Celebrating Lent Through The Book of Matthew

Reading through the Gospel of Matthew is an excellent way to prepare your heart for Easter, and this visual bible from Alabaster Co. can help you do just that.

Welcome to Lenten season friends! Regardless of whether or not you celebrate it, the 40 days before Easter, immediately following Mardi Gras is here. We’ve danced, we’ve partied, and now it’s time for us to prepare our hearts for the somewhat solemn, yet redeeming and victorious act of God.

My experience with Lent has varied over the years. I grew up celebrating it, and continue to do it until this day. In the past few years, though, I have changed my thinking about these 40 days to be more about giving something up with the intent of becoming closer and closer to God. 

And for the record, one of the most controversial conversations I have had in Christians circles about Lent go a little something like this:

“Toni, what is Lent?” It’s the season of preparation, fasting, and consecration of our hearts and minds during the 40 days preceding Easter. 

“I didn’t know you were Catholic.” I’m not, more than Catholics celebrate Lent.

“Like who?” Like Methodists. I was Methodist for about 15 years before I joined the church I’m at now. Lent is a thing in the Methodist Church.

“I don’t think you’re right, Toni. Only Catholics celebrate Lent.” I can also tell you that I grew up in a non-denominational church like the one I attend now. We celebrated Lent.

“No. You didn’t” Ummmm….okay. But I learned about it from somewhere and I think it was from my Mama.”

Did I mention this was the conversation in Christian circles?
Continue reading “Celebrating Lent Through The Book of Matthew”

Change the World in 2019

Every year it never fails. We set out to make changes, do things, and go to places that will make us better people. The resolutions, the healthy diets, the workout regimens, and the fasting are just a few ways that we try to accomplish these things.

While I usually subscribe to the improving myself philosophy and jump on the bandwagon January 1, this year I wanted to do something different. I want the changes I make not only benefit me, but I also want them to benefit others as much as possible. Continue reading “Change the World in 2019”

High School Theology

This is a sponsored post that includes affiliate links. All opinions are mine.

 

When I was in the 9th  grade, the seniors were absolutely  amazing. There was nothing they couldn’t do. 12th  grade boys were tall, handsome, and oh so knowledgeable about life. 12th  grade girls were intelligent, funny, stylish, and friendly.

They were who I wanted to be.

In my adult years, I’ve realized something fun and interesting. The same affinity that I had for the Class of 1987 years ago still exists today. Maybe it’s the  assuredness  about life they exude now that they are grown adults; maybe it’s the calm and insightful parenting techniques I’ve seen them employ; maybe it’s  the very human challenge to balance work and family that I know they encounter every day.

They have a certain knack;  a persona if you will, that I sense almost immediately.

Sound silly? Maybe, but it’s definitely true.

In the same way, older women  are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not slaves to excessive drinking. They are to teach what is good, so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands and to love their children,5 to be self-controlled, pure, workers at home, kind, and in submission  to their husbands, so that God’s word will not be slandered.

Titus 2:3-5

While my love for seniors has never waned, I can’t say I feel that same affinity and celebrate the successes for all women. And as a Christian, shouldn’t I? Continue reading “High School Theology”

Choose To Love

It was a unexpected conversation with a friend. We both wanted make the world a better place and ensure we are living up to God’s desires for our lives, but we weren’t really sure if we were doing it.  We talked about all the signs we had seen, our spiritual gifts. the need we felt to serve others, and the calling on our hearts. The best way I can explain it is that we each felt called to make the world better, to be better, and to do better.  But we had absolutely no idea what that was. For me, it was exciting and strange at the same time – especially since I had no clue what we were supposed to be doing to acheive this goal. For my friend, it was just weird. And different. And strange. And that led us to an interesting conversation with two simple questions.

Is love a feeling or a decision?

The bottom line was that we knew if God placed the same feeling on our hearts, then the very least we could do is explore them and carry out His wishes. Especially since it led to the conversation where we discovered we both had the same bit of confusion about love. And for the record, we are not talking about hearts, roses, and candies that are associated with Valentine’s Day. We are talking about unconditional, agape love. The kind we are commanded to have in hearts. Yes, commanded.

Continue reading “Choose To Love”