It’s never cliché to tell someone, “Jesus loves you!” http://thelife.com/dailydevotions/the-greatest-thing #LifeDevo
“And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”
1 Corinthians 13:13
One summer I spent two weeks working in Western Europe in a predominantly Muslim community. The long-term Christian missionaries stationed there reached out to the neighborhood and provided social events and Bible studies for all ages. Moms of toddlers could come and have coffee during the day. The young men in the community could come and play billiards with the Christian men who served in the mission. I helped with a holiday club, much like a vacation Bible school for children.
I was amazed at how open these people were to hearing stories from the Bible. The missionaries had learned that presenting the gospel aggressively and telling them to convert to Christianity was counterproductive. Instead, they simply shared the message of hope found in the Bible stories and prayed for the Spirit of God to work and open doors in the hearts of the people so they could truly hear the gospel.
I learned a lot about Islam that summer. But the most powerful truth I learned was voiced by one of the ladies who worked with these people every day. She said, “In their religion, God is a tyrant waiting to crush them. They never hear that God loves them. Even if they don’t accept Christ now, maybe one day they will remember the stories and want to know more about Him.” Whether we’re abroad or near home, we need to be nurturing friendships with people to help them see the hope that is in Jesus.
Lord, help me show genuine love to the people around me. And give me boldness when You open doors for me to tell them about you. Amen.
Consider how you might show God’s love to the people you encounter today. Ask God to make you aware of an opportunity today to show an act of kindness in Jesus name to someone who needs it. Need more encouragement? Watch the story of how Dan Baliski is impacting his community.
How have you seen God use you in your community? Share a comment. Inspire others.
“Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven—for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little.” And he said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” Luke 7:47-48
The end of Luke chapter seven tells the story of a woman who wets the feet of Jesus with her tears. She kisses his feet and anoints them with perfume. She was called an especially “wicked sinner”. She knows who she is and in her brokenness she does something completely out of the ordinary. Her behavior might seem erratically to some, but not to her and certainly not to Jesus.
Spiritual transformation often begins with brokenness. It begins with a deep understanding of our own spiritual poverty and desire for intimacy with God. The woman with the alabaster jar passionately revealed her love for Jesus. It was her desperate longing that opened a gateway of transformation in her life.
There is no greater proof to the world of the power of the gospel of Jesus Christ than witnessing the power of our profuse Love for Christ. “And he said to the woman, ‘Your faith has saved you; go in peace.’” Luke 7:50 Are we so thankful for our salvation in Christ that we live with such affection and adoration for Him?
Jesus wants to pour His love in us so we can live a life full of Him; an abundant life, which He promises. Jesus love is a love so amazing…so divine. It’s a love that transforms us, fills us and gives us a hope and a peace we could never find elsewhere.
Lord, thank you for the love You offer me. Forgive me for not coming to You and showing You how much I adore You and need You. I need You desperately in my life. I need a satisfaction and a fulfillment that only You can offer. I lay myself before You and open my heart to You today. Please fill me up. Amen.
As you spend time with Jesus this week, pour out your affections upon Him and see how your relationship with Him grows. Ask yourself if your love for Jesus brings others closer to Him.
You don’t need to get on a plane to do missions. http://thelife.com/DailyDevotions/the-mission-field-next-door #LifeDevo
“He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.” Mark 16:15
What do you picture when someone speaks of missions? I bet it’s probably a vision of being someplace far away. Recently, while waiting for an appointment, I suddenly became aware of the international, multi-cultured mix of people around me. They looked different than me and spoke a variety of languages. Suddenly, it occurred to me that I was in the middle of a mission field.
What is important about the mission field is not where it is located or how far we go to get there. The crucial thing is what we do when we get there.
For the Christian, reaching out in mission to share the gospel to an unsaved world is not optional; it is mandatory. When we take on Christ’s DNA, it comes with a call to mission.
Any effective sharing of the gospel must always begin with a God-given burden. We must first care. Jesus cared, but do we? Do we truly want to reach out to perishing people?
These people may be around the world or they may be around the corner. Either way, we are called to go. We are called to care. We are called to share and minister with love and the message of the gospel. Think about the mission field Jesus is calling you to? Who can you impact, perhaps even on the street where you live?
Father, when I accepted Christ as my Savior, You set me apart to go and to share. Open my eyes that I might see the mission field before me and then give me the conviction and the courage to go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. Amen.
Start each day this week by praying for one person you know who doesn’t yet follow Jesus. Then seek an opportunity to build a deeper relationship with him or her in the near future. Take chances to bring God into your small talk.
What is the mission field God has placed on your heart? Share a comment below.
“We tell you the good news: What God promised our ancestors he has fulfilled for us, their children, by raising up Jesus.” Acts 13:32-33a
I was in a café when a teenager came in, her hands in the air, fingers spread. When her friends whirled around to see her, she bounced on her toes. “Good News!” Immediately they joined in with squeals and hugs. Almost everyone else in the café glanced at each other and smiled. People love seeing others get good news, even if they don’t know the details.
There is good news we can let everyone in on. The word Gospel literally means “good news”. Its roots come from the Old English word “god-spell”. If you have wisps of gray hair around the temples, you may remember the Rock Opera by that name. Is it a coincidence that, in English, “God” and “good” are from the same root word?
What is the good news of the gospel? The angels proclaimed it to the shepherds in Luke 2:10-11, “But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.’”
In Acts 13:32-33a, Paul proclaimed it to the crowds, “We tell you the good news: What God promised our ancestors he has fulfilled for us, their children, by raising up Jesus.”
Throughout his ministry on earth, Jesus told those He met along the roads this good news. Now, as Christ’s followers, it’s our turn to share it with others. What if we proclaimed the Gospel with as much enthusiasm as the teenager in the café?
Dearest Lord, we have such good news to tell the world— through Jesus Christ You have saved us from sin’s deadly sting. Forgive us when we are weighed down by the things of this world that we don’t act as excited about that as we should be. Open our ears and our hearts to determine who it is You want us to share this wonderful news with this week. Release our pride so we can joyfully share it. We pray this through Him who died so we can live, Jesus the Messiah. Amen.
Who will you tell this week about the Good News of Christ Jesus? If you’re not sure how to do that, read the Share your faith series on the life.com.
Be a seed planter by trade, read Workplace Grace by Bill Peel and Walt Larimore
You can plant seeds in any season. http://thelife.com/dailydevotions/seed-planters #LifeDevo
“I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow.” 1 Corinthians 3:6
I used to work in a program where overtly talking about God was not allowed. It took me years to resolve the fact that while I couldn’t speak the name of Jesus, I could ask God to make me into a seed planter by teaching biblically-based principles and treating my clients with love and respect. In faith, I did this as best I could, trusting God for His outcome. People came and went each month and I rarely got to know how God grew those seeds. But occasionally, I did, like with Maria.
Maria’s story included great loss – marriage, children, health and work and by the time she arrived in our career transition program, she seemed but a shell of a person. However, by our farewell luncheon, she spoke of feeling heard and cared for and ready to begin again. And then she was gone.
Years later Maria showed up unexpectedly at our office. We hardly recognized this vibrant woman who brought us up to date on her life, including meaningful work and her “chance encounter” with a local Divorce Care ministry which drew her into a deeper healing journey. She stopped at this point and stated, “You are all Christians here, aren’t you?” We confirmed her suspicion and she shared how she knew something was different about us. When she became a Christian, it clicked. Like the leper who returned to give thanks for healing, she wanted to come back and thank us for our part in her story.
Seeds matter. Where are you planting today?
Lord, please give me the courage to plant seeds, the belief that others will water, and the faith to wait while You make things grow. Amen.
Do an act of kindness in the name of Jesus today.
“Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?” Matthew 6:26
God has the heart of a loving Father toward us, His creation. Yet when our own experience of a father has been negative, hurtful, abusive or lacking in the love our child heart yearned for, it can be hard to trust God and His love.
God is Your FATHER. He waits to embrace you.
We live in a world at war. Good collides with evil every day. The gift of freewill can leave us vulnerable to the choices of others and indeed, even to our own selfish choices. Destruction leaves ash heaps in our lives. Parents aren’t always able to give what their child needs.
When life does you wrong and you have ashes where promise once stood there is only one place to run, to Your Heavenly Father. He alone is the one who can bring beauty out of ashes. He can make something beautiful and new out of ruins. His love is steady. It is sure. It can be trusted. You can run from Him in confusion – or you can run to Him in Hope – and He will not disappoint you. You are truly valued by Your Heavenly Father! Open your heart to Him in a new way today. Trust Him with your heart.
Today I acknowledge what I have skirted for so long. You, the LORD God Almighty, love me, even in spite of all the ash heaps in my life. Thank you that when I simply cry out, “Father”, You open Your arms and welcome me home. You walk with me and talk with me and begin to straighten the path on which I walk. Thank you for Your generous and abundant love to me. I want to walk with You all the days of my life! In Jesus’ name, amen.
Ask yourself honestly if you truly believe God loves YOU. Tell Him in your own words that you want to trust Him and feel His love for you. He promises to respond. Open your heart to receive.
About the Author: Visit gailrodgers.ca
God doesn’t call us down the path of least resistance. http://thelife.com/dailydevotions/the-path-of-most-resistance #LifeDevo
“I will lead blind Israel down a new path, guiding them along an unfamiliar way. I will brighten the darkness before them and smooth out the road ahead of them. Yes, I will indeed do these things; I will not forsake them.” Isaiah 42:16 (NLT)
Walking down an unfamiliar path can be exiting, as well as uncomfortable and scary. At the age of 37, God called me to go back to college. This was an incredibly unpleasant concept for me, as I had failed at school several times in my twenties.
When God calls us to a new path, especially a path that will lead us to sharing His word and His gospel, it is normal to feel uncomfortable because we may fear rejection, humiliation, and failure. God knows that some of these things may indeed happen to us; that’s one reason He allowed His own son to experience rejection on the cross. Jesus is our forerunner down this uncomfortable path: “I will brighten the darkness before them and smooth out the road ahead.”
Further reading: Please Disturb Me Jesus.
God wants us to step onto these new and challenging paths, for on them we take part in fulfilling His Great Commission to share His gospel of grace and mercy with others. I followed His leading back to school where I did experience some failure and humiliation; however, I have also experienced the joy of successfully sharing the gospel with many I would not have encountered had I chosen a different path. To reach others, we must let God lead. He will show us the paths to walk, even the uncomfortable ones, All He asks is that we step out in humble faith and follow Him.
Father, forgive us for when we doubt, fear or hesitate to walk down the paths You set before us. Let us find Peace in You and walk by faith. Lead us to share and speak boldly to others about You for Your glory, in Jesus mighty name, Amen.
Do feel like God is calling you to take a new risk or path in life? Take a minute right now to carefully consider this prayer. If you’re ready to get a little uncomfortable and say “yes” to the new adventure God has for you, pray this audacious prayer.
“Dear Jesus, I want you at this center of my life, and commit through your power, to serve and obey you, anytime, anywhere, at any cost, to do anything. Amen”
For tools and encouragement to keep Jesus at the center of your life, join thelife.com.
Tell others about a time you took a risk for God. Post a comment to encourage others.
How deep is your love? http://thelife.com/DailyDevotions/all-you-need-is-love #LifeDevo
“Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.” 1 John 3:18
Love is a word that transcends language, creed, and culture. Love means many things to many people. In today’s world, love evolves with the latest pop culture trends and fads. Mainstream media, film, music, and publishing industries often promote love that is a selfish fleeting feeling of happiness void of responsibility or commitment. Fortunately, most believers don’t reflect the world’s definition of love.
Living in a confused world, how do we influence our world with God’s love? As an outreach volunteer, I quickly recognized that authentic love involves more than words. In the company of society’s marginalized, I realized my outreach commitment meant more than just offering comforting words; it meant sharing their burdens, feeling their pain, crying their tears, and healing their wounds. Giving myself away was the only way to reach their hearts.
Jesus assures us that if we model His love, “…Everyone will know that [we] are [His] disciples.” (John 13:35) In 1 Corinthians 13, Paul reiterates love as the greatest gift. As believers, we may manifest all the gifts of the Spirit, but if we do not reflect authentic love, we have nothing.
So, how do we authentically reflect God’s love to our world? Deep intimacy is the key. Through continual intimacy with God, in His word and presence, we increasingly reflect His nature and character. We see people through His eyes. We love them in word and deed because He loves them.
Dear Heavenly Father, Thank You for loving me despite my lack of love for others. Forgive me for my selfishness. Help me realize that my actions must reflect my words. Help me to see people the way You see them. Amen.
Ask God to cultivate your character with His love. Ask Him to help you to reflect His love to someone today. Watch one of these inspiring short videos: Love or See, which are parts of The Treasure Series.
Describe an act of love you saw that really inspired you. Make a comment to encourage others.
“For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.” 2 Timothy 1:7
How many times did your mother hover over your scraped knee with a cotton ball dripping with rubbing alcohol or hydrogen peroxide and say this – “I know it’s going to hurt, but I am doing this because I love you.”
I remember repeating it to my child, and more recently my cat when it had a boo-boo. I knew cleansing the wound would hurt, but it was the right thing to do. Not treating it would lead to worse consequences.
Sometimes we hurt the ones we love on purpose because we know it is the best thing for them. We tell them what they don’t want to hear. We do something that seems initially to be cruel, but is in their best interest. Some folks call it “tough love.”
It takes love to watch your child wobble on a two-wheeler for the first time, knowing they will probably fall and scrape their shins. It takes love to watch your teen make a poor decision, knowing that it will be a lesson well learned. It takes love to place your elderly parent in a care center designed specifically to deal with their dementia, knowing they won’t like the idea of leaving their home.
Love is not just an emotion it is a verb. Love happens when we put the best interest of others ahead of the quick fix, or easy road, or painless solution. Love involves courage and self-discipline. We put another’s needs before our own desire to be loved and accepted.
Love takes the chance that what we do or say, or don’t do or say, may make the object of our love angry with us. But if our motives are true, God will guide us through it.
“For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.” 2 Timothy 1:7
Jesus knew that kind of love, which is why He chose to go to the cross even after so many turned their backs on Him. He still does so today.
Dearest Lord, teach me to love with power and self-discipline. Give me Your reassurance that if I ask, You will guide me in how to love the way You love me. Let me show that love to others in my life, even when it means taking the hard road or causing them pain for their own good. Amen.
Is there someone you know who needs your tough love? Pray and ask God to give you the courage to act, the strength to back away, or the words needed to truly love them. Can you remember a time when someone else risked to show you love? Leave your story in the comments to encourage others.
If you’re in a situation and you’re not sure what to do, come talk to a coach. (Coaching is free and private.)
A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another. John 13:34-35
Recently, an attractive young woman wanted to begin a friendship with me. New to the area, she was desperate for connection even though we didn’t have much in common by way of our interests or families. She was late showing up to our first meeting and I struggled with a poor attitude. My thoughts were harsh. Why am I even doing this? I hurried through the meeting as if I was getting a root canal and tried to direct her to another trusted friend for support.
I felt guilt creep in over the next couple of months whenever I thought of her, and soon, I found her sitting by herself right behind me at church. I knew the Lord wanted me to reach out to her and so finally, I did. She was so grateful and thanked me again and again for making plans with her. I almost missed this precious opportunity to love someone God had obviously put into my path.
Whether we are single, married, in a relationship, or not, today and every day we are called to love others, just as we are loved by God. In extending love to others at church, at work, or with family, we are being faithful to God’s plan. We must remember his provision to carry out the tasks He calls us toward. Who needs your love today?
Sometimes I feel so discouraged by the lack of free time in my life and so I selfishly cling to what is left. Please remind me of Your perfect provision so I feel encouraged to love others well. I am reminded now of your ways of caring for me and getting me through every trial. I thank you for this and trust You to continue to carry me through! Amen.
Is there anyone you have been avoiding, even though they would be blessed by your influence? Check in with the Lord to see if He is calling you to show love to this person Are you desperate for connection? Ask God to help you to reach out to someone who will encourage your own weary heart. In the comments below tell us one thing you’re going to do today to love better.
Have you been hurt by love or a lack of love? Come talk to a mentor.
What do you fear, and why? Is it holding you back from realizing your full potential?>Watch