"This is how we know what real love is: Jesus gave his life for us. So we should give our lives for our brothers and sisters.  Suppose someone has enough to live and sees a brother or sister in need, but does not help. Then God's love is not living in that person.  My children, we should love people not only with words and talk, but by our actions and true caring.  This is the way we know that we belong to the way of truth. When our hearts make us feel guilty, we can still have peace before God. God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything.  My dear friends, if our hearts do not make us feel guilty, we can come without fear into God's presence.  And God gives us what we ask for because we obey God's commands and do what pleases him.  This is what God commands: that we believe in his Son, Jesus Christ, and that we love each other, just as he commanded.  The people who obey God's commands live in God, and God lives in them. We know that God lives in us because of the Spirit God gave us." (1 John 3:16-24 NCV) [1]

The apostle John is known as the apostle of love. The reason is how many times he uses the word "love" in his gospel and epistles. He saw love in action because he was so close to Jesus all during his ministry. It is believed that John was the disciple that Jesus loved more than the others.

In the Scripture above,  John said that we have seen the greatest love that anyone can give. That is the giving of a life. Jesus gave his life for us. He suffered a cruel death but more than that, he took all our sins on that cross. That is the greatest love of all. If He was willing to do that for each of us, why can't we give what we have for others to show His love to them?  If we truly belong to Jesus Christ it is really His love working through us. We can stop the flow of love, though. We can look at others and think that we don't have what they have and think that we can't give to help anyone. We are too busy with our own families and work that we don't have time to help anyone else. There are things that we can do to show God's love to others that don't take much time, though. We just have to be open to the leading of the Holy Spirit to know what to do and when to do it. It might just be giving a smile to a person who has had a bad day.

John later in this Scripture tells us how we can know that we are children of God. We must believe in Jesus Christ. That doesn't mean just believe that He existed but that He is who He said He is and trust him for your salvation. Then if we do this, then we will want to show our love of him by following his commandments which includes doing to others what you would have them do to you.

Frances Ridley Havergal wrote one of her most famous poems while she was in Dusseldorf, Germany. She had gone to Germany to do some specialized study. While there, she saw a copy of Sternburg's great painting: "The CRUCIFIXION." The title above the picture was, "All this I did for thee; what has thou done for Me?"

Inspired by the probing question, she wrote her famous poem, "I Gave My Life for Thee." But she was not happy with the poem and threw it into the fire, but a draft blew the paper out of the fire and onto the hearth. Feeling that this might have been Providential, Miss Havergal took the slightly-scorched paper, folded it, and sent it to her father in England.

He composed a tune to match the words and had it published. However, the tune we now use with this superb poem was written years later by P. P. Bliss, an associate of D. L. Moody. The tune he wrote is now the one we use with this great song: "I gave my life for thee, what hast thou done for Me?" [2]

by Dean W. Masters

dwmasters@earthlink.net  Owner of the Masters List:  http://shaned.net/mailman/listinfo/masterslist_shaned.net

Unedited redistribution approved

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[1] The Holy Bible : New Century Version , containing the Old and New Testaments. 1991. Word Bibles: Dallas, TX

[2]Tan, P. L. 1996, c1979. Encyclopedia of 7700 illustrations : [a treasury of illustrations, anecdotes, facts and quotations for pastors, teachers and Christian workers]. Bible Communications: Garland TX