Lent 2016: How and why do people celebrate Ash Wednesday?
Proverbs 17:17 A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity.
Jeremiah 17:9-10 “The heart is hopelessly dark and deceitful, a puzzle that no one can figure out. But I, God, search the heart and examine the mind. I get to the heart of the human. I get to the root of things. I treat them as they really are, not as they pretend to be.” (The Message Bible)
Whitney Houston: Jesus Loves Me
Pastor Rick Warren’s radio teaching and daily devotional, Daily Hope, is offered across America and designed for your daily quiet time. Love, learn, and LIVE the Word everyday with Daily Hope! Subscribe to the free Daily Hope Devotional or listen to today’s radio broadcast.
“We love because he first loved us.” 1 John 4:19 (NIV)
The Bible says in 1 John 4:19, “We love because [God] first loved us” (NIV). God is always first in everything. He takes the initiative. The only reason you can love God or anybody else is because God first loved you. And he showed that love by sending Jesus Christ to Earth to die for you. He showed that love by creating you. He showed that love by giving you everything you have in life. We love because God first loved us.
If you want to learn how to love other people, you’ve got to first understand and feel how much God loves you. When you feel that unconditional love, you’re going to start cutting people a lot of slack. You’re not going to be as angry as you’ve been in the past. You’re going to be more patient. You’re going to be more forgiving. You’re going to be more merciful. You’re going to show other people grace.
The reason why you see people who are judgmental, sarcastic, angry, self righteous, and always putting other people down is because they’re putting themselves down. They don’t feel good about themselves. They don’t feel loved. They don’t feel forgiven. They don’t feel grace. They feel guilty. They feel bad about themselves. And if they feel bad about themselves, they certainly don’t want you feeling good about you.
Maybe you’re one of those people. Maybe you’ve been hurt by parents or peers or partners. Maybe you’ve been abused or misused or rejected or abandoned or betrayed. You’ve got some scars on your heart.
You cannot give to others what you have not received yourself. Unlovely people are unloved people. Hurt people hurt people. If you’re filled with anger and impatience and you don’t feel loved, guess what? You’re not going to be able to love anybody else. You have to learn how much God loves you and let it heal your heart so his love can flow through you. It is impossible to love others until you really feel loved yourself.
The Bible says, “We know and rely on the love God has for us” (1 John 4:16a). Do you know the love of God? Do you rely on the love of God for you? You will have a hard time loving other people until you have God’s love coming through you.
Talk It Over
- Would you say that you love others with the love of God? How do you show that love to others?
- Why would understanding God’s love help you show grace to others?
What hurt from your past is keeping you from accepting God’s love and showing it to others?
Love, Joy and Peace,
Debra J. Ellis
Reminder AND/OR for those of you just joining us: The purpose of Fast Wednesdays is to draw near to God on this specific day of the week fasting and praying in whatever manner the Holy Spirit is leading you as sisters (and some brothers) in Christ…some have fasted from social media, coffee, or observed a traditional fast with no eating from sunrise to sunset with only liquids for the day, no deserts, etc. I know many of us, for various reasons, participate every week but in different manners. This has still been beneficial and the blog continues to grow!
The key ingredient is that we are doing this together as sisters, of all ages, in the Lord, both chronologically and spiritually in accordance to: A God-Filled Life Titus 2:3-5 “Guide older women into lives of reverence so they end up as neither gossips nor drunks, but models of goodness. By looking at them, the younger women will know how to love their husbands and children, be virtuous and pure, keep a good house, be good wives. We don’t want anyone looking down on God’s Message because of their behavior.” Note: Please share Fast Wednesdays with your friends and/or send me names to add to the distribution list. For now, I will post in three places: email (firstname.lastname@example.org), Facebook (Debra Fuller Ellis) and blog in Word Press: https://fastwednesdays.wordpress.com