It’s Not Just About Giving Up Chocolate…

 It’s Not Just About Giving Up Chocolate…

by Lucinda Secrest McDowell

lentchocolateWhen I was growing up in south Georgia, my Episcopalian friends Mercer and Lisa always proudly announced this time of year that they were “giving up chocolate for Lent!” I never really knew what that meant. All I knew is that they didn’t seem any more holy after doing this, so I kept eating chocolate…

Now, I not only know what “Lent” means, I embrace this season – the 40 days prior to our celebration of the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Easter is one of the holiest and most significant observances in the life of a believer and definitely deserves more than just a one-day acknowledgement. lentrenewal“Lent” derives its name from an old Saxon word lencton which literally meant length. During these 6 weeks while we are repenting and reflecting on what Christ did for us, the days are lengthening and we are moving from winter to spring – literally into New Life.

In the 3rd and 4th centuries Christians began the practice of a 40-day preparation period which many still embrace today. Lent is a time when our souls seek God in a fresh way. lentbowlAnd yes, fasting is one way to do that. Some people fast from a certain  kind of food, others from tempting time-consuming activities such as television or facebook. The idea is to practice denial of something so that we can focus more on what Christ has done for us.

For many followers of Christ, Lent has not been a regular part of their life because it’s what those “other churches” do. But I assure you, there are practices we can all embrace during this time which will draw us closer to Jesus.

lentnouwenquoteHow will YOU observe Lent this year?

  • Daily soul nurture through silence, prayer and a biblical devotional?
  • Reflection and repentance for times of choosing another path?
  • Reaching out with love and service to those who are hurting and need hope?
  • Worshipping with the body of Christ – Holy Communion weekly?
  • Living in gratitude and sharing the Hope of Easter to all around you?

One thing we can all do during these 40 days is to set aside time each day with God – reflection, prayer and Bible reading. While there are many great resources out there, may I humbly suggest my own book “Live These Words” – it is 40 days of devotionals which include one biblical word a day, a prayer and an action point. For Lent 2015 I have written a companion guide “Lenten Words” which literally takes you through these devotionals, beginning with Ash Wednesday, February 18 and concluding on day 40 with Easter Sunday, April 5. You can easily PRINT “Lenten Words” here.


My publisher, Bold Vision Books, has arranged for Amazon to offer a special discount for “Live These Words” in both paperback (only $11.69) and kindle ($1.99) from NOW through Ash Wednesday February 18.    So order soon and then download “Lenten Words” from this website.

lentnail “O, God, when we pause to look back at our lives on this Ash Wednesday,  we realize that we have been weighed in the balance and found wanting.  We have neglected to do good when it was in our power to do so. We have ignored the cries of the motherless, the fatherless, the widow and the widower choosing instead to turn children and the elderly into the new poor.We have not dealt honorably with our enemies or our friends, and we have feigned a place in the company of the righteous. Forgive us, O God,    for the times we have neglected to provide our children and our world an authentic example of Christianity. As we begin the journey of these 40 days, Wash us, O God and we shall be clean.Cleanse us, O Lord, and we  shall be made whole. Amen.”

under the mercy, Cindy

©2015 Lucinda Secrest McDowell

NOTE: Did you enjoy this blog? If so, would you consider entering your email in the above right form and subscribing to it by email? I assure you I won’t overload your in-box, but would love to send you these ‘encouraging words’ each Wednesday. Thanks!

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4 Responses to It’s Not Just About Giving Up Chocolate…

  1. Judy Foppiano says:

    Hi Cindy. I am just now working my way through your book* Live These Words. *I am thoroughly enjoying it in my early morning devotion time. Thank you for doing the compliment Lenten Words – I am eager to get started on it next week. Growing up Baptist we never focused on giving up anything so I, too, kept on eating my chocolate – what was point? And I will still eat my dark chocolate. Maybe I will have a small taste along with my study each day. Hope to see you soon. That grandbaby is beautiful…..I hate I couldn’t attend when you were in The Woodlands a few weeks ago. My little birds told me it was awesome. Hugs and many blessings to you. Judy

    On Wed, Feb 11, 2015 at 4:56 AM, Lucinda Secrest McDowell – Encouraging Words th

  2. Thank you, Judy for your kind words. I hope you will enjoy the book for Lenten devotional. It’s just a great season for us all to focus on growing closer to God. Plus, spring emerges. We need it desperately here in New England. Glad yall had fun in N’awlins. Missed you in Texas. Blessings, Cindy

  3. Cherrilynn Bisbano says:

    Cindy, I read Cathy Chung’s blog about Lent, and she had your link as a good reference. I never celebrated Lent because I believe that Jesus made the ultimate sacrifice. After reading your blog and Cathy’s, I am reconsidering. The wrong motive has been the key factor as to why I did not do it. I was taught I give up something to please God. He is already pleased with His children. I do want to grow closer to my Abba. Giving up TV or something else and replacing it with that which sparks the spirit inside me, is a great motive to celebrate Lent. It is a Christ-centered motive, not a self centered one. Thank you so much.

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