“Those who love your instructions have great peace and do not stumble.”
–Psalm 119:165 (NLT)
November 2, 2013 was our wonderful wedding day. Amidst all the ceremonious moments reserved for Timothy and myself, we had reserved a few reverent minutes for Bible readings.
At the beginning of the wedding, my father read the entire 13th chapter of 1 Corinthians, which is also known as the Love Chapter. In this chapter, Paul states that love is the greatest gift of all. He outlines the many virtues of love, and he states that love is not evil or prideful in any way. Finally, he says that love is an even greater force than faith or hope.
God shows us His own incredible love for us in many ways. First and foremost, He sacrificed His only son for us. He knew and loved each of us sinners before we were even born, but He sent His son to die for us, in spite of our sins.
Secondly, God has a divine plan for each of us, and He has promised never to leave us or forsake us. This means He will be with you through thick and thin.
Finally, if you are concerned about something, or you just need someone who will listen, you can always pray to God and give all your cares and worries to Him. God loves and cares for you so much, and He wants to know every concern on your heart, no matter how big or small.
During this time of valentines, we are encouraged to recognize the love we have for our friends and partners in life. But how can we show love in return for all the awesome love which God has shown for us? We can show our love to God and to others by using Jesus’ two most important commandments as a guide.
First, Jesus asks each of His followers to love God with all your heart and mind. If someone were to give you a great gift, like money when you were in need or a simple encouraging phone call during a very dark time in your life, then the sensible thing to do would be to give your heartfelt thanks to that person. God has shown us His great love in so many ways, so we owe Him all of our love, thanks and praise.
Give thanks to God by praying often and acknowledging everything He has done for you. Also, read in God’s word every day, so you can place everything He has written down within your heart and mind. It has been said that God’s Word is one great big love letter to us, so I pray you will read it and allow God’s importance to increase in your life each day.
Besides giving our love and thanks to God, Jesus said it’s very important that we love our neighbors as ourselves. In other words, we are called to love others just as deeply as we love ourselves.
In our corrupted world we are encouraged to care only for ourselves and continually ask, “What’s in it for me if I help you?” By contrast, God encourages us to love and care for our neighbors, just as He first loved us. You can do this by reaching out to your family and friends, or to poor people who are in need around your community.
Sometimes, when Timothy and I are visiting patients in the hospital, they tune us out as soon as we’ve revealed that we are volunteer chaplains. Once they’ve learned that we serve God, they want nothing to do with us. Similarly, people may reject your offerings of love now and then, but God truly blesses you just for giving love in His name.
Loving your enemies and those who reject your love may be difficult at times, but Jesus stressed that showing love to your enemies is definitely the right thing to do. After all, as I’ve said previously, God gave all of His love to our fallen world, and no matter how many times we sin against Him, He has promised that He will always love us, forgive us, and walk with us through the storms and clear skies of life.
This week, I challenge you to start following God’s 2 most important commandments: love Him with all your heart, and love others just as much as yourself. If we begin to incorporate these important forms of love into our lives, we can make every day a heartfelt valentine to God and those who share our world with us.
Finally, if you don’t know God yet, I pray that you will start reading His Word so that you can come to know Him, and then prayerfully ask Him to enter your heart and forgive you of your sins. Then you will be able to enter God’s family, whom He loves with an unimaginable fervor.
Thank you for reading this, and may the Lord give you a wonderful week! We are trying to reach people who are hurting, so if God lays it on your heart, please consider becoming a partner with us. If you would like to make a donation, please visit www.hcmachaplains.org and click on the Donate Now link. You can also send donations by mail to HCMA (Healthcare Chaplains Ministry Association). Our ID number is 560. The address is 101 S Kraemer BLVD, Suite 123A, Placentia, CA 92870. Finally, you’re always welcome to join our Monday night Bible study or Tuesday night prayer meeting. Both are conducted by conference call, and they take place at 5:30 PM Arizona time. Our conference number is 712-432-6499. When prompted, press 1 for live chat rooms, and we’ll be waiting in room 31. You can press pound to bypass our friend Sharon’s intro message once you’ve entered room 31. We hope to talk with you soon!
If you have questions, comments or prayer requests for Timothy or Stephanie Burdick, please call 507-369-6861.