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Love is giving to others’ basic needs without having as my motive personal reward.

Love in Scripture The Character of God

we know that we love God. He also tells us that as we love Him, He reveals more of Himself to us! When we keep His commands, we are both expressing our love for Him and experiencing His love for us. (See John 14:21.)

• God’s everlasting love draws us to Himself. (See Jeremiah 31:3.) • Jesus expressed God’s love by giving His life so we could have everlasting life. (See John 3:16.)

• We can be confident that it is impossible for any circumstance to separate us from God’s love. (See Romans 8:31–39.)

Let God’s Love Flow Through You to Others. Love gives, whether or not it is returned. “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13). There may be a day when you choose whether or not to die to save someone else’s life; however, realize that every day God calls you to lay down your life for others in smaller ways such as helping with a task, giving a gift, or being a good listener. Those are simple things, yet they convey love. Love is seeing value in others. (See Philippians 2:3.) It's not in our old nature to love others. However, love is a fruit of the Spirit. Because He is in us, our love relationship with Him results in love that flows out to the people around us. (See Galatians 5:22.)

Key Concepts

Love in My Life

Know that God Loves You. We love God when we know He loves us. People who think of God as a task master or selfish dictator are less inspired to seek a relationship with Him. On the other hand, our hearts naturally turn toward Him when we realize that He Who is our Righteous Judge and King of kings is also our Loving Savior, our Good Shepherd, and Close Friend. (See I John 4:8–10, 19.)

• Proverbs 15:17—Are our mealtimes filled with love and laughter or disagreement and anger?

• Jesus did not sin, but He loved sinners and wanted the best for them. (See Matthew 9:10–13.) • God is our example of loving everyone. (See Luke 6:35–36.) • The Holy Spirit pours out God’s love within our hearts. (See Romans 5:5.) • God loves us even though we don’t deserve it. (See Romans 5:8.)

• Matthew 5:43–48—What are three ways you can show God’s love to someone who is causing difficulty in your life?

Receive God’s Unconditional Love. Something happens when we understand God loves us. Life becomes worth living. You are 100% loved by God right now. Receive and live in His love. (See John 15:9–11.)

• Romans 13:8–10—What did Paul say about the relationship between love and the Ten Commandments? •  I Corinthians 13:1–13—How could my life better demonstrate God’s definition of love?

Love God with All Your Heart. People are always thinking about something, such as relationships, entertainment, or possessions. What do you often find yourself thinking about? That is what you love. When we think about and treasure God’s commands,

• I John 4:7—What enables us to have love for others? • I John 4:12—How is God’s love perfected in us?


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• Matthew 22:37–40—What did Jesus tell us is the most important commandment? Why is this the most important?

Love is giving to others’ basic needs without having as my motive personal reward.

Love Memory Verse I Corinthians 13:3 “And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.” Memory Verse Game: Disappearing Visual Hold up this page for children to see the verse and read it together. For the second reading, fold the reference back on the dotted line so that it can no longer be seen. Can they remember what the “missing” section of the verse is? Review if necessary and then continue reading to the end of the verse. For the third round, fold back the next line of the verse so that it cannot be seen and see if children can say that line from memory and read the rest to the verse. Continue folding down the next line and reciting the verse until it has completely “disappeared” and the children are reciting the verse wholly from memory!

Have the children write about a time they were able to apply this memory verse in their lives. For example: “On the way to Grandma’s house, Mom asked me to read a story to my little brothers and sisters. I had a bad attitude because I was bored and tired of being in the car. I remembered this verse about doing things out of love, and God helped me to stop thinking about myself and show His love by making the car ride fun for them.” ____________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________ 2

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Doers of the Word

Love is giving to others’ basic needs without having as my motive personal reward.

Love in the Life of the Penitent Woman Read Luke 7:36–50 as a family, and answer the following questions: 1. With whom was Jesus visiting and why? “And one of the Pharisees desired him that he would eat with him. And he went into the Pharisee’s house, and sat down to meat” (Luke 7:36). What are ways you can show love to visitors? 2. Who else came to the Pharisee’s home? What did she do to express her love to Jesus? “And, behold, a woman in the city, which was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at meat in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster box of ointment, And stood at his feet behind him weeping, and began to wash his feet with tears, and did wipe them with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment” (Luke 7:37–38). Whom have you seen who was so grateful for another person that he cried? 3. What did the Pharisee think in regard to what was happening? “Now when the Pharisee which had bidden him saw it, he spake within himself, saying, This man, if he were a prophet, would have known who and what manner of woman this is that toucheth him: for she is a sinner” (Luke 7:39). What groups of people are less likely to be shown love? 4. How did Jesus help the Pharisee see that the woman was demonstrating love? “And Jesus answering said unto him, Simon, I have somewhat to say unto thee. And he saith, Master, say on. There was a certain creditor which had two debtors: the one owed five hundred pence, and the other fifty. And when they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both. Tell me therefore, which of them will love him most? Simon answered and said, I suppose that he, to whom he forgave most. And he said unto him, Thou hast rightly judged” (Luke 7:40–43). What does Jesus’ story teach us about love?

6. Would anything like this ever happen to Jesus again? “And being in Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as he sat at meat, there came a woman having an alabaster box of ointment of spikenard very precious; and she brake the box, and poured it on his head” (Mark 14:3). Can you think of a time you gave a gift of great value simply because you loved the other person? 7. What brought this woman salvation? “And he said to the woman, Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace” (Luke 7:50). How can you show your love and gratefulness to God for His love toward you? 3

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5. On the basis of Jesus’ teaching, who loved Jesus more: the well-to-do Pharisee who invited Jesus to dinner or the penitent woman who continually washed His feet with her tears? “And he turned to the woman, and said unto Simon, Seest thou this woman? I entered into thine house, thou gavest me no water for my feet: but she hath washed my feet with tears, and wiped them with the hairs of her head. Thou gavest me no kiss: but this woman since the time I came in hath not ceased to kiss my feet. My head with oil thou didst not anoint: but this woman hath anointed my feet with ointment. Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little. And he said unto her, Thy sins are forgiven” (Luke 7:44-48). How much has God loved and forgiven you?

The Penitent Woman Displays Her Love “Her sins which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little” (Luke 7:47). 4

©2016 Institute in Basic Life Principles •

Love is giving to others’ basic needs without having as my motive personal reward.

Love is giving to others’ basic needs without having as my motive personal reward.

Love Craft Giving-Hands Placemats Introduction: Read to the children: “This month we are asking the Lord to develop love in our lives. What a privilege to respond to the work He is doing to change us into the image of His Son! Today we are going to make placemats with reminders of how we can use our hands to show God’s love to others. God is love, and as we yield to Him, His love will flow through our lives to others everyday.”

Supplies: Construction paper, markers, pens, scissors, and glue or tape. (Optional: Page covers or laminating paper to protect completed placemats.)

Craft Instructions: Give children their choice of light-colored construction paper. Have them fold the paper in half and trace one hand onto the paper. Make sure the child’s thumb is at the fold of the paper, so that after the one hand is cut out, the paper is unfolded to reveal both hands. On each of the paper fingers, write or draw a way they can use their hands to show God’s love to the people around them. Across the palms write, “God gave me hands to show His love to others.” Glue the paper hands onto each child’s favorite choice of dark-construction paper. Older children can demonstrate love by assisting younger children with their crafts. Allow children to decorate their placemats.


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Read to the children: “Whenever we see our placemats at mealtime, we will be reminded to use our hands to show God’s love to each other.”

Love is giving to others’ basic needs without having as my motive personal reward.

Love Activity Crossword Puzzle Enjoy meditating and thinking about the words of the memory verse and the definition of Love as you fill in the crossword puzzle below. Bold words fit horizontally and underlined words fit vertically. One word is done for you.


“And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing” (I Corinthians 13:3). Love: Giving to others’ basic needs without having as my motive personal reward


©2016 Institute in Basic Life Principles •


Love is giving to others’ basic needs without having as my motive personal reward.

Hymn History of

“More Love To Thee”

As she watched the tiny coffin being lowered into its grave, Elizabeth Prentiss was overwhelmed with grief. The coffin contained her precious newborn daughter. After months of hoping and dreaming, she and her husband George had welcomed their little one. They named her “Bessie” and cherished and held her for only one short month before she passed away. Now time was terribly silent and seemed forever still–only days before, Bessie’s sweet, little face had smiled at Elizabeth’s own face. No more were the hopes and dreams of mother and daughter playing and laughing together. Elizabeth felt the heart-wrenching pain of a parent losing a child. George, pastor of the New York City church where he was now burying his child, sadly watched as tears rolled down his wife’s face. The small family–father, mother, and Bessie’s two older siblings–seven-year-old Annie and four-year-old Eddy– stood grieving beside the little grave. However, the tragedy did not end there. Three months later, little Eddy also died. Two young children gone! Devastated, Elizabeth wrote in her diary, “Empty hands; a worn-out, exhausted body; and unutterable longings to flee from a world that has so many sharp experiences.” Many people would dwell on their loss and grief, poisoning themselves with bitterness. However, unlike others, Elizabeth instead turned to God. She poured herself into serving her husband and remaining child, meeting their needs despite her own poor health. She knew that God’s love was deeper and greater than she could understand, and she meditated on how God met Jacob of the Old Testament in a very special way in his sorrow and deep need. Earnestly, she asked God to give her a similar experience. One day, as Elizabeth pondered Sarah Adams’ hymn “Nearer, My God, to Thee,” she was inspired to write, in the same metrical pattern, her own experience of being drawn closer to her Savior. The words began to take shape:

“Once earthly joy I craved, Sought peace and rest; Now Thee alone I seek – Give what is best; This all my prayer shall be: More love, O Christ, to Thee . . .” The words were rich and flowing, expressing the deepest emotions of her heart. But as she drew near in penning the final words of the poem, her creative flow evaporated. She laid the paper aside, and it was forgotten. In the next seven years, God opened Elizabeth’s womb, and blessed her and George with three more children. What a special blessing and balm they were, especially after knowing the heartache of losing their other young ones. 7

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“More love to Thee, O Christ, More love to Thee! Hear Thou the prayer I make On bended knee; This is my earnest plea: More love, O Christ, to Thee . . .

Hymn History of “More Love to Thee”

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One day, thirteen years after the deaths of Bessie and Eddy, Elizabeth was rummaging through a haphazard stack of old papers when she came across her unfinished poem. What memories flooded back when she read the words! She wasn’t too impressed with it literary-wise, but she showed it to her husband George anyway, probably as a remembrance of that dark, sad time. Her husband saw potential, and he thought to himself, “This could be a great hymn!” At his urging she scribbled an ending to the poem in pencil. George printed a few copies, and one ended up on the desk of musician William Howard Doane, Fanny Crosby’s principal collaborator. Doane was the composer of more than 2,000 hymn tunes including “Rescue the Perishing,” “Pass Me Not,” “I Am Thine, O Lord,” “Near the Cross,” “To God be the Glory,” and “Take the Name of Jesus With You.” Doane was inspired by Elizabeth Prentiss’ simple, yet moving poem. He wrote music for it and published it in his 1870 hymnal Songs of Devotion. George Prentiss and William Doane were proved right about the poem’s potential: Elizabeth’s hymn has touched countless people all over the world and has been translated into many languages, including Arabic and Chinese. Elizabeth wrote, “To love Christ more is the deepest need, the constant cry of my soul...out in the woods, and on my bed, and out driving, when I am happy and busy, and when I am sad and idle, the whisper keeps going up for more love, more love, more love!” Elizabeth lived a life full of many difficulties, yet she was described as “a very bright-eyed, little woman, with a keen sense of humor, who cared more to shine in her own happy household than in a wide circle of society.” It is a beautiful paradox that God used a woman who tried best to shine for Him at home to speak to thousands upon thousands through a hymn she penned as she worked through her own soul’s yearnings. When we are doing our duty and loving others in the place where God has us, be it ever so small and hidden, He can widen our sphere of influence. In constant pain and an invalid for much of her life, Elizabeth still shone for Christ. She wrote, “I see now that to live for God, whether one is allowed ability to be actively useful or not, is a great thing, and that it is a wonderful mercy to be allowed even to suffer, if thereby one can glorify Him.”

“Then shall my latest breath Whisper Thy praise; This be the parting cry My heart shall raise; This still my prayer shall be: More love, O Christ, to Thee, More love to Thee, More love to Thee!”

Bibliography: • O  sbeck, Kenneth W., 101 More Hymn Stories, Kregel Publications, Grand Rapids, 1982, pp. 183-185. • M  organ, Robert J., Then Sings My Soul, Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville, 2003, p. 133. 8

©2016 Institute in Basic Life Principles •

The definition of love is, “Giving to others’ basic needs without having as my motive personal reward.” Elizabeth Prentiss demonstrated this in many ways, with the most noteworthy being her loving, daily service to her family, even when she was in pain and ill health. She expected no reward but received the best and brightest reward when she entered heaven on August 13, 1878, in her summer home in Dorset, Vermont.

©2016 Institute in Basic Life Principles •


Love - Biblical Character Curriculum  
Love - Biblical Character Curriculum