When Paul says, "Your faith and love for one another is growing," it's not the kind where life's perfect and everybody accommodates you. God's intention is to "grow" you into the kind of love that's not defined by your feelings, but a sacrificial love that says, "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me . . " (Galatians 2:20). It's possible to be in love with the idea of a perfect marriage, without actually loving your mate. It's also possible to be in love with the dream of what your kids could become, if only they'd follow your advice. But when it comes to loving a rebellious teen who acts like "the other side of the family," it's a growing process that puts your love to the test. Jesus said, ". . . That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another." (John 13:34), and He never asks us to do anything without giving us the ability to do it. So are you ready to do a little growing? Author Kristin Armstrong says: "When we're hurt it's common to withdraw. But the worst thing a parent can do is to withhold affection in response to a child's behavior. A child's heart grows when it's nurtured with unconditional love. Affection doesn't depend on behavior, mood or circumstances. Being pleasing does not equate to being lovable. Imagine if Jesus loved us only when we behaved perfectly. We'd never experience His affection, and consequently we'd wither away. And since Jesus is our example, we need to love others with Christlike grace. He loves us according to His capacity, not according to the degree of our merit. We must love others...not by our standards but by His."
And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto Myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. (John 14:3)
Because Jesus will go and prepare a place for us, He will also surely return to take us to be with Him. Christ often assures us throughout Scripture that He is coming back for His church. The place that He has prepared for us will be our eternal dwelling as we are His bride. Praise the Lord that we have this assurance!
This week's (week #27) Bible Reading Plan selections can be found below. If you don't have a Bible with you, just click the references to read each passage online:
Sunday (The Law): Leviticus 10-12
Monday (History): 2 Kings 1-5
Tuesday Psalms: Psalms 78-80
Wednesday (Poetry): Proverbs 8-9
Thursday (Prophecy): Ezekiel 19-25
Friday (Gospels): Luke 17-18
Saturday Letters: Philippians 3-4