WEEK 1 - DAY 7

“And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” - 1 Corinthians 13:13

Some things in life come and go, they are seasonal and they are fleeting. Other things however, are deep rooted and foundational to who we are as people. This verse talks about the three anchors of what it means to be a Christian. These aspects weather the storm, they stand firm in the face of doubt, suffering and opposition. Each of them points us to God and His purposes in the world. Yet this verse upholds love above the other two for some reason.

Faith pleases God and hope gives us expectation for the future - so what is it about love that makes it the most important?

The greatest command in the bible is to love God and to love others – this is the essence of living a life pleasing to God. Jesus said we would be known by our love for one another and the early part of this chapter talks about how our talents and actions are nothing without love at the centre.

Love is exactly what Jesus embodied, it is why He came, it is what He came to represent on earth. Love is the fragrance of heaven and as it permeates our lives, people get access to how God feels about them. It really is the greatest.

Prayer

Lord, may I reflect today on your love for me. May it sink deep in my heart and transform how I see myself. May You fill my cup, so that it may overflow to those around me? Your love is made to be shared, so may I do that freely today. Amen.

Response

What is a practical way you can demonstrate God’s love for others today? Can you pay for someone’s coffee or tell someone you appreciate him or her? Look for an opportunity to share the love.

WEEK 1 - DAY 6

“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. We love because he first loved us.” - 1 John 4:18-19

Fear is something that all of us deal with at different times. It can be the fear of failure, fear of losing something, or someone or for many people, the fear of death itself. Fear has a way of paralyzing us, squashing our faith and robbing us of joy. As destructive as fear is, we have this incredible assurance in scripture that Jesus defeated the power of fear and has given us the ultimate power to overcome it - Love.

God’s perfect love has a way of making us safe and secure in the fact He is in control and that His presence is always with us. His love also means we can experience peace in every area of life because we are no longer slaves to the worries of this world - our perspective becomes eternally focused instead. His love reminds us that we are valued, we are precious and that our lives have purpose. Nothing can take that away!

Prayer

Lord, thank you that in You we find love and that You are the bringer of joy. Lord, I surrender the things that cause me fear, back to You and ask that instead You would replace it with your incredible peace. Amen.

Response

Find two to three scriptures that you can memorize and bank away as ‘truth coaches’ for times when fear creeps in to your life and/or your thinking.

WEEK 1 - DAY 5

“Let me give you a new command: Love one another. In the same way I loved you, you love one another. This is how everyone will recognize that you are my disciples - when they see the love you have for each other.” - John 13:34-35

Just over four years ago, our lives were literally turned upside down when we welcomed our first daughter into the world. We knew life was about to get crazy, we just didn’t know how crazy! The daily basic rhythms that we had taken for granted until she entered the world were gone. Cue the incredible army of friends, life group members and complete strangers from the church community, showing up at our door delivering hot meals so that we weren’t living on two-minute noodles for the first month of her life.

It had been something we had been prepared for, having been around our church community a while (and cooking for others prior to our own wee bundle arriving) we knew it was the ‘done’ thing; however it was not something my family (who are not part of a faith community) were prepared for. As bystanders, they were completely blown away at the support we were receiving, not just from our friends but also complete strangers.

Often, we underestimate the impact our small, seemingly insignificant gestures and actions can make. But this commandment reminds us that as carriers of Christ’s love, our actions will point people back to Him.

Prayer

Lord, thank you that it is because You loved us first that we have the ability to love. Help me to love those in the community that are in need of your love. Would you open my eyes to see those in need? Amen.

Response

What is one small action you could do today (random act of kindness, prayer, a meal) that would bless somebody else?

WEEK 1 - DAY 4

“But you, Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness.” - Psalm 86:15

For anyone that has done the day to day of parenting little people, you will be familiar with a life where another person has complete access to you. Your waking moments filled with fingers in your eyes and high pitched talking in your ears, your requirement for a quiet cup of tea superseded

by another person’s need for breakfast, a cuddle, or to offer you the toilet brush (true story). You long for a day when you have the luxury of a shower without interruption, or to close the toilet door without fear of what may be happening on the other side (or the reality of being accompanied at all times, even in the toilet).

Maybe it is difficult to see how this relates to the love of God towards us - yet, in these verses I am reminded that this is the love God offers us, a love that has full access to God. We are not people of the outer courts, who must come to God via convoluted means - we may race day or night into God’s loving presence. We may know the full assurance of God’s compassion, grace, patience and abounding love and faithfulness despite the ‘messes’ we produce. What a beautiful love it is.

Prayer

God, help me not to be fearful or careful in my approach to You. Let the truth of these verses ignite in my heart
a freedom so full and joyful that I may race with total confidence towards You. Help me God to trust in your character and to grow in this character myself. Thank you, thank you, thank you God for your great love. Amen.

Response

Today, remind yourself at all occasions, especially those when you are less than you would like to be, that God
is loving, forgiving, faithful and compassionate. As you meditate on the truth of these things towards you, ask God for an opportunity to share what it is to be loved in your failure, with someone who needs to be offered this too.

WEEK 1 - DAY 3

“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: while we were sinners, Christ died for us.” - Romans 5:8

God reaches across the breach, to a people with their backs to Him, intent on their own way, their own kingdom, their own will being done - to these people Jesus stretches out His arms on a wooden cross and dies a sinners death.

We are these people.

We have built our own empires, lived our own ways, consigned God a back seat so long as we are not disturbed while we do what seems good to us. It is not hard for me to recall times when I chose my way and my will – what is extraordinary is that these are the very moments that God invites me, “See, I love you still. See, I have died to set you free.”

The scars on the body of Jesus are not evidence of my willingness to follow, my deservedness to be welcomed home. They are evidence of a God whose love is wide, wild, and reckless. God’s love cannot be measured or fathomed it is eternal and freely given to all, regardless of our response. God offers this love to us all. God invites us to be transformed by this love and to demonstrate this love to others. What would the world look like if the followers of Jesus lived lives of lavish, reckless and wildly welcoming love?

Prayer

God, would you reveal to me today a little more of your love towards me? Would your love soak deep into my knowing and would it continue to give me strength and courage. God, would you show me, and assist me in, offering the same kind of love, difficult as that is, to those I encounter today. In your name Jesus and for your glory God. Amen.

Response

Today, when someone cuts you off in traffic, interrupts you, belittles or annoys you ask God to help you respond in love to them. To pray God’s best on their day, to let go of feelings of revenge and to offer them the acceptance of being another imperfect person who God loves.

WEEK 1 - DAY 2

“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.” - 1 Peter 4:8

We are being asked here to show deep love continually to our Christian family, forgiving each other again and again! The disciples wanted to know how many times they needed to forgive. We are so prone to wanting to measure, to have a limit we do not have to exceed.

Have I forgiven enough times? When can I stop? When is it okay for me to take offence and stop having a relationship with this difficult person? The interesting thing is Peter tells us love covers a multitude of sins. Not a set number, but a number that we would recognise as impossible to measure. This is the love we are asked to express for each other in the church.

Prayer

Lord, we are so aware of the gap between our human love and the love that you are inviting us to show. We are so thankful for your grace. Our love and our forgiveness need to come from you.

Help us to love people we find difficult to love. Please help us to love them deeply and sincerely and to continually desire their welfare. Amen.

Response

How can I be more patient and forgiving in my relationships with fellow believers?

How can I cover over and forgive the things that have caused me hurt?

What can you do today to restore and build a relationship that you find challenging?

WEEK 1 - DAY 1

“Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” - John 15:13

“Biblical love is judged greater than either hope or faith,” (1 Cor 13v13). It is in stark contrast to our human love and its limitations. Jesus in this passage is asking us to love one another (vs 12) and He is letting us know what His kind of love looks like (vs 13). It is love that sacrifices its life for another.

The most precious possession that we have is our life, and we are asked to lay it down for our friends. Jesus showed this kind of love throughout His earthly life. He didn’t only lay down His life on the cross, He also laid it down each and every day. He showed endless compassion and care for the crowds who needed His help, teaching and healing.

In times of great danger people may lay down their actual lives for others, but we may never be asked to make such a sacrifice. However, each day we can make clear and deliberate choices to love, putting our needs second and the needs, welfare and wellbeing of others first.

Prayer

Jesus, we are so thankful for your example and your sacrifice. Your death and the gift it brings to us is the one act that makes it possible for us to love with your kind of self-sacrificing love. Please help us to love with your endless and far-reaching love and to make a difference in all our relationships. Amen.

Response

In what ways can I show love in my relationships? Today, how can I be more loving in my family, in my place of work, in my neighbourhood? How can I put the wellbeing of others ahead of my own today?