Devotions

God’s Unconditional Love

“Give thanks to the God of heaven. His love endures forever.” Psalm 136:26 NIV 

In our weekly devotions, we have centered our hearts on the theme of love.  As a child, I loved celebrating Valentine’s Day because I got to tell my friends they were special to me by giving them a handmade heart with candy taped on top.  It fills my heart to be able to let folks know I care about them, but I find my intentions are great and my sending of such notes – not so much.  I get so disappointed in myself because I know how important it is to tell people they matter.   

I want to be a better version of who I am in this world.  I want to be more the person that God created me to be so that the unconditional love that Christ offers me is reflected in my words and actions. I believe people come into our lives to teach us about the Lord’s unconditional love. I believe we worship and praise God as a response to the love we receive from God.  

The Lord sends us tangible expressions of his love every single day.  Sometimes it is in the little things and sometimes it is in the big stuff!  I pray that as you go through your week, you will look for God in everything and in each person.  Seeking the Lord with all your heart leads to experiencing the Lord in all you do.  Be mindful and watch closely for the Lord your God loves you unconditionally and “his love endures forever.”  

Posted by Betsy Butler
Tags: devotion

The Love Equation

Do to others as you would have them do to you. Luke 6:31 NRSV 

Valentine’s Day was so much fun when I was in elementary school. We decorated shoe boxes and filled out cards for all our classmates. The rule was that each student had to provide a valentine for every other member of the class and for our teacher as well. No one was left out. I remember carrying my box full of valentines home and sitting joyfully on the floor to go through all the cards. Some even had candy attached! As I look back and reflect on that particular class rule, I’m so glad everyone was held accountable to love everyone else. We were a mixed bag of kids who definitely played favorites. Left on our own, it’s likely we would have excluded others and most of us would have had fewer cards. The funny thing is that not one of us wants to be left out.  We all want to have a full box of valentines! We all want to be included. We all long to be loved. Jesus has done his part and continues to teach us that treating others the way you want to be treated is an essential part of how love works. The only part of the love equation we have control over is our part! I want there to be more love in this world so I guess I’d better start with me. 

Doing our part means finding lots of different ways to express Christian love. Little acts of kindness can be as effective if not more so than a paper valentine. A friend once told me they always make a point of using the first names of employees who help them out in stores or restaurants or other establishments. This habit has made their experience of shopping or ordering food or going to the movies more meaningful by simply acknowledging others more personally. I asked my friend what prompted him to start doing that. He explained that he used to work as a waiter and he knew from experience it was a tough job. He loved it when someone took time to learn his name. Hearing his name was much better than hearing “Hey you!” It makes me remember how I feel when someone calls my name with kindness. Don’t compare it to a box full of valentines, but we can agree that calling someone by name is clearly a loving act and such acts multiply if you decide to do it too. The Christian way of love takes practice. 

Valentine’s Day 2022 is this coming Monday, February 14. It’s a good opportunity to find more ways to love everyone not just our special someones. The love of Christ plus your love plus my love plus the love of others is a love equation designed to add everyone in. Let’s all do our part so there will be more love. 

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