Fasting? Fasting!

Do you prepare for Easter by fasting? 

If so, what do you fast from? What is your intention during your fasting? 

This year will be my first year intentionally fasting during lent for the purpose of fixing my heart for Easter. 

I will be fasting from all social media (which means pre-scheduled posts) 

And also, I will be fasting from sugary drinks and sweets (aka almost all sugar). 

These are both things I consume too much of. The idea/intention is to make this feel like a sacrifice. I also want to easily be able to spend more time being engaged with family and books. And more time in God’s word, soaking up all of His words to prepare for Easter Sunday. 

I’m looking forward to this. I’ve never fasted during Lent (or done anything for that matter). I pray it grows my prayer and spiritual life.
How about you? I’d love to hear. 

Divine appointments 

When I treat my quiet time as indisputable appointments with God, it’s rewarding. I need to remember this tomorrow when I get busy– prioritize before becoming busy. Here are today’s and yesterday’s SOAP journal. I’m pooped and am heading to bed at midnight! Only 4 more days until I fast from all social media, so I’ll be working on pre-scheduled posts tomorrow. They’ll be simple posts with my scheduled readings and some simple encouragement. 

Happy Saturday (it’s actually midnight Sunday),

Jessica ▫️❤

Radical Love ❤️ 

From my daily reading, February 23rd, 2017 

Matthew the Tax Collector

This is the story of Jesus. He is being radical in Hus day by eating with Tax Collectors and sinners. This was considered deplorable and completely unacceptable in His age, especially by the religious leaders (Pharisees and scribes). Tax Collectors  were not considered worthy of the Jewish Law because of their livelihood. So, for Jesus to be eating with them was very frowned upon. Read the story from the Gospel of Mark and soak in how Christ radically showed His love. 

Mark 2:13- 17 NKJV

13 Then He went out again by the sea; and all the multitude came to Him, and He taught them. 14 As He passed by, He saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax office. And He said to him, “Follow Me.” So he arose and followed Him.
15 Now it happened, as He was dining in Levi’s house, that many tax collectors and sinners also sat together with Jesus and His disciples; for there were many, and they followed Him. 16 And when the scribes and Pharisees saw Him eating with the tax collectors and sinners, they said to His disciples, “How is it that He eats and drinks with tax collectors and sinners?” 17 When Jesus heard it, He said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.”

=================================

Jesus was RADICAL in His day. He ate with socially unacceptable sinners. He did things in a new way. He turned the Law on its head and it made a lot of religious people upset – the very ones who should have RECOGNIZED Christ as their Messiah! 

How can we live radically today? Radically with the love of Christ? 

Seek the lost, spend time with the socially unaccepted… go beyond the boundaries. Build relationships with people outside of your normal circle. Cross the lines that are comfortable. 

Jesus didn’t come to save the righteous- He came to save sinners (that’s all of us, if you haven’t caught in to that). That includes our neighbor who are a little different, or even acquaintances who are polar opposite of us and our background. It includes socially unacceptable statuses. 

How do you spell LOVE? 

T I M E =

L O V E 

Lord,

Let us live inspired by Your radical living and loving. Help us to see past the socially created boundaries. Let us love without judging. We pray that you shine through us before we ever say a word about the Gospel. Let us live in a way that makes people question why we do what we do (in a good way). 

Lead us to those who need you. Let us be a shining light for you. 

In Jesus’ Name we pray, 

Amen 

Question: Lent for the Non-Catholic 

How do you celebrate/honor the Lent season? It almost seems…. optional for a  Protestant Christian (aka non-Catholic). Now, I don’t know if that would be correct, but let me share my experience. I really never have done anything different for Lent season, but since it’s coming up (Next Wednesday), I’m intrigued. I want to do something special as we look forward to Easter. Is there a proper way to honor this time as a non-Catholic? I’m unsure. 

Here is part of my background:

I was infant-baptized Catholic and even spent a short amount of time in CCD classes as a child at a Catholic Church, however,I did not really grow up in the Catholic Church. In fact, for many years we didn’t go to church very often. My parents felt unwelcome at the Catholic Church (don’t know why?) at one point or another, and took a break, so to speak. Really, they decided not to go to a Catholic Church anymore. Sometimes growing up, we’d get to church because of invitations to Baptist awana on Wednesdays, which is when I had first heard and said the prayer of salvation. Then, eventually (intermittently and at overlapping times), we became members at the local Presbyterian church. Why? Well, because my parents found they liked it there better. They felt welcome. They found friends. Why Presbyterian? Good question… I really don’t know. It’s Christian, it’s nice, it had good pastors and people. But why that “flavor” of Christian? I never could answer that question! (Is that bad? Probably.) The church family at our Presbyterian church was quaint, loving and very friendly. It was a nice church to grow up in. I still was missing something. However, it’s very likely I wasn’t listening to all the sermons growing up. I don’t really remember much about the Lent season except maybe a few different candles were lit during services for a few weeks, maybe some extra readings Anything more than that seemed totally optional. However, when different seasons come and go (like Lent, for example) I often have wondered: Why did it seem optional to do more? Is it optional or is it something I’ve just never put thought into? Was I taught more and didn’t soak it in? This was a thought more recently, and especially now the Easter season is rolling around. Lent was and is a topic some people do talk about. Friday’s are local fish fries and some co-workers do their “Catholic thing” during Lent. (But what is that, even??).  

I was able to be confirmed as a teenager, get married in the church and still not really understand my faith. If someone asked why (or what) I believed, I didn’t have a solid answer. I also didn’t have a solid moral standpoint on “hot topic” issues – but that’s a whole different post. Now, about 6 years after really grasping that you need to have a personal relationship with Christ, I am understanding more. My faith has grown. However, these questions come up more and more as I study the Bible and have in my heart a desire to really spend time with Jesus and reflect His heart into my own. 

So, before I babble on for 1,000 more words, let me get to my point. This gets me to my question: 

If you’re (a practicing) Catholic, what does the Lent season hold for you? How do you honor it? 

If you’re Protestant (aka not Catholic), do you do anything special for the Lenten season? 

PS… If you’re not in the Christian faith at all, I’d be curious to know if Easter has an affect on your springtime season at all. After all, we do know that there are many non-Christians who celebrate Easter- just more of the hidden Easter eggs and not risen Jesus type Easter. (But I call that a seed planting to potential Christianity…. just my thought). 

Perfection is the enemy of progress 


Perfection will kill our attempt at progress. Take it a day at a time. Prioritize what you’re working on. Remember grace when Life interrupts or perhaps you maybe even get lazy. Dust yourself off and press on. 

Today I finished the book of Acts in the New Testament. There is a joy in knowing I have journeyed farther than I did yesterday.
I journaled at 10:30 at night. I’ve been missing my 5am coffees but I have been getting in my Bible time when I can. 

Blessings,

Jessica 

Planting Roots 

If you’re looking for a new link up and are a Christian blogger connected to the military, check out Planting Roots.

As a spouse to a retiree/wounded warrior, I have found Planting Roots to be a very encouraging blog and central point of Christian uplifting for those who are in the “trenches” of active military duty. 

It’s a unique family to be a part of… humbling, faith growing and honorable. 

Are you connected to the military? Share your story with me, id love to hear your experience. Being a military spouse for 5 years has been a huge part of my faith journey.