“Your Loving Friendship”

6 They have told the church here of your loving friendship. Please continue providing for such teachers in a manner that pleases God. – 3 John 6 NLT

3 John 2-8 NLT

Because we have been commanded to love each other, we should always show concern and compassion for others. We are instructed in Paul’s letters to support those who minister to us. This includes our local pastor as well as other ministries where God directs us to help. But we should never just give randomly, but pray about it and ask for discernment. Giving money to unfruitful ministries would not show good stewardship with the finances God has entrusted to us. Remember that Jesus was supported by others and sent his disciples out without even a change of clothes. A good Pastor is worth all that we can afford to pay him.. He is God’s anointed and has been appointed to shepherd us. We should show our love for God and for our pastors by supporting them, not just with money, but with prayers, encouragement and helping out wherever we can physically.

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

“This Is Not A New Commandment”

5 I am writing to remind you, dear friends,[c] that we should love one another. This is not a new commandment, but one we have had from the beginning. – 2 John 1:5 NLT

2 John 1:5-9 NLT

From the beginning, God based His plan on showing us love and teaching us how to love. We are commanded to love each other. Then God showed us the greatest example of love by giving His only Son to redeem us from sin. Jesus said that all of the law and the prophets were hinged on two commandments–“Love the Lord your God…. and love your neighbor as yourself”. Then over and over throughout the Scriptures we are reminded to love each other. We are also told that perfect love keeps us from fearing others and other things. The kind of love that God wants us to learn is love that expects nothing in return. God wants us to be like Him and love like He loves. If we follow the love chain throughout the scriptures, we can only come to one conclusion, “God is Love”. Christians should be like good hash browns, served smothered and covered with love and scattered among the people.​

John 15:9-13 NLT

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

“This Is Real Love.”

10 This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins. – 1 John 4:10 NLT

Real Love

​As long as we live in the flesh, we will not have the capability to love like God loves us. But, over and over, in the Scriptures, God instructs us to love Him first and most of all and then to love our neighbors as ourselves. God gave up His only Son to redeem us. Jesus gave up all His glory in heaven, came to earth to walk among us in the flesh and submitted Himself to death on a cross to demonstrate His love for us. This was while we were still sinners and separated from Him. Not many of us will be asked to give up our physical life for Christ, so how do we demonstrate our love for Jesus? We do that by giving up our rights, putting Jesus first, others second, and ourselves last. This is the example that Jesus set for His disciples then and for us now.

29 And everyone who has given up houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or property, for my sake, will receive a hundred times as much in return and will inherit eternal life. 30 But many who are the greatest now will be least important then, and those who seem least important now will be the greatest then—Matt. 19:29-30 (NLT)

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

“And Love One Another”

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. ​ – 1 John 3:23 NLT

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.

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

“…Our Love Grows More Perfect.”

17 And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect. – 1 John 4:17a NLT

Perfect Love

Perfect Love!! That is our goal, this is what the Holy Spirit is wanting to teach us each day. If we could achieve perfect love, we would have no fear. Instead of looking forward to tomorrow with fears and worries, we would rest in Jesus, knowing that He is in control and everything is going to be okay. Over 365 times in the Scriptures, in one form or the other, we are told not to fear. Yet, we fear so many things in our lives and the sad part is that very few of those things are under our control anyway. There is no way we can change another person, so we fear their rejection. We worry about our health, our finances, our families, etc. All these worries and fears are from satan. Fear is the opposite of faith and is therefore sin. If we spent more of our time loving and thanking God, we would find our worries and fears disappearing. “God inhabits the praises of His people”. If we want to feel God close to us, then let’s spend time praising Him.

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

“What Good Does That Do?”

16 and you say, “Good-bye and have a good day; stay warm and eat well”—but then you don’t give that person any food or clothing. What good does that do?– James 2:16 NLT

James 2:14-17 NLT

We know that we are saved “by grace through faith, not by works, lest any man should boast”. We also know that everything we receive while we are here on earth is a free gift from God. So, what is the purpose of “good works” and why are they important? Well, there are at least two good reasons and probably more if you want to break them down. The first is this; now, that we are Christians, Jesus is our example and He went about doing good works.

38 And you know that God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. Then Jesus went around doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him.–Acts 10:38 (NLT)

The second reason is this; doing good works here on earth is how we store our rewards or treasures in heaven.

20 Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. 21 Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.–Matt 6:20-21 (NLT)

If we do good works for these two reasons, it will keep our hearts and minds focused on Jesus and our final reward of living an eternity with Him. If we focus on that, it will make the burdens lighter and we can walk the path with joy and thanksgiving in our hearts and a song of praise on our lips!

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

“An Attitude of Personal Favoritism…”

1 My brethren, do not hold your faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ with an attitude of personal favoritism. – James 2:1 NASB 

James 2:1-4 NLT

We must be careful not to make quick judgments and choices based on how someone looks or the price of the clothes they wear. God created each of us in His image and has a plan and a purpose for each of us. We must learn to look at people as God sees them.

7 But the Lord told Samuel, “Don’t look at his appearance or how tall he is, because I have rejected him. God does not see as humans see​.​ Humans look at outward appearances, but the Lord looks into the heart.”  –1 Samuel 16:7 (GW)

Of course, we can’t actually see into their hearts. So, what we must learn to do is withhold our opinions of them until we get to know them. Until then, we should not show favoritism to one person over another. We must also remember that whatever standards we use to judge and form our opinions of others are the same standards that will be used to judge us.​

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

“Keep On Loving Each Other…”

1 Keep on loving each other as brothers and sisters.  — Hebrews 13:1 NLT

Hebrews 13:1-5 NLT

Jesus said that the two greatest commandments were

37 Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’[e] 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.​–Matt 22:37-38 (NLT)​

We must keep on showing our love for Jesus by loving others. We must be kind to others with charitable acts even when we think we can’t afford it. We must pray daily for Christians that are being persecuted around the world. It appears that it won’t be long until we will need those prayers for ourselves. Don’t love money or believe that it will sustain you. We should depend on God for all of our needs, God said “I will never fail you, I will never abandon you”. We should live our lives as if we really believed that. This is what the Lord requires of us:

8 No, O people, the Lord has told you what is good, and this is what he requires of you:

to do what is right, to love mercy,

and to walk humbly with your God.– ​Micah 6:8 (NLT)

“We Urge You to Love Even More.”

10 And it’s evident you learned that lesson well by the way you love all the people of Macedonia. Brothers and sisters, we urge you to love even more. – 1 Thess. 4:10 The Voice

1 Thess. 4:9-12 NCV

Before we accepted Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we were ruled by our own fleshly desires. Flesh does not want to love others or help them in any way. Flesh is a “selfie”, it is all about me, me, me. After we accepted Jesus, God’s Spirit came to abide in us. Now, we are walking after the Spirit and not the flesh. God’s Spirit teaches us to love one another. As we mature in our walk with God, we should be learning to love more and more. As we love others more, we learn to first look at our faults and the areas we need to improve. If we do this in light of the Scriptures, we find that we have less time to meddle and gossip. This leads to a more peaceful life. We need to stay focused on Jesus and what He has called us to do, so that outsiders see the love we display and they will be drawn to Jesus.

1 John 4:7-12 NCV

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

“All Together In Perfect Harmony.”

14 Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony. — Col 3:14 NLT

Col. 3: 14-17 NLT

Yesterday’s writing ended with us clothing ourselves in the characteristics of Jesus. The outer covering of all those characteristics must be Christ’s righteousness and love. The love of Christ wraps around us, reaches out and touches others and binds us all together in unity and perfect harmony. Jesus promised us a peace that passes understanding and we have that when Jesus is ruling our hearts. The Good News about Jesus fills our lives. Then we are to teach others that message using the wisdom He gives us. That love and unity is how we should represent Jesus to unbelievers. To quote Francis of Assisi, “Preach the Gospel and, if necessary, use words.” Most of all, we should always have “an attitude of gratitude” thanking God for all His love and blessings. That attitude comes from a heart filled with joy and causes our lips to sing His praises all day, every day!

10 I am overwhelmed with joy in the Lord my God!  For he has dressed me with the clothing of salvation and draped me in a robe of righteousness.  I am like a bridegroom dressed for his wedding- Isaiah 61:10 NLT

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