I Love, Therefore I Give
Pray now for children who are abused or neglected and do not know love, especially any you may know of.
Read 1 John 3:11-24
 For this is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another.  Do not be like Cain, who belonged to the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own actions were evil and his brother’s were righteous.  Do not be surprised, my brothers and sisters, if the world hates you.  We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love each other. Anyone who does not love remains in death.  Anyone who hates a brother or sister is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life residing in him.  This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.  If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person?  Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.  This is how we know that we belong to the truth and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence:  If our hearts condemn us, we know that God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything.  Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God  and receive from him anything we ask, because we keep his commands and do what pleases him.  And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us.  The one who keeps God’s commands lives in him, and he in them. And this is how we know that he lives in us: We know it by the Spirit he gave us. Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
ReflectHow does John tell us to be sure to live?
Christianity is not about love. The Christian faith is love. We are therefore to love our brothers and sisters who journey with us in the wider Christian family (11). This means not just those of our own denomination, but all those people who worship God and his Son, Jesus. Sometimes it is almost impossible for the world outside to see our faith expressed as love. We squabble, have factions and disagreements, take umbrage at what others do; and that is just in our own church! Different denominations and different ways of expressing our faith have caused schisms, splits and seemingly irreparable divisions. John stresses that we must love our fellow Christians. God’s love for the world was shown when Jesus, the Son of God, laid down his life for us (16a). And we should be prepared to give up our rights, our desires and even our lives for our fellow believers (16b,17). Indeed, persecuted Christians in some countries frequently give up everything for their brothers and sisters. We need to share all that we have, for our love is not just in our minds, but in what we do (18).
Think of three ways in which your church could help to overcome the barriers between Christians. Can you begin them?
Lord Jesus, You showed us how to love. Help me to be a loving person, especially to other Christians.
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