Wednesday, January 04, 2017

January 4, 2017 ... Real Deal Love

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 4 

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images and lyrics from Joe Cocker and Jennifer Warnes singing … Up Where We Belong … poignantly declaring the power of God’s love to lift us to share His heavenly glory.

Highlight Verse[s]: 1st John 4:20-21 [NKJV] … 
20 If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can[a] he love God whom he has not seen? 21 And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also. 
TESTING: Do we really love God? … Really?!
Highlight Passage [context]: 1st John 4:20-5:5 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK
… God, thru John, gives us one truth test of our love of God; and that is when we show His love to others.

Reference Passage #1 [NKJV] : … John 13:34-35 [NKJV] … 
34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35 By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” 
… Jesus’ love commandment.

Reference Passage #2 [NKJV] : … John 14:21 [NKJV] … 
21 He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.” 
… We can only really show our love for our Lord when we love as He loved.

Reference Passage #3 [NKJV] : … John 15:10 [NKJV] … 
10 If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. 
… Again, … Jesus teaching disciples (you and me) how we can abide in His love … by obeying His commandments.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, Tim Gustafson, uses a poignant story to illustrate the teaching on the reality and validity of true Christian love. The ODB author wrote: When a woman in Karen’s church was diagnosed with ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease), things looked bad. This cruel disease affects nerves and muscles, eventually leading to paralysis. The family’s insurance wouldn’t cover home care, and the stricken woman’s husband couldn’t bear the thought of putting her in a nursing home. 
As a nurse, Karen had the expertise to help and began going to the woman’s home to care for her. But she soon realized she couldn’t take care of her own family while meeting the needs of her friend, so she started teaching others in the church to help. As the disease ran its course over the next seven years, Karen trained thirty-one additional volunteers who surrounded that family with love, prayer, and practical assistance. 

Dear one, … our love of God is validated and confirmed when we obey His commands to love others. His love is also magnified when we reach out to share His love with others as did “Karen” in the story illustration above. And that was made clear to Jesus’ inner 12 Disciples when he gathered them in that upper room for a time when He revealed to them (and us) what His love was all about (see the Reference Passages above).

And in this year ahead, I’m praying that I can be a channel or conduit for God’s love … so that He can lift me up, as today’s song declares, where I belong, … sharing HIs “agape” with others.

My Prayer Today: Heavenly Father, … Lord, … Help me to show You just how much I love You by sharing Your love with others. ... Amen

Blogger Note:  Everyday during this year, my daily devotional blogs are influenced by the reading and study of the online devotional blog entitled Our Daily Bread, distributed online via email by RBC Ministries.  If you GO TO THIS LINK on the date of my blog, you can read/study the ODB blogs; or you can subscribe to the blog via email at that site.

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