Tuesday, February 28, 2017

On the "Fast" Track


Matthew 6:16-18
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.  But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to others to others that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

The Lenten season is upon us!  Tomorrow, Ash Wednesday, heralds the inception of forty days during which many Christians choose to fast from some habit or activity that they feel draws them away from developing a closer connection with God.  Their goal is to create a deeper relationship with God, the Father, Christ Jesus, and the Holy Spirit, as hearts and minds prepare for the glorious coming of Easter.

Before I plunge into what I'm fasting from this Lent, let me share with you what devotionals I've added to enhance my Lenten journey, which I know will enrich my faith and yours, too, if you so choose.  These books are 40 Voices - A Lenten Devotional, by Jean Wise, and Faith in God's Promises, by Michelle DeRusha, both authors/bloggers whom I've followed for years.  The prospect of reading and reflecting upon their daily devotions has me wanting to leap into Lent feet first!

So that being said, what is it I'm fasting from for the next forty days?  It is something that in Lenten seasons past, I could never dream of doing, let alone surviving the dry spell in the wilderness.  Yet the moment the thought hit me this year, it was as if a huge (there's my word for the year again), radiant light beamed down from the heavens.  I'm convicted!

God wants me to give up Facebook.

Yes, you heard me right, friends.

Give.  Up.  Facebook.

As much as I love staying in touch with family and friends, posting my blog and reading the blogs of others, and promoting my novels, Facebook has become a pitfall for me. There is so much negativity out there, which definitely tempts me to entertain uncharitable thoughts about others.  Not to mention the bout of hacking from which I just emerged.  These unhealthy distractions are not helping me to keep my focus where it should be.

On God.

Now some of you may be wondering:  Martha, how will we stay in touch?  How am I supposed to read Meditations of My Heart if not on Facebook?  What if I really need to send you a private message?

No worries!

Do you see the prompt "Follow by Email" in the right hand column of this post?  Simply enter your email address, and my blogs will be delivered directly to you whenever one is posted.  And leaving comments on the blog is a great way to stay in touch.

With regards to sending private messages?  If you go to my my website, there is a tab labeled "Contact."  Click on it, and you can send a direct message to my personal email.  Know I will be sure to respond!

And one more thing I must add here.  Since tomorrow, Ash Wednesday, falls on my birthday this year, I won't actually be signing off from Facebook until Friday or Saturday.  I want to be able to honor and thank all of you who will take the time to send Happy Birthday wishes.  They are near and dear to my heart, especially because they hail from such amazing friends like you!

So as you journey through this season of Lent, I wish you God's mercy, grace, joy, and love, that you may enter into a deeper relationship with Him.

Amen!

~

Are you planning to fast from any activity this Lent?  Please share in the comments!

16 comments:

  1. See you after Pesach. (Which starts the Monday night - and ends the second Tuesday- after Easter.)
    May your contemplations be satisfying.

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    1. And may your holy days be blessed, too, Roy!
      Love and blessings!

      Delete
  2. Martha, Wow! I literally gasped when I read what you'd be giving up. And then I nodded my head. I get it! Thanks for setting an example for us and for including the books you'll be reading.
    I pray this is a time of refreshment for you. I think you will gain much more than you give up.
    Blessings to you, dear sister!
    Oh, and Happy Birthday!

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    1. I thought there might be a few gasps here and there, Beckie, but I'm so glad you get it. I'm praying, too, that this will be an intense time of refreshment and renewal for my soul. The Lord knows best what I, and you, need to truly grow in Him.
      Hope you will look up the books I referenced and choose one to add to your Lenten practice, my sister. Hoping this season provides much soul-growing for you, too!
      And thanks for the birthday wishes!
      Love and blessings!

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  3. I get it, Martha. I left Facebook some years ago. I would just get too downhearted at what went on there sometimes. It's so true that there are unhealthy distractions that keep our focus off of God. As you say, there are other ways to connect. Actually, I think they're more personal. :) Have a very happy birthday! Love and hugs!

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    1. Wow, Trudy, you left years ago??? I'm truly impressed! I must admit, my vanity about promoting my novels and my blog have probably kept me chained there longer than it was healthy. Why else would the Lord demand a change?
      And yes, there are other ways to connect, especially when you reach out from one person's blog to someone who has left an interesting, thoughtful comment. That's how I came to follow you! :)
      Thanks for the birthday wishes!
      Love and blessings!

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  4. Martha, giving up Facebook for Lent will likely be more of a blessing than you can know at this point. At this point, I still haven't decided what, if anything, I'll fast from during Lent. Nevertheless,I desire to grow in my relationship with the Lord.

    Happy Birthday, sweet friend!

    Love and blessings!

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    1. I think it will be a blessing, Kim. And don't worry about what you will "give up." Sometimes, God calls us to take on something instead, as in these new devotionals I will be enjoying on a daily basis. He will let you know in His good time, I'm sure.
      Thanks for the birthday wishes!
      Love and blessings!

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  5. wow FACEBOOK? I understand. I think I am called to live each day mindfully and avoiding impulse buying. I think the call is to pause before proceeding. Anything that distracts us from God and I get so involved, distracted. so my Lenten practice is to be mindful, slow to decide, pause and listen first. I need to write this down so I fully give it back to God.!

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    1. What a great practice for Lent, Jean! Being mindful in everything before we make a choice or plunge in head-long can only result in our benefit. And writing those moments down will give you a record of the progress God helped you make through the season.
      Can't wait for tomorrow so I can start reading your book again! :)
      Love and blessings!

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  6. Hi Martha! Happy Birthday to you today! I sit here typing, with ashes on my forehead, looking forward to the graces and reflections God will lead me to in this holy time.
    I wonder if I should cut back on FB too. It's not that there's all that much negativity on it (I must not have too many political friends there?) but I can fall into feeling less about myself because of all the 'highlight reels' that people put up about their lives. I know God wants me to see that I am enough.
    You've given me something to think about here. Thank you so much.
    Lenten blessings,
    Ceil

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    1. I'm ashamed to admit it, Ceil, but I didn't make it to Ash Wednesday service today; I've been so faithful these past several years, I'm praying the Lord will overlook this one transgression. And you know, I don't always give up something during Lent, but try to take on a new discipline. Whatever you choose, I'm sure God will grow you and bring you closer to Him.
      Thanks so much for the birthday wishes, too. They mean so much!
      Love and blessings!

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  7. have a great day Martha. Sending you many happy birthday wishes and love.

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    1. Thank you so much, Vishnu! It has been a wonderful day, and I'm so grateful to God for bringing me this far on life's journey.
      Love and blessings!

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  8. This was certainly a full post...full of deep thought and serious contemplation...and revelations! Oh, first, Happy Birthday tomorrow! Praying you have a blessed and happy day all day long. Since we are not on facebook together, I won't miss you there...but I would miss you if you gave up your blog...so I trust this will continue on. I follow you through blogger, so I don't need facebook to find you. As far as "giving up something for Lent", the denomination that I have belonged to does not practice "Lent" per se, but I do acknowledge this time as a preparation for remembering Christ's atoning sacrifice for me on the cross...and it is my prayer that I will use this time to grow in my spiritual walk with Him and be a living sacrifice for His honor and glory. It is a time of deep introspection and prayer, seeking God's face and plan for the coming days. I will be praying for you as well. May the Lord bless you and keep you and make HIS face to shine upon you, and give you peace!! Amen!

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    1. Thank you so much, Pamela, for the birthday wishes and for complimenting the thoughts I laid out in this post. I am hoping for an introspective, reflective Lent, a time to grow closer to our Father.
      And I think the Secret Garden is the perfect place for preparing your heart and mind for the resurrection of our Lord on Easter. I am so convinced that you are in His precious presence every time you visit there - it is such a joyful discipline, and one I'm so glad you share with us!
      I follow you by both email and Blogger, just in case I miss something. LOL! Glad Facebook isn't in the mix.
      Love and blessings!

      Delete

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