Did you enjoy January’s Matthew 5:16 Project that called us to replace those old lies we’ve bought into with the TRUTH of who God says we are? If you missed it, you can read it here.
At the beginning of each month, Amanda will post a new challenge to help us live intentionally and in such a way that others see the LIGHT in us reflecting our good deeds… resulting in PRAISE to our HEAVENLY FATHER.
And now for February…
By my good friend, Amanda Barnes…
Love – oh sweet love… or is it?
To be honest, sometimes love is really hard. It can be scary and exhausting. In fact, love can be a lot of work.
But love can be a treat, too. It’s a treasure… deep, secure and wonderful. It can be romantic and passionate, gentle, simple – yet sincere.
There are so many ways to look at love…interpret love… feel love… experience love… give love… receive love… know love… be love. AND there are many songs, poems, and letters all written in the name of… LOVE.
So what is it? Love?
Well, if you look it up in the Webster’s Dictionary you’ll find many different answers It’s both verb and noun, and seems to fit any definition you want it to.
But… let’s talk about God’s love – as in:
- God IS love – (1 John 4:16)
- The kind of love that sacrifices everything for you – (John 3:16)
- The love that drives out fear and makes us complete – (1 John 4:18)
God has A LOT to say about LOVE. In fact…
- 1 John 3:16 says “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us.”
- 1 Corinthians 13 – the famous love chapter of the bible describes what it is and isn’t.
- 1 John 4:10 says “This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.”
And my current favorite and focus of our time together today…
1 John 4:17 (Message) “God is love. When we take up permanent residence in a life of love, we live in God and God lives in us. This way, love has the run of the house, becomes at home and matures in us…” (emphasis mine)
I want to be so aware of God’s love that I can’t help but pass it on: to my family, neighbors, and friends. You, too? Let’s allow LOVE to have its way in us so it will run free in our homes and workplaces.
So… just how do we do that?
I’m glad you asked!
February’s Matthew 5:16 Project is all about… love. So all month long, make an intentional effort to learn more – each day – about what God has to say about… LOVE.
For starters… read 1 Corinthians 13 – the whole chapter – out loud. Try reading it from a different version. The Message and Amplified both offer very good perspectives to soak in this TRUTH about LOVE.
I also want to encourage you to spend time in worship. Listening to and singing about the TRUTH of how very much God loves us helps it to sink in. It ministers to us in a deeper way.
Here are some of my favorite songs.
Kim Walker-Smith’s- “How He Loves Us”
Jason Gray – “Fear is Easy, Love is Hard”
Hidden in My Heart Lullabies – “Love Is”
Jesus Culture – “Nothing but the Blood”
Matt Brouwer – “A Love that Saves Me”
Jon Thurlow – “Strong Love”
Third Day – “Love Song”
Jimmy Needham – “Forgiven and Loved”
Kari Jobe – “My Beloved”
This month… let’s also focus on love as a VERB.
Pay attention to where you can show some love to your spouse, kids, neighbors, or co-workers.
- It might be a kind word, or a sweet blessing…
- Maybe bake some cookies to share, or invite someone over for dinner or coffee…
- You might even look for love in the gift of touch or time. (What if someone just needs a shoulder to cry on or an ear bent to sift and sort a circumstance? A little time and a gentle hug can go a long way!)
If you need more ideas – the Love Language book series by Dr. Gary Chapman is a wonderful resource to help identify ways to give and receive love.
For the month of February at my house, we are going to have some visual reminders of our challenge to actively love on one another.
We also have a little vase with LOVE written all over it (also from dollar store) and a bowl of conversation hearts.
Each time we experience love, a heart gets dropped into the vase or an ornament gets added to our tree.
The goal is to train ourselves to be more aware of LOVE.
To have a new focus.
We WILL find what we look for… how about a little more love? The old Beatles song says it’s ALL we need!
Sisters, remember that love is a noun and a verb.
This month, let’s be looking for ways to express love both ways. It’s what we are called to do.
And when we take the time to show others how much we care for them, we’ll get filled up, too.
©2012 The Matthew 5:16 Project – careyscotttalks.com, Amanda Barnes
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