Today’s Truth

Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love (1 John 4:8, NIV).

Friend to Friend

A group of four through eight-year-olds was asked: “What does love mean?” Their answers vary from the amusing to the profound.

Love is when a girl puts on perfume and a boy puts on shaving cologne, and they go out and smell each other.

Love is when you go out to eat and give somebody most of your French fries without making them give you any of theirs.

Love is what makes you smile when you’re tired.

When my grandmother got arthritis, she couldn’t bend over and paint her toenails anymore. So my grandfather does it for her all the time, even when his hands got arthritis, too. That’s love.

When you tell someone something bad about yourself and you’re scared they won’t love you anymore. But then you get surprised because not only do they still love you … they love you even more.

Love is when mommy sees daddy smelly and sweaty and still says he is “handsomer” than Denzel Washington.

Love is when your puppy licks your face even after you left him alone all day.

Love cards, like Valentine’s cards, say stuff on them that we’d like to say ourselves, but we wouldn’t be caught dead saying.

Yes, the response of these children is both precious and humorous. But the reality is that there is only one place where we can find true love – in a personal relationship with God.

God loves you. He created you. The words of Psalm 139 beautifully express the heart of God toward each one of us:

“For You created my inmost being. You knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Your works are wonderful. I know that full well” (Psalm 139:13, NIV).

God’s love does so many big things in our lives. God’s love transforms the ugliness of life into a beautiful trophy of grace. Love covers the scars of sin, heals wounds, and eases pain.

Jesus was and is the living illustration and certain fulfillment of His Father’s love. The love of God is unconditional and unfailing. It will stubbornly pursue us no matter where we go or what we do. God’s love satisfies the deepest longings of our soul, enables us to love ourselves, and frees us to love others.

God’s love shows up in big ways … but sometimes it is when God’s love shows up in little ways that He really gets to me. But the bottom line is that the love of God always shows up!

Many of you are facing painful circumstances. Others are in a place you never thought you would be. The uncertainty of what lies ahead can be frightening … unless you truly know and trust the One who holds every minute of every tomorrow in His hands.

“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,” (John 3:16, NIV).

God’s love changes everything and everyone who receives it. God’s love protects and breathes life and purpose into every minute of every day. God’s love is a gift beyond measure that surrounds us and covers us when life falls apart.

Do not believe the lies of the enemy when he tells you that your God has forsaken you. God is with you – Emmanuel. He endured the cross, completely and absolutely alone, because He loves you.

No one can take your place in the Father’s heart. God knows your pain and He understands. God created you and paid for your sin for one reason alone – He loves you. And true love always shows up.

God is for you … and He is with you. Let His unfailing love surround and fill your heart with hope.

Let’s Pray

Thank You for loving me, God. Honestly, I don’t understand that kind of love; a love that sent Jesus Christ to the cross so that I can live. But today, I celebrate Your love. Father, please help me learn how to freely share that love with the people in my world.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Now It’s Your Turn

Look for the evidence of God’s love at work in your life.

Look around. Someone in your world needs to know that Jesus loves him or her. What can you do to help them experience the love of God? Make a plan … and then do it!

More from the Girlfriends

True love doesn’t collapse under pressure or fall apart in the hard times. In her MP3 download, Love That Never Fails, Mary shares her story and explains how to define, discover, and experience unconditional love. Check it out!

Check out Mary’s blog! Sign up today and receive a FREE MP3 download of “Strength For The Storm.” Just click here.

© 2021 by Mary Southerland. All rights reserved.


11 Responses to “What Does Love Really Mean?”

  1. Carol says:

    Mary, thank you for one of the most profound GIG’s ever.
    Needed it today.

  2. Abby says:

    Hi Mary
    But I don’t think He loves me. I am a mistake, loser, fat, ugly, and disabled. Failure in my small online business. So yep He made a mistake.

  3. Dee says:

    God absolutely loves you. Sometimes it’s hard for us to feel it. Our feelings can often deceive us. That’s when we MUST trust in His Word. His Word says that you are fearfully and wonderfully made. It also says that God takes great delight in YOU and rejoices over YOU with singing. Please don’t listen to the lies of Satan that come straight from the pit of hell.
    You are dearly loved.

  4. Leah says:

    Mornin’ Abby!

    I was sitting here this morning battling negative thoughts about myself as well- in areas where I failed, but I know God has a plan and purpose for my life, in spite of how I feel right now. I will keep going in Jesus’ name and continue to wait on Him. Will you do the same with me?

  5. Carol says:

    Dear Abby….please, don’t believe the great liar!
    Just was reading the book of Job, this am. Job felt as low as any human ever felt, and he felt abandoned. But, you know what? God was still there in the low pit with him!
    God definitely has plans for you (Jerem. 29:11): His time, is the most important element to your waiting! Please, don’t be impatient, HE is always working on our behalf!
    Father God, please come to the heart of this dear sister who is experiencing heart-break. Give her the peace, that only you can provide for her. Give her the strength and knowing that even with the world’s negativity she’s feeling…let her know, in some wonderful way, YOU are in her corner today!! Bless, Abby, in Jesus precious name, Amen!

  6. Cathy says:

    Satan is making you believe all of those bad things about yourself! They are not true! Don’t let him win! God loves you as His child and He can change everything for you if you let Him… He is bigger than Satan!
    Praying that you will see the truth in God’s Love.❤️

  7. Kathy says:

    Thank you for the excellent encouragement Mary!🤗
    Dear Abby; Dear Sister in Christ; please read through Ephesians chapters 1 and 2….in Christ you are: ” accepted, beloved, blessed, adopted, chosen, holy, without blame, redeemed, precious recipients of His Grace, His heirs, His masterpieces….the list goes on and on ! This is what He says about us. It is who He declares us to be !
    Take courage Sister- His unfailing love surrounds you !

  8. Sherri says:

    Heavenly Father, help Abby to see the love and grace of a merciful father. Thank you for the opportunity to see her and to know her through this lesson of GIG. Father I pray my heart reaches her and she knows she is truly loved.
    Abby please know that you are loved and I promise you with everything in me and the love of God that you will get through this. Blessings to you my sister in Jesus name. Amen!!

  9. Penney says:

    Mary I thank you for your message today. I am so impressed with how God always steps in and makes Himself known. The sisters who God used today-how awesome this is to see. I thank God for every sister here today with an encouraging message for Abby who feels broken. God bless you all and a huge thank you for all the encouragement. Only God!

    Abby being disabled does not make you any less Gods daughter. This is the stage of where we find out what we are really made of and who we really are and to Whom we belong. This does not define you, it is a step that God uses to get in us what we need and out of us what we dont. It is to bring us to full dependency on Him alone. God wastes nothing and one day you will look back on this time and encourage someone else. You are so loved my sister. You are most definitely one of God’s masterpieces and no one loves you more! He looks at you and He smiles.

  10. April says:

    I hope you know there are sisters in Christ right now who want to hug you and tell you that you are a wonderfully made child of God. None of us are perfect in body or soul.
    I do understand what it’s like to be overweight – as you say fat. I have ugly scares from cancer surgery. I flunked out my first job of delivering Pizza. God has made no mistake with you. I pray you find a good support group and a women’s bible study to love you and show you that God loves you too, just as you are. Let God love you so you can learn to love yourself.

  11. Denise says:

    Today I have a meeting with a potential employer, all week I have been doubting my abilities and my deepest insecurities have risen. This is only my second time being interviewed in 35 years of working, all my other jobs were just offered to me. Now 56 years old, I keep thinking “who wants to hire a grandma”? I needed to be reminded of who I am and regardless of getting this job today or not, God’s love for will never change. Like you said Mary, “ He holds every minute in His hands” so it has already been pre-planned, He has already gone before and made a way; that way might be in the direction of this job or maybe a different one but either way, its His way! Thank you Mary for this devotional, as always God’s timing is perfect.

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"We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well…" 1 Thessalonians 2:8