6 Things Jesus Said About Love

It's surprising to me what Jesus said about love when he lived on the earth. 

It may not be what you expect either, so... I'll just let Jesus speak for himself. 

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1. Love Is The Most Important Commandment

One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”

“The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”

“Well said, teacher,” the man replied. “You are right in saying that God is one and there is no other but him. To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.”

When Jesus saw that he had answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” 

And from then on no one dared ask him any more questions.

Mark 12:28-34


 

2. Love Is Our Trademark 

"As I have loved you, so you must love one another.
By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."

John 13:34b-35

 

3. Love Is Full Of Mercy 

On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

“What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?”

He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”

“You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”

But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”

In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’

“Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”

The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”

Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”

Luke 10:25-37


 

4. Love Doesn't Get Better Than This

“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love.

If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. 

My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.

Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 

You are my friends if you do what I command.  I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.

You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you.

This is my command: Love each other."

John 15:9-17

 

5. Love Is Even For Our Enemies

"You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’

But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven.

He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that?

Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect."

Matthew 5:43-48


 

6. Love Unifies Us With The Father, Son, + Holy Spirit

“If you love me, keep my commands. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever — the Spirit of truth. 

The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. 

I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.

Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live.

On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. 

Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. 

The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.”

John 14:15-21

 

 

Let's pray...

May Jesus' love for me be my greatest treasure. May his forgiveness inspire me to love those in my life more deeply - yes, even that neighbor. May they come to know Jesus because of my love for them.

May the Father's love bring me comfort as I remember that he chose me to be his own dear child and has prepared a place for me to be in heaven with him forever. 

May the Holy Spirit's love strengthen my faith in God's truth and equip me to follow all that is commanded for his purposes and glory! 


Amen.

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Finding Quality Time in Every Season

During the season of Lent, many people choose to give up some luxury or unhealthy habit. Our refraining from something we want reminds us of Jesus setting aside his power and dying on a cross for us. It leads us to repent of our sin- all our sin that Jesus paid for by willingly giving up his life.

 

Instead of giving something up, other people might choose to start doing some good thing. Some plan to read their Bibles or do an act of kindness every day. 

 

Even if you don't do something intentional "for Lent," it's still a time of the year where we might naturally reflect on our relationship with God. It's now officially spring, and at least in Minnesota, we're hoping the weather stays that way. (I'm done with snow and scraping ice off my car every morning.) Seasons change, and we thank God for getting us through the winter. We enter a new season and think of the hopes it may hold: exercising outside, getting more done now that the sun's up longer, planning summer trips, looking forward to graduations and weddings.

 

Spring may have sprung, but what if we're still in a season of cold, and worry, and wondering? What if nothing is changing in our lives when we want it to?

 

Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.
— Hebrews 10:22-23

 

We may be in a tough season, but God is with us through them all. We pray. We read his word, and he will grow our relationship with him. 

 

Sometimes it's hard to do the very thing that will help us most. I enjoy reading blogs like this one or books on Christian living, but I admit I find myself shying away from reading the Bible with the same sort of enthusiasm. Or I maybe I do read the Bible, but then stop short of having a real conversation with God. I say quick prayers asking for help for the hurting around me, but so rarely for the hurting within me. I want a change of circumstances, not a change of heart.

 

The devil is so sneaky that he keeps us comfortable doing what we're doing. He makes me think I'm being a good Christian girl when I'm hardly turning to God at all. I can go to church every Sunday, help out with youth group, or even listen to extra sermons during the week, but God doesn't just want my volunteer hours. He actually wants me. The devil keeps me too busy (even with Godly pursuits) to realize how I'm doing things for God or about God, but not with God. 

 

I want to talk to God all the time, feel that Jesus is my best friend, and know that he will reveal to me whatever I need to know at the proper time. I don't need to read the Bible more often so that God will reward me with some special insight into what path my life should take, I should read his word to be closer to him. To crave that relationship. To daily be reminded of his power and love for me. 

 

The Bible may seem daunting at times, but when we pick a place to start, we see how God lives in relationship with his people. In the Old Testament, every time God's people leave him, God continues to work in their hearts and bring them back. The people repent and enjoy a season of living with God and the joy and blessings that brings. 

 

The Psalms are our fellow Christians' cries of sorrow and despair, but also of thankfulness and praise.  We see how God redeems us and brings us back to a place of contentment and confidence.

 

He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.
— Psalm 40:2

 

The Gospels are perhaps the easiest place to start reading and also the most important. The whole Bible points to Jesus and God's ultimate plan of salvation carried out by his Son as recorded in the books Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. They are true accounts that not only point out a moral way to live, but also the reason for living at all. 

 

There's nothing like reading the words of Jesus himself. 

 

Because I live, you also will live.
— John 14:19

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.
— Matthew 11:28

Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.
— John 13:7

I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me.
— John 10:14




God wants relationship with us. He's given us direct access to him through the Bible and in prayer. 500 years ago, people could not read the Bible themselves in their own language, and church services were taught mostly in Latin, which the average person did not understand. Martin Luther saw this struggle and felt the call to translate the Bible into his native German language, with more Bible scholars later following his lead throughout the world.  We also don't need to go through a priest or any other means to talk to God. Jesus broke down that curtain the day he died. We can go to the source with all our prayers and praise.

 

So as we reflect on Jesus love for us this Lenten season, we learn little by little how God calls us to draw near. It's a beautiful relationship, but like all relationships, it takes effort - in this case only from us. God will be there with open arms even when we have seasons of drifting away. God doesn't have to try to love us or purposely put time into our relationship. He is love and already has things figured out for us.

 

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the Lord.
— Jeremiah 29:11-14

 

A good relationship makes you feel safe, and with a perfect God in control, we can relax and just enjoy his presence. Let's draw near and have some quality time with our Father.

 

How do you make quality time with our Father? What do you do during that time? Let us know below! 

 

Art & Devotion: Words Like Honey

Facebook pleasant words “You feel better, Mama?” I woke up hearing these sweet words at six AM. I was home solo with the kids for a couple days and wasn’t feeling well. The first thing my son thought of when he woke up to the sunrise that morning was Mama. He warmed my heart, he was so sweet.

In contrast, don't we all (from time to time) say things that aren't so sweet? Or we walk away from a conversation that left us feeling empty? We’ve been put in our place.We’ve been made to feel inferior. We have been kicked when we are down. We are sensitive. I am. I pout when I’ve been hurt, even though I have said things that aren’t so kind. We are imperfect people that can’t seem to keep from hurting each other. But, not always. We also can forgive, we can love, and we can encourage. First, Jesus forgives, Jesus loves, Jesus encourages, therefore we can.

God does give us each other. And sometimes. Sometimes, we hear these sweet warm words just when they are unexpected, and such a blessing. Pleasant words, loving words, encouraging words. Help, and comfort, and understanding.

“You can stay with us.”

“You are doing this for Jesus, friend.”

“Let us know how we can help.”

“Can we bring you a meal?”

“I’m sorry that happened to you.”

“Would you like a cup of coffee?”

Pleasant words are sweet, they are nourishing, they give strength. Pleasant words are a reminder to me that Jesus is working through those around me to bless me, to keep me going in my faith. It’s a really neat opportunity if I get to do the same for them. Pleasant words are blessings that can be easily missed, but they are there. They are so beautiful.

When it comes down to it, the best place we can find words to strengthen our souls is right where the words of Jesus are recorded. We find his pleasant words to us. We can find sweet gospel words to share with each other. These are really truly meaningful nourishing words that last.

“Gracious words are a honeycomb,

sweet to the soul and healing to the bones…” Proverbs 16:24

To keep these thoughts in mind through August, click the images to download this artwork for use on your computer desktop or Facebook cover photo.

Pleasant Words

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