“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
On this Memorial Day, remember this…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. Honor those who have served to ensure freedom in this country and serve one another out of love. Amen.
“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)
“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)
“And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God ask of you but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, 13 and to observe the Lord’s commands and decrees that I am giving you today for your own good?”
Deuteronomy 10:12-13 NIV
How we treat each other in our everyday lives says a great deal about our hearts. Whether we are talking about family members, friends or complete strangers we encounter during a day…each interaction is an opportunity to live in God’s will…even when, especially when others don’t meet our expectations. We are all human and we are all broken…remember every person you meet may be fighting a battle you know nothing about…just like you are fighting battles others don’t know about. God knows and He wants to help us, all of us…it is up to you and me to choose Him and His way…let us set aside our self-centered ways, our worldly values and choose to live according to His will and His way. Amen.
“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16 Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. 17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”
Colossians 3:12-17 NIV
(This photo was taken in April of 2020 at a lake near Plymouth, Minnesota)
“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 5 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.”
Deuteronomy 6:4-5 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. Anytime 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 every day. Amen.
“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? “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 12:28-30 NIV
(This photo was taken in July of 2018 on the shore of Lake Superior near Ashland, Wisconsin)
“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.”
Ephesians 3:16-19 NIV
Love without limitations or conditions. Love that is faithful, love that only grows greater, love that is loyal and never changes based on events or circumstances. One of the best examples of unconditional love in this world is the love of a dog. Last month we had to say goodbye to our family dog, Lilly. She was 11 years old and exemplfied unconditional love daily. No matter where I went or what I was doing there was Lilly by my side…working in my office, Lilly laying down on the floor next to me…sitting and reading in my chair, Lilly in the room with me…outside in the yard, Lilly out there with me…even if I went to sneek in a nap, Lilly would eventually pop up on the bed. She was the first to greet me every morning and the last to say goodnight. She would get me up to go for walks with her irresistable joy and excitement…we loved her and she gave us her heart and her whole self with love, unconditionally. People would do well to learn from dogs on what true unconditional love looks like.
There is one person who is the best of example any of us will ever find of unconditional love…Jesus Christ. He came to this world to save you…He is with you and He will never leave you…believe in Him, give Him your heart because He has already offered His heart to you…why? Because He loves you, unconditionally.
“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
(This photo was taken in April of 2023 of our dog Lilly the day before she passed away)
“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.”
1 John 4:7-10 NIV
Think about it…God sacrificed His one and only Son for other people just as much as He did it for you. He created all of us…yes even the person on your mind right now that chooses to reject God and shows it in their daily life. We are not here to be the judge of each other, we can’t because we are all sinful and we all need the Savior. Trust me I struggle with this in my faith as much as anyone else does…maybe that other person has never had anyone show them kindness, compassion or taken time to listen to them because society has decided they are not worth it. In the end it is not up to us…our purpose is to love God, love others and share the Gospel, that is how we can make a difference in our lifetime. Amen.
“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 4:11-12 NIV
(This photo was taken in September of 2022 in Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming)
“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
Romans 5:8 NIV
God sent His Son into the world to save us from our sins…to reconcile us back to Him. God loves us…God created us…He sent His Son to save us…He gives us His Holy Spirit to guide us and lead us…He forgives us…nobody we meet in this life will ever be able to care for us like God cares for us. Turn towards God and give Him thanks and praise Him for His never-ending love. May you be comforted by God’s love today. Amen.
“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 8:38-39 NIV
(This photo was taken in June of 2016 at a lake in northwestern Wisconsin)
“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
God’s love renews and restores us. Our relationship with God is an inside out relationship…we need to know and understand that everything in our life is the result of God’s love for us and there is nothing we can think, say or do that will change God’s unconditional love. As we receive and understand God’s love in our hearts and minds, we are equipped to go out and give love to others in our daily life and interactions. May God’s love and peace be with you and flow through you. Amen.
“What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? 33 Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. 34 Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?“
Romans 8:31-35 NIV
“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 July of 2021 in Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado)
“Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, 2 then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. 3 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 2:1-4 NIV
“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
“In the same way, you who are younger, submit yourselves to your elders. 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
(This photo was taken in May of 2020 at the High Falls in Tettegouche State Park in northern Minnesota)
“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 10 If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. 11 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 15:9-13 NIV
God loves you. No matter where you are, no matter what you have done or left undone…He loves you. There is no love in this world as great as God’s love for you. We don’t earn His love and we don’t deserve it…we can’t get more of it because we are good and He doesn’t withhold it when we sin. He knows everything about you and your life and guess what…He loves you all the same. The proof is found at the Cross. Invite Jesus Christ into your heart and give Him thanks for His love for you.
“You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. 7 Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
Romans 5:6-8 NIV
(This photo was taken in March of 2013 at the Botanical Garden in the Bellagio in Las Vegas, Nevada)