Friday, February 15, 2013

"Rejoice! Rejoice! Again, I Say Rejoice . . .!"


Philippians 4:4
Rejoice in the Lord always.  I will say it again:  Rejoice!

When you hear the word "Lent," what comes to mind?  Giving up those treasured sweets?  Turning down a mouth-watering steak?  Saying, "No," to a favorite television show or a social media site for 40 days?

There is nothing wrong with giving certain habits up for Lent as long as our hearts are in the right place.  And, our souls are focused on the why we choose to abstain from those practices.  Because, whatever we choose to do should be done in order to help us grow into a closer relationship with God.

And, we should do so with rejoicing!


I am reminded of what Jesus said when He instructed His disciples about the practice of fasting, of "giving up":  "When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show others they are fasting.  Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full." (Matthew 6:16)

So, what have you given up for Lent?  Has it been difficult?  Is it strengthening your commitment to the Lord?  Or, is the "doing without" doing you in?

If that's the case, maybe it's time to stop and rethink your direction.  Because, if you're walking around with a Pharisee face, you are inviting the sympathy of others, not welcoming the love God has for you.  Wants to give you.  Wants you to give in return.

Most importantly, in all times and in all places, even in the repentant season of Lent, the Lord wants you to rejoice in Him.  Rejoice in His forgiveness, His mercy, His grace.  Rejoice in His steadfast, unfailing love.

So, pack away the sackcloth and ashes!  Put a smile on your face!


And, shine the light and love and joy of God into this hurting and needy world.

~

Will you share your Lenten discipline(s) in the comment section today?

Will you join me in prayer?
We thank You, Father, that You love us enough to send Your only Son, Christ Jesus, to die on a cross for our sins.  During this season of Lent, help us to focus on this wondrous act of love and forgiveness as we prepare to celebrate the glory of the resurrection at Easter.  Let all that we do in Your Holy Name be done with rejoicing!  Amen.

11 comments:

  1. This is SOOOOOOO beautiful Martha! Thank you so much for highlighting the most important part of voluntarily giving up something as a sacrifice (i.e. for Lent): "Because, whatever we choose to do should be done in order to help us grow into a closer relationship with God."

    Just beautiful. Thank you so so much for sharing and happy Lent! :D

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    Replies
    1. Thanks so much for visiting, Vrndavana!
      I think, after reading your most recent post and commenting, that you and I are on the same page when it comes to growing closer to God. How amazing is that?
      Glad you enjoyed the post and may the Lenten season be a blessed one for you!

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  2. lovely. martha, did you give something up for lent?

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for dropping by, Linda!
      No, I didn't give anything up, but took some things on. One is reading the Bible, front to back, with the help of 66 Love Letters by Larry Crabb. Slow, but extremely enlightening. Also, vowed to practice my guitar 15-20 minutes a day. So far, time has not been on my side with this one, but I'm starting that today.
      Blessings and love!

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  3. I'm not really observing Lent this year, but I did last year and instead of giving up something I, like you, decided to add things. Loved this post!I love your enthusiasm towards God. And what a great reminder for us all-to always find joy in Him! :)

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for coming by, Jessica!
      Yes, not just at Lent, but at all times of the year, we should seek His joy for our lives. You are so right!
      Blessings and love!

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  4. I gave up lent years ago, but I've got to say, that grand-baby of yours is fabulous. What a joyous little face!

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    1. Thanks for visiting, Leah!
      Yes, she is, indeed, my joy. I can't help but feel happy and renewed in her presence.
      Blessings and love!

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  5. :-) Nice post Martha. Sorry, I cannot comment more.

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    1. Thanks for stopping by, Janu, and glad you enjoyed the post!
      Blessings and love!

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  6. I was smiling while reading this because I was reminded of the kids yesterday. I told them, if it makes them irritable to give up something, then it is not worth doing it at all lol... God doesn't need our tired, irritated faces lol...

    The priest said that in Old English, 'lent' means 'spring' and it's the first time I've ever heard of that...I love spring and spring gives me so much warmth inside...

    The thing is, I haven't fasted much since I'm sick but my little niece told me that I can give up the junk food after dinner... oh dear, she's also checking on me...

    I love this post...I've bookmarked it so I could share it with the kids next week.

    I pray with you.


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