Tag Archives: giving

The Gift of Himself

The Gift of Himself

I read about one boy named Alfred who “wrote a letter to Santa which read, “Dear Santa, you did not bring me anything good last year. You did not bring me anything good the year before that. This is your last chance. Signed, Alfred.””

Of course, us humans receiving material gifts is not the purpose of Christmas. Modern thinking tends to focus on gifts to the neglect of the reason for Christmas to begin with.

As the Christmas day approaches news reports always come in about record sales or low sales at the stores.  As soon as Black Friday hit, we heard of the large number of retail sales.  Online sales soared again on Cyber Monday.  Business owners perhaps are thinking “this is the best Christmas ever!”

When everything is said and done – the first Christmas is the best Christmas.  It was on that day, that Jesus inserted Himself into this human experience, took on flesh, and began His mission to seek and save the lost.   He gave Himself to us as a gift.

With all the busyness of the season, please do not forget the reason for this season.  God’s love.  His Gift. God’s Son. His Sacrifice. Our Sins. His Forgiveness.  Thank the Lord Jesus came to earth for us.   Thank God for the gift of His Son and the Salvation He purchased at the cross.

Philippians  2:5-8 is a good Christmas reminder: “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: 7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: 8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Don’t Be Like Your Dog

Don’t Be Like Your Dog

“A little lad of six was invited out to lunch in a neighbor’s home. As soon as all were seated at the table the food was served. The little boy was puzzled, and, with a child’s frankness, asked, “Don’t you say a prayer before you eat?” The host was uncomfortable, and mumbled, “No, we don’t take time for that.” The lad thought silently for a while, and said, “You’re just like my dog! You start right in.””

Don’t be like your dog on Thanksgiving.  Remember to give thanks to the Lord.

One of my favorite things to do each holiday season is to watch Charlie Brown and his talented dog, Snoopy.  One of the best yearly reminders of God’s blessing to early America can be seen in Charles Schultz’ rendition of the Pilgrims coming over on the Mayflower, meeting Chief Massasoit and Squanto and sitting down to dinner and giving thanks to God for surviving the brutal and deadly winters they were unprepared for.  With little food, a majority of the settlers buried, and with great uncertainty facing the future, they stopped everything to praise and thank the Lord.

It has been said that being truly “thankful” involves “giving.”  After all, the word Thanksgiving is a compound word; and both “Thanks” and Giving” are words rich with meaning.  Grateful people are happy people.  Have you ever seen a complaining, grumbling person?  Sure.  Are they happy?  No.  We are most happy when we have thankful attitudes, grateful words, and gracious actions.  If you are consistently giving praise and thanks to the Lord, you will be less likely to be critical, self absorbed, and feeling negative about life.

We need to be like the Apostle Paul who said in 1 Thessalonians 5:18, “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”  The early Christians living in the city of Thessalonica were challenged and encouraged to give thanks in everything in life.  Every life stage.  Every circumstance.  Every weather event.  Every electoral cycle.  Every season of life.  Every start to the week.  In.  Everything.  Give.  Thanks.

Happy Thanksgiving!  Thank-you for reading these devotionals.  I am grateful for each reader and pray that these postings will be a help to you.

 

 

 

 

 

(Snoopy rendition by Charles Schulz, from internet search)

Developing Character at Christmas

Developing Character at Christmas

“And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.” Matthew 2:11

In a day of extreme excess and people forgetting the true meaning of Christmas, Christian people must purpose in their mind and be deliberate in their actions to accurately portray Christmas to the family and to others.

The American Research Group reports: “Shoppers around the country say they are planning to spend an average of $929 for gifts this holiday season, up from $882 last year according to the 32d annual survey on holiday spending from the American Research Group, Inc. Planned gift spending for 2016 is $47 above spending in 2015 and it is the first time planned gift spending exceeds $900 since 2006.”

Black Friday, and Cyber Monday were again record breaking days in the number of sales and dollars transacted.

I like the choir song: “Much to do no time to do it, I can’t get it all done at Christmastime…”

With our schedules and minds being pulled in so many different directions, sometimes we forget the real purpose and meaning of Christmas!

Here are some ideas to help build character in yourself and your family members.

Emphasize Giving, Not Getting.  In Acts 20:35 Jesus said: “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”

  • Encourage kids to give outgrown cloths.
  • Encourage the family to give unused toys (Even the tools and toys the men may have).
  • Exemplify giving to others in more need. Find someone to give food or essential items. Give things that you enjoy that others may enjoy them too.
  • Enjoy sharing a meal with others.
  • No matter our age, occupation, or financial status, each of us are in a position where we can give something to someone else.

Encourage Moderation, Not Excess.  Philippians 4:5 declares: “Let your moderation be known unto all men.”

Moderation means appropriate and mild.  When the wise men celebrated Jesus, they did so with three meaningful gifts:  “gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.”

The gold was worthy of a King, the frankincense demonstrating His purity, and the myrrh represented His purpose for coming, to die on the cross.  Most of the time a few quality gifts mean more.

Joseph was able to take baby Jesus to Egypt and escape the murderous plot of King Herod to kill all the baby boys age 2 and under.  Joseph left his job and had the ability to move because of these meaningful gifts.

With our children we have purpose behind each gift.  We give…

  • An item they were hoping for. An item that would be on a “Wish list.”
  • An item they share with others in watching or listening to. An old TV show or movie that does not take away but contributes to godly character.
  • An item they can play with others. A board game, basketball, or even a video game would work here.

Cloths are a necessity so we do not include them as an item.  Three gifts are all we plan for.  Be purposeful with your gifts.  You may have some priorities that are like the above suggestions.  Whatever you do – have a purpose of some kind behind each one.  Be generous – with purpose and meaning.

Enable Simplicity, Not Busyness.

The church at Ephesus in Revelation chapter 2 “left their first love.”  How can that happen?  Because of the excess, commercials, and lustful society we live in – it is easy to get caught up with material things and business too.

Proverbs 4:23 instructs: “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.”  In order to keep safe our heart – we must have a greater purpose and plan.

Sometimes we are so busy we do get anything done.  Many of us do not accomplish anything that is worthwhile even though they have stress, work, and all the other symptoms of being productive.

SELAH – Stop and Think – is a needed practice at Christmas time.  Here are some suggestions to help you not be so busy that you forget what Christmas is really all about.

  • Read the Christmas Story in Matthew 2 and Luke 2.
  • Go to and participate in special church programs, but lesson your overall commitments of time and energy to things that have less than spiritual purposes.
  • Turn off the tv during the days off school. Our kids should not sit in front of a tv from 8 am to 3 pm.
  • Tune up beautiful Christmas Music. There are many wonderful Christian radio websites that will encourage you.  Please see the other postings for their addresses.
  • Go Christmas Caroling.
  • If you do watch a Christmas Movie, do so together as a family.

Be Purposeful – to Develop Character at Christmas.  Since Jesus Himself is the gift of Christmas, the things we do and give should reflect Him.  After all – It is His birthday we are supposed to be celebrating.

 

 

 

 

The Initiative of Missions

The Initiative of Missions

Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you.  John 20:21

The tomb was empty.  The disciples were hiding in the Upper Room.  Jesus shows up.  He appears in the middle of the room even with all the doors and windows of the Upper Room closed.  The resurrected Savoir speaks about peace, the peace of God.  Then He directs the attention of the mesmerized disciples to the thought that just as the Father sent Jesus on a mission of rescue, Jesus was now sending His disciples.  He then enables them with the filling of the Holy Spirit.  Later in Acts 1 they are empowered by His Spirit.  Jesus initiates the call to participate in missions.

As disciples of Jesus, we are called with the same calling.  We are to go into this world and preach the Gospel.  While not everyone will be in ministry “vocationally” we are all in the ministry of giving out the Gospel.  You can help your church witness by giving out Gospel tracts and inviting people to church.  Concerning missions; Praying, giving and going are all important aspects.  You may be involved in praying and giving which then provides for those who actually go into vocational missions.  It could be that the Lord calls you to go into missions.

Three thoughts about missions:

Missions is Intentional.  Churches are not planted on accident.  When the disciples went about the world 2000 years ago, they preached, saw people saved, discipled, baptized and local churches formed.  Church planting is the primary goal of missions.  In order to start a church, evangelism and discipleship must take place.  It is good to note that discipleship always starts with evangelism.  It is impossible to truly have one without the other.  We are to “make disciples.”  This is very intentional when planting the seed of the Gospel and watering with the Word.

Missions is an Investment.  Speaking of “grace giving” or “faith promise missions giving” Paul says in Philippians 4:17: “Not because I desire a gift: but I desire fruit that may abound to your account.”  The believers in the church at Philippi were consistent in giving finances to Paul and his mission work.  When a soul was saved, a convert discipled, and a church established, that was fruit added to the account of the believers.  Their financial investment paid off in spiritual dividends.

Missions is Invitational.  The invitation is open to “whosoever will.”  Whether a young child, or a down and out adult, the invitation is still the same.  Jesus said in Matthew 11:28: “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” And in 19:14: “But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.”   Whether it is here at home or on foreign soil: “Come to Jesus.”  Rich, poor, famous or infamous, healthy or not healthy: “Come to Jesus.”  The invitation is open for all.

It is the Lord who has initiated the call to you and I to be “sent” and to take His message to a needing world.  Are you participating in the evangelism opportunities of your local church?  Are you praying for and giving finances to missions?  Are you willing to go if the Lord calls you to vocational missions?

Let the words of Jesus resonate in your mind: “Even so send I you…

 

Loving God

Loving God

And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.        Mark 12:30-31

With “love” on the mind of many people each February let’s take a moment to examine “love” in the Bible.  While we are to love others, and have a self-sacrificing, giving type love, for another to demonstrate true love, we must start with loving God first.  True Love for Others Starts with Loving God First…

We all know that people who do not love God are still capable of loving others.  In fact, you may know some lost people who appear to demonstrate love better than some Christians you know.  Everyone is capable of some level of loving others.  To make it deeper and longer lasting, it must have a stronger foundation.  It must begin with loving God, which starts when a person realizes how much God loves them.

To discover what this love for God looks like, we will look at each verse in the Book of First John that includes the word “love.”

“Love” is found 23 times in these five short chapters.  Take a moment to read each verse then make an application in your life for today.  Here they are:

  • 2:5 But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him. (“Perfected” means completed or matured.)
  • 2:15 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
  • 3:1 Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.
  • 3:11 For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another.
  • 3:14 We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death.
  • 3:16 Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.
  • 3:17 But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?
  • 3:18 My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.
  • 3:23 And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment.
  • 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.
  • 4:8 He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.
  • 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.
  • 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. (“Propitiation” means payment or atonement. Romans involved in paganism used the word describing the turning away of wrath from their hateful gods. The True God made the only way for true propitiation with His very own Son, Jesus. Only Jesus can make a relationship to God right.)
  • 4:11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 4:19 We love him, because he first loved us.
  • 4:20 If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?
  • 4:21 And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.
  • 5:2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments.
  • 5:3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.

Did you notice how our love for God involves our heart attitude towards God and His Word?  Did you also note that it also includes the actions of our lives towards others?  We are not to love the world, its ideas and philosophy, but we are to love God’s Word.  To top it off, love does not live in fear of God’s will but in faith that God’s will is best!  Some people are fearful of relationships because relationships are risky.  A person living this way is not really loving God.  Keeping the commands of God are not grievous.  In fact, they are very rewarding.

Take a moment to examine your relationship with God and His commands in the Bible.

Take a moment to examine your relationship with worldly philosophies.

Take a moment to examine your relationship with other believers.

Purpose to love God with all of your life and being… Then love for others will become more evident.

Any Candy in Your Chocolate Box?

Any Candy in Your Chocolate Box? 

Ecclesiastes 9:9 Live joyfully with the wife whom thou lovest all the days of the life of thy vanity, which he hath given thee under the sun, all the days of thy vanity: for that is thy portion in this life, and in thy labour which thou takest under the sun.

Imagine a gushy eyed young man looking in the face of his beautiful bride to be.  They are talking about how much they love one another and how wonderful life is with each other.  As she is intently gazing into his eyes he suddenly presents a HUGE box of chocolates.  This is the biggest box of Russell Stover chocolates that she has ever seen!  She smiles in amazement at this gift as he had hands the box to her.  She loves fine chocolate – what a thoughtful gift! A box this big must have cost a lot.  She thought momentarily “He must really love me.”  As her hands wrap around the box he says: “This was the best candy I have ever ate.  Your favorite peanut crunchy pieces were so tasty.”  She opens the box and it is empty!  Her man had eaten all of the candy in the box.

Imagine a similar scene.  The chocolate box is small, heart shaped, but it actually has candy in it.  As the girl opens the box the rich aroma of fine chocolate touches her senses.  She reaches in and enjoys a creamy taste of heaven and is appreciative of the thoughtful gift from her man.  While there are only three pieces, these are pieces that they share together.

Which man is really showing love towards his bride to be?  The one who gave box of chocolate that actually had candy in it.

Many times we say we “love someone” but they are empty words.  The love we may really display is selfish love; loving ourselves rather than loving others.  We are born selfish – it is called the sin nature.  It is easy to choose to love yourself.  It is something divine to show real love to other people.

Love is a tremendous choice that touches our emotions.  Love is more than an emotion, feeling, or an expression.  Love is giving to other people.  Let’s open up the box of chocolate and discover what real love is.

Love is Comprised of Actions.  In John 14:15 Jesus says “If ye love Me keep my commandments.”  Action towards Christ is needed to demonstrate love for Him.   The same is true in our relationships.  If we love someone we will show actions of love toward them.  Love could be taking out the garbage.  Love could be sharing the last doughnut.  Love could be making coffee early in the morning for your spouse.  What are some actions can we do towards others that can show love?

Giving is a great place to start.  In John 3:16 we find that “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.”  God’s Agape love toward us is a giving love.  We could emulate the Lord and give of our time, talent, or even treasure to other people.  From time spent with me, to golf clubs, and gift cards, and notes of encouragement, I have enjoyed the love of people giving to me.

Sharing is a tremendous way to show love.  Jesus is the eternal God Who shares everlasting life and Heaven with those who trust Him for their salvation.  Romans 5:8 tells us, But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.  John 10:28 teaches, And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.  Could you share time with others, share the blessings of your life with others?  How about special moments or even making memories together?

Caring.  The Lord cares for His people.  1 Peter 5:7 tells us, Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.  Here we discover God’s love is experienced in how He shows care for us.  The word “careth has to do with taking care, concern, and having an interest.  One person said it well: “It matters to Him what matters to you.”  The Lord is interested in our lives, thoughts, and emotions.  We too can show love by showing an interest in other people.  Listen to others.  Learn what is going on in their lives.  Know their favorite things to eat, activities to be a part of, and the cares they have in life.

Bearing. In a similar fashion as Caring, Galatians 6:2 instructs: “Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.”   The law of Christ starts with loving God above all else.  This law continues by loving thy neighbor as thyself.    You can help a person through a tough time by “Feeling their pain.”  What a blessing you can be in bearing a burden by helping them up.  Perhaps a person feels rejected, you can help them.  Maybe they feel all alone; you can let them know that they are not alone.  Many people have difficulty formulating right thoughts and looking at situations in a Biblical way.  They may be depressed or discouraged because of faulty thinking.  You can help them think right, and bear their burden.

Love Is Active in Forgiving.  Love covers sin according to Proverbs 10:12 states, “Hatred stirreth up strifes: but love covereth all sins.”   This does not mean that justice should not be sought or that civil law should not be enforced.  If someone is being hurt, that sin must be accounted for.  This has to do with personal relationships and how you are looking at other people. Clark said of this verse: “Hatred stirreth up strifes—It seeks for occasions to provoke enmity. It delights in broils. On the contrary, love conciliates; removes aggravations; puts the best construction on every thing; and pours water, not oil, upon the flame.”  Anyone can look for the wrong in a spouse, co-worker, or child.  It is something we must decide to do everyday – forgive other people.  Love is actively looking for ways to forgive and let that forgiveness be known.

Forgive With Your Mind.  Hebrews 8:12 tells us about how God sees our sin as Christians, “For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.” Again in Hebrews 10:17 “And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.”  God knows everything, but He chooses not to think about some things!  Following God’s example you will not thinking about their wrong, but looking on how to help them do right. We will not be fixated on a hurt, but focused on what is good about them.  The Human mind is greater than the best computers.  The human mind cannot forget.  Even though we both forgot many things from 5 days ago or even 5 minutes ago, the human mind does not forget.  What we experience, hear, say, and do are etched in our minds forever.  When we forget something, it has more to do with the way that we file information.  Like the library book system, if we can file things in an effective manner we can bring back that information when we need it.  The point is – you may never be able to forget, but you can choose to not remember.   If you continually think about a past hurt or pain that someone caused you, you cannot forgive them.  If you choose to control your mind and push those negatives to the back of your mind, you will be able to forgive because you are thinking like God thinks towards you and your sin.

Forgive With Your Mouth.  When we control what we say about others, it makes forgiveness more possible.   Proverbs 17:9 continues this truth by declaring:  “He that covereth a transgression seeketh love; but he that repeateth a matter separateth very friends.” Want to destroy a relationship?  Go around telling other people everything that other person ever did that was wrong.  List their sins; give an account as if you were the one committing the sin.  Expose the fact that they are sinners too.  You will destroy that relationship.  Love does not do that.  If we repeat wrongs, not only are our minds wrong, we are changing the mind of others towards another person to think less highly of the one we are speaking about.  Marriages, parent/child relationship, and classrooms have all been affected by evil speaking like this.  Some people pour kerosene on fires to keep the fire going.  Some people pour gasoline.  It is hard to pour gasoline on a fire and not get burnt.  When we keep talking about other sinners, we are playing with fire and it will come back to hurt us.

Forgive With Your Motive.  My first question when someone wants to tell me something negative about another is “What is their motive?  Why are they saying this?  Usually it is one of two reasons either Pride or Pain.  In Pride, they are pointing out that they are better than that person or that “they would never commit that sin.”  In Pain, they may be lashing back in a way to strike back or to injure another like they believe they have been injured.  Be reminded of Christ that when He was reviled and struck, He did not revile or strike back.   When we speak about other people’s sin, we can actually taint their image in the sight of others.  Some wives may speak negatively about their husband.  When they do so, they are damaging him and destroying their relationships with him.  Parents have done this with their children.  What tragedy.  We must have the motive of restoring people as Galatians 6:1 says, “Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.” 

Forgive With your Message.  Every day you convey something others. We communicate in verbal communication and non-verbal communication.  Verbal communication includes everything we say and everything we do not say.  While we may not say “I hate you.” By not saying “I love you” some loved ones may not feel loved.  The non-verbal’s also speaks volumes.  Spending time together shows love, but avoiding time with a spouse or a child does not show love.  If there are people you avoid, you may not have really forgiven them.  Of course, if there is potential for abuse, you do not want to be around them; it would be best to stay away from a situation like that if there is danger.  In a general sense, you convey acceptance or unacceptance to other people with the message of your life.  What do you convey intentionally or unintentionally to others?  Every day you and I must purpose to be forgiving of others.

Love is Seeks Victory Each Day.  The Love of God conquers and is victorious every day. As Romans 8:35-39, emphasis:  “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  Nothing in life can change God’s love for us!  What a wonderful truth!  Our relationships can win like this as well.

I like the old Gospel song:  “Love Found a Way.”  It goes like this:

“Wonderful love that rescued me, sunk deep in sin,
Guilty and vile as I could be—no hope within;
When every ray of light had fled, O glorious day!
Raising my soul from out the dead, love found a way.

Love brought my Savior here to die on Calvary,
For such a sinful wretch as I, how can it be?
Love bridged the gulf ’twixt me and Heav’n, taught me to pray,
I am redeemed, set free, forgiv’n, love found a way.

Love opened wide the gates of light to Heav’n’s domain,
Where in eternal power and might Jesus shall reign.
Love lifted me from depths of woe to endless day,
There was no help in earth below; love found a way.

Love found a way, to redeem my soul,
Love found a way, that could make me whole.
Love sent my Lord to the cross of shame,
Love found a way, O praise His holy Name!”

God’s love found a way for our salvation!  Love finds a way to win over every obstacle to a healthy relationship.   True love will find a way to make your marriage work.  Find a way to make that soured relationship work – find a way because of love.  Love wins over sin, selfishness, and distractions, past friends, Face book, TV, former fiancés and anything else you can think of.  Love wins when communication is silent, when you are not understood, and when things get dicey.

Love sees common ground.  Don’t fasten onto the differences you may have; stick to complimentary features.  Give compliments instead of complaints.  Show consideration instead of criticism. Have compassion instead of coldness.

Love works it out when there is not much in the bank account or when the job is lost and foreclosure is in sight.  Love works when feelings are hurt.  Love works it out even if the most damaging thing takes place; when trust is lost.  Love will find a way to restore trust.

Conclusion The Bible has many good examples of this selfless love.  One such example is the prophet Hosea.   Hosea is called of God to marry a girl named Gomer.  She is a beautiful woman, a real stunning beauty.  There is a problem however: she is unfaithful in their marriage relationship.  After starting a family, she runs out and has multiple relationships to make money and to live her own way.  Today this is called human trafficking.  In Hosea 3, Hosea buys her back.  By this point Gomer was a slave in this filthy industry.  Hosea 3:2 says, “So I bought her to me for fifteen pieces of silver, and for an homer of barley, and an half homer of barley:” Thirty pieces of silver was the price for a slave in ancient days.  Hosea gave all he had to buy her from this life of sin she chose to enter because of selfishness.  He did not have enough silver, but he worked hard and had enough grain to make up the difference and he bought his wife back – because of love.  He bought her out of slavery and forgives her because of love!  He gave everything he had to make their relationship work – because of love.

Ladies and gentlemen; if you are married today or hope to be married one day, decide now that you will do whatever it takes to make your relationship work.   Be giving of your love, forgiving in love, and allow love to win in your relationship over everything that could hinder your relationship.  Showing love will change your relationships.  You and I are to love others like God loves us.  Make sure to give a chocolate box with real candy in it.  No selfishness or pretenses, just real and giving –then share your lives together.