Tag Archives: Love

Virtue and the Practice Of It


Christian virtue starts with love
And touches on forgiveness,
It doesn’t seek to judge others
Cause then we’d have a real mess!

There’s trouble plenty of our own
Without our casting of a stone,
We set our virtuous path, alone…
Putting our evil behind us…

If I would practice every day
The kindness virtue gives me
I would accept you as Christ did,
Cause grace is free, you see!

The Holy Spirit’s the help I need,
Along with the Word on which I feed;
If faithful to these I be…
Virtue will flow out of me!

-the walrus

Billy Graham on God’s Love


1John 4:9 NKJV – In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him.

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God’s Love is Obvious

Notice God’s love. The Bible teaches that God is love. You and I were sinners. We were aliens from God. We were enemies of God. We had rebelled against God.  We deserved hell, but in spite of the fact that we resisted God, we rebelled against God, we sinned against God, we were enemies of God—the Bible says God loved us anyway with an everlasting love so that He was willing to give His Son to die on the cross for our sins. There is not a person who has the ability to love that way unless he comes to Christ. You don’t have the power to love. 

Daily Prayer

Your love encompasses me, Lord Jesus, wherever I may be. There are so many who need the healing of Your love in their lives. Fill me to overflowing with “agapé” love for them. encompasses me, Lord Jesus, wherever I may be. There are so many who need the healing of Your love in their lives. Fill me to overflowing with “agapé” love for them.

Gladness on Sunday…by Billy Graham


PSALM 122:1 NKJV

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I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go into the house of the Lord .”

Gladness on Sunday

A lot of people get what I call “Sunday-itis” on Sunday mornings. Do you know what Sunday-itis is? It attacks the victim shortly before breakfast on Sunday morning. It is accompanied by a feeling of weakness and lethargy. Sometimes the victim has a slight headache which is aggravated by the ringing of the church bells in the community. But the disease is of short duration, usually disappearing about noon, when the victim is able to eat a full dinner and play golf in the afternoon. But the symptoms usually appear again about 7:30 Sunday evening, and then disappear until the next Sunday morning.

Daily Prayer

May I always have the gladness that David had, as each Sunday I prepare to worship You in Your house, heavenly Father.

Compassion: A Fourteen-Day Journey #12


The Love of Jesus

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Daryl G Stewart

All the Gospel accounts relate the stories of Jesus feeding the thousands, exhibiting the profound love and compassion he had for all people. Stewardship writer Luther E. Lovejoy (1864-1936) expands that thought.

The motive that most deeply touched the people of his day, the one that keeps his memory green in a troubled world, was his compassion. He was full of pity; sensitive with sympathy for the vague soul hunger and the physical suffering all about him. The miracles that drew the curious multitudes had, no doubt, their evidential value; but their strange variation from other miracles of legend or Scripture is the fact that they are performed for the relief of suffering Pity for the blind eyes, the deaf ears, the paralyzed limbs, the epileptic nerves, the leprosy-polluted bodies, the fevered children.

Behind this motive of compassion was the deeper motive of love. As no other man had ever been able to do, he saw the actual potential worth in men and loved them for what they were How much more, those who reciprocated his affection and gave up all for him! To such he declared: “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you.” The depth of this love he demonstrated when he laid down “his life for his friends” The Christian steward who does not share it is not a steward; he is a servant.

Lovejoy goes on to cite some of the missionaries and social reformers who have imitated the love of Christ.
David Livingstone, from the hour when his youthful imagination beheld Robert Moffatt’s “smoke from a thousand villages whose inhabitants had never heard of Jesus” to the somber twilight in his premature old age when, fever-consumed and death-smitten, he staggered into Chitambo’s village in Ilala, there to breathe out his dying prayer for Africa, is an illustration. Francis Xavier, on his face before God, crying: “More Lord, more; only save thy pagan children”; George Whitfield’s “Lord, give me souls or take my soul,” tell us how, in multiplied instances, God’s faithful stewards have held their lives “not dear unto themselves”ÉAnd time would have us to recall the yearning of Wilberforce and of Lincoln for the bondsmen of their day, of Shaftsbury for the child toilers of England, of Pitkin for the savage Boxers who murdered him, of Bashford for the millions of China, of Carey and Judson, and Thoburn and Fish for the sorrowing masses of India. Suffice it to remember that, in tune with the measureless love of Jesus for men, they offered the stewardship of time and talents and energies, that they might render to men the highest good.

LUKE 9:10-17 NKJV

And the apostles, when they had returned, told Him all that they had done. Then He took them and went aside privately into a deserted place belonging to the city called Bethsaida. But when the multitudes knew it, they followed Him; and He received them and spoke to them about the kingdom of God, and healed those who had need of healing. When the day began to wear away, the twelve came and said to Him, “Send the multitude away, that they may go into the surrounding towns and country, and lodge and get provisions; for we are in a deserted place here.” But He said to them, “You give them something to eat.” And they said, “We have no more than five loaves and two fish, unless we go and buy food for all these people.” For there were about five thousand men. Then He said to His disciples, “Make them sit down in groups of fifty.”  And they did so, and made them all sit down. Then He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, He blessed and broke them, and gave them to the disciples to set before the multitude. So they all ate and were filled, and twelve baskets of the leftover fragments were taken up by them.

40 Days of Lent #31


JOHN 15:1-27 NKJV.   

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“I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser.  Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit.  You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you.  Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.  If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned.  If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.  By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples. “As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love.  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. “These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.  This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.  Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.  You are My friends if you do whatever I command you.  No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you.  You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you.  These things I command you, that you love one another. “If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you.  If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.  Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also.  But all these things they will do to you for My name’s sake, because they do not know Him who sent Me.  If I had not come and spoken to them, they would have no sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin.  He who hates Me hates My Father also.  If I had not done among them the works which no one else did, they would have no sin; but now they have seen and also hated both Me and My Father.  But this happened that the word might be fulfilled which is written in their law, ‘They hated Me without a cause.’ “But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me.  And you also will bear witness, because you have been with Me from the beginning.

JOHN 16:1-4 NKJV.

“These things I have spoken to you, that you should not be made to stumble.  They will put you out of the synagogues; yes, the time is coming that whoever kills you will think that he offers God service.  And these things they will do to you because they have not known the Father nor Me.  But these things I have told you, that when the time comes, you may remember that I told you of them. And these things I did not say to you at the beginning, because I was with you.

Compassion: A Fourteen-Day Journey #11


A New Justice

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Jesus’ great transformation of values is at work in this passage. The world we live in expects us to live by its standard operation procedures of self-service, self-preservation and self-fulfillment. But Jesus calls to us a life lived with radically different motives and actions. He calls us to “be perfect, as our heavenly Father is perfect” (Mt 5:48), which is to receive into a nurture within ourselves the love of God–agape love.

For instance, just as God has not let our hostility toward him turn him against us, so are we to demonstrate the same kind of persistent love toward those who are hostile toward us. Jesus said, “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Mt 5:44). Christ taught his followers not only to love their enemies but also to be good stewards of their human brothers and sisters. Imagine how Jesus looked deep into the eyes of hose who opposed him to see them as the Father would. Can you and I do less than to look into the eyes of our enemies and search deep for the image of God in them, that which Scottish Victorian novelist, poet and Christian fantasy writer George MacDonald (1824-1905) calls the “divine essence”?

The very words humane and humanity denote some shadow of that loving-kindness which, when perfected after the divine fashion, shall include even our enemies. The offering of human sacrifices, the torturing of captives, cannibalism–we do not call this humanity. Not because they do such deeds are they men. Their humanity must be deeper than those. It is in virtue of the divine essence which is in them, that pure essential humanity, that we call our enemies men and women. It is this humanity that we are to love–a something, I say, deeper altogether than and independent of the region of hate.

It is agape love that enables the children of God to be as generous and openhanded as God as been to them. Such radical action may be “bad stewardship” by the world’s standards, but not by God’s.

After all, by the world’s standards, loving those who love you is perfectly understandable. Doing good to those who do you good is just sensible reciprocal business (see Mt 5:46-47). But kingdom economy has a very different dynamic. Those who are children of the Most High God give without reciprocity. Kingdom economics are “flowing through” accounts. Theologian Miroslav Volf says, “If God is the third party in the relationship between givers and recipients, givers cannot lose. They always receive what they give, and more. That’s the ‘law’ of the flow. Those who pass gifts receive more abundantly from the source of all gifts.”

When a kingdom steward lives and loves by this mode of operation the world looks at him on her and sees something different. They see the light (see Mt 5:14) that comes from “the light of the world” (Jn 8:12).

LUKE 6:27-36 NKJV

“But I say to you who hear: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you,  bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you.  To him who strikes you on the one cheek, offer the other also. And from him who takes away your cloak, do not withhold your tunic either.  Give to everyone who asks of you. And from him who takes away your goods do not ask them back.  And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise. “But if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them.  And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same.  And if you lend to those from whom you hope to receive back, what credit is that to you? For even sinners lend to sinners to receive as much back.  But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil.  Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful.

Compassion: A Fourteen-Day Journey #10


How Much Is a Life worth?

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As easy as it is for us to grow thick skin from the daily diet of violence served up by the media, most of us still cringe when we read about the Ammonites’ brutality to the people of Gilead, Israel’s territory east of Galilee. Respect for human life is always at stake during wartime, but in this case, the Ammonites’ unnecessary torture and violence toward their victims is an example of how life was devalued during the time.

In our day, we struggle with ethical dilemmas in the areas of reproduction, biotechnology and death. How can the sanctity of life be preserved in our world–where scientific advances are complex and confusing, where technology changes at an ever-increasing speed? Evangelical leader Charles Colson addresses issues related to abortion, stem cell research and euthanasia in a discussion under the heading “What Is Life Worth?” Some poignant paragraphs follow:

Life and death become judgment calls, subject in some cases to ethics committees’ determinations and hospital guidelines. But who decides what our ethics will be? If there is no truth, there are no true ethics, only prudential standards that reasonable people try to apply. So the best-intentioned doctors in the world have to make judgment calls, ever aware of the costs involved for the hospital in which they are staff members. Aware of the patient’s suffering, pressured to handle as many cases as possible, embroiled in a quality-of-life matrix, the white-coated doctor becomes god, with nothing like God’s judgment.

I don’t want to be misunderstood here. Max’s Colson’s grandson’s autism is not a good thing–it’s part of the world’s brokenness. Yet that brokenness has been used to enlarge my capacity to love. That’s a very great gift. Paradoxically, Max has introduced joy into the lives of his teachers, his mother, her grandparents, and many others because of these costs, these sacrifices. How should one account for that?

How should Max account for himself, and why should he have to? Max is more than happy to be alive, thank you very much. Max knows a joy and wonder that puts me to shame. Why is that?

Let me just suggest at this point it’s because the good life is not about the sum total of what we contribute to the world. It’s about loving. Utilitarianism knows nothing about love. Love is the beginning and the end of the good life, however, and it’s in love that our lives must be centered.

The issue that has to be decided is clear if we’re willing to see it If we are creatures made in the image of God, then life has an ultimate value that cannot be understood within the context of a cost-benefit analysis. How much is a human life worth? Is it priceless, or is it determined by the preferences of the powerful? It all depends on how human life comes about, which has given rise to a raging debate in our society.

AMOS 1:3-15 NKJV

Thus says the Lord : “For three transgressions of Damascus, and for four, I will not turn away its punishment, Because they have threshed Gilead with implements of iron. But I will send a fire into the house of Hazael, Which shall devour the palaces of Ben-Hadad. I will also break the gate  bar of Damascus, And cut off the inhabitant from the Valley of Aven, And the one who holds the scepter from Beth Eden. The people of Syria shall go captive to Kir,” Says the Lord . Thus says the Lord : “For three transgressions of Gaza, and for four, I will not turn away its punishment, Because they took captive the whole captivity To deliver them up to Edom. But I will send a fire upon the wall of Gaza, Which shall devour its palaces. I will cut off the inhabitant from Ashdod, And the one who holds the scepter from Ashkelon; I will turn My hand against Ekron, And the remnant of the Philistines shall perish,” Says the Lord God . Thus says the Lord : “For three transgressions of Tyre, and for four, I will not turn away its punishment, Because they delivered up the whole captivity to Edom, And did not remember the covenant of brotherhood. But I will send a fire upon the wall of Tyre, Which shall devour its palaces.” Thus says the Lord : “For three transgressions of Edom, and for four, I will not turn away its punishment, Because he pursued his brother with the sword, And cast off all pity; His anger tore perpetually, And he kept his wrath forever. But I will send a fire upon Teman, Which shall devour the palaces of Bozrah.” Thus says the Lord : “For three transgressions of the people of Ammon, and for four, I will not turn away its punishment, Because they ripped open the women with child in Gilead, That they might enlarge their territory. But I will kindle a fire in the wall of Rabbah, And it shall devour its palaces, Amid shouting in the day of battle, And a tempest in the day of the whirlwind. Their king shall go into captivity, He and his princes together,” Says the Lord .

Major Themes LXXVIII – Faith


PSALM 116:1-19 NKJV

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I love the Lord , because He has heard My voice and my supplications. Because He has inclined His ear to me, Therefore I will call upon  Him as long as I live. The pains of death surrounded me, And the pangs of Sheol laid hold of me; I found trouble and sorrow. Then I called upon the name of the Lord : “O Lord , I implore You, deliver my soul!” Gracious is the Lord , and righteous; Yes, our God is merciful. The Lord preserves the simple; I was brought low, and He saved me. Return to your rest, O my soul, For the Lord has dealt bountifully with you. For You have delivered my soul from death, My eyes from tears, And my feet from falling. I will walk before the Lord In the land of the living. I believed, therefore I spoke, “I am greatly afflicted.” I said in my haste, “All men are liars.” What shall I render to the Lord For all His benefits toward me? I will take up the cup of salvation, And call upon the name of the Lord . I will pay my vows to the Lord Now in the presence of all His people. Precious in the sight of the Lord Is the death of His saints. O Lord , truly I am Your servant; I am Your servant, the son of Your maidservant; You have loosed my bonds. I will offer to You the sacrifice of thanksgiving, And will call upon the name of the Lord . I will pay my vows to the Lord Now in the presence of all His people, In the courts of the Lord ’s house, In the midst of you, O Jerusalem. Praise the Lord !