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Daily DevotionalJust For Today - Daily Devotional

Just For Today


A Daily Approach to Prayer and Scripture

 

Just For Today Daily Devotional

Thursday, May 5


“Love your neighbor as yourself.”
Mt 22:39 NIV

LOVE YOURSELF

God loves you so much that He gave His only Son to save you. “Save me from what?” you ask: (1) Going through this life lost, directionless, joyless, and unfulfilled. (2) Spending the next life lost and without the joys of heaven He wants you to share. That’s how highly God values you. So when you keep putting yourself down, you’re rejecting His opinion of you. And to disagree with God is to make yourself equal with Him, or worse, put your opinion above His. Maybe you never thought about it like that before. Actress/singer Ethel Waters ministered to great crowds in the Billy Graham crusades. She was born black and poor in a segregated society, but when she found Christ she gained true self-esteem. With a smile that would melt your heart, she told her audiences, “God made me—and my God don’t make no junk!” When you refuse to love yourself, it’s impossible to love others or accept that they love you. You become skilled at tuning out compliments and picking up on criticism, because it confirms the negative opinion you have of yourself. As a result, you distance yourself from people and end up lonely without ever knowing why. Maybe your parents failed you, or your spouse betrayed you. You may feel like “damaged goods,” and seek escape in addictions, or affairs, or a lifestyle of ritual accomplishment. But it doesn’t work. Only when you accept that God loves you unconditionally, and decide to love yourself, will you have love to give to others.

Friday, May 6

“Love your neighbor as yourself.”
Mt 22:39 NIV

LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR

In The Fine Art of Friendship Ted Engstrom outlines ten ways to love others: (1) Love is unconditional. If it’s not…it’s manipulation. (2) Our natural tendency is toward self-centeredness (which isn’t related to a healthy self-esteem); that’s why it takes a conscious effort to love. (3) Each of us is a one-of-a-kind creation. Therefore it takes time—often a long time—to understand one another. (4) Do you really listen and try to understand what people are saying? Or do you listen in order to give an answer; in other words, by letting the other person talk while you mentally formulate your response? One who loves, listens with understanding. (5) Simply being there to care, whether or not you know exactly what to do. Loving your neighbor involves fulfilling, in a visible way, Christ’s promise, “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Heb 13:5 NKJV). (6) Just because God put you in a leadership position doesn’t mean He made you “better” than others. Paul warns the leader “not to think of himself more highly than he ought to” (Ro 12:3). (7) Be generous with your praise and encouragement. Inspiring words build up the self-esteem of others, whereas critical comments kill enthusiasm and love. (8) Make your friends number one: “In honour preferring one another” (Ro 12:10). This is another point where we see a clear difference between the leader who loves, and a power-holder who “looks out for number one.” (9) Learn to love God with all your heart. Then love your neighbor as yourself. (10) Emphasize other people’s strengths and virtues, not their sins and weaknesses. Why? Because you’ll be needing grace and love yourself before the day’s done!