Ash Wednesday begins the season of “LENT”, which is the 40 days preceding Easter, not counting Sundays. The word Lent is from Anglo-Saxon Lecten meaning spring. It is a period of fasting and penitence observed in the church from very early times. By using these days for deepening the devotional life, the faithful Christian is better prepared to enter into the sufferings of Christ, a theme throughout Holy Week.

For many, Lent is used as a time of giving up, self-denial of some pleasure for the purpose of drawing closer to God. Think for a moment about the number 40. In Genesis, it rained for 40 days and nights, God’s way of cleansing the earth.Jesus, after He was baptized spent 40 days in the wilderness dealing with temptation and ultimately drawing closer to God.

When we think of Lent we will often hear different individuals talk about what they have given up for Lent … chocolate, desserts,lunch, certain kinds of food, television, movies, etc. This is all good and fine, but I really believe that that is only part one. Part two is “what will you put in its place.” If you are giving up some kind of food, will you take the money you would have spent and give it to someone in need? Will you replace the time you would have watched television or movies with either praying, reading the bible or even doing some good deeds for someone in need? Somehow, through whatever it is that we are sacrificing, someone else needs to be blessed and benefit through it and it needs to draw us closer to God.

What would 40 days of some form of self-denial do for others? What are you willing to give up? Or better yet, “What would God have you give up for 40 days to draw closer to Him?

Come join with us on Ash Wednesday and think about, “What did Jesus gain?”When He gave up equality with God and came down to earth and dwelt among us by becoming one of us so that we might be joined with God in the life hereafter forever.