On last Wednesday, we celebrated Ash Wednesday. Ash Wednesday is the first day of Lent and marks the beginning of a time of repentance and consecration. Repentance means to turn away. In a spiritual context, it is a turning away from sin and a turning to God. As I Repent, it means I turn 180o; I do an about face. For example, if I were traveling north, to repent means I would turn around and begin to travel south. Consecration means to dedicate to God. To consecrate means to make holy or sacred. To be separated for God’s exclusive use. As I consecrate myself, I acknowledge that I am setting myself apart from this world and the evil things of this world because I belong to God.

Our theme for Lent 2019 is, “Journey With Jesus: Miracle by Miracle” I am challenging you to spend quality and quantity time with God over the next 40 days as you repent of the wrong that you have done, and consecrate yourself to Him. The season of Lent is customarily accompanied with fasting. I am challenging us to spend these days fasting – that is, giving something up. It is your choice what you choose to fast and how you choose to do it. However, what you fast should be something that you like or enjoy. You may choose to fast something once a week, once a day, one meal, or you may choose to fast it from now until Resurrection Sunday. When you feel a desire to have what you are fasting, that becomes a significant opening to spend that time in prayer. In essence, you are replacing what you are fasting with prayer and time with God.

Additionally, more than fasting and just giving up certain things for the 40 days of Lent, I encourage us to use the next 40 days to strip and cleanse ourselves of anything ungodly and/or unhealthy. I encourage us to make life-long, lifestyle changes to produce overall, holistic health and well-being (spiritually, mentally, emotionally, physically, dietary, etc.). Say this to yourself, “For the 40 days of Lent, I have an opportunity to practice living without what I have been led to give up. After not having it for the 40 days, I know that I can live without it forever. Therefore, I have the opportunity to use the season of Lent to remove something destructive or unnecessary from my life.”

During this season of Lent, we are suspending our Wednesday night and Thursday afternoon Bible Studies and encouraging everyone to attend the Lenten Services. I have previously shared that Bible Study is primarily learning about God, and Worship Service is primarily spending time with God. Please take advantage of the additional opportunities for intimacy with God through worship. I also challenge us to set aside time each day to have our own private time of worship with God: Sing a song or two. Read a scripture passage from the Bible. Meditate upon the scripture passage. Listen for God to speak with you and reveal to you God’s thoughts concerning you, and plans for you.

To assist you in spending quality and quantity time with God for this season of Lent, each Sunday you will receive a weekly Lenten Devotional based upon our theme for Lent 2019: “Journey With Jesus: Miracle by Miracle.” During this season of Lent, we will journey with Jesus through every miracle recorded in the Gospels. I pray that this journey will remind us of what God has done, encourage us in what God is doing and inspire us towards a greater expectation of what God can do, and more importantly, will do.

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