Monthly Archives: February 2012

Ulimate Choice. Day 7/40

The Ultimate Choice | DAY 7 of 40 (LENT)

Where will I live?
How will I work?
Whom will I marry, if I marry?

These are pretty significant choices that determine the direction of our lives. BIG decisions!

But there is ONE choice that is even more important than these:
A choice that we face every single day; sometimes, multiple times a day.
THIS choice forms the foundation for all other choices.

What is it?
What’s our ultimate choice?

I believe it’s unpacked in our look at the final test described in Matthew 4.
For a RECAP of the first 2 tests, go to:
Day 2: “A Beautiful Test?”
Day 6: “Would You Jump?”

DAY 7: The Ultimate Choice

Background: MATTHEW 4:1-11

The last test that Jesus is put to in the wilderness is “Who will He worship?”
That is the same test that we each face daily. “Who will we worship?”

Who or what we worship determines ever other decision we make in life.

What is worship?
When we think of the word “worship”, we often imagine a group of Christians, standing with outstretched arms toward heaven, singing love songs to God. But that word “worship” in Matthew 4:9, doesn’t mean “standing” at all. In the original Greek, it means the opposite. It means “bowing”. It means “to prostrate oneself”. To prostrate means to cast yourself face down on the ground in humility or adoration.

True worship requires a posture of prostration. Literally, it means we are face down on the floor. Doesn’t get any lower than that!

Daily, who are we laying down for?

Looks like there are two distinct choices, a throw back to the cosmic battle between Good and Evil. We all identify. That’s why we’ve catapulted films like “Star Wars” and “Lord of the Rings” to blockbuster status. There is clearly a struggle between Good and Evil, and we instinctively rejoice when Good wins!

God created each one of us with an internal worship vacuum, but He doesn’t MAKE us worship Him. He allows us to choose. He even allows us to be tested, as Jesus was, to reveal which choice we have made.

satan tries to trip Jesus up by offering Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory in exchange for His worship. But Jesus responds with scripture a third time, (Deuteronomy 6:13), reiterating that we are called to worship God only.

Here’s the truth:
There is nothing satan can offer Jesus that He does not already have. As the Son of God, Jesus already owns everything. As a matter of fact, He helped create everything, according to John 1:1-3.

satan offering Jesus the kingdoms of the world is as silly as someone offering us a house that we built. If we paid cash for land, building supplies and appliances, then built a home brick by brick (or stucco if we’re in LaLa Land), and we owned that creation that we built; then no one could come to us and say, “I’ll give you that house you just built, if you worship me”.
We would say, just as Jesus did, “Be out!”

There is nothing satan can offer us that we don’t already have access to. As children of God, we have an inheritance through God. satan can give us nothing that our God didn’t create. Our Heavenly Father originated and owns whatever we could ask for and He promises to provide our needs.

The Ultimate Choice
So, when we face the ultimate choice of whom we will worship, when we are tempted to fall for the okey-doke, when satan tests us and says, “I’ll give you X-Y-Z, if you compromise in this area and worship me”, let’s be bold and tell satan to go to “where He already resides”.

Let’s choose to worship God.
After all, we’re God’s children, not some counterfeiter’s kids.

1) Confession & Repentance – Let’s confess our wrongs and ask forgiveness
2) Complete honesty & transparency – Let’s let our guard down and really talk to God about the truth of our lives.
3) Listen – Let’s quiet and listen to God’s Spirit re: the scriptures, what we’ve shared, etc.
4) Intercession for others – Let’s pray for our family, friends, coworkers, church, etc.

Would you jump? – Day 6/40


I love jumping – from the floor up! From the sky down, not so much.
Would you jump from a plane? mountain? building? If so, you’d probably use a parachute, yes?!

I wouldn’t think of jumping off a building without a parachute. So why satan asked Jesus to just jump off the temple, no apparatus, is beyond me!

Does anybody else read Matthew 4:5-7 and think to yourself that satan missed the mark with this one? Jesus, of course, said “NO!” to the jump, quoted scripture and put his enemy back in his place, but I would’ve said ‘NO!’ cause I ain’t jumping off this doggone building “Just cause”!

Let’s back up.
We saw in Day 2’s devotional “A Beautiful Test?” that the tests we experience (especially during times of prayer, fasting and reflection like LENT), occur in order to reveal to us what’s truly in our hearts. We’re tested so that we might know the truth about who we are and keep maturing.

Jesus’ first test in the wilderness (Matthew 4:1-4) to turn stone into bread and squelch his hunger was a temptation to see if He would satisfy his immediate needs independent of God. Jesus responded by quoting the Word of God (Deuteronomy 8:3) and reiterating how dependent all of us are on God.

This brings us to TEST 2, today’s devotional.

DAY 6: Scripture meditation

Background Chapter MATTHEW 4:1-11

I was being a bit facetious above. But in all seriousness, when I read this scripture, I come to the conclusion that the test cannot just be about the jump. The temptation here is deeper than that. Our clue to what this trial is really about lies in Jesus’ response, “Do not test God.”

So, this test is about whether or not we should put God to a test. And the correct answer, as quoted by Jesus from Deuteronomy 6:16, is “NO!” It would not be in our best interest to test God.

How do we test God?
When do we jump when we shouldn’t?

satan says to Jesus, (my interpretation) “If you’re the Son of God (the original language translates that “if” as “since”)… so “Since you are the Son of God, jump off this building and according to God’s word in Psalm 91:11-12, God will command His angels to save you. In other words, you’re God’s child. Make God save you. That’s a test.

Do we ever do this? Test God?!
Do we think to ourselves, “I’m God’s child. What I’m about to do is not the wisest thing in the world, but God will save me, cause He promises He will”?

Anybody think:
“I’m God’s child. I can barely pay my bills, but I have excellent credit and absolutely have to have a car in LA; so I’ll get one and if I can’t exactly afford it, God will save me. He promises He will provide.”

“I’m God’s child. I really want to sleep with this woman other than my wife. It’s alright. God will forgive me.”

“I’m God’s child. If I run this red light (even though I know that’s breaking the law) and get a ticket, God will make it go away. He promises to take care of me.”

We do a lot of things to test God and ask Him to prove Himself to us. Apparently, that’s not the way to go. God has no obligation whatsoever to come through. God’s children flat out were told not to test God. We should carry that lesson over, yes?!

Let’s take a moment and ask the Lord to reveal any areas in our life today where we test Him.
When it’s revealed, let’s repent and ask for help not to keep failing that test again and again.
Let’s ask for help to pass that test.
Let’s ask for help not to jump off the doggone building when we don’t have to.
Sometimes, we can just take the stairs.

1) Confession & Repentance – Let’s confess our wrongs and ask forgiveness
2) Complete honesty & transparency – Let’s let our guard down and really talk to God about the truth of our lives.
3) Listen – Let’s quiet and listen to God’s Spirit re: the scriptures, what we’ve shared, etc.
4) Intercession for others – Let’s pray for our family, friends, coworkers, church, etc.

If at first we don’t succeed, try again. Day 5/40

“If at first we don’t succeed, try again” | DAY 5 of 40 (LENT)

The saying goes, “If at first you don’t succeed, try try again.”

Shout out to phenomenal actress Viola Davis, whom I was pulling for yesterday on the Academy Awards for Best Leading Actress. I knew it was a long shot, seeing as the voters of the Academy, (recently touted by the LA Times as not diverse “Unmasking the Academy:), would not likely vote for a sister in both the Leading and Supporting categories. They surely would vote for Octavia, (Congratulations!); but that meant they probably weren’t going to vote for Viola.

I met Viola during my days at Crossroads Theatre when she slam-dunked-hit-a-home-run onstage there. We all knew she was an incredible actress then. So glad the rest of the world now recognizes it as well. The one thing that we can say about Viola is that she has lived out this idea of “try and try again.” She has weathered the business for 20 years. Her story of extreme poverty to success, as shared in LA Times: VIOLA, is an encouragement to all of us to keep going, no matter what. So inspiring!

So, Happy Week 2! Let’s check in.
How was your first week? How did you do?
Easier than you thought? More challenging?
Did you have any “If at first I don’t succeed” moments?
Were you able to keep your sacrifices? Are you seeing the Lord moving?
How was your mini-celebration-Sunday-day-off yesterday?

Again, each Sunday during LENT is considered a mini-celebration of the coming resurrection after a time of sacrifice and denial. As opposed to looking at the entire 40-day season of fasting and reflection and thinking, “What a long time?!”, I have found myself saying, “I’ve just got to get to Sunday.” Does that help anybody else? To break it down into little chunks?

I can’t take credit for it. The founders of the faith came up with a 46 Day Lent minus 6 Sundays, not me. Maybe they knew how hard it is to keep a long term sacrifice going.

My first week had its ups and downs.

On the UP:
I was really encouraged by the blog from Saturday about being grateful. I am being more intentional about finding reasons to say, “Thank you.” Everything may not be as I want, but I am grateful that it is what it is. I have truly felt better and more at peace and more centered. It’s a different way of looking at situations. You know? Finding a “Thank You!” Loving it!

Also, I succeeded in part of my sacrificial commitment. There are 2 things I decided to give up, on different levels. The food thing, YES! The time thing… well..

On the DOWN:
I only succeeded in about 75% of my time commitment, and I’d like to be at 100%. I am about to share with you part of my sacrifice, not out of boasting or pride (usually our fasting particulars should be kept between us and God i.e. Matthew 6:16-18), but so that you can hold me accountable. I believe in leadership by example. If I have invited you on this journey with me, the least I can do is lead at 100%.

So, here it goes: One of my sacrifices over our 40 days is to commit 10% of each day in quiet time with the Lord. My norm is usually an hour when I get up in the morning.
I asked myself, “What would be a sacrifice for me?”
My answer was “Double that”.

My schedule is packed. Beyond packed. So to carve out another hour and 1/2 somehow would be a true sacrifice for me. We’re talking close to impossible. So, that has been my goal. Made 3 out of 4. That first day was a doozy! I finished the first hour and was like, “Now, what?”

I had to remember this is a real conversation with a Heavenly Father who loves me, not a bad date. But for a moment, I think I heard the crickets chirping.

I sat. I had finished reading the scriptures for the day.
I had already journal-ed. I had prayed.

“You have anything else you’d like to share,” I think I said. (To the God of the Universe, no doubt).
Then I waited. And waited.
Then, I checked my email.
That was it. The rest of my day was off running.

Lesson learned:
Be present in the silence.
The conversation will continue… just wait.

I was reminded of Psalm 46:10: “Be still, and know that I am God…”

I believe all scripture should be taken in context, so let’s look at the entire Psalm/Song:

DAY 5: Scripture meditation


This song is about the Lord being with us, being a protector in the time of trouble, a safe place. The psalmist says that the Lord causes peace to occur in the nations and that we can be still because the Lord will be exalted in the earth.

That “Be still” literally means, “Cease striving”.
What a concept.

Cease striving.

That does not mean, ‘stop working’. We gotta work. There is something that we are each meant to do while we are here on this planet. We all have a purpose, a mission. I believe that.

But it does mean, ‘stop working in my own strength’. Striving has a connotation of working needlessly. Or in my case, being extremely busy, when maybe I don’t have to be as busy.

Is God really our ever present help in our time of trouble? Or are we trying to knock everything out ourselves?
Are we striving or ceasing?
“Is it possible to Be Still“? asks the borderline workaholic? (that would be me :=)

And how does that “Be Still” jive with “Try Try Again”?

I personally don’t think the two ideas conflict. If I had given up after the first day, I wouldn’t have had the beautiful moments in Day 2 and 3 and 4. When I didn’t succeed the first day, I did have to “try, try again”. I just realized I had to ‘try’ in a different way.

My solution as I “tried again” was to ask God for his help to “be still” before Him and to “cease striving” in my own strength and power. I asked Him to exalt Himself in what I do. And the things that do not exalt Him, I want to choose NOT to do.

I had to resist the temptation of checking for messages in the middle of my conversation with God.
How rude would that be if I imagined Him to be in physical form sitting across from me and I picked up my phone in the middle of our dialogue and I just started checking messages?

What about you? Is it hard for you to be still too?
Do you strive in your own strength?

The scriptures make is sound so simple: “Be.” “Cease.”
May be it is that simple.
May be we don’t have to keep “trying”.
May be, today, we can just “Be.” “Still.”
Or in my case, at least for a couple of hours. :=)

What do you think?

1) Confession & Repentance – Let’s confess our wrongs and ask forgiveness
2) Complete honesty & transparency – Let’s let our guard down and really talk to God about the truth of our lives.
3) Listen – Let’s quiet and listen to God’s Spirit re: the scriptures, what we’ve shared, etc.
4) Intercession for others – Let’s pray for our family, friends, coworkers, church, etc.

“I’d Like To Thank” Day 4/40

“I’D LIKE TO THANK…” | DAY 4 of 40 (LENT)

“I’d like to thank” will begin many speeches at the Academy Awards tomorrow. Recipients will gush thanksgiving to the Academy, their agents, parents, spouses, even God.

This got me to thinking… what if we lived our lives with this constant “I’d like to thank” refrain in mind? Not just for rewards we receive, but for everything, good and bad?

When the SUV cuts us off in traffic or almost side-swipes our car, what if we said, “I’d like to thank…you, for not actually running me off the road. I’m not hurt. You’re not hurt. Breathe in. Breathe out. OK.” Is it possible to flip it?

Whether attending Oscar festivities, hunkering down at a survival-job-to-make-ends-meet gig or giving birth to a beautiful bundle of joy (shot out to Skyler), what if we took a moment today and found a reason to say “Thank you”.

Life may currently be the pinnacle of our dreams or the tailwind of a nightmare, but finding something to be grateful for could make all the difference in the world.

Last Thanksgiving, the New York Times ran an article by John Tierney called “A Serving of Gratitude May Save the Day“. He reported that psychologists found that “cultivating an ‘attitude of gratitude’ has been linked to better health, sounder sleep, less anxiety and depression, higher long-term satisfaction with life and kinder behavior toward others…” Awesome, right?!

Tierney continued with a study that found that people who wrote 5 things for which they were grateful once a week for 8 weeks (1 brief sentence per item) reported being more optimistic and happier and had fewer physical problems.

Life is not always easy. As a matter of fact, it can be downright difficult, especially with this economic roller coaster we’re on. But somewhere along the way, if we can muster up a ‘Thank You’ at least once a week, science says, things look a little better.

King David taught us how to do this in PSALM 30. I really like this translation from The Message Bible.

READ PSALM 30, The Message.

As we see, David does not ‘pretend’ bad times aren’t bad. He acknowledges when things are crappy. Then, he thanks God for when “the nights of crying your eyes out give way to days of laughter”(Vs.5). David credits God for changing “wild lament into whirling dance”(Vs.11); and says, “I can’t thank you enough”(Vs.12).

What if we did that today?
What if we didn’t pretend?
What if we looked over the last week and acknowledged the good, the bad and the ugly, and said, “I can’t thank you enough”?

Even if we are angry about a horrible situation that we’re in, at no fault of our own (job loss, bankruptcy, sickness), what if we said, “I’m angry, but I’d like to thank you God that I’m actually alive another day, and I can feel something. Bring on the day when my wild lament becomes whirling dance”, or hip hop, or bungee jumping… whatever our thing is.

Is that possible?
C’mon! Let’s imagine we’re in our designer dress or tuxedo (or maybe we’re in our pajamas); but now it’s our turn to approach the microphone.
Let’s do like those mentioned in the study above and say 5 brief things that we are grateful for this week.

I’d like to thank:

Not so bad, right?!
Now, I’d like to THANK YOU for participating.
Go forth!

FYI, our weekends during our 40-day journey of devotions through LENT season (ABOUT LENT), will be a time of reflection and thanksgiving. Traditionally, during LENT, SUNDAYS are considered mini-celebrations (symbolizing Christ’s resurrection) following FRIDAYS’ special times of fasting (symbolizing His death). Thus, LENT starts on Ash Wednesday and goes for 46 days ending Easter, but the 6 Sundays are excluded, equaling 40 days. Get it? We make a sacrifice of something meaningful for the entire 40 days, but Sundays are excluded. So, Saturday, you’ll get a devotional that you can meditate on for the entire weekend. If you have any questions, please let me know. Thanks!

Greatest Award. Day 3/40

The Greatest Award | DAY 3 of 40 (LENT)

Hollywood Blvd is closed. Red carpets are rolling out. Festivities are cranking up.

That means one thing: It’s Academy Awards weekend in La La Land.

Many of you have joined me on this 40 Day journey of devotions through Lent season, a time of reflection, fasting and prayer, and you may be wondering: What in the world does the Academy Awards have to do with Lent?

I promise that we’ll return to the Testings in the Wilderness (Matthew 4:1-11) on Monday. I have way too much honor and respect for God’s Word than to try to force a particular scripture on top of an example if it doesn’t fit. And this is that case.

So, let me share a thought that does fit.

When Jesus’ disciples argued about being “great”, He dropped the most disturbing paradox ever:
The one who is the greatest is the one who serves.

Seriously, I’m not making this up. Read it here:
LUKE 22:24-27

The entire crew is at the Last Supper, no doubt, and Jesus is about to be arrested and crucified, and these jokers are arguing about which one of them is THE GREATEST!

Never mind that Jesus is in the room. Did no one think, “Jesus is the Son of God. Of course, He would be the greatest, seeing as He is God and all”? Nope! They argue amongst themselves, and Jesus has to jump in with, “The greatest is the one who serves.” And just so they all know what that looks like, He points out that HE is the greatest and HE has come to serve. Whoa!

Jesus’ messages are often times the exact opposite of what we experience on a daily basis, particularly in America and especially in Hollywood.

I can guarantee you that as my fellow artists sashay and swagger down the red carpet on Sunday, no one will be asking how they serve others, how they give of themselves. We will celebrate their professional accomplishments, and rightly so, but it will be a parade of ‘greatness’ by our standards, not necessarily God’s. Does that make sense?

I am truly challenged by this scripture.
How does my own life have to change?
How can I serve?
Some things to ponder and pray about!

What do you think?
What has been your greatest award? When you were winning something? Or when you were serving someone?

1) Confession & Repentance – Let’s spend some time confessing our wrongs and asking for forgiveness
2) Complete honesty & transparency – Let’s talk to God about what’s on our hearts and minds, concerns, praises. Let the guard down.
3) Listen – Let’s quiet ourselves and listen to God’s Spirit concerning what we have shared with Him, what we read in the scripture, etc.
4) Intercession for others – Let’s pray for our family, friends, coworkers, church, government, etc.

A Beautiful Test? Day 2/40

A Beautiful Test? | DAY 2 of 40 (LENT)

Remember high school? The first test of the semester, regardless of the subject, was usually always the hardest. Didn’t quite know what to expect. How long? Multiple choice? Essay? Extra credit? The exam could be described as many things, but “beautiful” was usually not one of the adjectives that came to mind.

Yet, I’d like to submit that the tests we experience over the next 40 days together might be considered beautiful. Huh???!

Let me back up.
OK, how was your first day of fasting and prayer yesterday? Was it easy to decide what you’d sacrifice?

Maybe, you experienced some withdrawal symptoms i.e. headache, irritation, etc. That’s normal as the body and mind adjust to their new reality, whether dealing with food or whatever we’ve chosen to sacrifice. Let’s extend grace to ourselves and/or a grace period of adjustment. Can’t promise that the cravings will go away, but I can promise that those cravings can remind us to pray.

As mentioned on yesterday (ABOUT LENT), the LENT season symbolizes the 40 days in the wilderness, testing and temptation that Jesus endured before launching into his public ministry. Let’s look at that passage today and His first test. This is where I think the beautiful part comes in.

DAY 2: Scripture meditation
Tested in the Wilderness


Jesus fasted for 40 days and 40 nights, after he was baptized and before he began his public ministry. After his 40 day fast, he was tested.

The first test hit Jesus in His immediate need – hunger. No, that’s not beautiful. Jesus hadn’t eaten for 40 days. Surely, he could turn the stone into bread and chow down. The devil said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.” Since Jesus is the Son of God, what’s the big deal? Do the miracle. Prove it! Right?!

This test ultimately was to see if Jesus would satisfy his immediate needs independent of God. Isn’t that a test that we too face often? Will we satisfy our daily needs outside of depending on God?

The scripture does not deny that Jesus had a need. Matthew 4:2 says that Jesus was hungry. Hunger is a REAL need! We all have to eat to live. The question is will Jesus “prove” His identity as the Son of God by satisfying that need? Jesus knew His identity. He didn’t have to prove Himself to satan or anyone else. Besides, it was not yet time to reveal Himself as the Messiah, the Christ.

Instead, [here’s the beauty], Jesus pointed to His and our dependance on God.

The definition of beauty is “the quality present in a thing or person that gives intense pleasure or deep satisfaction to the mind, whether arising from sensory manifestations, a meaningful design or pattern, or something else, as a personality in which high spiritual qualities are manifest.”

There is something downright beautiful (deeply satisfying in seeing such high spiritual qualities manifested) in how Jesus handled this test. No doubt, He was ‘gangsta’ with satan; and he didn’t give in to his flesh. To me, that’s amazing. I am just not always that successful, especially when depending on my own strength. Geez!

Jesus said, “Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God”. This quote was from God’s word through Moses to God’s people when they were in their own wilderness, Deuteronomy 8:3: “He [God] humbled you and let you be hungry, and fed you with manna which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that He might make you understand that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by everything that proceeds out of the mouth of the LORD.”

Deuteronomy 8:1-10 is worth looking at if you have time. The scripture says that God’s people were tested “to know what was in your heart”, and that was not just 40 days, but 40 years in the wilderness. They received a 40 year wilderness stint after rejecting a good report from 2 of the spies’ 40 day journey into the land of milk and honey. Numbers 14:33-35 NIV. But that’s a whole other story!

What’s the point?
Our tests don’t have to be painful and drenched in anxiety. We don’t have to walk on pins and needles. We can embrace the tests because they are meant for our well being – to show us what’s in our hearts.

It is very likely over the 40 days that we are committing to the Lord, as we fast and pray, areas will be revealed where we don’t trust God and want to meet our own needs outside of His will.

For example, we all need clothes. But if we’re an artist on a shoestring budget struggling to pay rent, though tempting, it might not be the best thing to run up thousands in debt trying to dress in the latest greatest. Wouldn’t we want to know this is in our hearts and curve the appetite before financial disaster?

Or, we all need food. But if we find that there’s no way we can live without that quart of ice cream every night… Want to avoid diabetes, right?
We all need income. But if we lie on our taxes to get a refund that’s not deserved… Want to stay out of jail, right?
We all need relationships. But if we’re living a double life and not being honest with ourselves and the ones we claim to love… Want to live, right?

Let’s pray for the Lord to reveal anything that’s not like Him and give us His heart.
Let’s pray for the Lord to show us what we live by and depend on. Do we live by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God?
What or WHO is our trust in?
Just some questions to ask ourselves.

So, maybe the test isn’t what’s beautiful.
But the way we respond to the test can reveal the beauty that is within us.
What do you think?

VIDEO: LIVING WORD, by Fred Hammond

1) Confession & Repentance – Let’s spend some time confessing our wrongs and asking for forgiveness
2) Complete honesty & transparency – Let’s talk to God about what’s on our hearts and minds, concerns, praises. Let the guard down.
3) Listen – Let’s quiet ourselves and listen to God’s Spirit concerning what we have shared with Him, what we read in the scripture, etc.
4) Intercession for others – Let’s pray for our family, friends, coworkers, church, government, etc.

Lent? What you talkin’ bout Willis?


Why would anybody STILL celebrate Lent today?
Especially a progressive, non-denominational church in 2017!

Because we, like our global family of faith, look forward to THE Celebration of all Celebrations culminating at the end of Lent: Easter/Resurrection Sunday! Easter is arguably the most important holiday on our calendar, give or take Christmas. Our entire faith is based on that resurrection that resulted in that Empty Tomb!

So, Why Not?
That’s the question! Why not journey with the global family for the next 40 days? Break outside your box. Live dangerously. Walk on the wild side of faith.

This one thing I know: there’s no greater adventure than attempting to sacrifice an “essential” to grow closer to the One Who is Essential. 40 days of giving up anything ain’t easy. Thank God we don’t have to rely on our own strength and fortitude. We can ask for His help. And the rewarding transformation that occurs… so worth it!

What is Lent?
Lent is the 40-day season (46 days minus Sundays) of fasting, prayer and reflection, starting with Ash Wednesday and ending on Easter. It symbolizes the 40 days in the wilderness, testing and temptation that Jesus endured before launching into his public ministry (Matthew 4:1-11).

What do we do?
Some of our Catholic fam don ash crosses on the forehead to symbolize Ash Wednesday and the tradition of repentance in ashes and sackcloth. While symbols are wonderful, they are not required. Non-Catholics usually focus on “What’s on the inside? What’s in our hearts?”

Here are some simple steps to take:
Decide if you want to go on the 40 day journey.
Pray and ask, ‘Do I want to make this commitment?”

Then choose one thing that you’d like to sacrifice over the next 40 days.
This can be a favorite food. Some give up meat & dairy. If you’re a vegetarian or vegan (like I am), giving up meat for Lent isn’t a sacrifice :=) Maybe it’s a favorite TV show or hobby. Whatever it is, it would be best if it’s something that affects your life daily. Why? Because when you yearn for it daily, you’re reminded why you are fasting and reminded to pray.

Focus on the goal.
In the scriptures, people fasted and prayed for many different reasons i.e. entreating the Lord’s help and intervention, seeking the Lord’s face and presence, repentance and contrition, etc. It’s a spiritual discipline that’s been practiced by people of faith for thousands of years, prior to Jesus. Lent, especially, is a season of reflection and repentance and growing closer to the Lord. Your goal could simply be that: To grow closer to the Lord. Pray and define it. If there is no real reason for you to do this, you won’t. That’s just how we’re built. Define. Get specific.

Get support.
Invite family or a friend to go on the journey with you. At least, tell someone else you’re fasting and praying. You will likely make the entire 40 days if you’re holding each other accountable.

If you have ANY QUESTIONS, please let me know!!!

What you talkin’ bout?!

Talking bout transformation.
Talking about realness.
Talking about deeper fellowship.
You ready?
Let’s do this!

Dr. Naima Lett
The Hollywood Christian®
Hope in the Hills
Author of coming release Confessions of a Hollywood Christian®

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