“We love because He has first loved us.  If someone claims, “I love God,” but hates his brother or sister, then he is a liar. Anyone who does not love a brother or sister, whom he has seen, cannot possibly love God, whom he has never seen.  He gave us a clear command, that all who love God must also love their brothers and sisters.”   1 John 4:19-21

We live in  a world that has many definitions and ideas on what love is, and how we are to express that love towards each other.  I believe it is clearly expressed in this passage just where the ‘right kind’ of love comes from.  “We love because….. HE first loved us.”

The Bible teaches us that we are capable of expressing God’s love towards others in the same way He loves us because He “made us in His own image”    Jesus said this is so important, that we love each other, saying; “If you love Me, obey my command, love one another  as I have loved you”  What an excellent standard to go by. But He also knows this is probably the hardest thing we can do, because we tend to love others in a ‘God like way’ when it is convenient for us.

Jesus sees this as so important that He speaks clearly… “Do you say you love Me?” , then show it, by loving each other, despite how you ‘feel’ at any particular moment.”

The standard has been set for us. God loved us first.  If we really do love Him, then we will express His love through Jesus in us.  Some might say, ‘hey Marty, that’s easy for you to say.’  I admit, I struggle with this.  At times it appears nearly impossible for me to love others the way God loves me.  And then I am reminded, convicted, by the very Spirit of God that dwells in me.  Jesus said, “I will not leave you as orphans, I will send the Holy Spirit to you, and He will teach you all things”

‘All things’ includes, how to love others the way God loves me.  The Baseline of conduct towards each other has been set.  Love.

I recently went to see a movie with my wife Patty, that reminded me how to reach the baseline that God has given me to live by daily.  The movie is called ‘The Butler’.  The story line is based upon a black man who grew up as a child in the early 60’s when discrimination against blacks was common.

He learned from a man who worked at a shop, that he broke into because he was hungry, and eventually got a job there to work under this mentor.  This mentor taught him how to live in this life under the conditions that existed and by doing so, he would be able to rise above the hatred, by his diligent attention to detail in his work that done in the love that God instilled him, would result in others seeing it and be attracted to it.  It was easy in those days to hate certain people outwardly and love certain people outwardly.  He eventually got a job to work in the White House under five presidents.  Through that time he was able to express this love, in what and how he did his work.  He was taught by the head Butler at the White House to  “always be looking in advance at the needs of those he was serving”

This really pierced my own heart.  We are to serve each other. By so doing, we share in the fellowship of  God’s presence, and are able to exercise the benefits of that relationship with God.  We are at last, joyful, happy, because we finally get it.   By looking out for the needs of everyone God places in our path, we are able to share in this love that God has given us which, if we were to put a price on it would be worth………?    New cars don’t do it, New houses, clothes, don’t do it.  it’s the love that God Himself is willing to teach us, through the Holy Spirit; anytime, anyplace.

As I finish up my cancer treatments, I’m blown away as I look back at the past 7 months and ponder to myself; ‘what does this all mean?’.  I now think about all the people I’ve met there, both patients and staff, whom God has placed into my life to show me the ‘baseline’ of this kind of love.  ‘Marty, look and see what the person in front of you needs…..right now. I am ready to fill you with My love, that you may be able to be poured out in comfort, encouragement to them, that they may know, that I love them’

Isn’t this really what this life is all about?  Some of us have had the stuff that this world entices us to, and yet; are bitter and angry, and resentful inside our hearts towards close to us, and those we don’t agree with.  What does all this result in?  For me, it’s leaving the front door of my heart wide open for the enemy to come in and out. That, my friend doesn’t leave the love that is really needed.

“We love because He has first loved us……”

In closing, the Bible teaches us that ‘love covers a multitude of sins’  Did you know that when we don’t love the way God desires that we sin against Him?  Maybe you’ve been harboring a wrong kind of love against someone. Maybe it’s a few months, maybe it’s years.  Now is the time to change.

Remember what Jesus said to the woman caught in the act of adultery, after He had defended her?  Jesus defended her in love, and left her with a closing thought; “Go, and sin no more”.  I realize this is not in context with this devotion in whole. But in part, Jesus has, and continues to defend you in His love. He asks us to do the same.  What a comfort it is to know that even before we are forgiven of our lack of love towards each other that He loved us FIRST.

“We love because He has first loved us.”

Today’s Video:  Enjoy, this is worth listening!   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jZrR79tmkEU

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