“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

“We Surely Ought To Love…”

11 Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other. — 1 John 4:11 NLT

1 John 4:7-13 NLT

God revealed His love for us when He sent Jesus, His only Son, into the world to live as a human. Jesus revealed His love for the Father and for us by being obedient, even to a cruel death on a cross. We can never attain that kind of perfect love, but we can allow God to show His love to others through us. We are instructed to love and pray for our enemies and those that persecute us. As humans, we are not capable of such love, we must be willing to allow God to love through us. No matter what we have to go through, we have the hope and faith that His love will sustain us and we can live victorious lives. Through Jesus Christ, we can be overcomers and conquerors.

Galatians 5:22-26 NLT

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

“Not Even the Powers of Hell…”

38 And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. — Romans 8:38 NLT

Romans 8:35-39 NLT

Each of us goes through a myriad of situations in our lifetime. Hardly a day goes by, (probably none) that we don’t have some sort of frustration in our lives. Does this mean that we have lost our salvation or that God no longer loves us? No, God hates sins, but He does not hate the sinner, His heart is set on forgiveness and restoration. Our fellowship with Him can be broken and interrupted, but the very second we repent, He is waiting with open arms to receive us back into fellowship with Himself. If we don’t have this assurance of salvation and forgiveness, then as Paul said, “we, of all people, are most to be  pitied”. But we do have it because it is dependent on the faithfulness of God, not on our faithfulness. So, in the darkest of times, when we don’t “feel saved”, God is still God and Jesus is still interceding for us.  Nothing can separate us from His love and His care. Our hope is eternal.

1 Cor. 15:12-20 NLT

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

“His Unfailing Love…”

20 Praise God, who did not ignore my prayer or withdraw his unfailing love from me.— Psalm 66:20 NLT

Psalm 66:16-20 NLT

God wants to bless us all the time. He gave us His Son, so why would He withhold any good thing from us? For this to happen, we must stay “prayed up”, instantly repenting for any sin that we do, whether it be intentionally or unintentionally. When God’s Spirit brings conviction, we must agree with God that we have committed a sin and ask His forgiveness. He is always faithful to forgive us. Then we must thank Him and praise Him for that forgiveness. God inhabits the praises of His people. He is within us, with us, surrounding us. He will never leave us nor forsake us. His mercies are new every morning. Let your first words every morning be praise and thanksgiving. Your attitude will be sweeter and your day will go more smoothly.

Romans 8:32-34 NLT

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

“Do Not Use Your Freedom to Indulge the Flesh;”

13 You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. – Galatians 5:13 NIV

Galatians 5:13 -18 NIV

Now that we have accepted Jesus as our Savior, God’s Holy Spirit abides within us. God’s Spirit wants us to live a lifestyle modeled after Jesus, the flesh does not want to give up its old pleasures. As Paul said, there is a war going on inside of us. Once we were not free to choose a Holy lifestyle, but now that God’s Spirit abides within us, we are free to choose. What we want to do (spiritually) we don’t do because of the flesh. And what we don’t want to (spiritually), we do. But thank God, Jesus died to set us free. Free, yes, but not to do as we please, we are free to follow the leadership of God’s Holy Spirit. If we follow after the Spirit, we will have right thoughts and right actions.

Romans 7:21-25 NIV

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

“…While We Were Still Sinners”

8 But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. — Romans 5:8 NLT

Romans 5:6-11 NLT

The more I study the Scriptures, the more I am reminded of the great old hymn, “I Love to Tell the Story”. The passages of Scripture are unique and different, but they tell us more about the same story, the story of Jesus. It is a complete story of His complete love. It seems incomplete to us in the beginning, but the more we study, the more we realize it is all there, we just haven’t understood it yet.  I have “loved” Jesus a long time, but it is only in the last few years that I have come to realize that what I really wanted was to be “in love” with Jesus. I used to know about Him, but now I just want to know Him. The only way to really fall in love with someone is to get to know them and the only way to do that is to spend time with them, whether that be physically with them or to be with them in Spirit.  God’s Holy Spirit searches our hearts and knows the heart of God (since He is God) and He communicates between those hearts because He indwells us. What a wonderful plan! Because of God’s Holy Spirit, we can spend time with Him all the time.

John 14:15-18 NLT

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

“…Just As He Commanded Us.”

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 3:18-24 NLT

Believe in Jesus and love one another.  Simple to say, not so simple to do. How can we know that we truly believe in Jesus?  Do we instantly change or do we suddenly feel different?  Or is it a gradual change over the years?  It is some of both, we are instantly saved the moment we believe.  We may not feel any different but salvation is based on knowledge not on feelings or emotions although we may get emotional when it happens.  Salvation is the foundation of Christianity, it is involved in our lifelong process of sanctification and it is the capstone of the completed temple God is building in our bodies.  So, how do we know this process is taking place on a daily basis?   Do we love others more or differently? Does the grief and sorrow of others affect us more than before?  Is our outlook slowly changing from “what about me?” to “what can I do for Jesus and His Kingdom today?”  Does it break our hearts to know that we have done or said something that hurt Jesus and His Kingdom?  If the answer to all of these questions is “Yes”, then we can be sure that the Holy Spirit is dwelling inside of us accomplishing what God wants in our lives.  If the answers are no or I’m not sure, then perhaps it would not hurt to take another look at the foundation and see if it is solid.

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

“…Praying to God Who Gives Me Life.”

8  But each day the Lord pours his unfailing love upon me, and through each night I sing his songs, praying to God who gives me life. — Psalm 42:8 NLT

Psalm 42 NLT

This Psalm was written  by the descendants of Korah.  ( There were 4 Korahs mentioned in the Bible, likely the most remembered one is Moses’ cousin, the one who was swallowed up the earth, the sons of Korah that wrote the Psalms are a different bunch) Just as this Psalm begins with how much they long for the goodness of God, then it proceeds to alternately complain and remember the blessings of God.  When we are complaining to God, it is good to mix in a little worship with the whining.  It is good to recount the times He has blessed us and thank Him for those times.  The writers of this Psalm question themselves.  What reason do they have to be sad and discouraged ?  We need to ask the same question and arrive at the same conclusion they did.  If we put our faith and our hope in God, we won’t be sad and discouraged, but we will be filled with joy and praise for God and His goodness.   We will long for His presence just as a thirsty deer longs for a drink of cool water.  God’s presence is like an oasis in a desert of depression.  Spend time in that oasis, drink deeply from the healing springs and thank Him for His goodness.

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

“I Will Rescue Those Who Love Me…”

14  The Lord says, “I will rescue those who love me. I will protect those who trust in my name. — Psalm 91:14 NLT

Psalm 91:14-16 NLT

What  an encouraging thought to know that God has promised to rescue those that love Him and protect those who trust in His name.  No other entity of any kind can make such a brash claim and then live up to it without ever failing.  There will be times in our lives when our parents can’t rescue us. our friends can’t protect us but God will be there to deliver us from every evil.  Nations have trusted in other so-called gods only to find that they have no power.  Man-made idols have hands but they can’t touch or feel us, they have feet but they can’t run to your assistance in times of need. They have mouths but they can’t speak to us.. They have ears but they can’t hear us. Only our God, the Creator of the universe and everything in it is able to do exactly what He says He will do and nothing or nobody can stop Him from fulfilling every promise.  So, let us run to Him and allow Him to protect us and provide everything we need.  He is waiting with open arms.“

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