Love One Another

by Crystal Bowman

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 1 John 4:7 NIV

With Valentine’s day being smack dab in the middle of the month, February is known for celebrating love and romance. According to the National Retail Federation, about 55% of Americans celebrate Valentine’s Day, and those who do will spend close to $150 to give gifts to their loved ones.

To love others and to be loved is one of the strongest and most basic needs we have. When God created our innermost being (Psalm 139), He created us with that desire to love and be loved.

There are four different kinds of love in the Bible. Eros is a Greek word that refers to the longing or desire that is present in romantic love. Storge is the love we have for our family and close relatives. Mary and Martha showed this type of love in their deep grief over the death of their brother Lazarus. Philos is the love we have for friends. It’s the type of love we practice through social friendliness and acts of kindness. Agape is divine love. It’s the love God demonstrated when He gave His Son to die on the cross to save the world from sin (John 3:16). It’s the highest form of love and the kind of love God gives us every day.

Agape love is the type of love God commands us to have for others. It’s unconditional, unselfish, and sacrificial. In John 13:34-35 (NIV) Jesus tells His disciples, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples if you love one another.”

Loving my friends and family is easy to do (most of the time). But loving strangers or people we don’t like is another matter. Do I truly care about the people suffering in 3rd world countries or inner-city slums? Do I offer agape love when it’s an inconvenience or a burden? 

One summer afternoon (before the pandemic), while walking downtown, I saw a homeless man sitting on a bench in front of our high-rise condo building. I’d seen him there often and usually smiled as I walked by. But this time, the Holy Spirit nudged me to do more than smile. I thought about my options as I rode the elevator to our floor. I knew he was probably hungry, but I wanted to offer more than physical food. 

After I packed a sack lunch and a bottle of water, I enclosed a copy of Our Daily Bread—a monthly devotional. I slipped some cash in between the pages of the devotional and rode the elevator back to the ground floor. I handed him the sack and said, “Here’s something I want to share with you.” He looked surprised, smiled brightly, and said, “Why, thank you so much. God bless you.”

This small act of love was not an inconvenience or a sacrifice. I’m not even sure in which category of love it belongs. But the smile on that man’s face is something I will never forget. I hope he read the devotions in the monthly booklet, and I hope he knows how much God loves him.

Expressing love is not just for the month of February, it’s for every day of the year. I pray that God will open my heart and my eyes to see ways I can show love to others.

And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. 1 John 4:16 NIV

This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).

About the author: Crystal Bowman is a bestselling, award-winning author of more than 100 books including, Our Daily Bread for Kids.She and her husband have three married children and seven huggable grandchildren.

When a child’s grandparent or great-grandparent is afflicted with dementia, it’s difficult to explain the disease in a way that helps the child understand why the person they love is not the same. I Love You to the Stars–When Grandma Forgets, Love Remembersis a picture book inspired by a true story to help young children understand that even though Grandma is acting differently, she still loves them–to the stars!

Join the conversation: Have you been led to show love lately? Tell us your story!

Love One Another

by Christina Rose 

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”  John 3:16 NIV

This passage has had me in awe since I was a little girl.  I would think, “How could a parent give up their son?”   I couldn’t imagine, nor did I want to image my parents ever giving me up, let alone having me suffer for hours, being beaten and hung on a cross.  Yet that priceless sacrifice changed and continues to change billions of lives around the world.

Yesterday was the funeral service for Kendrick Castillo, the hero of the Colorado STEM School shooting that occurred on May 7, 2019.  Kendrick, a high school senior due to graduate in 3 days, threw himself upon a fellow student armed with a handgun who threatened the school.  He and two others rushed the armed student, giving other students the opportunity to flee.  In the process, Kendrick was shot and did not survive.

The service was held at my church, Cherry Hills Community Church, and thousands attended. Kendrick’s parents, John and Maria, had looked forward to seeing their only son Kendrick graduate in a few days, but instead they had to plan his funeral. His parents were heartbroken, yet revealed that Kendrick had shared earlier that if he ever found himself in the midst of a school shooting, he would not hesitate to attack the shooter to spare his friends.

“Greater love has no one than this: to lay  down one’s life for one’s friends.” John 15:13 NIV

Watching the thousands of cars arrive by procession, the throngs filling the church, Kendrick’s casket being wheeled in, his parents walking in with their small dog, and the pictures of Kendrick’s smiling, warm face touched the hearts of many and tears flowed freely. Each person who spoke shared memories of a compassionate, devoted, faith-filled young man who loved to help everyone he could.

John Castillo was the last to speak. I thought, “How could this man be so brave to address and comfort thousands when his only son was killed just one week ago?” It then became more clear to me how God allowed his only son Jesus to die on the cross for us. While the suffering seemed unbearable, in the end that example of unselfish love would inspire and elevate people to be their best.

John shared that we should all walk like Kendrick, who walked in faith and love just as Jesus taught us to do. He then encouraged, “When you see people struggling and moving into darkness, sit with them and help them figure it out.  Our world needs help; what you choose to do with your gifts is up to you.”

I wondered, “What if all of us reached out to everyone who is struggling to pull them out of darkness? What if we made everyone feel loved and valuable to prevent further acts of desperation and destruction?”

While our community continues to heal, we will never forget our selfless hero Kendrick, who was a gift, a blessing, and an inspiration of boldly walking in faith and loving the world.  Kendrick’s love and sacrifice has changed thousands of lives forever.

Love One Another – thoughts on walking in #Faith and loving the world – Christian Rose on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

christina roseAbout the author: Christina Rose is an author, trainer and speaker certified by the John Maxwell Team of Leadership.  She is a DAR (Daughter of the American Revolution) whose ancestors fought in the Revolutionary War. A devoted mom of two daughters and great aunt to over 40 nieces and nephews, Christina loves spending time in nature and hosting gatherings for family and friends.

Christina’s book, My Appeal to Heaven, is her story. Her marriage in shambles, Christina finds herself in a desperate situation with no resources other than herself. After appealing to heaven, the Lord takes her on a journey of awakening and miraculous empowerment. That power that is available to us all, especially those who are in need of hope and freedom.

Join the conversation: In what practical ways can we “give up our lives” in our own communities?