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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Merry Christmas words with a gold bow

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 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 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.  "faith, hope, love"

Shouting good news                                   Announcing good news 

Bringing good news