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March 2024 Devotions

Dear Reader,

I am writing these “March” devotions during the month of February.  What comes to your mind when you think of February?  Cold weather? Snow?  How about love?  Yes, February is the month of “Valentine’s Day.”  How many valentines have you exchanged with friends and loved ones?  How many boxes of candy have you bought, given or received?  Yes, when February rolls around we can’t help but think of the subject of love, and that’s ok.  In our world so filled with anger, bitterness and hatred a little love goes a long way.

For the devotions in March (written in February), I would like to give some consideration to the subject of love; not just love, but the love of God.  We know that our God is not unequally balanced on the eternal scale, but He is love.  He is righteous, holy, pure, almighty, kind, gracious, but He is love.  So, delve me with into this bottomless subject of the love of God.  Let’s envelope ourselves in His love and joy in our blessed relationship with the Almighty and Eternal God of love.

March 1

Deuteronomy 4:32-40; 7:1-13

You may not think of love when considering God in the Old Testament, but if that be the case you are definitely wrong.  “God is love.” (1 John 4:8,16)  Because God is unchanging, (Malachi 3:6) that means that He is love in the New Testament and in the Old.  He did not become love when John 3:16 became a reality, but He is the eternal God of love.  While there are certainly displays of His wrath and judgment in the Old Testament, there are ample illustrations and declarations of His love throughout the Scripture to conclude that He is, indeed, love.

One of the clearest demonstrations of God’s love is His dealings with and for the nation of Israel.  Deuteronomy 4:37 is the first direct reference to the love of God, and it is in reference to His choosing of Israel due to the love He had for their fathers.  Those “fathers” would be referring to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and those after them.  Abraham was referred to as the “friend of God.” (James 2:23; Exodus 33:11; 2 Chronicles 20:7; Isaiah 41:8)  When reading the account of God’s dealings with Abraham, it becomes very clear that He loved His friend, Abraham.  God made the “Abrahamic Covenant” with His friend, and Israel was chosen to be God’s special people because He loved their fathers.  Not only did Abraham’s descendants receive Divine blessings, but so have we.  See Genesis 3:1-12.  You and I have definitely received blessings from God that were promised to Abraham in that covenant.  Perhaps we can spend more time later discussing this very thought.

God is love, and He has always been love.  He loved from before the creation of the universe, and continues to love to this day.  He will be known as our loving Heavenly Father throughout eternity.  May He help us over the next days to learn more of His love, and at the same time help us to love Him more.  Amen!

March 2

Deuteronomy 10:14-19

I was reading recently in my devotions of Jacob and his twelve sons.  Scripture notes that Jacob had a special love for his son Joseph, and that his other sons were jealous of that love.  That jealousy led them to treat Joseph in a most shameful way.  When we read of the love that God had for the fathers of Israel, and consequently the love He had for that chosen nation, does that imply that He did not love others?  Does that imply that the rest of humanity outside the children of Israel were not loved by the Creator?  That is an important question worthy of investigating.

According to John 3:16, God loves the world.  He loved the world enough that He gave His only begotten Son in order to offer salvation to all.  That love that God has for all humanity is expressed also in the Old Testament.  Please note the following passages; Exodus 22:21; Leviticus 19:18,33-34; Deuteronomy 10:19.

Think just for a moment about the Abrahamic Covenant (Genesis 12:1-3)  That covenant expressed God’s choosing of Abraham and his descendants to be His chosen people.  Why did He choose Israel?  It would be through Israel that the Messiah would come, the Redeemer of all humanity.  Therefore, the love God had for all humanity compelled Him to provide redemption for all.  That redemption would be made possible through the “Seed” of Abraham, and would be available to all mankind.  This plan is what is being spoken of in that most famous verse mentioned above; John 3:16.   God is love, and God loves all.  Amen!

March 3

2 Samuel 12:24

“…and the Lord loved him.”

Does God only love those that love Him?  Does He only love those that are faithful, serving Him and honoring Him in their lives?  Is His love reserved for the sinless?  If that were the case, none would ever be able to know the love of God, for none are sinless outside the Lord Jesus Christ.  The young rich ruler that came to the Lord seeking direction concerning eternal life walked away rejecting Jesus.  As far as we know, this man never came to the Lord in faith believing, yet Scripture declares that the Lord “loved him.” (See Mark 10:21)  In our text today, we read that the Lord loved Solomon.  We need to consider that just for a moment.

Solomon was far from a perfect man.  He was a wise man, and yet despite his wisdom did many foolish things.  While it is true that he built the Temple in Jerusalem, he also built altars for the false gods of his many wives and concubines.  So egregious were his idolatrous ways, the kingdom of Israel was divided after his death.  If the Lord only loved the perfect and sinless, He certainly would not have loved Solomon.

Why is it important to understand this aspect of the love of God?  The answer really is simple.  Are you perfect?  Have you ever sinned?  Have you ever been less than what our Lord expects of you?  Sure you have!  So have all, and one of the things that will come to our minds when we fail our Lord is, “Surely, He could never love me.”  We will convince ourselves, with the help of our adversary, that the Lord loves us less because we are not worthy of His love.  Actually we are not worthy of His love, and we never have been, but He loves us just the same.  The Lord doesn’t love you more when your faithful, and He does not love you less when you are not.  God is love, and His love is not dependent upon being reciprocated.  God loved Solomon when He was an innocent babe, but the all knowing One knew then the mistakes this son of David would make.  That did not change the fact that He loved him.  He loves you.  Nothing will ever change that love He has for you.  You are “beloved.”

March 4

Psalms 47:4

Today’s devotional thought is a continuation of yesterday’s.  Just as the Lord loved Solomon, an imperfect man, He also loved Jacob.  The story of Jacob in the Bible is most interesting.  He obviously was a man of faith, a man who believed strongly in the Lord.  Jacob sought the Lord in prayer and was quick to give Him credit for all the blessings He enjoyed in life, but he most certainly was not a perfect man.  His name, Jacob, means “supplanter, and conniver, and he really lived up to his name, but the Lord declared His love for this imperfect human.  As noted earlier, if the Lord only loved the faithful and sinless, none would experience that love at all outside the Lord Jesus.  Regardless of Jacob’s flaws, and he had his share, the Lord declared His love for him.

There is an important observation that must be made when considering the love of God.  Both Solomon and Jacob are good examples of a truth that needs to be observed and understood.  While it is true that God loved them regardless of their shortcomings, that does not imply that He overlooked their sins.  He did not.  Jacob was continually reaping what he had sown when it came to his conniving and supplanting.  Neither were Solomon’s sins overlooked.  Both of these men are illustrations of a truth expressed in Hebrews 12:6, “For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.”  Our Lord does not chasten because He loves not.  On the contrary, He chastens because He loves and ever wants the best for His own.  When He chastens, the result will be the peaceable fruit of righteousness, and that is His goal for us.   

March 5

Psalms 33:1-22

“He loveth righteousness….”

The Psalmist wrote in Psalms 11:11 the following words, “For the righteous Lord loveth righteousness; his countenance doth behold the upright.”  Righteousness is both imputed and practiced.  It is imputed to the believer from the righteous Lord Jesus.  His righteousness is given to us freely through His grace. (See Romans 4:1-3,22; Revelation 19:6-8)  Isaiah declared that our righteousness is as filthy rags, (Isaiah 64:6) but the believer has the righteousness of Christ imputed while at the same time the Lord took those sins that separated the believer from God, nailing them to His Cross.  The doctrine of imputation teaches that our sins were placed on Christ’s account and His righteousness was placed on our account.  Praise God for such grace.

There is righteousness imputed, but then there is righteousness practiced. (See 1 John 2:29; 3:7-12; Romans 6:18; 1 Corinthians 15:34; 2 Corinthians 9:10; Ephesians 6:14; 1 Timothy 6:11)  It is obviously the Lord’s will that those who have been given His righteousness live righteous lives.  “He loveth righteousness….”  This truth must be acknowledged when considering the love of God.  He loves righteousness and hates iniquity.

March 6

Jeremiah 31:3; Isaiah 43:1-7

God loves His chosen people, Israel.  I intentionally used the present tense in expressing His love for Israel, for He has not ceased loving them.  Jeremiah wrote the words of the Lord when he wrote, “Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love….”  This was clearly seen when Jesus wept over Jerusalem saying, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!”

God’s love knows no bounds and no end.  God is love, and He loves Israel and will yet draw her to Himself.  Does that not thrill your heart?  If He so love them, can I not depend upon His fathomless love for me?  Can I not rejoice in that security knowing that His love will never change?  God loves Israel, and God loves His Church!  He loves you and me!  Rejoice in that love today.

March 7

John 3:16

Is there a more famous and well-known verse that describes God’s feelings for mankind than this?  Do all reciprocate that love?  No.  Do all even respond to that love?  No.  Do all reap the benefits of that love?  Well, actually all do reap the benefits of the love of God.  All breath His air and survive because of His bountiful blessings.  All enjoy life that He created and grants, but all do not acknowledge these gifts of God’s great love.  Sadly, most will not acknowledge or reap the benefits of the depiction of God’s love as given in John 3:16.

“For God so loved the world” provides the great motive behind His gracious plan of salvation.  “…that He gave His only begotten Son” describes the depth of His love, the great extent He went to express that love and to give all the opportunity to be the beneficiaries of that love.  This is especially true when we realize what He gave His Son to do.  He gave His Son to become the Sin-bearer, the Sin-substitute; the “Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” (John 1:29)  That required unthinkable suffering on the part of both the Father and the Son.

The Bible does not teach a universal salvation, but it does teach a universal love God has for the world.  All will not be saved.  In fact, most will not be saved. (Matthew 7:13)  But know this, child of God, it is not His will that any perish, but that all come to repentance.  So we read in 2 Peter 3:9.  You may have learned the song, “Jesus Loves Me,” when just a child, but it really isn’t a childish song.  You are loved, and the Bible makes that very clear, just as the song says.

March 8

Proverbs 17:17; 18:24; John 15:13-14

Jesus called His own His “friends.”  They were His children, His servants, His followers, but they were also His friends.  In the Proverbs we read of a friend that “loveth at all times,” and is “closer than a brother.”  That is an apt description of the Lord Jesus Christ, and His love for His followers.  We read in John 3:16 that God loves the world, and we noted that the unsaved are recipients of His love and beneficiaries of that love.  But know this, child of God, you are loved by the Lord.  “We love him, because he first loved us.” (1 John 4:19)  It is He that “loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood.” (Revelation 1:5)

Believer, you live in a hate filled world; hate filled and bitter.  You see it, hear it and feel it every day most every place you go.  You witness it on the highway, in the store and in most every newscast.  Thank God for His love that envelopes us and comforts us in this world of hate.  The next time you look around at friendless souls filled with bitterness, praise the Name of the One that loved us and “gave Himself for us.” (Galatians 1:4; Titus 2:14)

March 9

Romans 8:31-39

Can the believer be separated from the love of God in Christ?  Can believers become separated from God because of their actions, faults or willful acts of disobedience?  Can the hatred and bitterness of the world so effect the child of God as to estrange him or her from God and His love?  Not according to the promises given us in our passage for today’s consideration.

Take time and read again the questions Paul asked in these closing verses of Romans 8.  The chapter began with “no condemnation” for the Christian and ends with “no separation,” and everything between those two thoughts was designed for our comfort and assurance.  No, believer, nothing can separate you from the love of God for you.  Praise God!  Rejoice in that!

My actions could cause me to lose my driver’s license and even my citizenship in this country, but nothing can separate me from the love of God in Christ.  I could lose all of my worldly possessions, but I could never lose my relationship with my Lord.  What a blessing!

How much does God love you?  Enough to die on Calvary for you!  How long will God love you!  Let’s let Him tell you that in His Word; “The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms….” (Deuteronomy 33:27)  “The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.” (Jeremiah 31:3)  “…for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” (Hebrews 13:5)  Believer, you are loved!

March 10

John 11:28-36

“…Behold how he loved him!”

This observation from the Jews standing outside the burial place of Lazarus came when they observed what was recorded in the previous verse; “Jesus wept.”  This is the shortest verse in the Bible, and it speaks volumes.  Why did Jesus weep, for He knew that in just a few moments all of the weeping there would be turned to rejoicing and joy.  After the raising of Lazarus, the only tears there were tears of rejoicing.  So, why did He weep?

Perhaps Jesus wept because He was so touched with the sorrows of His beloved friends, the sisters of Lazarus.  “For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities….” (Hebrews 4:15)  Maybe He cried because He knew that their sorrow would be relived again sometime in the future, for Lazarus would someday be laid to rest again, not to be raised again until the resurrection morning.  It could be that His weeping came because of death itself, for humanity was not created to taste death.  That came because of sin, and that certainly would have touched the heart of the Creator of all flesh.  The Jews that were observing said it best when they witnessed the Son of God weeping at the tomb of His friend, “Behold how he loved him!”  He did!  Motivated by His love for Lazarus and his two sisters, feeling their pain and hurt, Jesus wept.

Beloved, He is forever touched with the feelings of our infirmities, feeling or pain and our sorrows as His very own.  He is our Faithful High Priest, representing us before the Father, and doing so in love.  Whose to know but that there have been times in heaven when the Lord Jesus has wept because of some difficulty you are having to bear.  Know this for certain, Christian, He loves us and cares for us, and He is ever touched with our pains, sorrows and disappointments.  Behold, how He loves us!

March 11

Romans 5:1-11

Before the suffering and death of the Lord Jesus, He promised His followers that the Holy Spirit would come to them to direct them, to remind them of things that He and taught them and to “comfort them.”  “And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever.” (John 14:16)  “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.” (John 14:26)  The Holy Spirit, the “Comforter,” brings the believe comfort in so many ways.  One way is by making the Word of God understandable and applicable in your life.  Another way is by His directing your life, leading you to the path of His will and warning you of paths that are destructive and detrimental to you as a child of God.  In Romans 5:5 we find that the “love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.”  What great comfort is that!  What blessed comfort fills our hearts when we are made to know and experience that love that God has for us!

The world hates God’s own, but God loves them with an everlasting love.  The bitterness of the world distresses and discourages, but the love for God given by the Holy Ghost encourages, enlightens and enlivens.  There are times that the three short words, “I love you” are music to our ears.  If we will listen carefully to the “still small voice” of the Holy Spirit, we will hear that message repeatedly throughout our days, “I love you,” and that love is coming directly from our God.  What blessed comfort!  Amen!

March 12

1 Corinthians 13:11-14

Isn’t there a lot in this world that could cause dismay and bring one to the point of hopelessness and depression?  That seems to be the case with many, but should not be for the child of God.  In this passage written, by the way, to a troubled church riddled with serious issues, Paul encouraged the saints with his closing thoughts and words of comfort.  A promise was given to the Corinthians that can be claimed by every Christian.  That promise was, “…and the God of love and peace shall be with you.”  This promise followed a command to “Be perfect (Or, spiritually mature and complete), be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace….”

Whatever we face in this sin-sick world, we can rest assured that the “God of love and peace shall be with” us.  That means that we will ever be surrounded by and comforted by His love and His peace.  We are told that babies that aren’t shown love consistently will develop feelings of insecurity, low self-esteem and an overall negative self image.  Babies that are loved, and that love is shown consistently, have a greater chance of being well rounded, productive and loving adults.  Sadly, many babies will never experience that kind of parental love in their developing years, but the child of God will never lack for love.  There has never been, nor will there ever be, a greater love demonstrated toward any mortal soul like that of the love that God has clearly shown.  He revealed that love toward the world in the giving of His Son, (John 3:16) and continues to reveal that love toward His own throughout their lives.  Whatever you face, beloved, you can forever know and sense “the God of love and peace” walking with you through this life.  May “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all.  Amen.”

March 13

Ephesians 3:14-21

“…being rooted and grounded in love… and to know there love of Christ, which passeth knowledge….”

In writing this great epistle to the New Testament Church at Ephesus, Paul penned a prayer that he prayed for those precious followers of Christ.  He prayed that they would be strengthened in their inner man by the Holy Spirit.  It was his prayer that Christ would dwell deeply in their hearts by faith.  He then prayed for them that they might be “rooted and grounded in love,” and that they might “be able to comprehend, with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge….”  He prayed this for the Ephesian believers, because they, like us, must have Divine help to comprehend that great love wherewith He loved us, and loves us still.

God loves you, child of God, and He wants you to fully understand that love.  He wants you to know you’re loved with His everlasting love.  Its God’s will for you to be secure in that love.  I have a memory in my mind of a very stormy night when I was very young.  Daddy was working the night shift, and all three of us boys were still living at home.  A terrible thunder storm swept through our area, waking all of us up.  The wind was blowing and lightening was lighting up the night sky.  All of us ended up in momma’s room in her bed.  I can still see the windows lighting up with the lightening strikes outside our home, and can still remember clearly how scary that night was, but snuggled in bed with momma all was well.  I soon went to sleep and woke up to a new day the next morning.  That that kept us secure and safe through that storm was not momma’s bed, but it was her love.  God’s love will ever keep you safe, warm and secure.  The next time life gets scary, just snuggle up with the One Who loves you with an everlasting love.  Amen!

March 14

1 Timothy 1:12-15

One thing is very apparent in reading the letters of the Apostle Paul; he never got over what happened to him on the road to Damascus.  He was ever referring to that event, and to his salvation in the Lord Jesus Christ.  While Paul did forget the things that were past as far as feeling condemnation and guilt, (Philippians 3:13) he ever remembered how far the Lord Jesus had to reach down to bring the him to saving faith.  He was forever praising the grace of God that had brought him to faith in Christ.  Paul rightly saw himself in the past as being a “blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious.”  What a turn about came to this man’s life when he placed faith in the Lord Jesus!

Note Paul’s appraisal of the work of Christ in his life; “And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.”  We are currently examining the love of God found in Scripture, and there is no greater demonstration of the love of God than that which is displayed in the salvation of a soul.  There is a song that says, “O, how He loved you and me!  He gave Himself, what more could He give?  O, how He loved you and me!”  You and I are saved today, beloved, because God so loved us that He made that salvation possible, and then brought us to Himself through the tender wooing of the Holy Spirit.  We are saved because the love of the Lord Jesus compelled Him to suffer all of the atrocities of the crucifixion to bring us His glorious salvation.  Our past sins were all washed away because of the love of our God.  Like the Apostle Paul we can testify, “…the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.”  Your are loved by God, and that love has afforded you all the blessings and promise of His eternal salvation.  Praise His Name for His great love wherewith He loves us!  Amen!

March 15

2 Thessalonians 3:2-5

“And the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God….”

“And the LORD thy God will circumcise thine heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, that thou mayest live.” (Deuteronomy 30:6)  Do you notice something about these verses?  The Lord must direct our hearts, He must work in our hearts to cause us to know, understand and experience in a greater degree His wondrous love.  We fallen creatures need Him to enlighten and enable us in every aspect of our spiritual lives, especially when it comes to His great love wherewith He loves us.  God’s will for His own has ever been that they love Him with all their hearts.  “And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.” (Deuteronomy 6:5)  We need His help to accomplish this, and from the Scripture it is clear that He is ready to supply this need.  “And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work….” (2 Corinthians 9:8)  Let’s seek His face for this special grace!  Amen!

March 16

1 John 2

“But whoso keepeth his world, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him.”

This devotional thought really goes hand in hand with the one we looked at yesterday.  If we are to fully experience the love God has for us, if we are to know His love in its fullest sense, we must have His help, and there will be no greater source of help in this area than His blessed Word.  Beloved, the more we delve into His Word, the more we study it and apply its truths to our lives, the more we will grow in His love.  God loves you and He wants you to know that, and the greatest revelation of that love can be found in Scripture.

When Jesus was standing outside Lazarus’ tomb weeping, the Jews standing about Him said, “Behold, how he loved him.” (John 11:36)  That love was easily seen by them as they observed His deep emotional response to the death of His friend and the effect it had on his family and loved ones.  Dig in the Scripture, child of God, and you will be convinced of God’s love for His own, of His love for you.  In doing so, the “love of God” will be “perfected” in your heart.

March 17

1 John 3

“Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us….”

For the first sixteen days of this month’s devotions, we have been considering the love of God, and we certainly have not exhausted this great topic.  We are going to look at one last thought concerning His love for us today, then were are going to spend the rest of the month considering our response to that love.

John issues a call to us in the above verse to “Behold,” to see this and to marvel in it.  He challenges us to give great consideration to the point he  was about to make lest we miss it altogether.  And what was it he was encouraging us to gaze into, and to grasp in our hearts and minds?  “…the love the Father hath bestowed upon us that we should be called the sons of God.”   To John, the marvel was that “we” should be called God’s sons; we who are sinners, who were separated from Him without hope until He intervened in grace to bring us to Himself.  Read Paul’s description of us before we trusted Christ as Savior.  See Romans 3:9-23.  Not a very pretty picture, is it?

What manner of love the Father bestows upon us that we should be called His sons!  His sons!  With all the privileges of sonship!  With all the security of sonship!  With all the blessings of sonship!  This was what John was marveling in, what He was drawing our attention to in 1 John 3:1.  We have been made His children through His grace and through the death, burial and resurrection of His only begotten Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.  That truly is a marvellous thing that we should constantly “Behold.”  Amen!

March 18

Matthew 22:34-40

“God is love.” (1 John 4:8,16)  He is many things, but He is love.  That love is obvious, it is clearly revealed and shown in all of His dealings with us.  Does that not compel and require a response from us?  Absolutely!  When asked what is the great commandment given in the law of God, the Lord Jesus responded that there were actually two great commandments; the first to love God with all our hearts, and the second to love our neighbor as ourselves.  One of the main requirements God makes of His own, of those who are the recipients and beneficiaries of His love, is that they be people that love.  God’s children should be loving, they should be known by their love.

This is so contrary to natural man in the world.  The world is so filled with anger and hatred, with hatefulness and bitterness.  Just ride down the road in you car and witness that firsthand.  Sit in your car one second after the light turns green and experience the love from the folks in the cars behind you.  Lynn and I spent a little time in a store in Asheville the other day that was so crowded you could hardly make your way through the isles.  We both noticed something right away; everyone was sour-faced and seemed angry.  Lynn said, “Everyone in here seems mad and hateful.”  And she was right!

God’s will for His own is that they be people of love; not just love for Him, but love for all.  Now, beloved, we are going to need His help for this, because we don’t always feel so loving.  The Lord Jesus was once teaching His disciples on the need to forgive those that wrong you.  He said, “…if he trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn to thee, saying, I repent; thou shalt forgive him.” (Luke 17:4)  Do you know how the apostles responded to that?  “And the apostles said unto the Lord, Increase our faith.”  I read that just the other day and got a little chuckle out of it.  They heard His command about forgiveness and realized they would need a little help in that area.  Well, so do we in the area of being people of love.  The Lord is easy to love.  Some people are not!  “Lord, increase our faith.”

March 19

Matthew 5:43-46

On February 25th, in the morning service, we examined the Scriptural illustration of how Joseph responded to the mistreatment he endured from his eleven brothers that hated him and sold him into slavery in Egypt.  Joseph was exemplary in his response to their actions.  The Lord recorded this in His Word so that we could glean from Joseph’s example.  How should I respond to someone who “despitefully” uses me, who insults or slanders me?  How should I respond to someone who mistreats me without cause?  The old classic revenge movies would tell me to get even, to know the satisfaction of “payback.”  But, beloved, that is not the Biblical way.  Remember, it is the Lord’s will that His own be people of love.

Jesus’ command to His followers is that we “love our enemies,” and that we “bless them that curse us,” and “do good to them that hate us,” and to “pray for them that despitefully use us, and persecute us.”  In so doing, we are revealing that we are the children of our Father which is in heaven.”  THIS DOES NOT COME NATURALLY, or we would not have been charged and challenged to do it.  Although it does not come naturally, the benefits you receive in being a person that demonstrates the love of God in life are invaluable.  Not only will this be a testimony to others around you, it will be a healing ointment to your own soul.  Amen!

March 20

Matthew 6:19-24

Paul wrote something in 1 Timothy 6:10 that speaks volumes of just about everything we see going on in the world today: “For the love of money is the root of all evil….”  We find ourselves in an interesting dilemma.  Everyone must have money.  You can’t pay for your groceries with faith.  Try that the next time you have a bill come due.  Just sit down, write across the bill, “Paid In Full By Faith,” and stick that in the mail.  No, we need money for food, housing, clothing, transportation, medicines and everything else that is necessary for life.  But the love of money is contrary to everything the child of God is supposed to represent.

Jesus’ teaching on the “mammon” is about just that; money, or riches.  He taught that “where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”  One of the key words is “treasure.”  The Greek word comes from a word that speaks of a place in which good and precious things are collected and laid up, a receptacle in which valuables are kept.  Where humanity gets off track when it comes to wealth is when it becomes that which is most precious to them.  When it becomes the “treasure” in one’s life, it ceases being a commodity to be used to being a master which must be served.  Jesus’ taught His followers that they could not be servants of God and at the same time be servants of “mammon.”

Now back to the subject of this month’s devotions.  If we truly love God, our hearts will not be so enamored with the things of this world, even “mammon.”  We need it, cannot live without it, but we must not fall in love with “mammon.”  If we do, then “mammon” becomes that which we serve rather than allowing “mammon” to serve us while we serve the One we love.

March 21

Luke 7:36-50

This is a familiar story in the life of the Lord Jesus.  The main characters in this story are the Lord Jesus, a Pharisee and a “woman…which was a sinner.”  Jesus was eating with the Pharisee in the Pharisee’s house.  While eating, a woman who was known in that city as a “sinner” came into the house, knelt down and wept.  Her tears fell on the feet of the Son of God, so she wiped His feet dry with her hair, then opened a box of alabaster containing ointment and anointed Jesus’ feet with the ointment.  The Pharisee was incredulous that Jesus would allow this sinful women to do this in his house.  The Pharisee thought, “This man, if he were a prophet, would have known who and what manner of woman this is that toucheth him: for she is a sinner.”  This occasioned the parable of the creditor and the two debtors that could not pay their debt.  The lesson was explained by the Lord Himself in Verses 42 and 44-47.  The part of that lesson that went over the Pharisees hard head was the fact that, just like that woman, he was a sinner in need of forgiveness and cleansing.  Just like the debtor in the parable that owed the least, this Pharisee was totally incapable of satisfying his sin debt.  He needed Jesus just like that woman needed Jesus.

The woman in this story loved the Lord Jesus much, for He had forgiven her much.  He has forgiven all of us much!  If we received from God our just reward, we would be banished from His presence for eternity, but we have been brought nigh by the blood of His dear Son.  If one ever is brought to an understanding of this truth, there will be no need to stress the  necessity of loving the Lord.  We love Him for He first loved us!  Amen!

March 22

John 13:33-35

Can we go back just a moment to yesterday’s devotional thought?  The Pharisee had no love in his heart for the sinful woman that anointed the feet of the Lord Jesus.  Neither did he love the Lord Jesus.  Jesus spoke the following words in John 5:42 to some folks that claimed to be religious, but were actually no more than hypocrites; “But I know you, that ye have not have not the love of God in you.”  In our text today, Jesus teaches us the importance of loving Him and all those that have trusted in Him as Savior and Lord.

First, note with me that this is a commandment given by our Lord to His followers: “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another….”  Obviously loving other believers does not necessarily come naturally, or the Lord would not have commanded us to do so.  Next, we are told that we are to love His own just as He loved us.  Admittedly that is a very large bill to fill, for He loved us with an everlasting, sacrificial love.  He finally teaches us that the clearest identifying trait that lets all the world know that we are His disciples is the fact that we love one another.

Love is not merely spoken. It is shown, demonstrated by actions.  There are many ways in which our love for one another can be shown, ways that we will be discussing in later devotions.  The main thrust of today’s devotion, however, is that the Lord has demanded and fully expects you and I as His disciples to love one another.  Father, help me to have love in my heart for those You so greatly love.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

March 23

John 21:15-19

Peter had denied His Lord.  He denied Him three times just as the Lord had said he would.  After that final denial, “…the Lord turned, and looked upon Peter.  And Peter remembered the world of the Lord, how he had said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice.  And Peter went out, and wept bitterly.” (Luke 22:61-62)  After His resurrection and prior to His ascension, Jesus dealt with Peter in a loving and forgiving way, but also in a way that challenged and charged him as an apostle of His Lord.

Three times Peter was questioned about His love for Christ.  Three times Peter affirmed his love for His Lord, and three times Jesus told Peter that that love should be demonstrated, not just proclaimed.  “…lovest thou me more than these?”  When Peter affirmed his love, the Lord responded, “Feed my lambs.”  This was repeated two more times, with the Lord charging Peter each time, “Feed my sheep…Feed my sheep.”

How do we demonstrate our love for Jesus?  We do so in one way by doing those things that He had told us to do.  “Why call ye me Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?”  “If a man love me, he will keep my words; and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.”  Jesus’ statements make it pretty clear, do they not?  Love for Jesus is not just proclaimed, it is lived out in life.  It is demonstrated by actions, not just by words.  Lord Jesus, help me to demonstrate my love for You in all my actions.  Amen!

March 24

Romans 12:1-13

“Let love be without dissimulation….”

As we saw earlier, Jesus declared, “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.”  We are commanded to love our Lord, and we are commanded to love one another.  In our verses today, we are told that our love should be “without dissimulation.”  The thought here is that our love for one another should be sincere, genuine, not hypocritical.  “Love ya!” is sometimes really simply a meaningless cliche, similar to saying “Good to see ya,” or “Have a good one!”  (By the way, “Have a good one” has always irritated me.  I feel like responding, “A good what?)  Just as Peter was charged to demonstrate his love for Jesus, and not just proclaim it, we who are followers of Christ are charged to sincerely love one another.

If you want to get an idea of what genuine love is, turn to 1 Corinthians 13 and read that chapter carefully.  Love that is “without dissimulation” is caring, giving, understanding and compassionate.  Are you a loving soul?  If not, seek the Lord about that need in your life.  Lord Jesus, help me to love as You love.  Teach me to love, and grace my heart with a love that is “without dissimulation.”  Amen!

March 25

Galatians 5:13-15

I told the grandkids a tale once about two snakes that got into a terrible fight.  The one snake started to crawl off, but the other grabbed him by the tail and started swallowing him.  When this happened, he turned and grabbed his attacker by the tail and started swallowing him.  They just kept swallowing until there was nothing left.  Papas tell crazy stories like that.  You might ask, “What has that silly story got to do with a Bible devotion?”  I’m glad you asked.

“…if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another.”  How many churches do you imagine have been hurt or even ruined by members devouring one another.  I would venture to say that some congregations, like my silly snake story, have literally devoured one another until there was nothing left at all.  What a testimony is that to the world!

What is the answer?  Yesterday’s devotional thought is a good start.  If we genuinely love one another, we will not be biting or devouring one another.  Will we always agree with one another?  No.  Will we always see things the same way?  No.  I guess there are some things that me and my wife disagree on, some things we do not see the same way, but our love makes up the difference.  The saints love for one another will cover a multitude of sins, (1 Peter 4:8) and will be consistent regardless of any differences that might arise. (Proverbs 17:17)  Be careful that you don’t find yourself in a situation like the two snakes!

March 26

Galatians 5:16-26

God is love.  God wants His people to be people of love, to demonstrate His love in all they do.  Our Lord Jesus wants us to be identified as His disciples by the love we have in our hearts and display in our lives.  The passage that we are reading in our devotions today is indispensable in understanding how this will be achieved in our lives.

“Walk in the Spirit….”  Here is the challenge for all God’s children that are still dwelling in bodies of flesh.  Here would be a good place to read Romans 8:1-17.  If we are to accomplish anything for our Lord, if we are to be successful in our Christian lives and effective in our service for Him, we must learn to “walk in the Spirit.”  Seek God’s face for this, child of God.  To walk in the Spirit is to be in tune with Him, sensitive of His presence in your life and of His directives in your heart.  It is to be careful not to offend or grieve Him with disobedience and sin.  Walking in the Spirit speaks of following His leadership in your life.  It is the seeking of His illumination, power and guidance in service for the cause of Christ.  And, beloved, if we are walking in the Spirit, the first “fruit” that will be produced is “love.”

You may be thinking, “I’m not a very loving person.  That’s just the way I was raised, and that is just the way I am.”  That may be true, but if you will “walk in the Spirit,” the love of God will fill you and will shine on you regardless of how you are naturally.  By the way, that’s what the Holy Spirit is really good at; the changing of us from what we were naturally to what He wants us to be spiritually.  “Walk in the Spirit” and you will experience and show forth the “fruit of the Spirit” which is “love.”

March 27

Ephesians 1:1-23

Our devotions for this month have been concerned with the love of God, both what we see and know in Him and what He imparts to us as His own.  The Book of Ephesians is filled with the subject of love.  In this first chapter you saw it referenced in Verses 4 and 15.  In fact, the word love is found 19 times in this book.  Ephesians is an intensely spiritual book.  In our last devotion, we saw that walking in the Spirit is a very important key in experiencing and displaying of the love of God in our lives.  Look at the command given in Ephesians 5:18; “…be filled with the Spirit.”  If He is completely controlling me, the Holy Spirit will produce the love in my heart that will show in my life.

A key verse in Ephesians in found in Chapter 5, Verse 2 where we read, “And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling savor.”  The Lord Jesus demonstrated His love in His giving of Himself for us, setting an example for us to follow.  True love is giving.  It is sacrificial.  Christ’s love is, and so must our’s be.  Our Lord’s “I love you” (John 3:16) was followed by proving those words by giving of Himself. (John 15:13)  My “I love you” must be demonstrated to be really known.  To declare “I love you” without ever actually demonstrating that love would be rather empty and fruitless.  Thank God for His great love wherewith He loved us!  May He help us in fully experiencing that love, knowing it fully and then sharing that love with all we come in contact with!

March 28

Ephesians 4:1-16

“…Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it….” (Ephesians 5:25)  The love the Lord Jesus has for His Church cannot be overstated.  As we noted earlier, His love is a giving love, a sacrificial love and an eternal love.  You will remember that He commanded us to “love one another,” and that by that love we would be His disciples.  All of the work of Christ is permeated with love.  Therefore, His desire for His Church is that it be also permeated with love.

In our passage today, Paul informs us that the Lord has made provisions for His Church in order that the Church might be “perfected,”

“Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect (fully developed and spiritually mature) man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ….”  In so doing, the body will be “fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth….”  Through that working of the Spirit within the Church, there will be an “increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.”

Back to what we said earlier, the Lord’s desire is that the Church be permeated with love; the love of Christ and the love of the saints one for another.  In so doing, the Church will be edifying itself, or building itself up in the faith.  This is seen as an “increase,” or a spiritual growth.  When the Church is spiritually healthy, it is a spiritually growing organism of faith in Christ.  This is His desire for us, and our privilege in Him.  O, child of God, let’s ever pray that our Church will be a spiritually healthy and growing body in the Lord Jesus Christ.  Amen!

March 29

Ephesians 5:2, 25-33; Colossians 3:18-21; Titus 2:1-8

As it is the Lord’s will for His Church to be permeated with love, it is also His will that the Christian home be filled with love.  The teaching is really very clear; husbands are to love their wives, and wives are to love their husbands and their children.  Children are taught to honor and obey their parents, which will also be motivated by love.

One of the saddest commentaries on modern society is the lack of love.  What love is proclaimed is often only just that; proclaimed and not really practiced or experienced.  Because of this, society is filled with insecurity and loneliness.  This is especially sad for the younger among us.  Children need the security that comes from genuine love, as well as do the not so young.  Everyone needs love.  God made us that way.  A home that knows no love is not really a home.  It is only a dwelling where members of a family dwell together, but separately.  Beloved, this ought not to be.

Life busy and hectic.  It has many hurdles and obstacles to overcome.  Nothing can really change that.  It is what it is, but a life that has love has such an advantage.  When a day is especially trying, coming home to love is like a healing balm for the soul.  When young people are confronted with evil all around them, the safety of a home filled with the love of God and love for one another is like safe place where that evil is barred from entering at the door.  Our Lord knows how important love is to the home, and will see that the love that is so necessary is there if we will but heed His Word and seek His direction and strength.

Father in heaven, fill our homes with Your love.  Strengthen our love for Your and for one another.  For this we will ever praise Your Name.  In Christ’s Name we pray, Amen!

March 30

We have been discussing love this month.  I honestly could probably deal with this very topic for many months in our devotions.  This has been a blessing to me, and I truly hope and pray that it has been for you.  For the closing day of March, I would like for us to carefully read the following words from 1 John 4, Verses 7-19.  Read them carefully and prayerfully, and may the Lord add His blessing to the reading and meditation upon His precious Word.

1Jn 4:7  Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.

1Jn 4:8  He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.

1Jn 4:9  In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.

1Jn 4:10  Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

1Jn 4:11  Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.

1Jn 4:12  No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us.

1Jn 4:13  Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit.

1Jn 4:14  And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world.

1Jn 4:15  Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God.

1Jn 4:16  And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.

1Jn 4:17  Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world.

1Jn 4:18  There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.

1Jn 4:19  We love him, because he first loved us.


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