How will you prepare for Easter?

How will you prepare for Easter?  I would like to encourage you to give something up in preparation for Easter.  An engagement, like much of the Body of Christ does at this time of the year. Let us join in with them, it is a time called Lent.  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 also a time to prepare new converts for baptism. 493d1bc4fa940f36440225d74d83a436

Today, Christians focus on their relationship with God, often choosing to give up something or volunteering and giving of themselves for others.  “The forty days represents the time Jesus spent in the wilderness, enduring the temptation of Satan.” (source: umc.org) In a nutshell, we set aside time for reflection on Jesus Christ—to consider his suffering and his sacrifice, his life, death, burial, and resurrection.

A quick look at scripture encourages us to fast and pray:

Ezra 8:21 There, by the Ahava Canal, I proclaimed a fast, so that we might humble ourselves before our God and ask him for a safe journey for us and our children, with all our possessions.

All our concerns about ourselves, our families, and our assets, it is our wisdom and duty, by prayer to commit to God, and to leave the care of them with him.

As Ezra did, I am proclaiming a fast at Willow Hill, for Lent that we may:

  1. Humble ourselves before our God
  2. Ask him for a safe journey for us and our children
  3. With all our possessions.
  4. Prepare our hearts for Easter

Let’s give this portion of the year to the Lord, trusting Him to redeem, multiply and bless us, our families, and our church.

A Lenten fast doesn’t have to consist of just fasting and abstinence from the things we love, but it can be adding things during this season of lent that will make our lives more meaningful.

What to give up for Lent:

If you want to know what to give up for Lent… start here with these 10 ideas of what to give up for Lent.  I have also added in some ideas of what you can ADD or DO for Lent, to better yourself and help others.

  1. Don’t buy anything that you don’t NEED.
  2. Throw Away 40 things for 40 days
  3. Give a meal to a poor person everyday
  4. Pray for someone everyday (In the shops, at work, the gym or school)
  5. Work out daily to take care of the body God gave you.
  6. Give up a meal a day, breakfast, lunch or dinner
  7. Give up cold drink for Lent.
  8. Say 3 Nice Things to Your Spouse & Kids Daily
  9. Don't eat out and no take-aways for 40 days
  10. Replace 30 minutes of TV time with 30 extra minutes of devotion/prayer time.

Th point is to do something or give up something daily to focus on your relationship with our Father. As for me, for the weeks of Lent leading up to Easter, I will be fasting all Social Media. Will you give up somethings and fast with me in order to humble yourself before God, prepare your heart for Easter and ask him for a safe journey for ourselves and our children, as well as our possessions, that our lives may be redeemed, multiplied and blessed?

Love

Andrew

 

Do we live transactional Christianity?

We live transactional live. We ascribe value to all sorts of things. May be not always directly but indirectly or through innuendo. The other day I stopped off at the Spar to buy Mandy her favorite pie, Lemon Meringue. The box had the R35 price stamped on the top, which I thought would be tacky on a gift, so I asked the lady behind the counter for a marker to black out the price. It didn't work—you could still see the price through the ink. "I know what to do,” the women said. “I’ll cover it up.” And, with that, she slapped a sticker over the price that read “R10 - Day Old.” Just with a label, now that same pie has a different value in our minds.

We live transaction lives, don’t we? Everything has a cost, a give and take. When something is free, we get suspicious.

If you come go to a training event and there is no cost, the automatic assumption is that it won’t be as good, and the content will not be as equipping compared to the paid for event.

If someone gives you a book to read, will you read it? If you pay for a book, you will read it? We believe for something to have value we must pay for it. To secure something we must pay for it? When I have paid for it, I own it. It belongs to me and I can do anything I want to with it.

If I buy a car and I owe the bank money on it, it is under warranty and service plan. I am obligated to pay for the car. To look after it. To send it for its regular services, because if I don’t the warranty will expire. I don’t have the ownership papers. The bank does. If I don’t don’t do what I am supposed to and pay the bank can take it away. If I chose to sell the car while I still owe the bank, I need to negotiate a settlement and they get paid before I do. And if I owe more than the selling price in a settlement, I cannot sell the car. If, however, I have paid for the car in full, I get the ownership papers and it now fully belongs to me. It is mine, it belongs to me, I have paid the price in full. No one can come and take the car away from me.

Now keep that in mind as you read these verses:

John 10:27-30 My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. (28) I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. (29) My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father's hand. (30) I and the Father are one."

We have this incredible assurance from Jesus Himself! And it is not transactional. We can do nothing to earn it, it is a free gift! We have so much value and He paid the price for us! IN FULL! He bought our lives with His life and we belong to Him. He has given us eternal life! We will never perish; no one can snatch us out of His hand!

There is absolutely nothing—no matter how dark and depressing, no matter how severe—that can separate the you from the love of Christ. Circumstances are not evidence that God does not love you. God loves you no matter what the circumstances may be. Remember, we don't live transactional Christianity because In Him we will never perish; no one can snatch us out of His hand.

I leave you with Paul's words, consider them - “Yet even in the midst of all these things, we triumph over them all, for God has made us to be more than conquerors, and his demonstrated love is our glorious victory over everything! So now I live with the confidence that there is nothing in the universe with the power to separate us from God’s love. I’m convinced that his love will triumph over death, life’s troubles, fallen angels, or dark rulers in the heavens. There is nothing in our present or future circumstances that can weaken his love. There is no power above us or beneath us—no power that could ever be found in the universe that can distance us from God’s passionate love, which is lavished upon us through our Lord Jesus, the Anointed One!”

‭‭Romans‬ ‭8:37-39‬ ‭TPT‬‬

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