Happy Ash Wednesday! If you are not sure what Ash Wednesday is, just click those words and you’ll find a few good articles on it. I used to think it was a Catholic only tradition, but it is meant for all Christians. Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of a 44-day fast culminating on Holy Thursday. Traditionally a fast is abstaining from eating any food from sun-up to sun-down. Non-traditionally, Lent is a good time to abstain from doing anything particular to help you grow closer to God. I have done a handful of successful “fasts.” I’ve fasted alcohol and social media, and this year I told my wife I was going to fast having to deal with my kids for the next 40-days and she responded to me with an eye-roll. Instead of looking at Lent as a period of giving up something significant, why not look at it as a time to focus on God and Jesus. Make the next 44-days a period that you spend every day reading the Word of God, listening to only praise and worship music, and filling your spare time with nothing but uplifting sermons about our great and mighty Savior. I’ll help by providing some great resources below.
That song above had me on my knees this morning begging God to give me a heart abandoned. I hope it makes you feel that same kind of way. The sermon below I am sharing because a very good friend recommended we listen to her church (CoastLife Church out of Venice, FL) this week. They also have a podcast on Spotify. Have a great start to Lent! God Bless you all.
29”The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’” (Mark 12:29-30)
The Greatest Commandment. I referenced the similar verse from the Book of Matthew, and, spoiler alert, I’m going to list it again when Jesus speaks these words in the Books of Luke and John. This verse, and the verse that follows is what I based the book Common Sense Reborn on. Two basic commandments that alter the course of our lives and existence. The first of the Greatest Commandment: love God with ALL your heart, ALL your soul, and ALL your mind.
If you look at America as a whole, we are FAR from living this out. God barely has any space in America’s heart, soul, and mind, let alone our country being all consumed by our love for the Creator of all things. And who’s fault is that? Some like to blame the government, because they keep taking God out of areas in our lives like school. But the Government recognizes God more than you would ever believe. Most government functions begin or close with prayer. That’s not just lip service going on there. Really, the blame for God being pushed out of the lives of Americans is an individual responsibility. If God’s not the focal point of YOUR entire existence and being, how can you expect Him to be the same for anyone else? Start with yourself, pick that log out of your own eye before you point out the splinter that is in your neighbor’s eye.
Reading plan: Mark 15:1-20
Deeper reading plan: Joshua 14-17
Prayer and meditation: continue to pray for your request from day 1 and ask Jesus to help you love God with ALL your heart, ALL your soul, and ALL your mind
Fitness challenge: Week eight of our 7×14 challenge. 2 sets of 14, slow your reps down again and incorporate that one-two second pause.
1. Standard push-up 2. Sit-up or crunches
3. Air squats 4. Hand-release push-up
5. Leg lifts 6. Lunges (7-each leg)
7. 4-count flutter kicks