Grow Deep - Love Is... Edition Week 4
Week 4: April 26-May 2
Love Is … a Journey
Memory Verse: “So now, in your hearts set apart Jesus as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer for the hope that you have.” 1 Peter 3:15
Our congregation has been using the now-familiar words of this week’s memory verse as our benediction at the close of each worship service this year. No matter whether you are a new Christian, a child in Kingdom Quest, a recent confirmand or an octogenarian who has walked with Jesus his/her whole life, we all have a story to tell, a personal testimony of our journey and relationship with our Savior.
One thing that has shaped me this Lent, while I have been studying the Gospel of John, is thinking about how many different forms testimony can take. We often think of testimony as recounting a religious or conversion experience (the reason for the hope that we have!). But testimony is also defined as evidence or proof provided by the existence or appearance of something or someone.
In our readings this week we will see the testimony of the Word as Jesus opens the Scriptures that point to Him on the Road to Emmaus; the testimony of the Word Himself as Jesus commands us to love one another that our joy may be full in John 15; the testimony of the journey as we are instructed to walk in love and be imitators of Christ in Ephesians; the testimony of suffering for the Gospel in 2 Timothy; and the testimony of love in the words of 1 Corinthians and 1 John. We can find an abundance of reasons for the hope that we have in these readings!
Enjoy the journey and be encouraged to share your testimony! As John reminds us at the end of his Gospel, your testimony can make an eternal difference. “But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in His name.” (John 20:31)
Sunday, April 26
Read: Luke 24:13-35
The resurrected Jesus blesses Cleopas and another disciple while walking the road to Emmaus with the ultimate spiritual conversation! Jesus uses the testimony of the Old Testament and lovingly shows the disciples how it all points to Him!
Reflect: Think about a Bible verse that changed your faith or your relationship with Jesus and made your heart “burn within you” and overflowing with love for the risen Christ! Write it down, carry it with you, and then commit that verse to memory so you are ready to give an answer for the hope that you have!
Monday, April 27
Read: John 15:9-13
The theme of these verses is to “pass it on!” Just as the Father loved Jesus, in the same way Jesus loves us, and Jesus commands us to love each other in that way also.
Reflect: In the extraordinary circumstances of the last few weeks, how have you been called to serve your neighbor in an unexpected way? What have you learned about serving the family members who live in your house in new ways? How have these circumstances changed you and your relationship with Jesus?
Tuesday, April 28
Read: 1 Corinthians 13
It is likely you have heard the familiar words of the "Love" chapter spoken at a wedding you have attended. We are reminded in this chapter that "Love never ends" and "that the greatest of these is love."
Reflect: Try reading this chapter in a new way by reading it aloud and substituting the name Jesus anytime you see the word Love. Use these words in a psalm of praise thanking God for the many ways He shows He loves you each day.
Wednesday, April 29
Read: Ephesians 5:1-2
We have all heard it said that "actions speak louder than words." In these verses we are called to be imitators of Christ.
Reflect: How have your actions this week demonstrated that you are a beloved child of God? How does this verse challenge you regarding habits or behaviors you want to change?
Thursday, April 30
Read: 2 Thessalonians 2:13-17
In these verses Paul gives us instructions for standing firm in the faith.
Reflect: What are Paul’s instructions? How does the testimony of the Scriptures help you stand firm in your faith? Who needs to hear a word of encouragement from you today? When you need encouragement, pray this short prayer from the Lutheran Study Bible: "Holy Jesus, You died to take away my sins and rose to fulfill all the Father's promises in Scripture. Send now Your Holy Spirit so that by Your grace I may stand in this faith always. Amen."
Friday, May 1
Read: 2 Timothy 1:7-14
God tells us not to fear but to have courage through the spirit of power, love and self-control that He gives.
Reflect: When you find yourself anxious about the most recent statistics and new reports (especially concerning the Corona virus), meditate on this verse. Pray that God will remind you of His Spirit of power, love and self-control that lives inside of you, as a chosen and beloved child of the King!
Saturday, May 2
Read: 1 John 4:10-19
These verses expand on the more familiar verse, John 3:16. God demonstrated His great love for us by sending His Son Jesus to die on the cross for our sins.
Reflect: Why is it important that we find the definition of love in the cross rather than somewhere else? How willing are you to make loving sacrifices in your relationships with your spouse, your children, your friends, your neighbors?