January 22, 2018

This Week…LOVE (Advent, week four)

SHadventlovegraphic

Merry, blessed Christmas to each of you!  How encouraging it has been to read the Seeking Him devotionals each day during this Advent season focused on the themes of Hope, Peace, Joy, and Love.  The Scriptures and the encouragement shared have reminded me of God’s goodness and helped me to prepare my heart for the celebration of Jesus’ birth.

We all know how easy it is amidst all the hubbub—the list-making, and shopping, and baking, and caroling, and visiting, and wrapping—to be distracted from the true importance of the season.  Jesus’ birth changed EVERYTHING.  His first coming as Emmanuel, God With Us, redeemed the past, gave purpose for that present time, and hope for the future.

…while we wait for the blessed Hope—the glorious appearing
of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ,
Who gave Himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness
and to purify for Himself a people that are His very own, eager to do what is good.
Titus 2:13-14

This week, Ahmee, Ann, Cynda, Laura, and Tina have helped us to keep our focus on the love that Jesus’ birth showed to mankind.

For God loved the world in this way:
He gave His One and Only Son,
so that everyone who believes in Him
will not perish but have eternal life.
John 3:16

*    ♥  ~  ✝  ~  ★    *

Laura wrote in God’s Love Abounds that “If we love God then we should show that same love to our neighbors. We should be helping our neighbors when trouble hits as well as during the good times. This is showing godly love.

Loving God means knowing God.
Knowing God means showing it through prayer and service to others.

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God.
Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.
1 John 4:7

In God’s Banner Over Us is Love, Ann reminded us of the truth about LOVE.

Love is patient, love is kind.
It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking,
it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
1 Corinthians 13:4-8

Jesus gave us the commandment to love one another as He had loved us. And for us to show that we are His disciples we must love one another.

Christmas is also a season of love—a season to give and a season to care. Therefore choose someone you can bless with food items, clothes, etc., as an act of love. God freely gave us His Son. We should also freely give what we are blessed with!

Cynda shared in Love Is Action of God and Jesus’ proven love for us.  She wrote, “Christ made the ultimate sacrifice, knowing all the while we were not worthy.  He came for us because He loved us.  Romans 5:8 (NLT) makes that clear – ‘But God showed His great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.’ And 1 John 3:16a (NLT) ties it up in a neat little bow: ‘We know what real love is because Jesus gave up His life for us.’

This year for Christmas I want to focus not only on the miraculous birth but also on the love that was made real in a tiny manger in Bethlehem. I want that real love to flow through me to those around me. I want His love and His light to shine through me.

That’s the reason He came.
That’s the reason for Christmas.
To put love in action.

Ahmee wrote in Love Is A Choice the following.  “Love is—and will always be—an action. Therefore, since love is a verb and requires us to do something—it is a choice. Love will always be a choice. You choose to love your coworkers when they annoy you. You choose to love your boyfriend or your spouse, even when you don’t agree. I fear the day our actions are no longer something we choose to do, and are simply things that happen. Until that day, though, you choose.

As John said in 1 John 3:18:

Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other;
let us show the truth by our actions.

And Tina reminded us of Jesus’ perfect example of love in No Greater Love.

“Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
John 15:13 NIV

Ponder those words. Do you have a friend that would do that for you? You know that you do. If you have believed on the Lord Jesus Christ, He has already paid that price for you. You see, Jesus knew from the Creation of man, that His Father meant for Him to come dwell among us, to be an example of how we should live in this broken world. God knew it would be better for us to see how to live a perfect life. And Jesus is the example of living a selfless life.

 *    ♥  ~  ✝  ~  ★    *

Thank you, ladies, for reminding us and compelling us to be loving as we have been commanded AND enabled to be!  As you have prayed with us this week, may our prayer today continue… 

Father, we thank You for the love that You have for us.  Teach us, Lord, to love one another as Christ has loved us.  Help us also to practice love not only in this season but all the days of our lives, Lord.  Thank You for showing us Your love through the birth and death of Jesus.  Without Him, we would not know You or be able to show Your love to others.
Thank You for sending Your son Jesus to live among us.  Thank You for the many times You give us to live for You.  Please let Your love flow through me each day but especially during this wondrous time of year.
Lord, may we come to understand and embrace love as an action. Let us show Your love to the world.  Let us strive to show this type of love to all. We as the Church are Your example of how love functions. Christ is Your ultimate example of love.  May You receive all the glory and praise!  We love You!!!  And pray these things in Jesus’ name, amen.

Love In Action

SHadventlovegraphic

Christmas—the time of year our focus shifts to the birth of Christ.  That Holy baby Boy born in a manger.

This year, I have been thinking of it in a different light.  This year, God has been speaking to me about love.  Christmas is when unconditional, self-sacrificing, all-forgiving love was shown to us.  Christmas is when the ultimate Love came to earth in human form.

Christmas is love in action.

For God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son,
so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.
John 3:16 HCSB

Who does that?  Who gives up their one and only Child for a group of stubborn, stiff necked people?  And it was voluntary!  Look at John 10:18 HCSB…

No one can take My life from me. I sacrifice it voluntarily.
For I have the authority to lay it down when I want to and also to take it up again.
For this is what My Father has commanded.

Christ made the ultimate sacrifice, knowing all the while we were not worthy. He came for us because He loved us.  Romans 5:8 (NLT) makes that clear – “But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.”  1 John 3:16a (NLT) ties it up in a neat little bow:

We know what real love is because Jesus gave up His life for us.

This year for Christmas I want to focus not only on the miraculous birth but also on the love that was made real in a tiny manger in Bethlehem.  I want that real love to flow through me to those around me.  I want His love and His light to shine through me.

That’s the reason He came.
That’s the reason for Christmas.
To put love in action.

 *    ♥  ~  ✝  ~  ★    *

Father, thank You for putting love into action all those many years ago.  You have shown us what real love is.  Please let Your love flow through me each day but especially during this wondrous time of year.  In Your Holy name I pray, Amen – so be it!

Crazy Love: Chapter 7 – “Your Best Life…Later” (pp 119-124/Kindle LOC 1537-1606)

We know what real love is because Jesus gave up His life for us. So we also ought to give up our lives for our brothers and sisters. If someone has enough money to live well and sees a brother or sister in need but shows no compassion – how can God’s love be in that person?

Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions. Our actions will show that we belong to the truth so we will be confident when we stand before God. Even if we feel guilty, God is greater than our feelings and he knows everything.

1 John 3:16-20 (emphasis mine)

There is one major theme that I pulled from this passage of Scripture.

Real love is an action, not a feeling.

Jesus gave up His life for us, SO we also ought to give up our lives for our brothers and sisters (1 John 3:16, emphasis mine).

The principles Jesus taught are contrary to the way our world works.

  • The world says we should look out for #1—ourselves. 
  • Jesus says that “there is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (John 15:13)

Often when we are called upon to help someone in need, we are looking at how it will help us—maybe we will get paid, or receive accolades/glory, or it will give us something to boast about to our family or friends. In other words, we are motivated by selfish desires rather than by love. But Jesus’ way says that serving others should come from a selfless, sacrificial heart. The closer we can align our heart with His by reading His Word and letting Him change us, the easier it will become to love others the way He loves us.

It is worth repeating that we absolutely cannot do this on our own. We need God to help us love others like He loves. We must ask Him to help us.

As Christians, we carry a huge responsibility—to show and to share the truth of God’s love to the rest of the world (Matthew 28:19-20). This is an incredibly difficult task when the world wants us to be like them—talk like them, act like them, and just “fit in” with them. But Jesus calls us to be different. His ways do not make sense to the rest of the world.  Followers of Christ should be known for the way they love—without judgment, criticism, or selfishness, but with compassion, selflessness, and sacrificial giving.

Let’s act on this selfless love that was so graciously poured out on us.

 

reallove

 


Let’s Pray:
Heavenly Father, thank You for showing us what REAL LOVE truly is. Thank YOU for sending Your Son. Lord, we want our actions to show that we truly love others. Provide us with opportunities to pour love onto others this coming week. If we are struggling with this concept, Father, we ask that You help us see where we are having trouble and to help us work through it. Lord, we know that Love comes from You and we love because You first loved us. Thank You for that, Father. It’s in Jesus’ name that we pray, Amen.

Your Assignment:
Do you struggle with the idea of “giving up your life for your brothers and sisters” or “laying down your life for your friends?” What do these passages mean to you? I encourage you to read them for yourself and see what the Lord reveals to you as you work through this concept.



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