Devotions for July 15, 2014

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1 John 4:7-21

7 Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God. 8 But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love.

9 God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. 10 This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.

11 Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other. 12 No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is brought to full expression in us.

13 And God has given us his Spirit as proof that we live in him and he in us. 14 Furthermore, we have seen with our own eyes and now testify that the Father sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. 15 All who declare that Jesus is the Son of God have God living in them, and they live in God. 16 We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love.

God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them. 17 And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect. So we will not be afraid on the day of judgment, but we can face him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world.

18 Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love. 19 We love each other because he loved us first.

20 If someone says, “I love God,” but hates a fellow believer, that person is a liar; for if we don’t love people we can see, how can we love God, whom we cannot see? 21 And he has given us this command: Those who love God must also love their fellow believers.

DEVOTIONAL QUESTIONS

Q: Walls are built all around the world to separate one group from another. It is the same spiritually. How do you connect with the church family that you belong to? Are you merely acquaintances? Do you know more than their names? Is the title spiritual brother or sister, just that, a title? Has your church family become an community that you can just join when you are in the mood?

Q: How do you define tolerance? Is your tolerance based on the idea that everyone needs to believe what you believe or else you cannot relate with them? Does a tolerance that requires a same, or similar, belief build a wall with people or help to create a redemptive community? Does your identity in Christ require you to just tolerate people, or does it cause you to want to grow and disciple the people you once were merely tolerating?

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