Five "R's" to Get Ready for Easter
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About this time of the New Year, the freshness and excitement of promised goals and challenges is waning. Did you promise to start an exercise regimen? A new diet? Maybe you determined to clean out the clutter in your house. For many people the new year brings a desire to get closer to God, and yet, many have already fallen weeks behind in their “Read Your Bible In A Year Guide.”
If your New Year challenge is to get closer to God, the 40 Days of Easter, known as the Lenten Season, is a perfect way to reignite a most important relationship. Lent is a season in the Christian tradition where Christians focus on growing closer to God.
Below are five suggestions, one per week for 5 weeks or 40 days, to help ignite a more intimate relationship with your Creator.
Week 1 – Reflection
Week 1, each day focus on the Names of God. Naming is an important role in Scripture. A name indicates character or attributes. Throughout Scripture, God reveals Himself through His Names. Some names are mentioned only once while others are used multiple times. Reflect on His name El Elyon: Most High God. El Elyon expresses the sovereignty and majesty of God. He is worthy of all honor and praise. Reflect on another name El Shaddai, Lord God Almighty. He supplies all our needs as a mother with child. He is our sustainer. What other names have you noticed?
As we reflect on the Names of God, we are humbled by His love, comfort, protection and sovereignty.
Week 1 is a perfect time to get to know God’s character through His names. Reflect on the names of God!
Week 2 – Remembrance
Week 2, each day focus on remembering those in need. Every day offers a new opportunity to help someone. Maybe volunteer at a homeless shelter, take meals to shut-ins, bring a widow or widower to church, offer time to a ministry or non-profit. The Lenten season is a perfect time to do something extra. Many people give up things like coffee or chocolate. One suggestion is to instead give up time and convenience to lend a hand to someone in need.
Christian Artist Matthew West wrote a song, Do Something. The lyrics include: “Well, I just couldn’t bear the thought of people living in poverty, children sold into slavery, the thought disgusted me. So, I shook my fist at Heaven; said, ‘God, why don’t You do something?’ He said, ‘I did, I created you.’”
Week 2 is a perfect time to “do something.” Do something in Remembrance of someone!
Week 3 – Repentance
Week 3, each day focus on repenting. The Bible tells us “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”(NIV) The Apostle John says, “if we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.” (NIV) This third week is a perfect time to acknowledge sin and repent. Ask Jesus to forgive. He will. “If we confess our sins, he…will forgive us our sins and purify us....” (NIV)
King David understood and wrote, “For You do not desire sacrifice, or else I would give it…The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and a contrite heart.”(NKJV) David was called a man after God’s own heart. Yes, we all sin, but He is quick to forgive if we confess.
Week 3 is a perfect time to repent and receive His forgiveness. Repent of something specific this week!
Week 4 – Reconciliation
Week 4, each day focus on those with whom you need reconciliation. Before Jesus went to the Cross, He prayed for His believers. He prayed we would be unified.NKJV, “…that they may be made perfect in one.”
As we prepare for the Easter celebration, we are mindful of Jesus. “…God, with undeserved kindness, declares that we are righteous. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins.”(NKJV)
Week 4 is a perfect time to reconcile, make peace with God, yourself, your enemy or anyone who has caused conflict. Find someone specific and seek Reconciliation this week.
Week 5 – Reverence
Week 5, is a perfect time to attend Holy Week Services beginning with Palm Sunday.
Palm Sunday commemorates Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem. Tenebrae is a service known for its gradual extinguishing of candles as a series of readings and psalms are read. Maundy Thursday commemorates the Last Supper, where Christ prepares His disciples for what will happen including His betrayal, Peter’s denial and His death and resurrection. Good Friday commemorates the crucifixion of Jesus and His death. Holy Saturday is the day between Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection. After sundown, the time is known as Easter Vigil. Many churches spend this solemn time in prayer, thought and reflection.
Week 5 is a perfect time to experience each service, ignite a fire and inspire a deepened relationship with our Heavenly Father. Experience Reverence for our Lord Jesus Christ!
Copyright © 2017 Anne Ferrell Tata. Used by permission.
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