Month: August 2019
2 Corinthians 1:3-4
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.
Written by: Brett Humphrey
It took my wife Jennifer and me six years of trying before our first son was born. During those six years, we didn’t struggle with getting pregnant, but we did struggle with miscarriages. Each time Jennifer would get pregnant, we would be elated, and then would be equally devastated when the pregnancy resulted in a miscarriage. We had some dear friends from church come alongside us during these times and give us comfort through our pain. Through them, we felt that God was giving us comfort as well. We didn’t understand how we were ever going to use this experience for God or to give others comfort, but God did.
After our son was born, it was amazing how many women would talk to Jennifer about their experiences with miscarriage, and she was able to share our story with them. She was able to give these women hope and comfort, and I was able to talk with the husbands about the same things. We could have held on to our hurt and pain and let it warp into anger, but by sharing comfort with others, we were able to find more healing for ourselves. When we turned our pain over to God to receive His comfort, we were able to comfort others as well.
Thought of the day: How has God given you comfort when you have experienced affliction? Who do you know that is experiencing something similar and you can give them comfort? Ask God to show you someone you can comfort in the same way God sent someone to comfort you when you needed it most. This is one of the ways we can love one another in the way that God loves us.
Prayer: Holy Spirit, please remind me of times when I have been comforted in my affliction. Please show me someone who I can comfort in the same way I have been comforted. I thank You that You continue to show Your love for me so I can show Your love to others. Amen.
1 John 4:10–11
In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.
Written by: Ian Rock
We live in a culture where love, trust, and affirmation are earned over time. If we’re attractive enough, act in the right way, say the right things, have the right level of success, and have the right personality, we might have what it takes to receive attention from those around us. But the moment that any one of those things begins to fade, that love is jeopardized. While we don’t expect others to have it all together, we naturally expect them to keep it together once we’re in a relationship with them.
The wild thing about today’s reading is that it speaks about God’s predetermined plan to show us His love and give us the opportunity to believe and receive it. Long before we were born, God made a way for us in and through Jesus. It also means that He knew everything about us—the good, the bad, and the hidden—and didn’t waver in His decision to love and adopt us into His family. He loves us in spite of our past and gives us promise for a better future. In terms of today, He loves us as we are, not as we should be. Even when we miss the mark, His love for us is unwavering.
No matter what your story has looked like so far, it brings God great pleasure to offer His love to you. Remember that a relationship with God isn’t something you achieve, but something you choose to believe and receive. It’s a gift that has eternal implications.
If God can love us in spite of our shortcomings, we’re called to do the same for others. In finding a way to love those around us that are hardest to love, we’re giving them a glimpse of a God that loves them even more.
Thought of the day: The final part of this passage tells us to give God praise for what He gave us through Jesus. Spend some time thanking God for His goodness and the second chances He freely gives.
Do you think it’s possible to love somebody the way God loves us?
Prayer: Jesus, thank You. Thank You for making a plan to rescue me. Thank You for choosing me, even in the midst of my imperfection. Thanks for giving me a chance to be a part of Your family. Teach me today that I can show love to others by giving them the same grace You’ve given me.
Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.
Written by: Kyle Stanforth
Football season is upon us, and I just love to watch football. I used to love to play it. That neighbor kid, Billy, I just love him. I love bacon!
We throw the word “love” around a lot. We must be a loving society, right? Many times, we confuse “love” with “enjoy.” We certainly are a people who want to enjoy themselves, but love one another? One of the ways the Bible explains love is in our scripture for today. It tells us to honor one another and be devoted in love.
Devotion and honor are decisions that require action. Namely, putting yourself second. Jesus modeled this the night before His crucifixion, when He said, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but Yours be done.” (Luke 22:42)
Jesus put God, and quite frankly you and me, above Himself. From this verse, it is obvious Jesus didn’t feel like getting crucified.
There is an old Tina Turner song titled, “What’s love got to do with it?” It says, “it’s just a secondhand emotion.” If love is just an emotion or a feeling, what’s love got to do with it? But we know Biblical love is different. It’s putting ourselves second, while serving and loving each other as we put Jesus first.
Thought of the day: Are there relationships you are in where you only participate for enjoyment instead of loving them?
Prayer: Our Father and God, thank You for Your grace. Help me to be like You and be more gracious in my relationships. Please help me identify relationships where I am simply enjoying the person instead of loving them. We pray this in the name of our Savior, Jesus. Amen.
But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.
Written by: Courtney Flocken
God knew what He was talking about when He challenged us to love God and love people. It sounds easy in theory, as long as you don’t have roommates, neighbors, friends, a spouse, parents, or—dare I say—something to return at Target. He knew that would be a big enough challenge to last a lifetime. But it’s pretty easy to see how unloving the world can be. It’s also pretty easy to see how unloving I can be! The same person who can fiercely turn friends and strangers to God is the same one who is challenged by a fun-loving, all-too-like-his-momma, rowdy little two-and-a-half-year-old boy.
Choosing love is exactly that: a choice. God didn’t choose us in our goodness, but by His goodness. He chose us in the full knowledge of our sin, and He loves us in spite of it—on our worst day and our best. He freely gave love to us when we didn’t deserve it or couldn’t earn it.
Those same circumstances are available to us daily as we go about life. I used to think the mission field was a defined time and place—Fiji, Africa, or the downtown streets of Phoenix. But now I’m realizing more and more each day, the mission field is everywhere I go. I have the opportunity to usher in love and reveal God’s heart at the gym on a treadmill doing life with others that don’t believe the same as me. I’ve never heard anyone say, “I was introduced to Jesus by this really judgy, Bible beating, Christian person.” Rather, we often hear a person profess that there was an invitation to “come as you are” and let God do the rest.
Whose life could be eternally changed if you stacked hands with God and accepted His challenge to love? You have a mighty power: The Holy Spirit lives inside of you to guide and lead you to love in the face of an unloving world. In spite of what the people in this world deserve, are you up for the challenge of giving them exactly what they need and what God so freely gave you?
Thought of the day: How can you love the unlovable through the power of the Holy Spirit?
Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank You for today and the opportunity to learn more about who You are and how to become more like You in Your love for the people in this world. I ask You to reveal and remove anything in me that is not of You and holding me back from loving as radically as You have loved me. In Jesus’ name, amen.
“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.”
Written by: Jesse Flocken
Imagine what it would look if the only version of Jesus people knew was through our love for one another. Would you drive differently? Would you speak differently? Would you react the same way? Think about those who know you the best and those who don’t even know your name. What would others know about Jesus if they only knew Him through the moments where you showed love to them?
That is exactly what John is writing about in these verses. We will be known as followers of Jesus by how we choose to love one another.
It seems like no matter where I am, there is no shortage of opportunities to choose love over the alternative. I’m constantly faced with the option to choose love in moments when my initial reaction might be to do the opposite. It is so easy to react quickly with my words or even an unpleasant look.
Although choosing our words is important, love is about more than that. It is a verb, and in many cases is shown through the actions we take.
Even if we have faith that moves mountains or we give all of our possessions to the poor, if we don’t have love then we are nothing more than a clashing cymbal. (1 Corinthians 13)
Thought of the day: How can you choose to love someone today through your actions?
Prayer: Jesus, help me live and love in a way that others will see You. Amen.