#faithbites #faithjourney prepare
Today is Fat Tuesday. I don’t know about you but I’d love to have a Paczki but there is no way I’m getting out of my neighborhood today with the snow. Oh well, we can party like it’s New Orleans in my own house. Beads for everyone. Fat Tuesday is the day before we begin the Lenten season. What does this mean? How do we prepare?
Lent is the 40 days before Easter and starts tomorrow, Ash Wednesday. It’s a time for Christians to reflect on the sacrifice Jesus made on Good Friday and the awesome power of the resurrection. Many give up something for lent. They do this to reflect on the sacrifice Jesus made. Giving up something isn’t enough. What do you fill that with?
Today’s questions: Are you giving up something for Lent? What do you put in that void? How are you preparing for Easter?
Psalm 51:16-17 – 6 You do not desire a sacrifice, or I would offer one.
You do not want a burnt offering.
17 The sacrifice you desire is a broken spirit.
You will not reject a broken and repentant heart, O God.
Matthew 23:23-25 – 23 “What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you are careful to tithe even the tiniest income from your herb gardens, but you ignore the more important aspects of the law—justice, mercy, and faith. You should tithe, yes, but do not neglect the more important things. 24 Blind guides! You strain your water so you won’t accidentally swallow a gnat, but you swallow a camel! 25 “What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you are so careful to clean the outside of the cup and the dish, but inside you are filthy—full of greed and self-indulgence!
As we prepare for Lent and give something up, we need to reflect on why. As we see in both Psalm and Matthew, God doesn’t want empty offerings. If we are rich and give a couple of dollars, is it a sacrifice? If we give up ice cream but fill it with other junk food, are we sacrificing? Some give up Facebook but use other social media during the time. A true sacrifice hurts. You fill the hole that is left by that thing being gone.
Now that the thing is gone, what do you do? You can do nothing, or you can fill it with God. Take the time that you spent on social media and read a daily devotional. If you are interested, my church has a set of short devotionals that you can use.
As we close and prepare for Lent. Let’s think about how we sacrifice for Jesus. Think about what we can do to be closer to him and get ready for the joy that is Easter Sunday.
Father God, as we prepare for Lent and reflect on Jesus’s sacrifice, help us to have open hearts and minds. Let us feel a tiny bit of his suffering as we give something up and fill it with you. Keep us focused, on track, and always remember the love, forgiveness, and sacrifice that Jesus made for us. We pray this in your name, Amen.