7 Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9 This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.
10This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.
13 This is how we know that we live in him and he in us: He has given us of his Spirit. 14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world.
15 If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God. 16 And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.
God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.
17 This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. 18There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.
19 We love because he first loved us. 20 Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. 21 And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister. (1 John 4:7-21)
As I said last year, lent is also a great time to practice integrity- doing what I say I am going to do even when no one is looking. I am a little bummed to give up Facebook, I will miss so many important birthdays and status updates, which is confirmation that I have made the right decision on what to give up- it will be a constant reminder! Again, you will still receive blog updates on FB and twitter because I don't have to log in to update those! Happy Easter!
I am thinking about Lent today, as a non-denominational follower of Christ, it is not "required" for me to give anything up according to the church- however, I love the tradition of giving something up during this season to remind us of the sacrifice God made when he sent Jesus as the ultimate sacrifice for our sins. As a mom, I appreciate this sacrifice all the more- I have felt so blessed that He pulled me out of and gave me freedom from my pit of sin- but now that I am a mom I realize- God sent his perfect, unblemished son as a sacrifice for a bunch of kids who are whiny, ungrateful, selfish sinners! I am amazed that God loves me that much! So for lent, usually I will give up chocolate/dessert or shopping, which does remind me of God's sacrifice each time I am tempted to shop or bite into a cookie- however at the deepest depth of my heart, it is a win-win. When I give up sweets, I get to jump start my swim suit diet and with shopping I am saving up money to BLOW OUT when Easter is over and I get some darling spring clothes! So this year, I thought, what would I really miss? What is taking time away from the Lord that I could give back to him during this season? The answer...Facebook (and twitter, although I rarely look at that). I love facebook, I love to be reminded of birthdays, I love to see pics of my friends and their sweet families, I love to get updates on friends from the past, I love to reconnect with friends, I love to hit the "like" button, I love to hear about businesses/products/deals, I love to upload photos for my sweet 81 year old grandma- I love it all! I believe I probably spend more time on FB than I think, even though it is a quick 2 minute "check in" throughout the day, it adds up. SO, every time I think of "checking in" on FB, I am going to check in with God instead and express to him my gratitude for this gift of grace that I in no way deserve. Yes, it seems silly in comparison to his amazing sacrifice to simply give Facebook up, but I am excited for the extra sweet time with the Lord! Happy Lent- and Happy Easter, I LOVE this time of year!
side note: you will probably notice updates on FB and Twitter for the blog, I simply hit a button to update, I don't have to go on to do that. If you need to make a comment or get a hold of me- email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. This is such a good time to practice integrity- doing what I am supposed to do even when no one is looking (although HE is!!!)
Here is a blog (thanks to my friend Amy for sending this to me) with other great Lent ideas: http://rachelheldevans.com/40-ideas-for-lent-2012