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Sunday, February 24, 2013

Now is the time for AGAPE

“The best use of life is love.
The best expression of love is time.
The best time to love is now.”
― Rick Warren

The Greek word Agape is often translated to Love in the New Testament, and the essence of agape love is self-sacrifice. Unlike our English word Love, Agape is not used in the Bible to refer to romantic or sexual love, nor does it refer to close friendship or brotherly love. Agape love is unique and distinguished by its nature and character. Agape love is the love of God, whose very nature is love. God does not merely love; He is love.

Everything God does flows from His pure and loving heart. His affection for us comes for no other reason except that it is His nature and the expression of His being. We are the undeserving recipients upon whom He lavishes His affection. In that same way, we are called to love others sacrificially.

Loving others takes time and sacrifice.

Jesus gave the parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:29-37) as an example of sacrifice for the sake of others, even for those who may care nothing at all for us, or even hate us, as the Jews did the Samaritans.

Sacrificial love is not based on a feeling, but a determined act of the will, a joyful resolve to put the welfare of others above our own. But this type of love does not come naturally to humans. Because of our fallen nature, we are incapable of producing such a love. If we are to follow the example of agape, it can only come from its true source: Only God can generate within us the kind of self-sacrificing love which is the proof that we are His children. And because of God’s agape love toward us, we are now able to love one another.

Ask yourself today whether you’ve been a free and willing vessel of God’s agape love, and whether you’ve allowed it to flow out to others. What was the last sacrificial expression you’ve extended to someone else?

Remember the wave of people who initiated and encouraged others to follow suit in a trend toward Random Acts of Kindness? Step out today and revive that trend. Give yourself the permission to perform five acts of random and selfless kindness this week. Make it your mission to take the time and make the sacrifice. As Rick Warren wrote, “The time to love is NOW.”

John 15:10-12 (New Living Translation)
10 “When you obey my commandments, you remain in my love, just as I obey my Father’s commandments and remain in his love. 11 I have told you these things so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow! 12 This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you.”

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Sandra D. Bricker is a best-selling and award-winning author of laugh-out-loud romantic comedy for the Christian market. Her most popular series (that started with Always the Baker Never the Bride) will conclude this spring with Always the Baker FINALLY the Bride, which is now available for pre-order at Amazon.

Sandie leads a team of writers in creating the Living It Out daily Bible study for CedarCreek Church. Today's devotion is based on the Living It Out study on the importance of loving others. If you enjoyed it, feel free to check out the daily studies by e-mail or audio podcast by clicking HERE


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