Today is Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent. Many Christians will attend solemn church services and receive the sign of the cross on their foreheads to demonstrate their penitence.
During the forty days of Lent leading up to Easter, devout believers fast, pray, and give. Fasting is giving up or abstaining from something, such as food, habits, or activities, to make a sacrifice for the Lord. Although Christians pray daily, during Lent, prayers are intensified, perhaps praying for the church, the community, the country, and other people. Jesus gave His life to us, and He tells us to share with others, to help those in need. Giving, also, is something believers do all the time, but even more during Lent.
Being an avid reader of books and listener of audio books, much of my free time is spent reading or listening. Although I tend to read Christian fiction and do my best to avoid anything that is not wholesome, I’m still spending time on entertainment. During Lent, I abstain from fiction of all kinds as well as secular nonfiction. My reading choices during Lent are all Christian nonfiction. That turns time that would normally be focused on my own entertainment into time devoted to learning more about the Lord and deepening my faith.
I also add a special Scripture reading plan to my regular Bible reading. I read each day’s passage, write my personal reflections on what I read, and compose a relevant prayer.
The following year, I turn those personal reflections into a devotional book for Lent. Last year, my reading plan consisted primarily of the parables Jesus told. This year’s devotional is The Parables of Jesus, available as a paperback for $8. The total purchase price is donated to Love for the Least, a movement to share the compassion of Christ with an unreached world. Missionaries in Africa and in the Middle East do amazing humanitarian work and share the Gospel with people who do not know the Lord.
I hope my devotions will help you in your spiritual life during Lent.