In her devotional this morning, Cynthia Ruchti reminded me it’s Ash Wednesday. She wrote (on this Feb. 20 devotional in Daily Guideposts), “… my sins have been incinerated, a fine layer of ash is all that remains – and that layer has been blown away by the breath of Jesus’ mercy.”
What a wonderful image that is! She reminded us of the devastation of the 2019 California fires that left whole neighborhoods (in fact major parts of whole cities, like Paradise, CA) incinerated. She mourned, “The ash was so fine it left only a dusting over the footprint of each lost home.”
Cynthia reminded me that Ash Wednesday is “a time of reflection, self-sacrifice, spiritual discipline, and fasting to prepare the heart for Easter.” Her “Faith Step” at the conclusion of the message was: “Our humanity and our sinfulness have been conquered in Jesus and we are free. Ashes to joy. Dust to life. Live victoriously.”
At http://www.Christianity.com the author wrote: “Each year, Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent and is always 46 days before Easter Sunday. Lent is a 40-day season (not counting Sundays) marked by repentance, fasting, reflection, and ultimately celebration. The 40-day period represents Christ’s time of temptation in the wilderness, where he fasted and where Satan tempted him. Lent asks believers to set aside a time each year for similar fasting, marking an intentional season of focus on Christ’s life, ministry, sacrifice, and resurrection.”
I am ready to embrace this season. I am ready to “live victoriously.” I am ready for “Dust to dust” to become “Dust to Life.”
I am ready for “Ashes to ashes” to become “Ashes to Joy.“
Love is on fire today. Love is in the air. It’s Valentine’s Day, a day dedicated to LOVE. Love has so many meanings in the English language. Other languages use different words to describe family love, love of God, sweetheart love, love of food or objects, etc. The English word LOVE covers them all – and then some! As a result we can sometimes overuse this four-letter word and in the process dilute its power. Valentine’s Day is a good time to take stock of our use of it. Examine what we truly love and how we express it. Define it in a way that gives it the most power and influence in your life and in the lives of those you truly LOVE. Reread 1 Corinthians 13:4–8a and 1Timothy 1:5. Think about the meaning of Romans 13:10 and Luke 6:32. Contemplate what it means to “let everything be done in love,” as the Bible instructs us in 1 Corinthians 16: 14. Then, decide what you will DO today to demonstrate the love that is in your heart. Try to list at least ten things.
As for me, I…
1) … reached out to my children to say, “I love you.”
2) … am serving with love at the reception desk at our local hospital.
3) … made a special trip to visit a friend and thanked her for helping me with my plants and my home while I was away this past couple months.
4) … will write some thank you cards to the people who extended their hospitality to us while we were traveling.
5) … will hug my neighbors and share an evening meal with them tonight.
6) … spent time in my sancutary this morning, praying for family and friends who are hurting and in need of healing, reading my Bible and devotionals, and praising God for His many blessings.
7) … will write a letter to my grandson who has just entered the Navy and is in boot camp.
8) … demonstrated “love your neighbor as yourself” by taking care of myself – I made healthy meal choices, kept an appointment with my doctor, and I worked out at the fitness center.
9) … mailed a package to a friend in Switzerland.
10) … wrote this blog to reach out in love to each of you.
Tell me about your Valentine’s Day Love list! Are you on fire with love today? Remember, as Bob Goff said, “Love Does.” Don’t just say love or think love – go do it!!