Day 95: Love One Another

Passage: 1 John 3:11-4:21

On reading this passage I got thinking about the word “love” and how it features in my limited vocabulary.  I love holidays, I love Paul Scholes, I love my mum, I love Belfast, I love Wagamamas.  Love is often thought of as a feeling.  This passage shows us that love is in reality a choice and an action.  1 Corinthians 13 show us what actions result from true love.

Twice in this passage (1 John 3:16 and 1 John 4:10) we are told of the action God took because of His love for us, “Christ laid down his life for us”.  True love produces a heart of selflessness and sacrifice.  On both these occasions, the following sentence gives us the challenging command to love one another.  This is a choice and an action.  The greatest act of love is giving yourself for others.

How clearly do our actions show we love others?  And not just those people who are close to us, but that person who cut in on me on my drive into work, that person who has let me down again, that person who really annoys me.

“Whoever loves God must also love his brother”

Kyler

Day 94: Faith & Works

Passage: James 1:1-2:26
Key verse:  “Do not deceive yourselves by just listening to his word; instead put it into practice” James 1:22

‘Coke…..it’s the real thing’.  A well known drinks company used this slogan to differentiate its product from its rivals.  In his letter James challenges us – is our faith the ‘real thing’ or are we content with an inferior version which will have little or no impact on those with whom we have contact with?

In these verses James highlights the value of prayer (1:5-6) and the Word (2:8) but the challenge is does this communion with God change us sufficiently to move us to action?  If we step out of our comfort zone and put our faith in God, we can be transformed from passive, cold, complacent Christians to be channels of God’s love.  That small kernel of faith will begin to grow and draw us and others closer to our Heavenly Father.

“We live by faith and faith lives by exercise” William Gurnell

How are you going to exercise your faith in the Lord Jesus today?

Peter

Day 93: A Living Hope

Passage: 1 Peter 1:1 – 2:12
Key Verse: “Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart”. 1:22

Love for God.  Love for those around us.  The first and second most important commandments.

A few months ago I had a bit of a realisation.  It struck me that I was looking down at people for choices they had made and “activities” (for want of a better description!) they engaged in that I considered wrong.  I realised that the reason they did what they did was that they were searching for love.  They were searching in the wrong place – they would only ever be truly satisfied by true love, love from and of God.

I was condemning and judging them when I should have been loving them.  Showing them the love they needed and wanted badly.  This goes for our brothers and sisters in the body, as well as all the lost outside it.

The verses from the start of chapter one remind us of all we are blessed with as believers – we have “a living hope” and “an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled and unfading”.

It then calls us to action in living a holy life which shows that hope to those around us, through our loving actions and reactions, so that they will “see [our] good deeds and glorify God”.

How much do we act and react in love?
How much do we love those God has called us to love?

Richard (pupil, Portadown College SU)

Day 92: A New Creation in Christ

Passage: 2 Corinthians 4:1-6:2
Key Verse:
“We live by faith, not by sight.” 2 Corinthians 5:7

What is faith?  I like Paul’s definition in Hebrews 11:1 which states, “Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see”.  This means that faith gives a reality to things we cannot see.

Today many people live primarily for things which are seen, such as wealth. However Matthew Henry has commented, “Faith is for this world and sight is for the next world.”  As we walk by faith each day , we must “keep on, keeping on”, confident of things to come and with the hope of heaven in our hearts.

If you are going through a difficult time at present, knowing your future is secure in God is an encouragement when you suffer. (Wiersbe)

So, let us not be like Thomas, who thought seeing was believing, but rather entrust our ‘mustard seed faith’ to Jesus and remember that all we have seen should teach us to trust God for all we have not seen.

Karen

Day 91: The Most Excellent Way

A fresh insight of some ancient truths.

Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
Love doesn’t strut,
Doesn’t have a swelled head,
Doesn’t force itself on others,
Isn’t always “me first,”
Doesn’t fly off the handle,
Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn’t revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end
Love never dies.

1 Corinthians 13:3-8 MSG

Day 90: The Coming of the Lord

Passage: 1 Thessalonians 4:13 – 5:11
Key verse:
“For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.  He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him.  Therefore encourage one another…” 1 Thessalonians 5:9-11

How encouraging are these verses!  Paul reminds us that Jesus will come down from heaven with the trumpet call of God.  Unlike other ‘future events’ we cannot save this one against a specific date in our iphones, yet this event is completely certain and brings with it immense hope and joy.  Why?

Because Jesus has given us salvation through his death, so that ‘we may live together with him.’  Surely there is no future plan or thought which brings with it so much expectation and joy.  Despite our messy lives and hearts which are far from perfect, like the thief on the cross beside Jesus, we know that he will ‘remember us’.

With this thought in mind, I’m reminded of the words from the song Salvation belongs to our God, who sits upon the throne.  And unto the Lamb, praise and glory, wisdom and thanks, honour and power and strength.  Be to our God forever and ever Amen.

Take time to praise God, and ask him to give you a heavenly perspective on your day.

Julie

Day 89: All Scripture is God-breathed

Passage: 2 Timothy 3:10-4:8
Key Verse: “Preach the Word” 4:2

Distraction.  We all face it.  Whather its buying that hoodie from the internet we dont need , or watching that TV programme we never sat down to watch ,or just thinking about ourselves and how good we are ; we always get distracted from the main thing.

In this passage Paul is focused, and makes it clear to everyone.  Morover he tells us to have a sharp focus – Preach the Word. That Word is Jesus . He tells us to be prepared always , even when we dont feel like it or face distraction. He commands us to be resonable in all situations and to keep telling other about Jesus, even when it is tough.

Spend time today at the feet of Jesus. Focus on Him and ask Him to help you complete on the task Paul gives.

Tim