How Did Jesus Love People?

Jesus loved people like no other human being to ever walk the planet. As the Son of God, he loved everyone — no matter who they were (friend or foe) or what was in their past (their mistakes and sinfulness). He loved everyone equally and perfectly. He still does that today. And the Bible encourages us to love like Jesus.

When Jesus shared the parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10: 25-37), he made it clear that when the Bible says to “love your neighbor as yourself,” it means that our “neighbor” is literally everyone we meet — not just the family next door.

Day 1: What It Means for Two People to Become One

We are told from the outset that in marriage “two become one.” But with all the differences between you and your spouse, how is it possible to be unified in anything?

Think of all the elements working against a married couple. Our differences in preference and personality, upbringing and experience make chemistry practically impossible. Add to this the temptations and frustrations attacking marriage from every side. It’s a miracle that two people, so different, can come together on anything.

Thankfully, God made a way for couples to experience oneness in marriage. We become one flesh when we marry, but God doesn’t stop there. He graciously continues to unify our hearts and minds as we each grow in our relationship with Jesus.

As each person seeks to put off their old life and take on the mind and heart of Christ, God aligns our hearts and minds in marriage. Simply put, as we move closer to Jesus individually, we move closer to each other in marriage.

True intimacy in marriage is impossible without Jesus. Without Him, we are locked in a futile battle over preferences and personalities. With Christ at the center, we both change — not to become like our spouse, but to become more like Jesus. The old preferences and personality quirks give way to sacrificial love modeled by Jesus. In short, the path to marital intimacy is paved with the pursuit of our personal relationship with Jesus.

Without Jesus at the center, our differences only serve as a wedge between us. For example, is there a difficulty in your marriage? Before talking about this topic together, take your concerns to the Father through prayer. Watch God pull you together despite your differences. Watch God use your differences to complement one another.

You may still disagree on the issue, but with the proper perspective, the process of wrestling together will improve intimacy, not destroy it.

Question for him:

  • Read Ephesians 5:22-33. What are the specific areas in your marriage where you can “give yourself up” for your bride?

Question for her:

  • Read Ephesians 5:22-33. What are the specific ways you can show respect to your husband as he follows Jesus?

Questions to talk about together:

  • Read Ephesians 4:21-24 together. What does the process of “taking off the old” and “putting on the new” look like for you? How could this affect your marriage?

Article courtesy of NewSpring Church

Day 4: You Are Not Worthless

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly (John 10:10).

Not all, but much of the anxiety we experience comes from feeling like we’ll never be enough. Smart enough to accomplish the dream in our hearts. Charismatic enough for other people to listen to us. Holy enough for God to like us.

Those thoughts are not from the Lord. We may feel unworthy at times, but we were never worthless. God loved us so much He sent His Son to pay for our sin so we could have a relationship with Him. Jesus gave His life to be at the table with us. That’s how valuable we are.

When we lose sight of God’s love for us, we begin to live like we are responsible for everything. We forget that God is waiting for us at the table, ready to provide for our physical and emotional needs. Instead of settling our hearts in His presence, we strive to be better and achieve more.

If we’re living each day full of worry and apprehension, it’s time to slow down and ask, “Why?” Follow up the answer to “Why?” with “Who told us that?”

The enemy is crafty, and he will feed anxiety every chance he gets. Instead, allow Jesus to calm your anxious heart.


Article courtesy of NewSpring Church

Day 1: What is love?

Read: 1 Corinthians 13:4-8

Spending time with family.
Sleeping in late.
Reading a good book.
A pint of cookie dough ice cream.

We could all make lists of people and things we love. It’s a word most people frequently use, but do we really mean it when we say it? Certainly, a person doesn’t mean the same thing when she says, “I love my husband,” as when she says,“I love college football.”

So, what is love? What does it do? Why does it matter?

1 John 4:8 says, “Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.” God doesn’t just show us love. God is love. Without Him, there is no love. With Him, it is impossible to not have it.

God’s love in us changes us. Love is the difference between caring for someone and using someone. Love makes our actions and spiritual gifts useful. Great faith, acts of service, and miracle-working power produce very little without love. Love involves unselfish service to others.

In Mark 12:30-31, Jesus says, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength…[and] love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.”

As Christians, our love for others is a reflection of who God is. We are called to love God and love others. When we do this, our loving behaviors and attitudes point back to God and who He is.

Reflect:

  • What’s one way God’s love has changed you?
  • How is His love moving you to show love to others?
  • What is one way your love for others can point them back to Jesus?

Article courtesy of NewSpring

Day 7: Are You Doing Enough?

You’re serving at church, volunteering with local charities, and helping at school. Every second of the day is accounted for, yet so much is left undone. Your days are long, and your body is exhausted. At the end of the day, you wonder, “When will it be enough?”

It’s overwhelming to look at a hurt and broken world. Too often, we see all the needs at once. We want to love others, but in our striving, we leave ourselves burned out and too busy to hear from God.

In Matthew 22, Jesus reminds the religious elite (and all those listening) to make the main thing the main thing. If we’ll focus on loving God and loving our neighbors, it will result in us fulfilling God’s commands.

We don’t have to end world hunger in an afternoon or heal every broken heart in one day. Instead, Jesus says the most important thing we can do is to love Him and love others. That’s our charge.

So rather than getting overwhelmed by all that we can’t do, we start with what we can do. Loving our neighbors can be as simple as cooking an extra lasagna to bring to the new mom next door or the widow across the street.

When we are loving God with our heart, soul, and mind, we are more in tune with His Spirit in us. The Holy Spirit is a helper and a guide. We can trust the Holy Spirit to show us opportunities to love people one at a time.

That’s how we make a difference — not by running down a list or striving to hold everything together. We change the world by loving God and showing visible love where He tells us to.

Reflect:

  • Why do you think Jesus put the emphasis on loving God and others instead of following all the laws? 
  • Is there a big need you feel overwhelmed by? 
  • What is one thing small thing you could do to meet that need today?

Article courtesy of NewSpring

God Causes Trouble in You

Pastor Kevin explains how God caused trouble in the life of Saul to awaken him to living for Christ. Saul did not believe Jesus was the Messiah and he persecuted many Christians. He was on the road to Damascus to continue persecution when he had an encounter with the Living God. He was told to continue to the city and wait for instructions of what to do. For three days, he was blind and did not eat or drink.

Later, God returned his sight and changed his name to Paul. This is who we now know as the Apostle Paul, who wrote many books of the Bible. God had specific assignments for Paul, and He has them for us, too. We should ask ourselves where we are blind in our spiritual life? And how can we move from living for ourselves to living sent?

Jesus Is the Only Way to Heaven

Jesus isn’t one of many ways to get to heaven. He is the only way! In John 14:6, Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” This is an absolutely essential part of the Christian faith.

Think about it: If there was another way, why would Jesus go through the horrors of death on the cross?

Lie: Forgiveness Has to be Earned

The Bible is very clear about forgiveness. We didn’t earn our forgiveness (and salvation) on our own — we never could. Forgiveness came only through the sacrifice of God’s only son, Jesus Christ, and it was freely given. In the same way, our spouse, our coworker, our family, or our friend do not need to earn our forgiveness.

We are called to freely forgive others. And in doing so, we free up ourselves from carrying bitterness and anger that only causes strife in our lives. Trust can be earned (or re-earned), but not forgiveness.

The Capability of God’s Voice Is Restoration

Sometimes we’ve wandered so far and sinned so much that we start to believe God would never want anything to do with us. We stamp “unforgivable” across our foreheads and hang our heads in shame. But Jesus wants to write “redeemed” across our hearts! Our lives can be forever changed and our relationship with God forever restored if we would simply turn to Him and ask.

Blessed and Cursed with Comfort

Most of us are materially blessed enough that we can pretty much get whatever we want, whenever we want (within reason). Our comfort makes our lives convenient, enjoyable, and relaxed.

But comfort can also be a curse. It makes us believe our lives should be all about catering to our own needs and fulfilling our own desires. We lose sight of the needs of others and forget the less fortunate. And the slightest inconvenience to us feels like the end of the world.

Comfort is like a drug; we always want more. But living in comfort, safety, and apathy is exactly the opposite of how Jesus taught us to live.

Why Christians Should Give Their Best at Work

Christians should be the best employees and students, always going the extra mile to serve diligently and with contagious joy. We should be dependable and accountable — even when no one is looking — because God is always watching! And we ultimately work for Him.

When we demonstrate that level of integrity and character, we make Jesus attractive and make Him known without even having to mention His name. And our excellence will increase our influence. People will wonder why there is something different about us. That gives us an opportunity to speak into someone’s life — maybe even offer to pray for them and invite them to our church.

And while we don’t often get to share our faith openly at work, we do have the extraordinary opportunity to live out Jesus every day. We glorify Him when we do.

You Get to Work with God

1 Corinthians 3:9 tells us, “We are God’s co-workers in God’s service…” When you understand that fact, we gain clarity about our career and realize we’re working for a purpose — and not just a paycheck.

Many of our co-workers will never enter the doors of a church. They won’t ever have a pastor to explain to them what a life with Jesus is all about. But our co-workers have US. We can share with them through our example without ever having to recite scripture to someone over a cubicle wall. Simply live out your life with Jesus and they’ll start to wonder why you always have a smile and a good word about people. You just might be the answer to someone’s prayer.

What’s Better Than Forgiveness From Sin?

In The Lord’s Prayer, Jesus says, “Lead us not into temptation.” Temptation, in this instance, means trials that would lead us to fall prey to Satan’s schemes and cause us to sin.

We should pray daily so that God would help us not to become so undone by our challenges that we would believe the lies of the enemy.

Prayer Must Be Bigger Than We Understand

Jesus was God in human-form. He came from heaven, and he knew more than any of us. And yet he prayed more than any of us. In other words, Jesus, who knew most, prayed most.

For many of us, we mistakenly believe prayer matters too little to devote big time to it. For Jesus, he knew prayer was too big – too important – to devote too little time to it.

We Need a Shepherd for Eternity

Our physical bodies will die, but our spirits will live on forever. And hard as we may try, we can’t make it to heaven on our own. It doesn’t matter whether we’re good people who do good works every single day of our lives. We need Jesus, the Good Shepherd, to lead us into heaven. Take hold of the rescuing hand of Jesus to spend eternity in heaven.

 

Understanding the Debt Jesus Paid

The idea of being rescued from our financial debt is thrilling. We can imagine how freed up we would feel! The reason we don’t get as excited about Jesus, and His sacrifice for our sin debt, is because we don’t really understand it. It pales in comparison when we measure our financial debt against our sin debt – and Jesus’s offer to “pay it all.” What Jesus did is rescue us for eternity!

Easter isn’t about bunnies, eggs, and baskets. Easter is about eternal life through Jesus Christ.

We Need a Shepherd Every Day

Some people mistakenly believe they only need a shepherd to lead them to eternity. And once they accept Jesus, they stop seeking God and live their lives according to their own desires. The truth is, we all need a shepherd every single day. The nature and the heart of God is to also be our shepherd on earth – through every step of our life’s journey.

Even as we love and shepherd others, God is shepherding us.

Are We More Like Judas or Jesus?

Judas, one of Jesus’ 12 disciples, was broken in his spirit. According to Psalm 109:17, he found no pleasure in blessing. He was all about himself!

By contrast Jesus was and is always about blessing others. We are more like Jesus when we bless others, but we are more like Judas when we only serve ourselves.

To live a life of blessing others, we need to ask ourselves daily: How can I bless someone today?

God Will Pull With You

Jesus says to “Take my Yoke upon you and learn from me…” – Matthew 11:29-30

What does “Yoke” even mean?

A yoke pulls together two oxen so that they can share the load plowing a field. Jesus is saying for us to “yoke up” with Him, so that we can partner with Him and be transformed, and made good (Holy) at the core of our being.

When we join up with Jesus, he’ll plow our lives for us. He’ll pull with us and for us.

Christians: Don’t Judge, Do Discern

It’s important for believers to discern the truth about how to live righteously. But using that truth to judge others can do more harm than good in trying to lead others to Jesus.

Figure out what lost people can discern of God and only share information that will invite them to investigate matters of faith further.

Shining your light to the world means leading with love. What people need most is the love of God, not the laws of God.

Blind to Yourself, Deaf to God

A critical spirit will kill any relationship. When you judge others, it’s likely because you’ve become blind to yourself and deaf to God. This means you dismiss what you’re doing wrong and then you magnify the faults of others.

Pray and ask God to help you see things more clearly and tell Him you long to hear from Him. Then, silence the critical spirit inside you.