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By This

Daily Reading: 1 John 3

Scripture Focus: By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. But if anyone has the world's goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God's love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth. (1 John 3.16-18)

Devotional Thought: I have often counseled fervent, star-struck grooms: “You say you would give your life for your fiancé. Would you load the dishwasher for her?” Love is real when it is expressed in the hundreds of ways that it serves.

Love is not a philosophical concept. It is a call to action!

By this we know love… The greatest love that exists is the love of God. The Bible says “God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5.8). God’s love is not dependent upon our good behavior. It is not dependent upon our loving him. It is not dependent on the cost. That’s why Paul wrote in another place in Romans that nothing can separate us from the love of God. His love is constant no matter what we do. That is unconditional love. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son…” I have kids and grandchildren of my own. It is unfathomable to my human mind that I would allow one of them to die in order to save the lives of my worst enemies. Yet, that is what God did in Jesus.

When we see that kind of love, what are we to do? Are we simply consumers of that love, or are we to be conduits of it? Let’s not just think and talk about love. Let's not just say, “I love you.” Instead, let’s practice love. Let’s take “this world’s goods” – time, money, shelter, patience, etc. – and spend them upon others.

Prayer: Lord, I am amazed by your love. Help to share that love with those around me in real, tangible ways, so that they, too, may be amazed by you. Amen.

Psalm of the Day: 1 Those who trust in the LORD are like Mount Zion, which cannot be moved, but abides forever. 2 As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the LORD surrounds his people, from this time forth and forevermore. 3 For the scepter of wickedness shall not rest on the land allotted to the righteous, lest the righteous stretch out their hands to do wrong. 4 Do good, O LORD, to those who are good, and to those who are upright in their hearts! 5 But those who turn aside to their crooked ways the LORD will lead away with evildoers! Peace be upon Israel! (Psalms 125:1-5)

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