One week into Lent

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So I wanted to give a little bit of a lent update:
Last Wednesday {2/13} was the first day of Lent. This is the first year that we decided to participate! {Read more about our participation in Lent HERE} We decided to give up all drinks except water and sweets for Lent! It’s almost been a week now and I have so much more energy!! I’m not sluggish at the end of the day because of all the sweets in the drinks in the food that we are eating! I have even lost a few pounds which I’m really excited about!!
We also have stopped getting angry and yelling – every time I find myself getting upset I immediately seek God and start praying!  I have really seen a difference in my mood and honestly my kids moods too! Our home is over all calmer and happier!! AWESOME!!
What’s all this doing for my relationship with Jesus?  I have found myself praying and spending so much more time with God! I’m not consumed by what’s going on and getting upset or getting angry.  I’m not hyper and unglued and unable to focus because of all the sweets and all the sugar, I feel so much more calm and connected with God! I feel like I have the relationship that I’ve longed to have again!! In addition, This week I am starting my women’s Bible study in Ephesians and I’m really excited about it! I have even downloaded a daily devotional from my favorite you version app on Ephesians and another one on Galatians! If you don’t have the you version app I would highly recommend it it’s available in App Store!
 I’m really happy that we decided to participate in Lent.  I feel like it has drawn me so much closer to the Lord and showed me that those things that I felt like I was relying on are so unnecessary and not something that I need to rely on nor need in my life!!
How about you did you decide to participate in Lent? How’s it going? I’d love hear!!
Smiles & Blessings

Christians and Lent

Lent is giving up something with a desire to draw closer to the Lord!

Not all Christian churches observe Lent. Lent is mostly observed by the Lutheran, Methodist,Presbyterian and Anglican denominations, and also by Roman Catholics. We are non denominational and although it is not necessary to observe Lent, there is no reason why Christians should not observe Lent if they so choose. It is just another way to remember Jesus and what he has done for us.
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This year my husband and I have decided to participate in Lent…in the sense of…Giving up something that we do every day and replacing it with spending time reading the bible and praying!
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My husband and I are both giving up all drinks accept water, sweets and anger/yelling!! Obviously this is not like giving up, say, a tv show {when the show is on instead of watching you could read the bible or pray} so when I feel my self getting angry I step back and ask God to help me relax. As for giving up sweets and beverages other than water…here is our thinking…sugar tends to make us wired. We find ourselves unable to relax or/and concentrate…enter reading the bible…mind wandering…frustration because you just aren’t getting it! Without those sugary treats and drinks we will both have a easier time focusing!
What is Lent?
Lent is the Christian season of preparation before Easter. Ash Wednesday (2/13/13) marks the first day, or the start of the season of Lent, which begins 40 days prior to Easter (Sundays are not included in the count). {This year Lent is 2/13-3/30
Lent is a time when many Christians prepare for Easter by observing a period of fasting, repentance, moderation and spiritual discipline. The purpose is to set aside time for reflection on Jesus – his suffering and his sacrifice, his life, death, burial and resurrection. My personal thought is: give up something you REALLY like, then when you start thinking about it you instead spend time in the bible! Thus giving up something to draw you closer to the Lord!
Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.” 1 Corinthians 9:25-27
If you choose to participate
Things you could give up for Lent:
Television (or specific shows or channels)
The radio
Favorite foods (pizza, ice cream, etc.)
Eating out
Alcohol
Soft drinks/caffeine/coffee
Smoking
Clutter
Debt (using credit cards)
Certain books/magazines (read ones that will help you grow spiritually)
Social Media sites (Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, etc.)
Blogging
Negativity/Stress
Gossip
Anger/Yelling
Lying
Swearing/foul language
Addictions
Procrastination
Working overtime (unnecessarily)
After the decision has been made you need to follow through…sometimes that means every single morning you wake up and ask God to help you!
Spend time with God either in prayer or reading the Bible! For example someone who is giving up a particular tv show could spend the time that they would usually be watching it reading the Bible!
You can even get your children involved with these ideas for kids: (Replace something with Family Bible study time)
Television (or certain shows)
Video games
Computer (games, social networking, etc.)
Fighting with siblings
Being disrespectful to parents
Lying
Soft drinks
Sweets/Candy
Like I said at the beginning…choosing to participate in Lent, it a way to draw us closer to the Lord!  Are you participating in Lent? I’d love to hear what changes you are making!
Smiles & Blessings

Time to Pull some Weeds?

A few months ago I was talking with a dear Friend. She told me that she was so happy and was feeling really great about recent decisions she had been making. Knowing the personal trials she had been going through I couldn’t help but ask about these decisions. She informed me that she had been ‘Pulling Weeds’. Hmmm pulling weeds, but is winter…No, no, no not actual weeds. What she meant was ‘friendship weeds’ stepping back and looking at the friend relationships, and seeing which were thriving and which were ‘dead’. This got me thinking…’I need to pull some weeds’.

I’ve heard it put like this…
If you are standing on a chair and your friend is standing on the floor,
What is easier? Pulling your friend up, or them pulling you down? Pulling down of course.

This is still very true. There are two kinds of friends: FRUITFUL & FRUITLESS

“The righteous choose their friends carefully, but the way of the wicked leads them astray.”
Psalm 12:26

The Fruitless:

“One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin…”
Proverbs 18:24

fruitless [ˈfruːtlɪs] adj *yielding nothing or nothing of value; unproductive; ineffectual* 

These are those friends we all have, the ones who bring nothing to the relationship. They might complain a lot, belittle, judge, and never ask “how are you doing?” and really mean it. The conversation are always one sided…ever time. No uplifting conversation. These are the friend that my husband wishes I didn’t have. When I get together or talk on the phone with them, he says afterwards I’m usually in a very bad mood…”Its like you have been pulled through the mud.”

The Fruitful:
*bearing fruit in abundance*

“Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”
John 15:13

fruitful [ˈfruːtfʊl] adj

Wonderful, Godly, Compassionate, Caring, Beautiful…just a few word to describe a fruitful friend. These are the friends who are there for you no matter what…sadness, happiness, joy, pain, celebration, they are by your side. These are the kind of friends who will just sit in silence with you while you cry.
It’s 2011 and I have pulled my weeds. I am happy and feel free of the burden that has been resting on my shoulders for many months and years. Now, I only wish that I have done it sooner.

At church I met two wonderful women. I have so much in common with each. While visiting with one, she told me that she had been meaning to introduce herself to me, but never had the chance because we were both always in such a hurry. This made me think, how often do we rob our selves of fruitful relationships because we are too busy?

From now on I choose Fruitful Friendships…How about you? Do you need to pull some weeds of your own?

Just a little ‘fruit‘ for thought:)