Daily Devotions

Putting Love to the Test

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Little children, let us love, not in word or speech, but in truth and action. (1 John 3:18)

 

We all know this passage intimately. Not because we’ve had the passage memorized, but because we’ve lived it. We’ve been told we are loved, only to have that same person treat us in an unloving manner. If you’re like me, you’ve also been the one who has spoken of love, but been unable or unwilling to live the love we’ve professed.

 

Love is easy when all is going well. When we are young and beautiful or handsome, love is fun, sexy, and easy. When life’s challenges start adding up, and there is little time, our bodies start to sag around the edges, and the spark of surprise starts to fizzle, that is when real love blossoms. Love is more than passion, it is a commitment born of action. That is the truth!

 

All marriages started out with the promises of “I love you.” Half of all marriages in this country end with words drying up and actions that cease. For love to be effective, one must begin with “truth.” Love is so much more than a feeling. Every marriage has moments where you do not feel love. Truth keeps love alive when feelings are not very loving. Truth helps keep the actions loving. Emotions can be a blessing, but they can also be a curse. Truth keeps emotions from ruining love.

 

Today, think of someone you love. (Remember, love isn’t only romantic. Love can also be between friends &/or family.) Come up with a means of showing the person how much you love her/him. Through a specific action, express the uniqueness of your loving relationship. Do not make it extravagantly expensive. Think of something that expresses the truth of your love in this particular relationship. Remember, the way you respond is not only an expression of your love for the other person, but an expression of your love for God. When your words and actions are in sync with God’s truth, love is real and lasting. Practice real and lasting love through a tangible expression today. God bless!

Give Wisely

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How does God’s love abide in anyone who has the world’s goods and sees a brother or sister in need and yet refuses help?                (1 John 3:17)

 

How uncomfortable are you, sitting in a left turn lane, and a person is standing next to you with a sign, begging for money? I always say a prayer for the individual and their family, but I never give money. Yesterday, we had a person come into the church with a real questionable story impatiently demanding money. In this person’s mind, we should stop everything we do, at a moment’s notice and give them whatever they want, or we get attitude. What is the appropriate response in these situations?

 

A portion of your pledge goes to your church’s mission programs which support those in need. This is important because only through organizational controls can we be sure your money and mine is going to help individuals and families in a way that is supportive and doesn’t end up turned into alcohol, drugs or other negative behavior. Certainly, there are many good, kind, moral people who find themselves in need. Even those whose lives are a mess still need to be cared for in this world of ours. Refusing to give to someone on a busy street corner doesn’t mean you are refusing to help. Giving to your church and other community organizations is the proper way of expressing God’s love and fulfilling need.

 

Today, think about those in need, praying for their short- and long-term care. Then, make a symbolic gift to your church, and designate it to a homeless ministry the church supports. If you are not attending a church, find a local homeless shelter, and send them a donation. When you do, you are sharing the love of God in a more meaningful way. These not-for-profit groups are often the best resources to care for the most people with the limited resources available. Caring for those in need requires prayer and financial gifts. Give wisely, for the sake of those in need, is a true expression of God’s love.

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