september 20

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” – John 3:16

Most of you just said that verse in your head along with me. It’s probably the most popular Bible verse ever! And rightly so! The Bible says God loved us so much that He gave His only son! This isn’t a new concept, but goodness, it’s so powerful.

Those of you with children: I want you to think about giving up your own son or daughter. For someone who is undeserving. Ungrateful. Someone who would make a million mistakes. Someone who would turn his/her back on you at times. Someone who would even potentially deny your existence!

What love! What great love! That God would give up His beloved. His cherished child. His very own son. I know I wouldn’t/couldn’t make such a selfless sacrifice. You likely wouldn’t either.

Think on this tonight. And then thank God for His unmatched kindness, grace, loyalty and love toward you!

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september 14

“Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.” – Romans 13:8

Wow! Did I just read that correctly?! If I love others, I have fulfilled the entire law? Sounds easy enough, right? Wrong.

Isn’t it hard to love others? Sometimes it’s more difficult for me to love the people I know than it is to love strangers. Why is that? Because we KNOW the people closest to us. We know their flaws. Their opinions that differ from ours. We are sometimes the subject of their chatter, maybe even the recipient of their negative behavior. It’s so difficult to overlook mistakes, isn’t it? Especially if those mistakes directly affect us!

With the help of Jesus, and the Holy Spirit, we can concentrate on what really matters: loving the people God has places in our lives. When we spend time in the Word, and in prayer, we have far less time to engage in criticism of other people. Spend some time today thinking about whose life you can impact this week with an act of service or encouraging message.

I find that the more I love on others, the more loved I feel in return! And who doesn’t love that?! 🙂

august 12

Lots of people like to talk about the wrath of God. And yes, He is a God to be feared, that’s true. But verses like the one below remind me that He is kind and loving and gracious and merciful. Afterall, He IS love. If it were not for Him loving us first, we would not have the capacity to love others. Thank God for this truth today!

“For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, saith the Lord that hath mercy on thee.” – Isaiah 54:10

july 27

“I look to you, I see the scars upon your hands.
And hold the truth, that when I can’t you always can.
I’m standing here, beneath the shadow of the cross.
I’m overwhelmed that I keep finding open arms.” (“What Love Is This” – Kari Jobe)

I don’t know about you, but the lyrics to this song bring me to tears. Have you ever been in a place where you kept finding God’s grace amidst the storm? Have you ever expected the doors to close, but you just kept walking through one after another? Have you ever expected God to turn His back on you because your life didn’t resemble the life you know Jesus died to give you? But then you returned to the Lord and felt His welcoming embrace? Always loving. Always open. Always willing to forgive and change, fashion and mold us.

HIS love is an everlasting love. No one on earth can compare. We are so lucky to be loved so deep and so wide and so high and so long. (Eph. 3:18, paraphrase)

june 21

Up until a year ago (almost exactly), my Christian walk looked a bit like this: walk on eggshells, maintain the appearance of perfection, and say what sounds good. When I inevitably failed at all of that, I considered how worthless and unqualified I was, and I then waited for the calamity that I was sure an angry, giant God in the sky would bring my way.

For almost my whole life, I operated under the premise that God was just waiting for me to trip up. And when I did, I was sure destruction and heartache would follow. Maybe you can relate? Maybe you’re still there?

Sure, sin does “bring sorrow” as the infamous (and overused) saying goes. And sure, God cannot look upon our misdeeds and unrighteousness. BUT, God is the absolute epitome of love. Because His son died on the cross, He sees us (if we’re His children) as REDEEMED. Not still stuck in our broken state. Because of Christ, we are WHOLE.

We need to see God as loving. Merciful. Gracious. FORGIVING. Not as I saw Him my entire adult life. When we purposefully seek out His unfailing love and goodness, we willingly serve Him. We devote our lives to Him. We see even discipline as a depiction of His love. We trust His ways, and that they are perfect for us.

Think about your own father. If he loved you with an everlasting love, didn’t you even trust him when you were punished for wrongdoing? If your father ruled with an iron fist, had unrealistic expectations of you, and offered no room for grace, wasn’t it difficult to see/feel his love?

It’s important that we see God as the first example, instead of the second. And here’s a verse that explains it better than I ever could:

“Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage? he retaineth not his anger forever, because he DELIGHTETH in mercy. He will turn again, he will have COMPASSION upon us; he will subdue our iniquities, and thou wilt cast ALL their sins into the depths of the sea.” – Micah 7:18-19

june 6

I’m going to tell you the truth. Today, I am not equipped to write anything profound or meaningful. Nor is my heart in a place where I can receive anything from the Lord. I do think this verse is appropriate, though, so I’ll leave you with it this afternoon:

“There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.” – 1 John 4:18

 

may 9

I was reading in 1 Corinthians this morning, and we all know chapter 13 is the “love chapter.” We can all recite that love endures and that it bears, believes and hopes all things. But I read the beginning of that chapter and it felt like I was reading it for the first time!

“Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.” (vs. 1-3)

And of course, reading those verses made me think of the song “The Proof of Your Love” by For King & Country:

“If I sing but don’t have love
I waste my breathe with every song
I bring, an empty voice
A hollow noise

If I speak with a silver tongue
Convince a crowd but don’t have love
I leave a bitter taste
With every word I say

If I give to a needy soul
But don’t have love then who is poor
It seems all the poverty
Is found in me.”

Lastly, reading those lyrics made me think of these verses, which are found in Matthew 22:

“Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” (vs. 37-40)

What a powerful concept!