I want to be in a relationship where you telling me you love me is just a ceremonious validation of what you already show me. — Steve Maraboli, Life, the Truth, and Being Free
A traditional Christian song resonates with a chorus reminding us, “They will know we are Christians by our love, by our love.” Others know we belong to Jesus by the way we love each other. “They are watching,” Jesus explained, “so love.”
When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them… “I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you… A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must also love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:12, 15, 34-35)
How was it that Jesus showed His love prior to the cross?
He demonstrated service to others daily. Yes, if we are going to be known as His disciples, we must recognize that others are watching how we love each other—but that’s not why we do it. Service is a natural expression of God’s love working through us. Consider the day Jesus washed the grimy feet of His followers.
Foot-washing perfectly demonstrated what Jesus desired His disciples to understand:
- Some demonstrations will be awkward. Love in unexpected ways anyway.
- Some demonstrations will feel “beneath” you. Step down and love humbly.
- Some demonstrations will need to be repeated. Serve each other and love at every opportunity.
It was an ordinary, everyday act of service that didn’t draw the crowds. It wasn’t permanent; their feet would get dirty again. It wasn’t based upon warm fuzzies and springtime feelings.
It was a dirty demonstration of serving others in love.
Is there a best way to show love? Yes, at every opportunity through ordinary acts of service.
Demonstrating love in a way that replicates You, Jesus, seems impossible. But You don’t leave us to the task alone. By Your Spirit, demonstrating Your love can become my default, my norm! So I pray You will love through me at every opportunity. I ask that we start with those closest to me. Prompt me when You are ready to love another, then simply make me willing to let You do it through me. Amen.
Taken from Pete’s series To Love and to Cherish.
The Blessing of Faith
“But blessed is the one who trusts in the LORD,
whose confidence is in him.” —Jeremiah 17:7
and my God the rock in whom I take refuge. — Psalm 94:21-22
During this season when we give thanks for God’s many blessings and His faithfulness, enjoy this collection of devotions on what it means for us to be people of faith. As an expression of your faith and thankfulness, find out how you can help elderly Jews in the former Soviet Union who are alone and in need of lifesaving assistance this holiday season.
A little bit of faith goes a long way. Just as a small flame can light up an entire room of darkness, so does even a small dose of faith dispel so many of the doubts and worries that bog us down. Faith brings us hope and peace. It gives us safety and security.
Many places in Scripture encourage us to have faith in God, but one place in particular gives us a powerful image as to what life is like when lived with faith, and in contrast, what life is like without it. That place is Jeremiah Chapter 17 which describes what faith looks like — and what the opposite feels like.
Jeremiah provides us with a description of two trees. The first is like a bush in the desert. It lives in parched soil and does not thrive. The second tree is a true evergreen: “ . . . a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream . . . its leaves are always green . . . and never fails to bear fruit” (Jeremiah 17:8). A tree planted by a stream of water always has strong roots. It isn’t affected by the twists and turns of the weather because it has an alternate source of nourishment. A tree with well-nourished roots always thrives. It is strong, beautiful, and always fruitful.
Jeremiah likens the first tree living in parched soil to a person who puts his faith in man instead of in God: “Cursed is the one who trusts in man . . . and whose heart turns away from the LORD” (Jeremiah 17:5). The second tree with strong roots is the person who puts all of his faith in God: “But blessed is the one who trusts in the LORD . . .” Faith in God brings blessings.
When we live our lives with faith, we will be able to thrive in any circumstances. Faith is the water that nourishes our roots, our soul, and allows us to flourish whatever the situation. We are grateful for the good in our lives and use our blessings well. We understand that even the challenges are blessings, for it is through them that we grow.
The choice is ours: we can plant ourselves in a desert, or in the luscious grounds of faith. Just like trees, it is where we live that determines how we will grow.
Won’t you join The Fellowship in supporting Israel and her people, and in helping fulfill the prophecy?