Don’t allow your heart to get hard!

Going through tough times? Being mistreated by others? Getting taken advantage of?

Don’t allow your heart to be hardened!

I remember a time when that happened to me. I remember not having learned the lesson of forgiveness (or at least how to live it out since every night the songs on the radio kept telling me to forgive). I remember the downward spiral. I remember the sadness. I remember the pain. I remember the impact extended and expanded beyond it just impacting me. I remember the breaking point. I remember 7×70 coming on the radio. I remember starting to forgive. I remember “as you forgive others, I will forgive you” and starting to ask for forgiveness. I remember the pain vanishing. I remember the anger vanishing. I remember the bitterness vanishing. I remember being transformed. I remember how my first response the next time was to forgive them and then look to work thru it.

Are you needing to be refreshed? Are you needing to be renewed? Are you aware that there is somewhere to turn? Call out to God! Ask the Holy Spirit to speak into your life! Ask Jesus to give you the wisdom and the strength to know and to obey!

Today’s devotional closes with the following thought…

Love is more than a feeling or an emotion. It is a decision about how we treat one another. Jesus was the supreme example of love in the history of the world. He tells us to love God, to love one another (John 13:34–35), to love our neighbour as ourselves and even to love our enemies. He demonstrates all this in his own life through loving everyone (even Judas who betrayed him as we see in today’s passage), and laying down his life for us all in love.

–from Day 143: Bible In One Year 2017

The Love of Your Life — Day 143: Bible In One Year 2017

Devotional, Psalm 66:13-20, John 13:18-38, 1 Samuel 13, 1 Samuel 14:1-23

1. Love God … Psalm 66:13-20

Guard your words! If you make a deal with God, make your to do your part when He does His because He is faithful and true! Today’s reading shows how when God answered the psalmist prayer how he responded…

13I will come to your temple with burnt offerings and fulfill my vows to you—14vows my lips promised and my mouth spoke when I was in trouble.

–from Psalm 66

God created us for relationship with Him! God loves you! God hears your prayers and answers it! Sometimes with a yes, sometimes with a no, and sometimes not yet. We love God because He first loved us, He sent His one and only Son not to condemn the world but that through Him, the world would be saved! So give the past up to God – confess them and give them up to Him so that He will forgive you! Ask Jesus into your heart! Will you testify to the world around you all that God has done for you? Let’s tell our stories so that God will be glorified!

16Come and hear, all you who fear God; let me tell you what he has done for me.

–from Psalm 66


2. Love one another … John 13:18-38

As Christians we need to love one another! As Christians we need to love our neighbors as ourselves! As Christians we need to even love our enemies – the higher calling of Jesus! Be it in the new or the old testament…Proverbs tells us:

21If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; if he is thirsty, give him water to drink. 22In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head, and the LORD will reward you. –from Proverbs 25

and Matthew tells us:

43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47 And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

–from Matthew 5

We need to love each other – there is but one church! There may be many denominations, but there is but one body and hence one church! There may be church buildings and congregations but there is but one Jesus and hence one church!  There may be different traditions but there is only one church! There may be different opinions or views but there is only one Jesus and hence only once church! We need to love one another across the difference as Jesus commanded us! And John 13 speaks to us…

34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” –from John 13

We need to come together in unity! Without it things fall apart! Consider place where there is division and how it destroyed! So let’s unite in love — loving one another! Let’s love one another that others may see it and also be drawn to the truth, the love, and the hope of Jesus! Let’s be world changers! Let’s allow love to be the entry and the opening that will transform the world! We get to! It’s not about us! Let’s be the change!

Don’t lose hope! Remember we are all unfinished and work in progress by the hands of God! So let’s love like God!

3. Love like God … 1 Samuel 13:1-14:23

Today’s devotional speaking from 1 Samuel shares how important it is to love like God when it says…

There are times in your life when you may feel outnumbered by problems – illness, temptation, attacks on your faith and so on – but God is able to save you when he acts on your behalf. However much you seem to be outnumbered by your enemies, when the Lord acts on your behalf you will be saved.

Trust God not just when things are going well, but also in the difficult times. God is looking for men and women of faith.

Samuel said, ‘The Lord has sought out a man after his own heart and appointed him leader of his people’ (13:14).

God’s heart is full of love, compassion, mercy, justice and creativity. He is looking for people who are like him – like Jesus. Only the work of the Holy Spirit in our hearts can make us like Jesus.

Saul failed. God had told Saul to wait until Samuel arrived. When Samuel was delayed, the people became restless. Saul cared more about what the people thought than what God thought. He became impatient and panicked (vv.6–12), just as we so often do. Learn to be more patient – to wait for God to act – and not panic if little things go wrong. Do not rush into rash decisions in the heat of the moment.

Jonathan, on the other hand, trusted ultimately in God’s love. He said ‘Perhaps the Lord will act on our behalf. Nothing can hinder the Lord from saving, whether by many or by few’ (14:6).

— Day 143: Bible In One Year 2017




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