For God So loved the World He Gave His Only Begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him shall not parish but have everlasting life – John 3:16
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only-begotten Son” (John 3:16). “God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays his life down for the sheep” (John 10:11). Love means sacrifice. Sacrifice means a humbling of oneself for the good of another. And this is what the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ teaches us: Love means sacrifice.
We love our families. And we love them by sacrificing ourselves for them. We put their needs before our own. We sacrifice our own wants and desires for their good and for their needs.
We love our country. And we love it by pledging our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor to defend her. We ask not what our country can do for us, but what we can do for our country. We make sacrifices for our country’s good and we do it because we love her.
We love our church. And we love our church by giving of ourselves, by sacrificing our time, talents, and treasures in service to it. We volunteer to teach Sunday School, VBS, and other various boards. We help out cleaning and fixing what needs to be cleaned and fixed at the church property. And we give a portion of the income God has given us, so that the lights will go on, and the heat and air conditioning may run; so that a pastor will preach to us both law and gospel and administer baptism and the Lord’s Supper; so that the Word will go forth into all the world through the missionaries we call and send out.
God has called us into these three spheres of family, country, and church. He puts the solitary into a home. No one is an island unto himself. Everyone is put into a family, a country, and a church. In these spheres, God cares for all our needs of body and soul. He employs other members of these spheres to ensure that we have everything we need for this body and life and for the next.
These callings place a claim upon us, a claim upon our presence, our prayers, our time, talents, and treasures. They give us a duty. That duty is to love. And love means sacrifice. And sacrifice means that we humble ourselves for the good of another.
So then, “let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another” (1 John 4:7–11). And love means sacrifice.
Prayer:Dear LORD, help me to love my neighbor as you first loved us through Your Son, Jesus Christ. Let me follow His example. Amen.
God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble … “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” The LORD Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. – Psalm 46:1,10-11
Have you ever had this experience? Your life was in full swing. You charged through the days, working hard. Things were going fairly well, and then something happened that stopped you still. Those are times when God wants to remind you that he is your God. Dear Abby used to say, “Stop and Smell the Coffee.” Luther would write, “Can you smell the roast?”
Yes, God is bigger and stronger than all our experiences. He can handle all our difficulties. God has already canceled the sting of our greatest enemy – death. He did it by offering up his one and only Son so that we might live with him forever in his kingdom.
Sometimes it is good that our lives come to a screeching halt. It reminds us that the LORD almighty is our God. And it shows us that he is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.
Exalt the LORD Almighty. Put your trust in God and be still.
Prayer:Dear LORD, help my soul to be still and know that you are God. Remind me that you are my rock and my fortress. Be with me in trouble and persecution. Protect me by your mighty power, and draw me close with your gracious love. Amen.
Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. – John 6:35
Students in our communities and across our land are graduating from high school and college. With graduations come receptions and celebrations. With receptions and celebrations comes food. Often times, lots of food. So if you have several receptions to attend in one day, you have to pace yourself, so you don’t eat too much food at one time or in one place – or in several places – and end up moaning at the end of the day, “Why did I eat so much?!”
At other times and in other places, the opposite can be true. The challenge is not limiting food intake from an abundant supply; the challenge is supplying nourishing food with limited resources. The question at the end of the day is not, “Why did I eat so much today?” The question is, “What am I going to eat tomorrow?”
Both of these situations, taken together with today’s passage, help us put things in perspective. There are parallels between the need for physical nourishment and the need for spiritual nourishment. Without nourishment we quickly grow weak and die. What a joy, therefore, to know that Jesus is the bread of life! What a joy to know that those who come to him and believe in him will never be hungry or thirsty! Jesus is our spiritual food. Jesus is our spiritual nourishment. Jesus is our spiritual and eternal life!
When you gather around the table with Jesus, when his word is your spiritual nourishment, there is no question about the supply. His grace is infinite. His love for you is never-ending. Today and every day you are a perfect and holy child of God, bought with the blood of Jesus. Because Jesus is your bread, there is always hope, always comfort, always strength, always life.
And there is no danger of over-eating. You don’t have to pace yourself so you don’t end up groaning with regret at the end of the day. People who come to Jesus and believe in him will never moan, “Why did I eat so much?!” They will exclaim, “God is so good!”
God’s people eat and are satisfied, perfectly satisfied – in Jesus.
Prayer:Lord Jesus, Bread of Life, thank you for providing all that I need for body and life, for time and eternity. Bless me as I look to you and your word. By that same word, impact the lives of others. To your glory. Amen.