Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.
SO all the pancakes have gone, that means it’s LENT… but isn’t that a kind of ‘less fun advent’ because there’s NO chocolates at all!?
Not really – LENT is a time of preparation up to Easter, like Advent is before Christmas, but it is pretty different. Lent is meant to echo the 40 days that Jesus spent in the wilderness drawing close to the Father, overcoming temptations to do it all ‘the easy way’ - before he launched his public ministry. It’s a time to set less important things aside and put more time into seeking God – so people give up some kinds of food or watch an hour less tv or whatever for a while, and then use that time to seek God more. Others try & do something extra rather than giving something up – put items aside each day for foodbanks, or try an act of giving or kindness each day etc. But the point is to purposefully get closer to God.
You all know that I’m sure anyway!
Here’s a thought that might help…
Maybe LENT is a time to seek God more deeply & ask for God to search us too…?
This week we’ve been stripping some old wallpaper in one room to re-decorate – it’s been there since before we moved in & up till now we just painted over to freshen it up, as I’m sure previous dwellers also did… (you know, over that textured kind of wallpaper). Its been done so many times that it almost stands up by itself! But now it really all needs stripping back so we can see the ‘dodgy’ bits underneath – bits of damp or crumbling brickwork, areas that need some TLC or attention… we can sort them out then put on some fresh new attractive paper.
It’s a bit like that with us too - with our lives we can only ‘paint over’ our broken & crumbling bits so many times. We all know there are parts of us we cover over & try to ignore at times – but sometimes we need to strip back, look at ourselves & bring those things that need some TLC before God… When we bare our hearts & lives before God, he can deal with all those things – heal, forgive, set free, reassure us - before he then re-clothes us with HIS righteousness – which, to be honest, is much more attractive! (Just as I hope our new wallpaper will be…)
Maybe that’s what we should all be doing this LENT?
Jeremiah 29v13-14a - You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the Lord…
May you find God afresh during these coming days, being inspired to search your heart, seek Him & share his love & kindness in both new & ancient ways.
If you would like some resources to help you pray & read through Lent, there are some below – we will add on more as we find them. If you know of anything good & free to access do let us know & we will add it onto the list.
Bible Society Lent Encounter – daily emails to help you connect with the life of Jesus
The Church of England are promoting Live Lent – follow the link to free emails or app
Sat7 who do amazing mission have Free to Believe – 40 testimonies – again sign up here
40 acts by Stewardship challenges you to be generous in new ways