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Pastor Rick Lipira: Morning Devotion12/22/21

Advent Week Four: “Love” is a many splendored thing!

December 22nd

Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. Luke. 2:8-11

Week four of Advent deals with “Love”. Advent means coming, and I can assure you He is coming. We have dealt with hope, peace, joy, and today’s topic is love. We do amazing things for those people we love. We find ourselves being very patient with them. We will change our schedule in order to be with them. We may find ourselves walking at a slower pace so we can be side by side with them instead of walking ahead. We tend to sacrifice time and resources to give them a boost or a helping hand in order for them to succeed. Not only that, but generally the stronger vessel accommodates for the weaker. That may be a parent with a child, a young adult for the elderly parent, and the healthy for the sick.
Scripture says in John 15:13, “Greater love has no man than this that a man lay down his life for his friends”. Every example I mentioned above are what God has done for us. He gave up His place in heaven and perfect status to become like one of us, leaving heaven behind and sending His Son in the form of our flesh so that we could be redeemed. We understand English uses one word for love, and the Greek language does better as it has four different words for it. (Some say as many as 12 different words) 1) Eros- Passionate Love, 2) Philla- Brotherly, Friendly Love, 3) Storge- Love of Parent or Children 4) Agape- Unconditional Love, transcendent (over the ordinary). Generally, God’s Love for us is Agape.
Love is the most important of all. You can do a lot of good things, but if you don’t have love you have gained nothing. Let’s look at I Corinthians 13 verses 3-7 for a moment. “If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it, but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing. Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.” (NLT)
That says it better than I could ever hope to. You cannot be a Christian without Jesus, nor can you be changed without love. God sent His gift of pure Love to us in the form of a baby in the manger. It didn’t come by way of a wrapped gift under a tree, but in swaddling clothes in a wooden animal trough. He would later wrap our sins around His scars and be crucified on a wooden cross on Calvary. Because of that, our sins can be atoned for. If that is not Love I do not know what is.

Merry Christmas to all!
Pastor Rick Lipira

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