“The LORD your God in your midst, the Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.”
For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.
I went to a party recently.
On the table, I saw a large bowl of many colored jelly beans……….
When I was a child, I learned a song about the love of God.
Specifically, how He loves children.
The song speaks of various ethnic groups, but it applies to the differences in each of us, no matter what they are.
“Jesus loves the little children.
All the children of the world.
Red and yellow, black and white,
they are precious in His sight.
Jesus loves the little children of the world.”
All the children and everyone else, too.
Hair color, eye color, skin color.
Man or woman.
From this country or that country.
With this name or that name.
He creates each of us uniquely.
We are one of a kind, different from everyone else.
It doesn’t matter who we are— Jesus died for us.
God gave His one and only Son so that we might not perish but have eternal life with Him.
Right now—today—know this:
You are precious in His sight.
For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.
Today is Valentine’s Day.
My husband bought me three rose bushes, two bags of candy and a card.
I will save the card, eat the candy, and plant the bushes in the yard.
Each bush yields a different color rose.
We will be able to see these bushes as they grow and mature, able to produce many blooms.
Marriage is like that.
We have grown and matured through happy times and sad ones.
Even now, our love is maturing and growing as we get closer to our Heavenly Father.
I am thankful for a husband who loves God and lives his life from that starting place.
Who are you thankful for today?
“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers a multitude of sins.”
—1 Peter 4:8
But I trust in Your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in Your salvation.
Your love is unfailing and so is Your faithfulness.
No matter what happens, my heart can rejoice in knowing that I have a place in Heaven with You.
I can never repay You for all the blessings You have given to me.
Everything I have is Yours.
When I sleep at night, You watch over me.
When I wake in the morning, You see me open my eyes.
Help me to live each day as You want me to.
Please give me wisdom to do Your will in every situation.
Thank You for giving me life.
What does it look like to love others?
To love people the way God wants us to love them?
It’s easy to love those who love us.
But what about the ones who don’t?
Or what about the people of the world we have never met?
Or those that we come in contact with that are homeless or jobless?
What does it look like to love others who may be dirty from living on the street?
Or the ones who dress differently than we do and act differently than we do?
What does loving them look like?
Years ago, our children had a game that was intended for car trips.
It was a set of long cards on a ring, as I remember it.
One person would ask the other player a question that was listed on a particular card.
I can’t recall all the the details of the game, but there was a colored plastic sheet that could go on top of a card.
If the plastic sheet was on top of the card, the answer could be read.
Otherwise, it was hard to see the letters–maybe they couldn’t be seen at all.
Loving people the way God wants us to love them has to start with understanding that God loves them.
If we don’t understand that, they are like letters and words that we cannot see on a card.
We don’t feel the need to love them because we have not noticed that they need love.
We have not recognized them as being precious to God and loved by Him.
Once the “colored plastic” of this truth is placed over our view of them, we see clearly what we had not before.
When that happens, God will allow us to see just what loving that other person means right then.
And this commandment we have from Him, that the one who loves God should love his brother also.
—1 John 4:21
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
If I could look inside your heart, would I find?
Would there be love?
Would there be joy?
Would I find peace there?
Would patience and kindness be evident?
Would I see goodness?
Would there be faithfulness?
Would I find gentleness?
Would self-control be there?
These are the fruits—the things that grow out of—the Spirit within us.
If I looked into my own heart, what would I see?
After leaving a friend’s house tonight, I was driving home.
Listening to the radio as I went down the highway, a song came on that I hadn’t heard in a while.
I had been praying for someone who feels that God doesn’t love them.
Suddenly, part of the lyrics just struck me:
This is what I’m sure of, I can only show love
When I really know how loved I am
(Steven Curtis Chapman)
The person I’d been praying for needs to know deep within their heart that God loves them.
For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. —John 3:16
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
There is a metal cross placed in my yard.
It was a gift from a friend.
Whenever someone visits me and notices the cross, there is no mistaking what it represents.
Jesus loved us when He gave Himself for us on the cross.
He loves us today and He will always love us.
Dear friends, let us practice loving each other, for love comes from God and those who are loving and kind show that they are the children of God, and that they are getting to know Him better. But if a person isn’t loving and kind, it shows that he doesn’t know God—for God is love.
—1 John 4:7-8
How can I practice loving someone else?
In what ways can I be loving and kind?
By what actions and words can I show that I am a child of God?
How will those who are around me tell that I am getting to know God better?
O Lord, You are so good, so ready to forgive, so full of unfailing love for all who ask for Your help.
How do you think most people react when they know they have done wrong?
How do you react?
Would you think a small child hiding behind the couch after they have broken a vase in a room they were told not to be in would be a normal response?
If you feel that most people have the urge to hide, I would agree with you.
Hiding doesn’t always look like hiding, however.
If we know that we are not living the way God would have us to, we may firmly decline any invitation of a friend to go to church.
That would be hiding.
If we know that we’ve done something we shouldn’t have, we may not pick up the Bible to read it.
We might feel unworthy.
That would be hiding.
Just because our natural tendency might be to hide, the behavior needed is exactly the opposite.
Instead of hiding, we need to run to God with our failure.
Psalm 86:5 reads,
“O Lord, You are so good, so ready to forgive, so full of unfailing love for all who ask for Your help.“
When we fail, we can go to God.
He is good.
He is ready to forgive.
He is full of unfailing love.
It doesn’t help at all.
Only asking for and receiving forgiveness and comfort from our heavenly Father will bring the peace we long for.
The faithful love of the Lord never ends!
His mercies never cease.
What is the definition of never?
I looked it up in the dictionary.
The faithful love of the Lord on no occasion ends.
The faithful love of the Lord at no time ends.
The faithful love of the Lord by no means ends.
The faithful love of the Lord in no way ends.
The faithful love of the Lord in no case ends.
The faithful love of the Lord to no extent or degree ends.
The faithful love of the Lord will on no occasion, at no time, by no means, in no way, in no case, to no extent or degree, END.
Isn’t that something to rejoice about?
Don’t forget to do good things for others and to share what you have with them. These are the kinds of sacrifices that please God.
My heart is full tonight.
Quite unexpectedly, I was given a gift as an expression of love.
The gift was selfless and caring, and I knew that it took many, many hours of work to earn its purchase.
So, what did I do when I received it?
I said, “I love you!”
The passage above from the book of Hebrews tells us to do good things for others and to share what we have with them.
It also states that these are the kinds of sacrifices that please God.
God Himself continues to do good things for us every day.
He shares all of His creation with us.
He gives us unconditional love and offers us forgiveness.
He sent His Son, Jesus, to die as a sacrifice for our sins, so that all who believe could spend eternity with Him.
Since God has done so much for me, I want to please Him and show my gratefulness and gratitude.
I was shown love tonight.
I think God was pleased with that act of love.
God wants me to show love to others.
This is just one way that I can please Him.
The faithful love of the LORD never ends! His mercies never cease.
God’s love is truthful.
It is steadfast.
It is upright.
It is constant.
God’s love is faithful.
God’s mercies never come to an end.
They never, ever stop.
Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.
My husband bought a very thoughtful and loving card for me, along with some gifts.
The card had a gem heart on it that was visible through a circular opening.
Our wedding anniversary.
Ephesians 4:12 encourages us to be completely humble.
Have I been completely humble in my marriage?
The scripture also says to be gentle.
Have I been gentle in my actions and words?
Other times, however, I haven’t.
Have I been patient with my husband?
Have I always found myself to be “bearing” with him in love?
I will never be perfect, but I can always try to respond in the way God wants me to:
After all, I do want my attitude to be right in my marriage when God looks through my life and sees my heart.
The flowers floating in the planter on the water were beautiful.
They had grown tall and lush in the fertile soil.
Love is beautiful.
Is my love for others growing and overflowing as God would want it to?
And may the Lord make your love for one another and for all people grow and overflow, just as our love for you overflows.
—1 Thessalonians 3:12
The house is quiet.
My cat is sleeping beside me, snuggled close to my leg and the open Bible on my lap.
The weather forecast predicts rain will begin soon.
The clock on the wall is ticking a steady and soothing pace.
Life is good….
As I reflect on the last couple of days, I am reminded of a kindness toward me from someone I hardly know.
After speaking to her briefly yesterday, a woman said, “I have something for you in my car.”
When she returned, she pinned a button on the shirt I was wearing.
It simply stated, “I am loved.”
It was a sincere act of kindness that brightened my day and encouraged my heart.
What does it mean to be sincere?
To be real?
To be genuine?
When we show love in any form, it is of worth only when given sincerely.
In fact, if it is not shown sincerely, can what is given even be called love at all?
Love must be sincere.
—From Romans 12:9
Love never fails.
From 1 Corinthians 13:8
Today I was presented with an elegant bouquet of white roses.
They were meant to convey appreciation.
They were meant to be an encouragement.
They were meant to show love.
Honoured to have them, I placed each stem into a vase with water, setting it on my dining table.
By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.
Yesterday, a friend came by my house to deliver a beautiful arrangement of flowers in a lavender colored vase.
Tonight, another friend loaned us their van so our entire family could travel together to a funeral out of state.
There are cards sitting on my piano from friends who are comforting and encouraging me and my family.
Another friend brought a wreath and placed it on my door.
It has been four days since we lost a loved one.
We have had four days of kindness.
Four days of love and consideration.
Four days of caring and consolation.
Four days of provision.
These things and many more are but a testimony of God’s love and the faithfulness and generosity of His people.
By these acts and those even before this time, our friends are showing that we love one another.
By these acts, also, others will know that they are followers of Jesus as they demonstrate His love.
There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.
While visiting a family member in a hospice house, I noticed a vase of crimson and cream colored flowers on the counter of the nurses station.
Delicate petals, bright with a glowing hue, giving a silent testimony of life and beauty.
For those who are in Christ Jesus, there is hope, because there is no longer any condemnation.
What do we do when we see someone struggling in the water, possibly drowning?
Most of us–certainly nearly all of us–would try to help in some way and do it quickly.
Yell for help.
Find a lifeguard.
Throw out a life jacket.
Maybe even jump into the water ourselves to attempt a rescue.
We would do this not just for our families and loved ones, but even for strangers.
People we had never met.
Imagine the unthinkable scenario of a person in a boat taking notice of a struggling, drowning swimmer.
Amid the cries for help, the man in the boat doesn’t reach for the life ring to throw in.
He doesn’t consider jumping into the water to save the swimmer.
Instead, he shakes his head and calls out, “Didn’t you know that the currents were rough over there?
You shouldn’t have ever gone swimming by yourself, anyway!
It’s your own fault to be in the mess you’re in!
You should’ve been in a boat, like me!”
It’s horrible just to think about it, isn’t it?
It gets a lot worse if you think about the swimmer as being someone you love.
One of your children.
Yet, could this be how we think about others that don’t know about the saving grace of Jesus?
If we have found safety and forgiveness in Him, are we reluctant to help others when they are struggling with sin and its effects?
When people we see are drowning in life’s problems, how do we respond?
Do we call out (sometimes silently in our own minds), “Didn’t you know better than to…
get mixed up with drugs?
date those kind of people?
stay out all night?
take that job?
become an alcoholic?
You should never have done that!
It’s your own fault that you’re in the mess you’re in!”
How do we respond?
Do we try to help and do it quickly?
Do we call to others to assist in helping?
Do we throw out a life ring and tell them that there is a Savior who loves them?
Do we try to jump into the “water” ourselves and begin to really know and understand their problems, all the while pointing them to God?
What if it was your child, your parent or your spouse who was struggling?
Wouldn’t you want someone—anyone—to help?
Look out on the water around you.
Who’s out there?
How will you respond?
Do not judge, and you will not be judged; and do not condemn, and you will not be condemned; pardon, and you will be pardoned.
Roses are given as a gift of love.
Graceful and elegant, their aromatic petals delight us as we accept them.
We have been given a gift that is the greatest gift of all.
We must choose, however, to accept it.
God has lavished His love on us!
See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know Him. Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.
—1 John 3:1-2
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Lord, you have been our dwelling place
throughout all generations.
Before the mountains were born
or you brought forth the whole world,
from everlasting to everlasting you are God.
God loves you right now.
God loved your parents.
God loved your grandparents.
God loved your great-grandparents, too.
No matter how far back you can go in your lineage, God has loved every person.
No matter how far back you go or how far forward you look to, God will still love—
From everlasting to everlasting.
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It was early morning yesterday when I went to my friend’s house.
After my visit, I drove to the end of her street and turned around near a pasture.
The sun was low in the sky as it was glowing across the grass and trees.
Two horses stood serenely behind the fence.
I was blessed to see such a peaceful landscape—a gift from God.
Let me hear in the morning of Your steadfast love,
for in You I trust.
Make me know the way I should go,
for to You I lift up my soul.
Click image to enlarge.
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.
Click image to enlarge.
I read the sign in front of a veterinary clinic as I drove past.
“DEAF PETS HEAR WITH THEIR HEARTS.”
Those words went straight to mine….
I have a fifteen year old Basset Hound.
Her eyesight is failing and she can barely hear.
Sometimes, I pick up one long ear (they are several inches in length) and say, “I love you” directly into it.
I hope she hears it.
If she doesn’t, I hope that she feels it in her heart when I brush her, give her a bath, take her for a walk or put my arms around her and hold her sweet doggy face near mine.
As you can tell, I truly do love my dog.
But after only seconds had past from my reading of the sign, I thought about it in a different way.
Certainly, deaf pets hear with their hearts.
The ones that have good ears do, as well.
Not only that, I believe that PEOPLE hear with their hearts.
We may not hear the words, “I love you,” but we feel it when love is shown to us in the actions of others.
The thoughtful remembrances.
An outstretched hand.
The sympathy card.
The home cooked meal.
The flat tire fixed.
The tender hug.
Just sitting near us when we’re sad.
Just cheering from the stands when we’re out on the field….
God wants us to love each other.
1 Corinthians 16:14 reads, “Let all that you do be done in love.”
I have an idea for another sign.
It should read,
“ALL PEOPLE HEAR WITH THEIR HEARTS.”
Wouldn’t you agree?
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Standing by the boats on the water, everything was so quiet and calm.
There is something about seeing a boat that makes me want to go somewhere on it.
Somehow there is a silent invitation to an unknown adventure just by being in its vicinity.
Actually, every day brings with it an invitation as a believer of Jesus.
Mark 16:15 reads,
Jesus said to His followers, “Go everywhere in the world, and tell the Good News to everyone.”
If you and I are followers of Jesus, wherever we go–down the street or around the globe–we will be witnesses of what He has done for us.
Our transformed lives will speak in our actions and our words to those around us.
We have an invitation every day.
Will we go wherever Jesus has planned for us in the upcoming hours, showing others His love through each situation we encounter?
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