February 4, 2005
Encouragement for Today 

Love Initiates
Glynnis Whitwer, Senior Editor P31 Woman, Speaker for Proverbs 31 Ministries, editor@proverbs31.org

Key Verse:

"Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you."  Luke 6:38 


Devotion:

My 9-year-old son Robbie was ready for bed.  Complete with SpongeBob sleep pants and slippers, he climbed onto my lap with a blanket, ready for a snuggle.

In the January evening, my hands were quite cold; too cold to touch his warm skin, or so I thought.  As he nestled against me, I tucked my hands under my legs to keep from touching him with my icicle-like fingers.

"Robbie," I said, "watch out for my hands, they're cold."  He ignored my warning and burrowed his hands down between the chair and my leg searching for my hands.  "Really Robbie," I continued, "I'm very cold."

"I know Mommy," he countered as he pulled my hands up and placed them on his bare chest.  "I'll warm you up."  He covered my cold hands with his warm ones and snuggled closer.  Within minutes I could feel his warmth seep into my hands.

He got up once and when he returned, he repositioned my hands back to his chest.  I felt the coolness of his skin where my hands had been, and was grateful for his sacrifice.  Within minutes we were both warmer than before.

I believe God used my sweet boy to paint a picture of the love His children should show one another.  Do you have cold hands? Mine are warm; grab hold. Are you hungry?  My pantry's full, here's a bag of groceries.  Are you getting tired of packing?  I've had a good night's sleep, I'll be right there.

A person who loves, sees a need, and initiates action, even when there's a sacrifice involved.  It could be time, money or our own comfort, like Robbie's chest getting cold.  The paradox of God's kingdom is that when we give something up, God replaces it.  Luke 6:38 assures that when we give, we will receive ... "a good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over."

As we live out the love of God, we should watch for opportunities to give to others with out being asked.  It's the mark of love to initiate selflessly.  Thanks for the lesson, Robbie.


My Prayer for Today

Heavenly Father, I praise you for loving us with such selfless love.  You are wonderful in all your ways.  I confess that I have not always loved others as I should.  Please open my eyes to the needs of those around me so that I can show your love. In Jesus' name, Amen.


Application Steps:

Identify someone who has a need you can meet.  Pick one way you can meet their need.  Schedule a time to follow through on your plan to show God's love.


Reflection Points:

Why does showing love often involve a sacrifice?

What types of blessings do you experience when you show sacrificial love?

Can you remember a time when you gave, and then received a "good measure" in return?  Describe.

What do we learn about God's character from Luke 6:38?


Power Verses:

"Greater love has no one than this; that he lay down his life for his friends." John 15:13 (NIV)

"Be devoted to one another in brotherly love.  Honor one another above yourselves."  Romans 12:10 (NIV)

"Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law." Romans 13:8 (NIV)

"We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves." Romans 15:1 (NIV)

"Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you." Luke 6:30-31 (NIV)


Additional Resources:

New! Message of the Month Club by Proverbs 31 Speaker Team
http://www.gospelcom.net/p31/resources/messageclub.html

P31 Woman Magazine by Proverbs 31 Ministries
http://www.gospelcom.net/p31/resources/newsletter.html

Ultimate Makeover by Sharon Jaynes
http://www.gospelcom.net/p31/resources/makeover.html

Becoming a Woman Who Listens to God by Sharon Jaynes
http://www.gospelcom.net/p31/resources/womanlistens.html