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Day Twelve: Give Anything to Anyone

Posted By at Monday, March 18, 2019

FaithSpring’s 40-day Lent Challenge 2019

Day 12, Monday, March 18:Give Anything to Anyone

Today’s challenge is the first challenge of a week focused on Giving.  Wait!  Don’t go running for the hills just yet!  Giving doesn’t have to be related to money.  In fact, most giving has nothing to do with financial resources.  Rather, most giving is more closely related to the many different intangible gifts that each of us possess that can greatly benefit others.

What kinds of gifts are we referring to?  It may be the gift of a smile, encouragement, or laughter.  It could also be the gift of a phone call, text, or note card in the mail.  Sure, the most basic gifts such as food and clothing are abundantly needed, but so is the simple encouragement of someone who is having a difficult day.

Today, consider giving anything to anyone who asks and keep an eye open for ways to give to those who don’t ask.  Sometimes, just a willing heart can give someone Hope and Purpose, and these may be the greatest gifts that we can give to anyone!

Whoever welcomes you welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me.  Whoever welcomes a prophet in the name of a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward; and whoever welcomes a righteous person in the name of a righteous person will receive the reward of the righteous; and whoever gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones in the name of a disciple—truly I tell you, none of these will lose their reward.” (Matthew 10:40-42, NRSV).

 

 

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Give It: Wear Green and Give Hope

Posted By at Sunday, March 17, 2019

FaithSpring’s 40-day Lent Challenge 2019

Sunday, March 17:“Give It:Wear Green and Give Hope”

Are you wearing Green or Purple?  Today is St. Patrick’s Day (represented by Green) and it’s also the second Sunday during Lent (represented by Purple).  So which color do you wear? Yes, wear Green, not because you’ll get pinched, but because it’s ½ of our daily challenge.  Where does all the Green originate?

Blame it on the Leprechauns, fictional characters illustrated on cereal boxes who hide treasure chests at the end of the rainbow and in a few other places in the forest.  Leprechauns set traps for the would-be thieves, hiding in waiting until some unbeknownst traveler or treasure-seeker wanders too close to the hidden bounty, at which time the Leprechauns jump out and pinch them from behind.  But have no fear!  Leprechauns are color-blind to the color green, so by wearing green today, you’ll escape their pinches.

But for today and this next week, we are going to turn away from the greed of the Leprechauns and do the exact opposite:  Give.  Giving is one of the greatest ways we can demonstrate love for God and other people, but don’t worry, this is not the time to open our wallet.  Rather, this is the time to open our hearts to the multitude of blessings that God has provided to us and share those blessings with other people.  Not sure what blessings to give?  Start with today’s daily challenge:Give Hope.

Hope is likely the most valuable item we could ever give to another person.  Why?  Because Hope does more than offer a second chance.  Hope also gives us a reason to get out of bed and face the day with confidence.  The world is full of people who need Hope today and some of them are much closer than we think.  Change someone’s world today.Give Hope.

Not sure that you have any extra Hope to give to someone today?  Say a prayer and ask God for it.  Then get ready for the day that God has planned.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11, NIV).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Day Eleven: No Harmful Entertainment

Posted By at Saturday, March 16, 2019

FaithSpring’s 40-day Lent Challenge 2019

Day 11, Saturday, March 16:No Harmful Entertainment

Looking for an easy commitment to make during Lent?  This is exactly what you’re seeking: A completely, self-defined sacrifice that lasts for only one day.  Today’s challenge is to avoid harmful entertainment of any kind.  You might be asking for a definition of harmful entertainment, but this challenge is completely up to you.  Whether it’s an activity, event, television, film, music, or something else, if you believe that it potentially causes you harm in some manner, avoid it for 24-hours.

The purpose of today’s challenge is not to prohibit ourselves from our favorite form of leisure.  Rather, it is designed to make us think more carefully about the entertainment we enjoy, viewing it from a perspective of mental, physical, and spiritual health. Have we justified harmful entertainment?  Have we discounted other ways to relax because they’re not exciting enough?

Today, take some time to reflect on the entertainment you enjoy.  Is it helpful to you?  If it helps you, then no worries and proceed ahead!  But if it potentially causes you harm in some manner, take a break from it today.

Honor God today with only good stuff!

“And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise” (Philippians 4:8, NLT).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Day Ten: No Alcohol OR No Sweetened Beverage

Posted By at Friday, March 15, 2019

FaithSpring’s 40-day Lent Challenge 2019, Friday, March 15

Day 10, Friday, March 15:No Alcohol OR Sweetened Beverages

Today’s challenge is a dietary challenge to demonstrate our commitment to God through the restraint of common luxuries: alcohol OR sweetened beverages (both are not required; just one).  How does this communicate anything with God?  By withholding common luxuries, we demonstrate to God that we do not identify ourselves by the luxuries we enjoy.

It is easier than we think to become identified by what we own, accomplish, or achieve.  It is also easy to be identified by what we consume, recognizing that our bodies are made up of the food and drinks we consume.  Taking a positive step by removing unhealthy drinks for a day is an easy way to demonstrate to God that we are thankful for all the luxuries that the LORD has provided to us.

All that we own and enjoy has been provided by God, the most valuable being the body that God gave us.  Rather than pollute our bodies with something that can cause harm, let’s give our bodies a break and replace alcohol or sweetened drinks with better choices!

Who has woe?  Who has sorrow?  Who has strife?  Who has complaints?  Who has needless bruises?   Who has bloodshot eyes?  Those who linger over wine, who go to sample bowls of mixed wine.  Do not gaze at wine when it is red, when it sparkles in the cup, when it goes down smoothly!  In the end it bites like a snake and poisons like a viper” (Proverbs 23:29-32, NIV).

 

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Day Nine: No Lies

Posted By at Thursday, March 14, 2019

FaithSpring’s 40-day Lent Challenge 2019 - Thursday, March 14

Deceit, dishonesty, Non-truths, the intentional withholding of information, and little white lies all fall under scrutiny in today’s challenge for Lent.  The Goal:No Lies Today!  It should be easy, right?  But after a lifetime of avoiding the truth and looking people in the eyes, we’ve unconsciously learned habits that are dangerous to us and everyone around us.

Today’s challenge is not referring to the breaking of confidentiality with clients or patients, nor is it referring to breaking HIPAA laws.  We’re not asking people to talk to their children about indiscretions from college, the details about where babies come from, or the truth about Leprechauns and other legendary figures.

Today is about giving God glory by making the full, conscious effort to be honest, truthful, and blameless in our speech.  If we need more explanation of why this challenge is important, then today is especially critical for you.  Don’t let the sun go down on lies.  Bring the sun up with honesty.

“The Lord detests lying lips,but the LORD delights in those who tell the truth” (Proverbs 12:22, NLT).

 

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Day Eight: "No" to Smoking and Contaminants

Posted By at Wednesday, March 13, 2019

FaithSpring’s 40-day Lent Challenge 2019: Wednesday, March 13

Today’s challenge is going to be easy for adults if they don’t use tobacco products, don’t consume alcoholic beverages, or don’t abuse drugs or chemicals of any kind.  For kids, today’s challenge is going to be easy as long as they don’t consume any unhealthy foods or beverages.  If you don’t fit the above definition, you get the day off (but keep reading, just in case.).  For all others, it’s going to be a difficult day.  (Don’t nitpick the challenge.  If your medical or physical condition requires medication/consumption of some kind, by all means, follow your prescription!)

Okay, now that the disclaimer is out of the way, try this on for size:  God needs us to be smart with our health.  Smoking and tobacco products are an easy target because we have so much long-term research to backup our claims, but we must also consider all the unhealthy things that we invite into our bodies.  Alcohol, drugs, and vapes might begin as stress relief, but this can lead to all kinds of problems.  Sugars, caffeine, and deep-fried twinkies can also fall into the category of “contaminant”, so don’t let yourself off the hook yet.  Everyone is consuming at least one unhealthy thing each day, so if you’re still stumped, just give up the obvious one (Just one thing today!).

God created the tobacco plant, sugar cane, caffeine, grapes that can be fermented, and the ingredients contained in most drugs.  But that doesn’t make it okay for us to abuse them.  In fact, it gives us more incentive to avoid them (in their unhealthy form).  When we avoid things that cause us harm, we show God that we care about His world and our bodies.

Do something big for God today!  Say “No” to Smoking or Contaminants!

The Lord God made all sorts of trees grow up from the ground—trees that were beautiful and that produced delicious fruit. In the middle of the garden he placed the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The Lord God placed the man in the Garden of Eden to tend and watch over it.But the Lord God warned him, ‘You may freely eat the fruit of every tree in the garden— except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. If you eat its fruit, you are sure to die.’” (Genesis 2:9, 15-17, NLT)

 

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Day seven: "No" to Anger and Hate

Posted By at Tuesday, March 12, 2019

FaithSpring’s 40-day Lent Challenge 2019: Tuesday, March 12

 In today’s challenge, we address Anger and Hatred, two emotions that all of us possess yet wish we could do without.  Everyone struggles with them, but none of us must become their prisoners.  We can overcome the way anger and hatred force our situations, control our words, and direct our actions.

Unfortunately, we can’t just ignore anger and hatred.  Maybe in a perfect world they wouldn’t exist, but given that our world is far from perfect, we’re left with the realization that our sinful nature is going to contain them.  As a result, we must find healthy ways to work through them.

How do we do it?  Here’s a few suggestions that might help when we feel those negative emotions creeping up.

1.Immediately seek God in prayer and specifically ask for God’s help in the situation.

2.Find a Bible and read the Gospels.Explore How Jesus worked through the unhappy emotions he experienced.  (Yes, Jesus faced them, too.)

3.Pay close attention to the ways we display our anger and hatred, especially in the presence of our loved ones.

4.Try to identify the trigger points from which our anger and hatred surface, so that we can avoid those triggers when possible.

5.Then, if anger and hatred are especially difficult, consider seeking professional help.  Pastors, counselors, and therapists are great resources.  (An emotional and mental tune-up is needed by everyone on occasion.)  Outside resources are also a wonderful demonstration to our loved ones, friends, and colleagues of our commitment to be the best we can be.

Today, leave anger and hatred in the trunk.  Wrap them in bags, secure them with duct tape, and throw them in the trunk until we can get some help to unload them into the dumpster.

Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry.  Human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires. So get rid of all the filth and evil in your lives, and humbly accept the word God has planted in your hearts, for it has the power to save your souls” (James 1:19-21, NLT).

 

 

 


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Day Six: Say “No” to Big Problems

Posted By at Monday, March 11, 2019

FaithSpring’s 40-day Lent Challenge 2019

Day 6, Monday, March 11:“No” to the Big Problem

Today, we attempt to tackle what may be the most difficult challenge of the Season: Say “No” to the big problem. If your response to this statement is that you don’t have a big problem, ask the most trustworthy person in your life and they’ll help you identify it. If you’re response to the question is that you don’t know which problem to address, the answer is probably the one that is on your mind right now.

The goal of today’s challenge is not to convince our loved ones to finally remove the habit that drives us crazy. Today’s challenge is designed to remove the problem in us that drives THEM crazy. This might be our favorite form of relaxation, our only real “vice” in life, or our primary means of stress relief. It might be the way we address our loved ones,the manner we conduct ourselves at work, or what we do when nobody else is looking.  Don’t think too much about this one. God is probably telling you what you need to do.

All of us have something big to fix, so why not make the commitment to fix it on a Monday morning? Today, consider taking care of business. For one day, one week, or one Lenten Season, this commitment could make all the difference in the world.

“You will be accepted if you do what is right. But if you refuse to do what is right, then watch out! Sin is crouching at the door, eager to control you. But you must subdue it and be its master” (Genesis 4:7, NLT).

 

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Day Five: Make the Commitment

Posted By at Sunday, March 10, 2019

FaithSpring’s 40-day Lent Challenge 2019

Day 5, Sunday, March 10: Make the Big Commitment

Making a commitment is a wonderful and beautiful thing, in part because it indicates that we are ready and willing to do something special.  Whether it’s a commitment to a loved one or something for ourselves, when we commit, our desire for change is escalated to a much higher level.  Each of us probably knows of something BIG that we need to get accomplished, but few of us will do it.  Why?  Because BIG commitments involve risk.

Oh, all commitments don’t always involve risk to personal injury or welfare, but all commitments do include the risk that the commitments won’t be fulfilled.  This is probably why we shy away from them.  For those of us who are more mature, self-aware, and careful than the average person, commitments are terrifying.  We’ve lived long enough and taken lots of things very seriously, only to be let down because of a failed commitment by us or someone else.  As conscientious people, we take our commitments seriously and we don’t want to hurt ourselves or other people by another failure.

However, there’s a potential problem when we approach commitments in this manner.  We could be hurting ourselves and the people we love.  Sure, we might think that we’re being careful and conservative by avoiding statements such as, “Yes, I’ll do It” or “No, I won’t do it”, but, in reality, we’re allowing the fear of commitment to take the driver’s seat while we’re stuck sitting in the back asking, “Are we there yet?”

Case in point:  We can’t get there (wherever that may be) without making BIG commitments.  First and foremost, we should be committing to God.  Second, we should be committing to the betterment and welfare of the people around us.  By doing those two things, we will automatically improve our own position of faith, love, and life.

It’s time.  Today’s challenge is to make the BIG commitment.

“Commit your actions to the LORD, and your plans will succeed.” (Proverbs 16:3, NLT)

 

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Day Four: Time with Family and Friends

Posted By at Saturday, March 09, 2019

FaithSpring’s 40-day Lent Challenge 2019

Day 4, Saturday, March 9: Spend Time with Family and Friends

It’s the first Saturday in Lent and we address one of the most important challenges we’ll face the entire season. Spending time with each other is an essential piece of our existence, yet too often, we consider family and friends to be secondary to things such as work, entertainment, and personal fulfillment.

Today is the day to take notice of the people around us and get involved.Companionship, whether through family, friendship, or any other kind of relationship, is important.Spending time with other people is one of the ways in which God invites us to experience more of the world around us.  When we celebrate with each other, we experience a greater joy than we can alone.  When we cry with each other, we encounter deeper understandings of life.  Even if we’re just hanging out together around the house, we are invited to learn something new through the gifts that God has instilled in other people.

But don’t forget about the blessings that we provide other people through our presence.God has placed us into the lives of others because we do have something enjoyable, helpful and valuable to share.  When we share life with other people, we open a treasure chest of blessings that makes a difference for everyone involved.

No matter what circumstances we might encounter today, they can be improved and made better with the inclusion of our family and friends.  Don’t let this opportunity slip by!  Go spend some time with your loved ones today and be blessed!

“Don’t do anything for selfish purposes, but with humility think of others as better than yourselves. Instead of each person watching out for their own good, watch out for what is better for others” (Philippians 2:3-4, CEB).