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Tithing Today? by Bayless Conley

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DEVOTIONAL

Today's featured devotional...
sandheartWhat motivates our decisions? Do we react in an effort to protect ourselves from the hurts and actions of others — whether they are remembered or anticipated? Do we respond to the circumstances that come against us from the outside? Or does God's gift of unconditional love burn within the very core of our being?

We were not made for hate or fear. We were made for a life of love. The challenge we face is that the natural course of life is spiraling downward and away from the loving attitudes that the Word of God describes for our lives.

Some people can be hard, manipulative, and self-serving. Even among Christians, it is not common to find those who let love dominate their lives. But there is a way to reverse the downward spiral we face. Paul says to simply, "Pursue love." (1 Cor. 14:1)

This passage is not talking about pursuing the natural, worldly kind of love. Natural love only does well in an atmosphere of appreciation and friendship. It grows when there is mutual affection and respect. However, if this natural love is not returned, it can quickly grow cold or even become harsh and bitter.

Natural love may begin with deep feelings that would appear to last forever. Yet, many times marriage starts with the commitment "until death do us part" and turns into a painfully cold, unfulfilling relationship.

The good news is that there is a different kind of love available to Christians. Romans 5:5 says, "God's love for us floods our hearts through the Holy Spirit" (Weymouth). After we are born again, love takes us over and washes through the center of our beings.

The God-kind of love is perfect love. It is without question the greatest of all the fruit of the Spirit dwelling within the believer. Nothing is more necessary in the life of a believer than love, and nothing makes life richer. Every believer must make love a lifelong quest.

The strength of the God-kind of love will keep us stable and free from the fluctuating feelings that pull many people down. Love will free us to honor others even when they have disappointed us.

When we are born again, we are a carrier and container of God's love. The world needs to experience the God-kind of love flowing from us.

We have been recreated to be expressions of God's love — a light of hope to the masses who are dark and depressed.

No matter how they may act, people who have never experienced God's love do not need harshness or condemnation. They need the message of the gospel that love is not earned but received freely through a relationship with Jesus Christ.

The love of God that resides in our hearts is one of the most powerful aspects of the new birth. The strength of this love does not depend on other people's actions. It will even move us into positive actions toward those who despitefully use us. Jesus not only commands us to love, but He also fully supplies the grace to do it.



Copyright © Dennis Burke Ministries
All rights reserved. Used by permission.

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The online ministry of cfaith has been helping people discover faith, friends and freedom in the Word since 2000. Cfaith provides a unique and comprehensive collection of faith-building resources for the worldwide faith community.

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