Grow Deep - Love Is... Edition
April 5-May 2
LOVE IS .. Edition
“Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.” 1 John 4:8
This edition of Grow Deep comes at an unprecedented time of turmoil, stress, and difficulty for most of us in our country. We feel bludgeoned and beaten down by news reports of the spread of the COVID-19 virus as the number of people infected and dying grows every day. Schools and businesses are closed, grocery shelves are bare, the financial markets have plummeted, mandatory “stay-at-home” orders are the norm rather than the exception, churches are closed, and people wear gloves and masks just to go outside to get the mail! It feels as if we are stuck under a storm cloud of epic proportions that is pouring down on us and destroying life as we know it, leaving behind fear and panic in its wake.
The theme for this edition is “Love Is ….” Our Grow Deep journey begins in the midst of all this turmoil with Holy Week, the week that paints a picture of love through turmoil, pain and suffering … the pain of Jesus’ suffering and death on a cross. But even in the midst of His suffering, Jesus was confident of God’s love and that His Father was in full control. As Christians, we should have that same confidence in the face of this time of suffering and uncertainty. God is in control regardless of what is happening in the world around us. Though we may have to endure hardship for a while, our mission is still to love one another and bring the message of God’s love to a hurting world. Love is defined by Jesus’ suffering. Love is defined by His sacrifice. “Love Is a Cross.”
Week 2 of our journey begins with Easter Sunday. The resurrection is living proof of what Love Is. God did not call us to be defeated by our sin or our circumstances. He called us to be victorious! He called us to an abundant life in Him and to daily “win” over Satan and the offerings of the world. Because Jesus conquered sin and death, our future is secure. It is not defined by anxiety and stress but by the hope that is ours in Christ Jesus. For us, “Love Is a Win!”
In the third week of our journey, our readings point us to the privilege, responsibility and joy of responding to the gift of God’s love. Because of the “win” of Easter, we are free to forfeit our time, our energy, our resources, and sometimes even our comfort in response to the love of God in Christ. We are called to abide in His love by putting it into action for Him! He first loved us! “Love Is a (our) Response.” During this time of crisis, there are many ways to respond to God’s gift of love. I encourage you to go to our website (webstergardens.org) to get updates on how you can respond by serving someone in our community.
The last week of our Grow Deep journey puts us on the Road to Emmaus with two of Jesus’ followers. All of us who experienced the risen Savior know that His resurrection has changed our lives forever! He walks with us and fellowships with us; He allows us to see a glimpse of His glory here on earth and get to know Him in His Word. And like the hearts of the disciples on the Road to Emmaus, our hearts “burn” with the truth of the Gospel, catapulting us forward on our journey with a story to tell. Love is a testimony. Love is a witness. “Love Is a Journey” with Jesus. We have many opportunities, especially in times like these, to be a witness for Jesus! God’s Word tells us that we should always be prepared to share the hope that we have in Him (1 Peter 3:15). Be bold for Jesus! Share your testimony. In the challenging days ahead, share your story. Tell someone about the love and hope that you have in Jesus.
As we round the corner of these four weeks, don’t let anything keep you from Growing Deep with Jesus. Let His Word awaken your senses to Him. Let His Word fill you with confidence and hope. Let it spill over into your conversation and actions. Make an appointment to meet God each day in His Word as you read and reflect. Let Him teach you what “Love Is …!”
Grow Deep with Jesus, Edie Grieshaber
In gratitude, we thank Glenn Sprich (Week 1); Barbara Guiley (Week 2); Sandi Geis (Week 3); and Judy Ruf (Week 4) who have shared their insights through their stories and writing.