“Love Each Other”

17 This is my command: Love each other. – John 15:17 NLT

John 15:16-21 NLT

Are you getting the feeling that we are stuck on this “love” theme. Love the Father, love me, love each other? We are and we should be. After all, the author of the Bible is perfect, complete Love.

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

The world is full of hate. Those that walk in the flesh despise people that love. We have been chosen out of the world, but as long as we inhabit this fleshly tent, we will remain in the world. While we are here, it is our job to show the world love. Some of them will be drawn to Jesus through that, others will not be so kind. The name of Jesus is powerful. Every time a person hears that name, they have to make a decision. They will either be for Jesus or against Jesus. If they are against Jesus, they will offend and persecute us. We hear about it in the news every day. You can talk about religion all day and nobody cares, but just mention the Name of Jesus and there will be, there must be, a reaction. It gets personal because it is personal. It requires each of us to build a relationship with a living Savior that is founded on and built with LOVE!

“Experience the Love of Christ”

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

Ephesians 3:14 -21 NLT

God is the Creator of all things. Therefore, they are His to give as He desires. His resources, like His love, are unlimited.  Our tiny human minds cannot begin to imagine the depth. length, width, and height of God’s love.  There is only one force that is powerful enough to cause a Creator to create a creature knowing that He would someday have to die on a cross to redeem His creation from eternal death.  It is a love that certainly is too great for us to understand.  Now, we can only try to imagine that kind of love, but one day we will know the fullness of God’s love.  Today, we see in a glass darkly, but one day, we will see clearly.  His love is the power in us that causes us to want to love our friends and our enemies. There are three great motivators for humans: greed, fear, and love. Greed only lasts till the money runs out, fear is only effective as long as the boss is around, but love is endless and loyal at all times.
So give love graciously and abundantly, there is no end to the supply of love.

34 So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. 35 Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”   — John 13:34-35 NLT

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

Post 07-03-2019

“Be Made Complete”

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

Eph. 3:14-21 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.

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

Post 05-25-2019

“Follow the Lord Completely”

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In this way, Solomon did what was evil in the Lord’s sight; he refused to follow the Lord completely, as his father, David, had done. — 1 Kings 11:6 NLT
Just in case, we should think that we are capable of handling great wealth easily, look at what happened to Solomon in his old age.  The wisest man in the world turned from the God who had blessed him abundantly with worldly goods, wisdom, power and fame.  If he couldn’t handle it, then we need to be very careful in our walk in this world.  Sure, Solomon still had plenty of money, after all, what was there to buy or to do with all that cash?  Even with all of his wisdom, he was still, somehow, not fulfilled. We can’t imagine his abundance but with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, we can see that his failure was due to the desires of the flesh. Notice that in verse 4, it reads “they turned his heart to worship other gods”. Solomon came to the point that pleasing his wives was more important to him than being obedient to the God of Israel.  In all of his wisdom, Solomon forgot that God had said that the king must not take many wives or buy many horses. And the king must not accumulate large amounts of wealth for himself. But, the king must copy the scriptures and study them daily.
We have to wonder if Solomon had kept up the practice of reading God’s Word daily. It is only when we keep the Word of God first in our lives that we can overcome the desires of the flesh.  His Word must be our light, our guide and our advisor. Without His Word as a constant reminder of who He is and who we are, the flesh will dominate and we will end up in the same situation in which Solomon found himself in his old age. Daily, diligent meditation on His Word is our only hope for deliverance from evil.
“​The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
Post 12-28-2018

Purpose, Plan, Complete

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You, too, must be patient. Strengthen your hearts, because the coming of the Lord is near. – James 5:8 ISV
 
God has a plan and He reveals as much of that plan to us as we need to know to do His will. As Paul pointed out to us:

 

26 the mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to the Lord’s people. 27 To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. — Colossians 1:26, 27 NIV

For whatever reason, He has chosen to keep the timing of His return a secret from us at this time.  We could get into huge discussions about this, but it would be an ultimate waste of the time God has granted us to be here on this earth.  We need to spend the precious days that we have doing the good works that God has prepared for us to do.  We need to do that without accusing, grumbling or judging others.  We need to spend our time in praise, prayer, worship and leading others to Jesus.  This is the kind of work that will endure the fire when it is tested.  This is the kind of work that will earn us crowns in glory.  The more crowns we earn, the more we will have to cast at the feet of Jesus in honoring Him when we get to heaven.  Our concern is to be sure that we persevere and complete the work that God has planned for each of us. He will be the judge of all that is said and done.

36 You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. 37 For,  “In just a little while, he who is coming will come and will not delay.”  — Hebrews 10:36, 37 NIV

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

“The Peace of the Messiah”

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15 Let the peace of the Messiah also rule in your hearts, to which you were called in one body, and be thankful. – Col. 3:15 ISV
 
The word that Jesus used for peace in John 14:27 when He said, “my peace I leave with you” is the Greek word “eirene” pronounced a-ra-na. Like shalom in the Old Testament, it has a much more complex meaning than just an absence of war or conflict. If you look up shalom in the Strong’s Concordance, you will find a long list of what shalom can mean to us.

 

According to Strong’s Concordance 7965 Shalom means completeness, wholeness, health, peace, welfare, safety soundness, tranquility, prosperity, perfectness, fullness, rest, harmony, the absence of agitation or discord. Shalom comes from the root verb shalom meaning to be complete, perfect and full. 

This is “the peace of the Messiah” and that is what the word conveyed to the disciples. It is also what Jesus has given to all of us who accept Him as our Savior and make Him Lord of our lives. Is there anything missing from this list that we need to live lives that are full of peace and joy?  Let us be thankful and allow this “message of Christ to dwell among us richly”.  To “dwell” means to live in a specified place.  For that to happen in our lives, we must meditate on the Word of God and store his Word in our hearts.  Then when problems arise in our lives and the lives of those around us, we can encourage ourselves and others with the Word, psalms, hymns and Spiritual songs. Jesus died on the cross that we might live abundant lives full of peace and joy.  So, when satan comes around with all of his lies, we can rebuke him with the Word, just as Jesus did.

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

Post 07-05-2018

Strengthened to Suffer

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1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. — Hebrews 12:1-3 NIV

We are so blessed to live in a country where we can still worship as we are led by the Holy Spirit. We don’t have to be concerned about being persecuted for our beliefs.  We try to avoid those situations where witnessing for Jesus might embarrass us much less those where we might be physically abused.  But, we are living in an age right now where Christians are being beaten and imprisoned for their loyalty and obedience to Jesus.  We need to prepare ourselves for those times even here in our own country.  Our Savior and Lord, the prophets, the apostles and all of those that have gone before us suffered very much. We are not better than our Creator, so we should expect to suffer as well. There are over one-hundred scriptures in the Bible that speak about rejoicing in the sufferings.  We are to “count it all joy”.

 

2 My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. 4 But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. — James 1:2-4 NKJV

Will it be easy to suffer for Jesus?  No, but God does send His angels to strengthen us, just as He did for His Son.

 

42 saying, “Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done.” 43 Then an angel appeared to Him from heaven, strengthening Him.– Luke 22:42, 43 NIV

 

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
Post 05-20-2018

“It Is Finished”

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30 When Jesus had tasted it, he said, “It is finished!” Then he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. – John 19:30 NLT
Even while hanging on the cross in agony, Jesus was still concerned about others. He instructed John to take care of His mother. A sip of sour wine from a hyssop branch and then came the last words from the cross, “It is finished!”. Three words that are so full of meaning that men have spent the years since trying to understand the extent of what was said. What was finished? His life? No, this was just an interlude between humanity and heavenly. His work on earth? Yes, but exactly what was His work? If it was just to redeem us by dying on a cross, then what was the rest of it about? Jesus was sent to fulfill prophecy, there is no doubt about that. But a majority of His work was to be an example to us and show us how to live for Him. Our persecuted brothers and sisters will tell you that dying for Jesus is the easy part, it is living for Him that is hard. But with his death on the cross, Jesus paid the price for everything that we need to live and die for Him. There are over 200 names for Jesus in the Bible. Each one either gives us an attribute of Jesus, the work He (as the Holy Spirit) does on earth for us or a need that He fulfills for us. There is nothing He left undone. His part as God the man was truly complete. “It is finished”!

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

Post 12-10-2017

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

Shout and Sing!

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21 After consulting the people, the king appointed singers to walk ahead of the army, singing to the Lord and praising him for his holy splendor. This is what they sang:

“Give thanks to the Lord;
his faithful love endures forever!”  — 2 Chronicles 20:21 NLT

2 Chronicles :20:17-24 NLT

When we look around us and we see that we are facing troubles and trials above and beyond that which we are capable of handling because of our human weaknesses and frailties, that is the time that we must muster all of our faith and courage and trust in the Lord with all of our hearts and minds. God has a reason for every trouble that He allows satan to bring into our lives.  Sometimes it is to bring us closer to Him, to increase our faith in Him and to teach us that we can never live independently from Him.  Sometimes, it is discipline for bad decsions we have made either in our speech and/or in our actions.  Either way, our repsonse should be the same as the people of Judah here in this passage.  When the circumstances and situations say there is no hope,  we must turn to our Hope.  The times that we don’t “feel” like praying, praising and singing are the very times that we need to pray, praise and sing the loudest.   This lets us, satan and the world know that we have placed our faith in the one and only true Living God and that we know He will deliver us.  Our part in the battle is to be obedient and praise the Lord, He will win the battles for us.  Fighting with satan is a battle that we can’t win, but we serve a Lord who can’t lose.  So, when satan comes against us, we need to stand, sing, shout and watch as Jesus wins the complete victory.
Post 06-02-2016