Thursday, March 4, 2010

Devotional -Snapshot 25 - Love

"An angry retort from someone may be just the occasion we need in which to learn not only long suffering and forgiveness, but meekness and gentleness; fruits not born in us but borne only by the Spirit." Amy Carmichael missionary to India

"Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth." 1John 3:18

Let's get this straight, self, even if you don't "feel" love, if you do what is right for the other person you are loving them. Even if I feel irritated with ( ), if I respond with a kind tone of voice and do not provoke him or her to anger, then I do not need to be guilty about my feelings. Is that right, Lord? When it says to love your enemy can it be devoid of feeling, can it be in correct action only?

"Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth." 1John 3:18

Hmmm - truth sounds like it might involve my inner thoughts and feelings. How could I possibly love God correctly if it did not also involve my feelings? When Jesus said love your enemies might it mean I must not only do kindness to him but actually feel kindness toward him?

I read in a biography of persecuted believers of one who was beaten every day. And every day he would speak to his tormentors about Jesus with real love in his eyes. How could he? Impossible! I would hate my persecutors! O God, give me that kind of love! That I could love those who don't love in return! I am needy for You, because without the working of the Holy Spirit, without You doing it, reforming and changing my heart, I feel powerless to love my enemies.

"My people come to You, as they usually do, and sit before You to listen to Your words, but they do not put them into practice. With their mouths they express devotion, but their hearts are greedy for unjust gain." Ezekiel 33:31

So the heart also matters. Of course the heart puts goodness into action. Can I have one without the other? So if I do good, but my thoughts are unlovely and critical I must ask forgiveness. Eventually what is in a man always spills out into action. Amy Carmichael said: "A cup brimful of sweetness cannot spill even one drop of bitter water, no matter how suddenly jarred." Loving acts without the heart can not maintain over the long haul.

"Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good." Romans 12:9

Write down your prayer to God that He would help you love your enemies. Now pray for those persons.

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