GIVING UP SOMETHING AND GRACE
Lisa's giving away a copy of her Barbour mystery,
The Gold Standard
Yet even now, says the Lord, return to me with all your heart. Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. --Joel 2:12-13
It's Lent, traditionally a time of mourning, of self-contemplation and self-deprivation. Most of the people in my circle don't pay it any more mind than Advent. My husband I moved about a year and a half ago to worship with a new congregation after spending our whole married lives with one body of believers. We are learning different ways of celebrating our Lord and Savior, and it is good. We are also able to share some of the meaningful traditions from our former congregation; one of which is to gather during this time as a smaller group.
Come, let us return to the Lord;
for it is he who has torn and he will heal us;
he has struck down and he will bind up. --Hosea 6:1
I hadn't realized how far from the Lord I'd drifted while attending the familiar congregation. Sure, I'd been doing the right things, playing in the praise band, teaching Sunday School and Bible study, prayer group, some community service, helping in the office. But who had I been doing those things for? My family? Surely setting a good example was a worthy endeavor. Myself, so that I could stand before the throne…Oh…And I realize I can't stand there; I can't even kneel there. It is during this time, the period of Lent, when I turn away from applauding my works, even those for the church, and remember His; to ponder all that He has done to bind me, to heal me from my self-inflicted wounds. Then, and only then can I kneel and give thanks. After I accept what He has done, I slowly rise and am known because of Thy will, not mine. Although I have changed congregations, there is much to love about my home church, not the least of which is the catechism I used to teach. How are you right with God?
Only by true faith in Jesus Christ.
Even though my conscience accuses me of having grievously sinned..,
nevertheless, without my deserving it at all,
out of sheer grace,
God grants and credits to me
the perfect satisfaction, righteousness, and holiness of Christ,
as if I had never sinned, nor been a sinner,
as if I had been as perfectly obedient as Christ was obedient for me.
All I need do is accept this gift of God with a believing heart.
--from the Heidelberg Catechism, Q. & A. 60
I can't say it better than that. Faith never goes out of style. And for the first time, I have given up something for Lent. How about you? What do you do about Lent?
Lisa Lickel is a Wisconsin writer who lives with her husband in a hundred and fifty-year-old house built by a Great Lakes ship captain. Surrounded by books and dragons, she writes inspiring fiction. Her novels include mystery and romance, all with a twist of grace. She has penned dozens of feature newspaper stories, short stories, magazine articles and radio theater. She is the editor in chief of Creative Wisconsin Magazine and loves to encourage new authors. She is a hostess for Clash of the Titles and blogs with the community groups Reflectionsinhindsight.wordpress.com and thebarndoor.net. Find her at http://www.lisalickel.com/.
The Gold Standard buy link: http://www.amazon.com/Gold-Standard-HEARTSONG-PRESENTS-MYSTERIES/dp/1597895253/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1237984174&sr=8-1
a cozy mystery from Barbour books. School teacher Judy Winters must find someone to trust, now that she's back on the farm to solve the murder of her aunt and find the treasure that neighbor Bryce Edwards once lost.
Healing Grace buy link: http://www.amazon.com/Healing-Grace-Lisa-J-Lickel/dp/1934841226/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1244721331&sr=1-1
also available on Kindle. Grace Runyon has a gift. When she gets a second chance at redemption, it may cost her not just love, but her life.
Meander Scar buy link: http://www.amazon.com/Meander-Scar-Lisa-J-Lickel/dp/1934912239/ref=sr_1_1_oe_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1267452628&sr=1-1
also available on Kindle. Ann Ballard's missing husband kept her in a limbo of life for years. When she's ready to accept the love of a younger man, she learns the truth of her husband's disappearance, but telling the truth may destroy everyone.