Showing posts with label love. Show all posts
Showing posts with label love. Show all posts

Friday, January 5, 2018

What the Bible Says About Love - the book

God IS love.

From Genesis to Revelation, the Bible reveals the timeless, unchanging, ever-present love of God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. As we accept this purely unpolluted, undiluted love, we receive God’s view of love to embrace for ourselves, live by faithfully, and give lavishly to others.

All of us need this! Yet, searching out these passages and considering them in context takes time and resources many people do not have. And so, I began this blog with carefully selected and prayerfully paraphrased (prayer-a-phrased) Bible verses to show God’s ongoing Way of Love.

Eventually the posts resulted in a book What the Bible Says About Love, available in print and also in a Kindle e-book. May its pages help you to see how very, very loved you are!

Mary Harwell Sayler, ©2018

What the Bible Says About Love, paperback

Kindle e-book


Thursday, September 21, 2017

Our common union in the Trinity

May the grace
of the Lord Jesus,

the love
of God our Heavenly Father,

and the fellowship
of the Holy Spirit

be in communion with us all.

Mary Harwell Sayler, © 2017, prayer-a-phrased 2 Corinthians 13:14 after reading several translations of the verse provided by Bible Gateway.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

The Name, The Word to trust

I bow to You, Lord,
and praise Your Holy Name
for Your totally reliable
and Your faithfulness
to the truth.

Nothing can stop or top
Your Name and the promises
You have given us
in Your Word.

Mary Harwell Sayler,
©2017, prayer-a-phrased Psalm 138:2 after pouring over many of the translations found on Bible Gateway.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Love and honor others

Devote yourself
to loving God’s children.

Give unto others
the honor you want.

Romans 12:10 prayer-a-phrased by Mary Harwell Sayler, ©2017, after reading various translations on Bible Gateway.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Loving like Jesus

Every time I’ve read John 13:34, I’ve been puzzled by Jesus’ words: “I’m giving you a new commandment: love one another.” Since I’ve heard that longer than I can remember, this word of exhortation did not seem new to me. But when I looked up the phrase “love one another” on Bible Gateway, I found no earlier reference.

In the Hebrew Bible, however, God says, “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might,” Deuteronomy 6:4-5. Bringing that love down to earth, Leviticus 19:18 says, “you shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

In Matthew 26:37-40, Jesus put those two commands together by saying, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment, and the second is like unto it, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

A problem arises, though, when people have trouble loving themselves, much less their neighbors! Nevertheless, God still wants this, and so the New Testament clarifies the concept of the true love to be found in Christ Jesus:

• He spoke healing words.
• He called people by name.
• He showed God’s love.
• He taught the kind attitudes we’re to have.
• He gave His life.
• He brought us life eternal.
• He called us to be brothers and sisters
• He empowered us to be children of God.
• He continues to pray for us now.

In the hours before His death, Jesus told His disciples: “I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I’ve loved you, so you also must love one another,” John 13:34.

Hopefully, we’ll love and appreciate ourselves and our neighbors. Regardless, we must love one another as conduits of Jesus Christ, Whose love flows in and through us. We can't do this by ourselves, but we can agree to it. We can give Jesus' command our amen.

May the Almighty God our Father help us to allow Christ’s love to pour forth profusely. Let it be! So be it. Amen.

Mary Harwell Sayler, © 2017, with scriptures from many of the translations on Bible Gateway

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Giving up fear for Lent and for ever

On this Ash Wednesday, let us give up all of our fears for Lent and for ever! Pray for the Lord to bind any spirit of fear in or around you and fill you with the Holy Spirit of Love, Joy, Peace, and the Power found in Jesus’ Name. As the Bible says:

God did not give us a spirit of fear!

God gave us a Spirit of Power,
a Spirit of Love,

a non-chaotic Spirit of Order
and Self-control.

2 Timothy 1:7 has been prayer-a-phrased and italicized by Mary Harwell Sayler, © 2017, using scriptures from many of the translations found on Bible Gateway.


Saturday, January 14, 2017

Love God. Love the children of God

If we say, “I love God!”
but loathe a brother
or sister in Christ,
we’re lying!

If we have no regard
for Christians we see,
how can we love God
Who cannot be seen?

The Lord gives this clear command:
If we truly love God, we’ll truly care
about the children of God.

1 John 4:20-21 from the Verse of the Day posted by Bible Gateway and prayer-a-phrased by Mary Harwell Sayler, © 2017

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Watch out for love!

Joshua 23:11:Be very watchful of yourselves to love the LORD your God.”


Parents often tell their children
to be watchful of potential dangers:
fast-moving traffic,
enticing strangers,
weird weather, or whatever
seems worrisome,
and You, Heavenly Father,
remind us of this too.
But, I do not remember
ever telling my children
to watch out for love:

Let us be watchful of kind acts
and learn from them with thanksgiving.
Let us be on the lookout for caring faces
of people who love to help, and let us
listen carefully to tones of voice
accompanying tender words
and honest prayer.

Oh, Lord, my God,
help me to notice You.
Help me to be aware
of Your ongoing goodness
and amazing creativity.

Let me not be distracted
by moods, emotions, desires,
or anything that takes my attention
from You.

Help me to praise You, notice the love
around me,
and give You the love You deserve.

Busyness and skewed priorities often take our focus from God and onto people, problems, or pride. If someone were watching, would that person see an obvious love for God? What evidence do I see of my faith in God and the love I have for others?

Mary Harwell Sayler, ©2016


Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Obliged to love

Romans 13:8-10

Don’t be obliged
to anyone for anything
except for being
obligated to love.

Whoever loves others
has fulfilled the law!

Consider the commandments:

Do not commit adultery with anyone.
Do not murder anyone.
Do not steal from anyone.
Do not scheme to get
what anyone else has.

The commandments add up to one:

Love anyone as yourself.

Love harms no one!
Therefore, your love fulfills God’s law.

© 2015, Mary Harwell Sayler prayer-a-phrased today’s reading in Romans 13 from several of the many translations on Bible Gateway

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Ways of love

Many ways of love exist, but these often come to mind:

Romantic love

Love of friends

Love of country

Love of knowledge or anything else that’s important to us, including

Love of money

Love of power

Obviously those last ways get off track from “real love,” but any way of love can go awry if priorities press or motivations muddle. Even love of church can split into ways that divide “them” and “us.”

To help us avoid splinters with one another and ourselves, the Bible gives a way to examine our motives and realign ourselves with God’s Way of Love:

“And now, O people of God, what does the LORD your God require of you but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all of God’s ways, to love God, and to serve the LORD your God with all of your heart and all your soul,” Deuteronomy 10:11-13.

Prayer: LORD, God, thank You for showing us Your boundless, pure, unchanging Love through Your living word in the Bible and Your Living Word in Jesus the Christ, The Way.


©2012, Mary Sayler, all rights reserved. For other Bible topics and also articles on poetry and writing, see Blogs by Mary. May God bless you and keep you in The Way of Love.


Friday, February 3, 2012

The Bible defines love

If you have ever been to a church wedding, you have probably heard “the love chapter” that the Apostle Paul wrote to the early Christians in Corinth. This godly love strongly ties the knot to a beautiful marriage and the beautiful church body of Christ. First and foremost, however, this biblical description of Love firmly attaches us to the Almighty God Who empowers us to convey the power of love everywhere we go – in thought, in prayer, and, indeed, in deed.

1 Corinthians 13

If I speak in the tongues of earth and of angels
but have not love, I am a noisy gong or clanging
cymbal. If I have prophetic powers and understand
all mysteries and all knowledge and have faith to
remove mountains but have not love, I am nothing.
If I give away all I have and deliver up my body to
be burned but have not love, I gain nothing. Love is
patient and kind. Love does not envy or boast. Love is
not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way
and is not irritable or resentful. It does not rejoice at
wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all
things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures
all things. Love never ends. As for prophecies, they
will pass away. As for tongues, they will cease. As for
knowledge, it too will pass away. For we know in part
and we prophesy in part, but when the perfect comes,
the partial will pass away. When I was a child, I spoke
like a child. I thought like a child, and I reasoned like a
child. When I grew up, I gave up childish ways. For now
we see in a mirror dimly but then we shall see face to
face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know fully as
I have been fully known. So now faith, hope, and love
abide, these three, but the greatest of these is love.

Prayer: Dear Loving God and Heavenly Father of Love, thank You for showing us Your view of true love – a love that does not include false moves or motives! Sometimes the love to which You call us gets hard, Lord, especially when someone treats us in a hurtful way. Keep reminding us to pray for our enemies. Keep reminding us to turn to You to talk over every unloving thing we encounter. Keep reminding us of the love You give us to give, instead of focusing on false notions of romantic love based on feelings. You, O Lord, created love. You are the action verb of true love given to us all in Jesus' Name.


©2017 and 2012, Mary Harwell Sayler


Saturday, January 28, 2012

Offering ourselves to Love

Searching for “Love” in all the right places ideally starts with a Bible concordance or a word search on such websites as With numerous English translations of the Bible from which to choose, searchers for “Love” find matches with the click of a finger. For instance, a “love” search shows that:

Love begins with Genesis.

The Bible contains hundreds of references to love.

Translations in current lingo often contain 700 or more references to love, ranging from feelings of emotion to close encounters of a sexual kind.

Most of the literal translations, such as the King James Version and Douay-Rheims, separate varying aspects of love into various words such as charity and yet still translate over 400 Bible verses as the highest form of love – that godly love that comes from choices and actions based on the closest but purest relationships.

New Testament readers often hear of this purest form of parental love by its original Greek name, Agape (pronounced ah-GAH-pay.) In the First Testament or Hebrew Bible, however, the word for love is ahava, which springs from its root-word hav – to give.

We may fall into love, but we cannot fall into give. We have to get there on purpose.

Giving our love sometimes means giving up what we want for a very good, very loving reason. So it’s not surprising that, during an era when ungodly gods demanded child sacrifices, the first Bible reference to godly parental love occurs in Genesis 22:1-3, where God tests Abraham by asking him to sacrifice his only son Isaac as a burnt offering.

Maybe that’s what Abraham expected and, therefore, heard. Or maybe God wanted Abraham to understand from the start of the Hebrew nation that the Almighty LORD loves His children far more than the very best parent possibly could, and, therefore, would never ever require child sacrifices like the unloving, ungodly gods demanded.

Regardless, God put Abraham’s faith to the test. Then Abraham put Isaac’s faith to the test! As Young’s Literal Translation says, God told Abraham, “Take, I pray thee, thy son, thine only one, whom thou hast loved, even Isaac, and go for thyself unto the land of Moriah, and cause him to ascend there for a burnt-offering on one of the mountains of which I speak unto thee.”

Besides noticing the very first use of the ahava word “love” in the Bible, notice how this literal translation of the verse “causes” Isaac to ascend or climb the mountain, which implies that the boy showed his love by giving his father and his Heavenly Father the benefit of the doubt in an undoubtedly scary situation. In addition, verse 6 tells us, Abraham carried the knife and the torch, but Isaac carried the wood while the two of them walked up the mountain together.

Again and again, this verse comes up in Bible studies and theological debates for many reasons, but here the point is that the first reference to love in the Bible is a sacrificial love – a love that gives, a love that asks us to offer up ourselves and all we hold dear out of our love for God and our faith in His goodness.

This sacrificial love of Abraham and Isaac finds its ultimate fulfillment in the Gospels where God sacrifices His only begotten son Jesus, who also carried the wood of the Cross.

That One-and-Only Child sacrifice has been fully paid by God the Father and God the Son for the very specific purpose of giving an eternally ongoing relationship with God to anyone and everyone who so chooses.

Such a sacrifice is not required by human beings, nor can our love begin to compare. Throughout the Bible, however, God urges us to give of ourselves – to offer up ourselves to the gift of love that lives, on and on, in and around us.


For further study about Abraham’s love offering of Isaac, the Bible Prayers blog gives additional background with a word search or in the article “God and Abraham pray for Ishmael and Isaac.”


©2012, Mary Harwell Sayler, all rights reserved. Please do not copy without permission.


Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Our First Love: God

In Matthew 10:37, Jesus made a puzzling statement: "People who love their father or mother more than Me are not worthy of Me. Those who love a son or daughter more than Me are not worthy of Me."

To keep that hard saying of Jesus in context, however, He showed us a bigger picture in Matthew 22:37-39: "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and all your soul and all your mind. This is the first and great commandment, and the second is like it. You shall love your neighbor as yourself."

Clearly God wants us to love other people and ourselves very much but not put what they want – or what we want – before anything God wants.

What does God want? Who can know without knowing what God says? And so, Jesus urged His followers to listen to God. Quoting the Torah (Jewish law) He commanded: "Hear, O Israel."

Known as the Shema (Hebrew word for listen), the full commandment in Deuteronomy 6:4-9 says: “Hear, oh Israel, listen! The Lord our God is the one and only Lord! Therefore, you must love the Lord with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength. Keep these words I am commanding you today in your hearts and on your minds. Repeat them to your children. Talk about them when you sit around your house and when you go out, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them on your hand as a sign, and put them on your forehead as a symbol. Write them on the doorposts of your home and on your gates.”

As these Bible verses show, God wants us to use everyday opportunities and experiences to show our children, friends, and neighbors our beliefs. Even strangers who knock on our doors will be able to see that we belong to the Almighty Lord God and Father of Love if we have symbols and signs of God all around our yards and houses. A lawn statue, a Bible verse plaque, a cross on the wall, or a dust-free Bible on a table can openly but quietly attest to our love for God in a way that people can see as soon as they enter our homes. More importantly, those same signs, symbols, or icons also remind us to love God and to put God first and foremost – in our relationships, decisions, daily activities, and even our décor.

Prayer: Dear Lord God, help us to love You more and put You before anyone or anything else at any time. Help us to listen and really hear what You have to say to us. Help us especially to see how You first loved us so much that You gave up Your only Son for us, so we could forever be Your beloved children too. We thank You and praise You, O Lord God, for your ongoing love.

©2012, Mary Harwell Sayler, all rights reserved. Please do not copy without permission.

What the Bible Says About Love - the book

God IS love. From Genesis to Revelation, the Bible reveals the timeless, unchanging, ever-present love of God the Father, Son, and Holy S...