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Love of family. Love of friends. God’s love. Love—in every area of life. These are just a few of the timely topics included in this refreshing volume designed to lighten your day and lift your spirit. Each reading will speak to your heart as you experience the perpetual love found only in God’s Word. The more than 200 love-themed devotions are succinct and power packed, perfect to fit into even your busiest day. All wrapped up in a beautiful package, you’ll want to buy two—one for yourself and one to bless the ...
Love of family. Love of friends. God’s love. Love—in every area of life. These are just a few of the timely topics included in this refreshing volume designed to lighten your day and lift your spirit. Each reading will speak to your heart as you experience the perpetual love found only in God’s Word. The more than 200 love-themed devotions are succinct and power packed, perfect to fit into even your busiest day. All wrapped up in a beautiful package, you’ll want to buy two—one for yourself and one to bless the life of a friend.
Deep and Wide
For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
Psalm 103:11 – 12 NIV
God's love for us surpasses all boundaries. If we go to the highest highs or the lowest lows, He will meet us there. No matter where we are in our faith journey, He stands with arms wide, ready to forgive our sins. We don't understand this kind of love. Then again, if we could understand it, perhaps it wouldn't feel like such a gift. Thank God for a love that knows no boundaries.
Too Wonderful to Be Measured
I want you to know all about Christ's love, although it is too wonderful to be measured. Then your lives will be filled with all that God is.
Ephesians 3:19 CEV
Have you ever thought about measuring God's love? There's no ruler long enough! No map wide enough. No ocean deep enough. God's love is immeasurable. It is, as we sang as children, deep and wide. If we spent our lives trying to make sense of it, it would only outrun us in the end.
A Love That Reaches to the Heavens
Your love, Lord, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies.
Psalm 36:5 NIV
Isn't it interesting to picture God's love sweeping over all of humanity? From His throne in heaven, He pours out this marvelous fountain of love. And with His arms spread wide on the cross, it flowed as a sacrifice for all. His love reaches us when we're in the low places and chases after us when we're in seasons of rebellion. Praise God for His sweeping love!
Nothing Can Separate Us
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 8:38–39 NIV
Have you ever felt as if you're unlovable? Here's some great news: nothing you've ever done—no sin you've committed, no wicked thought that's flitted through your brain, no temptation you've fallen into—can separate you from God's love. Even when you feel far removed from Him, He's still there, extending His arms of love.
Come live in my heart and pay no rent.
Unconditional love doesn't say, "I'll love you if." No, real love doesn't charge rent. It's a gift, one we freely receive and freely offer to others. Today as you consider God's unconditional love for you, why not thank Him that the only cost was the one He paid through the death of His Son on the cross for your sins.CHAPTER 2
The Greatest Gift
For God So Loved ...
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
John 3:16 KJV
If we spent the rest of our lives trying to figure out the heart of God for His people, we couldn't do it. What kind of father gives his son as a sacrifice for the lives of countless billions of people? And all He asks in response is that we believe so that we can receive His immeasurable gift of love. Today open your heart to believe—and receive!
Laying Down Your Life
"Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one's life for one's friends."
John 15:13 NIV
Have you ever wondered if you would be willing—or able—to lay down your life for someone else (say, a family member, child, or spouse)? Could you do it? Very few human beings have literally laid down their lives. However, Jesus, who lived a sinless life, willingly gave Himself as a sacrifice for us, His friends. He laid down His life so that we can have life eternal. Oh, what love!
This Is What Love Is ...
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 NIV
Do you want to know what love is? It's the ability to sacrifice—to lay down personal wants and wishes—for others. Jesus gave us the ultimate example of sacrificial love when He walked up Calvary's hill and took our place on the cross. When we let go of selfishness and pride and put others first, we're following His lead. What an awesome display of love!
His Great Love
But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.
Romans 5:8 NLT
Have you ever tried to think up ways to show others that you love them? Maybe you send roses or write a great letter. Perhaps you go out of your way to do something sacrificial so that they will recognize your great love. God went out of His way to show us how much He loves us by offering His only Son. What an amazing example of how to love!
The Gift of Love
Love is, above all, the gift of oneself.
Wondering what gift you can give the ones you love? Why not the gift of you? The people in your life need your time, your energy, your attention, and your love. They desire your encouragement, your energy, and your uplifting smile. All of the best presents you could offer would never come close to the one they most desire—you!CHAPTER 3
A Fruit Tree
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
Galatians 5:22–23 NIV
If love were a tree, it would be heavy with fruit. What fruit, you ask? Oh, many varieties! When you love people, you're naturally more patient with them. And you treat them kindly and use self-control. You're faithful to those you love, and you respond in a gentle fashion. These things are the "fruit" of a love relationship that comes from on high.
The Power of Life and Death
The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.
Proverbs 18:21 NIV
Have you ever been around people who have sharp tongues? They don't come across as loving, do they? No, they convey just the opposite. The Bible tells us that the power of life and death is found in the tongue. When we speak words of love, we bring life. When we offer sharp retorts and ugly criticism, we imply that our love has limitations. Today make a choice to spread life. Spread love!
A Crop of Love
"I said, 'Plant the good seeds of righteousness, and you will harvest a crop of love.'"
Hosea 10:12 NLT
Imagine yourself as a farmer out in the field planting good seeds. What sort of crop do you think you will yield? An awesome one, no doubt! Harvesting love is much like that. When we start with the right attitude and a heart for God and others, love always follows. We need to start with softened hearts, though, so spend some time today asking the Lord to break up the hard places.
A Love That Remains
"Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me."
John 15:4 NIV
Want to know how to have a love that remains? One that will never die? Remain in the Lord. Abide in Him. If you're in a fruitless season of your life, double-check to make sure you're still connected to the Life Giver. Once you're grafted into the vine, fruit will grow—and love will flow!
Love—Active and Fruitful
Love, like truth and beauty, is concrete. Love is not fundamentally a sweet feeling; not, at hear t, a matter of sentiment, attachment, or being "drawn toward." Love is active, effective, a matter of making reciprocal and mutually beneficial relation with one's friends and enemies.
What do you suppose would happen if you neglected love? If you never used it? If you hid it away from others? Love is active. It's meant to be shown. Used. Given. Received. It's not what we feel; it's what we do. And it's not just meant to be shared among friends and loved ones. No, "active" love spills over onto others—in the workplace, in the grocery store, even when we're driving!CHAPTER 4
It's Your Choice
"If you refuse to ser ve the LORD, then choose today whom you will serve."
Joshua 24:15 NLT
What a wonderful privilege that we get to choose so many things in life! We choose whom we marry, where we live, what church we go to, what clothes we wear. Above all of those things, however, is life's most important choice: choosing to serve the Lord. Today He reaches out with arms of love. Will you respond to that love? It's your choice.
Dress for Success
And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
Colossians 3:14 NIV
Have you ever considered that love is part of your wardrobe? In the same way that you slip on a blouse or a pair of slacks, you can dress yourself in love each day. Adding love to the wardrobe means you're truly dressed for success. It's not always easy. In fact, you have to choose to wear love, much as you would choose your shoes. It's always the right choice!
Let Love Flow!
"Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love."
John 15:9 NASB
We love as we are loved. Think about that statement for a minute. We tend to share love to the same degree that we receive it. God pours out His love to us 24/7. His fountain of grace, love, and mercy flows freely. And as long as we continue to drink from that fountain, we will become a wellspring of life for others. Abide in Him. Let love flow!
A Moment-to-Moment Choice
Love is a choice you make from moment to moment.
Barbara de Angelis
Can you hear the ticking of the clock as the seconds pass by? Blink and another second is gone! Turn your head for a moment and you've lost it. In just that amount of time—a blink of an eye—you can choose to love. It is a choice, you know. You can choose to love even the most unlovable person. Don't let another minute tick by. Choose love.
A Necklace of Love
Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man.
Proverbs 3:3–4 NIV
Have you ever had a really great necklace? Perhaps a relative or close friend has passed one down to you. In some ways, love is like an exquisite necklace, one you deliberately choose to wear. Each bead or stone represents one person you've loved or someone you've forgiven. It encircles you, reminding you of God's endless love. And it hangs near your heart, a constant reminder that He is only a heartbeat away.CHAPTER 5
Love as He Loves
Because He First Loved Me
Whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. And they have given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love their brother and sister.
1 John 4:20–21 NIV
Can you imagine anything more frustrating to the unbeliever than a Christian who claims to love God but doesn't extend love—or mercy, or grace—to others? How hypocritical that must seem. Those who follow Jesus Christ are called to share His love, and not just to people who seemingly deserve it. Jesus loved the unlovable, and we're called to do the same. Following wholeheartedly after God means we must love as He loves.
As I Have Loved You
"A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another."
John 13:34 NASB
Why do you suppose Jesus had to command His followers to love one another? Seems a little sad, doesn't it? You would think that loving others would come naturally. But Jesus realizes we don't always have it in us to offer the same kind of love that He offers. His love is life changing. Oh, that we could extend life-changing love to the world around us!
A Sweet-Smelling Offering
Live a life of love just as Christ loved us and gave himself for us as a sweet-smelling offering and sacrifice to God.
Ephesians 5:2 NCV
What does it mean to live a life of love? For some it comes naturally. Others have to work at it! Living a life of love means that you pour yourself out like perfume as a fragrant offering—both to God and to those around you. Your words taste and smell sweet. So do your actions. You leave behind a pleasant aroma, and people long to be around you. Mmm! Smell that love?
Slow to Anger
The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor his anger forever; he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities.
Psalm 103:8–10 NIV
One way to know you're "abounding" in God's love is to live a life that reflects His character. When you're slow to anger and refuse to knee-jerk when provoked, you're demonstrating His love. God doesn't treat us as we deserve (thank goodness!), and He expects that we will offer that same generosity to others, even when they wrong us. Don't repay evil for evil. Put the brakes on that anger!
Love measures our stature: the more we love, the bigger we are. There is no smaller package in all the world than that of a man all wrapped up in himself.
William Sloane Coffin Jr.
How big is your love? Think about that question for a moment. Do you "love big," or are you someone who holds back, only extending love when you feel it's deserved? When we withhold love, we're telling others that our thoughts and emotions are more important than they are. Love big today! Don't make everything all about you. You'll be surprised at how big you feel when you share God's love with others!CHAPTER 6
The Real Deal
The Love Proof
Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.
1 John 3:18 NIV
It's one thing to tell people that you love them; it's another to live out that love with your actions. Sure, we say "I love you" all the time, but do we always follow those words up with the proof? Slipping up is easy, especially with people who are difficult to love. But God is always more interested in our actions than our words. He desires for us to love in word—and in deed.
Simple ... and Difficult
Love one another and you will be happy. It's as simple and as difficult as that.
When you were young, you probably never thought of love as being difficult. It was as simple as wrapping your arms around your mother's neck or kissing your father good night. In the grown-up world, you discovered that some people are tough to love. Still, God commands it. Why? To test us? No, He longs for us to experience true joy, which comes only in a life filled with God-breathed love.
Nothing ... or Everything?
If I speak in the tongues of men or angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal ... and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.
1 Corinthians 13:1–2 NIV
It's one thing to claim to know God and to be called to a life of service to Him. It's another thing to back it up by loving the people He's placed in your life. You don't want to be a clanging gong (someone who talks the talk but doesn't walk the walk). Instead, be known as one who backs up her words with genuine love and compassion for others.
Forced to Love
Flatter me, and I may not believe you. Criticize me, and I may not like you. Ignore me, and I may not forgive you. Encourage me, and I will not forget you. Love me, and I may be forced to love you.
William Arthur Ward
Want to know how to win over even the toughest person? Win him with your love. Draw her with your kindness. People don't respond well to criticism or flattery, but love will win them every time. Oh, it might take awhile, especially if they don't trust you. But in the end, God-ordained love will usually win over even the toughest of people!
You must teach people to have genuine love, as well as a good conscience and true faith.
1 Timothy 1:5 CEV
Isn't it interesting to read that we have to "teach" people to have genuine love? You would think it would come naturally! But genuine love is tougher than it's advertised to be. Real love is, after all, sacrificial. We enjoy a kiss on the cheek or a hurried "I love you" as we're hanging up the phone. But sacrifice? That's not as easy, is it? Allow genuine love to lead the way today!
Excerpted from Everyday Love by Janice Hanna. Copyright © 2011 Barbour Publishing, Inc.. Excerpted by permission of Barbour Publishing, Inc..
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