Kindness, Compassion, and Forgiveness–Ephesians 4:32

This week I’m pondering the theme of compassion / love:

31 Lent--week 5--Compassion--Ephesians (click on image to enlarge)

The New Testament is filled with the message of compassion, kindness, and forgiveness. These things are not always easy to practice, but they are the way of Jesus. Those who would follow Christ, are called to be “at work” in the ways of kindness, compassion, and forgiveness.

Until next time, Amen! 

Mother Teresa and forgiveness

When one takes up a Lenten practice, it is easy to say “oh, I’ll do that”…but then a little time passes, and it’s sometimes difficult to keep it going.  So I missed a day here and there of posting quotes. The way my mind works, missing a few days makes me tempted to give up the new practice.

HOWEVER, that’s the good time to just get back to it. Yesterday was a busy (and awesome!) day, so I didn’t get to post this quote… so here you go: words of wisdom from Mother Teresa:

30 Lent--week 4--Forgiveness--Mother Teresa

Hope your Lent is going well. Persevere. Hope and trust in God…

Until next time, Amen! 

Blessed to be a blessing for others

Today’s quote about almsgiving and sharing is from John Calvin, key figure and theologian during the Protestant Reformation days. This quote caught my eye because of today’s political/religious climate.

25 Lent--week 3--almsgiving--Calvin

“Love one another” means being willing to share with others. The Christian way is a spiritual path that seeks to give to others more than to receive from them. It can be difficult to remember this in the midst of media bombardment about the latest recipes for good looks, wealth, and material things.

Will you pray with me?

Come, Holy Spirit,
remind us often
that everything we own–
belongings, money, time, talents–
comes from Creator God…
Inspire us often to share with others,
and give us the courage to let go
of all that we ought to share with others.

Until next time, Amen! 

Fasting, priorities, and time use

[P.S. FULL DISCLOSURE: I’m eating a chocolate donut while writing about fasting!]

15 Lent--week 2--fasting--Hoste (click on image to enlarge)

I am not very good at fasting–so sometimes I think about other ways to “give up” something in order to have time for the really important things in life. For example, there is nothing wrong with relaxing with a little “screen time” (TV, social media, YouTube, etc.), but most of us would agree, it’s easy to get roped into spending an hour or two with our “screens” than what we originally intended. So sometimes I have given up some television time during Lent–and I find I suddenly have more time on my hands.

It’s not that what we are viewing is wrong (hopefully not), but rather that some of us (myself included) slip into habits involving increasing screen time–and without realizing it, we are saying things like:

  • “I don’t have time to read the bible”
  • “I don’t have time to go to church”
  • “I don’t have time for exercise”
  • “I don’t have time to read a book to my child”
  • “I don’t have time to volunteer”

We live in a time when people are working very hard to make ends meet–I’m not saying it’s easy to find time. Neither am I saying that anyone should feel they have to “earn” God’s love or feel guilty about things (such as TV) that are basically a part of life in our times.

However, it is good during Lent to ponder how we use our time. We humans are limited creatures–we have a limited number of hours in the day, and a limited number of years in our lives. Lent is a good time for us to examine:

  • What are my priorities?
  • What is most important in my life?
  • Is there anything I might want to leave behind in order to do something else of greater value?

Lent is a good time for experimenting with this sort of thing. It gives us a time frame in which to try out something new and see how it works. Some of my past Lenten experiments were of great help to me–and others didn’t work out so well. However, even the ones that “failed” were good learning experiences for me.

God be with you in your Lenten journey.

Until next time,  Amen! 

Lent and Fasting

This week, I’ll be posting quotes related to the Christian practice of fasting. Fasting can take on many forms (for example, some people fast from social media or television during Lent). When it comes to food, I’m the LAST person who can teach you anything about fasting! So keep in mind, I am definitely using these quotes to preach to myself, to reflect about the spiritual practice…to help myself grow while sharing with you.

Today’s quote from Matthew 6 reminds us what kind of attitude we are supposed to have while fasting.

12 Lent--week 2--fasting--Matthew 6 (click on image to enlarge)

Whatever your Lenten practice, this has wisdom for how we are to conduct ourselves during this season of spiritual renewal. It’s a good reminder that we are not trying to “look better” or act “holier-than-thou” around others.

Until next time, Amen! 

In our weakness God is strength

Today’s text is from 2 Corinthians 12:8-9.

09 Lent--Week 1--Prayer--Corinthians

We all have some weakness or other, some kind of ongoing suffering. It may be the physical condition that doesn’t go away, the struggle to overcome certain problems, or the various limitations in our abilities. As Christians, we believe that God loves us and showers grace on us despite these difficulties. We don’t have to be perfect in every way before God can love us.

In fact, the biblical writer above is reminding us that despite how things appear, God’s powerful love may actually be strongest when we are feeling very weak.

Don’t ask me to explain how this works, because it’s still a mystery to me. One thought I’ve had is that sometimes when I feel I just can’t manage something, I turn to God for help.  Perhaps this is part of the explanation, but I still don’t completely understand how all this works. However, I have come to believe this bible verse is  often true in my life.

Until next time, Amen!