Tag Archives: Love

In the Heavenlies

The power of God raised Jesus Christ from death back to life and now Jesus is with His Father in heaven. Ephesians 2 says very specifically that believers, followers of Jesus Christ, children of God, are also seated with Christ in the heavenlies. This is the new life that no one has apart from Christ.

New life is not the pay for what your’ve done,

It comes to you through faith in God the Son.

The grace of Him who caused you to believe

Has made new life a gift that you receive.

Today,  be still for a time and comtemplate the power of God. He can accomplish in you more than you would ever dare to ask or hope for. When you experience the love of Christ, and you will experience it if you take the time to be still and wait on Him, then God can fill you to the uttermost with His love and power. This is fullness of life in God.

How can you know when God has filled you? Some people experience emotion or physical sensation or neither of those. The one thing you can absolutely know is God’s filling is an impact of desire to give His love away to other people. It’s that simple. Your heart turned to God turns to His desires, and His desire is that everyone should receive and know His love.

God bless you today as you seek God’s fullness.

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Performance-Based Christianity?

Jesus said, “If you have seen me, you have seen the Father.” He also told us that because he was going to the Father, we would do even greater works than he did.

Are you trying to work without seeing Jesus? Without the blessing and grace of the Father?

Good things we do, like starting food banks and wrestling to get money from the government to stock them may have an impact on needs in society. How much greater would this help to people be if we relied on God alone to plan and stock the food bank, and to give the increase because we do it in his Name?

What keeps us from waiting upon God and doing things his way? The “risk” involved from bringing the seen out of the unseen? What if we fail? Pride opens up a can of ifs, ands, and buts, and what could be a beautiful project never comes to life. However, we feel if we can micro-manage a project enough, it will succeed and there is no risk.

We say, well, we are going to fix the worship time at church so it isn’t so boring. Get some new tunes and jazz up the old ones. Bless the socks off those people whether they get it or not. We are such good musicians, God will accept this music as worship and be proud of us.We will practice and practice until our arrangements are perfect and then offer it up as a sacrifice of worship and praise.

But God says a broken and contrite heart is what he wants offered to him. He wants us to be still and know that he is God. When we know who he is and know what we are in relationship with him, then the music is not a performance. It flows from the heart of God in unity with his children. Each gives to the other in perfect harmony.

All that we do in love for the Father, Son and Holy Spirit does not fail because God never fails. May he bless you today with creative thoughts and the wisdom to seek him first to know how to act on those righteous thoughts. In Jesus’ Name.

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The Easiest Rule

“Pay all your debts, except the debt of love for others. You can never finish paying that! If you love your neighbor, you will fulfill all the requirements of God’s law. For the commandments against adultery and murder and stealing and coveting – and any other commandment – are all summed up in this one commandment: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ Love does no worng to anyone, so love satisfies all of God’s requirements.” Romans 13:8-10

Whether or not we love others is tested by this statement: “Many waters cannot quench love; neither can rivers drown it.” Song of Solomon 8:7

Present day culture is as overwhelming as many waters. It flows over us even when we want nothing to do with it. Followers of Jesus Christ receive greater enmity from the world than people who do not know Him. Yet it is our unquenchable spirit in our circumstances that draws those same persecuting unbelievers to want the Savior for themselves. God, then, has made living here on oppressed earth and in His Kingdom of eternal life at the same time a win-win situation for us. We can obey the command to love others no matter what, and God will use this to bring them to Himself., which means we have also obeyed His command to give the Good News of Jesus Christ to everyone. Our faith makes us whole.

When we receive Christ as Savior and Lord, God gives us His Name. We are adopted into His family and have all the same rights and privileges as His Firstborn, Jesus. We can read the Bible to find out how Jesus does things, and we can do likewise. Not less than; everything he has done, we can do. He says so in John 14:12 – ” I am telling you the truth: those who believe in me will do what I do—yes, they will do even greater things, because I am going to the Father.”

Most people, even unbelievers, agree that Jesus went about doing good. He came to show us the Father’s love, and He did that by doing good. He loved everyone, equally. Jesus said that He did nothing by HImself, but only what He heard the Father saying. We know that God’s love is perfect and poured equally on everyone, so we know we can do the same when we follow Jesus and do everything we hear the Father saying. Believers have a special ability towards each other. Because we are all family, we have the ability to love our neighbor as Christ loves us; He is our Brother!!

Jealousy and preference are outlawed in the Kingdom of God. You cannot love someone as the Father loves you and be jealous of what that person has or can do that you can’t. God says He gives each of us special gifts with which to serve Him, and when we focus on Him and use the gifts the way Jesus used them, we will not fall into covetousness.

The gifts we receive are spiritual in nature. They work out in the practice of everyday life, but they are driven by faith and the power of the Holy Spirit. To demonstrate sincere love for one another, we must love by faith. I Thessalonians 5:19 says do not quench, or restrain, the Holy Spirit. If we do not have His power, we cannot love by faith. As many waters cannot quench love, so many waters cannot restrain us from living in the love of God and pouring it out to everyone alike. To step away from this awesome way of life, ignoring the Spirit of God living in us cannot quench the love of God toward us. He remains the same, yesterday, today, and forever.

So, my friends, if you have forgotten how to live as one with Christ, I urge you to stand before God now and repent of your sin and receive the love He has never stopped lavishing on you. Then, you can once again love others freely and the true law will be fulfilled in you.

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A Shaft of Light

Has your relationship with God ever resulted in a good event or change that you know for certain could not have taken place without being in   relationship with Him? The outcome causes you to be thankful and comforted and thinking, “Isn’t that just like God!”

Need an example to clarify? How about Philippians 4:6 & 7 -‘ Don’t worry about anything, but in all your prayers ask God for what you need, always asking him with a thankful heart. And God’s peace, which is far beyond human understanding, will keep your hearts and minds safe in union with Christ Jesus.’  This is a promise from the Bible, which is God’s book written to us so we can know what He thinks about everything. The promise says that if you give whatever you could worry about to Him, and your heart is thankful toward God that you know He’s in control of everything, then there is a result you can expect from God. He will make sure you have His peace. It will keep you safely tied to Christ. Your problem won’t be able to overwhelm you. Jesus Christ has already taken care of it.

Knowing God from studying the Bible builds our relationship with Him. When we are clear about what the Lord thinks, and we grow close to Him, and we begin to think like Him, also. This is where we start to see great results of this relationship.  We can think of our vertical closeness to Christ as walking in a perfect beam of Light.  Our horizontal experiences here on the surface of planet Earth begin to absorb into the light. We can see where we are going, and get there without stumbling around. Psalm 119:105 says,  ‘Your word is a lamp to guide me and a light for my path. ‘ It is not a dim flashlight beam in our human hands, wandering back and forth across a dark path. God’s Word is a mighty shaft of invincible Light coming directly from Himself to us. His Spirit brings His meaning to life in us. Everything God says and does works together for our good.

Good things happen when we rely totally on the Lord. We do not put our trust in people, because they fail us and we fail them. And God NEVER fails. His lovingkindness is everlasting. His results are sure.

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Merry Christmas!

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 

That is from the Gospel of John, where you can read the whole story in chapter 3. Jesus says those words to Nicodemus, one of the Pharisess, who came to Jesus by night (in stealth) to avoid condemnation from his peers. In this meeting, Jesus gave Nicodemus every bit of information He needed to believe in Him and receive Him  as Lord and Savior. Nicodemus did become a believer; you can find that in John 19:39. He also stopped hiding his faith from the other pharisees, most of whom participated in getting Jesus put to death. 

When Jesus gave up His life on the cross, Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea took His body, wrapped it with spices for burial,  and placed it in a nearby tomb. Did these men know Jesus would rise from the dead in a few days? They knew the scriptures, and they knew what Jesus had said. They heard the news or perhaps even witnessed Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead. I think they must have had at least a hope in their hearts that He would be raised. He was their Messiah, and they knew He promised eternal life.  I think Nicodemus and his friend Joseph were part of the group who stayed in an upper room with the doors locked for fear of the Jews. Then Jesus, the risen Christ, came into the room miraculously and spoke peace to them. I think they were part of the group who later waited and prayed for the Holy Spirit to come after Jesus had ascended to heaven to be with His Father. They were men who were well known in Jerusalem, so their testimony of emerging filled with the Holy Spirit and proclaiming Jesus as Messiah would have had a tremendous impact in that city.

Who is Jesus Christ to you? Someone you meet secretly and keep private? He was and is a very public figure, beloved. If you really love Him, you will go where He goes. You will follow Him. 

In Western culture, it is “acceptable” to proclaim you are a Christian by attending church weekly, giving alms, doing some charitable works, and abtaining from evil. Christ is assumed to be there is the background, nodding and approving but remaining aloof. Dear friends, He is not remaining aloof by choice. That is what humans are doing to Him to make their lives easier. Real Christians are not ashamed of the Gospel.  

To understand who Jesus Christ is, you must read the Bible. All of it. It is His Word, and it is all about Him. Begin with the Gospel of John. Then Acts. Then Romans. Then Ephesians. Ask the Holy Spirit to lead you into all truth. This is one of His job functions.

Everything written in the Bible is for you personally, just as Christ risen is for you personally. 

Lord, I pray for those who will read your Word and talk with you. I ask you to reveal your personality and love and power to each one today. A very special Christmas gift that lasts forever. Thank You!

I pray in the Name of Jesus Christ for each of you to know Him today.

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Faith is Being With Christ

Psalm 84:11 says, Jehovah God is our Light and our Protector. He gives us grace and glory. NO GOOD THING WILL HE WITHHOLD FROM THOSE WHO FOLLOW HIS PATHS.

Grace is God’s attitude toward us. He is more than benign or passively merciful. He’s not a laid back God. He is the Lord, mighty in strength and wisdom and His love toward us never dims or fails. Do you remember what Jesus told Nicodemus, the fearful yet believing pharisee? He said that God so loved the world that He gave us His only begotten Son, so that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life.  (Johns 3:16)

Psalms 84 and 85 both reveal that Christ walks before us. He lights the way and protects us from falling off the path of righteousness.

We have to trust Him, though, that He is where He says He is. 

In the trouble we all experience in the world, we get focused on the trouble. We cry out, Oh, Lord! Fix this and fix that! My friend, beloved in the Lord – He has already fixed the problem. Jesus Christ in Person is the remedy.

Faith is focusing on the Lord our God, on His Person, not just what you think He can do, and not on the problem itself.

Faith is turning away from seeking our own justice and saying, Lord, I want to see You today. When we make solving the problem our priority instead of the Lord, then our problems become our idols. 

Faith is looking at Jesus Christ Himself – deep into His eyes and His wisdom and love and power; who He is. Accepting relationship from Him and we are seeking Him first, in relationship toward Him. He is Highest and Greatest; Firstborn. He invites us to Himself before we do anything else. We have nothing to prove and nothing to gain by walking anywhere but directly behind the Lord in the path carved out by His justice. He made us for this, to love and be loved by God. We are the expression of His love and goodness. 

To look for justice in any circumstance is futile. We cannot make one hair on our head black or white. The sooner we look to God, the sooner we know He is the only answer to everything. All true justice comes from God.

Are you locked in a battle you never win? Is it sickness, failure, grief, depression, sitting on the spiritual fence? Sin, darkness, evil? What is your fight? Get away from that today. Use the time you are spending in worry (which is pointless) or trying too hard and getting nowhere. Spend that time one-on-one with Jesus, right now. Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and everything else you need will be added into your life. When you trust Jesus Christ to save you, then the Kingdom of God is within you. Christ sends His Spirit to live inside you, to teach you all things, lead and guide you into all truth, and bring you safely Home to God’s eternal heaven.

Remember, your answer is in the Person of Christ. Be with Him. It is the right things to do.

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Unity, Not Prejudice

In the United States of America, there are laws to tell people how to behave.  In our Declaration of Independence, which is a foundational document of this nation’s formation, we declare that all men, all people are created equal. This statement proclaiming the moral rights of all people to be free from tyranny of other people was eventually followed in the 1860’s by abolishment of slavery, and in the 1960’s by a constitutional amendment giving every citizen free and equal civil rights. These declarations and laws are not solely for persons oppressed by racial discrimination, or the exchange of money for a person’s right to life.  There is a God-given right to every person to choose his own direction.

Let us take this one step further, where the thought needs to go.  Every person has a God-given right to choose God Himself as his direction. Any man choosing less than God’s best for his life is allowing himself to be terrorized and tyrannized by other people’s expectations. Think about it. We are made to please God. If we choose to not please God; that is, if we walk apart from His fellowship and love and mercy, it is our very nature to have to please someone or something. Most of the time, without God,  we become enslaved to what people think of us. This is a lie of satan. We can never, under any circumstances, please any person who is not also trying to please God.  

The only first right relationship we can establish without prejudice is with Jesus Christ. When He is Savior and Lord of my life, I have peace with God. My heart’s desire is to obey God, pleasing Him. This is an eternal relationship. It never fails, and God never changes toward me. All other relationships that are right for me flow from this one relationship with the Lord. I do not need to seek anyone to please that person by any means than by my right relationship with God. When God has entered the connection, there will be right thinking and doing from me toward the other person, because I choose to please and obey God. He knows exactly what the other person needs, and I do not. I have to inquire of the Lord how to be genuinely His in my encounters with other people. Then He graciously keeps me honest, taking care of how I respond to people.

Being rightly related to God and seeking to present that relationship as our foundation of relationship to other people keeps us free from being tyrannized. Usually, I do not speak personally in these blog posts. However, I know from experience that choosing to please God is real protection from trying to please the wrong people. The Lord would not allow prejudiced and abusive persons to overcome me. He demonstrated fully that my “place” is with Him, and that place is above all perfect. The Lord spoke clearly that as I was having it ground into me by some people that I am a “lesser” person, that in His eyes, I am beautiful and greatly loved. I know this is true; how else would I be able to love those who hate, except from the safety of my Lord, desiring above all that they, too, realize God’s great love toward them? As a beloved child of God, I am completely free to love others as totally as He does. And that pleases God, and it pleases me, and it brings great good from great evil. Someday, I will see the prejudiced ones do one of two things. Either the hatred will continue until the prejudgers die and face the Lord and a true  judgment they don’t expect, or they will repent and become lovers of Christ, and we will be united in the fellowship and relationship of pleasing God. God shines His grace on me to desire and pray for unity.

Do you love God? Then turn away from self-righteousness, which opens doors to great evil, including prejudice. 

Say this: Father, I repent of wanting to please other people instead of you. Forgive me, and teach me how to love instead or just trying to please.  I thank You for your mercy and forgiveness.  I pray in Jesus’ Name.

Need to know God heard you? Start praising Him. Praise Him for everything you can think of for several minutes, then cease; be quiet. Ask, Lord, help me be quiet and know You are here. Then wait. No – don’t try to work up an emotional response. If tears come, leave them go where they will. Your God is with you. Try to be quiet and simply wait for His assurance of that. He is right here, and you are pleasing Him.

You have just taken a huge step toward right relationships; with the Lord, and with other people, too. Just keep taking this step as often as you have to! You will soon find that your path with friends, family, work, and ministry are all more gracious and loving. God bless you, my friend!

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