Today is Ash Wednesday 

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FGGAM Shares a Biblical Worldview Everyday:

“The Biblical worldview says there is a God—One who is personal, powerful and caring—who created the world and everything in it. It states unequivocally that man is created in God’s image, living in essence as God’s co-regent over creation. Mankind—born and unborn, rich and poor, able and disabled—has intrinsic worth. Almighty God is a sovereign God, ruler over nations, states, empires, and governments. He is to be worshiped and obeyed through the precepts and principles revealed in His infallible Word. He not only exists, but He is sovereign over all of history according to His wisdom and purposes, and He is intimately involved in every aspect of life.”

Franklin Graham, “A Biblical Worldview in Today’s Culture”

From Dr. Jim Denison:

Today is Ash Wednesday

Lent begins today.

Lent” comes from the old Anglo-Saxon or Teutonic word Lencten, which simply means “spring.” By the end of the second century AD, it had come to designate a period of spiritual preparation for Easter. The season begins on Ash Wednesday (today), always the seventh Wednesday before Easter Sunday. In more liturgical traditions, ashes are placed on worshippers’ foreheads as symbols of humility and gratitude for our Savior’s death.

As I have reported previously, 78 percent of Ukrainian adults, some thirty-five million people, are Orthodox Christians. Their tradition does not observe Ash Wednesday; they began their Lenten season last Monday (they call this “Clean Monday,” referring to spiritual cleansing through fasting, prayer, repentance, worship, and seeking forgiveness).

During these weeks, observant Orthodox Christians abstain from eating until sundown and then eat only approved food items. During the first week of Lent, some will eat only on Wednesday and Friday evenings. Worship services follow an ancient liturgical pattern.

“Unthinkable darkness riven with unbearable light”

While American evangelicals may feel little in common with Orthodox traditions and rituals, the crisis in Ukraine reminds us that we are all part of one family—the human family (cf. Genesis 1:27). And Christians are all part of one body—the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:27).

As a result, we have a hope to share in this crisis that no one else can offer.

We worship a God who became one of us that we might be one with him. Frederick Buechner described the Incarnation in these passionate terms: “The Word become flesh. Ultimate Mystery born with a skull you could crush one-handed. Incarnation. It is not tame. It is not touching. It is not beautiful. It is uninhabitable terror. It is unthinkable darkness riven with unbearable light. Agonized laboring led to it, vast upheavals of intergalactic space/time split apart, a wrenching and tearing of the very sinews of reality itself.”

As a result, our Savior feels every pain we feel and knows every fear we face. As “the Lamb who was slain from the creation of the world” (Revelation 13:8 NIV), he endured our temptations (Hebrews 4:15) and died on our cross.

Then he rose from our grave to prove that “everyone who believes in [Jesus] shall never die” (John 11:26). Max Lucado noted: “The ultimate proof of providence is the death of Christ on the cross. No deed was more evil. yet God not only knew of the crucifixion; he ordained it. Everyone thought the life of Jesus was over—but God. His Son was dead and buried, but God raised him from the dead. God took the crucifixion of Friday and turned it into the celebration of Sunday.”

“Where love exists, it works great things” 

Because we share the same incarnate, crucified, resurrected Lord, this Washington Post headline is entirely appropriate: “Christians around the globe take up fasting for Ukraine on Ash Wednesday.” Five Christian World Communions are holding an online prayer service for Ukraine today. Christians across the denominational spectrum are planning to fast and pray for the Ukrainian nation and Ukrainian Christians.

I invite you to join me in taking extended time on this Ash Wednesday to join them. Pope St. Gregory the Great was right: “The proof of love is in the works. Where love exists, it works great things. But when it ceases to act, it ceases to exist.”

Will your love for your heavenly Father and your human family exist today?

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Jim Denison, PhD, is an author, speaker, and the CEO of Denison Ministries, which is transforming 6.8 million lives through meaningful digital content.

Dallas-based Denison Ministries includes Denison Forum, First15Christian Parenting, and Foundations with Janet.

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