Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Love One Another

A Devotional by Margot Cioccio

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““A new command I give you: Love one another.
As I have loved you, so you must love one another.
By this all men will know that you are my disciples,
if you love one another.”” John 13:34-35 NIV1984

 Today is Valentines day, a day to do nice things for the person and people you love. Kids will make cards and some spent the previous week making elaborate valentine mail boxes to collect cards from their friends. I know of one adult friend who currently does not have a special significant someone in their life and rather than be all dejected about it she has made it Valentines month and has invited her students to make and bring Valentines to grace the wall of her studio.  At my house its not too big of a deal my boys are beyond the valentine mailbox and partly stage and not really all that interested in "girl friends" although they have friends who are girls. My husband and I went out to dinner a few nights ago since I thought he would be having to work today. 

For some folks today will be a difficult day. It will be a reminder of a relationships that have not worked out, or a loved one who has passed away. For some there is no one who will be their valentine and they will feel lonely and un-loved. I guess my challenge for us is in todays verse. We are commanded to Love one another as Christ has loved us. Take a minute to think about how He loved us. He loved us enough to leave heaven and come into our world in a ordinary and humble way as a baby.  I am including the poem One Solitary Lift by Dr. James Allen that talks about the life of Jesus and the impact it has had on the

He was born in an obscure village
The child of a peasant woman
He grew up in another obscure village
Where he worked in a carpenter shop
Until he was thirty

He never wrote a book
He never held an office
He never went to college
He never visited a big city
He never travelled more than two hundred miles
From the place where he was born
He did none of the things
Usually associated with greatness
He had no credentials but himself

He was only thirty three

His friends ran away
One of them denied him
He was turned over to his enemies
And went through the mockery of a trial
He was nailed to a cross between two thieves
While dying, his executioners gambled for his clothing
The only property he had on earth

When he was dead
He was laid in a borrowed grave
Through the pity of a friend

Nineteen centuries have come and gone
And today Jesus is the central figure of the human race
And the leader of mankind's progress
All the armies that have ever marched
All the navies that have ever sailed
All the parliaments that have ever sat
All the kings that ever reigned put together
Have not affected the life of mankind on earth
As powerfully as that one solitary life

Dr James Allan © 1926. 

  I hope as you go thorough your day that you will take the time to allow the Holy Spirit to lead you to see beyond yourself to those around you who may need to be shown that someone cares, that they are not alone, and not forgotten. Jesus loves them He would use you and I to touch them with His love.  Jesus looked beyond the pain and suffering of the cross to a time when He could see you and I back in a right relationship with God - he endured for our sake. Hebrews 12:1- 3
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. 

Will people around you know that you are a disciple of Jesus by your love?  I am reminded by a quote by Steve Sjogren to has modeled to the church the power of kindness to change the world. He says "Small things done with great love can change the world." He wrote a great book called the Conspiracy of Kindness in which he tells the story of how he came to be a pastor of a small and not very friendly church in Cincinnati Ohio. They began doing small things like giving away cokes on a hot day, cleaning bathrooms of business establishments, doing block parties in low income areas. They came up with hundreds of little kind things to do to show the love of Jesus in tangible ways to a world that did not know him. His church grew from a small handfull to 7,500 people who's lives had been touched this way and saw a noble cause that they could easily find a place that they too could make a difference.  When I lived in Ohio, I had the opportunity to meet Steve and his church. I was able to attend at the time one of their Servant Evangelism Training Conferences helping other churches learn how to make a difference through kindness outreaches in their cities.  

I am always reminded of Proverbs 18:16 "A gift opens the way for the giver and ushers him into the presence of the great." Look around and see who around you could use a kind word, or a smile, maybe you buy someone a coffee, or pay for the next person in the drive thorough's lunch. Maybe you send a note to a friend to remind them you care. There are thousands of little things that you could do today and everyday to show the Love of Jesus to others. I'd love to hear in the comments the things you have done or are doing to show others the kindess of Jesus. Did you know in Romans 2:4 it says, "Or do you think so little of the riches of his kindness, forbearance, and patience, not realizing that it is God's kindness that is leading you to repent?  It is kindness that softens our hard hearts and causes us to begin to see that we need to change.  

Dear Lord,  I pray that those reading this will make a difference in the lives of those around them. That the great love of Jesus will shine through their lifes. That they would be sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit and would not be blind to the needs of people around them. I pray that they would be a blessing today and everyday.

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