Sunday, March 4, 2012

Notes For Lent - A Season of Examination

These are thoughts that I have gathered during this season of Lent.  They are taken from notes I have written while listening to my pastor, Ed Gungor's sermons.  I wanted to pass along his insights because so many people ask what Lent is really all about and why Christians observe the Lenten season.  Pastor Ed's perspective makes the meaning of Lent so clear.

Lent is the Christian observance of the time from Ash Wednesday to Holy Thursday.  It is a time in which we reflect on our human sinful nature and on what Christ suffered before His resurrection when He gloriously rose so that we might have new life and be made righteous (or have right standing) in Him.

Scripture says that we are the righteousness of God, in Christ.  Scripture also says that the wages of sin is death.  This simply means that Jesus took our place on the cross, He was our substitute and paid the penalty for us, making us clean and righteous before God. But, as my pastor likes to say, "We tend to steer into naughtiness."  Our human nature usually wants to take us to places that take us away from the path of God.  So even as we desire to reflect Him in our world, we, at times invite rot into our lives.

By always seeking forgiveness for wrong doing, bad attitudes, harsh words, we are asking Him to prune off every branch that doesn't bear fruit.  As He prunes, we become more fruitful and the dead "stuff" in our lives that doesn't produce life, is cut away.  This happens every time we repent of things that lead to death, making room for new growth and life!  Instead of fearing the correction and pruning of the Lord, we should rejoice in knowing that as a result, our lives will reflect His Kingdom even more so.
Picture the steering wheel in a car.  We don't just get in a car, set the steering wheel in a certain direction and then let go of the wheel.  We keep our hands on the wheel and we always make small, minor adjustments in our steering, to account for the curve and direction of the road we are travelling.  If we didn't make those needed adjustments, we would be headed for sure disaster and danger.  In life, we need to always be watching and making sure we are not steering towards trouble, repenting and making those little changes that will keep us in right standing with God and away from sin.

A holy and clean people will be a brighter light in this world, showing the way to a God who suffered the cost to make us clean.  The Kingdom of God will be seen more in this world when we make more room for God in our lives.  Ask Him to show you things in your life that need pruned and cut away.  Pray that He helps you to become a fruit bearing branch who reflects the love and forgiveness of a merciful God.

I pray that during this time of lent, you spend time reflecting on your life, the direction you are going and the fruit you are bearing.

From His lap,

16 comments:

  1. Thank you for another beautiful post. Especially now that we are in the Lenten Season. I keep a photo of Jesus right next to me. Like a Father gazing down at His child! His quiet strength gets me back in line. ~Lisa

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  2. Thank you, Lisa. It's always best to have His quiet strength do the pruning than something else! :) You are a fruitful tree, my friend!
    Blessings,
    Erin

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  3. Thanks for sharing this, Erin. There is so much more pruning that I need, but this has been a great year of victories so far. He has been having His precious way with me in several areas of my life and I am better for it. My good works to Him are still filty rags, of course, but my life is making a much better testimony for Him.
    By the way, we have a Pastor Ed at our church, too.
    God bless.
    *waves*

    -Jimmy

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  4. Thanks for sharing...and even more importantly, thanks for praying for us. =)

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  5. hi erin! i'm so happy to be catching up! i have missed reading your posts.
    i loved this post.
    and what you said about steering towards the right direction. it really hit me...it's so true, we always need to keep our eyes open and watch the path we are taking.
    as always, thank you for sharing.
    i hope you've been well!!
    lots of love to you always <3
    xoxo
    maria

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  6. James,
    I know that He is blessed mightily by the things you do for Him! We all need a great amount of pruning, but that only means we've got lots of new growth coming!
    You bless me!
    ~Erin

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  7. TJ,
    I love my readers! It is an honor to pray for them. Thank you so much for stopping by!
    Blessings,
    ~Erin

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  8. Maria,
    Isn't that a great analogy, how we always make slight adjustments to the steering wheel to avert disaster. We always need to do that in our lives too. I love you, sister!
    Blessings!
    ~Erin

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  9. Erin, I love this. Great points all the way through. I like this sentence in particular:

    So even as we desire to reflect Him in our world, we, at times invite rot into our lives.

    I'm reading the book of Romans and in the chapter I read today, Paul spoke about this. Paul said although he desires to do good, he doesn't do good. He wants to do right, yet he does wrong. And it is because of God's grace that we can continuously be right-standing with Him. (It's Romans 7:18-25). Thank you for sharing this with me and you're always welcomed to share many more!

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  10. And of course...you made me cry again.

    As a very devout Catholic, we recognize the importance of Lent and spending each and every one of these 40 days as a gift, and any sacrifice we make,for others, is all for His glory.

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  11. Ashley,
    It's that darned old flesh that gets us every time! Thank God for His grace and mercy. His mercies are new every morning!
    Blessings,
    ~Erin

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  12. Sharon,
    My sweet friend. I hope things are going easier for you. You've been in my thoughts and prayers. Just continue being the "you" God made you to be. You bless so many!
    Love you!
    ~Erin

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  13. Jedidja,
    As always, I'm so blessed when you stop by. I pray all is well with you!
    Blessings,
    ~Erin

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  14. Thanks for this, Erin. I have to admit, I haven't been really praying lately. And to think I'm a Catholic, and that it's Lent. I like what you said about steering in the right direction. I guess I'm one of those who stray when distracted.

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  15. Hi Erin! what a special treat to hear from you!! I know you are very busy these days. I appreciate you sharing such a lovely post as always! xo

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Thank you for giving us a little nugget of truth from your heart!

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