Wednesday, May 11, 2016

All You Need Is Love - 5/11/2016

My An Arkie's Faith column from the May 11, 2016 issue of The Mena Star.

I can still remember the summer of 1967. It became known as the Summer of Love, and the song All You Need Is Love by The Beatles was the anthem. Just like other kids from around the world I loved The Beatles. Recently when Paul McCartney made his first concert appearance in Arkansas, I was able to be there. Verizon Arena was filled with people like me reliving their past as they listened to Paul.

Is there any truth to the catch phrase “all you need is love?”  I believe that it is the truth.  “All You Need Is Love – Love is all you need.”

In 1 John 4:7,8 (NCV)  the Bible tells us, “Dear friends, we should love each other, because love comes from God. Everyone who loves has become God’s child and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.”

Love should be the basis for everything we do.  In Matthew 22:36-40(NLT), Jesus was asked, “what is the most important commandment in the law?” Jesus answered, “’You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. ’The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.’”

The entire law and all the demands of the prophets – The entire Bible is summed up in these words. “’You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind… Love your neighbor as yourself.” When you distill it down that much, it seems so simple. It really is true – All You Need Is Love.

In the love letter God wrote to you called the Bible it says, “I am sure that nothing can separate us from God’s love—not life or death, not angels or spirits, not the present or the future, and not powers above or powers below. Nothing in all creation can separate us from God’s love for us in Christ Jesus our Lord!” Romans 8:38,39 (CEV)

How would you feel if you wrote these beautiful words to the love of your life and they were ignored? God says to us, “there is nothing that can separate you from My love for you in Christ Jesus.” We will never know all the ways he shows his love to us.

God's Word is His love letter to us. The love of Jesus waits in each page! Don’t leave your love letters unopened and unread. God loves you, and he wants to tell you just how much. Open his love letter to you and listen to what he has to say to you.

The greatest love poem found in the Bible is in John 3:16,17 (NKJV). “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.”

What beautiful words. We need to keep in mind that it is the world that God loves, not a single nation, not a single race. Not just the “good” people, not just the people who love God back. “God so loved the world.” This includes the lovable and the unlovable; those who are popular, and those who have no one else to love them; the ones who love God, and the ones who never think of God.

In 1 Corinthians 13 (NLT) Paul expresses the importance of love to the Christian, “If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing. If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing…. Prophecy and speaking in unknown languages and special knowledge will become useless. But love will last forever! Now our knowledge is partial and incomplete, and even the gift of prophecy reveals only part of the whole picture! But when the time of perfection comes, these partial things will become useless....All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely. Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.”

Gentle Reader, remember that God loves the world - the entire world. He has told us that no matter what we do for Him if we don’t have love it is nothing. You see, it really is true. “All You Need Is Love” – God’s love!

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