“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
8 Love never fails.”
1 Corinthians 13:4-8 NIV
“Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. 14 Do everything in love.”
1 Corinthians 16:13-14 NIV
Who we are, our character…how we treat each other…what we do to help one another…how we behave in our relationships…that is love in action. God gave us the best example of love in action when He sent His Son to earth to die for you and me, so that our relationship with the Father could be restored.
“And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”
1 Corinthians 13:13 NIV
(This photo was taken in April of 2020 at a lake near Plymouth, Minnesota)
“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.”
Philippians 2:3-4 NIV
“…All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because,
“God opposes the proud
but shows favor to the humble.”
6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. 7 Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”
1 Peter 5:5-7 NIV
It has been said, humility is not thinking less of yourself, it is thinking about yourself less.
“Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. 11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13 Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.”
Romans 12:9-13 NIV
(This photo was taken in July of 2016 along Beartooth Pass near the Montana and Wyoming border)
“For this reason I kneel before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. 16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.”
Ephesians 3:14-21 NIV
Jesus Christ loves you…He cares about you…He knows what is happening in your life…and He is with you. Put your Hope in Him, find your Peace with Him, live in Joy because of Him and know His Love for you. I hope you have enjoyed the last four weeks of Advent devotions and I wish you a very Merry Christmas!
Silent Night by Chris Tomlin ft. Kristyn Getty
“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?…No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Romans 8:35,37-39 NIV
(This photo was taken in February of 2013 in a neighborhood near Plymouth, Minnesota)
“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
Romans 5:8 NIV
The Creator of the universe knows all about you and He loves you and wants a relationship with you. Look what He has done to ensure that you have the opportunity to believe in Him and spend time with Him. The Old Testament is a back and forth of God and His people growing close together and people wandering off and then coming back together…so in order to put an end to the cyclical back and forth God put a plan together to reconcile us to Him once and for all…He put His plan into action at just the right time and now because of the sacrifice and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the penalty for our sin has been paid and we can be with God for eternity. He did it for you…He did it because He loves you that much.
“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Romans 8:37-39 NIV
(This photo was taken in June of 2020 at sunset at a lake in northwestern Wisconsin)
“This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. 17 If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? 18 Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.”
1 John 3:16-18 NIV
As stated earlier this week, love is action. Do whatever you can for whoever you can whenever you can wherever you are…show the love of Christ that is in you to others in your life. Serve one another out of love.
“I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. 12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”
John 15:11-13 NIV
(This photo was taken in June of 2021 at The Northern Wisconsin Veterans Memorial Cementary)
“One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”
Mark 12:28 NIV
Of all the things we can learn from God’s Word…this is the place to start, Love God. Seek a relationship with Him through Jesus Christ. Christmas is a great time to reset and remember Jesus came to earth as a baby to do for us what we are unable to do for ourselves and He did it out of love. Receive Him, receive God’s love and show love to God with everything and everyone.
“The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’
Mark 12:29-30 NIV
(This photo was taken in July of 2018 on the shore of Lake Superior near Ashland, Wisconsin)
“Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commandments.”
Deuteronomy 7:9 NIV
Love starts with God, it is God’s to define and for us to receive and give back out. He is the Creator and He established love from the very beginning. What is most incredible is that God’s love is unconditional…He loves us and has made the Way for us to have a relationship with Him…it is up to each of us to choose how we are going to live, each day. Love God, love others and share the Good News.
“This is how we know that we live in him and he in us: He has given us of his Spirit. 14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. 15 If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God. 16 And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.
God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. 17 This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. 18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.
19 We love because he first loved us.”
1 John 4:13-19 NIV
(This photo was taken in April of 2016 on a lake in central Minnesota)
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”
1 Corinthians 13:4-7 NIV
Jesus stated the most important commandments are to love God and love one another (Matthew 22:37-40). So, what is love? Love is action…it is not what the world defines as a feeling…the apostle Paul describes it for us in 1 Corinthians 13. It is about our character and what we do when it comes to relationships. So, when Jesus states it is the most important commandment…we should think about how to do we love God? How do we love one another? Love is God’s to define and to give and He makes it available to all of us by how He has acted towards us. It is up to us to accept His love and to share it with Him and others.
“Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9 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. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.”
1 John 4:7-12 NIV
(This photo was taken in October of 2014 at the Nakalele Blowhole on the island of Maui, Hawaii)
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.”
Deuteronomy 6:5 NIV
“Let love and faithfulness never leave you;
bind them around your neck,
write them on the tablet of your heart.”
Proverbs 3:3 NIV
God has given human beings free will and His Word gives us instructions on how we should choose to live…unfortunately too many of us have turned our backs on God and put worldly things before Him in our lives. This choice by human beings of rejecting God is what invites evil into the world and evil comes to cause pain and suffering as described in John 10:10…“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy…” We need to seek the Lord with all our heart and choose to live in a way that honors God.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
6 in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight.”
Proverbs 3:5-6 NIV
(This photo was taken in July of 2021 at a park near Sioux Falls, South Dakota)
“Now all has been heard;
here is the conclusion of the matter:
Fear God and keep his commandments,
for this is the duty of all mankind.“
Ecclesiastes 12:13 NIV
“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”
Romans 8:28 ESV
So why are we here? Is it to seek money, possessions, comfort and happiness according to what the world values? Solomon was the wisest and wealthiest person who has ever lived and he did try everything the world values. Pickup God’s Word and read about it in the Book of Ecclesiastes…you will hear about all he pursued. He declared worldly values as meaningless and a chasing after the wind. His final thoughts about the point of life is listed above. Throughout the Bible you will find many examples that clearly tell us what we are here to do, as well as what not to do…we are here to Love God, to Love Others and to Share the Good News of Jesus Christ.
“So you must go and make disciples of all nations. Baptize them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. 20 Teach them to obey everything I have commanded you. And you can be sure that I am always with you, to the very end.”
Matthew 28:19-20 NIRV
(This photo was taken in July of 2018 on the shore of Lake Superior near Ashland, Wisconsin)