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Denying Self

Today’s Reflection

Let’s start planning for Lent now. 
Why wait until March 6th?

DURING LENT, we talk of self-examination and “giving up something.” To those who are unfamiliar with these practices, Lent may sound like a Christian self-improvement season. We focus on bad things we need to eliminate from our lives. We replace our normal greeting, “The Peace of Christ be with you,” with the Lenten alternative, “So what are you giving up this year?” We confess and examine our lives. We talk about our struggles, the times we fail to keep our Lenten disciplines. Lent may seem composed of difficult tasks we endure to get to Easter, dues paid to attend the sunrise service.

Do we focus on ourselves too much in Lent? Have we lost sight of how our Lenten practices are meant to draw us closer to God?

—Max O. Vincent
Because of This I Rejoice

From pages 13-14 of Because of This I Rejoice: Reading Philippians During Lent by Max O. Vincent. Copyright © 2018 by The Upper Room. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Upper Room Books.Learn more about or purchase this book.

Today’s Question

Lent begins on March 6. What spiritual practice can you plan to draw you closer to God this year? Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

Make my joy complete.
—Philippians 2:2, NRSV

This Week: pray for someone beginning a good habit. Submit your prayer to The Upper Room Living Prayer Center or share it in the comment section.

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Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

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{ 3 comments… add one }

  • Jill January 12, 2019, 5:09 am

    It seems like such a struggle for me to consider March 6th. My mind says – who knows where things will stand with mom come that time. The Spirit within whispers – God does. It seems my calendar is now focused on the next meeting with the oncologist – so all things point towards February 13. And, yet, even that can change in the blink of an eye. As we “monitor” mom these next few days, we could find ourselves back in his office next week. God says to me – you like your rhythmic/ritual life – but I am calling the shots – release yourself from your schedule and trust in Me. I like to think that I am, but it is easy to recognize I am not.
    I treasure your prayers for both of my parents, as well as myself. Dad still isn’t feeling up to par. He finally admitted he should see the doctor yesterday – but the doctor isn’t in on Fridays. He is managing with OTC meds, but likely needs something stronger. We shall see what today brings.
    Our tight little community here seems to have its concerns currently…prayers of soothing and healing for Andrea’s deep hurt; for Betsy’s brother, as well as the anticipation of a new addition to the family; for Julie and Megan’s continued perseverance; for Marcy’s noticeable absence. Yes, Father – You hold us all in Your sure hands. Thank You for the encouragement we find here, for positivity and wisdom.

  • robert moeller January 12, 2019, 6:28 am

    I will give up an activity, but I will also add an activity. By this I mean not doing something for myself, but also doing something for others. I think doing this denies myself in two ways.

    Prayers for Julie, thankful for her diligent and encompassing prayers. May her hands and foot be comforted, peace come to her with the resolution of her
    circumstances, and may her daughter, Megan, find a job.

    Prayers for Gloria, that through this valley she will find God and know that this journey is not over. Prayers for Larry through this valley and a recivery from the cold he has. Blessings to both Jill and Becky as they do God’s will .

    Prayers for Marcy and Mary. I pray for Marcy’s healing, recovery, resources, and health insurance, thankful that Mary is with her. Thank You, Lord, for Mary, strengthen her and lift her up . Peace and comfort to Marcy and Mary.
    In about two weeks I’ll be at a huge train show in West Springfield MA manning the Central Vermont Railway Historical Society Booth.

    Prayers for Andrea, her daughter, grandson, son-in-law, and Lowell. Prayers that Lowell’s ankle is getting better.

    Prayers for Betsy, Grace, Kelsey, Betsy’s brother, the baby on the way or newly born. God is with you.

    Prayers for Mary, her sister Molly, their parents, Mary’s work and her classes.

    Cold here today, -8 under mostly clear skies, going up to 4, and back to -8.
    Not sure if we will have a hike this morning with these temps.

    Thank You, Lord, for the blessings of the day. God’s peace to all of you.

  • Julie January 12, 2019, 8:01 am

    I always try to add something that will enhance my spiritual understanding or discipline. I would also like to try to add something that will further the Lord’s kingdom, such as random acts of kindness. I will have to contemplate this.
    Prayers for Jill as she challenges her comfort zone to care for her parents. Prayers for Larry’s recovery as colds in older people can easily develop into something serious. Prayers for Gloria’s health and may she rally and do better.
    Prayers for Robert and Erich and may God guide them. There is a big train show here in Pittsburgh this weekend. Thay are having every train size represented. One is so small the entire display fits in a suitcase!
    Prayers for Marcy, may we hear from her soon. Prayers for Mary as she travels to her many clients, may she be safe.
    Prayers for Connie, may her heart be well.
    Prayers for Andrea and Lowell as they both start PT, may it help both recover.
    Prayers for Betsy and her family. May her brother receive his siblings help gratefully and may they recognize that it is frustrating to rely on others.
    Prayers for Lou and may God guide her youngest child as she searches for a college.
    Prayers for Mary and her family, may they enjoy one another’s company.
    Prayers dear UR family and thank you for your prayers for me

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