What is Mardi Gras?
The day before Lent is called by some, Mardi Gras or Fat Tuesday. It's pronounced like "Marty Graw."
Unfortunately, over the centuries, it has degraded into a pagan custom.
As such, it's not an appropriate way to get ready for Lent.
Mardi Gras is a Corruption of Shrove Tuesday
Lent begins on Ash Wednesday. The day before is also called "Shrove" Tuesday, and what people used to do, and should be doing, is confess their sins, not add to them, so they could be "shriven" - forgiven by God - of them.
There is a tradition in some countries of eating pancakes on Shrove Tuesday. The ideas was to use up eggs and milk in the house, since these foods were not eaten during Lent as a sacrifice - something usually not done today.
Our ancestors in the faith offered us a much better example, and put most of the world today to shame for it's lack of self-discipline. They knew the meaning of sacrifice.
In some Christian denominations, there is a 2 and a half week spiritual preparation before Lent. A much better practice than Mardi Gras.
How Mardi Gras Started
During the days preceding Lent, people used to say good-bye to eating meat with simple meals, from the Latin "carne vale" ("meat farewell").
However, this has degraded over time into a period of "carnival" and revelry - and immodesty and immorality - that is not pleasing to God, and is a disgusting waste of time, energy, and money, going against the whole purpose of having Lent in the first place.
In many places in the world, this abomination goes on for days, even weeks before Lent begins.
Such people should truly be afraid that God may punish them even in the act of sin, for "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom." (Proverbs 1:7; 9:10; 111:10)
Mardi Gras Should Be a Time to Repent
If people do not repent, God will punish, as he has been doing more and more.
No matter what "politically correct" people say, it is my strongly held belief that God sent the devastating floods of Hurricane Katrina in August 2005 to warn and punish the city of New Orleans for it's corruption and immorality, especially during Mardi Gras time, which is not just a few days, but weeks.
Even if the whole world does it, does not make it right. God can destroy the whole world.
God will not be mocked. God sent the Flood in Noah's Day, because they were eating, drinking, and making merry in their sins. The whole world was destroyed, and only 8 people were saved. (Genesis 6-9)
Remember, Jesus can Come Any Time!
When Jesus comes, he said it would be as in the days of Noah. (Matthew 24:37; Luke 17:26-27)
And also the days of Lot. (Luke 17: 28-32)
Even Jesus knew the truth that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and that when he says he will do the same when he comes, he means business.
When is Jesus coming? At the end of the world?
Actually, by the time you die! So if you have not welcomed him into your life before then, and changed your life and followed him, you can plan on being totally shocked and unprepared when you die.
Mardi Gras has Becoma a Time of Public Sin
There are many disgusting Mardi Gras events around the world, but New Orleans has become known for it's decadence and depravity.
Some places it would be better for Christians not to live in, especially if they want to get out of the world and preserve their families from sin, as God's angels warned Lot. That next day, God destroyed many people in the area, including the 2 big cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. (Genesis 19)
I visited New Orleans in June of 1983 to help a pastor in a wheelchair move out of the city. Originally, it was a city founded on strong principles, with many Catholics and Christians. God is especially displeased when people, who say they are Christians, by their actions show they aren't. "These people honor me with their lips, but their heart is far from me", warns Jesus of such hypocrites, quoting Isaiah 29:13. (Matthew 15:8; Mark 7:6)
Jesus warns us that his kingdom is not of this world. (John 18:36) By the world he means the devil and the souls under the bondage of sin and the power of the devil, who stand in opposition to Christ. (John 12:31, 14:30)
Let us be Mindful that Hell is Real
Mardi Gras is a reminder to all of us of our own depravity. We all deserve punishment for our sins. But some sins are so public an affront to God, so blasphemous and scandalous, that they must be stopped.
Especially when people make unlawful profit from their sins. And especially, when they scandalize children.
Jesus said it would be better that a millstone be tied around the neck and a person be drowned in the sea, than to cause one of the little ones to sin. (Matthew 18:6; Mark 9:42; Luke 17:2)
That's because getting drowned is very little compared to suffering in hell fire forever. Yes, there is an eternal hell. And Lent is one of the best times to reflect on the justice of God - and beg for his mercy.
Still, we must humble ourselves, and remind ourselves that we were once in sin, and there, but for the grace of God, we could end up.
Mardi Gras Should Be a Time of Reparation
For us, the days before Lent should be a time of prayer and atonement, asking God to convert and save the people. God sent Jonah to preach repentance. If they did not repent, they would be destroyed in 40 days. (Lent is 40 days.) Jonah played around and disobeyed God, and God swiftly chastised him, and the cargo of the ship was lost because of his fault. Then he had to live in the sewage of a whale for 3 days and nights.
When Jonah did finally go to Nineveh and preach repentance, the people repented by sackcloth and ashes, and a total fast of 3 days imposed on every man, woman, child, baby, and animal! And the city was spared. (Jonah 1-4)
(Several centuries later, it was overrun by armies and destroyed for its sins, as later prophets prophesied.)
What if there is no Repentance?
What if the people still won't repent? There comes a time that God or Christian leaders, may hand over these people to the control of Satan, so that they may hopefully wake up before it's too late - like the apostle Paul did. (1 Corinthians 5:5, 1 Timothy 1:20)
Read the book of Job to find out when God gives permission for Satan to interfere. Even though Job was just, he lost everything, his home, children, fortune - which was later restored. What will happen to those who are not innocent as Job was? Or as Jesus asked the weeping women, when he was going to his death, If they do this when the tree is green, what will they do when it is dry? (Luke 23:28-31)
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