February 7, 2011

LOVE Your Neighbor

We are finishing up our Six Essentials to being a Gracious Woman today which is the one year anniversary of the start of my blog!

"Love is the motivation of Grace"
This is the phrase that I wrote down over one year ago during the Pink Impact (Gateway woman's night), where I heard Debbie Morris speak on being a gracious woman.  I just love it!  Motives have been on my mind a lot as of late.  Why do I want to get in shape?  Why do I want to meet the goals that I have... why do I even have the goals that I have?!  Well, I'm still working on that....but one thing I do know - love is the motivation of grace!
God pretty much wrapped everything up about love in these two verses:
"Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love." - 1 Corinthians 13:10 (NLT)
"Jesus replied, ‘You must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment.A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments." - Matthew 22:37-40 (NLT)
LOVE will motivate, encourage and help us become women of grace!  Previously when studying God's word, I learn more when I get to the heart of the issue.  For example, to keep my words in check - I have to watch what I pour into my heart, since I say the things I think about and think about the things that I ponder in my heart.  Living a life of grace comes from living a life of love.

Last week I gave you 7 scriptures to look at (one for each of your 7-day quiet times), that were all focused on love.  As a continuation to one of the verses, let's look at 1 John 4:20-21 (NLT):
"If someone says, 'I love you God,' but hates a Christian brother or sister, that person is a liar; for if we don't love people we can see, how can we love God, whom we cannot see?  And He has given us this command: those who love God must also love their Christian brothers and sisters."
I love how the Message Bible states verse 21:
"The command we have from Christ is blunt: Loving God includes loving people. You’ve got to love both."
I love it..."Christ is blunt...You've got to love both."  We each have circles of influence and relationships that no one else has.  We need to learn to really show the people in our lives God's love and let Him love them through our words and actions.  Not just because we are more blessed when we do, but also because it is a command!!

SO!  Let's make this our challenge during the week before Valentine's day: take the time and effort to go out of your way and share God's love with your "Christian brothers and sisters," and your "neighbors" who don't already know God!  Get creative, and listen to the nudging of the Holy Spirit.  Someone may need a batch of cookies more than you could have ever known, but God knows!  He knows what each person needs - so let's let Him use us!!!

"Don't just pretend to love others.  Really love them.  Hate was is wrong.  Hold tightly to what is right.  Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other." - Romans 12:9-10 (NLT and my memory verse!)

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