Lent and Repentance


Lent and Repentance

For Chapel at
Skylark Christian School March 7, 2018




Jacob and Madison are brother and sister. They are cute kids with brown hair and brown eyes. They live in a house with their dad and mom and a dog named Skippy and a rat they call Reggie.

One day, Madison climbed onto her bicycle as her foot took the first peddle Jacob grabbed her handle bars. “Where do you think you’re going?”

“Hey! Let go!” shouted Madison.

“You can’t go anywhere. Mom said you have to stay home. Remember?”

“No she didn’t!”

Jacob nodded his head. “Yes she did. She said we had to stay together so that means you have to stay home.”

“Go get your bike and come with me. I’m just going over to Emily’s. We want to play with her new doll. See, I brought Becca.” She pointed to her doll in the carrier.

“I’m not going so you have to get off your bike and come in. I want to play my new video game.”

Madison crossed her arms. “You never let me play. You say it’s only a one person game. I want to go to Emily’s!”

Just then their mom pulled her car into the driveway. She turned off the motor and scooted out. “What are you two arguing about?”

“Notin.” said Jacob.

Madison glared at Jacob.

Their mom said, “Jacob, go get the sack of groceries in the back seat and then into the house. Madison put your bike away and meet us in the living room.”

Jacob and their mom went inside. Madison jumped off her bike and wheeled it into the garage and shut the door. She slowly walked into the house carrying her doll, Becca.

Madison sat down in the corner of the couch. She picked up Becca and said, “What do you think? I bet Jacob blames me for everything.”

In a moment Jacob walked in followed by their mom. Jacob plopped down on the other corner of the couch.

Mom said, “Now, let’s start at the beginning. Madison go first.”

Madison glanced up and said, “I wanted to ride my bike and Jacob stopped me.”

“You couldn’t go by yourself.” Jacob chimed in.

“I asked you to go and you wouldn’t. You said Mom said I couldn’t ride my bike. That was a lie! I can too ride my bike and go to Emily’s.” a tear fell from Madison’s eye.

“Moummm!”

“Woe. Hold on. I think I get a clear picture. Madison, did Jacob ask you to play with him?”

Madison shook her head, no.

“Jacob, did I say Madison could not ride her bike?”

“No.”

“Jacob. What exactly did I tell you children before I went to the store?”

He mumbled.

“Jacob, speak up.”

“You said we needed to play nicely together while you were gone and to stay with each other and if we both agreed we could go to Emily’s.”

“That is correct. What do you think I meant?”

“We could play here together or we could play outside together.”

“Jacob you’re the big brother and should look out for your sister. She wanted to play with you but you didn’t share your video game and would not go with her to Emily’s. How should you have acted?”

“I should offer Madison the controller to my game or go with her to Emily’s. You put me in charge. I’m sorry.”



Boys and girls, what do you think of this story of Madison and Jacob?

Did Jacob obey his mom? Did he tell a lie? Was he being kind?



Today is the middle of Lent. Lent is a special time when we think about what the Lord Jesus did for us by dying on the cross to pay the payment for our sin.

Sin is anything we do in thought, word, or deed against God. Those are some of the things Jacob did in our story. The Bible says we are all sinners. When we are born, we have a sin nature. God is holy and cannot allow sin into His presence. What are we to do? If we are sinners and God can’t have sin in his presence, we cannot go to heaven! Oh no!

Sin has to be paid for. A blood sacrifice. We should be that sacrifice or payment. God knew this and made a way so we wouldn’t have pay to for our sin. He sent His only Son Jesus to the earth to be born and grow up and die on the cross to pay for our sin.

Wow! Imagine that. God himself became man and took our sin on Him and paid for all our sin by spilling His blood and dying.

But it gets better! He rose again! He is alive! He is in heaven waiting for us. But wait. There must be something we need to do to go to heaven someday. We need to trust in what Jesus did for us on the cross to pay for our sin. We need to accept Him as our personal Savior.

You see, when we accept what Jesus did for us we get His righteousness. Now when God the Father looks at us He sees His son Jesus Righteousness.

Lent is more than thinking about what Jesus did for us on the cross. Lent is a time of thinking about our sin. Like Jacob said he was sorry, we need to say we are sorry for our sins we commit every day. When we asked Jesus to be our Savior, we repent. Repent means to turn around. We asked for forgiveness of our sin. We repented.

That was at salvation. But repentance is something we need to do every time we sin. Jacob told a lie. That is sin. Jacob fought with his sister. That is sin. Jacob didn’t obey his mother. That was sin. Jacob needed to tell his mother he was sorry, his sister he was sorry and tell the Lord he is sorry. He needed to repent. To turn form sin and to do what is right.

Lent is a time of reflecting on what Jesus Christ did for us on the cross and how we should live our lives. Many Christians give up something especially food during Lent. Fasting is a time of limiting or stopping something you enjoy doing. Most people refer to fasting as a time of limiting or abstaining from food and or drink. A person can also fast from say, your favorite game, movie, television show, sport, video game or anything that gives you pleasure.


Why fast? True fasting is a time when you focus on the Lord Jesus in prayer and reading His word. The time you would spend on the activity like eating or playing your favorite video game, you would then spend in prayer and reading the Bible.

When the temptation to eat or play the game surfaces, you then take your mind off the desire by praying and reading God’s word. Prayer refocuses your mind on what is important rather than a physical desire.

Lent is a special time where people take a look at their lives and see anything they are doing against God. What might be some things in our lives against God? Not telling the complete truth, not obeying our parents or others in authority over us like teachers right away and also with a good attitude, or taking something that doesn’t belong to us, arguing or fighting with our classmates or siblings, not being kind to one another, and maybe wanting something that belongs to someone else. All those and many more things are sin and we need to repent and ask for forgiveness.

Lent is a time to focus on what Jesus did on His last 40 days on the earth and His death and resurrection. The best way to do that is to limit time on things we love and use that time to pray and read His word, focusing on Him.

At this time I want you to close your eyes and ask the Father to show you any sin you may have in your life and ask for forgiveness.




In this way, you are showing your love for Jesus and what He did for you on the cross. You are repenting and doing what Lent is meant to be. We have three more weeks of Lent and the Easter season. What should you give up so you can have more time in prayer and reading the Bible? Giving up something gives you more time with the Lord.

 Please memorize one or more of the verses below:



Psalm 193: 23 Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me, and know my thoughts! ESV

Ezekiel 18: 30b Repent and turn from all your transgressions lest iniquity be your ruin. ESV

Acts 17:30 The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent. ESV










Miracle


A twig snapped. Brayleigh turned to see a pair of yellow eyes staring at her. A wolf!



At first, she was rooted to her spot staring at the powerful black furry creature. Fear brought sweat to her brow and her heart beat against her ribs. A slow step back. Another. The ground beneath her foot slid. Swoosh! Gravity pulled her through the hole. Thud. She landed in the dark earth. Terror gripped her before the pain in her arm. She landed with her arm twisted under her.

From her shoulder to her fingers pain seared. She used her other arm to raise herself off the injured one. It must be broken. Fingers refused to move. Sure enough—a bone was almost sticking through the skin. She passed out.

A while later, she came to and realization of her predicament assailed her. She needed help!

First, she needed to immobilize her arm. She slowly pulled her belt off, refastened the buckle, and slid it over her head. With gentle movements, she placed her injured arm on the belt and her hand between the buttons of her shirt, to rest on her stomach.

She peered around her. The space was a small room. There didn’t appear to be any other way out—but up. Sunlight barely penetrated. Shaking, she rose and leaned against the wall of her cave. Her head swam and her breath was ragged. A yell would not be heard from any human. She was all alone.

It was up to her and she needed to climb out. Try as she might, she was not able get a good toe hold. A few rocks littered the ground. Brayleigh drug them over to make stepping stones. She tentatively climbed. The climb was slow—she only had use of one hand. Any jolt of the injured one brought extreme pain.

The fourth stone slipped and so did she. Bang! This time, she landed on her backside and thankfully didn’t hit her head. “Thank You Lord!” The prayer escaped her lips. Realization struck her. She hadn’t prayed. “Lord, I am all alone and hurt. Please help me. I need strength to get out or... a miracle.”

Sweet peace washed over her. With new resolve, she stacked the rocks. She tilted her head up and glimpsed a ledge. “I just need to get to the ledge then maybe I can pull myself up from there.” She giggled. “I’m talking to myself again. Oh, well, hearing myself makes me feel better.”

She lifted her leg. Snap! She spun to the noise. “What was that?” Brayleigh didn’t see anything. Dead silence met her. Her foot came down on the first rock. As she climbed, she kept her eyes peeled to where the sound came from. A scraping came from the dark crevice. She was not alone!

A nose poked out followed by dark eyes. She didn’t wait to find out what it was. Fear made her scramble up the rocks. From the top rock, she leapt to the ledge, pulling herself up. She lie panting on the flat surface. “Amazing! I made it! Thank you Lord!” she paused and frowned, “Did you just give me a miracle?” She poked her face over the edge. “Wow. What a long way down. I wouldn’t normally be able to make the jump. I guess the Lord sent that, whatever it is, to frighten me into a mighty leap.” A smile grew at the realization.

Her legs were weak but held her up. Brayleigh stretched and reached. “I can’t reach the top!” She sat. Knees up and head resting on them, she prayed. “Lord, I need another miracle. I’m too short to reach out of this hole. My arm is throbbing. I keep getting dizzy. I’m frightened, tired, and thirsty. No one knows where I am and I don’t want to cry.” A sob erupted. She swallowed another. Brayleigh got to her feet. Automatically, she reached up and her foot found a hold. The rock took her weight. Her other foot found a thick protruding root.

There she was—suspended on the side of the wall, with loose dirt sliding down all around her. She hugged and pressed as she searched for another foot hold. That’s when she almost screamed!

Those yellow eyes pierced hers. The wolf!
 
She trembled. Did he want to eat her? She whispered, “Lord, now what do I do?”

“He is my creation. Trust me.”

Those words reverberated through her being. “Is that You, Lord?”

“Reach up.”

Her hand reached upward almost on its own. The wolf leaned toward her and opened his mouth. She squeezed her eyes tight. A tug on her shirt collar and she was rising. Without a second thought, she opened her eyes and grabbed hold of soft fur. Inch by inch she ascended.  The progress stopped. The wolf started to slip. “Oh no! Lord, please!”

Wings beat the air around her. A huge black bird grabbed the other side of her shirt. Together they pulled her up and over the side. The bird swooped away to the nearest tree to survey her. The wolf trotted a bit away, sat and glowered at her. A tremble went through her. She slowly sat up—careful of her injury.

“Thank you again Lord. I don’t understand. Why would these animals help me? Your ways are higher than mine. Shall I get up and go home? How do I thank these beautiful yet frightening creatures?”

All through her prayer to the Lord, her eyes had never left the wolf. “Thank you wolf for saving my life.” She relaxed.

Her gaze went to the bird she believed to be a hawk. “Thank you for helping the wolf save my life.” The hawk dipped his head, flapped his mighty wings, and soared into the cloudless blue sky.

She turned toward the wolf, but he was gone. Brayleigh swiveled her head back and forth. “Well, if you are still watching, I’m leaving now.”

She carefully picked herself up and headed home. “No one will believe me. But I know what happened. Mama always said, ‘God works in mysterious ways.’ Oh, boy... does He!”

 

Boys and girls, the Lord does do things we cannot understand. Anything He does is a miracle because He is the only one who does miracles. His miracles may be large ones like what happened to Brayleigh or small ones we don’t see or recognize. He protects us and gives us things we need all the time. All we need to do is have faith in Him. Trust Him to get us through. He doesn’t say He will take away our trials but that He will get us through them. We just need to have faith. Brayleigh is a fictional character from my imagination but I know people who have experience great miracles like she did, myself included.

The thing I want you to take away from this story is faith and a relationship with the Lord. If you have trusted the Lord as Savior, you have a loving heavenly Father who wants what is best for you. He loves for you to talk to him about anything. You develop the kind of relationship Brayleigh exampled by talking to him and listening to His voice and reading His words in the Bible.

 

The verse Brayleigh quoted is Isaiah: 55:8 “For my thought are not your thoughts, nor are your way my ways.” says the Lord.

It would be a great idea if you memorized that verse.

 

Verses in NKJV unless otherwise stated