Love Demands That We Forgive

even smaller bug light

22 Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for each other, love one another deeply, from the heart. 23 For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God. 24 For, “All people are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field;  ​the grass withers and the flowers fall, 25 but the word of the Lord endures forever.”And this is the word that was preached to you. — 1 Peter 1:22-25 NIV

 ​In​ these verses, we are reminded of how limited the English language is in words to express love.  We have one word, the Greeks had at least six words expressing different levels and types of love. Philia which means friendly and/or brotherly affection and is the word used here for the “love for each other”.  The second word used here for love is agape which is the word that comes closest to expressing the kind of love Jesus showed for us when He chose to die on a cross for our sins. It is a totally selfless, unconditional love. It is a love that is unquenchable and no matter how much it gives, it is never satisfied.  It only wants to give more and more. It is the kind of love that God wants us to have for Him and our brothers and sisters, as well as our enemies. The last part, “love for our enemies” is the one that gets our flesh in an uproar.Our flesh screams out, we have been wronged by that person and there is no way that I will ever forgive or love that person or those people. But Jesus told us in His model prayer to pray “forgive us as we forgive others” and we are also told:
14 For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins. — Matt. 6:14, 15 NIV
​This is a requirement for those of us who have been born again. Our flesh is perishing but we are being renewed daily by the living Word of God. So, we must mortify the flesh and follow the leadership of the Holy Spirit that so richly abides within each of us. That leadership will require us to love and to forgive at all costs.

Give to Live – Live to Give

even smaller bug light

13 Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.–Romans 12:13 NIV
​God has appointed each of us to be stewards of certain resources.  We should always remember that those resources originated from and belong to Him. We, as His children, are the distribution system He has chosen to use. How well we do that can have a direct result on how much of His resources we are allowed to manage.

21 “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’–Matt. 25:21 NIV

​Our love and charity should begin at home.​

8 Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.–1 Tim. 5:8 NIV

Then, each church congregation should take care of it’s members.

9 Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. 10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.–Gal. 6:9,10 NIV

Then, we​ are instructed to love our neighbors, which, in Biblical context, is everybody. We show this love by practicing hospitality to everyone.
It behooves each of us to ask the Holy Spirit to show us how to be better stewards of the resources God has given us.
Post 07-05-2105

Participation is Required

even smaller bug light

4 For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5 so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. 6 We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; 7 if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; 8 if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.—Romans 12:4-8 NIV

​If you have ever had a problem with your big toe​, then you are aware of some of the issues it can cause. Our toes, especially the big toe, help us balance and propel us forward when we are walking or running. So, when we have toe problems, our body will naturally try to compensate for that and pretty soon, it will affect the ankle, then the leg, the knee, the hip and the back.  If the toe issue continues long enough, we will develop other skeletal problems. Other parts of the body have varying functions. Just try to pick up anything substantial without using your thumb. It doesn’t work so well, does it?  the point is for the body to function efficiently, it needs every part doing what it is designed to do. The body of Christ, the Church, is the same way. We are each a part of the body and God has given each one of us a gift to help the rest of the body.  If any of us refuse to use the gift we have been given, then, eventually the whole body suffers. If the church we attend isn’t functioning properly, is it possible that we are the malfunctioning body part? Whatever gift God has given you, the body needs it to complete the mission God has given to the Church.
Post 06-29-2015

“Not All of You Are Clean”

God is waiting to show you the Way.

God is waiting to show you the Way.

10 Jesus said, “After a person has had a bath, his whole body is clean. He needs only to wash his feet. And you men are clean, but not all of you.” 11 Jesus knew who would turn against him, and that is why he said, “Not all of you are clean.” 12 When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and sat down again. He asked, “Do you understand what I have just done for you?13 You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and you are right, because that is what I am. 14 If I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash each other’s feet. 15 I did this as an example so that you should do as I have done for you.—John 13:10-15 (NCV)​
Jesus was referring to their custom of bathing in the nearest stream and then walking home on a dusty road. The physical body was still clean except for the feet, The rich of that day kept jars of water inside the home that were used only by the servants to wash the master’s feet after the walk home. That is why Jesus said, you are clean except for your feet and you need only to wash them to be totally clean on the outside. But, as usual, I believe that Jesus was using a well-known custom to convey a deeper message. Notice that Jesus said, “”And you men are clean, but not all of you” referring to Judas who He knew would turn against Him and betray Him to the religious leaders. I believe that Jesus was telling the disciples that once they were washed by the blood of Jesus that they were completely clean on the inside. Since we still have to live in the flesh in this world, there are times that we will need to come back to the stream of living waters, not to be saved again, but to repent of the times we fail and come up short of the mark.
8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.–1 John 1:8,9 (NCV)

​Even​ though Judas was with Jesus and the disciples, it does not appear that he ever accepted Jesus as the Messiah since Jesus said that “not all of you are clean”.
Post 01-24-2105

Do We Love Praise From People More Than Praise From God?

God is waiting to show you the Way.

God is waiting to show you the Way.

37 Though Jesus had done many miracles in front of the people, they still did not believe in him. 38 This was to bring about what Isaiah the prophet had said: “Lord, who believed what we told them? Who saw the Lord’s power in this?” 39 This is why the people could not believe: Isaiah also had said, 40 “He has blinded their eyes, and he has closed their minds. Otherwise they would see with their eyes and understand in their minds and come back to me and be healed.” 41 Isaiah said this because he saw Jesus’ glory and spoke about him. 42 But many believed in Jesus, even many of the leaders. But because of the Pharisees, they did not say they believed in him for fear they would be put out of the synagogue. 43 They loved praise from people more than praise from God.—John 12:37-43 (NCV)
​Isaiah​ had prophesied many years earlier that the people would not believe or receive Jesus. Because their traditions and praise from men had come to mean more to them than God’s law and God’s approval, God had chosen to blind their spiritual eyes and close their minds to spiritual understanding. Many of the people did believe in Jesus but were afraid to say so. They were fearful that they would be put out of the synagouge. If this happened they would be ridiculed and treated as outcasts in the villages. Their fleshly desires outweighed their faith that Jesus was who He said He was. Jesus had told the people earlier that they would have to confess Him before men.
32 “All those who stand before others and say they believe in me, I will say before my Father in heaven that they belong to me. 33 But all who stand before others and say they do not believe in me, I will say before my Father in heaven that they do not belong to me.—Matt. 10:32, 33 (NCV)
​How​ many of us have felt that little nudge from the Holy Spirit to speak out but we have remained silent? We were afraid of being ridiculed by society and our flesh wanted acceptance from our little clique. How did you feel after that happened? Guilty? Don’t let satan beat you up because you failed. We can take a lesson from Peter. If we feel condemnation, it is from satan. If we feel conviction, it is from the Holy Spirit.
1 So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.–Romans 8:1 (NLT)
God​ is ​still ​in the forgiving business no matter how many times we fail Him.
8 If we say we have no sin, we are fooling ourselves, and the truth is not in us.9 But if we confess our sins, he will forgive our sins, because we can trust God to do what is right. He will cleanse us from all the wrongs we have done.—1 John 1:8, 9 (NCV)

Praying for Ourselves and Others

God is waiting to show you the Way.

God is waiting to show you the Way.

13 I have written this to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know you have eternal life. 14 And we are confident that he hears us whenever we ask for anything that pleases him. 15 And since we know he hears us when we make our requests, we also know that he will give us what we ask for. 16 If you see a fellow believer sinning in a way that does not lead to death, you should pray, and God will give that person life. But there is a sin that leads to death, and I am not saying you should pray for those who commit it. 17 All wicked actions are sin, but not every sin leads to death.–1 John 5:13-17 (NLT)
​When​ we pray, we are asking God for life. It pleases God that His children will ask Him for eternal life and the things that are necessary for physical life here. He has given us His Son already, why would He now withhold any good thing from us? We are instructed to pray for others as well, asking God for life for them. When we or others sin a sin that does not lead to death (physical or spiritual) we are instructed to pray for life for ourselves and them. It seems to be optional to pray for those who have sinned a sin unto death (“I am not saying you should pray for those who commit it”). ****

****A short devotional could not possibly cover this subject, but for two examples of a sin leading to physical death look at 1 Cor. 11 (those that are asleep) and Acts 5 (Ananias and Sapphira).
A sin leading to spiritual death (blasphemy against the Holy Spirit) Matt.12:3. Another is absolute total denial that God exists. If He doesn’t exist then how could He possibly forgive any of us?
But if we aren’t sure about those sins leading to death, we are not restricted from praying for those who have committed them, John just cannot give us an assurance that God will give life to those for whom we are praying.
Post 10-09-14

We Must Believe

God is waiting to show you the Way.

God is waiting to show you the Way.

18 Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions. 19 Our actions will show that we belong to the truth, so we will be confident when we stand before God. 20 Even if we feel guilty, God is greater than our feelings, and he knows everything. 21 Dear friends, if we don’t feel guilty, we can come to God with bold confidence. 22 And we will receive from him whatever we ask because we obey him and do the things that please him. 23 And this is his commandment: We must believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and love one another, just as he commanded us. 24 Those who obey God’s commandments remain in fellowship with him, and he with them. And we know he lives in us because the Spirit he gave us lives in us—1 John 3:18-23 (NLT)
​We are saved by grace through faith. Faith requires that we believe that Jesus Christ is the sinless Son of God. If we truly believe this, then we know that our sins are forgiven and that we are children of God. This knowledge will be reflected in our lifestyle and how we treat others. When we fail, and we all do, satan will try to condemn us using false accusations and condemnation. The Holy Spirit does not condemn, it convicts. When we are convicted, we must confess and Jesus is always sure to forgive us of our failures. Remember that salvation is based on knowledge and believing that Jesus died for our sins. Although, some do get emotional when they are saved, it is the knowledge and believing (faith) ​that saves us. As long as we live in these tents of flesh, our emotions are going to run the gamut of highs and lows. If we allow our emotions to control us, life will be just one long roller coaster ride and, no, it will not be fun and thrilling. It will be scary and depressive. No matter what satan accuses us of doing, we have to STAND on the Rock of Ages. Submit to God, resist the devil and he has to flee. Then we can have the joy of the Lord because God will never leave us or forsake us.
Post 10-01-14

Work At Living Holy, Peaceful Lives

God is waiting to show you the way.

God is waiting to show you the way.

14 Work at living in peace with everyone, and work at living a holy life, for those who are not holy will not see the Lord. 15 Look after each other so that none of you fails to receive the grace of God. Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many. 16 Make sure that no one is immoral or godless like Esau, who traded his birthright as the firstborn son for a single meal. 17 You know that afterward, when he wanted his father’s blessing, he was rejected. It was too late for repentance, even though he begged with bitter tears.—Hebrews 12:14-17 (NLT)
Our salvation is by grace through faith, not by works and it is a free gift. But living a holy, peaceful life requires diligence. We must stay in God’s Word and depend on the leadership of God’s Spirit. To accomplish this, we must be sure that we forgive others so that no root of bitterness springs up in our hearts and pushes out the love that we should have. We must look after each other and teach others to lead a Godly, moral life. This should be done humbly and modestly, not trying to bring glory to ourselves but focusing on Jesus. Every knee will bow and every tongue will confess, but we must encourage others to do it now and not wait until it is too late. God’s Spirit will not always strive with men. So, pray that others will accept the free gift before it is too late, at the same time, being sure that we don’t fall to temptation.
Post 08-06-14

We Must BE Reconciled to God

God is waiting to show you the way.

God is waiting to show you the way.

1​ Remember what I said earlier about the role of the high priest, even the ones chosen by human beings? The job of every high priest is reconciliation: approaching God on behalf of others and offering Him gifts and sacrifices to repair the damage caused by our sins against God and each other. 2 The high priest should have compassion for those who are ignorant of the faith and those who fall out of the faith because he also has wrestled with human weakness, 3 and so the priest must offer sacrifices both for his sins and for those of the people. 4 The office of high priest and the honor that goes along with it isn’t one that someone just takes. One must be set aside, called by God, just as God called Aaron, the brother of Moses.–Hebrews 5:1-4 (The Voice)
​God​ appointed Aaron, the brother of Moses, to be the first high priest of the Jewish nation. After Moses followed God’s instructions in anointing Aaron and his sons, Aaron was then able to offer the prescribed sacrifices to God, Everything offered had to be without blemish or the sacrifice was not acceptable. These were offered on the altar and when they were offered properly, God would accept them as a sweet smelling sacrifice and forgive the sins of the people. Aaron understood the weakness of the people and their inability to refrain from disobedience. He suffered from the same weakness. (Read Exodus 32 for that story). So he could have empathy and compassion on the people as he offered the sacrifices for both his and their sins. This was a temporary fix that God allowed until a true sacrifice could be given.There is no remission of sin without the shedding of blood, Since sin came into the world through the disobedience of the first man, Adam, complete permanent remission of sin would have to wait on the sacrifice of a perfect man.
Post 07-18-14

Be Kind to One Another

God is waiting to show you the way.

God is waiting to show you the way.

29 Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.​ 30 And do not bring sorrow to God’s Holy Spirit by the way you live. Remember, he has identified you as his own, guaranteeing that you will be saved on the day of redemption.​ ​31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. 32 Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.​–Eph. 4:29-32 (NLT)​
​God created the world with the spoken Word. It is held in place by the Power of His Word. Our words have power, they can be words of life or words of death. When we speak words of death and live disobedient lives, we grieve God’s Holy Spirit. ​ ​It pleases God for us to walk right and talk right. If we hold resentment and anger in our hearts, it becomes a root of bitterness. That root grows because the flesh feeds it and soon it pushes out all forgiveness and love. Being kind, tenderhearted, and forgiving kills the root and we follow after the example of Jesus, our Lord and Savior.​ You can’t please God and the flesh, you must choose which it will be. 10 And so blessing and cursing come pouring out of the same mouth. Surely, my brothers and sisters, this is not right! 11 Does a spring of water bubble out with both fresh water and bitter water?​–James 3:10, 11 (NLT)
Post 04-17-14