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Food for the Soul

Food for the Soul, devotionals to help you in your busy life, written by NEWIM board members and staff. 

Filtering by Tag: Christian love

Love without Limits

Kim Johnson

“. . . and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing”
                                                                                    1 Corinthians 13:2b (NIV).

Many years ago, a friend and I took a day trip to Beverly Hills. Famous for its lavish boutiques and wealthy residents, we just wanted to have a nice lunch and do some window shopping. As we made our way along one particular street, we couldn’t resist stepping into a women’s clothing store that looked inviting. As we browsed, I noticed the sales person greet a gal who was just entering. She whisked her to a brunch table full of goodies and then immediately took her to the fitting room. At first I didn’t think too much about it. There were absolutely no price tags on anything so I was confident nothing was in my price range. But after the same scenario a couple more times, I realized the sales people had not even said hello when my friend and I walked in. To be honest, the fact we were ignored still makes me smile even now. Since then however, that experience has gotten a lot of mileage in my life from the Holy Spirit.

Being in leadership can sometimes create a cocoon for us. With our team and/or our friends securely around us, it is not difficult to become insulated. Whether or not it is on purpose, we may ignore someone who is new or who appears to fit somewhere outside our comfy bubble. At times I’ve not been immune to this. Not my finest hour, but one which the Holy Spirit makes sure doesn’t go unnoticed. The memory of my Beverly Hills experience continues to be a good reminder that love is not optional.

We are human and there are times love is not an instinctive response. That does not mean we can allow our fallen nature to get the best of us, however. God’s Word tells us: “And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love” (2 John 1:6, NIV). The choice is not in how we love but in how we obey.

“God teaches us to love by putting unlovely people around us. It takes no character to love people who are lovely and lovely to you.”
                                                                                                Rick Warren

Christmas, A Time to Praise

Kim Johnson

“My soul glorifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior"                                                                                                   Luke 1:46-47 (NIV)

Yes, it is that time again. Seems like we just put the decorations away from last year and here we are, getting them out all over again. Tradition means we’ll do it just like we always have. That’s also the way it is with the Christmas Story. It’s been told and retold for thousands of years. So how do we read it again and expect to get something new from it, year after year?

That is the risk we take we if allow the tradition of the season to be our only focus. Every 364 days we are going to rejoice in God’s love sent to us in the form of the baby Jesus. We all plan on that. Yet, God didn’t just stop sending His love and mercy to us when His Son was born. He has shown up every day since. That means He has been there for us every day this past year as well. Traditions are a good thing. However, if we only concentrate on those, we rob ourselves of the opportunity for something new and spontaneous.  

These verses in Luke are an inspiring reminder as we prepare for Christmas. Mary’s praise in this scripture is an unconstrained response of a thankful child of God. She was overwhelmed by the Lord’s goodness and she sings one of the most beautiful and profound songs of worship.

We, too, can allow this time of year to create that kind of response within our hearts. Contemplating the boundless love and mercy our Heavenly Father showed us over the year will no doubt bring something to mind that can cause us to feel the same kind of overpowering gratitude. When we remember His goodness, praise is the best response from a grateful heart.  

Even as we move through the chaos and busyness naturally created by this time of year, let’s take time each day to praise the One who came as well as the One who sent Him.

“Then sings my soul, My Savior God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, how great Thou art.
Then sings my soul, My Savior God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, how great Thou art!”
—Stuart K. Hine, 1949