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Throwback Thursday: Sacrificial Love

SACRIFICIAL LOVE

By Carolyn Dale Newell

 

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son,

That whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

John 3:16 (NKJV)

Why did Jesus Christ come into this world, suffer and die, rise on the third day, and give us eternal life? The answer: “For God so loved”. John used the word “so” because there is no word that rightly describes the depth of God’s love. It is an unconditional love we cannot fathom.

He loved us when we were unlovable. “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Rom. 5:8). We did nothing to deserve His love. We could never do enough good works to earn it.

How can Christians receive such a gift from God and not show love to an unsaved world? In Mark 10:21, Jesus loved the self-righteous, rich, young ruler who was unsaved. Surely, if Jesus loved a man who was not saved, shouldn’t we do likewise?  In Matt. 5:43-45, Jesus tells us to love our neighbors and our enemies. This love is not an emotion. It is a choice to sacrifice time and show kindness towards them. If we love our neighbor as we love ourselves, then we take care of them as we would take care of ourselves.

The parable of “The Good Samaritan”) Luke 10:25-37) explains that a neighbor can be anyone that we come in contact with. The Jews and Samaritans hated each other. We may not even like the person, but if we don’t show God’s love to them, they may never see it. We should learn from that parable to love ALL people: the dirty homeless person, the unwed mother, the person blinded by a false religion, and homosexuals. They are all sinners in need of God’s grace, as we once were. Share the love that God has bestowed upon you with someone today.

Dear Lord,

Help us to love that particular person that we find so hard to love. Forgive us for prejudice and help us show them Your love. Prepare them for the gospel message that they may be saved. In Jesus ‘name, amen.

DIG DEEPER

Read about the Good Samaritan in Luke 10:25-37.

HIKING THE TRAIL

Is there a particular person that you need to show the love of God to? It may be an enemy or a person that simply annoys you. Make a point to show them an act of kindness and begin praying for them this week.

 

Copyright 2015 Carolyn Dale Newell.

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My First 21 Day Daniel Fast

My First 21 Day Daniel Fast

By Carolyn Dale Newell

But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, so that you do not appear to men to be fasting, but to your Father who is in the secret place;

and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.

Matthew 6:17-18 NKJV

Each January, our church sets aside twenty-one days for fasting. This was the first time I had fasted for more than two days. After this experience, I will no longer be a stranger to fasting.

Sure, after the first few days, I felt some dizziness and fatigued. The Daniel fast is based on the foods Daniel ate while in captivity. Primary fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and nuts. If it doesn’t come from a plant, you don’t eat it. I abstained from processed foods, meat, dairy products and caffeine.

I did some research about protein, and I began drinking a protein nut milk. After that addition, I felt great.

Without caffeine, I slept better than I had in years. I had really struggled with sleeping. I mean really struggled. I found I didn’t need herbal tea and melatonin anymore. I am watching my caffeine intake, now that I am off the fast, because I don’t want to return to those sleepless nights.

I thought my age had contributed to my lack of energy. I became exhausted after my typical 1.5-mile walk. During the fast, my energy from years ago returned. Another reason to stick to this diet.

I wish I could say I lost more than six pounds, but I am glad I lost weight because it seemed all I could do before was gain it. Imagine losing weight while eating baked potatoes and whole-grain spaghetti. I also stopped experiencing digestive issues.

Now, let’s look at the spiritual effects, because a fast is spiritual. Otherwise, it is just a diet. Notice in our focal verses Jesus says “when you fast.” This indicates that fasting should be as much a part of our Christian life as giving and praying. In Matthew 6, Jesus spoke about all three topics.

Fasting is a time of prayer. You eliminate food, so you can make more time for prayer. I had three particular requests I brought before the Lord. One was to know God more intimately. That has already happened, but it is my prayer continually before the Lord. The other requests involved lost souls, and I eagerly await what God will do next.

During the fast, I read my Bible more, listening for the Lord to speak. He showed me things I hadn’t seen before.

Our worship services were immensely blessed by God. We had powerful services with lives changed. During one service, we had a prayer line, and God removed the arthritic pain in my hand.

A fast is a great way to start off a new year, corporately and personally. I highly recommend it, not just at the beginning of the year, but all year long.

Jesus fasted for forty days before embarking on His ministry. Why would Jesus, God incarnate need to fast? Though He was fully God, He was also fully man. If Jesus Christ felt the need to fast, shouldn’t we?

Lord, thank You for Your Word where we can learn how to draw near to You through fasting and prayer. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

DIG DEEPER

Read Matthew 6:1-18.

HIKING THE TRAIL

Spend time studying fasting and ask God to direct your steps.

 

Copyright 2019 Carolyn Dale Newell.