Love – the Gift that Keeps Giving

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Love is probably the most over used word in the English language: romantic love, the love of family and friends, the love of animals, of money or possessions, power or sex, success or status. Valentine’s Day reminds to show love, especially to our spouses or significant others. Today I want to talk about the amazing love of God. He loved us so much He gave His only Son, so that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16). This is good news! We are adopted into the family of God, and we have a royal inheritance with Jesus. What amazing love this is!

Jesus gave His life for me–to take away my sins, the very thing that God doesn’t like in me. My response is to devote my life to loving Him in return–to love others. This is challenging in a world isolated because of a virus. When I venture out and look for people to make eye contact with, many of them are withdrawn, rude, or preoccupied with their devices. Sometimes it is hard to see people face to face, except for those in public service–clerks in grocery and department stores, food servers in restaurants or customer service representatives on the phone. Then I can express appreciation for what they do or share a complement in order to make a connection. I may not always have an opportunity to share God’s love, but it is my intent.

THINK ABOUT IT

John said this about love. “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down His life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters” (1 John 3:16).

Paul said, “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” (1 Corinthians 13:4-7).

PRAY ABOUT IT

O Lord, teach us how to show compassion even in a closed world. Help us to connect with others to share your light and love. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

It’s My Father’s House

Beautiful curb appeal of a luxurious stone wedding venue in Seattle.

A beth ab was the tradition in old Israel. It’s a big house, probably not as beautiful as this one, but I’ve read that one might have had fifteen rooms where extended family all lived together. When a son was betrothed to be married, he built rooms onto his father’s house for his future family. The father announced when all was ready. Then the wedding began. If a man had four sons, each son who married built onto the house and then brought his bride and had a family there. Can you imagine living with your extended family? What would it be like?

Consider radical love. The father loved all his sons the same, and when one was gone, he couldn’t wait for him to return. Think about this in terms of the Prodigal Son. The son demanded his inheritance and ran away to another country to “find himself.” The Bible says he squandered his inheritance on parties and immorality. When all his money was gone, so were all his “so-called” friends. He became hungry and found work on a pig farm. This was the lowest life for a Jew, but he longed for the food the pigs ate. When he came to his senses, he realized that his father treated his servants better than he was being treated so he packed up his things and started for home. His dad saw him from a long way and greeted him with a clean robe and new sandals and put a ring on his finger. He threw a big party for the son who was lost but was found.

THINK ABOUT IT

Jesus calls to each of us. He doesn’t want anyone to fail to receive His amazing love, but He will not force us to love Him in return. He told the disciples, “My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you?” (John 14:2)

Friend, there is room for everybody! The Father knows what you like, what makes you comfortable and happy. Jesus is there making a place customized just for you and another place just for me. It’s a mystery that I have to trust God about, and I hope you do too. It’s gonna be great!

PRAY ABOUT IT

Father God, thank you for Jesus, and the hope that we will all live together someday. Help us to know your word and trust you with our future. In Jesus’ name, Amen.