our signal is broken and we cannot connect.
In reality, we have all experienced that in our personal or family lives. Sometimes we may even feel like God is not listening or that he hears but just doesn’t care. Neither of those is true.
The very first verse of Psalm 22 the Psalmist writes, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Be truthful now. You and I have both experienced that feeling. He goes on to say, “Do not be far from me, for trouble is near and there is no one to help”
The good news is that God does care for us even when we are discouraged. Don’t you think Jesus must have even feared when he spent those 40 days in the wilderness? We all find ourselves in a wilderness once in a while. What must have been going through his mind while he hung on the cross? God’s promise to you is that He will never abandon or forsake you. He will be with you always even to the ends of the age. “Draw near to me and I will draw near to you. It’s about being plugged into God who is our defender and protector.
God is a little like a failed signal connection on a television. You have to be plugged in. Even when friends or family abandon you, God is very near in times of trouble. Just know that He does care for you.
We welcome Dr. Roger Fisher into the membership of Lakeview Church. Roger is a dentist, has been very active in volunteer work and a long history with Fellowship of Christian Athletes.