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February 19, 2024

Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of His body, the Church.  (Ephesians 4:15)

We recently celebrated Valentine’s Day.  My hope is that everyone had a delightful day, you allowed God’s Love to fill your hearts, and that same loving feeling remains within you today.

We all know that there are countless ways God shows us His love.  In keeping with this month’s theme, let’s look to Scripture and identify four of seven ways God loves us.  Next week, we will study the last three.

  1. God’s Atoning love through Christ Jesus is the source of all our spiritual blessings.   (John 3:16-17) God’s love for us is what motivated Him to send Christ into the world.  Sin separates us from God but Jesus paid for our sins on the Cross.  His sacrifice not only brings us peace with God but brings us into a personal loving relationship with Him.

  2. God’s Calling love is a promise to always be with us.  (1 Peter 2:9) God calls us out from the darkness of sin into the light of fellowship with Him.  He promises to protect us and never leave nor forsake us.

  3. God’s Redeeming love frees us from guilt and fear.  (Romans 8:3-4) Because of our sinful nature, we do not have the power on our own to fulfill God’s law.  But His love, through Jesus Christ, redeemed us.  In other words, Jesus paid the price we owed for our disobedience and rebellion.

  4. God’s Justifying love allows us to stand accepted before Him.  (Romans 3:23-25) We have been justified (declared innocent) by Grace through our faith in Jesus Christ.  God now sees us through His Righteousness instead of through our sin. 

Carry these truths about God’s love with you this week.  Cherish His Words of peace, protection, strength, and acceptance in your heart.  Stay in God’s Word.  Be blessed as His Holy Spirit fills you with His love.

Heavenly Father, thank You, Lord, for Your Love and Your Word.  Keep the desire within us to be Christlike and to share Your love with others.  I pray that our Church will be a constant beacon for all to see and a place where lost souls will come to know You and experience Your Holy Love. 

In Christ’s Name, I pray,

Amen,

February 12, 2024

Love is patient and kind.  Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude.  It does not demand its own way.  It is not irritable and it keeps no record of being wronged.  It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out.  Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.  (1 Corinthians 13:4-7) 

Can you even imagine or fully understand this type of perfect love, God’s Agape Love?  These verses depict an accurate description of God’s Love for us all.  Unfortunately, we cannot love as perfectly as God loves us but we must strive to have our love for one another reflect the characteristics of His Love.  Paul believed that love was more important than any of God’s spiritual gifts and that it is God’s Love that binds us together in perfect harmony.

In two days, we will celebrate Valentine’s Day, a day when we show affection, appreciation, and love to family and friends.  But this day has the potential to be more than flowers, chocolate, and warm fuzzy feelings.  Let it be an opportunity to reflect God’s big supernatural love; a love full of grace, mercy, justice, truth, forgiveness, joy, and commitment.  Love is patient, kind, content, humble, unselfish, self-controlled, forgiving, protective, enduring, hopeful, and everlasting. 

So, we should seize Valentine’s Day to celebrate God’s Love.  He created us to love, to express that love to others, and to receive love.  God showed us the greatest example of His Love when He gave us His One and Only Son, Jesus, to die for you and for me on a Cross while we were still sinners.  Consider all the possibilities, joy, and rewards that will come your way by showing others love.  Bless others with your words and actions that flow from our Christ-filled hearts.

Heavenly Father, thank You, Lord, that You are such a loving God.  I pray that You will bless us today and that our lives will be filled and overflow with the power of Your Love.  Lead us and help us to make a difference in this troubled world and may we always bring honor and praise to You each and every day.

In Christ’s Loving Name, I pray,

Amen.

February 5, 2024

We know how much God loves us and we have put our trust in His Love.  God is love and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them.  (1 John 4:16)

During the month of February, we celebrate love.  We see flags flying, we hear love songs, people buy flowers, we offer ourselves a pass to eat too much chocolate, and we pay tribute to our loved one.  And because, like many others, I like to extend all celebrations.  So, this entire month, let us honor God and His miraculous love that He has for each one of us.    

  • God’s love dispels fear.  As a follower of Christ, you no longer need to fear that your failings will cause God to love you less.  Remember, He chose to love you and if you fully experience His Love, you have nothing to fear.

  • God’s love is a shield that surrounds us and keeps us safe.  It’s much more that a warm fuzzy feeling we often associate with the word “love”.  His Love is a powerful source.  As we seek God for protection, His Love will flood our hearts and minds with a sense of peace and comfort.

  • God’s love is unconditional.  At some point in your life, you may have been hurt or betrayed by someone you love.  But God will never fail you or betray you.  Don’t hold anything back from Him because He is totally trustworthy and He will never let you down.

  • Nothing can separate us from God’s Love.  As a Child of God, once you accept Jesus’ invitation to begin a relationship with God, you will be secure in His Love forever.  There is nothing powerful enough to separate you from God’s love.

So, as you can see, God’s Love is not superficial and it reaches down to the innermost part of our being.  His love is steadfast, unchanging, pure, and is the most selfless love of all.  And, Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, is the embodiment of this truth.  Praise Him for His wonderful Love!

Heavenly Father, thank You, Lord, for being such a loving, gracious, and forgiving God.  Thank You that Your Love is perfect, Your Love never fails, and absolutely nothing can ever separate us from Your Love.  Be with us as we share Your Love with others, especially to those who do not know You as their Savior.  May they come to know You, accept Jesus as their Lord, and experience the everlasting joy of Your Love.

In Jesus’ Holy Name, I pray,

Amen.

January 29, 2024

Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil.  (Ephesians 6:11)

Each morning as we get dressed to begin our day, we look in our closets trying to decide what to wear.  While this decision may be easier for some than for others, the question of the day is this, “Do you put on God’s armor first?”  God’s armor is His protection so believers can “stand firm against all strategies of the devil.”  We all know just how cunning the enemy is and how his attacks, while they may look enticing, are filled with deception as he conspires to lead us away from the truth of God.  Without God’s protection (His armor), we will become weak and vulnerable to those attacks which makes us open for the devil to come into our lives and destroy us.  

As Christians, we believe in Jesus and His truths.  Through the Cross, Death, and Resurrection of Jesus Christ, He formally declared and sealed the ultimate victory over the devil. As we walk with Him, we can bring that victory of Heaven into all of our trials and our wars with this despicable enemy.  

While we are here on Earth, we will experience physical ailments, perhaps challenges in our relationships, we will witness corruption, and even try, as best we can, to overcome evil.  But we can’t do this alone.  We need the weapons that only God will provide with His armor.  So, wear His armor proudly.  It suits you, you will look marvelous, you will be victorious over the enemy, and your life will be better for it as you reap the many blessings of our Lord.

Heavenly Father, thank You, Lord, for Your armor that protects us every day.  As Christians, we know we are not immune from the assaults of the devil.  May we be forever grateful to You for providing us with Your power and strength to defend against the enemy as he tries to lead us into sin and away from You.

In Jesus’ Name, I pray,

Amen.

 

Inspired by Priscilla Shirer

January 22, 2024

It is my pleasure to tell you about the miraculous signs and wonders that the Most High God has performed for me.  (Daniel 4:2) 

When something happens in our lives, we want to share it with people we know.  It may be something so great we feel as if we will explode if we don’t share, so bad that we need encouragement, or so sad that we just need comfort and love.  Why then are we so hesitant to share our testimonies?  Aren’t they the very best news of our lives?  We may feel too shy or even scared because we feel we don’t have the knowledge, the boldness, or the time to engage someone on a spiritual level concerning our faith.  We ask ourselves, “Would they even care?”  

Please don’t ever think your testimony isn’t exciting enough or it’s just too personal. It is important and God calls us to share it with others.  If you are experiencing trepidation, ask God for the opportunity to open the doors to people who need to hear your unique story of your salvation.  Ask Him to open your eyes to truly see the people around you and their countless needs.  It may be a store cashier, a fellow student, a neighbor, a co-worker, or so many others who may be desperate for the Good News of Jesus Christ and the changes that only He can bring into their lives. Your testimony may be the exact one they need to hear. 

Let us make 2024 the year of sharing our testimonies.  Afterall, spreading His Word is a form of praise and honor to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Trust in our Lord completely and know that through our faith in Him, we can do this. 

Heavenly Father, thank You, Lord, for sending Christian brothers and sisters to us who led us to You. Philemon 6 tells us, to “pray that the sharing of your faith may become effective for the full knowledge of every good thing that is in us for the sake of Christ”. So, Lord, I pray, that You will keep our eyes open and place in us the desire to share our testimonies with others.  Help us to ignore the lies of the enemy when he tells us our testimonies could never be enough to make a difference in the lives of others. 

In Christ’s Holy Name, I pray,

Amen.

January 15, 2024

Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow. (Isaiah 1:18) 

Here we are…right in the midst of winter.  For some, this may be their favorite season when they travel to snowy mountains to ski.  Others, who may not find pleasure in cold weather, find themselves off to the tropics to soak up the warm/hot sunshine.  

People often associate winter as being a time when the trees are bare, the grass isn’t as green as they prefer (but we do get a pass on cutting it), and the cold weather requires us to wear heavy, bulky clothes.  But winter is also the season for slowing down, for waiting, and a time for renewal when the Earth is busy creating life.  During the months of winter, we can find God in the stillness.

One of the most wonderful and fascinating works of God’s splendor is displayed in every unique, detailed, and diverse snowflake. If God pays so much attention to the details of every tiny and temporary snowflake, think of how much more attention He pays to us, His Children, whom He created in His own image.

We do not get an abundance of snow in our little corner of the world.  But when we do, look at the blanket of snow differently.  See it as the way God sees us…His Child, cleansed white as snow through the Blood of His Son, Jesus Christ. 

Heavenly Father, thank You, Lord, that You are in control over all of Your Creation, over us, and over everything that happens in our world, even unexpected snow.  May we be grateful for the snow that visibly reminds us that You sent Your Son, Jesus, to take away our sins and wash us white as snow.  In all things, Lord, we praise and glorify You.  

In Christ’s Almighty Name, I pray,

Amen.

January 8, 2024

Great is His Faithfulness; His Mercies begin afresh each morning.                           (Lamentations 3:23)

Every morning as we wake up, God sends down a blessing from Heaven and says to us, “I love you so much, My Child.  Let your day begin.”  We must always be aware and remember that God gives us each and every day.  So, do we praise and honor Him throughout the day with our words and actions or do we just take His blessings for granted?

Let us not forget to thank Him all day, every day for His abundant blessings…the beauty of the sky, the stars, and nature, the Preachers who bring us God’s sacred words, the teachers in the classrooms, babies born into their brand new world, Moms and Dads, our families, first responders, soldiers on the battlegrounds fighting bitter wars for our freedom and the soldiers whose names are displayed on a wall, doctors and nurses with their healing hands, workers in the factories, in the fields, on the roads, and so many more.

But most of all, let us remember the greatest blessing of God’s love, His greatest gift to us…His Son, Jesus Christ, who went to the Cross for you and for me.  He forgave our sins, died, was buried, then resurrected giving us the Holy Spirit and Eternal Life.  And, it is free, all for the asking.  A thousand Hallelujahs!

Dearest kind and gracious Heavenly Father, thank You, Lord, for all the gifts you have given to us all.  Keep us ever mindful of all Your big and small blessings that You provide for us every day.  Put a smile on our faces and use us to be a blessing to others.  May they see in us the peace and joy that only You can bring into their lives.  For all of these blessings, we praise and honor Your Name.

In Jesus’ Holy Name, I pray,

Amen.

January 1, 2024

Yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring – what your life will be!                     (James 4:14)

 

Happy New Year!  Through the Grace of God, we have all made it through 2023!  And now, we have probably already begun to predict what 2024 will bring.  If we are honest, we will always be bewildered by the unknown because we really don’t know what the future will hold.  But the Good News, God does.  Afterall, He created the future in the very beginning of time.

Many people make New Year’s resolutions.  Most are good because they force us to examine ourselves and make promises to improve.  Resolutions also may have us looking to God for forgiveness where we have failed Him and to definitely ask Him for strength to survive in our troubled world.

So, as the New Year begins, trust God with all of your tomorrows.  The unknown may be scary at times but by humbly praying to our loving and faithful God, He will never steer us in the wrong direction but will lead us down the Path of Righteousness and will always work all things for His Glory.

Heavenly Father, thank You, Lord, for watching over us for another year.  I pray that as a new year begins, we will look only to You for strength, guidance, and wisdom.  Through our faith and trust in You, may we be beacons for lost souls in 2024.  I love you so much and may Your Will be done today and in all of our unknown days ahead.

In Jesus’ Name, I pray,

Amen.

 

Inspired by Dr. Billy Graham

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