Tag Archives: god is love

Loving Others

Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God. But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love. God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins. Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other. No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is brought to full expression in us.

1 John 4:7-12 NLT

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Throwback Thursday is a new feature I’m using to help build some margin into my schedule to pursue other writing ventures. Each Thursday I’ll be bringing you a previously written devotional that still speaks encouragement to us from God’s Word.

 

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What Love Does

I once was invited to a dinner that all of my upbringing was telling me I shouldn’t go to. After praying about it, I felt in my heart that God was telling me to attend. I consulted with my pastor about what to do. He simply asked, “What would love do?” While at the event, I couldn’t help but notice the people there were society’s outcasts. My heart broke because they were living life in No Man’s Land, and weren’t even accepted by Christians (including myself). This ragtag bunch had found each other, but I was saddened that none of them would step foot in a church because of how they would be received.

My prayers up to attending the event were, “God, let me show your love whether I speak to anyone or not. Give me the courage to do what you’ve asked and to be a light in darkness.” At the event, my prayer changed to, “God, these people need you. Put someone in each of their lives who will demonstrate your love and tear down the walls they’ve built to keep you out.” I kept thinking of my pastor’s question. What would love do? What did Love do? He came and died for this group of people as much as He died for me. I was no more worthy of His grace than they were.

I recalled when Jesus called Matthew to follow Him. Mark 2:15 says, “Later, Levi (Matthew) invited Jesus and his disciples to his home as dinner guests, along with many tax collectors and other disreputable sinners (There were many people of this kind among Jesus’ followers.)” (NLT). Then the religious leaders called Him out on it. Why was He having dinner with this group of people? They were so bound up by religiosity and the fear of what others would think, that they couldn’t understand that’s what love does.

You and I have to be careful that we don’t fall into the same trap as those religious leaders. We need to be more concerned with what God thinks of us than other people. We need to be more concerned with the souls of people than our reputation of being a “good Christian”. Jesus showed us what love does. It goes where others won’t, loves people that seem unlovable and invites them into a relationship with their Creator. It’s not easy doing what love does, but we’ve got to get better at it if we’re going to bear His name.

Photo by Matt Collamer on Unsplash

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Proper Behavior

One of the crazy things about having children is not just how much they look like you, but act like you too. I’m convinced that DNA does more than give them the physical traits you have. Often my son will do something and my wife and I will laugh and say, “That’s your child. You do that too!” He often demonstrates mannerisms that he hasn’t seen us do and it’s obvious those have been passed down. There are other times though when he sees how we behave end he mimics it. It’s not always the good behaviors either.

Most children will learn their behavior by watching their parents. If you raise your voice when you’re frustrated, they will too. If you laugh boisterously, they will laugh that way too. They are watching you to see how they should act and react. They even use the same expressions. It’s been said that what parents do in moderation, the children will do in excess. In Ephesians 5:1-2, Paul took this same concept of children copying their parents behavior and told us to mimic what God does since we are His children. 

He wrote, “Watch what God does, and then you do it, like children who learn proper behavior from their parents. Mostly what God does is love you. Keep company with him and learn a life of love. Observe how Christ loved us. His love was not cautious but extravagant. He didn’t love in order to get something from us but to give everything of himself to us. Love like that. (MSG)” Our first step is to watch what our Father God has done and is doing. We learn more about His behavior the more we read the Bible.

I love that Paul wrote, “Mostly what God does is love you.” John wrote that God is love. As believers, we have been called to a life of love. Love for other believers, but also love for the lost. Just like a parent, we don’t always know how to express that love. Sometimes it comes out in doing good deeds for them and in providing for the needs of someone in a desperate situation. Other times it comes out very restrictive. In trying to protect their spiritual security, we do things that they don’t understand. It appears to suffocate them and push them away. We have to be careful in how we love others.

Paul throws in that God didn’t love to get something back. He gave because He loved. That’s huge for each one of us. We need to learn to love others by giving ourselves to them. God held nothing back when He demonstrated His love for us. He didn’t send His highest ranking angel to die on the cross. No, He sent His only son. He didn’t say, “Ok, I gave you my son, now you need to give me more sacrifices and more offerings.” In fact, he required less from us than before. We no longer had to sacrifice our best. We just had to simply accept His gift of love. In return, our love for Him is displayed in giving Him our lives.

Our lives lived for Him should reflect and mimic the love He gave. Spiritual beings should look at the way we behave, look at God and say, “That’s your child. They act just like you!” I’ll go a step further. It shouldn’t just be spiritual beings, but human beings should be able to look at you and recognize you belong to God through your actions. Jesus put it this way, “They’ll know you’re mine by your love.” Go out today and love extravagantly the way God does. Be recognizable to others as His kid because of your actions not just your words.

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10 Scriptures On God’s Emotions

  
1.   You must worship no other gods, for the LORD, whose very name is Jealous, is a God who is jealous about his relationship with you. (Exodus 34:14 NLT)

2.   There are seven things that the Lord hates and cannot tolerate: A proud look, a lying tongue, hands that kill innocent people, a mind that thinks up wicked plans, feet that hurry off to do evil, a witness who tells one lie after another, and someone who stirs up trouble among friends. (Proverbs 6:16-19 GNT)

3.   O GOD, You have rejected us and cast us off, broken down [our defenses], and scattered us; You have been angry–O restore us and turn Yourself to us again! (Psalm 60:1 AMP)

4.   But God was merciful to his people. He forgave their sin and did not destroy them. Many times he held back his anger and restrained his fury. He remembered that they were only mortal beings, like a wind that blows by and is gone. How often they rebelled against him in the desert; how many times they made him sad! (Psalm 78:38-40 GNT)

5.   Don’t be afraid. Dear Zion, don’t despair. Your GOD is present among you, a strong Warrior there to save you. Happy to have you back, he’ll calm you with his love and delight you with his songs. (Zephaniah 3:16-17 MSG)

6.   He was despised and rejected— a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief. We turned our backs on him and looked the other way. He was despised, and we did not care. (Isaiah 53:3 NLT)

7.   And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God [do not offend or vex or sadden Him], by Whom you were sealed (marked, branded as God’s own, secured) for the day of redemption (of final deliverance through Christ from evil and the consequences of sin). (Ephesians 4:30 AMP)

8.   When Jesus saw the crowds, he had compassion on them because they were confused and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. (Matthew 9:36 NLT)

9.   I will find joy doing good for them and will faithfully and wholeheartedly replant them in this land. (Jeremiah 32:41 NLT)

10.   For God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not die but have eternal life. (John 3:16 GNT)

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Loving God

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It’s Free Friday! Today is the day you let go of the things in your life that keep you down or hold you back from all God has for you. To celebrate, I’m giving away a copy of “CrazyLove: Overwhelmed By A Relentless God” by Francis Chan. Keep reading to find out how to enter.

I’ve lived in and been to parts of the world where marriages are still arranged. Marriages aren’t based on love, but on socio-economic classes. In order for the man to marry the woman, he gets a check list of things he has to do before they are allowed to marry. The thought is that if he can complete a checklist, he can take care of their daughter. Love can happen, but it’s not required for the marriage to work.

As far out as that sounds to us for marriage, we try that in our relationship with God. We think God is concerned with a checklist. Do this. Don’t do that. Thou shalt not… But the reality is that God wants a relationship with us based on love rather than a checklist of do’s and don’t’s. He wants us to fall in love with Him the way that He has fallen in love with us. He wants us to be so deeply in love with Him that everything we do is an outpouring of that love. He wants us to be thinking of Him just like He thinks of us.

If you’ve ever been in love, you know what that feeling is like. Everything you do should be for the betterment of the relationship. Are there times where you mess up and do something wrong? Of course, but that doesn’t mean you don’t love that person. When you mess up, you apologize and make things right so that the relationship can continue. It’s the same way with our relationship with God. We may mess up, but because of our love for Him, we apologize, ask for forgiveness and repair the relationship.

Love does what it takes to make sure the relationship is healthy no matter who is at fault. In our sin, we damaged the relationship with God. Adam hid in the garden and we try to hide still. But God, in His love for us, did what it took to repair the relationship. He extended an olive branch and built a new bridge in place of the one we burned down. He didn’t do it so He could give us a checklist of things to do. He did it because He loves each one of us and wants to have an intimate relationship with us. He gave all He had when we had nothing to give. He came to us when we couldn’t go to Him. He offered forgiveness when all we had done was offend.

God wants each one of us to see how much He loves us and is willing to do for us. He wants us to voluntarily love Him back. He knows that for our relationship with Him to work, we are going to have to love Him rather than fulfill a checklist. Jesus said that he who is forgiven most, loves most. He didn’t say that he who checks off the most boxes will have the greatest relationship. Your life should be lived out of love for Him. Your decisions should be made with love in mind. What can you do today to show God love rather than finding a box to check? When you make that change, you’ll see a deeper walk with Him.

If you would like to win “Crazy Love” by Francis Chan, go to the Devotions By Chris Facebook page here and “like” it. I will randomly pick one person tomorrow (July 12, 2014) who has liked my page. If you have already “liked” my page, you are already entered for this drawing. I would appreciate it if you would invite your friends to like my page so they can receive encouragement from God’s Word too.

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