Day Forty: A Revival of Love

40 days of prayer devotion

by David Shannon Wooten – February 15, 2018

Day Forty: A Revival of Love

1 Peter 3:8-10: “Finally, be all of one mind, be loving toward one another, be gracious, and be kind. Do not repay evil for evil, or curse for curse, but on the contrary, bless, knowing that to this you are called, so that you may receive a blessing. For ‘He who would love life and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil, and his lips from speaking deceit.'”

There are a lot of great people in the world. I have been so blessed to have met some of the most caring, loving people over the years. People who have prayed for me when I was going through struggles. Some have given their support when others would not.  People who gave out of love or appreciation.

I have also met some really mean people who probably were acting out of their own hurt, insecurities or maybe they just didn’t have a real change of heart and perspective on life. We see things in the news about evil acts of hatred, racism, injustices, bullying, political division and many other acts that are the opposite of love.

The power of love.

The only thing that will bring healing and attract people to Christ’s Salvation is when we demonstrate His love. Jesus said our love will stand out to the people around. John 13:35, “Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”

There is a common theme throughout God’s Word that instructs us to bless others. I really do love this because it gives us purpose. We are to be people who bless. The scripture in 1 Peter 3:8-10 declares that it is our calling. A calling to bless, a calling to love. A calling from God means we are empowered by His Spirit to love.

Awakened love.

A revival of love means God’s love can be awakened in us to a new level. We can see people as God sees people. The Holy Spirit will give us creativity and words of knowledge on how to show God’s love to people. When God’s love is revived within us, we begin to be sensitive to people’s needs around us.

Our acts of love will draw people to Christ more than our opinions or voicing our differences.

Completing the writing of a 40-days of prayer devotion has been a first for me. I knew it was going to be a commitment to write a devotion every day for 40 days straight. It was enjoyable sharing and we accomplished it! I want to thank my office administrator Amanda Wipperman for helping me give our Newspring congregation the opportunity to connect to these devotions. I pray these 40 days have been a blessing to you and God has spoke amazing things to your heart. Blessings!

water ocean sunset sunrise beach


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-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-Three: Love Made Perfect

40 days of prayer devotion

by David Shannon Wooten – January 8, 2018

Day Thirty-Three: Love Made Perfect

1 John 4:17, “And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect. So we will not be afraid on the day of judgment, but we can face him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world.”

This verse is one major reason why we long to keep our relationship and love for God strong. It is packed with spiritual truth and principles. Reading God’s Word, praying, seeking God through fasting, faithful to worship, serving in ministry, giving to God’s ministry, taking inventory of our attitude and behaviors to ensure we are producing the fruit of the Spirit; all of these things are only a few examples of living in God. Living in God is to not only have a desire to be in God’s presence, but to love the things and people He loves.

Hear God’s heartbeat of love.

First observation from this scripture; we realize our love can grow into perfection. If you feel like you are not able to love like Christ would love, make an effort to come closer to God. If you sense you are being tempted to live a selfish life, come closer to the heart of God. We cannot afford to let our love be exhausted or limited. This will require us to draw from God’s love.

The closer you draw near to God the more you can hear and feel His heartbeat. God’s heart overflows with love. Spend time with Him and you will be a better lover.

Man standing with bible


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

Day Thirty-One: Love Is The Better Way

40 days of prayer devotion

by David Shannon Wooten – February 6, 2018

Day Thirty-One: Love Is The Better Way

Galatians 5:6b, “…The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.”

WE ARE A BETTER VERSION OF OURSELF WHEN WE LOVE.

To illustrate this principle, let’s think about anger. Anger appears to be opposite of love. Everyone experiences some level of anger. Anger is a justified human emotion. However, we are instructed in the Bible, “In your anger do not sin: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry,” (Ephesians 4:26).

God doesn’t expect us to never be angry. He does want us to consider how we express our anger. Is it possible to be angry and still love? We can. We just need to carefully choose the right reaction to our emotion of anger.

Keep this in mind, people are not getting the best out of you when you are doing the opposite of love.

  • My anger should motivate me to resolve the situation as quickly as I can and not let it linger for days.
  • Anger should not lead me to seek revenge or hurt someone or personally attack them with my words.
  • Anger should not be permitted to destroy my relationships.
  • I can be angry and still communicate a course of action that brings resolution.

No matter if it’s anger, any other emotion or situation, the better version of you is when you act in love.

WE BRING THE BEST OUT OF PEOPLE WHEN WE LOVE.

Someone didn’t give up on you. They believed in you. Someone cared enough to help, correct, encourage and instruct you. Someone demonstrated an action of love and it impacted your life. The action of love always brings positive results.

When you love you bring the best out of people by…

  • seeing the good in them that they may not be able to see.
  • speaking the right words to help their perspective or change their emotion.
  • helping discover solutions to their problems.

When love goes up, everything goes up. Love is always the better way.

Hot air balloon


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: First Love

40 days of prayer devotion

by David Shannon Wooten – February 5, 2018

Day Thirty: First Love

 1 John 4:19, We love because he FIRST loved us.

We didn’t love God first. We are FIRST loved by God. Our first step to knowing true love is to allow God to love us. We receive His love by accepting His “love gift”, Jesus Christ His Son. Any other effort to fill our hearts will fall short.

A paraphrased quote from one of Blaise Pascal’s writings illustrates the point, “There is a God-shaped vacuum in the heart of every person, and it can cross sunnever be filled by any created thing. It can only be filled by God, made known through Jesus Christ.” (Actual quote found on page 75 of Blaise Pascal’s Pensees, New York; Penguin Books, 1966).

When our relationship with God is strong we are more confident in His love for us. The more we rely on God’s love we are less to feel insecure about ourselves. This is SO important, not because we need to feel better about ourselves, but because we need to be free to show other people the love that God has given to us.

Ravi Zacharias said, “The love of God shows us that God alone bridges the distance between him and us, enabling us to see this world through Calvary.” When we are confident in God’s love toward us, we can see the people in our life as God sees them. God wants us to see the people in our life through the eyes of His love.

Loving God first.

  • How we love others will demonstrate how we love God. (1 John 4:20)
  • Loving God first will eliminate insecurities, jealousy or other selfish feelings that inhibit us from showing God’s love.

 You will be free to give compliments, celebrate others on to their success, show kindness to people who are rude to you, always speak well of people, never repeat someones weakness to others.

  • When you love God first you will love others best.

God will fill you with His love. This will allow you to love people from His love in you. You cannot give people what you do not possess.

Your spouse, your children, your friends, your students, your team, your coworkers, and your community need you to put priority on loving God first.

We can help people find God’s love through our acts of love. First love God and BE the love to others.

heart hands 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