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?
“Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.” Psalms 1:1-2 KJV
Pattern yourself after His Word. Follow His Blueprint. Christ wants to lead and direct your path. Let His Word navigate your path in every season of life. Let His Word light your course. Let His Counsel lead your heart. Let His Counsel lead your family. Let His Word light your family’s course.
God wants to lead every aspect of your life — if you let Him. Psalms 1:1-2 AMPC declares, “BLESSED (HAPPY, fortunate, prosperous, and enviable) is the man who walks and lives not in the counsel of the ungodly [following their advice, their plans and purposes], nor stands [submissive and inactive] in the path where sinners walk, nor sits down [to relax and rest] where the scornful [and the mockers] gather. But his delight and desire are in the law of the Lord, and on His law (the precepts, the instructions, the teachings of God) he habitually meditates (ponders and studies) by day and by night.” Choose to delight in the Word of God day and night. Choose to habitually digest His Word day and night.
Choose to focus on the precepts, the instructions, the teachings of God. Surrender to His Voice. John 10:14-15 KJV declares, “I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep.” Surrender to God and let Him lead your path.
Psalm 1:3 AMPC declares, “And he shall be like a tree firmly planted [and tended] by the streams of water, ready to bring forth its fruit in its season; its leaf also shall not fade or wither; and everything he does shall prosper [and come to maturity].” As you surrender to God, He will lead and direct your path. He will cause everything that you touch to prosper. Build up a diligent prayer regimen. Seek Him. Surrender to Him. His Word will lead, guide and direct your path.
James 1:8 KJV declares, “A double-minded man is unstable in all his ways.” James 1:8 AMPC declares, “[For being as he is] a man of two minds (hesitating, dubious, irresolute), [he is] unstable and unreliable and uncertain about everything [he thinks, feels, decides].” Choose a side. Who will you serve? A double-minded man (or woman) is unstable in all of their ways. Everything that he or she touches is unstable.
A man of two minds (double-minded) is unreliable. A double-minded man is always hesitating. Choose a side — who will you serve? Who will you worship? “And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 24:15 KJV. Choose to serve the Lord. Choose to follow Christ.
We hope this Plan encouraged you. Explore Other Resources from Vance K. Jackson.
“So guard yourself in your spirit, and do not break faith with the wife of your youth.” Malachi 2:15
Writer Pat Conroy, after telling his three daughters that he and his wife were divorcing, said he felt like he had “doused my entire family with gasoline and struck a match.” The painful effects resulting from such stress and guilt are not just a temporary problem. Dr. David Larson, a Washington, D.C., psychiatrist and researcher, has observed that all types of cancer strike divorced individuals more frequently than married people. He has also noted that premature death rates are significantly higher among divorced people and that being divorced and a nonsmoker is only slightly less hazardous than staying married and smoking a pack or two a day. In the 1960s, the surgeon general declared cigarettes harmful to the smoker’s health. More recently, researchers have warned us about the dangers of foods high in fat and cholesterol. Perhaps it’s time someone issued a warning about the health risks of marital conflict. Ripping “one flesh” apart is one of the most devastating experiences in life. There must be a better way to deal with conflict.
Just between us…
Dear God, we receive this reminder that the damage done by broken marriages extends to the body, mind, and spirit. We humbly ask for Your help to make divorce “not an option” for our future. Amen.