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Posts tagged ‘Love of God’

The source of peace…


By Pastor Bobby Schuller

“Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” 
Romans 5:1-2

The love of God in you says this: It’s not what you do that makes you important, it’s not what you have that makes you important, and it’s not what people say about you that makes you important. It’s just the simple fact that you’re God’s beloved child. He says, “I love you and I’m well pleased in you. I take pleasure in you. All of this is for you, your brothers, and sisters, whom I love and adore.”

It seems too simple. I know God loves me. Well, I suppose he loves me…if I do this, if I accomplish that, or if I have this. He loves me if I’ve completed enough things on his love list.

But, it’s not like that, my friends. That’s what grace is – the unmerited love, pleasure, and favor of God on you, regardless of what you do, what people say about you, what you have, what you accomplish or don’t accomplish in your life.

Nothing brings peace like God’s grace-filled love in our lives.

Prayer: Dear Lord, thank you for the love you have for me – unearned favor from you that has nothing to do with my accomplishments or my failures. I have peace through your grace-filled love in my life. Amen.

Devotion: Peace is mentioned in this devotion. What other feeling, thought, or emotion do you experience as you think about God’s love for you?

Faith, Hope and Love: Three Gifts That Keep Giving.


girl looking in a big wrapped present
Sometimes the gifts that continue to impact another person’s life don’t come in a box. (© Sonifo iStockPhoto.com)

“Let’s wrap up boxes and books and put them under the tree,” my mom said one night. I was six-years-old and didn’t think anything was odd about wrapping up books and empty boxes. I was excited about the idea of spending time with mom who was busy working from early in the morning as a farm laborer. Most of the time she was asleep when I got home from school.

My little brother and sister were excited about the brightly wrapped presents with shiny bows under the sparkling tinsel tree. I realized that the reason we wrapped those gifts is because she had no money to buy presents. I kept that secret until mom told us we would open our gifts after we came back from grandma and grandpa’s house.

Thinking back on that Christmas, she was trying to feed three kids on a farm laborer’s wage. I remember we had to stand in line with food stamps to buy groceries, which was really embarrassing. We had no presents that year from mom but in later years I gained three gifts that have proven priceless over and over again.

“Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.” 1 Corinthians 13:13

The gift of faith. My grandpa picked us up that day. On the way to his house, a police car pulled up behind him with flashing lights. He didn’t understand why he was getting pulled over since he always drove under the speed limit. The policeman asked him how many children were in the car. He went back to his car and returned with an arm full of presents.

We weren’t Christians but I believed that my mom had faith that something good was going to happen that day despite the despair of trying to feed her children on farm laborer’s wages and the shame of receiving welfare checks and food stamps. My mom became a Christian many years later but she always had this incredible optimism and faith in her.

The unexpected presents from an unexpected source are like the gifts that God brings everyday. We take these gifts for granted — the gift of a relationship, the gift of a job in a bad economy or the gift of a child’s love. “Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.” Hebrews 11:1 We can carry God’s faith into our holiday gatherings.

My mom taught me to live by faith and that lesson brought me unexpected scholarships that I didn’t apply for to get into college.

The gift of hope. Fast forward many years and I’m college student paying my own way in Hawaii. I have no money to buy presents and my family lives in California. I pray and ask God for creative ideas for presents for my friends and family. I pray for each person that I want to give a gift to and suddenly I get an idea for writing a story about how that person reminds me of a character in the Bible.

Each person receives a story with pictures in a little booklet. Every person I gave that booklet to say that was the best gift they had ever received. Through those stories, I gave them the gift of hope. I gave the gift that they are becoming someone who Jesus intended to them to be. I stirred up the flame of destiny in them through the words on that page. The cost for that present was my time seeking the Lord on their behalf. We can give the gift of hope in this holiday season by being a vessel for Him to speak His words of life and hope to others.

The gift of love. My friend Faith calls me right before Christmas in 1998. I’m fighting depression after my mom died. I’m hopeless and this dark cloud sits over me. I have a wonderful Christian husband, two beautiful little boys, a gorgeous home, and great job but can’t enjoy any of it because of the depression. Faith says she wants to fly me from Columbia, MO. to West Palm Beach to go with her to some revival services.

Right after New Year‘s, I fly to West Palm Beach. Faith takes me to revival services at her church and I receive an incredible touch from God. That time prepares me for my visit to the Smithton Outpouring in February where I’m set free from depression. Hope and faith come back with the love of my friend. Faith gave me the gift of love that set me in the right direction at that time.

Demonstrate God’s love during this holiday season. Love is the engine of faith and hope in action carrying His presence into the room. Call that person who needs His love. Or take them to lunch or dinner. Above all, take action. Don’t let another Christmas pass by without reaching out to that person who has been on your heart.

“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

Give the gifts that keep giving after Christmas – the gift of faith, hope and love.

Source: CHARISMA MAGAZINE/ SPIRITLED WOMAN.

LEILANI HAYWOOD

Leilani Haywood is the editor of SpiritLed Woman and a frequent contributor to Charisma. She is an award-winning writer who has been published in The Kansas City Star, Focus on the Family, Metrovoice Newspaper and many other publications.

{ Day 330 }.


Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So, when He heard that he was sick, He stayed two more days in the place where He was. —John 11:5-6, NKJV

Because of our preconceived notions, we sometimes draw wrong conclusions from God‘s silence or His presumable lack of intervention on our behalf. We often conclude that God’s love for us has waned or that we are unworthy of His attention or perhaps that we are being punished for something. But that was certainly not the case with Lazarus. The Scriptures say several times that Jesus loved Lazarus along with his two sisters, Mary and Martha, but His delay in coming to help Lazarus in his greatest need was precisely calculated. We know that Jesus’s seeming lack of response had nothing to do with lack of love, but had everything to do with fulfilling the redemptive purpose of God. The ensuing miracle was a prophetic sign to many of His own resurrection. But for Lazarus, Martha, and Mary it was something more—a lesson to trust God always, even when they must walk in darkness beyond the edge of their understanding.

{ PRAYER STARTER }

Father, like Martha I often cry out, “Why didn’t You come when I called?” Teach me the lesson of placing my ultimate trust in You even when I cannot understand Your plan and purpose.

We often conclude that God’s love for us has waned
or that we are unworthy of His attention or
perhaps that we are being
punished for something.

By MIKE BICKLE.

{ Day 330 }.


Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So, when He heard that he was sick, He stayed two more days in the place where He was. —John 11:5-6, NKJV

Because of our preconceived notions, we sometimes draw wrong conclusions from God‘s silence or His presumable lack of intervention on our behalf. We often conclude that God’s love for us has waned or that we are unworthy of His attention or perhaps that we are being punished for something. But that was certainly not the case with Lazarus. The Scriptures say several times that Jesus loved Lazarus along with his two sisters, Mary and Martha, but His delay in coming to help Lazarus in his greatest need was precisely calculated. We know that Jesus’s seeming lack of response had nothing to do with lack of love, but had everything to do with fulfilling the redemptive purpose of God. The ensuing miracle was a prophetic sign to many of His own resurrection. But for Lazarus, Martha, and Mary it was something more—a lesson to trust God always, even when they must walk in darkness beyond the edge of their understanding.

{ PRAYER STARTER }

Father, like Martha I often cry out, “Why didn’t You come when I called?” Teach me the lesson of placing my ultimate trust in You even when I cannot understand Your plan and purpose.

We often conclude that God’s love for us has waned
or that we are unworthy of His attention or
perhaps that we are being
punished for something.

By MIKE BICKLE.

Tell me a story…


By Pastor Bobby Schuller

“Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.”
Ephesians 5:1-2

We are meant to be living memories. We are meant to be living reminders. And we’re meant to remind people of Jesus. We’re meant to remind people of our values. We’re meant to remind people of our stories because our stories give wisdom, guidance, insight, blessings to others.

Have you ever met somebody that reminded you of Jesus? I have. I’ve met a few of them. There’s something wonderful about these people. They could talk to you about the baseball game yesterday and, somehow, you feel like you’re talking to Jesus.

There are some people that have such depth in their eyes, you can see into their souls. There’s such warmth to their spirits that you can’t help but be drawn into their presence and want to be around them all the time. There are some people that if you just spend time with them, you will be a different person.

This is the kind of person God wants us to be. He wants you to be a living reminder. And the main way that you can change lives, affect lives, and bless lives around you is to remind people of your story – yes even the bad ones – and of your values, and your wisdom gained from living life with Jesus.

Prayer: Dear Lord, help me be share my story. Let my story be a witness of your love in my life. Amen.

Reflection: As you serve as a living reminder of God’s love and redemption in your life, what story do you tell?

The fruit of living…


By Pastor Bobby Schuller

“…the Lord delights in those who fear him, who put their hope in his unfailing love.”
-Psalm 147:11

I was walking with one of my closest and dearest friends around the Dana Point Harbor, recently, close to sunset. A warm breeze was coming off the ocean, boats were sailing in and out of the harbor. As we walked on a path along the edge of the water, we talked about the kingdom and the love of God of God, and how being a believer brings you into this new reality of the kingdom life, which means that no matter what, we can be happy, joy-filled people regardless of circumstance. The unending full love of God puts deep within the hearts of human beings a strength, an ability to experience the fruit of living no matter how hard life gets.

I remember my friend, who’s been struggling for a long time, putting his arm on my shoulder. He said, “You know, I’ve been struggling with this digestive problem for five or six years. I always feel sick, and my energy gets zapped. Sometimes that makes it hard for me. My suffering makes it hard for me to feel like what we’re talking about. It’s hard to feel that the joy, the deep happiness. I’m not sure it can be a real thing for me.”

All of us, like my friend, will face suffering at some time in our lives. Things will happen to us that will cause us to struggle. Many of us, today, have lost our jobs, lost our homes, lost family members, lost our health. Many of us have been violated in some way.

My friend, the answer is that, even in the midst of sickness, suffering, tribulation, there’s hope. It’s hope that allows us to live in the kingdom of God.

Prayer: Dear Lord, despite my struggles and despite my wounds, my trust in you keeps me going. I want to live forever with you in your kingdom of hope on earth and, eventually, in heaven as well. Amen.

Reflection: What struggle came to mind as you read Bobby’s devotional today? How do his words help you to find hope?

Your story…


By Bobby Schuller, Hour of Power Pastor

“Their purpose is to prove that your faith is genuine. Even gold, which can be destroyed, is tested by fire; and so your faith, which is much more precious than gold, must also be tested, so that it may endure. Then you will receive praise and glory and honor on the Day when Jesus Christ is revealed.”
1 Peter 1:7

Some people might ask, “Why, in a church, do you hang so many flags and sing so many patriotic songs? Why do you talk so much about our country?”

I want to respond to that question with a description of a picture of a man holding a baby. He’s just returned from a military tour of duty. His wife was pregnant when he left and when he came home, his child was already born. Looking at his face, you can see its pain, its healing, its sadness, its celebration. He’s looking at his baby, so small, holding him or her for the very first time.

What do you suppose this man was thinking when he was being shot at or when bombs exploded and fire rained down? When he was standing on the other side of the world in a sand pit? This is what he wanted more than anything – his wife, his baby.

That’s his story, his memory, his suffering, and his joy. And in seeing the picture, his story becomes ours, as well.

Henri Nouwen once said, “My hope is that the description of God’s love in my life will give you the freedom and the courage to discover…God’s love in yours.” God‘s call upon our lives as Christians is to remind people of Him and His love. Everything that you do builds a memory and those memories become your story and your story touches the lives and the hearts of others.

Prayer: Dear Lord, I wouldn’t have a story if it were not for you. Help me to share that story, how your love has transformed my life, in some way with everyone I meet. Amen.

Reflection: Have you ever shared your story with others? How did they respond?

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