Tag : love-2

Power of Love by Mayada Naami

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.

(1 John 4:7-12, NIV)

With Valentine’s day around the corner, everyone is getting ready to celebrate love. Moms are running out to buy cards, gifts for their kids, their friends, and teachers. Men are planning romantic dinners, getaways, and ordering floral arrangements. Single people throw parties to get through this holiday that represents what the world has come to describe as love—feelings; romantic feelings. While we are hurrying to stores and making reservations to fancy restaurants, let’s reflect on what truly is love and the power of Love. Love is not a “feeling.” The Bible tells us in 1 John 4:16-17 “God is Love” and tells us “How love is made complete among us.” It’s simple; when God is among us, Love is among us because GOD IS LOVE. Love, the way the world defines it, is a feeling; an emotion that people follow. We as believers follow Jesus who is Love in the flesh.

This is how we know that we live in him and he in us: He has given us his Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God. And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus.” 

(1 John 4:13-17, NIV)

God freely gave His Holy Spirit to anyone who believed in Him. This power of Love/God is available to all of us. Romans 8:11 tells us that all those who place their faith in Jesus are immediately and permanently indwelled with the Holy Spirit. It is that simple. As believers, the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each of us. We are all parts of one body, the body of Christ. We are all baptized into one body and made to drink of one Spirit. This power of Love/God/Holy Spirit is in us every moment of the day and can be shared with anyone we encounter. We can reflect God when we show Love to others. Love is not a feeling or an emotion, Love is God. We are called to witness and rejoice in the power of the Holy Spirit, and to bear the fruits of the Holy Spirit—love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. This year let’s celebrate True Love, let’s celebrate God.

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.

(1 John 4:18, NIV)

Categories: Blog

Have I Told You Lately…By Lisa Burkhardt Worley

Almost 30 years ago, God and I connected on the love song, Have I Told You Lately. I was a rededicated Christian, reporting for ESPN and driving to Boston to do a story on the Celtics. I popped in a Rod Stewart tape and the song Have I Told You Lately played. I began to sing that at the top of my lungs to God: Have I told you lately that I love you? Have I told you there’s no one else above you? And I belted out the song to Him all the way to Boston.

After that that Have I Told You Lately played everywhere I went—the grocery store, the drug store, the band at the restaurant played it—and I knew my heavenly Father heard me singing out of love to Him. He was telling me He loved me too.

This week, I had a morning where my love tank was running on fumes. I was cleaning the house and had my playlist going, when at my lowest moment Have I Told You Lately popped up. It was perfect timing and I know God was reminding me of how much He loves me. I also realized it’s still our song.

Lamentations 3:22 says, “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases” (ESV). In 1 Corinthians 13:8, Paul said, God’s love never ends while other things like knowledge and prophecies will cease to exist. God loves us forever!

The Lord has been speaking to me a lot about His love lately. As believers, it is all we are required to do—to love God and love one another. We are not called to judge. We are not called to punish. We are not called to hate. If we are not loving unconditionally, we need to check our relationship with God. 1 John 4:8 says, “Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love” (ESV).

So today, I think I’m supposed to say, “Have I told you lately that God loves you?” He loves you more than you can mind can comprehend, and if you remain connected to Him, He’ll remind you of His love just at the right moment. Maybe that moment is now.

Categories: Devotion of the Week

No Blame, No Shame by Mayada Naami

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

(1 John 1:9, NIV)

I sometimes wonder what the world would be like today if Eve had not taken a bite of the apple. Eve was deceived into believing she would be like God if she ate of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Encouraged by the enemy to become the judge of good and evil, she chose to lean on her own limited wisdom, rather than trust the One True Judge. Adam, too weak to say no to Eve, blamed her when God asked him if he had eaten from the tree that He had commanded him not to eat from. In Genesis 3, after Adam and Eve ate the fruit that was “pleasing to the eye,” shame immediately came upon them. They made coverings for themselves and hid from God.

How many of us hide in our shame when we succumb to the desires of the flesh or to what is “pleasing to the eye?” To some, the Fall of Adam and Eve may seem like a story of blame and shame, but to me it is a story of redeeming love. God, the Father, did not blame them or shame them. The Bible tells us He made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them. Even after disobeying Him, He still cared for them, provided for them, and protected them. He told them there would be consequences for their disobedience and sent them out of the Garden of Eden; the perfect place He created for them. Many of us today are still deceived into believing we are wiser than God. We often judge others instead of loving them the way God, the Father, loves us. We often give into temptation, hide in shame, and blame others when we are held accountable. In Proverbs 3, God tells us to trust in Him with all our heart and lean not on our own understanding and yet we, like Eve, sometimes think we don’t need God’s wisdom.

The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them. And the Lord God said, “The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever.” So the Lord God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken. After he drove the man out, he placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life.

(Genesis 3:21-24)

I believe that the story of the Fall was a foreshadowing of Love’s redemption and Jesus as the Redeemer. In Genesis 3:24, after He cast out Adam and Eve, the Bible says the Lord God placed a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life. Jesus is the Flaming Sword and the Way to eternal life. Jesus, the Son of God and second member of the Trinity, was destined to die in our place for our salvation. The plan for that salvation began when Adam and Eve chose to disobey God. When Adam and Eve disobeyed God, they and their descendants were left desperately needing a Savior. A Savior that transforms our shame through His unconditional redemptive love. We are freed from the bondage of sin when we tell Jesus the truth about the things that shame us. The enemy likes to keep us in a dark place where we hide with our secrets. Jesus is the Light that shines in that dark place. His love casts out all feelings of shame and sets us free. With Love, there is no condemnation, your past is nailed to the cross. God is so full of grace, love, truth, and redemption that He gave His only begotten Son so that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life.

“Do not be afraid; you will not be put to shame. Do not fear disgrace; you will not be humiliated. You will forget the shame of your youth and remember no more the reproach of your widowhood. For your Maker is your husband—the Lord Almighty is his name—the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer; he is called the God of all the earth. The Lord will call you back as if you were a wife deserted and distressed in spirit—a wife who married young, only to be rejected,” says your God.

(Isaiah 54:4-6, NIV)

Categories: Blog

The One You Love is Sick by Mayada Naami

Now a man named Lazarus was sick. He was from Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. (This Mary, whose brother Lazarus now lay sick, was the same one who poured perfume on the Lord and wiped his feet with her hair.) So the sisters sent word to Jesus, “Lord, the one you love is sick.”

(John 11:1-3, NIV)

In this fallen world, many of us have a loved one who is physically or mentally ill. I lost my beloved sister in 2012 to breast cancer, she was only 48 years old. I have friends and family that have lost their sons and daughters to drug overdose or suicide. How do we reconcile this? How can a God who we are told so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, allow so much sickness and death? I believe the answer is that He gave us free will, as He gave Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. We make lifestyle choices that cause our bodies and minds to sometimes get sick. My sister neglected her health- (mentally, physically and spiritually), while raising three children and pursuing a high-stress career as an executive for a large corporate company. Others turn to drugs, alcohol, or other strongholds to self-medicate or alleviate the pain they are feeling inside. When Jesus heard of Lazarus’ death, He said, “The sickness will not end in death. No it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.”

Jesus answered, “Are there not twelve hours of daylight? Anyone who walks in the daytime will not stumble, for they see by this world’s light. It is when a person walks at night that they stumble, for they have no light.” After he had said this, he went on to tell them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I am going there to wake him up.”

(John 11:9-11, NIV)

How many of us have “fallen asleep” living life? How many of us have become comfortably numb to news of sickness and death? In John 11, after hearing the news of Lazarus’ death, Jesus decided to return to Judea. His disciples responded, “But Rabbi, a short while ago the Jews there tried to stone you, and yet you are going back?” The disciples were afraid for Jesus. What they did not know then is that He brings life back to anyone who chooses to believe in death and resurrection. He is the only Truth, and the Way to Life. The disciples had worldly thought. Romans 12:2 tells us, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” When we get sick-mentally, physically, or spiritually, we can turn to Jesus, the only Stronghold that heals. Like the woman in the Gospels with the issue of blood, grab on to the helm of His robe and be healed. All you need is the faith of a mustard seed and the Word of God.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.

(John 3:16-21, NIV)

Categories: Blog

Here I Come by Mayada Naami

“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 bein you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.”

(John 14:15-18, NIV)

I am in Cartagena, by myself, enjoying a week of mingling with the local Colombians. This is the second time this year I visited Colombia. When I tell my friends and family where I’m going, I always get the same response, “Be careful.” I always respond in the same way, “There is no fear in love.” We are created in His image, obviously not in the physical realm, and yet we sometimes operate out of fear and judgement. This is not His Way. God is Love. I enjoy traveling and witnessing what the Creator has given us in love. He has provided a world that is heaven on earth (if we choose to see the world through His eyes). Jesus’s first prayer was the “Our Father” and He says, “Thy Kingdom come, Thy Will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”

A few days ago, I was sitting at a beachfront restaurant, and I was praying a prayer over Colombia and especially over the young girls that are selling their bodies for money, and I heard the words to a reggae song playing in the background:

Love and hate can never be friends. Here I come with love and not hatred... It was a song by Dennis Brown called, “Here I Come.”

And now, dear children, continue in him, so that when he appears we may be confident and unashamed before him at his coming.”

(1 John 2:28, NIV)

The Lord heard my prayers and reassured me through a song. Is there corruption in Colombia? Absolutely. Men come from all over the world for “Tourist sex.” Young girls that look barely fifteen approach men on every corner; drugs are sold on the streets,

Yet the tour busses have images of Jesus Christ.

There are shrines to the Virgin Mary on almost every corner. Unfortunately, this is the way of the world. The Bible tells us in John 15:19: “As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.” During my travels, I have met some wonderful, kind people. Some are lost sheep looking for their way and I tell them Jesus is the only Truth and the Way to life. He is the Good Shepherd and He will come looking for His lost sheep.

So he told them this parable: “What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open country, and go after the one that is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.’ Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.

(Luke 15:3-7, NIV)

Categories: Blog