Wednesday, February 17, 2010

From Dust to Dust

I love Diet Coke. At times, I actually have thought I might be addicted to the popular soda drink. When I go without a sip of the sweet drink for 3-4 days, I begin to crave a gulp. Sometimes when I don’t have it on hand at home, I run out to buy it just to curb my strong desire for its taste.

Today is Ash Wednesday. It marks the beginning of the Easter season. This day starts the six weeks preceding our risen Lord. Many people around the world will enter church sanctuaries and have their foreheads or the back side of their hands marked with the sign of the cross with ashes from palm crosses that were burned the previous year. The ashes signify a sinner’s repentance.

So, I know you’re probably wondering what Diet Coke has to do with Ash Wednesday. Some faiths believe it is a good thing to give something up for lent. Now it just can’t be anything, but something that truly has a hold of your life in some form or fashion. This, “something”, should be a type of surrender of sorts that would inflict a form of self-control on your part to not do for the entire six weeks. In doing this, it reminds a person of just how much Christ gave up for us when He surrendered in the garden of Gethsemane when His sweat was like drops of blood and He said,

“Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.”
~Luke 22:42

I’ve decided to give up Diet Coke and any kind of soda beverage for the next six weeks. It will be hard for me, especially the first few weeks when I have strong desires to want some. But I’m going to earnestly try to give it up so God can be in charge. Here are some other ideas to give up for Lent…

• Television
• Facebook
• Alcohol
• Chocolate

Lent can also be a time in which we add things that would be good in our lives and create a closer relationship with Jesus. I will continue to send my “Notes of Encouragement” every week, but I also have decided to set aside just five minutes every day to sit quietly and reflect on what Christ did for me. He freed me from the chains of bondage and sin through His death on the cross and resurrection from the grave! Some other things you might want to consider adding to your life…

• Apologize for a wrong you’ve done to another
• Daily prayer
• Daily reading of God’s Word
• Make it a point to sit down and have a family dinner at least once a week
• Encourage someone else

The point of doing these things is to begin to grasp just how much our Heavenly Father has done for us. It is a time for us to take responsibility of our own actions and hopefully in doing this it becomes a permanent part of our life and not just for six weeks. I would love to hear from all of you and what you have decided to give up this Lent season!

I’ll end with the words most pastors or priests might say as they place the ashes on a forehead or hand…

“…for dust you are and dust you shall return.”
~Genesis 3:19

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