Tag Archives: Lent

woman with hands bowed in prayer

5 unexpected rewards by ditching a critical spirit

Did you notice that Valentine’s Day and Ash Wednesday fell on the same date this year? What a coincidence that a day when people often give or receive chocolate was also a day that some people choose to give up chocolate for 40 days.

What happens during Lent

Lent is the season in the Christian calendar that precedes Easter. (Easter also falls on an interesting date this year, April 1. ) Many Christians do something to observe this time as a spiritual refresher, like fasting from a certain food or drink. I’ve heard of people “giving up” a range of things during Lent, like television, video games, social media, news, sports, or music. Some people “take up” a certain practice, like prayer, Bible study, or service projects.

man with hands folded over a book

“meditation of my heart” photo from Lightstock.com– stock photo source (affiliate link)

A “critical” lesson

One of most interesting examples of fasting I’ve heard of was from the late Catherine Marshall. Mrs. Marshall wrote a memoir about her husband, Peter Marshall who served as Chaplain of the United States Senate. She also wrote a best selling novel Christy.

In a story reprinted in Spiritual Classics, Catherine realized she was too critical, tending to judge people and situations harshly and negatively.

Matthew 7 :1-2 New Living Translation (NLT)

Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. For you will be treated as you treat others.The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged. 

Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

(The word “judge” used here is analogous to “criticise.”)

So she felt her “assignment” from God was:

“For one day I was to go on a “fast” from criticism. I was not to criticize anybody about anything.”

At lunch with her family that day several topics came up that she had definite negative opinions about but she refrained from speaking up. Even though she felt lost without her usual sharp interaction, she said no one else seemed to notice.

“The federal government, the judicial system, the the institutional church could apparently get along fine without my penetrating observations.”

She thought about a young man she knew whose life had gotten “sidetracked”, and suddenly realized her negative attitude toward him wasn’t helping. As she began thinking about him in a more positive way, she saw ways that his life could be turned around that she had not considered before. Her new attitude seemed to create an ability to see a new vision for his life that she hadn’t been able to before.

5 unexpected rewards by ditching a critical spirit

She related 5 things that she learned about a critical attitude.

  1. It focuses us on ourselves and makes us unhappy.
  2. It can distort our perspective and destroy humor.
  3. It blocks positive creative thoughts God will give us about situations.
  4. It impairs relationships with other people, perhaps causing them to be critical also.
  5. It blocks feelings of  love, good will, and mercy from  God’s Spirit.

Whatever you decide to do to observe Lent, look for something that will restore or increase your joy, creativity, positive relationships, mercy, and love.

I would love to know what you do to observe Lent. Please leave a comment, or if you prefer to stay anonymous, send me a private message.

On the blog home page is a link to Lenten theme posts that have appeared on the blog in the past. I hope they bless you in your Lenten journey.

The story about Catherine Marshal is told in Spiritual Classics- Selected Readings on the Twelve Spiritual Disciplines.

Books by Catherine Marshall – find more at this link

These are all affiliate links, this blog earns a small commission for purchases here.

that I might seek to love-St. Francis quote

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drawing of 5 lit candles

Celebrating good news

Revelation 19,  King James Version

And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying,

Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth.

And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying,

The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.

And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written,

King Of Kings, And Lord Of Lords.

The birth of Jesus made possible not just a new way of understanding life but a new way of living it.

Carl Frederick Buechner is an American writer and theologian. (affiliate link) graphic credit Lightstock.com (affiliate link)

 

 

Messiah Hallelujah Chorus

Often referred to as the Hallelujah Chorus, this passage is the most recognized part of Handel’s Messiah. We associate  Messiah with Christmas, but Handel wrote it to be performed at Easter. He drew the words of the songs from Scripture, choosing passages that tell the story of God sending Jesus to earth to redeem His people.
If you have ever attended a live performance of Messiah, you probably stood up during the  Hallelujah Chorus.  That tradition dates back to King George II of England who according to tradition, was so moved during this song that he stood to his feet. Since he was the king, everyone  had to stand with him.

 

Learn more about

The Pure Power Of Handel’s ‘Hallelujah Chorus’

 

 

 

Thank you for sharing these Advent reflections with me during this special season of  faith, hope, and love. Dr. Aletha 

"faith, hope, love"

Shouting good news                                   Announcing good news 

Bringing good news 

 

 

 

FAITH, HOPE, LOVE in wooden block letters

Lenten Words – Alleluia

Revelation, King James Version

19;6 And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying,

Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth.

11;15 And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying,

The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.

lightstock_411530_jpg_aletha

graphic by Lightstock.com

 

 

19:16 And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written,

King Of Kings, And Lord Of Lords.

 

Often referred to as the Hallelujah Chorus, this passage is the most recognized part of Handel’s Messiah. If you have ever attended a live performance of Messiah, you probably stood during the singing of the Hallelujah Chorus.  That tradition dates back to King George II of England, who according to tradition ,was so moved during this song that he stood to his feet. Since he was the king, everyone else had to stand also.

 

Messiah-complete works

 

We usually associate  Messiah with Christmas, but Handel wrote it to be performed at Easter. He drew the words of the songs from Scripture, choosing passages that tell the story of God sending Jesus to earth to redeem His people.

 

 

 

 

Lenten Words-Light

Lenten Words – Comfort

Lenten Words-Rest

Lenten Words – Glory

 

Thanks for joining me in this Lenten observance.

Next week I start a series of Weekend Words about wisdom from Proverbs in the Bible.

Please share this blog with your friends.

rows of burning candles

Lenten Words – Good news

John 1:29

29 The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God. He takes away the sins of the world!

 

Romans 10:15

15 And before anyone can go and tell them, they must be sent. As the Scriptures say, “How wonderful it is to see someone coming to tell good news!”

Hebrews 1:6

 66 And then, when God presents his firstborn Son to the world, he says 
“Let all God’s angels worship him.”

Holy Bible: Easy-to-Read Version (ERV) English

Good news Watercress Words.com

    
 We usually associate  Messiah with Christmas, but Handel wrote it to be performed at Easter.
He drew the words of the songs from Scripture, choosing passages that tell the story of God sending Jesus to earth to redeem His people.
Get in on iTunes (this is an affiliate link)

 

 

These selections are from the New Testament-The Gospel of John, and letters Paul the Apostle wrote to the Romans and the Hebrews.

 

 

Other posts in this series-

Lenten Words-Light

Lenten Words – Comfort

Lenten Words-Rest

Lenten Words – Glory

 

Follow this blog  for more words of faith, hope, and love, carefully chosen by Dr. Aletha. 

And please share with your friends.

"And now these three remain:faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love."

1 Corinthians 13:13, photo from the Lightstock.com collection (affiliate link)

bright light shining through heavy wood doors

Lenten Words – Glory

 The King of Glory

 

Psalm 24:7-10, ERV

77 Gates, proudly lift your heads!
Open, ancient doors,
and the glorious King will come in.
Who is the glorious King?
He is the Lord, the powerful soldier.
He is the Lord, the war hero.
9 Gates, proudly lift your heads!
Open, ancient doors,
and the glorious King will come in.
10 Who is the glorious King?
The Lord All-Powerful is the glorious King.

 

Even though Messiah tells the story of Jesus, whose life unfolds in the Bible’s New Testament, many of the lyrics come from the Old Testament, like this passage today from Psalms. Several passages from the prophet Isaiah that seem to refer to Jesus are among the most well known songs in Messiah and I have used those in previous posts in this series, links below.

 

We usually associate  Messiah with Christmas, but Handel wrote it to be performed at Easter. He drew the words of the songs from Scripture, choosing passages that tell the story of God sending Jesus to earth to redeem His people.

 

 

Please share with your friends.

Lenten Words – Comfort

Lenten Words-Light

Lenten Words – Rest

Lenten Words – Sorrow

ornate altar in a church

Lenten Words – Sorrow

 Isaiah 53 (ESV)

He was despised and rejected by men,

a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief;

and as one from whom men hide their faces

he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

 

depiction of Christ on the cross

in a church in Cuenca, Ecuador

  Surely he has borne our griefs

and carried our sorrows;

yet we esteemed him stricken,

smitten by God, and afflicted.

But he was pierced for our transgressions;

he was crushed for our iniquities;

upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,

and with his wounds we are healed.

ornate altar in a church

altar in a zanzibar church

  All we like sheep have gone astray;

we have turned—every one—to his own way;

and the LORD has laid on him

the iniquity of us all.

 

 

 

 

 

“Charles Jennens (1700-1773) was a wealthy English landowner and friend of George Frideric Handel (1685-1759). A patron of the arts, and skilled in music, literature, and the Bible, he collaborated with Handel on some of his musical compositions.

Jennens gave Handel the lyrics to the Messiah, verses primarily from Isaiah, Psalms, Paul’s letters, and Revelation.

Messiah tells the story of the advent of Christ, His victory over sin and death, His defeat of His enemies, victorious return, establishment of His kingdom on the earth, and the believer’s victory over death through His resurrection.” quote from Handel’s Messiah at doctrine.org

"Lent"

Follow this blog every week for more Lenten Words as Christians observe this solemn season.

 

Lenten Words-Light

Lenten Words – Comfort

Lenten Words – Rest

 

 

 

a lamb standing in tall grass

Lenten Words – Rest

Isaiah 40(NIV)

11 He tends his flock like a shepherd:
    He gathers the lambs in his arms
and carries them close to his heart;
    he gently leads those that have young.

a lamb standing in tall grass

 Matthew 11 (NIV)

28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.

29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

 

We usually associate  Messiah with Christmas, but Handel wrote it to be performed at Easter. He drew the words of the songs from Scripture, choosing passages that tell the story of God sending Jesus to earth to redeem His people.

Handel’s Messiah has three acts, so many performances and recordings of Messiah use only the most popular songs, since the entire work is lengthy. This article will tell you about some of the songs you may already be familiar with including two that I have used in this series.

 

 

Lenten Words-Light

Lenten Words – Comfort

 

Follow this blog every week for more Lenten Words as we Christians observe this solemn season.

Please share with your friends.