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November 19, 2007

God’s Love

St. Augustine once said, “He who is filled with love is filled with God himself.”

The Apostle Paul takes a whole chapter to explain the importance of love. He reminds the Corinthian church that without love we have nothing (1 Corinthians 13:1-3 NASB). Paul gives the definition of love in these virtues: “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres” (1 Corinthians 13:4-7 NASB). Without God we are incapable of any of these virtues.

Faith without love means nothing. Giving without love is hollow. How many times have we given a gift to compete with a friend or family member? How many times have we done something for another expecting something in return? God wants us to put these childish ways behind us as we truly seek His love.

In February 1929, Dr. Forrest was in Newark, New Jersey, for an evangelist campaign. At the end of the second meeting, two women talked with Dr. Forrest. They told him that a 92-year-old woman wanted to see him to do something for him for the kindness he showed her.

“It seemed that about fifteen years before, he’d been preaching in a large gospel tent in the Bronx. One night she was a little late for the service and couldn’t find a seat near the front. ‘I was a leetle hard o’ hearing and I had to get up front.’ She told him, ‘but nobody up there would give me a chair or a seat. Nobody paid any attention to this old lady. Well finally you saw me standing there, and got up and took your own chair where you’d been sitting on the platform, and brought me that chair. You had to sit on the steps of the platform until time to preach. And I says to myself, “Now that man’s a Christian.” I went to the meetings a good deal after that and I never forgot you; I’ve prayed for you many times since that. When I saw that you were coming to the city, I thought that this would be the time that I could see you and make you understand how grateful I was for that chair.’

“She handed [an envelope] to him, cackling and giggling all the while. He opened the enveloped and found in it nine thousand dollars worth of New Jersey State first mortgage bonds.” (from Achieving the Impossible With God)

Dr. Forrest had gone to New Jersey knowing the school was in desperate need of four thousand dollars. He would return home with more than twice the amount of money needed. Dr. Forrest’s action 15 years before was one of love without thought of anything in return. When we allow our actions to be encompassed by God’s love, we can marvel at how His love changes us and those we come in contact.

“And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” (1 Corinthians 13:13)

(Taken from the online devotional book Grace in the Wilderness © 2007