THINK ON THESE: Jesus came to die for us!

“Lenten practices of giving up pleasures are good reminders that the purpose of life is not pleasure. The purpose of life is to attain a perfect life, all truth and undying ecstatic love – which is the definition of God. In pursuing that goal, we find happiness. Pleasure is not the purpose of anything; pleasure is a by-product resulting from doing something that is good. One of the best ways to get happiness and pleasure out of life is to ask ourselves, ‘How can I please God?’ and, ‘Why am I not better?’ It is the pleasure-seeker who is bored, for all pleasures diminish with repetition.” – Fulton J. Sheen

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The most wonderful story from the Bible is not the birth of Jesus Christ. But it was His death at the Calvary.

John 3:16 states: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only Begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have an everlasting life.”

As we celebrate this Lenten Season, let be reminded that our life and material possessions are just being LENT to us. We are all passing by in this world. We are not immigrants here. We are all pilgrims on the road.

To put us in Lenten perspective, allow me to share this story (I have no idea who originally wrote it) which was forwarded through e-mail:

Ruth went to her mailbox and there was only one letter. She picked it up and looked at it before opening, but then she looked at the envelope again. There was no stamp, no postmark, only her name and address.

She read the letter: “Dear Ruth: “I’m going to be in your neighborhood Saturday afternoon and I’d like to stop by for a visit. Love Always, Jesus.”

Her hands were shaking as she placed the letter on the table “Why would the Lord want to visit me? I’m nobody special. I don’t have anything to offer.”

With that thought, Ruth remembered her empty kitchen cabinets.

“Oh, my goodness, I really don’t have anything to offer. I’ll have to run down to the store and buy something for dinner,” she told herself.

She reached for her purse and counted out its contents. Five dollars and forty cents. “Well, I can get some bread and cold cuts, at least.”

She threw on her coat and hurried out the door. A loaf of French bread, a half-pound of sliced turkey, and a carton of milk – leaving Ruth with a grand total twelve cents to last her until Monday.

Nonetheless, she felt good as she headed home, her meager offerings tucked under her arm. “Hey lady, can you help us, lady?”

Ruth had been so absorbed in her dinner plans she hadn’t even noticed two figures huddled in the alleyway. A man and a woman, both of them dressed in little more than rags.

“Look lady, I haven’t got a job, you know, and my wife and I have been living out here on the street, and, well, now it’s getting cold and we’re getting kind of hungry and, well, if you could help us. Lady, we’d really appreciate it.”

Ruth looked at them both. They were dirty, they smelled bad and frankly, she was certain that they could get some kind of work if they really wanted to.

“Sir, I’d like to help you, but I’m a poor woman myself. All I have is a few cold cuts and some bread, and I’m having an important guest for dinner tonight and I was planning on serving that to Him.”

“Yeah, well, okay lady, I understand. Thanks anyway,” the man replied.

The man put his arm around the woman’s shoulders, turned and headed back into the alley. As she watched them leave, Ruth felt a familiar twinge in her heart. “Sir, wait!” she shouted.

The couple stopped and turned as she ran down the alley after them. “Look, why don’t you take this food? I’ll figure out something else to serve my guest.”

She handed the man her grocery bag. The man said, “Thank you lady. Thank you very much!” The wife also said, “Thank you!”

Ruth could see now that the wife was shivering. “You know, I’ve got another coat at home. Here, why don’t you take this one.”

Ruth unbuttoned her jacket and slipped it over the woman’s shoulders. Then smiling, she turned and walked back to the street – without her coat and with nothing to serve her guest.

“Thank you lady!” the woman told Ruth. “Thank you very much!”

Ruth was chilled by the time she reached her front door, and worried too.

The Lord was coming to visit and she didn’t have anything to offer Him. She fumbled through her purse for the door key. But as she did, she noticed another envelope in her mailbox. “That’s odd. The mailman doesn’t usually come twice in one day,” she said.

She opened the mail and read: “Dear Ruth: It was so good to see you again. Thank you for the lovely meal. And thank you, too, for the beautiful coat. Love Always, Jesus.”

The air was still cold, but even without her coat, Ruth no longer noticed.

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