What Does Love Mean? – Homeword

– December 2019

What Does Love Mean?

This devotional was written by Kelly McFadden

Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. —1 John 4:8-10

A group of 4-to-8 year-olds were asked the question, “What does love mean?” As usual with children, the answers often offer wisdom. Bobby – age 7 – said this, “Love is what’s in the room with you at Christmas if you stop opening presents and listen.”

God’s love expresses itself to us in innumerable and immeasurable ways. He is love, the only true and pure essence of it. God most clearly expressed His love when He sent His Son to be our Redeemer. This Christmas, take time to love as God loves you: sacrificially, humbly, faithfully and joyfully.

And as 7-year-old Bobby said, as you gather with your family this holiday, take time to push aside the hustle and bustle of the season to listen closely. For the greatest gift was given in Bethlehem. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The Savior – yes, the Messiah, the Lord – has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David!” (Luke 2:10-12)

In the Bible, 1 Corinthians 13 is known as the “love chapter.” Someone has created a special Christmas version (author unknown) of this chapter. I share it here, as it provides practical insight into how we can love as God loves, specifically at Christmastime.

If I decorate my house perfectly with plaid bows, strands of twinkling lights and shiny balls, but do not show love to my family, I’m just a decorator.

If I slave away in the kitchen, baking dozens of Christmas cookies, preparing gourmet meals and arranging a beautifully adorned table at mealtime, but do not show love to my family, I’m just another cook.

If I work at the soup kitchen, carol in the nursing home and give all that I have to charity, but do not show love to my family, it profits me nothing.

If I trim the tree with shimmering angels and crocheted snowflakes, attend a myriad of holiday parties and sing in the choir’s cantata but do not focus on my love for Christ, I have missed the point.

Love stops the cooking to hug the child. Love sets aside the decorating to kiss the husband. Love is kind, though harried and tired. Love doesn’t envy another’s home that has coordinated Christmas china and table linens.

Love doesn’t yell at the kids to get out of the way, but is thankful they are there to be in the way. Love doesn’t give only to those who are able to give in return but rejoices in giving to those who can’t.

Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails. Video games will break, pearl necklaces will be lost, golf clubs will rust, but giving the gift of love will endure.

GOING DEEPER:

1. Write down three tangible ways you can actively love those around you this Christmas.

2. As you open presents this Christmas, take a moment to halt the ripping of paper and encourage your family to think about the incredible Gift we celebrate each Christmas.

FURTHER READING:

John 3:16Romans 8:38-391 Corinthians 13:1-13

CHRISTIAN HEADLINES NEWS ( A LITTLE LATE, lol)

https://www.christianheadlines.com/contributors/mikaela-matthews/new-york-school-district-reverses-decision-against-christian-club.html?utm_source=ChristianHeadlines%20Daily&utm_campaign=Christian%20Headlines%20Daily%20-%20ChristianHeadlines.com&utm_medium=email&utm_content=3024381&bcid=8409da93cf3440c0231fd968f2b1f2e3&recip=526484308%20

SUPPORT MAKES ALL THE DIFFERENCE

daniel planAnd let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Hebrews 10:24 (NIV)

Whether you are trying to move forward with your mental health (focus), grow spiritually (faith), make better choices when it comes to what you eat (food), or stay committed to an exercise program (fitness), community gives you the support we need (friends). Knowing you’re not alone, that others are cheering you on, will help keep you motivated. Giving that same support to others gives you joy and a sense of purpose.

—The Daniel Plan Team

Being a Servant

DALLAS WILLARD.jpg

Think for a moment of spiritual formation in the arena of social relationships. So very much could be said here. But just think of one thing only: think of those persons who have, by the grace of God, cultivated in their relationships to others the life of the servant. Everywhere they are and in all that they do, they live as a servant.

You will remember that Jesus said, “I am among you as one who serves” (Luke 22:27). And he also said, “Whoever wishes to become great among you must be your servant” (Mark 10:44). By the way, it is dreadful to see this recommended as only another technique for succeeding in leadership. Jesus wasn’t giving techniques for successful leadership. He was telling us who the great person is. He or she is the one who is servant of all. Being a servant shifts one’s relationship to everyone. What do you think it would do to sexual temptation if you thought of yourself as a servant? What do you think it would do to covetousness? What do you think it would do to the feeling of resentment because you didn’t get what you thought you deserved? I’ll tell you. It will lift the burden.

From The Great Omission: Reclaiming Jesus’s Essential Teachings on Discipleship. Copyright © 2006 by Dallas Willard. All rights reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers.

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Taking Chances

NLFCOUPLES

“The righteous are as bold as a lion.” Proverbs 28:1

Remember Evel Knievel, the death‐defying daredevil who jumped over cars, trucks, and all manner of objects on his motorcycle? Evel may have been a little too ambitious for his own good—he broke a number of bones in the process—but he can teach us something about risk.

When we stretch ourselves beyond our comfort zone, we experience the thrill and confidence that comes from facing a new challenge. In the case of a bored husband or wife, this may mean joining a speaker’s group, volunteering to lead a Bible study, going on a backpacking trip, or taking a class. It might also include opening up to your spouse or relating the message of Jesus to a group of nonbelievers. For me (jcd), it was leaving a comfortable position as a professor of pediatrics, where I had a predictable income and the support of a large university. I traded that for a little two‐room office and called it “Focus on the Family.” Only God knew where that radical decision would lead, but it was the beginning of a ride that has resulted in my words being heard worldwide by two hundred million people every day. It was worth the risk, I would say.

Even if you don’t do as well as you’d hoped, you’ll still feel a sense of fulfillment from reaching for a dream. Just try not to break any bones.

Just between us…

  • What kind of positive risks have we taken in our marriage?
  • What risks does the Lord want us to avoid?
  • What have you always wanted to do, but haven’t yet dared to try?
  • In what ways can we take a risk for Jesus Christ?

Heavenly Father, we never want fear or complacency in our marriage. By the strength of Your Spirit, may we reach together for new challenges in faith as long as we live. Amen.

  • From Night Light For Couples, by Dr. James & Shirley Dobson
    Copyright © 2000 by James Dobson, Inc. All rights reserved.

An Open Hand

NIGHT LIKE FOR PARENTS

A man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife. Genesis 2:24

When I (JCD) was seventeen years old, my parents went on a two-week trip and left me behind. They loaned me the family car and gave me permission to invite my (male) friends to spend the fourteen nights at our home. I remember being surprised by this move and the obvious risks my parents were taking. I could have thrown fourteen wild parties, wrecked the car, and destroyed our residence (though I didn’t).

Years later, I asked my mother why she risked leaving me unsupervised those two weeks. She smiled and replied, “Because I knew that in about one year you would have complete freedom with no one to tell you how to behave. I wanted to expose you to that freedom while you were still under my influence.”

My mother understood that one day soon I would be following the path laid out in Scripture: “A man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife” (Genesis 2:24). She was preparing me for independence and for one day accepting the responsibility that would accompany marriage. For moms and dads with teenagers who are close to leaving the nest, the most effective parenting approach is to hold on with an open hand.

Before you say good night…

Are you holding on to your kids with an open hand?

Do your kids feel that you trust them? Should they? Should you?

Father, truly You hold us with an open hand. You allow us to choose, but You are always there to warn, to guide, to counsel, to encourage. And when we fall, You are quick to pick us up and set us back on the path. Show us how to parent as we have been parented by You. Amen.

  • From Night Light For Parents, by Dr. James & Shirley Dobson
    Copyright © 2000 by James Dobson, Inc. All rights reserved.
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