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May the Lord fill your life with the fruits of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23).

If God is not first in your life, then something else is (Deut 6:4-5, Matt 6:24, 33; 10:32-38, Mark 8:34, Luke 11:23, 1 John 5:21).

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"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails." (1 Corinthians 13:4-8)

 

Do you think you deserve forgiveness? Before you answer this question, begin to think of the number of people you have never forgiven. These would be people that have taken from you, lied to you, cheated on you or anything else that has hurt you. Now, why haven't you forgiven them? Was the pain too great? Was there pride involved? You see, whatever the reason, it all comes down to some form of selfishness that determines whether or not that person deserves forgiveness. So, do you think you deserve forgiveness? The truth is, no. None of us do. But we are forgiven through the love that God has for us (Matthew 9:12-13, Luke 7:36-47, John 1:17, Romans 5:6-11). In fact, we love each other because He loved us first (1 John 4:19) and nothing can separate us from His love (Romans 8:37-39)!

 

This is the unfailing, unconditional love that God has for us, and the love He wants us to have for one another. Without this love not one of us would be saved (John 3:16, 1 John 4:9-10). Do you have this love in your heart for others? Your spouse? Your friends and neighbors? Your enemies? The truth is, this love can only come from our Lord and is given to us through His Holy Spirit. We cannot experience this love without it! Our love lasts until we get tired, frustrated, angry, offended, and everything else that is the exact opposite of the instructions given for love. Just as we cannot save ourselves or one another, we need to ask God to provide for our needs. This means we need to pray, repent (Acts 17:30-31, 2 Peter 3:9), surrender (Jeremiah 4:4, Ezekiel 44:9), study His Word (Deuteronomy 11:18-19, Matthew 22:29, 2 Timothy 3:16-17), and live in obedience to His Laws (which are based on love!).

 

It is not until we place our love for Him first in our lives that we can begin to love others as He loves us (John 15:5, Romans 6:11, Romans 6:23, Romans 8:2, 2 Corinthians 5:19, 1 John 4:7-19). Through this kind of love, there is no anger, impatience, rudeness, selfishness, thoughtlessness, or envy. Instead, we become filled with a calm, patient, pleasant, selfless, thoughtful, and joyful Spirit of His (Romans 12:9-10, 1 John 3:17-18). We are no longer bitter or use harsh words to make our point (Ephesians 4:31) but rather become kind, tenderhearted, forgiving, patient and gentle (Ephesians 4:2;32, Colossians 3:12-14, 1 Thessalonians 5:15, James 1:19). For through God's love, we can expect good things (Jeremiah 29:11, Romans 8:28)!

 

Read Psalm 23 and 2 Peter 3:9-15

 

 

Created Wednesday, December 03, 2008