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As we head into February, we look forward to many days of celebration. Sunday the 11th, brings us the Annual Mardi Gras. This year, it has been decided to have the auction on Sunday after church and after the potluck. It is time for the church family to have a ‘good time’ with one another and to see who wants the cheese cake more!

The following Wednesday is Ash Wednesday. We will have a service at 6pm. This leads us into a time of Lent. These 6 weeks before Holy Week are a time for one to reflect on their faith and how that faith is affecting one’s life. Most of the time, if we are honest with ourselves, we always come up with some areas on which we can improve on our relationship with God and with others. Thus, Lent becomes a time to perhaps change a little something in one’s life that will help with that change. Change requires discipline and motivation. The motivation comes from our desire to get closer to God and the discipline comes when there is a temptation or two that get in the way of that change. Thus, ‘giving up something for Lent,’ (something that at times we just cannot live without) has come about to tempt us and to test our commitment to change.

Many examples are available in each of our lives to illustrate the point. For me, it is sweets. Some have asked why I do not eat cookies, cake, candy, etc. The answer is that many years ago, I gave them up for Lent. It was not an easy thing to do. Since that time, it has been my choice not to eat them. Whenever I turn down something sweet or get teased about not eating ‘sweets,’ I feel very good that I have been able to keep that vow and thus feel that in that very small way, I am getting closer to God. That may sound strange to some, yet one never knows what enables a person to get closer to God. By the way, I do not think God cares about how one tries to get closer, as long it doesn’t affect someone else.

A friend of mine in the Methow Valley forever tells the dumbest, stupidest, short, one line jokes. You know the kind, when he would ask a question and then offer an answer. One Lent he gave up telling them. Believe me when I say that it was very difficult for him to do so. None the less, he celebrated the fact that he was successful right up until the fellowship time after Easter Sunday morning worship service, when he burst forth with a ‘joke’ that he had been saving for 6 weeks.

So I challenge you. This year give up something that you think you need a lot and try to stay with that commitment. Perhaps you will feel closer to God every time you are tempted to retreat from your commitment. Perhaps it might change your life. For my friend not so much, yet for me, it did.

Peace and Blessings,

Pastor Don

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