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Love Extravagantly

Good morning. It is Friday, November 5, 2021. Jeanette Stark here.

Several years ago, I was talking with a friend about heaven and salvation. I made the remark, “I am afraid I will never be good enough.” The friend replied, “You WILL NEVER BE GOOD ENOUGH.”

I instantly thought “ouch” but that friend went to say “That is why Jesus died on the cross for you.”

Even our most righteous acts are like filthy rags to God.

Isaiah 64:6 tells us: “But we are all like an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags;…” NKJV

Friends, He is good enough. He made that sacrifice for us. We have a sinful nature. He is perfect. Jesus died the death we deserve. What a gift!!!

What is sin? My mom once shared with me, sin literally means to miss the mark. Like an archer, we aim but often we miss. Sometimes we hit the target but unless we practice daily and become a Master Archer, we will miss.

But what is the ‘mark’ in human living?

I believe it is love. Agape love to be exact.

What is Agape love? It is that perfect love that God desires for us to have toward Him and toward each other.

“Jesus answered him, “The first (or foremost) of all the commandments is: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment. And the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” So the scribe said to Him, “Well said, Teacher. You have spoken the truth, for there is one God, and there is no other but He. And to love Him with all the heart, with all the understanding, with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love one’s neighbor as oneself, is more than all the whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.” Now when Jesus saw that he answered wisely, He said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” But after that no one dared question Him.” Mark 12:29-34 NKJV

Agape love is much different than any other kind of love. In fact, the word love is so very much overused in the English language. For instance, I might say “I love bread.” I especially love homemade bread, still warm from the over. I really love homemade bread with real butter on it! But is that real love?

I will say I love my dog and my kittens. I love my house and the many trees that stand on my property. I love my job etc. But what about Agape love? What does that truly look like? It is right here:

If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don’t love, I’m nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate.

If I speak God’s Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, “Jump,” and it jumps, but I don’t love, I’m nothing.

If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.

Love never gives up. Love cares more for others than for self. Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have. Love doesn’t strut, Doesn’t have a swelled head, Doesn’t force itself on others, Isn’t always “me first,” Doesn’t fly off the handle, Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others, Doesn’t revel when others grovel, Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth, Puts up with anything, Trusts God always, Always looks for the best, Never looks back, But keeps going to the end.

Love never dies…we have three things to do…Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love.” 1 Corinthians 13:1-13 The Message version

Love extravagantly. I like that visual!! I am nothing without love. Nothing

I believe if we love the way God wants us to love, everything else will fall into place. So, keep aiming for that mark. When you miss, put your arrow in the bow and aim again. Never give up! Confess your sins to God and try again. And remember, His mercies are new every morning.

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