The Lover and the Loved

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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

Living Water

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10 Jesus replied, “If you only knew the gift God has for you and who you are speaking to, you would ask me, and I would give you living water.”11 “But sir, you don’t have a rope or a bucket,” she said, “and this well is very deep. Where would you get this living water? — John 4:10, 11 NLT

This Samaritan woman had gone through five husbands and was now living with a man that was not her husband and she still had not found the peace and the happiness for which she was looking.  How many of us have chased after what the world calls happiness and found it to be emptiness?  We turn to the world looking for something to fill that emptiness and that void in our hearts.  The pleasures and happiness brought by a new possession or a new experience turn out to be short-lived.  All the fads and the “new” things promising eternal joy turn out to be nothing more than smoke and mirrors.  The devil tells us you just need a little more of this or a little more of that.  Happiness is just around the corner, he promises, and we continue the chase.  And it will always be a chase, because what we are looking for and what we really need can not be bought.  It has already been purchased lock, stock and barrel by Jesus at the Cross and it isn’t for sale.  He owns the whole supply and it is given freely to those who give up the worldly chase and turn to Him for forgiveness.  Stop running and chasing every new thing.  Sit at the feet of Jesus and drink in the living water.  Don’t take a little sip and leave, grab the bucket and pour the water on your head. Immerse yourself in His Word and peace and joy from a never ending stream will flow through your mind and body continuously.  Get under and stay “under the spout where the glory comes out”.  That is anywhere the unadulterated Word of God is preached and taught.  Find a place where you can immerse yourself in God’s Word every day and joy and peace will chase after and overcome you.

 
165 Those who love Your law have an abundance of peace, and nothing along their paths can cause them to stumble. — Psalm 119:165 The Voice

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

Post 10-04-2018

Peace In the Midst of the Storm

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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

Accessing the Peace That God Has Given To Us!

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27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. — John 14:27 NIV

In our daily lives, why do we not experience the peace that God has made available to us? Is there a secret to finding and holding onto that peace?  Is it necessary to do something special or quote a particular verse to access the peace that God has so freely given to us?  Is that peace for now or for some time in the future?  Is that peace even real?  If we could discover how to find and hold onto that peace, wouldn’t it be a great blessing to us and a great message to a world in chaos? Maybe, it starts with our definition of peace.  God’s peace isn’t the absence of troubles or violence or loss or storms.  It is learning to have peace while we live in and go through those times.  Jesus, as a man suffered rejection, ridicule, betrayal, and tremendous persecution, yet He did not sin by worrying or being afraid, but held onto the peace that the Father gave Him.  We say,”Yes, but Jesus was _______”  and you can fill in the blank.  The truth is that while He was on earth, Jesus was fully human.  He walked, talked, grew tired, rested, became hungry and ate common food. He was, in fact, just like us, except that He didn’t sin. He is our example that peace is not a lack of certain issues but a gift that we must learn to experience everyday.  When He was in the boat with the disciples in the midst of the storm, He slept.  The disciples became anxious and feared for their lives. Jesus spoke, the storm dissipated and peace was restored to the sea. Jesus is with us in the boat as we sail through life.  When the storms come, ask Him to speak to your storm and experience His peace. So, it is not some secret formula, it is complete faith in believing what Jesus said.

 
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
Post 09-12-2018

Continue to Teach and Encourage New Converts

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But when I could stand it no longer, I sent Timothy to find out about your faith. I was afraid that the tempter had tempted you in some way, and that our work had been a waste of time.– 1 Thess. 3:5 ISV
Paul continues to show his love and concern for the new converts in all the places he has been preaching and teaching. He does this not only by sending letters to several of the churches with instructions to share them with others, but also, by sending Timothy and others back to encourage them and check on their welfare.  It seems to have become a tendency for us to only talk about the love of God for us.  Unlike Paul, we do not stress the fact that the road is not always smooth.  In our lives as Christians, we will experience difficulties of various sorts and we will be offended, We need to be sure that new converts understand this while assuring them of the love of Jesus.  We will be tempted over and over but God always provides a way out. Jesus promised us that we would have troubles, but at the same time, He reminded us that He had overcome the world.

 
 33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
— John 16:33
Not only did Jesus overcome the world, but he made it possible for us to be conquerors and overcomers as well. 
 
 4 You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world. — 1 John 4:4
 After we have taught new converts John 3:16, let us not forget to also teach them another verse, so when duty calls they will be ready to answer.
 
 23 Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. 24 For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it. — Luke 9:23, 24 NIV

 

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
Post 07-13-2018

“The Peace of the Messiah”

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15 Let the peace of the Messiah also rule in your hearts, to which you were called in one body, and be thankful. – Col. 3:15 ISV
 
The word that Jesus used for peace in John 14:27 when He said, “my peace I leave with you” is the Greek word “eirene” pronounced a-ra-na. Like shalom in the Old Testament, it has a much more complex meaning than just an absence of war or conflict. If you look up shalom in the Strong’s Concordance, you will find a long list of what shalom can mean to us.

 

According to Strong’s Concordance 7965 Shalom means completeness, wholeness, health, peace, welfare, safety soundness, tranquility, prosperity, perfectness, fullness, rest, harmony, the absence of agitation or discord. Shalom comes from the root verb shalom meaning to be complete, perfect and full. 

This is “the peace of the Messiah” and that is what the word conveyed to the disciples. It is also what Jesus has given to all of us who accept Him as our Savior and make Him Lord of our lives. Is there anything missing from this list that we need to live lives that are full of peace and joy?  Let us be thankful and allow this “message of Christ to dwell among us richly”.  To “dwell” means to live in a specified place.  For that to happen in our lives, we must meditate on the Word of God and store his Word in our hearts.  Then when problems arise in our lives and the lives of those around us, we can encourage ourselves and others with the Word, psalms, hymns and Spiritual songs. Jesus died on the cross that we might live abundant lives full of peace and joy.  So, when satan comes around with all of his lies, we can rebuke him with the Word, just as Jesus did.

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

Post 07-05-2018

Rejoice! Pray! Praise! Repeat!

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11 Finally, brothers and sisters, rejoice! Strive for full restoration, encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you.12 Greet one another with a holy kiss. 13 All God’s people here send their greetings. 14 May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. — 2 Cor. 13:11-14 NIV

Rejoice!  Isn’t it amazing that after all Paul has gone through and was still going through at this time, that he could say rejoice?  Through all the persecutions, beatings, attempts on his life and bearing the burden of wayward people in the churches he had established, Paul was still rejoicing and encouraging others to continue in faithfulness. One of our highest priorities as Christians should be to pray for and encourage others. Compared to what Paul went through and what our brothers and sisters in other countries are going through today, anything we have to suffer through is certainly “a light affliction”. Yet, some of us are so focused on our own problems that we walk around like Eeyore in Winnie the Pooh thinking “Woe is me.”.  All of us need more encouragement and more reminding of who we are in Christ Jesus. We need to “zoom out” on our lives and look at the whole panorama that God has given us. The more time we spend focused on Jesus and others, the less time we will have to focus on our own issues. When we take time to fellowship with the Holy Spirit, we find that our spirits are lifted and we can truly rejoice.

4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding,will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.– Phil. 4:4-7

 

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
Post 06-25-2018