Lent – Fasting 2018

Lent & Fasting 2018WHAT IS LENT?

Lent is the span of time in the church calendar that starts with Ash Wednesday and ends with Easter Sunday.  Ash Wednesday commemorates the beginning of Jesus’ 40-day fasting and his temptation in the desert, while Easter Sunday commemorates Jesus’ resurrection from the grave after his crucifixion.  Lent is generally observed as a time for Christians to reflect, repent, and pray as a way of preparing their hearts for Resurrection.

Lent as we know it today did not exist in the early years of the church, and it only came to be due to growing acceptance of Christianity toward the end of the Roman Empire.   It is commonly observed by many Christian denominations—Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran, and others—although not every Christian church or denomination does so.  Because Lent is not officially instituted in Scripture, observing it is not in any way a “requirement” of Christianity.  However, Christians from many different theological persuasions choose to observe it as a way of focusing their thoughts on Jesus Christ leading up to Resurrection Sunday.

FASTING

Fasting is a spiritual discipline where the practitioner desires to hear from God.   The practice of fasting is mentioned numerous times in the Bible as a reaction to various circumstances.  We see from the biblical examples that fasting should be used as a means to humble ourselves before God and seek His forgiveness, comfort, help, guidance, strength and His will. Fasting allows us to draw closer to God.

The Bible also gives instructions about the attitude and approach we should have in fasting. Jesus warned about hypocritical fasting, trying to show off or make others feel sorry for us (Matthew 6:16-17). Instead we should not “appear to men to be fasting, but to your Father who is in the secret place” (verse 18). Isaiah also contrasts selfish fasting with godly fasting marked by care and concern for others (Isaiah 58:3-10).  Fasting was an act of repentance, as when the king of Nineveh ordered a fast after the preaching of Jonah (Jonah 3:5-9).  Fasting was also a reaction to intense grief, as when the bones of Saul and his sons were buried (1 Samuel 31:13). We also find people fasting when God’s deliverance was needed, as when Jehoshaphat was approached by a large invading army (2 Chronicles 20:3).

“Fasting” as it’s practiced by Christians during Lent implies abstention from certain foods, actions, or activities (technology, sporting events, etc).  The Lenten fast entails a general spirit of repentance and piety that might distinguish it from other periods of the year.

You are encouraged to join us in a SACRIFICIAL FAST beginning February 14 (Ash Wednesday).  Choose your personal area of spiritual sacrifice.  Your personal sacrifice may include adhering to the Daniel Fast, minimizing the use of technology/television/media, participation in social outings, eliminating non-essential spending, and etc.

PRAYER

During Lent, Christians are encouraged to pray more regularly, meditate, recite devotionals, and read Scripture.

You are encouraged to join us DAILY (Sunday through Saturday) for our 6:00AM morning prayer call.  To access the call dial 530-881-1212, then enter 291359153# when prompted.

____________

The choice to observe Lent is a personal one—the whole point is to focus your heart and mind on the sacrifice made by Jesus.  There is no requirement to observe LENT but if you do be prepared for a level of intimacy with God you have never known!

Click HERE for our FASTING & PRAYER GUIDE Part 1

Click HERE for our FASTING & PRAYER GUIDE Part 2 (will be available soon)

Click here for Daniel Fast Guide

About efreeman@sjbcfamily.com

Comments are closed.