Many believers are participating in the Lenten season going up to what is called Easter but the Bible calls Passover. Lent is a forty day period of time when you give up something you normally do/partake in and participate in fasting, giving and doing charitable acts. While it is wonderful to have this forty day emphasis, it should not be the only time believers are known for giving and charitable acts.
We are a little under a month away from Passover so I wanted to take that time to prepare us for the holiest and most celebratory time of year. Whether you are doing Lent and ready to celebrate Easter or you are doing Passover, or maybe you are doing Lent and will be doing a Passover meal as well (I am). I am praying this short series will be a encouragement to you.
If you have followed the blog over the last couple of years you have probably noticed I have started teaching from a Hebraic perspective, I shared how that came about in the last series. You may be wondering why I would then say I am participating in Lent. As I said in the last series, it’s not about becoming Jewish but walking in the fullness of our faith by understanding the blessings in the feasts, the Sabbath, and understanding God’s timing. The same is true with things like Lent and saints that have been considered Catholic. Saints were made saints by the Catholic and even some Protestant churches like Lutherans and the Episcopal Church. Before they were “saints” and “off-limits” to Protestants, they were just God fearing, Jesus loving people whom were used mightily.
Ephesians 2:14-22 NIV “For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, 15 by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, 16 and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. 17 He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. 18 For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.19 Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. 21 In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. 22 And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.”
Ever since Jesus tore that wall down the enemy has been building hundreds of new walls that divide the body of Christ; Jew and Gentile, Protestant and Catholic, Evangelical and Mainline, Baptist and Pentecostal, Wesleyan and Calvinist, and on and on we can go. Do you remember the story when the disciples got mad at John the Baptist because he didn’t send his followers over to Jesus, Jesus responded if they aren’t against me they are with us. Are there certain beliefs we shouldn’t bend on, yes. Jesus said the world we would know we are His followers by our love for each other, but today’s Church is divided along so many spiritual, social, economic, race, and political lines that it is hard to see the love.
Before we can go far down the path of following Jesus we have to make the decision to love. Over the past several weeks I have been reading and studying on the Love of God. God spoke to me on a Tuesday and the following Monday I was at a Kenneth Copeland tapping where he was going to speak on miracles and the supernatural and he ended up speaking on love all three nights, confirmation.
America and the Church in America is more divided than ever. How can we walk in love towards one another if we won’t talk to one another, read books of other view points, and even make a point to understand our brothers and sisters of different denominations or political beliefs.
I am offering a challenge to each of us if we will take it:
If you’re of the conservative Christian realm, read books by progressive Christians and vice-versa, not to get mad and argue but pray a heart of love and understanding before you read. You might be surprised how much we actually agree on.
If you’re Protestant go to a place like Half-Price Books and pick up a Catholic book that peaks your interest and pray you have a heart to learn and understand as you read. If you’re Catholic find a Protestant book to read. If you’re anti-pentecostal find a book and pray for understanding, or go to a service with an open heart.
The body of Christ will never fully walk in love if we continue to allow all the enemies walls to keep us away from each other and misunderstanding one another because we won’t talk, read other books, or even visit another church from time to time. If we are to be known by our love, we have to love and we can only love if we put ourselves in that position and that begins with each one of us taking down our own walls of pet doctrines, stereotypes, racial prejudices, misunderstandings and political view points.
Will you take the challenge, will you step out of the box and ask the Lord to help you understand another part of the vast body of Christ? I have begun doing that and I can tell you it’s been transformative and some people aren’t as bad as I have been lead to believe.