Love Crucified, Arose!

Love crucified, Arose! Love, Jesus Christ in the flesh, was crucified and arose to life once again, overcoming sin, sickness, disease, poverty and lack, that you and I might walk free, redeemed, bought back from the throes of sin, sickness and poverty, to experience His love in all its fullness!

 

I am convinced as Wayne Jacobsen says in His book, “He Loves Me”, that God’s children live “less loved” because we do not fully understand or receive the love that Jesus died to give us. God is love! There is nothing within Him that could love us any more or any less because His very essence is love. There is nothing that we can do to cause Him to love us any more or any less because He loves to the fullest extent of the word. Love is unconditionally granted to you and me because that is His character and nature.

 

As human beings we often put conditions on our love for each other. Our love is tainted by our feelings, our expectations of the other person and our need for our own selfish desires to be fulfilled. Thus, we put demands and expectations on people that often cannot be attained through our own human abilities. Paul said about the Corinthian church that their love towards him was restricted because of their own affections.

 

2 Corinthians 6:11,12 NLT O Corinthians! We have spoken openly to you, our heart is wide open. You are not restricted by us, but you are restricted by your own affections.

 

Our own affections for others are often restricted because of unmet expectations that we have that the other person can’t possibly meet. The only One that can truly meet the needs of an empty heart is God. I remember when I was single waiting for God to introduce me to the one that He had picked out for me to marry. During that time He taught me a lot from His word and through fellowshiping with the Holy Spirit about marriage. One of the things that He said to me was that marriage wasn’t about what one person could get from another, but it was all about what that person could give to the other to help them be all that He had designed and created them to be. Love is about giving, not receiving. But our affections often restrict our ability to love unconditionally.

 

It is only as we understand and receive the unconditional love of the Father that we can pass that love on to others.

 

1 John 4:16-19 NLT We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in Him. God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them. And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect. So we will not be afraid on the day of judgment, but we can face Him with confidence because we are like Christ here in this world. Such love has no fear because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of judgment, and this shows that His love has not been perfected in us. We love each other as a result of His loving us first.

 

As we receive God’s love the fear of being taken advantage of leaves because we know we are secure in the Father’s love and there is nothing that can change that for us. His love expels the fear in our hearts that we will not have our needs met because He is the need-meeter, not the other person. As His love is perfected in us we are free to be ourselves and to pass that love on to others. His love overcomes all obstacles in our path and sets us free from fear and torment.

 

Romans 8:35-39 NLT Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean He no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or are hungry or cold or in danger or threatened with death? (Even the Scriptures say, “For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.”) No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us. And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from His love. Death can’t, and life can’t. The angels can’t, and the demons can’t. Our fears for today, our worries about tomorrow, and even the powers of hell can’t keep God’s love away. Whether we are high above the sky or in the deepest ocean, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.

 

God’s love is all-encompassing; it completes us. It is through our union with Christ Jesus, love personified, that we are complete and lack nothing in our ability to love others as He loves us.

 

Colossians 2:9, 10 For in Christ the fullness of God lives in a human body, and you are complete through your union with Christ. He is the Lord over every ruler and authority in the universe.

 

Even though we are complete in Christ Jesus the manifestation of all that that encompasses is a process that He works in us as we grow in our level of maturity in Him. We are a work in progress!

 

Paul said in Ephesians 3 that He prayed for the Christians at Ephesus that they would know God’s love completely and in experiencing that love they would grow into the fullness of the life and power that comes from God.

 

Ephesians 3:17-19 And I pray that Christ will be more and more at home in your hearts as you trust in Him. May your roots go down deep into the soil of God’s marvelous love. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep His love really is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is so great you will never fully understand it. Then you will be filled with the fullness of life and power that comes from God.

 

It is through trusting Christ Jesus to fulfill the deepest longings of our hearts that we come to know God’s love. As we experience His love He imparts His supernatural ability to love others and it flows from us as we are secure in the love of God as our supply, not another person. He works that in us through His Spirit as we fellowship with Him through prayer and Bible study.

 

Are you lonely and feeling unloved today? God loves you with an everlasting love. He has lavished His love upon us through the giving of His Son, Jesus Christ, as the payment for your sin and mine. Jesus was crucified to give us life and that more abundantly. Are you living “less loved” because you don’t fully understand and receive His love? May you come to know Him personally and experience the love of God that passes all understanding that you may find your fulfillment in Him and Him alone.

 

Father, I thank You for the great love that You have demonstrated towards us in giving Your very own Son, Jesus Christ, to die for our sin. I pray that You will open the eyes of our understanding to see and receive Your love, Father, that we might all be filled with the fullness of your power and ability to love others. Father, I pray for those who may be lonely and hurting today, that You might show them in ways that they will understand Your love and be warmed by Your embrace. I ask You, Father, to help us to release the love that You have placed in our hearts to those around us. May we not be critical and judgmental, but open and loving. Thank You for giving us Your Spirit to work in us to effect the fullness of Your love in our hearts. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

 

A Child Of The King

A Daughter Of The King

I’m so thankful that my heavenly Father loves me and cherishes me as His daughter.

 

God wants to be intimately involved with our lives and He loves us with a perfect Father’s love. There is no fear in His love because fear involves torment and causes us to run from His presence. How can we say we love Him when we are afraid to come before Him for one reason or another. We see that in the Garden of Eden when Adam and Eve sinned. One of the first things they did was to hide from their heavenly Father. Instead of running into His arms of love and giving Him the opportunity to wipe away their fears, they ran away from Him.

 

For years I have always spent a special time with the Lord first thing in the morning, and I still do. However, some days I’m not as alert as others and some days it takes me a little longer to get moving. It’s in those times that I feel less connected to my heavenly Father. These times affect my ability to enjoy my fellowship with my Father.

 

One morning recently I experienced one of these times when I just didn’t feel as aware of His presence as I usually do. In praying about this situation the Lord spoke ever so gently to me and ask me how I would treat one of my children if they got up not feeling well and was having a difficult time of interacting with me. And I responded that I would take my little one in my arms and rock her/him speaking tender words of love and affection for her/him while she/he took their time in waking up, stretching and acclimating to their day. It was then that He brought to my memory these verses in Psalm 103:

 

Psalm 103:13, 14 NKJV As a father pities his children, So the Lord pities those who fear Him. For He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust.

 

Then He spoke this to my heart:

 

“You are free to be yourself, Child. I have set you free to live as I direct you. You are free to come into My presence any time you want. I am always here waiting to meet with you. It’s okay for you to take your time to prepare yourself to meet with Me. I am not a harsh taskmaster who demands your attention before you do anything else. Relax in My love and enjoy being with Me. Let your hair down, so to speak, and relax. Envision your child coming to you. You don’t demand their every moment or expect them to give up all other life activities for you. And neither do I, My Child. I created you and placed you in the world in which you live. I created your body to function. Every season of your life is different from the last. Don’t feel that you must go through life the same way every day. I am not into formulas; I want a living relationship with you. I understand your moods, your ups and downs and your physical needs and limitations. Relax and enjoy Me as I enjoy you. You are the apple of My eye. I delight in you. Don’t allow condemnation from the enemy to push you away from Me. Come to Me and I will refresh you.”

 

In reflecting on His tender words of love I am reminded of some scriptures that describe who we are as His children.

 

John 1:12, 13 NKJV But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

 

Those who are born again, or who have received Jesus Christ as their own personal Lord and Savior have become children of God. The scripture says that He gave them the “right” to become His children.

 

Right – Greek word exousia – one of four words defining “power” in God’s word. This definition means the authority or right to act, ability, privilege, capacity, delegated authority.

 

As children of God we have been given the authority and right to act as His children. Paul tells us in Ephesians 3:14 that we are named after our Father because we are in His family.

 

Ephesians 3:14 NKJV For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named,

 

My children, when growing up, carried the name of their Father; my son still does. They were known by their family name and I love them because they are my children. They are not perfect, but they are mine. As a mother I look past their faults and love them because they are my children. God loves us because we are His children. We carry His name: Christians, Christ followers. Just as I am delighted in my children, so He is delighted in those who have chosen to follow Jesus Christ and have become His children. We have been given the right to act as His children because we ARE His children!

 

Psalm 139:17, 18 NKJV How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they would be more in number than the sand; When I awake, I am still with You.

 

If you are having a difficult time understanding God’s love for you I pray that you will take the time to talk with Him about it. Get to know your heavenly Father as a loving Father, not a God who is far way.

 

Galatians 4:6, 7 NLT And because you Gentiles have become His children, God has sent the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, and now you can call God your dear Father. Now you are no longer a slave but God’s own child. And since you are His child, everything He has belongs to you.

 

Father, I thank You for Your great love that has brought me into Your family. I thank You for Jesus laying down His life that I might have life through Him. I thank You that I am Yours and You know me intimately. You know my going out and my coming in and even the words on my tongue before I speak them. You are intimately acquainted with me because I am Yours. Thank You for loving me unconditionally. Father, I pray for those this morning who may be living “less loved” than what You would like for them to live. I pray that You will open their eyes of understanding to see how much You love them and how pleased You are with them. May they experience the love of God that passes all understanding and live in the freedom that You have given us as Your children. Thank You, Father, for being patient and kind with us when we fail You. Thank You for forgiving us when we sin and fall short of Your glory. Thank You, Father, for giving us the right to be Your children. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

 

 

The Father’s Heart

1 John 4 10

1 John 4:9, 10 NLT God showed how much He loves us by sending His only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through Him. This is real love. It is not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.

 

We hear “I love you” coming out of people’s mouths so much any more. They often speak of “loving this or that” and terms of endearment for people, places and things are all categorized under “I love…..” But what kind of love is being exhibited in each of those instances and how deep and true is the love that is being spoken of? God’s kind of love is a love that is unconditional, without limits, sacrificial, selfless and true.

 

The word for love in this depth and magnitude in the Greek is “agape” and it means: an undefeatable benevolence and unconquerable goodwill that always seeks the highest good of the other person, no matter what he does. It is the self-giving love that gives freely without asking anything in return, and does not consider the worth of its object. Agape is a love by choice and it refers to the will rather than the emotion. Agape describes the unconditional love God has for the world.

 

In this description and definition of the word used for “love” or “loved” in the above verse we see the Father heart of God; a heart that gives without expecting anything in return; that sacrifices the best for the worst of us; that goes beyond the limits of expectation in provision for those upon whom He bestows His benevolent love. God exhibits the extreme definition of “agape” love. We see this further in 1 John 3:16:

 

By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.

 

It is in seeing the picture of Jesus hanging on that cross, saturated with the sin of mankind that we see love in it’s extreme demonstration! This is how we know love. This extreme love is not a feeling, although feelings often accompany it; it is a choice to do the best for the one you love. The Father heart of God chooses to do the best for us. That’s why He gave Jesus to die for our sin. He knew we couldn’t do anything to deliver us from the consequences of the sin of mankind. We had to have a sinless lamb to shed His blood that we might be set free from our sin. Jesus was that sacrifice!

 

In looking at the heart of God and understanding this extreme love we come to the realization that we often use whatever example we have of a parent in relating to God as a heavenly Father. Often our earthly example is skewed, imperfect and lacking in this unconditional, sacrificial love. It is then through a clouded lens that we see God and transfer those misconceptions of a parent onto Him. We reduce Him to our picture of a parent and often believe that His love is as imperfect as our earthly parent.

 

But God is a “perfect” parent! The scripture tells us in 1 John 4:8 that God is love; He doesn’t just love, but His whole being is love. You can see a description of Him in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 where Paul speaks of the attributes of love.

 

1 Corinthians 13:4-8 NLT Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. Love does not demand its own way. Love is not irritable, and it keeps no record of when it has been wronged. It is never glad about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. Love will last forever,….

 

This word for love in this portion of scripture is the same Greek word, “agape”, and can be used to describe the love that God has for us. Since God is love, his inherent characteristics can be identified through inserting His name in this portion of scripture where it uses the word “love”. In doing this it is not meant to be changing His word, but simply to give us a better understanding of how God is, what He acts like and how He relates to His children. So we could say that God is patient and kind. God is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. God does not demand His own way. God is not irritable, and keeps no record of when He has been wronged. God is never glad about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. God never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. God will last forever,…

 

Is that the picture that you hold within your heart of God? Do you see Him never giving up on you; always loving and kind, patient with you? Or has your understanding of God seen Him as a harsh taskmaster, ready to whack you if you did something wrong? Have you related to God as “the man upstairs” or your loving Father, who delights in you?

Zephaniah 3 17

Zephaniah 3:17 NKJV “The LORD your God in your midst, The Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love. He will rejoice over you with singing.”

 

This is a correct picture of God, our heavenly Father. He is here with us, never giving up on us. He is the Mighty God who saves! He gave His very own Son to die for you and me that we might have eternal life; that we might live forever in His presence enjoying the benefits of the abundant life that Jesus died to give us. He rejoices over us with gladness! He quiets us with His love. When we are hurting He hurts with us and when we are exciting and joyous He rejoices with us.

 

There are two different Hebrew words for “rejoice” in that verse. The first one is “sus” and it means to rejoice, be glad, be greatly happy. God is greatly happy with you! He is not mad at you and He doesn’t hold grudge against you when you do something wrong. God rejoices over you!

 

The second word for “rejoice” in that verse is the Hebrew word “gil” and it means to joy, rejoice, be glad, be joyful. It contains the suggestion of “dancing for joy,” or “leaping for joy,” since the verb originally meant “to spin around with intense motion.”

 

God dances for joy over His children. He spins around with intense motion and leaps for joy over those that He calls His own. God delights in you! Can you see that? He is a proud papa! His sees His children as the apple of His eye!

 

Zechariah 2:8 NKJV For thus says the LORD of hosts: “He sent Me after glory, to the nations which plunder you; for he who touches you touches the apple of His eye.”

 

Our heavenly Father has each one of us inscribed on the palms of His hands. He will never forget you!

 

Isaiah 49:15, 16 NKJV “Can a woman forget her nursing child, And not have compassion on the son of her womb? Surely they may forget, Yet I will not forget you. See, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands; Your walls are continually before Me.”

 

God’s love far surpasses the love that even a mother can have for the child to which she has given birth. Human love can be swayed and sometimes emotions or fear cause a human mother to push away the child of her womb, but God never does that! He never gives up on His child!

 

Since we have seen earthly parents at times give up on their children and that is the only example we have of parenthood, we may have a tendency to transfer that imperfect understanding of a parent over onto our heavenly Father, who loves perfectly. But He doesn’t exhibit His love for us in that manner.

 

Jeremiah 31:3 NKJV The LORD has appeared of old to me, saying: “Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; Therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you.”

 

God loves us with an everlasting love; a love that never quits, never gives up, never condemns and never leaves us. His love for us goes on and on and on….. It is with lovingkindness that He draws us to Himself. He is not a harsh God; He is a loving Father.

 

If you have had a misunderstanding of God and His love for you, I pray that today you will begin to see Him as He really is.

 

Father, I thank You for the love that You show us. You love with a perfect love, Father, and I pray that we will each one begin to interact with You as the loving Father that You are. I pray that those who do not understand Your love will have their spiritual eyes opened this morning to see You as You really are. I pray that they will receive the love that You have shown them through the sacrifice of Your Son and that they will be drawn to You through Him and receive Jesus as their own personal Lord and Savior. Father, open the eyes of the blind; restore what has been stolen from those who have suffered at the hand of their enemy. Father, heal those who are sick and hurting. Establish your kingdom in the lives of Your children! In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

You Are; Simply YOU ARE!

You are, Lord Jesus, the bright and morning star. You are the reason that I live. You are the One that I adore, that I lean on, cling to, rely on, and trust in. You are everything to me; my life, my breath and my reason for living. You are the One that I look to for the answers to life’s questions. There is none above You or beside You. It is through You that all things were created and they are held together by the word of Your power. You are the greatest, most awesome person in my life. You are; simply YOU ARE!

“My Child, you are the object of my affection. You are the reason that I went to Calvary. Yes, I looked down through the ages to when you would be born and I knew you would need a Savior; that you would need a Healer; a Deliverer; One who would rescue you from the kingdom of darkness. It is true that I had you on My mind when I went to that cross. You and the millions of others that have gone before you and that will follow after you. I died that all people might have life. But so many reject Me, Child. They have turned their backs on Me and gone the way of the world around them. They are like sheep without a Shepherd; caught up on the world’s pleasures that only last for a season. My heart is grieved over the loss of even one little one. I long for them to come into My sheepfold. They are lost sheep, Child. Who will tell them of My salvation? Will you tell them, child? Will you share the way of salvation with them? Will you spread the good news that I died that they might have life? You are My mouthpiece; You are My example; You are My hands and feet. You are; simply YOU ARE!”

My friend, if you have never received Jesus in your heart, may today be your day of salvation. He died for you that you might be spared from an eternity apart from Him; separated and alone. He died that you might live! Won’t you give your heart to Jesus today? If you desire to make Him your Lord and Savior please pray this prayer with me and sincerely mean it in your heart:

Father, I come before You this morning recognizing and acknowledging that I am a sinner; both by birth and by choice. I need You in my life. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God, that He died for me and was raised from the dead by the Holy Spirit. I believe that He is alive today and sits at Your right hand in heaven. I ask You to forgive me of my sins and I invite Jesus into my heart to be my own personal Lord and Savior. I vow to live every day of my life for You, Lord Jesus! I receive You into my heart and I thank You for saving me. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

Romans 10:8-10 But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith which we preach): that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

Romans 10:13 For “whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved.”

 

 

Refiner’s Fire

Father, as I see You I see my own uncleanness. Father, You are holy and set apart above the whole race of man. You are pure and clean and I am impure and unclean. Father, when I see You I see the magnitude of my sin. I see the impurity of my heart. Purify my heart, Oh God. Let it be as gold and purest silver. Purify my heart. May it be as gold, pure gold. Father, I realize that as You have said the tongue is like a raging fire and it sets the whole course of a person’s life on fire. Father, I ask You to purify my heart so my tongue will not spew forth evil things. I know that Your word says that the tongue speaks out what is in abundance in the heart. I ask You, Father, to fill my heart with good things that my tongue will spill forth fresh water, healing waters and things that will glorify You in my life. Touch my tongue with the fire of Your coals and purify it, Oh Father!

 

Isaiah 6:1-7 In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple. Above it stood seraphim; each one had six wings: with two he covered his face, with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one cried to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; The whole earth is full of His glory!” And the posts of the door were shaken by the voice of him who cried out, and the house was filled with smoke. So I said: “Woe is me, for I am undone! Because I am a man of unclean lips, And I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; For my eyes have seen the King, The LORD of hosts.” Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a live coal which he had taken with the tongs from the altar. And he touched my mouth with it, and said: “Behold, this has touched your lips; Your iniquity is taken away. And your sin purged.”

James 3:6-10 And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole boy, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell. For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and creature of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by mankind. But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the similitude of God. Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought now be so.

 

“Until a person can see the uncleanness within them they cannot be helped; they cannot be changed. A sinner who will not acknowledge his sin cannot be saved. But when that person comes to Me acknowledge their sin I free pardon and forgive them.

You are a work in progress, My Child. It is good that you have seen the uncleanness and impurity of your heart for I now can cleanse it and make it pure. Your eyes have been opened to see the poison of the asp in each person’s tongue. Do not yield it to the deadly poison that tries to come forth when you are under pressure. Pray that you do not enter in temptation for your flesh is weak even though your spirit is willing to do what is right. It is at those times that your enemy has placed a strategic attack against you to destroy your relationships with those that you love.

Yes, Child, the words of another cut deep within your heart. Their words are judged just like yours. I will deal with the heart of the other just as I have dealt with yours. Keep your eyes focused on Me. Do not let the words and actions of another detour you from following My commands and doing what is right in My sight. All things are laid bare before Me. Let Me be the judge and lawgiver. You are the created; not the Creator. I have cleansed your iniquity and removed the guilt of your sin. Go forth now, My Child, ever aware of the magnitude and weight that your words carry. Do not fall prey to the attack of the enemy, but stand firm against him resisting him through your faith.”

 

Love Breaks Down The Barriers

Romans 15:5-7 Now may the God of patience and comfort grant you to be like-minded toward one another, according to Christ Jesus, that you may with one mind and one mouth glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore receive one another, just as Christ also received us, to the glory of God.

One of the things that I’ve experienced through the years as I’ve moved through various denominations on both the conservative side of Christianity to the more subjective, charismatic groups is that there are doctrines and theologies that separate Christians. I don’t believe God intended for His family to be separated over differences in doctrines.

Leading up to this portion of Scripture we see that the Christians in that day and time were separated over what they ate. Some of them felt they could eat everything and others though they could only eat vegetables. Some of them felt they could eat food that had been offered to idols and some didn’t. The ones who felt the freedom to eat anything they wanted were causing the others to stumble in their walk with the Lord because they ate before them without having respect for their feelings. We are all at different places in our walk with the Lord. No one is above the other and each one deserves the respect that we would want to receive ourselves. The important thing to remember is to walk in love towards each other by doing and saying what would edify, or build up, the other believer.

Romans 14:15 Yet if your brother is grieved because of your food, you are no longer walking in love. Do not destroy with your food the one for whom Christ died.

Romans 14:21 It is good neither to eat meat nor drink wine nor do anything by which your brother stumbles or is offended or is made weak.

So many times we are determined to do what we think is right or okay simply because we want to prove a point to another person that it’s okay to live the way we want. Friends, that’s not walking in love. Love covers a multitude of sins.

1 Peter 4:8 And above all things have fervent love for one another, for “love will cover a multitude of sins.”

My mother used to tell me that honey draws more flies than vinegar. In other words, if you want to draw people to yourself in order to share the love of God with them, don’t attack them with your legalistic view of God’s word by adamantly speaking your mind about theological points or doctrinal issues. As long as we have each received Jesus as Savior and Lord we belong to the same family; we are brothers and sisters in Christ. Show some grace for where the other person is spiritually. Some are weaker than others, but one of the quickest way to drive a wedge between two people is to act like you are more spiritual or more knowledgeable than them.

Romans 13:8 Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law.

God says that the only thing we owe to another individual is to love him. Whew! That takes a lot of responsibility off of me! You mean, I am not responsible for another person’s spirituality? No, that’s the job of the Holy Spirit. My job is to love them and in doing that present an avenue by which the Holy Spirit has an opportunity to point out changes that need to be made in their lives as well as in the way they view God’s word. There’s too much separation in the Body of Christ.

Romans 13:10 Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.

The law was given as a tutor to lead us to Christ Jesus who came to fulfill the law. God is love; He does not just love us; it is His nature to love. There is no way that He could be anything but love. So, Love Himself, fulfilled the law through the love that He showed us in giving His only begotten Son to die for us. He didn’t condemn us or demand that we perform a list of requirements to a certain standard before we would be received by Him, but He simply loved us into His family through the blood of Jesus. If He had looked at our sin and rated us like we judge those around us, according to the severity of their faults, we would not have been able to make the grade and all of us would have been lost for eternity. But He looked past our sin, past our failures and weaknesses and said, “they’re worth My love, My sacrifice for them so that they can come into My family.”

1 John 4:7-11 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.

 

Propitiation – Greek word hilasmos – according to Strong’s concordance means Christ, through His sacrificial death, appeased the wrath of God on account of sin. It means that the payment for our sin was paid by the blood of Jesus and through the atoning death of Christ, God can be merciful to the sinner who believes in Him, and reconciliation is effected.

Jesus, through His love for us even in our most sinful state, paid the price for us to be a part of the family of God. He received us when we were at our worst, and paid the price required for us to be set free from sin and the consequences of it. It is because of His love for us that we can love others and He asks us to do that; to receive others as He has received us.

Romans 5:6-8 For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

At our very worst, Christ died for us! He loved us so much that He received us in our sinful state and purchased our redemption. He saw the potential in us to be His children, walking and talking like Him, conformed to His image and likeness. It is in looking at Him and viewing others through that same attitude of love that He would ask us to love others.

Philippians 2:1-5 Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus,

There will always be disagreements because each of us has an opinion, but the important thing to ask ourselves is: “Will I lay aside my opinion to show the love of Christ to another individual?” This is not to say that we shouldn’t take opportunities to speak the truth in love to another individual. That is to be done at the prompting of the Spirit and always in love, seasoned with grace and in a way that the other person is edified, or built up.

Ephesians 4:29 Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.

Colossians 4:6 Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one.

It is through being like-minded, treating each other with love that the world will see that we are Christ’s disciples. They will know us by the love we share with each other.

Matthew 13:34, 35 “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. “By this all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

My friends, are you quick to point out that you are right and another is wrong? Do you become easily offended when others don’t agree with your point of view? The quickest way to deal with a lack of love for another is to understand more fully God’s love for you. When you have experienced love then you can pass it on to another. When you have received God’s forgiveness and grace you have more compassion for those who stand in need of that same forgiveness and grace from you.

Romans 5:5 Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

God’s love is resident within us through His Spirit who lives in us. That word for “love” is the Greek word “agape” and it means an undefeatable benevolence and unconquerable goodwill that always seeks the highest good of the other person, no matter what he does. It is the self-giving love that gives freely without asking anything in return, and does not consider the worth of its object. Agape is a love by choice. It chooses to love above and beyond the feelings that you might have at the moment. That’s God’s kind of love; the love that He asks us to show to those around us.

The bottom line is this: we have that love within us through the Holy Spirit, but it is our choice to release it or hold it in. We can dam it up or let it flow freely from us. Jesus told His disciples as they were going out to minister to the lost sheep of Israel that they would encounter people as wolves in their midst, but as they had freely received from God the delivering and healing power of Jesus Christ that they were to freely give it away.

Matthew 10:7, 8 “And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ “Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give.”

Matthew 10:16 “Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.”

Father, I thank You for the love that You have shown me through the blood of Jesus; that sacrifice that He made on my behalf because of the great love that You had for me. I pray that I will pass that love on to others, seeing them as better than me and not holding anything against them because they might not see things as I see them. Likewise, Father, I would ask that others would receive me as You have received me, that we might walk together as brothers and sisters in Christ, for the common good of Your kingdom’s work. Father, I pray that we would all hold each other in high esteem and place the interests of the others before our own. Thank You, Father, for placing Your love within us through Your Spirit that lives in our hearts. Help us, now, to release that love and let it flow from us to those around us. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

 

 

 

 

Come Unto Jesus!

Psalm 55:4-8 My heart is severely pained within me, And the terrors of death have fallen upon me. Fearfulness and trembling have come upon me, And horror has overwhelmed me. So I said, “Oh, that I had wings like a dove! I would fly away and be at rest. Indeed, I would wander far off, And remain in the wilderness. Selah I would hasten my escape From the windy storm and tempest.

I love to read the Psalms that David wrote because he is so open and honest in expressing his feelings to God. I think many times we are afraid to tell our heavenly Father how we really feel. Some of that fear comes from growing up in a performance oriented society where we are accepted and loved based on our performance, not for who we are. But God loves us unconditionally! If we’ve received Jesus as our Lord and Savior we belong to Him; we are a part of His family. God reaches down to His children in love to lift them up and pull them out of the messes they may be in. He forgives and restores us to right fellowship with Him when we acknowledge what we’ve done wrong in confession to Him. He is not like a person who changes his feelings toward those he is supposed to love when they do not respond to him as he would like. God loves because He is love!

1 John 4:8 He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.

It is said that David was “a man after God’s own heart”. I believe that he was described as that type of person because he wasn’t afraid to talk to God in the honesty of his feelings. He wasn’t a perfect man, because we see in the scriptures of his sin with Bathsheba, but he was a man who was quick to repent and had a soft heart towards the Lord; he was teachable and reachable! But David had deep feelings that we see so often coming out in the Psalms that he wrote.

In Psalm 55 we see where David was hurting to the point of death. Fear had come upon him and he trembled under the load of what was bothering him. He longed to run away where trouble couldn’t find him! He wanted to escape from the storms of life.

How many times have we felt the same way? Maybe you’re in that spot right now; where life has overwhelmed you to the point that you wish you could fly away where no one knew where you were. I’ve been there myself a time or two! David pours out his heart to his God expecting Him to hear and answer his prayers.

Psalm 55:16-18 As for me, I will call upon God, And the LORD shall save me. Evening and morning and at noon I will pray, and cry aloud, And He shall hear my voice. He has redeemed my soul in peace from the battle that was against me, For there were many against me.

After pouring out His heart to his God He believed that he would receive what he had asked of Him. He knew that God would save him from the battle that was raging around him. He cried out to him morning, noon and night and he knew that God was hearing his voice and would come to his rescue. He proclaimed that his God had redeemed his soul in peace even before he saw it come into manifestation. David was a man of faith, believing that he would receive when he prayed.

Jesus told us in Matthew 21:22 “And whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.”

David knew that his God would hear and answer his prayer of petition. He believed that he would receive what he asked of his Father.

Psalm 55:22 Cast your burden on the LORD, And He shall sustain you; He shall never permit the righteous to be moved.

The Hebrew word for “sustain” in that verse means “to maintain, nourish, provide food, bear, hold up, protect, support, defend; to supply the means necessary for living.”

David knew that his God would sustain him, providing for whatever need he had when he cried out to him. He had a living and vital relationship with his God, but it was based on the Old Covenant, secured by the sacrifices of animals. Thanks to Jesus we now live under the New Covenant, of which He is the mediator. It is a better covenant. The sacrifices David had to offer for sin that would make him acceptable to his God we no longer have to make. Jesus is the sacrifice for our sins and the way to the Father is open for all to boldly come in.

Sometimes we are hesitant to tell our heavenly Father what we are feeling because we think we shouldn’t feel that way, or we are afraid we will be rejected because of our feelings. But Jesus made a way for us to come before the Father without fearing. He paid the price for us to have the freedom to come boldly before our God when are in need.

Hebrews 4:14-16: Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

My friends, the door to the Father is open for you to enter in. Jesus experienced all that you are experiencing, but He didn’t sin through it. He didn’t fear but He trusted His Father to sustain Him; to provide for His every need. Our Father now wants to hear all about your heartaches and He wants to give you the solution to your problems. But he’s waiting for you to open up your heart to Him. He will not force Himself on you. Will you tell Him what is bothering you? Will you believe that He will hear and answer your prayers even before you see that answer in manifestation?

David knew God under the Old Testament law, but Jesus made it possible for us to know God under the New Testament grace. Jesus paid the price for us to be children of God. He made it possible for us to come boldly into God’s presence to receive the help that we need at just the right time.

Hebrews 8:6 But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, inasmuch as He is also Mediator of a better covenant,which was established on better promises.

Jesus stands between us and God bridging the gap that once was there that held us back from being close to our Heavenly Father. He died that we might live! He took the punishment for our sin that we might be free to be children of God.

John 1:12, 13 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name; who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

David still had to perform animal sacrifices under Old Testament Laws to be acceptable to God, but we are acceptable to God when we place our faith and trust in the sacrifice that Jesus made for us on the Cross of Calvary.

Hebrews 9:28 so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation.

Hebrews 10:11-14 And every priest stands ministering daily and offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God, from that time waiting til His enemies are made His footstool. For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified.

Since Jesus died for us we are now able to call our God, “Abba, Father” because we are His sons and daughters. When we receive Jesus as Savior and Lord we are born again, not of the flesh, but of the Spirit; born into the family of God.

Have you been born into the family of God? If not, I would like to introduce you to the best friend you will ever have; the Lord Jesus Christ. He longs to bring you into His family where you can know the Heavenly Father. If you have never received Jesus as your Savior and Lord and would like to, please pray this prayer with me and believe it sincerely in your heart:

Father, I come before you this morning in the name of Jesus. I confess that I am a sinner both by birth and by choice. I believe in my heart that Jesus is the Son of God; that He died for my sins that I might live to new life, and that You, Father God, raised Him from the dead and He now lives seated at Your right hand. I ask You to forgive me and cleanse me of all unrighteousness. I receive Jesus as my Savior and Lord and I thank You for saving me. I will live for You every day of my life. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

If you prayed that prayer for the first time and meant it, you are now a child of God, privileged to have all the benefits of the family of God. You can now come boldly before the Father in your time of trouble to receive the help that you need. You an heir of God and joint-heir with Christ Jesus! Praise the Lord! I welcome you as my brother or sister in Christ!

If you are going through a difficult time right now, Jesus is right there with you. He is there by His Spirit who lives within you. He longs to help you with your troubles. Won’t you share your heart with Him and let Him lead you in the way you should go to receive the help that you need? Don’t be afraid to pour out your heart to Him. He understands and is waiting to come to your aid.

Father, I thank You for Jesus! I thank You that He died for us, rose again triumphant over death, hell and the grave and that He ever lives to make intercession for us! Thank You, Lord Jesus, for laying down Your life for us that we might have eternal life in You! Father, I pray for my friends this morning that are going through difficult times. I pray that You will make Yourself real to them in ways that they will understand so they will know that You are right there to help them through the difficulties. Please strengthen them by Your Spirit who lives within them. Heal their bodies that are suffering through physical illnesses; comfort those who are hurting emotionally; set free those who are oppressed and burdened by the attacks of the enemy. Father, bring to salvation those who don’t know Jesus! Lord, You are more than able to deliver Your people from temptation and trials. I ask You, Lord, to work miracles in their lives by healing, delivering and setting them free. Thank You, Lord! In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

 

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