"Preach the gospel at all times, if necessary use words." - St. Francis of Assisi

Saturday, March 08, 2014

Day 5 – First Sunday of Lent

“And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, He then became hungry…” Matthew 4:2

  After Jesus’ baptism, we read that he left the Jordan River and went to an area of wilderness to spend time in fasting and prayer. After that period, Satan came to tempt him. Part of the Lent season is traditionally spent in some type of fast, or denying some degree of sustenance in order to be reminded not only of this period in Jesus’ life, but also of his pain and suffering at the end of his life. Traditionally, a Lenten fast is no meat on Ash Wednesday, Good Friday and all Fridays in between. Other days may consist of one large regular meal, and a couple of very small meals. In addition to this, one may decide to totally give up something precious (like chocolate, coffee, soft drinks, or other items) in order to use the recurring desire for these items as a reminder for prayer or service.
   The Scripture above tells us that after the 40 day and night period, Jesus was hungry. Some translations use the word famished. Ya think, Skippy? I mean, Jesus was human and spending that long a period of denial affected him greatly. For me, the phrase “affect me greatly” is not even in the ballpark. I would be begging for food and drink from the first person I saw, and would have no qualms about selling my family and friends in order to get it. I would be beyond grumpy and snarky with hunger; whining and crying at one moment, lying in a fetal position under the nearest rock the next. Yes, in times of crisis, I tend to curl into a ball behind and under things.
  Folks, after period of time when we are strongly following God, tuning in to Him, seeking Him, Satan will be busting at the seams to get us back in his hands. You may have heard of the mountain top to the valley experience. Satan knows to strike us when we are weakest. At our point of the greatest weakness. If we are trying to limit our time on Facebook, chat rooms, dating sites, etc., Satan may easily begin using those same sites to lure us back to inappropriate places. If we are trying to stay away from movies, TV shows and music, Satan is going to be lurking behind that one movie that we just have to see, and we get sucked back in. God’s power is all-powerful. More than Satan. More than anything. However, Satan is powerful, also. He will wait until our weakest moments and whisper quietly, “yoo-hoo…let’s go over there and do that….it’s okay…we’ll have fun. Plus, everybody else is there, too.” You go, try it, and unless you can react as Jesus did in his temptations, you lose the battle.  

  During this season of Lent, I am trying to further purify my life. Input = Output. Be more aware of my environments and what enters my mind and body.  My body = God’s temple. I am diabetic and also have liver disease. I know how I should eat, but don’t always do it. I know I should exercise, but don’t always do it. Satan uses my weaknesses of food to wreck God’s temple inside me. I have to do better. I need accountability. Prayer. Accountability. God’s strength in the face of temptation. (as I yearn for that bag of crunchy Cheeto’s mixed with FunYuns in the kitchen…..don’t judge me until you try them). I urge you to work on staying strong in the face of temptation as you travel this journey of God’s Love and as a new heart is being created in you. 

  And for today my friends, this has been the gospel according to Jimmy.


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