Good Morning! My name is Crystal Koepke and I was asked to give you a devotional thought from the book of Romans chapters 6 and 12.
KEY VERSE: Romans 12: 9 Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good.
REFLECTIONS: I found myself blessed and deeply convicted while studying for this devotional thought. I came across a devotional regarding love, which was written by Dr. Ray Pritchard, President of Keep Believing Ministries. It seemed like it was written for me. I had a really hard time narrowing it down to only a few points, so I hope that you will go the link http://www.keepbelieving.com/sermon/2006-11-17-The-Agape-Factor-12-Ways-to-Love/ and read the entire message. I’ve included a couple of my favorite points:
The Agape Factor: 12 Ways to Love
Romans 12:9-16seems at first glance to be an unconnected series of staccato commands, a “rag bag” of miscellaneous exhortations, but a closer examination reveals that these verses flesh out what love looks like in the Christian life. The theme of the passage is not hard to find: Love must govern all our relationships.
1. Love Must be Sincere.
“Let love be Genuine” (v. 9a).
The word “genuine” literally means “without hypocrisy.” It originally referred to an actor who played a certain role on stage. It came to mean anyone who acts contrary to his own true feelings. It particularly applies to those who put forth the appearance of virtue that they do not actually possess. Eugene Peterson (The Message) offers this paraphrase: “Love from the center of who you are; don’t fake it.”
2. Love Must be Discerning.
“Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good” (v. 9b).
Love hates evil! Think about that for a second. Often we think of love as an ooey-gooey emotion that causes us to lose our sense of right and wrong, but that’s far from true Christian love. We cannot love evil and love God at the same time any more than we can love money and love God at the same time.
Sometimes we say, “Love is blind.” God says, “No, love needs clear vision.” Our love needs discernment or else we will end up loving things we ought not to love—and entering into relationships that are not good for us.
3. Love Must be Generous.
“Contribute to the needs of the saints” (v. 13a).
The word translated “contribute” is the verb form of the word koinonia, to share with others. On one level it means sharing in the hurts and heartaches of others. On another level, it means opening our pocketbook and giving so that the poor believers will have their needs met. Here is a true measure of your Christian faith. What are you doing to meet the needs of those who have less than you? We can extend this to supporting God’s work around the world. Do you give “off the top” or “off the bottom” of your paycheck? Your answer says something important about the state of your soul.
4. Love Must be Kind.
“Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them” (v. 14).
There are two parts to this that we must consider:
1. What happens to us.
2. How we respond.
We will be persecuted. We will be hated, mistreated, misunderstood, lied about, gossiped about, and there will be those who go beyond this to hurt us deeply, leaving scars that last for a lifetime. Sometimes the attacks come from those closest to us, sometimes from within our own family, often from our circle of very close friends, and sometimes from people we thought were our best friends. There is no escaping this reality, and to deny it is like denying the sun comes up in the east and sets in the west. Sooner or later people we loved and trusted will let us down, and some of them will turn on us. We can’t predict how or when it will happen or who it will be, but it will happen, and what will we do then?
How do you bless someone when you would rather curse them? Here’s a simple way to do that. When faced with someone who has mistreated you, ask God to do for them what you want God to do for you. Seek the blessing for them that you want God to do for you. Think of it this way: The greater the hurt, the greater the potential blessing that will come when we bless those who curse us. Remember that your enemy is a gift from God to you. Though you don’t know it and often can’t see it, the person who has hurt you so deeply is a gift from God to you. To say that is not to excuse evil or to condone mistreatment. It is to say exactly what Joseph meant when he said to his brothers, “You meant evil against me, but God meant it for good” (Genesis 50:20). Our enemies humble us, they keep us on our knees, they reveal our weakness, and they expose our total need for God. Just as David needed King Saul to pursue him, to persecute him and repeatedly attempt to kill him, we need the enemies God sends to us. If we didn’t need them, he wouldn’t send them. Therefore, we thank God who knows best, and we love our enemies the best way we can. Often God raises up an enemy to see if we really want to be like Jesus. He will keep our enemies alive and well as long as we need them.
A Community of Love
The most powerful recommendation for any church is this–that the members love one another! The world pines for this … and flocks where it is found. When the unchurched are asked what they looking for in a church, the answer is always the same. They are looking for a caring church. They want to be loved truly and deeply. When the people of the world find such a place, they stand in line to get in.
How does God help us grow in this area? By putting us in situations that force us to practice Christian love. Over the years I have observed God do this again and again. He allows two people to have difficulties with each other, often to the point of anger and bitterness. He does it because the only way we learn to love is by dealing with unlovely people.
The church is to be a community of love. We owe it to the Lord, to each other, and to the watching world.
Let brotherly love abound more and more.
Let Christian sympathy go out to those in need.
Let us take the banner of God’s concern around the world.
Let us pray for one another and especially for those with whom we disagree.
Let our hearts overflow with brotherly for all of God’s children everywhere.
Dear Lord Jesus, teach us to love each other as you loved us, Amen.
Thank you for being a part of the Route 66 Bible Reading Challenge. Thanks for reading, and you have a blessed day!
WHEN YOU GOT SAVED: 7 years old
FAVORITE BIBLE BOOK: Psalms
FAMILY: Husband, Dan; Daughters, Regan and Rylie
OCCUPATION: Stay At Home Mom
MINISTRY INVOLVEMENT AT VBC: Children’s Ministries, Outreach
HOBBIES: Gardening, Reading, Coffee