The Lover and the Loved

even-smaller-bug-light1

27 The man answered, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind.’ And, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”  28 “Right!” Jesus told him. “Do this and you will live! — Luke 10:27, 28 NLT

In any love relationship, there is the lover and the loved.  For the relationship to work, each participant must be both at all times.  You can’t choose to just be the lover today and the loved tomorrow.  That would never work, because the flesh would want to be only the loved everyday. Being the loved is easy, being the lover can be hard work. This is true in human relationships and it is true in our relationship with God.  He loved us first and He loves us more than we can love Him, but He still wants and desires all the love we can give Him.  He desires to spend time with us alone, just the two of us.  God, as our lover, sent us His Son as a gift, the greatest gift ever given by any lover to His beloved.  He also gave us a book containing many love letters, statements of His love for us and reminding us of the many things He has done to show His love for us.  In that book, He assures us that He will always be with us and never forsake us.  In a true, legitimate love relationship, when one party says to the other “I love you”, that requires a positive response from the other party, namely, “I love you, too.”
Have you ever just said “I love you, Lord”  for no other reason than the fact that you love Him and not because of something special He did for you?  Is he the last person on your mind before you go to sleep and is He the first person you speak to when you wake up?   Just try it in the morning.  Before your feet hit the floor, just say “I love You, Lord, I love You, Father, I love You, Holy Spirit, I love you, God.”   He will always respond with a gift of peace and joy.  He can’t help Himself, He will do it just because He is God and God is love.

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

Post 10-10-2018

Cleaned and Filled

even-smaller-bug-light1

10  Create in me a clean heart, O God,And renew a steadfast spirit within me. — Psalm 51:10 NKJV

What is a clean heart, how do we get it and why is it important to be sure that we have clean hearts?  An unclean heart is a heart that contains bitterness, hatred, deceit, lust, envy, covetousness and the list goes on and on to including anything that would cause us to sin.  The opposite of that would be a heart that contains only love. It is impossible for us to clean our hearts.  We need the Holy Spirit, who is love, to do that for us.  We can make all the resolutions and follow all the self-help programs we can find, but in the end, without the Holy Spirit, we will still have unclean hearts.  Those programs may remove the filth from the heart but they will leave it empty.  An empty heart is what the evil spirits are searching for.


24 “When an evil spirit leaves a person, it goes into the desert, searching for rest. But when it finds none, it says, ‘I will return to the person I came from.’ 25 So it returns and finds that its former home is all swept and in order. 26 Then the spirit finds seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they all enter the person and live there. And so that person is worse off than before.”– Luke 11:24-26 NLT
 

Our hearts must be filled with love and that only comes from the Holy Spirit. Once we accept Jesus and His Spirit abides within us, He will keep our hearts clean, if we allow Him to do so.  Clean hearts are necessary because it is “out of the abundance of the heart that the mouth speaks”.  It is also where our thoughts come from, so we must be sure that the source is clean or our thoughts, words and actions will be displeasing to God.

 
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
Post 09-29-2018

Peace In the Midst of the Storm

even-smaller-bug-light1

3 You will keep in perfect peace  those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you. 4 Trust in the Lord forever,  for the Lord, the Lord himself, is the Rock eternal. — Isaiah 26:3, 4 NIV

The eye of a hurricane is the calmest part of the storm, there is usually no wind and the skies are clear.  It is usually true that the stronger the storm the better defined the eye of the hurricane will be.  The eye is surrounded by an eyewall of thunderstorms that contain the most dangerous weather.  When a hurricane is at sea, the eye is still calm except at sea level where waves may reach a height of 130 feet.  If we can compare the violence of the world around us to a hurricane, we can see that there is a place of peace and calmness in the middle of all that chaos. But we can’t just sit on the surface and wait, we have to prepare for the storm by keeping our eyes on Jesus and not on the world.  By trusting completely in Him, we can rise above the waves and live in peace in the midst of the storm. When the storm starts to dissipate, the eyewall will start to break down and we will experience some winds but they will not be strong enough to harm us.  There will be some rain but only enough to water us and make us grow, not enough to wash us away. God never allows more than we can bear.  If we choose to focus on the world and its carnality, we will find ourselves in the eye-wall of the storm. But if we repent and pray Peter’s short prayer. “Lord, save me”, He will stretch out His hand and pull us to safety.  We can’t stop the hate and violence in the world, but God has provided a place of peace and safety for His children. The choice is ours.  We can choose to stay focused on Jesus and live in the peace that He gives us or stay where we are and live in the chaos.


10 Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, ​ yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,”  says the Lord, who has compassion on you.  ​ — Isaiah 54:10 NIV​
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
Post 05-15-2018

Even John Had Doubts

even-smaller-bug-light1

Are you the Coming One, or should we wait for someone else? – Luke 7:20b ISV
 
John the Baptist is the one who had announced that Jesus was the Son of God and had baptized Jesus in the Jordan River.  He saw the dove come down and heard the voice from on high saying “this is my Son in whom I am well pleased”.  Yet, sometime later, when John was in prison, he began to wonder about this man, Jesus. “Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?” When things are out of whack and it seems like God isn’t in control, I read these verses and I am encouraged.  After the questions, Jesus had this to say about John and us:

28 I tell you, among those born of women there is no one greater than John; yet the one who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.” — Luke 7:28 NIV

And there was Thomas who is remembered for doubting.  He was not rebuked by the Lord but was allowed to touch Him and confirm that Jesus was Jesus.  I have never been quite sure why Thomas was pointed out since all of the group had expressed doubt by their actions or lack thereof.  And what did Jesus have to say to Thomas?


29 Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” — John 20:29 NIV

Those that had been with Jesus had doubts and Jesus reassured them with tenderness and love.  We have Jesus in the form of the Holy Spirit.  He reassures us with that same tenderness and love.  Ask, if you must, but believe that it is true. Jesus quoted the Old Testament which should remove any dobut about its authenticity.  If He accepts it as truth, we can be confident in doing the same thing.


11 Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the works themselves. — John 14:11 NIV

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

Post 09-03-2018

“Foreigners and Exiles”

even-smaller-bug-light1

11 Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul. 12 Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us. — 1 Peter 2:11,12 NIV
 
As sons, daughters and heirs of God, we should act accordingly.  Jesus gave up all of His glory in heaven, came to earth and lived as a human and an exile here. He did this so that He might become the first born of the new covenant and the head of the church.

 

18 And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. 19 For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross. — Col. 1:18-20 NIV

As the first born, He is our example to follow.  He lived a sinless life.  We, as humans, cannot obtain perfection as long as we live in these fleshly tents.  We are in a daily battle to overcome our fleshly desires. It should be our hearts’ desire to get as close to that goal as we can.  Not only are we foreigners and exiles, but we are ambassadors of God and our home country, heaven. Our thoughts, words and actions should reflect the character of the leaders of that country.  If we strive to do that on a daily basis, under the leadership of the Holy Spirit, God will be glorified.  When we do this with humility and love, it will cause others to want what we have.  As souls are added to the Kingdom, God will receive more and more glory.  When a soul is saved, it is as if God has visited us because there is a little more of heaven on earth.

 

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
Post 08-25-2018

“For You Have Been Born Again”

even-smaller-bug-light1

23 For you have been born again-1 Peter 1:23a ISV
Having received Jesus Christ as our Savior, we are being purif

​i​

ed by His grace and His love. He has placed His Spirit within us to teach us to love others as He loves us.  This change will not come overnight, but it will come if we practice listening to and following the Holy Spirit.  Jesus gave us the Holy Spirit to guide us and to teach us all truth.  As we obey that voice of truth that is within us, we will learn to appreciate the love that Jesus has for us and we will reciprocate by showing that love to others.  At first, it may just be words that we speak, but as we allow the Holy Spirit to be a bigger part of our life, we will find that we really do love and care for others.  With humility and patience, that love will evolve into something similar, but not nearly as great as the love that Jesus shows to us.  As John the Baptist said about Jesus “He must increase, I must decrease”. so, it must be true in our lives as well.  We must think of ourselves less and less and of Jesus and others more and more. The flesh perishes and decreases while the Spirit is imperishable and increases.  This is the Word that was preached to us and is alive and living in us.  Everything will perish except the Word of Jesus, it will stand forever. Just as Jesus was determined to go to the cross knowing that glory awaited Him on the other side, we need to be firm in our stand regardless of the personal cost knowing the hope that we have to spend an eternity with Him in His glory.

 

51 As the time approached for him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem. — Luke 9:51 NIV

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

Post 08-21-2018

“Disorder and Every Kind of Evil”

even-smaller-bug-light1

16 For wherever jealousy and rivalry exist, there is disorder and every kind of evil. – James 3:16 ISV
 
Wisdom is defined as “the quality or state of being wise; knowledge of what is true or right coupled with just judgment as to action; sagacity, discernment, or insight”.  So, what we consider wisdom is largely determined by whatever belief system we adhere to.  Since worldly religious systems are based on beliefs that do not believe in and accept Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord are laid on an erroneous foundation, then any wisdom based on those beliefs will have error in it. So, it is very possible to be religious, have tons of knowledge, be worldly-wise and still be wrong.  Such wisdom is considered foolishness by God.

 

18 Do not deceive yourselves. If any of you think you are wise by the standards of this age, you should become “fools” so that you may become wise. 19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight. As it is written: “He catches the wise in their craftiness” — 1 Cor. 3:18, 19

This difference between beliefs in worldly wisdom and Christianity is used by satan to create chaos and violence. The people committing the acts of violence do so because in the “wisdom” of their religion it is “just judgment” to those who do not adhere to their beliefs. This “wisdom” does not come down from heaven. . The wider and deeper the differences in Christianity and any particularly world religion, the more problems and issues it will create. Some worldly religions teach their followers to hate and destroy the enemy.  We should be thankful every second of every day that we serve a Savior who teaches us to love.  His love for us not only requires that we love Him, our family and our friends, but also our enemies.  

 

43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. — Matt. 5:43-45

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
Post 08-05-2018