LOVE – What It Is and What It’s Not

Love – the word rolls off our lips so easily as we tell others ‘we love them’! But what do we really mean? Paul saw the need to help clarify this word for us, because he saw where people who supposedly ‘loved’ each other, were really running into some serious challenges. Paul’s words were not just his casual observations and impressions, but they were God-ordained, so I have no reservation in recommending that we take a close look at this, with hopes that it will guide us into truly loving our spouse and one another, as God intended.

DATE POSTED Tuesday, 2022-06-14
WRITTEN AT: Jensen Beach, FL

SCRIPTURE FROM: 1 Corinthians 13:4-8
TRANSLATION: GOD’S WORD Translation (GW)

BIBLE TEXT: Love is patient. Love is kind. Love isn’t jealous. It doesn’t sing its own praises. It isn’t arrogant. It isn’t rude. It doesn’t think about itself. It isn’t irritable. It doesn’t keep track of wrongs. It isn’t happy when injustice is done, but it is happy with the truth. Love never stops being patient, never stops believing, never stops hoping, never gives up. Love never comes to an end….

APPLICATION: I will endeavor to share a comparison between the list of items taught by Paul to help us discern good habits of loving each other vs things that normally create a sense of pretense – a false pretense.
What love is: Patient; Kind; Happy about the truth; Never stops – being patient, believing in others, hoping, nor giving up on people we love; Love never ends.
What Love is not: Jealous; Sing its own praises; Arrogant; Rude; Selfish (doesn’t think of itself); Irritable; Keeping track of others’ wrongs; Being happy with injustices done to others;
One of the things that I have always found helpful in my Christian walk, is to keep a list of the negative aspects of something front and foremost as a reminder to me. Why? Because when I see any of those negative things sneaking into my life or my character, then I realize that I must seek the face of God immediately to help me overcome that bad characteristic and instead seek to do the things that God desires of me. I believe that you will recognize when either of the items in the second list is happening in your marriage or relationship, for things are not really at its best in your home. Something needs work, or correcting. I believe you will also see that homes and/or relationships are broken when one of the habits from the second list goes unnoticed or ignored by the individuals. Friends, when we surrender our life to the lordship of Jesus Christ, we commit to being obedient to His will, and we surrender our own will to the will and design of our new Master. Similarly, when we commit our lives to our spouse, we promise each other that we will set aside our selfish desires and we will love that person as ordained by God in His Word – just like our Scripture dictates today. Let’s try to remember that God’s will is for us to live and love like Jesus did, and to follow His commands as He shared through His Word. When we take things into our own hands, we screw things up. Is it any wonder why we fail in so many ways to love another creation of God? The first few words of verse 8 had a lasting impact on me – Love never ends. So many times we have heard about ‘love turning to hate’, for when we can’t have our own way in love, often we will turn to revenge, and that leads to actions that totally aggravates the other person and often leads to hatred. Friends, the example set by Jesus Christ is that: love leads to sacrifice; love will continue even if the other party rejects us; love is unconditional, meaning that one will love even if they are not loved in return, in the way they feel is necessary. Questions may sometimes arise in your mind about the love of the other person for you, but it is your responsibility to ensure that your love is persistent and everlasting. Only you can decide in your heart to love someone Jesus’ way, no matter how much others try to persuade you to do it ‘their way’.

BLESSING(S) NOTED: Love never fails. It didn’t fail in the way Jesus loves us, and I will claim today to love others just as Jesus loves me, God being my helper.

PRAYER: Thank You Lord for creating us to love one another the way You demonstrated true love to us. Thank You for having Your servant Paul detail in Your Word how we should love. May we examine ourselves and determine in our heart to follow Your example. Loving others in total sincerity leads to a happy and satisfied life that undoubtedly pleases You, for You created us to be just like You – including Your devotion to love us in spite of our efforts to make sure that no one loves us. Forgive us Lord when we so easily assume the characteristics of this wicked and sinful world. Your ways and Your teachings are perfect. Help us to aim for that same perfection that You intended when you placed us here in our current situation, for we want to look, sound and love just like You. AMEN!

FOOTNOTE: There are two more pages on my blog that will provide you with additional information, one of them being ‘To Know Jesus’. If you have been challenged to make a decision today after reading this devotional, please click on the above page, or speak with a local Bible Teaching Pastor, or contact me at NuggetsFromGodsWord@outlook.com. Please allow someone to pray with you and give you help and/or encouragement as you begin, or continue your walk with Jesus. Words underlined in my blog might indicate a link to a song that came to mind as I wrote the devotional. Feel free to click on the link and listen as you continue to read or pray. If this devotional was forwarded to you and you would like to see more, please go to Nuggets From God’s Word and read more, or you may freely subscribe for a daily email conveniently containing each day’s devotional. You may also visit me on Spotify and listen to Nuggets while you’re out and about. I would encourage you to find a church home near by your home, and attend as frequently as you could. Get to know God, and allow His people to encourage and strengthen you in your Christian walk, while making every effort to be a blessing to them. God is at work among His people! Please consider growing in your faith, as you worship with fellow believers!

Through Godly Eyes

THE HOLY BIBLE (The Living Bible – James 2:1-4): 1 ….how can you claim that you belong to the Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, if you show favoritism to rich people and look down on poor people? 2 If a man comes into your church dressed in expensive clothes and with valuable gold rings on his fingers, and at the same moment another man comes in who is poor and dressed in threadbare clothes, 3 and you make a lot of fuss over the rich man and give him the best seat in the house and say to the poor man, “You can stand over there if you like or else sit on the floor”—well, 4 judging a man by his wealth shows that you are guided by wrong motives.

THOUGHTS: I would imagine that the title alone might draw attention thinking that perhaps I would address various sins that might be acceptable to God. No that would never happen, because God makes it clear in His Word that He hates sin. However, there are certain actions we are guilty of that reveals our ugly motives and ultimately leads to sin. Often Satan will place the thought of greed and self-promotion in our hearts and we easily concede to sin. The example given in this scripture today is still very real today, but I want us to examine what might be the motive behind it. We are still recovering from a fairly challenging financial depression, where we have seen a number of churches close their doors and/or reduce staff in order to survive the financial crisis. Church treasurers are excited to see new tithers enter their church, and they morn the departure of those that faithfully give financially. Churches are called on more than ever before to help poor families who may have lost jobs and/or faced crucial financial challenges that have really impacted their homes. If this kind of information is well known to church leaders, how do you suppose they would react to a well-known rich person visiting their church, versus a struggling family who may have to call on the church for help? If we do this in our churches, don’t you know that we do this in every phase of our lives? Will you prepare your home as nicely to receive a humble clerk from your employment for dinner, as you would the CEO? In our scripture we see where God gave James insight into this by challenging us to think about our motives behind the ways that we treat people from various walks of life. Friends, we should never treat someone based on their financial status, or the color of their skin, or their social status in society. These are worldly statuses we have given to each other, because all God sees is a sinner in need of His grace. He will save the poor person as quickly as He would a rich person. Because all are simply children made by God, He loves the rich person as much as He does the poor person. If we are to be just like our Father, why would we act any differently that He? Let us learn to love one another, without regard to their social or financial status, friend!

PRAYER: Lord, I need to love my CEO as much as I love my lowliest co-worker. They both were designed by You and they both need You as their Savior to be acceptable into heaven. I believe that You love us as much today, with all that we have attached to ourselves from this old world, as You did the day You released us from our mother’s womb. For worldly attachments will remain, and only those basic things created and blessed by You will rise to meet You in the air. I pray that You will help us to rid ourselves of prejudices and wrong motives. Please help us to see Your children for who they are, not for what they have become throughout their lifetime here on earth. Financial gains as well as poverty will remain, but our hearts, souls and minds will all look the same as we enter Your kingdom. Please help us to see each other in this form while we remain on earth, so that when we rise to meet You we can lock arms with people of every nation, social status or walk of life – all children saved by Your wonder grace. Please help us to look at others through Your lens today and see folk in need of our Savior, or celebrate with them as children already saved by Your grace. I ask this in the powerful and almighty name of Jesus, AMEN!

 

FOOTNOTE: If you have been challenged to make a decision today after reading this devotional, please speak with a local Bible Teaching pastor, or read through Biblical truths on How To Know Jesus, or contact me at NuggetsFromGodsWord@outlook.com so that we can pray with you and give you help and or encouragement as you begin, or continue your walk with Jesus. Any words underlined above will indicate a link to a song that came to mind as I wrote the devotional. Feel free to click on the link and listen as you continue to read or pray. If this devotional was forwarded to you and you would like to see more, please go to blogger.nuggetsfromgodsword.org and read more, or you may freely subscribe for a daily email conveniently containing each day’s devotional. If you are anywhere near the Highlands County, Florida area and do not have a church home, I would be thrilled to welcome you at Bible Fellowship Church, Sebring, FL! Click the link to check out service times and/or other special activities. God is at work among us! Please consider coming to worship with us!

Love Like This…..

The Holy Bible

 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.

(Bible Translation and Location: The Message – Ephesians 5:1-2)

Thoughts:

I am constantly amazed about how easily we model ourselves after others who have an influence over our lives. Now for those of you that disagree with me, let me be quick to say that I agree with you, that some are worse than others! So when I read this passage this morning, I was reminded that there is an ideal for us to follow, for in the last words of the 2nd verse, we told that we are to “love like that”. So let’s probe into the ideals by which we are to love, according to Your Word:

  1. Imitate God’s love – watch what He did in the Bible and what He does in the lives of His children today, then love in that manner. As a reminder, we are to love in such a way that:
    1. We don’t mind sacrificing our very best for the benefit of others;
    2. We are compassionate about others, for Jesus wept over a friend who had died; He healed the sick; fed the hungry and loved the lowliest of folk;
  2. Let love fill our lives – for ‘mostly what God does is love’. Wouldn’t it be awesome to be known as a person who ‘loved’ unconditionally?
  3. Love extravagantly, not cautiously – In being careful not to get hurt by someone, we may tend to be overly cautious about extending our love for them. This is not a godly example friend, for God loved us and sacrificed for us, even while we were yet sinners;
  4. Love unselfishly – never expect anything in return for the love that you show towards others. Jesus freely gave His life for us because of what the Father wanted, and because He first loved us, not because of anything that He could benefit from, in return for showing His love.

So friends, we are being instructed to love in this manner, if we are to be known as children of God. Caution! Don’t try this on your own, seek God’s help and surrender to His will. Open your life and allow Him to love through you. Strive towards being a person filled with, and expressing the love of God in and through your life at all times!

Prayer:

Ultimate love was shown for us at Calvary when You sacrificed Your one and only Son dear God. Thank You for that gift of salvation offered for us, and thank You for showing us the extreme that You were prepared to go to in order to show Your love for us. Today we want to be your example. We want to be Christ-like. We want to imitate You in our love for others. However, Lord I believe You are well aware of the challenge that we face in our desire to love like You did, for at times we ourselves are miserable and unlovable; at times we are selfish in the reasons that we love and often Satan is in the forefront of causing havoc between family and friends, instead of the harmony and love that You offer through us. Please forgive us for the times that we lose sight of our strength and guidance offered by You. Please touch Your children once again with the miracle of love, one for another, so that we may live in unity and look more like Your children than ever before. We need You, oh Lord, and we depend on You. For it is in the wonderful and blessed name of Jesus that I pray, AMEN!

FOOTNOTE: If you have been challenged to make a decision today after reading this devotional, please speak with a local Bible Teaching pastor, or contact me at NuggetsFromGodsWord@outlook.com so that we can pray with you and give you help and or encouragement as you begin, or continue your walk with Jesus. Any words underlined above will indicate a link to a song that came to mind as I wrote the devotional. Feel free to click on the link and listen as you continue to read or pray. If this devotional was forwarded to you and you would like to see more, please go to blogger.nuggetsfromgodsword.org and read more, or you may freely subscribe for a daily email conveniently containing each day’s devotional. If you are anywhere near the Highlands County, Florida area and do not have a church home, I would be thrilled to welcome you at Bible Fellowship Church, Sebring, FL! Click the link to check out service times and/or other special activities. God is at work among us! Please consider coming to worship with us!

I Serve the master of the storms

Scripture: Matthew 8 

OBSERVATION (What is God saying here?)

23 Then Jesus got into the boat and started across the lake with his disciples.24 Suddenly, a fierce storm struck the lake, with waves breaking into the boat. But Jesus was sleeping.25 The disciples went and woke him up, shouting, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!”26 Jesus responded, “Why are you afraid? You have so little faith!” Then he got up and rebuked the wind and waves, and suddenly all was calm.27 The disciples were amazed. “Who is this man?” they asked. “Even the winds and waves obey him!” Matt 8:23-27 (NLT)

APPLICATION (How Can I apply what God is saying here to my circumstances today?)

With the advent of another year and all the challenges that we could possibly face, I thought that this was a good reminder that for those who know the Lord, we have a connection with the One that can not only calm the forces of nature, but also has the power to handle every little circumstance of our lives. I pray that we will have the audacity to go first to the Master of the winds and waves, the Master of every thing that affects us as individuals, and seek His guidance and ask Him to save us, like the disciples did in the above story. There is no one else that we can turn to with that kind of power, like He does; no one who will understand our needs, like He does; no one who will love us unconditionally, like He does, because sometimes we bring the storms of life on ourselves. As we stand at the beginning of 2011 with many unknowns ahead of us, I want to be constantly reminded of the awesome God that I serve, and I want to always be open to His leading and His direction for my life.

PRAYER (With God’s help, what am I going to do differently today because He said it?)

What an awesome God that I serve, and oh how appreciative I am of the fact that He watches out for me and has all power, that I may surrender in confidence all my concerns and challenges! I pray that I will reach beyond what my eyes can see and what my mind can fathom, but through the power of God accomplish all that He may have in store for me in 2011. How comforting to know that I serve the Master of the winds and waves, the Creator of all mankind and the One that has shown so love towards me that He sacrificed His one and only Son for my good!