TAKING ADVANTAGE OF THE SEASON OF LENT

Our passage in Mark begins with Jesus coming from Nazareth of Galilee and is baptized by John in the Jordan River. And, just as he is coming out of the water he sees the heavens torn apart and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. And, a voice comes from Heaven. You are my son, the beloved, and with you I am well pleased.

Immediately, (Mark likes this word immediately). The Spirit drives Jesus out into the wilderness. And, he is in the wilderness for forty days. But, the angels of God begin to wait on him. This is a time of testing for Jesus; but it is also a time when the “Angels of God “are waiting” or literally taking care of Him.”

Lent is a time to open our hearts and allow God to look deep within, as it says in Proverbs, the flashlight of God searching deep within, throwing rays to the darkest recesses of the heart. (Proverbs 20:27)

Lent is a season for transparency; a time to come to grips with your relationship with God.

In the Old Testament God wanted a portion, a tithe. That principle is still true today. But, Jesus goes farther. He says I not only want a tithe, I want 100%. I want you to be my possession, my chosen one.

Jesus said: If you want to be my disciple, you must turn from your selfish ways, pick up your cross and follow me. (Mark 8:34)

Lent is a time to bring your business dealings, personal, social and business deals into the searchlight of God’s Spirit. It’s a time to bring your family life into the light, to allow God to change, transform heal, forgive and to make new. It is also a time that we need to allow the Holy Spirit, or the angels of God to care for us.

Yes, Lent it is a time for deep remorse and repentance, but it is also a time to be encouraged, just as Jesus was ministered to by the angels of God in the wilderness during his time of deep soul searching. In the season of Lent the Holy Spirit will give you hope and vision for a better tomorrow. In other words, allow God to deliver you from depression. He will make your way straight and you will feel better. Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning. (Psalm 30:5)

Proverbs tells us that taking time in our lives to allow correction and discipline from above is to know wisdom. Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but whoever hates correction is stupid. (Proverbs 12:1) Those who disregard discipline despise themselves, but the one who heeds correction gains understanding. (Proverbs 15:32)

There are things we may do in our lives that are not good for us, let’s call them obstacles, (things that tangle us up) that when we do those things that are not in our best spiritual interests, but we do those things anyway because it makes us feel good. It’s like rewriting BB Kings lyrics to the Thrill is Gone, changing the lyrics to “the thrill hasn’t gone away yet. It’s still there.”

Those temporary pleasures may get in the way of our physical, emotional, mental and spiritual health. The rationale is to keep doing those things may make sense from a “feel good perspective”, but some temporal pleasures will inhibit what is best for us, robbing from your quality of life.

But, we all have those areas that we know need some correction, some adjusting, and some changes. That’s what we do in Lent. It’s like when we take our car to the mechanic and say, give me an over-haul. The tires are off balance, the tranny is slipping, and the engine gets hot, and I don’t want to blow another gasket. Tune me up please.

Lent can be a good opportunity for you. Utilize it. It does not need to be a time of despair, “just one big guilt trip.” It can be a time of healing, a time to get your head on straight, a time to experience small or big changes in every area of your life. That’s what Lent is all about.

The Spirit drove Jesus out into the wilderness. And, he was in the wilderness for forty days. But, the angels of God waited on him. This was a time of testing for Jesus; but it was also a time when the “Angels of God “waited” and took care of Him.” And in this time of Lent, the angels of God are waiting to care for you, to minister to you, to bring healing, restoration, strength and purpose and vision.

And, when Jesus came out of the desert, he began to proclaim two things. Repent, and believe in the good news; and the good news that God loves you and is with you and will give you new life and hope – day by day, hour by hour, minute by minute, year by year, for all eternity.

 

Amen

The Reverend Dr. David Madsen