Thursday, February 23, 2012

Why I'm Not Observing Lent

Wednesday was the first day of Lent. Lent is a Christian observerance from Ash Wednesday to Easter, in the liturgical church. I grew up in the Lutheran church and we always "gave up" something for Lent, whether it be red meat, or chocolate or something else. 

Lent can be a good thing, when done correctly. The Bible does call for us to fast and pray, and Lent provides a way for many people to do that. As you are making the sacrific of the item you are fasting from, you are supposed to pray every time you want that item, and focus on Jesus and what he gave up for you. (His life).

At the same time, Lent is not "Biblical." You will find no references to Lent in the Bible. Lent was created by the church, not by Jesus. It is a way to "pay penance" for our sins. That is the part that concerns me. While some definitions of penance refer to being repentant (sorry) for our sins, others refer to it as a punishment for our sins. 

We cannot pay the price for our own sins. The work of our salvation was finished on the cross. Jesus paid the full. Nothing I do on earth can add to my salavation. Jesus said, "It is finished." It's done. He did it.

As a "works based" girl, this is hard for me to remember. I try to do more, or give up more, or be more so God will notice me and like me.  Truth is, I don't have to do more or give up anything, because He didn't just "notice" me, He MADE me, and He loves me, sending His son to die so I don't have to be more.

That's not to say there isn't work to be done on earth. God calls us to be living sacrifices, and to daily lift up our cross and follow Him.  That's why I'm not taking the 40 days of Lent to try and do works for Jesus. I pray my life is lived that way. Not because of what I have to earn. Not because of the price I need to pay. But simply because I love Him.  And because He loved me first.

Are you observing Lent this year? Why or why not?

Kelly Combs is a Christian wife, mom, writer and speaker. You can learn about Kelly by visiting her website at

Chatty Kelly

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Who is Your Expert?

That awkward moment. I was sitting in the pedicure chair reading a fashion magazine. Under the Do's and Don'ts section, the first DON'T the Fashion Expert said was, "Never, unless you are heading to or from the gym, never wear black yoga pants, a fleece jacket and white cross trainers in public."  I glanced down over my outfit. Other than the white cross trainers, that was exactly what I was wearing. The cross trainers, which I wasn't exactly wearing, were sitting in the floor next to me, as I had my toe nails painted.  Oh, the awkward moment.

That awkward moment. I was at a speaking seminar and the Marketing Expert was sharing the Do's and Don'ts of marketing your blog.  The first Don't, the Marketing Expert said, "Never pose in a photo with you hand beside your face. We don't want to see your knuckle." I cringed as I thought of my blog photo, the photo I used for all my publicity.  This is the photo. 

Oh the awkward moment!

Reading what the experts say, and getting it wrong can be, well, awkward!  But I had a light bulb moment the other day.  I receive several emails from writing experts, to help me work on my craft. I received an email that said, "Say 'no' often. If you said yes too much, you will become overwhelmed and if you don't meet deadlines you will ruin your reputation in the industry."  Sounded reasonable to me.

But then I received an email from another "expert."  His email said, "Say yes more than you think you should. This will challenge you to work harder and do more. You won't know what you're capable of if you don't push yourself."

Both comments from the so-called experts seemed legit, but they were in complete opposition to one another. Which one was correct?  I guess the one that works best for you.

There are plenty of experts out there in every field, all doling out advice at record pace. The thing is, however, while their ideas may be good, the aren't the gospel. Just read health magazines. One expert extols the virtues of a juice fast, while the next extols the dangers! What works for some, doesn't work for all. 

The only place I've found that has the correct advice all the time is, in fact, the Gospel, that is the good news of Jesus Christ.  The Bible.  Packed with the "Do's and Don'ts of Life," it shares consistently accurate information. Yes, there are some awkward moments when I realize I've been living in contradiction to God's will, but he is a forgiving God! And his lessons won't go out of style. They haven't in over 2,000 years. Can you say that for your skinny jeans? Or your marketing plan?

While I may not look my best in my yoga pants, I do feel pretty good in them. So I keep wearing them to the grocery or the salon. Because while it's fun to get advice from the experts, they don't know everything. The only Expert who does is Jesus. And His plan says not to worry about what we wear or how we look. It's what is inside that counts. 

Where are you getting your "expert" advice?

Kelly Combs is a Christian wife, mom, writer and speaker. You can learn about Kelly by visiting her website at

Chatty Kelly