Love One Another

 Love One Another

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.  —1 John 4:7

            Brandon Moody was attending his uncle D. L. Moody’s church on Easter morning. The final scene in the impressive pageant was a depiction of Jesus’ ascension into heaven. The actor who was playing Jesus was being hoisted by stagehands through an opening in the ceiling. But when he was halfway up, they lost their grip and down came the actor—thankfully uninjured. With amazing presence of mind, the actor said to the shocked congregation, “And one more thing. Love one another.”

Love was so important to Jesus that He told His disciples shortly before His arrest and crucifixion, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another . . . . By this all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:34-35).

John, known as the disciple whom Jesus loved (and the man who recorded these words of Jesus), wrote much about love in his first letter. Several times in chapter 4, the apostle urged his fellow believers to “love one another” (1 John 4:7, 11-12).

No matter what is happening in our lives, let’s make Jesus’ commandment and John’s exhortation our mission statement: “Love one another.”

Lord, when I learn that someone is hurting,

  Help me know what to do and to say;

  Speak to my heart and give me compassion,

  Let Your great love flow through me today.

A little love can make a big difference.

God Is Here

God Is Here

The Lord heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.  Psalm 147:3

            Leslie and her two daughters were about to be evicted from their home. Although Leslie believed that God could help, so far He hadn’t given a clue as to how. She wondered, “Where is God?” As she drove to the courthouse, she prayed for God’s intervention. Then she heard a song on the radio proclaiming, “God is here! Let the brokenhearted rejoice.” Could this be the assurance from God that she was longing to hear?

Inside the courtroom, Leslie stood before the judge, heard his decision, and signed the legal documents, but still God had not given her an answer.

As Leslie was walking to her car, a truck pulled up beside her. “Ma’am,” said the driver, “I heard your testimony inside the courtroom, and I believe God wants me to help you.” And he did. Gary helped Leslie get in contact with a woman from a local church who was able to work with the parties involved to reverse the process so that she and her girls could stay in their home.

When people ask, “Where is God?” the answer is, “Right here.” One way God is at work is through Christians like Gary who are continuing the work Jesus started—healing the brokenhearted and binding up their wounds (Ps. 147:3).

God is here; He stands beside you.

 God is here; He wants to guide you.

 God is here and He will help you,

 So do not fear—Your God is near.

When we love God, we will serve people.

Open Arms

Open Arms

When he was still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him.  Luke 15:20

At the funeral of former US First Lady Betty Ford, her son Steven said, “She was the one with the love and the comfort, and she was the first one there to put her arms around you. Nineteen years ago when I went through my alcoholism, my mother . . . gave me one of the greatest gifts, and that was how to surrender to God, and to accept the grace of God in my life. And truly in her arms I felt like the prodigal son coming home, and I felt God’s love through her. And that was a good gift.”

Jesus’ parable about a young man who asked for and squandered his inheritance and then in humiliation returned home leaves us amazed at his father’s response: “When he was still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him” (Luke 15:20). Instead of a lecture or punishment, the father expressed love and forgiveness by giving him a party. Why? Because “this my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found” (vs.24).

Steven Ford concluded his tribute with the words, “Thank you, Mom, for loving us, loving your husband, loving us kids, loving the nation, with the heart of God.”

May God enable us to open our arms to others, just as His are open wide to all who turn to Him.

Lord, help me be kind and forgiving—

Your loving forgiveness You’ve shown

To me for the sins I’ve committed;

Lord, grant me a love like Your own.

Forgiven sinners know love and show love.

The Joy of Your Presence

The Joy of Your Presence

Great is the Lord and most worthy of praise; he is to be feared above all gods. Psalm 96:4

            Man’s chief end is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.  There are a lot of Scriptures in the Word of God that tells us how important it is to worship and adore the Lord. In Psm. 95:6 – Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the LORD our Maker. We are to worship in such style that the bowing down shall indicate that we count ourselves to be as nothing in the presence of our God.

When we praise God from our heart we find ourselves in that joyful state for which we were created. Just as a beautiful sunset points us to the majesty of the Creator, so worship draws us into a close spiritual union with Him. The psalmist says, “Great is the Lord and most worthy of praise . . . . The Lord is near to all who call on him” (Ps. 145:3,18).

As we worship and praise Him it brings us into His presence.  By basking in His presence we drink in the joy of His infinite love and rejoice in the One who came to redeem and restore us. “In your presence there is fullness of joy,” the psalmist says. “At your right hand are pleasures forevermore”.

Dear Lord, You are the great and mighty God,

the Creator of the universe.

I will praise Your name always.

There is no God besides You.

Worship is a heart overflowing with praise to God.

Seasons Of Ups And Downs

Seasons Of Ups And Downs

A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance.  Ecclesiastes 3:4

Most of us would agree that life has its ups and downs. Wise King Solomon believed this and reflected on our responses to fluctuating circumstances. In Ecclesiastes, he wrote: “To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven: . . . a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance” (3:1-4).

Solomon’s father, David, was called “a man after [God’s] own heart” (1 Sam. 13:14; Acts 13:22). Yet David’s life illustrates how life is filled with seasons of ups and downs. David wept over his and Bathsheba’s first child who was fatally ill (2 Sam. 12:22). Yet he also wrote songs of praise and joyous laughter (Ps. 126:1-3). With the death of his rebellious son Absalom, David experienced a time of deep mourning (2 Sam. 18:33). And when the ark was brought to Jerusalem, David, in spiritual ecstasy, danced before the Lord (2 Sam. 6:12-15).

We do a disservice to ourselves and others when we portray the Christian life as peaceful and happy all the time. Instead, the Bible portrays the believer’s life as consisting of seasons of ups and downs. In what season are you? Whether a time of joy or sadness, each season should motivate us to seek the Lord and trust Him.

Dear Lord, help us to turn to You not only in sadness

but also in joy. We know You give us both good times

and bad to draw us to You and help us grow.

May we learn to trust You in all seasons of life. Amen.

Every season needs faith to get us through it.