Holidays (Other)

40 Things to Give Up for Lent

Originally published March 3, 2017

40-lent

Although, as a Louisiana girl, I’ve had a decades long love affair with king cake, and I totally support the increased availability of fish entrées at local restaurants and getting a few days off school or work, I’m not a big fan of Mardi Gras and Lent.

The intrinsic philosophy behind Mardi Gras – a day of revelry, indulgence, and debauchery to get it all out of your system before you have to start “being good” for Lent – is patently unbiblical.

The practice of Lent often is, as well. Lent is the forty day period, beginning with Ash Wednesday and ending with Easter Sunday, observed by Catholics and some Protestants. Originally, it was simply a time of fasting, prayer, and worship in anticipation of Easter, and for Christians who continue to observe it this way, it can be a valuable and meaningful time of respite and renewal with the Lord.

For many, however, Lent – particularly the aspect of giving something up for Lent in an act of self-denial – is nothing more than an empty religious ritual, or worse, works righteousness. Giving something up for Lent because, “I’m Catholic and that’s what good Catholics do,” or to atone for your sins, or to curry favor with God, or to flaunt your self-righteousness flies in the face of grace alone, faith alone, Christ alone biblical Christianity.

If you give something up for Lent, why do you do so? If it’s for one of the aforementioned unbiblical reasons (or others), or even if you don’t observe Lent at all, I’d like to challenge us all to give up the things below for Lent:

1. Give up Lent for Lent.

2. Give up attending any church that requires the observance of Lent in a sacramental way and find a doctrinally sound one.

3. Give up thinking your good behavior earns you right standing with God.

4. Give up the idea that there’s any such thing as truly good behavior.

5. Give up thinking your good deeds could ever outweigh your sins.

6. Give up willfully indulging in sin as long as you “make up for it” later.

7. Give up the notion that penance or self-denial can pay for your sins.

8. Give up thinking that penance or self-denial curries favor with God.

9. Give up the idea that repentance and obedience belong to a certain season on the calendar. We are to walk in repentance every day.

10. Give up the concept that Christmas and Easter are Christian “high holy days.” We celebrate Christ’s incarnation and resurrection every Sunday, and should prepare ourselves all during the week. Every Sunday is a high holy day for the Christian.

11. Give up rote participation in church rituals. Search the Scriptures and see if they’re biblical first.

12. Give up thinking God concerns Himself strictly with your external behavior rather than the condition of your heart.

13. Give up “sounding a trumpet before you” with humblebrags on social media and in real life about giving things up for Lent, fasting, giving offerings, or any other good works you might do. You just lost your reward, baby.

14. Give up approaching church attendance as punching the time clock for God. The Christian’s entire life, our very beings, belong to Christ, not just a couple of hours on Sunday.

15. Give up the delusion that you’re basically a good person. You’re not.

16. Give up biblical ignorance and become a good student of God’s word.

17. Give up forsaking the assembly and become a faithful, serving member of your local church.

18. Give up thinking that everyone and everything that calls itself “Christian” actually is.

19. Give up the desire to have your itching ears scratched and long for the truth of God’s word. Even when it’s hard to hear.

20. Give up neglecting the daily study of God’s word.

21. Give up rejecting parts of the Bible you don’t agree with. We don’t sit in judgment over Scripture. Scripture sits in judgment over us.

22. Give up neglecting your prayer life.

23. Give up making excuses for failing to memorize Scripture. You can do it!

24. Give up being a non-serving member of your church.

25. Give up being a non-giving member of your church.

26. Give up thinking you’re hearing God speak to you. If you want to hear God speak to you, open your Bible and study it. God has spoken in His word and many are largely ignoring what He has already said.

27. Give up following false teachers and be a good Berean.

28. Give up being afraid to share the gospel and just do it.

29. Give up thinking you can please God apart from faith in Christ.

30. Give up basing your doctrine and beliefs on your own (or anyone else’s) opinions, experiences, and feelings, and base them on correctly handled Scripture instead.

31. Give up following your wicked and deceitful heart, take up your cross daily, and follow Christ.

32. Give up thinking you have to do big things for God in order for Him to be pleased with you and “aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands.”

33. Give up worrying and trust God.

34. Give up neglecting to fear God’s wrath if you don’t know Christ.

35. Give up fearing God’s wrath if you do know Christ.

36. Give up the idea that “God is love” means God is a pushover who won’t judge you.

37. Give up thinking you’ve been so bad that God could never forgive you.

38. Give up thinking you’re so good that you don’t need God to forgive you.

39. Give up refusing to forgive others when Christ has forgiven you so much.

40. Give up everything and be saved by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, and walk in His ways, all the days of your life, to the glory of God alone.

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Holidays (Other), Mailbag

The Mailbag: Mardi Gras, Ash Wednesday, and Lent

Originally published March 4, 2019

 

What are Mardi Gras, Ash Wednesday, and Lent? Are they biblical? Should Christians participate in them?

If you don’t live in Louisiana or a heavily Catholic area, maybe you’re not very familiar with these observances. Let’s take a look at each of them:

What is…

Lent- Lent is a forty day period (not counting Sundays) leading up to Easter. It is observed by Catholics and some Protestants. Historically, it is supposed to be a period of repentance, penance, fasting, and self-denial. The aspect of Lent that people tend to be most familiar with is the idea of giving something up (self-denial/penance) for Lent such as watching TV, chocolate, smoking, or eating meat.

What is the meaning of Lent? at Got Questions

What is Lent? at 40 Acts*

Ash Wednesday Ash Wednesday is the first day of Lent. Ashes are applied to the forehead in the shape of a cross to indicate repentance and that the recipient will begin the Lenten fast. Ash Wednesday is primarily observed by Catholics and some Protestants.

What is Ash Wednesday? at Got Questions

Ash Wednesday at Catholic Online*

Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday) Mardi Gras is the day before Ash Wednesday. It has its roots in Shrove Tuesday, which was originally a day of feasting on all of the foods that were forbidden during Lent so these foods would not spoil or go to waste since they could not be eaten again until after Easter. Through the years, this day of feasting has morphed into drunken revelry – sort of a “last hoorah” for getting all the sin out of your system before you have to start “being good” for Lent. In Louisiana (and a few other places), it is much more a cultural holiday than a religious observance. People from various religions as well as non-religious people participate in Mardi Gras. It is celebrated with numerous parades, balls, and other festivities. The colors of Mardi Gras are purple (representing justice), green (representing faith), and gold (representing power).

What is the origin of Fat Tuesday / Mardi Gras? at Got Questions

Mardi Gras History at Mardi Gras New Orleans*

Are these days/observances biblical?

Lent Yes and no. Mostly no. The fundamental components of Lent – repentance, fasting, and the pursuit of holiness – are biblical. Repentance and holy living should be practiced by all Christians every day, and biblical fasting as the Holy Spirit convicts the individual Believer.

However, Lent is not mentioned or even hinted at in the Bible, and any Catholic observance (of Lent or anything else) is fundamentally unbiblical because the Catholic religion itself is unbiblical. It is also unbiblical for a church to require that its members observe a man-made religious ritual or to imply or teach that participating in this ritual earns favor with God or absolves or makes up for sin. Furthermore, to teach that there is a special time of the year set aside for repentance and holiness is unbiblical. Christians are to walk in holiness and repentance every day.

Ash Wednesday Again, yes and no. Mostly no, and for most of the same reasons Lent is generally unbiblical. The fundamental components of Ash Wednesday – repentance of sin and the pursuit of holiness – are biblical and should be practiced by all Christians every day.

In addition to the unbiblical facets of Lent, Ash Wednesday’s forehead ashes “disfigure[s] their faces that their fasting may be seen by others” which is the exact opposite of the humble way Christ teaches us to fast.

Mardi Gras No. The drunkenness, sin, and lasciviousness that go along with typical Mardi Gras celebrations are patently unbiblical as is the idea of getting all the sin out of our systems before we have to start being good. The Bible teaches against these things.

Should Christians participate in…

Lent Catholic observances of Lent – no. Some doctrinally sound churches and individuals freely choose to set aside a time of biblical fasting, prayer, and worship in anticipation of Easter. For Christians who observe Lent in this way, as long as it is observed in keeping with Scriptural principles, it can be a valuable and meaningful time of respite and renewal with the Lord just as it could if observed at any other time of the year.

Ash Wednesday No. It is unbiblical, as cited above.

Mardi Gras Christians should not participate in any sinful activities any day of the year, including Mardi Gras, nor believe or portray to others by their actions, the unbiblical “theology” behind Mardi Gras. (And as a non-theological aside, violent crime in New Orleans during Mardi Gras has made attending Mardi Gras parades and other events very dangerous.)

However, as I mentioned, in Louisiana, Mardi Gras has become much more of a cultural holiday than an observance with religious undertones. Many smaller towns (and even some larger ones) eschew the debauchery that takes place in New Orleans and offer family-friendly parades which are basically as innocuous as our local Christmas parades or a Fourth of July fireworks show. For Christians who have worked and prayed through the appropriate biblical principles and whose consciences allow them to participate in non-sinful Mardi Gras activities such as attending these types of parades, I believe this is an issue of adiaphora (Christian liberty) similar to participating in non-sinful aspects of Halloween. (Don’t forget to take along some tracts to hand out!)


*Other than the linked article, I am not familiar with this site/organization and do not endorse it if it deviates from Scripture or any of my beliefs as outlined in the “Welcome” or “Statement of Faith” tabs at the top of this page.


If you have a question about: a Bible passage, an aspect of theology, a current issue in Christianity, or how to biblically handle a family, life, or church situation, comment below (I’ll hold all questions in queue {unpublished} for a future edition of The Mailbag) or send me an e-mail or private message. If your question is chosen for publication, your anonymity will be protected.

Holidays (Other), New Year's

Info., Reminders, and Announcements for the New Year

 

Happy New Year! I hope you had a lovely holiday with family and friends and that Christ has blessed you with rest and worship.

As we get things kicked off for the new year here on the blog, I wanted to share some information, reminders, and announcements with you.

🎉 Are you new to my blog? Here’s some quick info. to help you get acclimated.

🎉 If my blog and resources have been helpful to you and you’d like to bless my family with a gift, please click here. Your kindness and generosity are greatly appreciated.

If you’ve utilized my Financial Support page (tab at the top of this page, link in sidebar) in the past, you’ll notice I’ve added an option for Patreon. Just to make things a little more fun, you get to “vote with your pocketbook” on which teacher I’ll be writing a discernment article on next when you sign up for your preferred tier of monthly giving.

🎉 If you don’t already follow one or more of my social media pages, come join in the fellowship! Here are all of my social media links.

🎉 Lord willing and the creek don’t rise, I’m planning to start our new Bible study – an expository study of a New Testament book – on Wednesday, January 15.

🎉 Also resuming soon will be Project Breakdown. I’ve finished volume 1, so it’s on to volume 2!

🎉 Are you listening to A Word Fitly Spoken yet? Amy and I would love for you to join us on your favorite podcast platform.

🎉 Need a speaker for a women’s conference, retreat, or other event? Looking for a guest for your podcast? I still have slots available on my calendar for 2020. Click here for more information.

🎉 And speaking of conferences, how would you like to attend a conference I’ll be speaking at? Check out my speaking engagement calendar and register at a conference near you!

🎉 Would you be interested in writing for me? Write a guest post about a biblical topic or an area of ministry you’re passionate about, or write up your personal testimony of how the Lord saved you or how He has been working in your life for Testimony Tuesday. Interested? Drop me an e-mail and let’s chat about it.

🎉 Would anyone be interested in helping me out on a small project? It’s basically the blog equivalent of helping me sort through a file cabinet and move some of the files to another cabinet. You don’t have to have any special theological knowledge, and the only technical knowledge you need to have is the ability to navigate a website and the ability to send me a few emails. It should only take a few hours and can be done at your leisure. If interested, drop me an email and I’ll fill you in.

Thank you so much for your loyal readership and the kind words so many of you have encouraged me with. You are such a blessing to me, and it is my honor to serve you through writing and resources. May we all strive to please our Lord Jesus Christ together in 2020, and may this be the year of His coming.

Christmas, Holidays (Other)

Holy Holidays: 90 Christian-Owned Businesses to Support while You Christmas Shop

It’s (almost) Black Friday! Time to shop til you drop…into your favorite comfy chair, fire up ye olde internet, and check out the deals at these businesses owned by some of your brothers and sisters in Christ.

There’s nothing wrong with shopping at a big box store that’s advertising great deals  or supporting the mom and pop shop down the street, but if you see something you like for a good price at one of these online stores, why not throw a little business to family? Galatians 6:10 says:

So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.

See an opportunity? Grab it and do good to someone in the household of faith.

all the disclaimers:

🎄 Here’s how this list came about: I put out a general call on my Facebook page saying that I wanted to put this article together and asked for people to recommend Christian-owned businesses. Well, you know how things on social media get shared around to a friend of a friend and aunt Myrtle’s third cousin’s step-nephew’s veterinarian. So what I’m saying is, while the people who recommended or own these businesses say that these are Christian-owned businesses, I can’t vouch for the actual, day to day spiritual state of any of the recommenders or owners. I’ve checked out each web site as best I can to make sure none of them promote anything unbiblical (giving the benefit of the doubt when possible – these are gifts, not sermons), but I can’t tell you whether or not Stan of “Stan’s Snow Shovels” is a faithful member of his local church.

•If the theology of the business owner is extremely important to you, I urge you to contact him/her directly to inquire before making your purchase.

•I would strongly encourage you to thoroughly vet the theology of any Christian author or musician listed below whose book, music, or other materials you’re considering purchasing.

🎄 These are Christian-owned businesses, but the products they make are not all necessarily “Christian” (i.e. they don’t all have Bible verses or Christian sayings on them).

🎄 Take the category listings below loosely. If you’re looking for something specific, take a look at as many of these businesses as you can, because most of them carry more than one type of product (ex: jewelry and wall art, apparel and home decor). I’ve tried to categorize them according to the main product type they sell, but many are quite eclectic. You might find the coffee mug you’re looking for under the “apparel” category.

🎄 Several of these businesses are carried over from last year’s article. A few of them seem as though they may have taken a hiatus (i.e. no social media posts for months). Check with the owner to make sure she’s still in business, and if you find out that she’s definitely not, please let me know so I can remove the business.

🎄 Some of these businesses are based outside the U.S. Be aware of this with regard to shipping costs, time, etc. when ordering.

 

A Faith Creation

Bates Sisters Boutique

Cordoba Leather

Epiphany Boutique

Hadley’s Crafts

Handmade By Nats

Studio T

SunnyPatch Boutique

Babies/Kids/Maternity/Nursing

A Great Baby

His Kids Company

Little Bears Crochet Den

Miranda Williams Custom Gowns

Prairie Sweater Co.

SewBlessedFarm

Threadlynn

 

Dapper and Darling

Hope Ink

Mariah Hatfield

Parvis Florum

Rebecca Lynne Kinane

 

Go Forth Goods

GW Tactical

Knightly Krafts

Lila’s Laundry

Tatted Lace by Hannah Grace

 

(See “Music and Audio” category for Christian music and audio.)

Banner of Truth

Books by Corine

Christian Tools of Affirmation

Crew + Co.

Crossway

Eternal Gift Store

Grace & Truth Books

Grace to You

Gospel Grown

Initially Blessed

Inspired by Jennifer

Inspiritional Design

Light of Faith Resources

Ligonier

Little Things Studio

Living Waters

Love in Faith Clothing

Missional Wear

New Growth Press

Not Consumed

Raising Real Men

Scripture Type

SDG Clothing

Six Notes Clothing Co.

Sola Gratia

Solid Ground Christian Books

Theology & Co.

Westminster Bookstore

Wrath and Grace

Wretched

 

Five Lakes Coffee

Reformed Roasters

 

Beaded by Rae

Chapter and Verse Studios

Copperhead Creek Studio

Created For His Glory

C. Schreier Designs

Eight22 Crafts

HannerBea

Prairie Homegoods

Table Decor and More

Handlettered Truth

The Little French Market

 

Be Blessed Endeavours

Blessed Hope Nepal

The Dream Corner Shop

Girl Ran Away

Pretty Little Bouquets

Sweet Lemon Art

Tabitha Artisans

 

Gum Creek Boards

 

(*=NOT Christian music/audio)

Jonathan Park Audio Adventures

Laura Saeler

Leah*

Majesty Music

Seeds Family Worship

The Victory Trio

 

Butterflyers

Fireside Cottage Gifts

Lyndsey Draws Co.

ROC Paper Scissors

 

Blossom’s Barn

Horse Creek Soap Co.

Zambeezi

 

Daisy’s Barking Bandana

🎄🎄🎄🎄🎄🎄🎄🎄🎄🎄🎄🎄🎄🎄🎄🎄🎄🎄🎄🎄🎄🎄🎄🎄

🎄 Can’t find what you need here? Amazon has a great program called Amazon Smile. It allows you to designate a charity that will receive a percentage of every purchase you make. There are scads of Christian organizations to choose from: churches (maybe even yours!), ministries, missions organizations, pro-life organizations, and others.

🎄 Check out Tim Challies’ Black Friday 2019 Deals for Christians.

🎄 Want to explore more Christian businesses? Try the Christian Business Referral Network for a wide variety of products and services.


What’s your favorite Christian-owned online business for Christmas gifts?

Comment below (please include the business’ website)
and maybe it will be included on next year’s list.

(No multi-level marketing type businesses
– ex: Pampered Chef, essential oils, Tupperware – please.)

Holidays (Other), Thanks/Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving!

For those of us in the United States, today is Thanksgiving Day. I hope you all have a lovely day with family and friends giving thanks to God for all of the ways He has blessed you.

I’ve got a great list of Christian-owned online businesses coming your way this evening (5 p.m. Central) as we start thinking about Christmas shopping, so be sure to check in here at the blog before you head out to the stores for Black Friday.

See you next week, and Happy Thanksgiving!