Today is Thursday, November 7, 2019. Peace be with you!
FIVE DAYS until C’s birthday!!
Today is Bittersweet Chocolate with Almonds Day. I would love to have some of that! I’m a huge fan of dark chocolate. And almost any kind of nut.
Today is my Friday, as I have tomorrow off. Primarily, I took tomorrow off because I need to go to the doctor for blood work (every six months). But I had the PTO to use, so I took the whole day. And, I already had Monday and Tuesday, to celebrate C’s birthday, so now I get a five-day weekend. My only real plan for that whole time is to learn how to use Pro Tools. Oh, and we have R & J coming over Saturday to help celebrate the birthday.
TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS
All Scriptures are from the ESV unless otherwise noted
Awake, my glory! Awake, O harp and lyre! I will awake the dawn!
Today I am grateful:
1. For birthdays and anniversaries.
2. That God’s steadfast love and faithfulness will ever preserve me (Psalm 40:11).
3. That we can cast our burdens on the Lord, and he will sustain us (Psalm 55:22)
4. That love is greater than fear.
5. That perfect love casts out fear (1 John 4:18).
As for you, O LORD, you will not restrain your mercy from me; your steadfast love and your faithfulness will ever preserve me!
My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast! I will sing and make melody!
Cast your burden on the LORD, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved.
May the LORD answer you in the day of trouble! May the name of the God of Jacob protect you!
May he send you help from the sanctuary and give you support from Zion!
May he remember all your offerings and regard with favor your burnt sacrifices! Selah.
May he grant you your heart’s desire and fulfill all your plans!
May we shout for joy over your salvation, and in the name of our God set up our banners! May the LORD fulfill all your petitions!
(From Our Daily Bread)
“Love You–Whole World” by Monica Brands
Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.
Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.
In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him.
In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.
No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.
By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit.
And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world.
Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God.
So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.
By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world.
There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.
We love because he first loved us.
1 John 4:7-19
Which is greater? Love or fear?
If you’re like me, and you are, sometimes, it depends on how you’re feeling that day. Because I believe it is safe to say that we all have days where our fears are stronger than love.
But the reality is, regardless of how we feel, love is always greater than fear, always stronger than anxiety.
Monica Brands uses the example of her three-year-old niece, Jenna, to illustrate love. Whenever Jenna really loves something, she says, “I love it–whole world!” The words “whole world” are accompanied by “a dramatic sweep of her arms.”
How often do we love like that? With the reckless abandon of a child? We know that Jesus told us that we must become like children to enter the kingdom. There have been countless debates as to what, exactly, he meant by that, and we don’t have time to get into those. But children love, naturally.
John wrote, “God is love” in verses 8 and 16 in the passage above. The whole passage is wrapped around that truth. And, in doing so, he reminds us that “God’s love–not our anger, fear, or shame–is the deepest foundation of reality.” And then, Monica writes this difficult truth: “The world divides us into camps based on what we’re most afraid of–and all too often we join in, ignoring or villainizing the voices that challenge our preferred vision of reality.” This may be my favorite sentence in the whole reading, because that is exactly what is happening in our country right now!
But in the middle of all of the “deception and power struggles,” the reality of the love of God stands firm, “a light that shines in the darkness, inviting us to learn the path of humility, trust, and love.”
I love verse 18. “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.” My friends, God’s love is perfect love. And when we abandon ourselves to that love, there can be no fear. Because there is nothing to fear in the reality of God’s love. This is why Dallas Willard said, “This world is a perfectly safe place for us to be.”
So, today, when our enemy tries to get you to believe that fear is greater than love, I pray that the Holy Spirit will remind you of these verses. And how much better will all of our relationships be if we realize that there is nothing to fear?
Father, I thank you for your perfect love. Today, when fear crouches at my heart’s door, may your Spirit remind me that your perfect love casts out fear. Help me to abide in your love, that you might abide in me.
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!
The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing. (Zephaniah 3:17)
Grace and peace, friends.