Elevate 28 - A 28 Day Challenge to Intentionally Engage with God's Word
And so I am giving a new commandment to you now -
love each other just as much as I love you. Your strong love
for each other will prove to the world that you are my disciples.
"What God Says About Loving Others"
By Gini Crawford
There is not one person Jesus does not love and did not come to save - this includes everyone you lock eyes with, walk past on the street, hear about in the news, live next door to, stand behind in line at the grocery store, or sit next to in the waiting room. When we actively love those around us, putting their needs before our own, we are taking the same amazing love that Jesus has poured out to us and becoming a living, breathing, beautiful display for humanity.
You see, while many believe love is a just a nice, heart-warming feeling, as Christians, we are called for it to be more than that - we are called to take action. We can share God’s love by noticing the unnoticed, loving the unlovely, or even by extending grace to those who are not so easy to be around.
Romans 12:9-10,13-16 MSG, gives us a great example of what love looks like in action:
“Love from the center of who you are; don’t fake it. Run for dear life from evil; hold on for dear life to good. Be good friends who love deeply; practice playing second fiddle… Help needy Christians; be inventive in hospitality. Bless your enemies; no cursing under your breath. Laugh with your happy friends when they’re happy; share tears when they’re down. Get along with each other; don’t be stuck-up. Make friends with nobodies; don’t be the great somebody.”
Let’s make it our prayer today to ask God to help us actively love others - to actively walk across the street to help our neighbors, to actively cook a warm meal for a friend in need, or to actively visit a near-by nursing home to love on the elderly. Let us ask Him to lead us to places where He wants us to shine His light and ask Him for the courage and strength to share His love with all who surround us in our daily lives. And, maybe when we do this, we will guide people to His beauty and they, too, will begin to actively love others and then, who knows how many lives will be impacted?
Gini Crawford has been a Christian since 1971. She told God decades ago, "I won't teach." She also told God, "I can't write. No one will want to read what I have to say anyway." Needless to say, God got His way She has had the privilege of teaching and shepherding women in God's Word through church ministries and in the community for the last 40-some years. Since 2007, Gini has had a ministry called Because of God Ministries
REFLECT & RESPOND
1. Read the devotion above.
2. Take time to discuss and answer questions prompted by the message.
3. Individually or as a group, decide on an act of love to show for someone today.
4. Some examples of love in action are:
Help out around the house
Offer a message of encouragement to someone you love
Text or email a song of appreciation to someone who enriches your life
This activity was provided by the Teacher Love Project - a Why Not Charleston community education initiative. The Teacher Love Project aims to provide love and encouragement to teachers that will elevate their wellness and care and therefore, enhance student achievement. We must care for those who care for our children - we must love each other because God loved us first.
"We love because he first loved us."
1 John 4:19
"I Am A Disciple"
by Taraea L. Griffith
Lord Jesus thank you for reaching me, it is because of your love for me that I believe and I receive you into my heart. Thank you for giving me the right to become a child of God. I hold on to your word and what it teaches me and I am a disciple walking in the truth of who you are and I am made free. No more darkness because I am in the light of the Lord, I live as a child of light and the fruits I bear are in all goodness, righteousness, and truth. As your disciple Lord, I search and find out what pleases you turning away from every fruitless deeds exposing them to the light of your truth. I am very careful how I live being wise making the most of every opportunity; I eat the fruit of the righteous tree of life and I win souls for it is wise as I share your love with the world. Amen
Sources: John 1:12, John 8:31, Proverbs 11:30, Ephesians 5:8-11, 15-16
Taraea L. Griffith lives in Charleston with her husband, children, and grandchildren. She is a poet and writer, and making an offering of her special gifts and talents as a Why Not Charleston 2020 contributor.
THRU THE LENS - FINDING YOURSELF IN GOD'S WORD
A blog by regular men and women about finding themselves in God's world
"The Victory Breakfast"
By Melanie Jager
The summer of 2017, my oldest son had to take Geometry in summer school. It was a long and hard summer because the course was online – which meant the work was happening in my home.
My son, who wanted to enjoy the summer and go and do things, fell prey to his on lack of discipline and procrastination. This caused him extra stress and regret.
You want your children to enjoy life – you don’t want to see them struggle – but choices yield consequences. Side note, avoid online summer school courses done in your home - it could disrupt the home - the peace and rest it usually provoides could be compromised.
Nonetheless, it was the reality of our situation that summer. My son needed the support and so at the time, we allowed him to do the online course at home. We ended up, day to day, bracing ourselves for what may come. Though I have a teaching background, we were struggling through the assignments.
Then - thanks to my friend’s adorable, bright, and college-bound daughter – who is like an older sister to my son - things started to get better. This special young lady really took mercy on both me and my boy as she would come several times a week to help him with his lessons and keep him on track. I was finally breathing a little easier - so was my son.
It was coming down to exam time. The exam was going to be 20% of the grade – and so "we" needed, not only to be prepared for the test, but go into the test with at least a solid B.
The exam day came and he was off to the school to take it with proctors overseeing everything.
That morning a group of his closest friends reached out to him with text messages of encouragement – they rallied around him with their heart felt words to lift him up in hopes it would bring him luck and confidence.
The friends came over to the house before my son arrived home and went into my kitchen where they made a huge mess – but I didn't mind at all because more importantly, they made my son a breakfast of champions with all the love in their hearts. There were pancakes, cinnamon rolls, lots of bacon, orange juice, chocolate chip waffles, and coffee – it was quite a spread – it was a Victory Breakfast – and they were making for my son.
When he came home – with his loyal tutor – he proudly announced he passed the course! We ALL clapped and cheered for him! Then he turned the corner to enter the kitchen and was overwhelmed by the amazing breakfast buffet, made for him, which included all of his most favorite breakfast foods. I could tell it meant so much that his closest friends would care like this and love him in this very gentle and kind way.
As a mom, I looked on from the other room – I didn’t want to crowd them – but I was so proud of these young people and so grateful for the beautiful demonstration of love that they graced my son with on that summer morning.
I am sure that my boy will never forget the experience and he just may have been changed by it forever.
John 13:35 states, “By this all people will know that you are my disciples,
if you have love for one another.”
Melanie Jager lives in Charleston, SC with her husband, Sean. The couple have two teenaged sons, Michael and Gabriel. Melanie has been a career educator for nearly 25 years. She has also worked on numerous community development projects since 2010 - from education to business to non-profit. She has served as a project/concept developer and systems implementer for Why Not Charleston since 2015 and currently oversees and manages operations for the organization. Melanie enjoys blogging about her family life and the Gospel-Rich experience that she and Sean are seeking to create in their home for themselves and their boys.