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Well, Lent is here again as we can tell by the numbers of fast food restaurants putting their fish sandwiches on sale.


Actually, if not for the vast American merchandising machine processing and promoting piscatorial foodstuffs, it seems the general public would hardly notice this time of year existed at all. 


In an internet search to find the number of people who observe Lent, various web pages cited statistics varying from 24% to 40%. Further research shows that while 70% of the American public knows what Lent is, apparently only about 17% of us actually observe it.


And, of course, the vast majority of people who observe Lent do so by giving something up. (Fasting.)


According to the Barna group, the number one thing people will give up for Lent is: (drum roll please) Chocolate.


This is closely followed by meat, sugar, soda drinks, and alcohol. There are also small numbers who give up butter and cream or even fruit. (Fruit?)


Rapidly growing in popularity of abstinence are: social media, smart phones, television, movies, and video games.


Lent is commonly defined as a way for Christians to prepare themselves for Holy Week and Easter through 40 days of prayer, penance, repentance, alsmgiving, atonement, and self-denial.


And that’s all fine and well, and there are ways of fasting that are good for our soul and do indeed bring glory to God, especially if what we give up are things that are idols in our lives and need to be crucified. Fasting can be a fabulous way to quiet our souls and listen to God in preparation for a new season in our lives –and I think that is the heart and the intent of Lent.



So, instead of giving up certain carnal pleasures associated with food and drink that we have every intention of taking up again after Lent,  what if we gave up some of our pride and agreed to be just a little more obedient to those nudges that come from the Holy Spirit we’ve gotten so good at ignoring?



What if, after a period of listening to the the LORD and preparing our hearts, we were more obedient when it came to that still, small voice that was urging us to get up off the couch, help someone in need, get involved in a Bible study, spend some time with the elderly or prisoners, volunteer with a local ministry, or go on a mission trip?



If you will go to the LORD in prayer and volunteer a willing heart and soul to follow Jesus in obedience where He would leads you, I would not be surprised at all at the door He opens for you. And, there is a very, very good chance the door you walk through will bless your soul more than you could have ever imagined. This blog is proof of that in my life.


So, yes, you could give up chocolate for Lent –and there is nothing wrong with that. But if you bite the ears off your chocolate Easter bunny with all the more celebratory zeal on the great and glorious day when Christ arose from the grave alive, you end up at the same place you started. 


If we desire that we be changed forever by what we give up for those 40 days, why not pick something with eternal consequences?



Today’s Praise

For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:17-18 (ESV)

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