Here’s the “something new” we’ve promised — we’ve put together a Reading Plan for Lent where we’ll intentionally draw near to Jesus for 40 Days!
Our modern calendar measures passing time using a system that revolves around solstices and seasons and holidays (both religious and secular) have been added as highlights to celebrate events and honor people. For us Christians, religious holidays have significant and poignant meaning.
In Old Testament times, God commanded the Israelites to keep certain holidays that had religious (even prophetic) significance. (Here’s one example.) And today’s Church calendar notes what God has done in the New Testament– He sent His Son (Christmas) who gave His life (Good Friday), then resurrected Him (Easter), and later sent the promised Holy Spirit (Pentecost).
Since God created time, years revolve around Him and what He’s done.
And coming soon on the Church calendar is the celebration of Lent. (Lent begins on Valentine’s Day this year.)
Some Christians are familiar with this holiday while some aren’t. As a child, I attended an evangelical church where Lent was celebrated. My juvenile mind associated the Lenten season with “giving something up” (usually my much beloved bubble gum). But as an adult who’s come back to the observance of this holiday, I’ve learned there is so much more to it.
Churches have different practices and there are many different ways to participate, yet there’s one common thread. And rather than viewing Lent merely as a 40 day period of giving up something for the sake of discipline, I’ve learned that the purpose of giving up something in the the first place is simply to make room for more important things – namely, the most important thing Himself.
Yes, the common thread amidst all Lenten celebrations is to draw near Christ.
Traditionally, Lent is a 40 day (46 days total when you include Sundays) period of intentionally dwelling on the life, sacrifice, and resurrection of Jesus.
Ultimately, Lent is a humbling time of reflection on all God has done for mankind.
We know that salvation is through grace that comes by faith (Ephesians 2:8-9)– not by the works of righteousness or of disciplining the flesh (Titus 3:5). That said, we can’t help but notice that Jesus was disciplined. He passionately lived for God the Father with His all and taught us to crucify our fleshly desires to walk in the Spirit (Galatians 2:20). May we be like Him! We gain this not through our own striving, but through surrender to His will and to His authority and with the help of His strength. With His help we can put away childish and fleshly things; we can put on Christ and put off the flesh.
And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” Luke 9:23
For in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. Galatians 3:26-27
This side of the cross, we celebrate Lent through a shifted perspective. Lent is not law that needs to be obeyed, it’s a time spent steeping in the beautiful reminder of how deeply we are loved by our God! It’s the reminder of what exactly He did up on that cross and through His sacrificial death! And it makes the celebration of His resurrection on Easter Sunday so much sweeter as we understand the victory we have in Jesus– the Overcomer!!
So with all of that in mind, we’ve put together a new plan for you to use during Lent (or anytime!). Rather than asking you to give something up (that’s between you and God) we’re asking that you consider joining us for 40 Days with Jesus. This reading plan covers roughly one chapter a day and will take us through the Books of Mark and John. We’ll focus on what Jesus did while He walked this earth and who exactly this God-in-the-flesh man is. In simpler words, we’ll focus on the actions and person of Christ.
Our plan is put together chronologically, so we’ll smoothly hop back and forth from John to Mark and back again, until we get through the entire story of Jesus as presented in these two Gospels.
We’ve made a printable bookmark to help you keep track of the daily readings. Print it up on cardstock and tuck it in your Bible. Look it over then let it wait until Valentine’s Day when we’ll begin. Check off each day as you read, keeping in mind that there are no readings on Sundays. You can use that day for reflection or as a “catch up” day if needed. We’ve also included a pretty inspirational verse card for you.
Click here to download and print the Lent Reading Plan Bookmark and Image.
We pray that this plan will bless you richly as you draw near to God in worship and complete adoration for who He is and for all He’s done for us in sending His Son! We pray that when Easter Sunday arrives, your heart will feel absolutely ready to burst with joy and praise. Most of all, we pray that your time spent with Jesus will be preciously sweet and unforgettable.
A Prayer Opportunity for You
Please pray about joining us. We’ll have posts here on the blog twice a week to discuss what we’re reading. If you do plan to participate and you’re interested in going through this plan with a group, please join the DoNotDepart community on Facebook for daily discussions. We would love to have you! You are also always welcome to comment on our posts right here on the blog. We value your thoughts and comments and love hearing from our readers!
And if this isn’t for you, will you pray for a fruitful time for the participants and DND Team? We are so thankful for your prayers and for your encouragement!
Let us know if you plan to join in. In the meantime, we’re praying for you!