Day Thirty-Nine: Love Appreciates

40 days of prayer devotion

by David Shannon Wooten – February 14, 2018

Day Thirty-Nine: Love Appreciates

1 Thessalonians 4:9, “Now concerning brotherly love you have no need for anyone to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love one another,”

You give love when you show appreciation to the people in your life. The word appreciation means something that is gaining or increasing in value. A house can either appreciate, increase in value or depreciate, decrease in value. Depending on how something is cared for, will depend on how valuable it becomes to you.

When you appreciate your spouse, children, friends, family and the people God has placed in your life, they will begin to increase in value. Failing to give appreciation will lose their value in your eyes.

When we take people for granted we will not give proper appreciation. This will cause us to miss the gift of God in them. Everyone has value. God is at work and has placed treasure inside them. Our love of appreciation brings out the treasure in their life and we will be blessed by their gift.

God desires us to be people who raise the value of others. Everyone needs affirmation and encouragement. From my observation, I believe there is a shortage of this kind of appreciation. We must not be afraid or too prideful to give a compliment, and tell someone they are appreciated. This kind of love raises people’s value. Not only will you please God by blessing them with your encouragement, they will truly have a deeper value in your heart as well.

Love appreciates. Your love raises the value of others.

heart wooden hands
https://davidshannonwooten.com/love-appreciates/

REFLECT:

What is God revealing about Himself through this scripture?

What do you hear God saying to you in this scripture?

How does this apply to your life?

Rephrase this scripture to a personal prayer for you. Give God thanks for how He is revealing Himself through this scripture. Request His help.

For further encouragement about God’s love and “Being” God’s love, you can listen to Newspring “Love” message series at newspringlive.com/watch-read/media

Love heart

Day Thirty-Eight: Give Love and Never Run Out

40 days of prayer devotion

by David Shannon Wooten – February 13, 2018

Day Thirty-Eight: Give Love and Never Run Out

“That’s the ultimate test of how you have lived your life. The trouble with love is that you can’t buy it … The only way to get love is to be lovable … The more you give love away, the more you get.” These are the words from the famous Warren Buffet.

Warren Buffet claims to be agnostic, but chooses to live out a Biblical principle of giving. This principle works because God created it and it works in every area of our life. “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you” (Luke 6:38). When we give our time, talent or treasure to others, God gives back to us in return.

God is a personal and relational God. His desire for us is to give love in the form of giving, care, friendship, words of affirmation, time, prayer and honor. “Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other” (Romans 12:9-10 NLT).

The only way to receive is to first give.

Remember the story of Job? Job was going through one of the most devastating times in his life. Job’s breakthrough didn’t come when he prayed for himself. His breakthrough came when he took the time to pray for his friends. “After Job had prayed for his friends, the Lord restored his fortunes and gave him twice as much as he had before” (Job 42:10 NIV). When our eyes are only on our self and our only concern is what we need we will continue to be in a state of need and in lack. The only way to truly receive is to first give.

A person who freely gives love away will find no shortage of being loved in return.

Heart Door Candle


REFLECT:

What is God revealing about Himself through this scripture?

What do you hear God saying to you in this scripture?

How does this apply to your life?

Rephrase this scripture to a personal prayer for you. Give God thanks for how He is revealing Himself through this scripture. Request His help.

For further encouragement about God’s love and “Being” God’s love, you can listen to Newspring “Love” message series at newspringlive.com/watch-read/media

Love heart

Day Thirty-Seven: Sometimes Love Is What You Don’t Say

40 days of prayer devotion

by David Shannon Wooten – February 12, 2018

Day Thirty-Seven: Sometimes Love Is What You Don’t Say

Proverbs 15:4, “Kind words bring life, but cruel words crush your spirit.”

We should always be truthful, but never at the cost of being rude or inconsiderate of other people’s feelings. Rudeness is selfish and prideful. Being overly critical and blunt will wound the soul and possibly crush someone’s spirit.

man couple people woman boxing

One characteristic of love is expressing words. The words we choose will either encourage or discourage. Build up or teardown. Heal or crush.

Charlotte Mortimer shared her experience in a class project about writing words of love. “The teacher in our adult-education creative-writing class told us to write ‘I love you’ in 25 words or less, without using the words ‘I love you.’ She gave us 15 minutes. A woman in the class spent about ten minutes looking at the ceiling and wriggling in her seat. The last five minutes she wrote frantically, and later read us the results:

‘Why, I’ve seen lots worse haridos than that, honey.’

‘These cookies are hardly burned at all.

‘Cuddle up-I’ll get your feet warm.’”

(Charlotte Mortimer, in February 1990 Reader’s Digest.)

Please allow me to be honest. After reading this list, I believe my wife, Bonnie could rewrite several sentences that I have rudely stated to her in 25 years of marriage. I’m reminded that “love is not rude” (1 Corinthians 13:5). However, I have seen the error of my ways. I realize that love can be expressed by choosing the right words.

Love speaks louder, because love speaks life.

Choosing to be blunt may come more natural for some than others. This is where we rely on the new life and the new creation that God places within us when we receive Jesus Christ. The new nature has come and the old nature is gone (2 Corinthians 5:17). Yes, it does take effort. We pause before we speak. We demonstrate love by articulating in a way that is kind, thoughtful and encouraging. The Bible tells us we have the ability to speak life. “The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit” (Proverbs 18:21).

People who love are “life-givers”. Love speaks louder, because love speaks life. Your kind words are actions of love.

tulips on board


REFLECT:

What is God revealing about Himself through this scripture?

What do you hear God saying to you in this scripture?

How does this apply to your life?

Rephrase this scripture to a personal prayer for you. Give God thanks for how He is revealing Himself through this scripture. Request His help.

For further encouragement about God’s love and “Being” God’s love, you can listen to Newspring “Love” message series at newspringlive.com/watch-read/media

Love heart

Day Thirty-Six: Love Gives

40 days of prayer devotion

by David Shannon Wooten – February 11, 2018

Day Thirty-Six: Love Gives

2 Corinthians 9:7, “You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. “For God loves a person who gives cheerfully.”

Everything we have is a result of our Heavenly Father giving to us. God has given us health, time, skills, abilities, knowledge, jobs, finances, wealth, resources, a network of connections, friendships. This is by far not an exhaustive list. If you pause for a moment, your mind will be flooded with things that God has given you.

tomatoes giving

God desires for us to be good stewards of everything He has given us. We are more like God when we give. When we are “givers” we are showing God’s love. By giving we keep selfishness and self-centeredness out of our life. “Some people are always greedy for more, but the godly love to give! (Proverbs 21:26)

Your love inspires you to give.

Giving cheerfully brings joy to God’s heart. When you love to give, you bring a smile to God’s face.

Corinthians 9:7

Giving is an act of worship. “God you have given me everything. Here is  a small expression of my gratefulness and attitude toward You.”

Psalm 116:12, “What shall I return to the LORD for all his goodness to me?”

1 Chronicles 16:29,“Give to the LORD the glory he deserves! Bring your offering and come into his presence. Worship the LORD in all his holy splendor.”

Giving demonstrates God’s Salvation God gives sacrificially and your giving is a demonstration of God’s Salvation to the people you are influencing. You impact people’s life by your giving.

John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

Giving reveals God’s heart. You are a reflection of God. Someone said, “You are the only Jesus that most people will see”. We are inspired to give because our Heavenly Father has blessed us. Giving allows people to see the heart of God. When people see your generosity it inspires people to greatness. Stinginess never inspires.

James 1:17, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.”

What do we give?

praying crying helping

We give…

  • our time to volunteer.
  • love to the people in our life.
  • money to support needs, worship God, help ministry efforts, spread the gospel, support God’s Kingdom.
  • skill to accomplish God’s mission and make things better.
  • our words to comfort, affirm and encourage.
  • our companionship to those who are lonely and need a friend.

The blessing that comes with giving.

God will bless you for your love of giving.

  • Proverbs 22:9 “The generous will themselves be blessed, for they share their food with the poor.”
  • Proverbs 28:27, “Those who give to the poor will lack nothing, but those who close their eyes to them receive many curses.”
  • Malachi 3:9-11 – God will open the heavens and protect your investments as a result of your giving.

You bring glory to God when your love gives. Your love speaks louder when you give. 

field sunset sunrise


REFLECT:

What is God revealing about Himself through this scripture?

What do you hear God saying to you in this scripture?

How does this apply to your life?

Rephrase this scripture to a personal prayer for you. Give God thanks for how He is revealing Himself through this scripture. Request His help.

For further encouragement about God’s love and “Being” God’s love, you can listen to Newspring “Love” message series at newspringlive.com/watch-read/media

Love heart

Day Thirty-Four: The Love Test

40 days of prayer devotion

by David Shannon Wooten – February 9, 2018

Day Thirty-Four: The Love Test

Matthew 5:43-45a; 46; 48 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

One true test of how perfect our love is, is how we treat the people who despise us. Jack Hyles said, “You will never really love until you love someone who hates you.” It can be really difficult to love someone who has hurt you. Physically, emotionally or even verbally. How we handle the hurt can be a test in itself. But how we treat the person who has hurt us is a total different test. This is a test to evaluate the perfection or integrity of our love.

The test of love.

Rick Warren said, “God teaches us to love, by putting some unlovely people around us. It takes no character to love people who are lovely and loving to you.”  It is really easy to love people who have a sweet attitude or someone who is friendly and outgoing. But what about a person who has a hateful disposition? Someone who is bitter and mean-spirited? God may be placing people in your life for a reason. Consider that your love may need to be perfected. Practicing love in unloving situations will perfect your love. Also consider that these are the people who God wants them to experience His love through you. You may be a key to their breakthrough by your response of love toward them.

How to love your enemy.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a German pastor who suffered and was killed in Nazi Germany,  shared his thoughts on Matthew 5:44, “is the supreme demand in all of Scripture, to pray for your enemies.” He said, “By prayer, we go to our enemy’s side and we stand with him and plead for him to God.” You and I probably will not be “BFF’s” or “besties” with our enemies. But two things we can do to show the love of God:

#1. Don’t seek revenge. Don’t retaliate, hate in return or talk about them behind their back. Love speaks louder than hatefulness or revenge.

#2. Pray for them. This is what Jesus is commanding us to do, so our love will be perfect. This is loving like God loves.

The bonus for the reward (Matthew 5:46).

Jesus asked the question. “If you love those who love you, what reward will you get?” To take your love to an even higher level, let’s add a #3. Like on a test, you have a “bonus” question. This is the bonus for your reward:

#3.  Act of Love. For the one who has hurt you, do something nice in return. Give them a gift card or buy them a gift.

God loved us and gave us something we didn’t deserve. This is loving like God loves.

heart leaf sun


REFLECT:

What is God revealing about Himself through this scripture?

What do you hear God saying to you in this scripture?

How does this apply to your life?

Rephrase this scripture to a personal prayer for you. Give God thanks for how He is revealing Himself through this scripture. Request His help.

For further encouragement about God’s love and “Being” God’s love, you can listen to Newspring “Love” message series at newspringlive.com/watch-read/media

Love heart

Day Thirty-Two: Love Broke Through

40 days of prayer devotion

by David Shannon Wooten – February 7, 2018

Day Thirty-Two: Love Broke Through

Luke 19:10, “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”

I love Toby Mac’s song,

When Love Broke Thru”. His lyrics resonate with me,

Verse 2,

“I did all that I could to undo me
But You loved me enough to pursue me
Yeah, You drew me out of the shadows
Made me believe that I mattered, to You, You”

Chorus:

“When love broke through
You found me in the darkness
Wanderin’ through the desert
I was a hopeless fool
Now I’m hopelessly devoted
My chains are broken
And it all began with You
When love broke through
And it all began with You
When love broke through”

(If you would like you can watch and listen here)

Love pursues.

What is so awesome about God is, He IS love. He is the very essence of love. His love looks like pursuing people. Love pursues. Love finds what is lost. Love goes after the broken and offers healing. Love makes people feel like they are valuable and that they matter.

Jesus illustrated this “love pursuit” with the woman who lost a coin (Luke 15:8-10). She has nine more, so what’s the big deal? How many coins do you find on the street that people dropped and didn’t bother to pick it up? But to this woman every coin mattered to her. She would not stop the pursuit until she found the lost coin.

Love breaks through.

Every person matters to God. He will not stop His pursuit until they are found, restored and healed. People need breakthroughs. Breakthroughs can be traced back to actions of love.

Think about the breakthroughs you have experienced in life. Someone was willing to pursue you and share Christ with you. Someone loved you enough to pray with you until you experienced a breakthrough. Someone opened their heart and met a need in your life. God pursues because He loves. And He moves the heart of His people to do the same. When we love, we pursue and love breaks through.


REFLECT:

What is God revealing about Himself through this scripture?

What do you hear God saying to you in this scripture?

How does this apply to your life?

Rephrase this scripture to a personal prayer for you. Give God thanks for how He is revealing Himself through this scripture. Request His help.

For further encouragement about God’s love and “Being” God’s love, you can listen to Newspring “Love” message series at newspringlive.com/watch-read/media

Love heart

Maggie Has Been Rejected 50,000 Times

This is Maggie. Britains most “unloved dog”. That’s what Britain paper “The Daily Mail” wrote in 2015. Maggie is a whippet cross who was taken to Serendipity Kennel in Cellarhead, Staffordshire as a puppy because a large family was unable to cope and care for her. For eleven years over 50,000 people who were looking for a dog overlooked Maggie. No one wanted Maggie.

What really breaks my heart at an escalated level is the thousands of children who have been rejected or abandoned by their parents. In some cases, the children are not rejected but have lost their parents to death, prison or to extreme illness. Children need parents. They need care-givers. They need love, affection and affirmation. It is devastating and a detriment to a Childs health to be left alone, ignored and not nurtured on every level… body, soul and spirit.

When we bring attention to loneliness, we must remember our elderly who are in nursing homes or unable to leave their homes. Thousands of our elderly have no one to visit them. They spend hours bound to a bed or to a very small square footage of space. A visit from anyone always puts a smile on their faces.

Loneliness is a real issue. No-one wants to feel like they are alone or do not have anyone they can talk to about ideas, problems or sharing things that excite them. Professional studies have proven that we are wired for social connection. From plants, animals to humans, the results are the same, when they are neglected human interaction… the outcome will be sickness and possible death.

In some cases, the cure for loneliness is relativity easy and low sacrifice. Its a simple 30 to 60 minute conversation. Its a phone call. It’s sharing a meal. Its taking a walk together. In some cases it will require more sacrifice. It’s making a relational commitment to be a friend. It’s spending time mentoring. Adopting a child. Whether a small investment of time or a larger sacrifice…

You can be someones cure for loneliness. 

5 Things to Help Fight Against Loneliness

  1. Invite someone out for coffee, breakfast, lunch or dinner. You may be the one that feels lonely. Don’t let the possible feeling of rejection stop you from inviting someone. The first invite might not work for their schedule or you may have invited the wrong person. Don’t give up. Someone wants to talk with you.
  2. Take time to call 3 people this week. Spend some time on the phone with them. Offer words of encouragement, scripture verses and a prayer before you end the conversation.
  3. Find a teen that seems to be fighting loneliness. Get permission from their parents and take them to lunch, play basketball, fishing, go get ice cream. Talk about future goals and plans. Take time to dream with them about their future. Find out what they are passionate about. Encourage them. Breathe life into their future.
  4. Treasure the moments that people give you. If someone takes out time to talk with you. Notice you. Invite you. Thank them. When you feel lonely, or you have the thought that no-one cares, remind yourself that someone took out time to call you or they sent you a card. Those small moments mean a lot. I believe when we are truly thankful for the small moments that people give us and we sow into other peoples lives, God will allow us to reap a harvest of friendships.
  5. Remember these Scriptures. Pray and ask the Lord to help you extend His presence in to someones life this week.
  • Proverbs 18:24a, “A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly…”
  • Luke 6:31, “Do to others as you would have them do to you.”
  • Ecclesiastes 4:9-10, “Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble.”
  • John 15:12,This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you. There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”
  • Proverbs 17:17, “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity.”