Show Love By Words and By Deeds

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10 Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. 11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.–Romans 12:10-1​1​ NIV

We should always be humble in allowing others to go before us, that is one way we can show our love for them and for Jesus. Jesus is our example. He left all of His glory in heaven, came to earth as a “man of sorrows” and had a servant’s heart. Though He never sinned, He was obedient even to death on the cross. In those days when someone was hanged on a tree, He was considered to be cursed by God. This curse by God for our sins was the agony that Jesus wanted to avoid, but He could not be disobedient to the Father. There are times when love calls us to be meek and lowly just as Christ demonstrated.  But there are other times when love and devotion to God calls for another kind of action. Jesus also demonstrated this when He drove the money changers from the Temple. His zeal for the Father’s house consumed Him. God is love, Jesus was all God, so Jesus was love, but that never caused Him to compromise His stand against wickedness and evil. He sometimes spoke very harshly to the scribes and Pharisees.  God doesn’t need us to defend Him or His Word.  He needs us to be His representative and stand for Him.

13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.Ephesians 6:13 NIV
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
Post 03-17-2018

Hate Is Without Reason

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25 This fulfills what is written in their Scriptures: ‘They hated me without cause.-John 15:25 NLT

Jesus says that if He had not come to earth to tell us His story then we might have a reason to sin. But now we have no excuse to continue living a sinful lifestyle. If we hate our neighbors, we will also hate Jesus and our Father, God. Still, every day we hear about more violence and more persecution. Christians are being beaten, and they are being thrown out of their homes just because they won’t deny Jesus. In North Korea, when a person accepts Christ, the pastor always makes sure that the person accepting Christ understands that they are signing their own death warrant. Even though, Christians are bringing a message of life to a dying world, very few people want to hear about it. Why? Because satan roams the world looking for those he can destroy. Just as God is perfect, complete love, satan is total, complete hate. satan’s motivation and weapons are envy, deceit and hate. Why do others hate Christians? Jesus made it very simple, they do not need a reason, a hater is going to hate.

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous

Post 11-12-2017

Healing Stream

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39 No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord. — Romans 8:39 NLT
 
 
The love of God is perfect and is far too great for the human mind to grasp in its entirety.   How could the Creator of the universe and everything in it stoop to loving us?  Why does He bother Himself to listen to and answer every prayer that we pray?  At our worst, we are wretched sinners and even at our best, we fall so short of being what God created us to be.  We can only bow our heads and say with the Psalmist, “what are human beings that you should care for them”?  Yet, you gave up all of your glory in heaven, put on a human body and lived among us.  You revealed your love to us in Christ Jesus our Lord.  Such matchless mercy, such generous grace and such limitless love is more than we can even imagine.  With our sins, we crucify you afresh every day, yet, you continue to forgive us and love us back to you.  Help us, Lord, to love you enough to be channels of your love to those around us.  Even though it may be painful at times, Lord, stretch us and fill us with your love until we overflow, until your love breaks forth from us and washes over those around us bringing them into “the healing stream that flows from Calvary’s mountain” .Amen.
Post 01-21-2017

Because He Loved and He Loves Us

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14 But thank God! He has made us his captives and continues to lead us along in Christ’s triumphal procession. Now he uses us to spread the knowledge of Christ everywhere, like a sweet perfume. — 2 Cor. 2:14 NLT

When we realize the height, width and depth of God’s love for us, it should make us want to obey Him from a heart of love. Our compassion for sinners should be such that we want them to feel the joy of salvation just as we do. Our testimonies will be a sweet sound in God’s ear and a sweet smelling fragrance in His nostrils. It will be the same for those who accept Jesus as their Savior. But those who refuse to accept the free gift of salvation will find our lifestyles unattractive, perhaps even to the point of being obnoxious. So, how are we to treat these people? Just as Christ continued to love us until we came to Him, we should continue to show love to them. How can we do that? We certainly are not adequate to do it in our flesh, so we have to allow God to do it through us.


“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous

Post 01-20-2017

Rooted In God’s Love

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19 May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.
— Ephesians 3:19 NLT
God is love and everything that we experience is designed to show us His love.  In the rough patches, we don’t feel that that statement is true because we don’t and never will understand the greatness of His love.  God wants us to strive to get to the point that we realize His only motivation is His love for us.  He wants us to be like Christ whose only motivation for dying on the cross for our sins was love.  Not every lesson we learn will be enjoyable.  I am sure that being persecuted, beaten and hung on a cross was not an enjoyable experience for Jesus but it was necessary to show God’s marvelous love for us.  Learning to love the “unlovable” and those that mistreat us is a necessary lesson, not only for our completeness but to show others the immeasurable love of God.  Jesus showed His love for us by giving His life for all of us while we were still sinners.  We must show that same kind of love to those around us each day.  As Paul says in the passage above (and I paraphrase) God places the Holy Spirit in our hearts and our roots must grow down into God’s love which will enable us to show that love in every situation.
Post 09-29-2016

When Darkness Prevails

even-smaller-bug-light133 At noon, darkness fell across the whole land until three o’clock. — Mark 15:33 NLT

3  I dress the skies in darkness,    covering them with clothes of mourning.” — Isaiah 50:3 NLT
 
At noon on Friday, the sun was hidden as nature mourned the approaching death of our Lord and Savior.  At three o’clock on Friday afternoon, the Light of the world was extinguished.  It was a time of deep darkness and mourning for all of nature and the followers of Jesus.  It seemed that satan and his demons had won a great victory.  At three o’clock, the natural light reappeared.  Could this have been a sign that the Spiritual light would also reappear, that all was not as it seemed to be?  A heaviness lay over the people and the land.  Friday night, all day Saturday and Saturday night was a time of grieving and wondering.  Could they have been wrong about this man, Jesus?  Was He not really the Messiah?   A time of fear, could they be the next to die?  For a moment, imagine that you are one of the disciples at that very time.  Look at the situation through their eyes, not knowing the final outcome of this event.  Take the time to imagine the scene on the cross and mourn the death of your teacher and closest friend.  His promise that He would always be with them must have seemed pretty hollow about then. Would your faith have carried you through this event?  What would your reaction have been?  Would you have been able to remember and believe all the promises at this particular point?   Would you still beilieve that He would arise after three days? Now, back to the present.  Will our faith carry us through what God has in store for us now?  When temptation stares us in the face, will we give in?  Knowing the whole story, how will we respond to the times of darkness and mourning in our lives?  Will we remember that there is hope?  Will we remember that “joy comes in the morning”?
Post 03-26-2016

We Were There!

even-smaller-bug-light150 Then Jesus shouted out again, and he released his spirit. 51 At that moment the curtain in the sanctuary of the Temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. The earth shook, rocks split apart, 52 and tombs opened. The bodies of many godly men and women who had died were raised from the dead. 53 They left the cemetery after Jesus’ resurrection, went into the holy city of Jerusalem, and appeared to many people. — Matt. 27:50-53 NLT    (Read The Whole Story)

After the Lord’s Supper was completed, Jesus and the disciples went to Gethsemane. Jesus took His three closest friends and went a little further into the Garden. Leaving them there, He went a stone’s throw further and began to pray. In our darkest hours, we are sometimes separated from those who love us​, left alone with just us and our Father.  It is then that we can pray effectively and fervently. ​ ​Jesus​ prayed so fervently that He sweat great drops of blood.  Then Judas came with the religious leaders and soldiers.​  ​He came to betray​ Jesus with a kiss. A kiss, not of affection but of deceit and deception.​  What had begun as a farewell celebration for Jesus ended in a long night and day of sorrows for Jesus. 
​ A night and day of being denied by His friends, a night and day of being persecuted and falsely accused, a night and day of being mocked, beaten and spat upon. ​ ​The culmination was HIs being hanged on a cross until He gave up His spirit. ​ Nothing short of God’s love could cause a person to submit to such indignation and punishment.  ​Especially when that person was innocent of any sin. So, why would He do it?  He did it for you and for me.  We weren’t there physically, but every sin we ever committed or ever will commit was there separating Jesus from HIs Father for that short space of time.  Unthinkable! Unimaginable!   ​That anyone could love others so​ much that they would agree to suffer a death that was so horrible it defies imagination.  
Yet, that is exactly what Jesus did for us.

 

Post 03-25-2016

Shepherds, Why This Jubilee?

even-smaller-bug-light1No army, no weapons, no royal garments, no worldwide proclamations, an announcement made to shepherds in a field. Just a poor couple in a lowly situation giving birth to a baby. Nothing unusual going on here, happens all the time.  And, yet, this is how God’s plan began to unfold.  Although it was well documented in the Old Testament, few chose to believe the prophecies, Because they refused to believe, this event came like a sneak attack in the midnight hours, in the most unlikely of places. No army, just one person and that person was a baby.  No wonder, the enemy never saw it coming.  How could anyone know that it was God Himself?  His redemption plan required Him to become flesh with real blood flowing through His veins. That blood would have to be shed to fulfill the law and redeem us from our sinful state.  It would be years later before the world realized what had taken place then and who arrived on the scene that night.  

13 Then Isaiah said, “Hear now, you house of David! Is it not enough to try the patience of humans? Will you try the patience of my God also? 14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel. — Isaiah 7:13, 14 NIV

Immanuel, God with us!  The people didn’t believe it in Isaiah’s time and very few believed it,  that night,  years later in Bethlehem.  But, yet, there, in a manger laid the living proof that God had put aside all His glory and came to earth to win the battle for us.  Such magnificient, incomprehensible love demands our allegiance, our praises and our worship!  Such unimaginable love is more than reason enough to celebrate all the time, not just one day a year!
 
Shepherds, why this jubilee
Why your joyous strains prolong
Say what may these tidings be
Which inspire your heavenly song
Gloria, Gloria
Gloria, in excelsis Deo
Gloria, in excelsis Deo
Come to Bethlehem and see
Him whose birth the angels sing
Come adore on bended knee
Christ the Lord, the new born King
Gloria, Gloria
Come to Bethlehem and see!  The invitation is still open!  
Will you come?  Will you believe?   If not now, when? 
Post 12-25-2015

The Love Test

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4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.8 Love never fails — 1 Cor. 13:4-8a NIV​

What if our every thought had to pass a test before it could be converted to spoken words or to actions? 
Does this thought show others that I have patience? 
Does it show kindness?
Is it truthful?
Does it show concern? 
Does it reflect my trust in God? 
Does it show the hope I have in Jesus? 
Will it help me or those around me to endure trials and persevere? 
Does it make me appear to be envious?
​All the above should be answered with a “Yes”
All the below should be answered with a “No”​ 
Is it boastful? 
Does it disrespect or harm others? 
Is it just for my benefit? 
Is it a​ knee jerk response to something that has angered me?
 Is it a resentment caused by past actions?
If it fails in any area, we need to reconsider before we speak or act.​

26 Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” ​ –​- Matt. 19:26 NIV

Post 07-21-2015

“Your Ego Is Not Your Amigo” — Look Human T-Shirts

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31 Now eagerly desire the greater gifts.​ ​

1 If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.–1 Cor. 1​2:3​1-​1​3​:1 NIV

​In chapter 12, Paul has been explaining the importance of each individual in being part of the body of Christ. He ends chapter 12 with the instructions to desire the greater gifts. Before the translators came up with  divisions of chapters and verses, this would have been a continuation of Paul’s words without an interruption. Paul immediately launches into an elongated definition of love, giving us the “love” chapter of Corinthians 13. This a pretty strong hint in what Paul considers to be the most important aspect of Christianity. Unless our words are backed up with actions of love, we are just making noise and creating much ado about nothing. Then Paul starts chapter 14 with this verse
14 Pursue love, yet desire earnestly spiritual gifts, –1 Cor. 14a NASB
Paul continues his letter with a discussion of gifts and their use in  the church.  Remember that Paul wrote these two letters to the Corinthians because they were having issues in the church about gifts and who was the most important. So, right in the middle of this discourse on the body of Christ and the gifts God has given us, he pauses to emphasize that none of this is about us.  It is about serving God in love and unity. Use your gift in love to edify others, but don’t think that it makes you any more important than anyone else in the congregation.
Post 0719-2015