Showing posts with label what the Bible says about love. Show all posts
Showing posts with label what the Bible says about love. Show all posts

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Dressed in love

Above all things
deck yourself out
in love
which ties you
to Christ’s perfection!

Colossians 3:14 prayer-a-phrased by Mary Harwell Sayler, ©2017.

Praise God, these prayerful paraphrases have now been collected in the book, What the Bible Says About Love.

Lord willing, this will be the first of a series on prayer-a-phrased scriptures about a variety of Bible topics, so please let me know which biblical subjects you’d most like to see in one book. Thanks and blessings.

Saturday, September 2, 2017

God’s love fills the earth

Your faithful love
fills the whole earth!

Teach me Your Laws
of Love.

Mary Harwell Sayler, ©2017, paraphrased Psalm 119:64 after reflecting on the verse in a variety of translations 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

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Holy Week shows us everything the Bible says about love

“For God so loves the world that He gave
His only begotten Son, that whosoever
believes in Him will not perish, but have
everlasting life. For Christ did not come
into the world to condemn the world, but
that through Him the world might be saved,”

John 3:16-17.

“For this reason, I bow my knees unto
the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
from whom the whole family in heaven
and earth is named, that He may grant
you, according to the riches of His glory,
to be strengthened with power by His Spirit
in your inner self, so that Christ may dwell
in your hearts by faith – and that you, being
rooted and grounded in love, may be able
to comprehend with all the saints what is
the breadth and length, depth and height,
and to know the love of Christ – the love
which surpasses knowledge, that you might
be filled with all the fullness of God.

“Now to him Who is able to do far more
abundantly than anything we ask or think,
according to the power at work within us,
to Him be the glory in the church and in
Christ Jesus throughout all ages, forever
and ever, without end. Amen,”

Ephesians 3:14-21.

Prayer: LORD God and Heavenly Father of all, as Lent ends and Holy Week begins, please help us to accept Your overwhelming love that we might fully turn to You and fully return to the church in the healing power, love, and forgiving embrace of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.


©2012, Mary Sayler. Thank you for acknowledging this site when sharing its devotional thoughts with others. For a variety of Bible topics, see Blogs by Mary. May God bless your Holy Week.


Friday, February 17, 2012

Love is more than paper hearts for Valentines

Real hearts bleed. Real people cry. But thank God, real love cares and listens.

“O, God, You’re aware of all my sorrows.
You have collected my tears in a bottle
and recorded each one in Your book,”
Psalm 56:8.

Imagine! The Almighty God, Creator of heaven and earth, knows and understands what we think and feel and takes note of even the smallest signs of our distress.

Dear LORD God, Who created us and gave us the ability to feel, help us to express our emotions in a way that communicates, restores, and renews our loving relationships with other people, ourselves, and You. Help us, Heavenly Father, to turn over each wound, sin, or sorrow to be tended by Your perfect love.


©2012, Mary Harwell Sayler, all rights reserved.


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...