In HOPE

  In HOPE 7.4                                  back to home                        David Timms

Resources for Lent 

If Lent is new to you, or you've never grasped the significance behind it, I'd be glad to provide additional short resources. These include:
a) In HOPE 6.7 "Lent 2006";
b) In HOPE 5.4 "Lent 2005" -- you can access both of these in the Archives (see below);
c) an article I wrote for The LOOKOUT magazine, published March 5, 2006 "Fasting for Lent: What Can We Learn From This Ancient Tradition"; and
d) a one-page Word document that gives some basic background information. If any of these would assist you in your own Lenten experience, just email me (djtimms@hiu.edu) and I can forward them to you.

Hope Happenings

Discover Hope, Spring Preview Day 2007 is scheduled for March 15. This provides a great opportunity for prospective undergraduate students to share in campus-life for a day and get a taste of the University. Please join us in praying for those who attend, that the Lord will clarify his leading in their hearts.

Hope International University
Fullerton  CA  92831

"The path to the buffet table and the path to sanctification lie in opposite directions."


Lent 2007

Yesterday, millions of Christians around the world observed Ash Wednesday. It marks the start of Lent -- the six weeks leading up to Easter.

Lent (literally, "Spring") dates back perhaps as far as 325 AD. It re-enacts the 40 days of fasting that Christ endured before His ministry, and it gives us an annual reminder of the excesses in our own lives that may hinder us from a deeper walk with God.

Sundays throughout Lent are always "resurrection days" and exempt from the fast, which is why the period actually extends 46 days (until Easter Sunday, April 8).

For nearly 1700 years, believers have observed this fasting period. Why?

Perhaps for some it is simply tradition. They grew up keeping Lent, and still do. Others perhaps feel pressure to conform. Everyone around them participates in Lent, so they should too.

But little is gained by rote observances. The Lord once said of Israel: "This people draw near with their words and honor Me with their lip service, but they remove their hearts far from Me, and their reverence for Me consists of tradition learned by rote...." (Isaiah 29.13).

Lent ought not be a "tradition learned by rote," though it can easily slip into that rut. Instead, it gives us a fresh opportunity for Spring-cleaning of the soul.

Sin blocks our spiritual arteries. Comfort and materialism blind our spiritual senses. The habit of instant-gratification dulls our spiritual sensitivity. Lent provides a tonic for each affliction.

We resolve not simply to abstain from something (chocolate, sweets, meat, fish, dairy, eggs, television, whatever) but to use this fast as a trigger to deal with deeper issues. Just when we think that we'll die if we can't get that soft-drink into us, we realize that we are spiritually dying because we haven't worked to get other things out of us.

We don't fast to impress God; we fast to confront our corruption and discover Him in deeper ways.

There's nothing magical about 40 days. Biblically, the number represents a season of testing, but the Lord doesn't dock points for late-starters or non-finishers.

Perhaps something will resonate within you today to join with literally millions of other Christ-followers in this season of spiritual focus and renewal. After the excesses of Christmas and New Year, Lent offers valuable purging and transforming possibilities. 

In HOPE -

David

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For back issues of "In HOPE" (2005-2007) go to http://www.hiu.edu/inhope/.

David Timms serves in the Graduate Ministry Department at Hope International University in Fullerton, California. "In HOPE", however, is not an official publication of the University and the views expressed are not necessarily those of the Administrators or Board of the institution. "In HOPE" has been a regular e-publication since January, 2001.