The Reason for Christmas

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This post is more of a reflection than a devotion. I had something else planned for Christmas but came to a realization.

I am so human. My mortality has become increasingly apparent to me since my sweet daughter was born in September.

She is growing so fast and I have been savoring my days with her as much as I can, knowing that she will be grown and gone before I know it. But as I was listening to one of my favorite Christmas songs this month, I realized how much I truly love her. As ‘Mary, Did You Know?’ played in the background while I talked to her, I realized just how much God truly loves us. I think it is something that you don’t really come to terms with until you become a parent. Because when a tiny little child is born to you and looks up at you with those beautiful eyes, you realize you would do anything to protect them.

Anything.

I love my daughter so much and I would do anything to protect her. I can’t imagine what Mary went through as she saw her Son hanging on that cross but what truly blows my mind is what God had to have gone through. Not only did he send Jesus to die for us, He turned His back on His ONLY Son as He died. I knew He loved me, loved us, but it really hit me as I listened to that song.

How much love could God have for us, for the entire world, past, present, and future, that He would let Jesus die for us? I could never let my daughter die for someone who hated her, spat at her, didn’t believe in her. I wouldn’t let her. But God has so much more mercy and forgiveness than I do.

And Jesus loves us too. He proved it when He was born this season, coming to us in human form, taking the servant role instead of the King of Kings role that He deserves, just so that we could all live with Him in Heaven some day.

I had planned to talk about the prophecies throughout the Bible of Jesus’ birth last week and then write about His birth this week but this thought came up and wouldn’t go away. It’s not the usual blog post about Christmas but I felt it was important. I felt like I had to share about Jesus’ coming this way. He came so that we could live with Him in Heaven one day and God’s love for us is more than infinite. I know that probably doesn’t make sense, but really, neither does His love for us.

Remember His love for us this Christmas and show that love to others, especially your family. God gave them to you just as He gave me my sweet little one.

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Fruit of the Spirit Bible Study–Love

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.—1 Corinthians 13:13 NIV (bold emphasis added)

When you think of love, what comes to mind? Valentine’s Day hearts? Your children or spouse? An expensive object? What about Jesus and all He did for us and all He went through for us? Love is not only the first fruit we receive from the Holy Spirit (Gal. 5:22, 2 Tim. 1:7), it is who God is! 1 John 4:8 says it in plain English, ‘God is love’!
There’s a reason love is the first fruit. Love is so important to God, He inspired an entire chapter dedicated to love (1 Cor. 13)! That also happens to be one of my favorite chapters. You can’t have anything else without love because without love, we are nothing and can accomplish nothing (1 Cor. 13:1-3).
What is love? Here’s how Paul described love to the church in Corinth (NIV):
Patient. Kind. Forgiving (does not keep a record of wrongs). Rejoices in the truth. Protecting. Trusting. Hoping. Persevering.
What is love not? Again, here’s Paul’s description:
Envious. Boastful. Prideful. Dishonoring. Self-seeking. Easily angered. Delights in evil.
Love is the binding that holds the traits of the Christian together (Col. 3:14).
We come from God  and belong to Him if we love others and obey Him(1 John 4:7, 5:2-3) Jesus tells us we are His disciples if we love others (John 13:35).
There’s no way to be a part of God’s family and not love others (1 John 3:10). We show that we have ‘come over into life’ if we love others and are not ‘under the power of death’ (1 John 3:14). I don’t know about you, but I want to be under the power of love, not death! Love ‘shows itself in action’ (1 John 3:18), it is a choice. Jesus loved us so deeply He ‘gave his life for us. We too, then ought to give our lives for others!’ (1 John 3:16, John 15:13) and love like He loved. This doesn’t necessarily mean dying physically for someone else. It could mean denying yourself and your desires and putting others before yourself (and after Jesus of course!)
Jesus said in John 15, ‘Remain united to me, and I will remain united to you. A branch cannot bear fruit by itself; it can do so only if it remains in the vine. In the same way you cannot bear fruit unless you remain in me.’ (v. 4). The only way we can bear ‘the kind of fruit that endures’ (v. 16) is if we remain in Jesus and His love. How do we do that? By obeying Him (v. 10). He wants us to ‘love one another’ (v. 17), even our enemies (Matthew 5:43-48). We have to show the love of God to others if we want to bring them to their Savior.
So, to show the fruit of love in your life, you must love others,  be patient, kind, forgiving, protecting, trusting, hoping, and persevering. You should rejoice in the truth and deny your flesh’s desire and obey Jesus to remain in Him. Ephesians 4:2 NLT says: ‘Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love.’
I have barely scratched the surface of love! There is so much to the attribute of love that I couldn’t fit it all on one blog post for this study. The love of God and Christian love is something that should be studied, written and read about in depth. Maybe one day I will make a Saturday study on it but not anytime soon. I only want to work on one thing at a time so I don’t get side-tracked. J
So ‘live a life filled with love’ (Eph. 5:2 NLT)! Next up is JOY! 😀
Love,
Kayley

2014 New Year’s Resolutions!!

No, I’m not dead. So I decided to get back to blogging. I’ve been meaning to do this, but I just keep forgetting. I’m kind of addicted to Pinterest I can’t help it. But it’s helpful! It will help me with my 2014 New Year’s Resolutions! Well, at least some of them. Here they are! In no specific order:

My 2014 New Year’s Resolutions!

1)  Grow closer to God!
This is a big one, so I put it first. I’ve grown closer to God within the past year, but I think you can never be too close to God. I receive devotions through my emails Monday through Friday. Sometimes two, but usually three. I listen to a chapter of the Bible every morning before work and I have 2 or 3 Christian Pinterest boards. I want to know more about Him and His Plan for my life.

2)  Spend more time with my love!
This one is pretty big too. I do spend lots of time with my wonderful hubby, but sometimes when we get off work our ways of relaxing are different. He plays Call of Duty and I read or play on my computer. I want to watch more movies and spend more time with him.

3)  Lose 20 pounds!
I did this last year, without much exercise. I plan on changing that. I want to exercise at least 3 times a week at 20-30 minutes each time. I actually want to lose more weight but I don’t want to set my goals too high and not make it and get discouraged…again. It happens.

4)  Eat more fruits & veggies!
This one kind of goes with #3. I love many fruits, not so much on the veggies, but I want to eat more because I want to be healthier. Plus, they are filling and light on calories! 🙂

5)  Finish writing a book!
I think this one will be a hard one. I can never focus on writing one thing anymore ever since I finished This Reckless & Unreasonable Love. But I’m very determined. I love writing and I have so many unfinished stories that need to be told that it would be a crime not to finish them! 😉

6)  Grow a small garden!
This one will be hard too and I’m thinking I may have to skip it this year. I have very little, if any, extra room in my apartment and I don’t even have a window sill to put plants on. I’m still going to continue researching it, however, in case the opportunity presents itself.

7)  Quit cussing!
My last one is one I’ve already been doing pretty well with. I still slip up but I don’t cuss as often as I used to and I’m very happy about it.
 
Well, that’s it. What do you think? Tell me about your New Year’s Resolutions in the comments! I’d love to hear them!
Love,