Lent: a season of empty to full, examen


Welcome to week 2 of Lent: a season of empty to full.

This week our focus is examen and self-denial—two of our favorite subjects! I know there’s nothing we like better than taking a deep look at ourselves (warts and all) and saying no to our flesh. While these spiritual disciplines may be uncomfortable, they will bring a harvest of good if we allow God to do His necessary work.

Below are the five traditional steps for the discipline of Examen:

  • Gratitude: Recall the blessings of the day and thank God.
  • Review: Recall the events of the day and notice where you felt God’s presence and where you resisted opportunities to grow in love.
  • Sorrow: Recall anything for which you are sorry.
  • Forgiveness: Ask for God’s forgiveness and/or healing if needed.
  • Grace: Ask God for the grace you need for the next day or for your life in general.

In the Sway, we will provide the information you need to go through the process of examen.

Let’s also stretch our definition of denial beyond the traditional Lenten ideas of sugar and sweets. Consider denying yourself the right to get angry or to get even. What about denying yourself the right to be bitter or unforgiving?

Get ready for the Spirit to dig in to your life while you dig into the many resources included in this week’s Sway. Remember to pray for each other and post your comments on our Facebook page and in the comment section below.

From empty to full.

Have a blessed Lent.

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Lent Week 2: Self-denial

 As a child, the season of Lent often began with a battle royal for me.Then-Jesus-said-to-His

You see, my parents always encouraged my sisters and me to give up something for Lent. More often than not, I usually gave up candy. Every week a good portion of my weekly allowance quickly found it’s way from my pocket to the coffers of Krajci’s Drugstore a few blocks from my house. In the small town where I lived, Krajci’s was one of the few places that had a huge selection of five- and ten-cent candy. Bub’s Daddy Bubble Gum, Paydays, Wonka Bottle Caps, Snickers Bars, and cherry Colas were a few of the items I splurged on. Forty days seemed an awfully long time to go without a treat from Krajci’s.


I didn’t totally understand at the time the purpose for giving up something during Lent. I would have been happy to have given up brussel sprouts or tuna noodle casserole, but I understood enough to realize that what I gave up needed to be something that I actually liked.

Today I realize that one of the purposes of self-denial is that it is part of the process of spiritual formation. I need to cooperate with the Holy Spirit so that He continues to transform my life to make me more like Christ.

In that spirit, this year during Lent I am going to work on “giving up” a sin pattern in my life — and hopefully this will be something that continues for the rest of the year too. I think I know just what bad habit I want to be rid of this year: lateness.

Tardiness has been a habit that has plagued me since childhood. It worsened during my teen years (just ask my best friend Pam who drove me to school most mornings). I was always rushing around stressing myself out and anyone else that had the misfortune of being around me. I’ve since made some changes but still have plenty of room for more. I know this won’t be an easy fix for me, but I’m expecting progress!

If you’d like to join me in giving something up for Lent, tell me about it in the comment section below. I’d love to hear from a few fellow bad-habit breakers.

Pray on!

Lent Day 11, Pride Goes Before a Fall

Welcome to Lent Day 11 as we wrap up our study for the week on the topic of self-denial with a focus on pride. Pride is another topic that can be difficult to deal with, but God is faithful to point out the areas in our lives where we have a tendency to be prideful.

Thanks so much for joining us this week. Tomorrow we’ll start off a week of study on fasting. Just click on the link below to read today’s devotion.

Click here: Lent Day 11, Pride

Image: Nutdanai Apikhomboonwaroot / FreeDigitalPhotos.net


Lent Day 10, Care for Your Body

Welcome to Lent Day 10, Care for Your Body. Today we will look at self-denial and how that relates to caring for your body. As much as we can, we should strive to take care of our physical bodies as well as our spiritual selves. Chronic illness can make that very difficult. Sometimes we have to accept what we can’t change and work on what we can. Click below to read today’s devotion.

Lent Day 10, Caring for Your Body

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Lent Day 9, Words!

Welcome to Lent Day 9, Words. Today we are going to take a look at what words have to do with self-denial. How important is what comes out of our mouths? We’ll look at this through the eyes of Proverbs 25:11. Thanks for joining us and just click on the link below to open up today’s devotion!

Lent Day 9, Words


Image: David Castillo Dominici / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Lent Day 7, Greed

Welcome to Day 7 Devotional. Today we tackle the topic of greed in our week of studying self-denial. I knew this week was going to be a challenging one with this topic, and I was right! Thanks for joining us and click on the link below to read today’s post.

Lent Day 7, Greed


Image: Salvatore Vuono / FreeDigitalPhotos.net