Thursday, December 17, 2009

Perfect Love

Christmas is my favorite holiday! I’m one of those people who starts decorating and listening to Christmas music as soon as Halloween is over =) Eggnog is my addiction and you probably won’t catch me without an eggnog latte in my hand for two months straight. I love seeing faces of family and friends that I miss throughout the year. Houses decorated beautifully with tons of Christmas lights, and Christmas trees sparkling through the windows. Seeing the cheer on everyone’s faces as we attend parties in celebration of the season. Bundled up in sweaters and scarves, sitting by fireplaces, drinking coffee, and having conversations with the one’s that we love. It’s the most wonderful time of the year!!

BUT…first and foremost above all that was mentioned above…is the overwhelming sense of gratefulness for God’s love, and the sacrifice He made in sending His son to be born into this world. It seems all too common this time of year, to find ourselves so easily distracted with all of the hustle and bustle of our holiday antics. I am guilty as charged. However, I’ve found the following verses from I John 4 as a challenge, not just during this Christmas season…but every day that I live on this earth, to truly be mindful of what this life’s really about. Love. Loving God…and Loving Others.

1 John 4:7-21- The Message

God is Love

“My beloved friends, let us continue to love each other since love comes from God. Everyone who loves is born of God and experiences a relationship with God. The person who refuses to love doesn't know the first thing about God, because God is love—so you can't know him if you don't love. This is how God showed his love for us: God sent his only Son into the world so we might live through him. This is the kind of love we are talking about—not that we once upon a time loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to clear away our sins and the damage they've done to our relationship with God.
If God loved us like this, we certainly ought to love each other. No one has seen God, ever. But if we love one another, God dwells deeply within us, and his love becomes complete in us—perfect love!
This is how we know we're living steadily and deeply in him, and he in us: He's given us life from his life, from his very own Spirit. Also, we've seen for ourselves and continue to state openly that the Father sent his Son as Savior of the world. Everyone who confesses that Jesus is God's Son participates continuously in an intimate relationship with God. We know it so well, we've embraced it heart and soul, this love that comes from God.

To Love, to Be Loved

"God is love. When we take up permanent residence in a life of love, we live in God and God lives in us. This way, love has the run of the house, becomes at home and mature in us, so that we're free of worry on Judgment Day—our standing in the world is identical with Christ's. There is no room in love for fear. Well-formed love banishes fear. Since fear is crippling, a fearful life—fear of death, fear of judgment—is one not yet fully formed in love.
We, though, are going to love—love and be loved. First we were loved, now we love. He loved us first.
If anyone boasts, "I love God," and goes right on hating his brother or sister, thinking nothing of it, he is a liar. If he won't love the person he can see, how can he love the God he can't see? The command we have from Christ is blunt: Loving God includes loving people. You've got to love both.”

The love of God is an indescribable thing. It’s something that I long to experience and come to know, more and more each day. We are called as children of God to love our neighbors, the people in the world around us, but in order to do this in the manner that He intends, we must challenge ourselves to understanding the magnitude and depth of what our Father in heaven feels towards us. As we do this, 1 John 4:12 says “God dwells deeply within us, and his love becomes complete in us—perfect love!” The song that you will hear in the video below is called "How He Loves" originally by Kim Walker. It has been such a blessing and encouragement to me over the past few months that I couldn't help but share!

Merry Christmas Everyone!! I love you all!!