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Posts Tagged ‘love’

Morning Devotion: Grunting?

“Do you love me with all your heart and soul?” a wife asked her husband one morning as he read the newspaper.

“Mmm hmm,” he grunted as he turned the page.

“And do you think I’m the most beautiful woman on the planet?” she asked.

“Mmm hmm.”

“And do you think my lips are as delicate as rose petals?”

“Mmm hmm.”

“Oh honey,” gushed the wife, “You say the most beautiful things!”

I’m so glad that I don’t have to embellish the grunts of others in order to feel loved.

We all enjoy hearing family members or close friends say they loves us.

It’ even better, though, when we read in scripture and experience through blessings just how much God loves us.

Haven’t we all drawn great encouragement and emotional strengthening by the words of John 3:16? Or Romans 5:8? Or I Peter 5:7? Or I John 1:9?

I am SO glad that God’s love isn’t shown to us with a grunt.

Our God shows His love for us with the cross, with the gift of His Holy Spirit to guide us and with the opportunity to become part of a caring congregation.

Because He so clearly communicates His love for us, let’s make sure that the overflow of that love is clearly communicated to the people in our lives.

Yes, we all have to do “grunt work” sometimes in life.

Let’s make sure that how we communicate love to others is displayed with grace and devotion, not with a grunt.

As always, I love you
Martin

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We all need more real friends.

And more people need us to act as real friends.

We can have plenty of acquaintances we label as friends.

But unless those people are actually willing to intercede to help us when needed, are they really friends?

If we’re not willing to help somebody that we’ve described as our friend, are we really their friend?

God knows that we want and need real friends, loyal friends, interceding friends.

People we can trust to help us, not harm us.

If someone gossips about us, are they our friend?

If someone insults us, are they our friend?

If someone sees us in need and chooses not to help in any way, are they our friend?

Friends love. And that means, according to I Cor. 13:4, they always protect.

I want to be a real friend to more people.

And that means I need to be more diligent in seeking ways to help others, encourage others, defend others, pray for/with others.

Solomon described our vision for friendship in Proverbs 18:24 —

“There are “friends” who destroy each other, but a real friend sticks closer than a brother.”

Let’s strive to build friendships that are not contingent upon circumstances but instead upon the leading of God to love in an enduring, interceding, encouraging, sacrificing way.

After all, there’s nothing better than experiencing a loyal love.

As always, I love you
Martin

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There’s something different — something richer — about a relationship where the only reason somebody spends time with you is because they want to, not because they’re required to.

That’s why aging parents love it when their adult children break away from their busy lives to spend a few days with Mom and Dad.

Not in order to pick up a check but in order to make cherished memories.

We love such times.

God is a Daddy and He loves such times, too.

It’s very meaningful to Him when we break away from our busy lives and — by our own desire to show Him our love — we set aside time to fellowship with Him, to pray to Him, to worship Him and to be guided or even transformed by Him.

We aren’t to attend worship or place our tithes and other offerings in the plate because we think God needs it to survive.

He doesn’t. He already has countless angels and souls loving and exalting Him in heaven.

Instead, we worship and serve and give in order that WE might survive spiritually and thrive emotionally.

Here’s a verse from today’s reading in the One-Year Bible that reminded me of how God is SO much greater than we and how blessed we are to have a God that cares BY CHOICE.

“… human hands can’t serve His needs — for He has no needs.” (Acts 17:25)

Wow.

No needs.

Only wants.

And one of those “wants” is the love and loyalty of your heart.

This being the case, please link your need for salvation and fellowship with God and His want for fellowship with you.

It’s the desire of His heart.

As always, I love you
Martin

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My hero is amazing.

Here’s a description of this man that I read this morning:

“He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness.”

These words from John 1:14 are, of course, describing the Messiah, the Lamb of God, the Good Shepherd, the King, the Savior, the Lion.

There are countless descriptions of Jesus Christ offered in the Bible, both in Old Testament prophecies and in historical accounts of His life and teachings. But all of them would be sorely lacking value if not for the characteristics described in the verse above.

We all want friends — best friends — who are full of unfailing love and faithfulness.

We want friends who will never leave us or forsake us.

It is deeply comforting that Jesus’ love for me was so great that He was willing to suffer in advance for the sins that I would commit after entering this world 1,923 years after His crucifixion.

Since Jesus was willing to do this for me, my appreciation should be reflected by my willingness to show unfailing love and faithfulness toward others.

I have some friends who are struggling. You do, too.

Let’s put John 1:14 into practice in how we support them.

After all, isn’t that what Christ does for us?

As always, I love you
Martin

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As a kid on the playground, I couldn’t stand it when a bully was picking on another kid.

Sometimes, I even got into trouble because I invited the bully to leave the kid alone and pick on me instead.

It didn’t turn out well for either of us at such moments.

Even as an adult in ministry, I’ve had occasions when I interceded in situations where one person was being treated unfairly and the attacker’s guns were then directed at me.

That’s OK. I just didn’t want the weaker person to be suffering unjustly and I knew that the Lord would sustain me during the attacks.

Part of being a Christian involves helping the weaker, whether emotional or physical or financial.

If we see someone hurting — particularly if from unfair treatment — our hearts should be moved to intercede in some way.

It’s not just about helping them, but also about confronting those who trample the rights of others.

Not everybody is able or willing to stand up for the weak person’s rights.

Those of us who can should do just that.

“The godly care about the rights of the poor;
 the wicked don’t care at all.” (Proverbs 29:7)

It’s like dealing with the bully on the playground.

If there are no boundaries drawn against attacks on the weaker, other wannabe bullies surface and chaos ensues whether in the workplace, the school, the church or the extended family.

If you have a friend or relative needing help in dealing with a corrupt mortgage lender or a neglectful landlord or an exploitative employer or a vindictive, manipulative relative, please pray for wisdom on how to pray with that person and perhaps even coach that person into better strategies for response.

It’s the godly thing to do.

As always, I love you
Martin

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If our love for another is contingent upon what they first do for us, then we have a vocabulary problem.

You see, we’re not showing “love” to the person.

Instead, we’re making a deal with the person.

You do for me and then I will do for you.”

This attitude shows love alright, but it is egocentric.

It is a contract.

God calls us to have covenant love.

He wants us to be committed to loving others because it is the right thing to do, regardless of how we are treated.

If the person reciprocates, that’s a wonderful blessing.

But if the person doesn’t reciprocate to the desired extent, we are still blessed by knowing that we are obeying God’s command to love as He loves.

Check out this little bit of love language from today’s reading in the One-Year Bible:

“We love each other because He loved us first.” (I John 4:19)

God loved us before we loved Him.

Amazingly, He loves us even if we don’t love Him.

What He did — and does — for us is what we’re to do for the people in our lives.

Particularly those closest to us.

Yes, some people are sometimes hard to love.

But we are called to show kindness, patience, forgiveness, generosity, acceptance and then keep repeating these things over and over and over again with our spouses, our children, our siblings, our co-workers, our friends, our neighbors and our church members.

Sometimes it’s not easy.

But do you think it’s always easy for God to love us?

Let’s love first.

It’s what God does.

It’s what the godly do.

As always, I love you
Martin

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Living the Christian life isn’t complicated.

It’s just not easy.

Being faithful is never about brainpower.

But it is about willpower.

As in deciding we WILL obey God’s will.

“And this is His commandment: We must believe in the name of His Son, Jesus Christ, and love one another, just as He commanded us. Those who obey God’s commandments remain in fellowship with Him, and He with them. And we know He lives in us because the Spirit He gave us lives in us.” (I John 3:23-24)

Is God living in you?

If so, He is loving through you.

Love somebody today in a way that unmistakably overflows from the love you have for God.

It’s why He saved us.

As always, I love you
Martin

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