It is the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honour of kings is to search out a matter. Proverbs 25:2

Archive for December, 2015

The Love of God

A NEW COMANDMENT ; LOVE ONE ANOTHER AS I HAVE LOVED YOU

The Love of God is shown by the gift of His Son Jesus who was born to save mankind from eternal destruction. God so loved this world He gave His only begotten Son so who ever will believe in Him shall never perish. The greatest act of love is for someone to sacrifice themselves for another. To give out of our abundance, is an act of kindness; to give to those who are in need, is an act of compassion. But to give our best, or our very life for the one we love is the greatest act of love of all. This is what God did for us He gave His best; He gave Himself to save us from hell.

John 15:13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.

God has given us the greatest gift of love in Jesus. Jesus gave His life so we may fulfill our purpose to reflect the love of God in the earth and to live an abundant life. Mankind was just existing in this fallen state; he was living and breathing with little hope for his future because sin had enslaved him. God saw us in our depravity, in our deepest need, at our lowest point living a distorted life and He still loved us.

We were not looking like God in whose image we were created. Sin had so marred and disfigured us that our lives no longer reflected our creator. The love God has for us would not allow Him to leave us in our fallen state. God payed the ultimate sacrifice, death on the cross, that we may have forgiveness of sin and abundant life.

God created us out of His love so we can show His love on the earth. We were created to be the love of God to the world. But because of the fall, our heart, soul, mind and spirit have a gaping hole that can only be filled with the love of God. We may try other things but they will not satisfy the deep longing we have in us, that was created by our Maker for Himself.

People go looking for everything to satisfy their longing their need for love but nothing else will satisfy the love we need but the love of God. We can use a wrench as a hammer and it may do an adequate job but it will function at its optimum when it is used for what it was created. That is us when we are looking for love and validation in our work, in our families or in pleasure. We fell from our created purpose to show the love and to be the love of God in this world and became in need of love ourselves.

We developed a desperate need for someone to love us and sometimes at any price. We started longing to have someone to love or to have someone to love us. We often go searching for a feeling because that is how this world has defined love. Feelings are shallow physical and mental emotion. If we chase after what the world has defined as love, we will be looking for feelings and settling for a shallow existence when God has created us for so much more.

Those who do not know God and His unconditional love will wander around from place to place, person to person, looking for fulfillment. This will only end into defeat, disappointment and still not knowing true love, the Agape love, the unconditional love of God. His love loves us no matter what we have done or what we have failed to do. God loves because it is Who He is and when we are called by His name we too must show unconditional love to those who may not deserve it.

The world has sold us on a lie from hell, that we are unwanted, unworthy, and unloved. This is a lie from the father of lies, Satan. God, so loved us He would not leave us in our fallen state. He gave His best, His Son Jesus, so we would be saved from our worst self. Jesus became poor that we might become rich. He died that we may live. Jesus was beaten so we would receive His healing. He was chastised so we may have His peace. Greater love has no man than this, than to lay down His life even for someone who does not appreciate the sacrifice that is made.

John 3:16   For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

The world has exalted the love of self over everything even at the expense of everyone else. The world tells us to love ourselves more even if it means hurting family, children, and friends we are to make ourselves happy. The world is good at redefining words so that they are more palatable for us to do wrong. The enemy of God has redefined words so our behavior does not appear to be as wicked, but it is just another strategy of Satan to entrap the people of God. He makes things glitter but it is not gold. Godly love is not selfish. Godly love gives and wants to see the best for others. God’s love has compassion for those who are hurting and God’s love will show love, even if it hurts.

Isaiah 53: 3-5 Surely He has borne our griefs And carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed Him stricken, Smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.      NKJV

God sent His Son Jesus, as a baby to live as man in a fallen world. Jesus the creator of all creation was not accepted but was rejected by the world He made. In His unconditional love for the world He still gave His life to save us from destruction. This is the type of love God has planted in the hearts of His children. Love that gives though it may not receive. God’s Love pours out itself into the lives of others even though there may never be any visible signs of acceptance or appreciation.

The sacrifice God made for us, the death of Jesus, to be adopted into the family God is why God requires us to show this same love. It cost God a great price to save us and this is a small thing He asks of us, to love those who are un-deserving, worthless and pitiful. Though the world will not understand our forgiveness and love for others and our flesh may try to rise up and scream at us to take matters into our own hands, for revenge God tells us to show the love of Christ and the world will marvel.

Matthew 22:37-40  Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.  This is the first and great commandment.  And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.  On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.” NKJV

Jesus lived under the laws of the Old Testament and He explained the two greatest laws that were given, to love God with all their heart, soul, and mind and to love others as themselves. If the people would love God and love others to the level that they knew how, the love they had for themselves, all the other commandments rest on those two laws. If they loved God they would do those things that pleased and glorified Him. If they loved others, to the best of their human ability, as they love themselves, they would be fulfilling the law.

Romans 8:2-4   For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.

Jesus’s death and resurrection condemned and destroyed sin in our flesh and gave us life according to the Spirit of God. We could not love others who wronged us in our own strength in our natural fallen state. Jesus gave us the ability, by the power of the Holy Spirit, to love others unconditionally. Those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh. If we are to be free of the past and love the God kind of love, we must set our minds on the things of the Spirit of God.

The traditions of religion want us to focus on the old commandments, thou shalt not and thou shalt not, the things we do. The world would have our minds focus on the things of the world, all the things we do not have or desire to have. Jesus came and fulfilled the law. He paid every sin debt to set us free from the law of sin and us trying to do things in our own strength. Jesus also set us free from the traditions of religious men who want to give us all types of rules to follow. God gave us the Holy Spirit to live in us to empower us to show the love of God.

 

John 13:34-25            A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35 By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

This is the new command Jesus gave us to love one another as He has loved us and it is by this love that we show to the undeserving, the world will know we have the love of God in us and we are His disciples. To love unconditionally is unnatural for the fallen man, he cannot show this type of love separated from God’s love. This is how the world will know we are followers of Jesus because we will lay down our rights, our comfort, and our pride for others so we may show them the unconditional love of God.

For those who say they are, saved; a Christian; a believer; love God and yet hate those who look like God are deceived. Self -deception is the worst type of deceptiveness because we are convinced we are right and sincere in our actions. There are those who hate out of religious convictions, social beliefs or because of financial and family opinions and yet in their minds they are justified.

 

What a master of deception the enemy of God is, to have those who are created in His image and likeness to hate those who reflect His image. That is a fallen and corrupted mind. Those who live according to their flesh minds are focused on the things of the flesh. This is why Jesus says it is by the love we have for one another people will know we are His disciples.

 

We must choose to set our minds on the things of the Spirit, the word of God, if we are going to live according to the Spirit of God. Our natural propensity is self-preservation and it is only by the power of the Holy Spirit and a renewed mind we can show love to those the world call un-loveable. Jesus gave us one new commandment, to love others as He has loved us and he told us how to walk in this love by having our minds on the things of the Spirit and not of the flesh.

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The Misconstrued Meaning of Christmas

Isaiah 9:6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. NIV
Christmas has been said to be one of the most magical times of the year. We see more compassion and charity during this time than any other. People are moved to give and respond with acts of kindness we don’t often see. This is a time the world sets aside to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ our Savior and Lord. While we know it is not the actual day of Jesus’ birth, it a time the world turns its attention to celebrate the birth of our Lord.

In some ways the world has taken a detour from the true meaning of Christmas. Some have gone down the path of commercialism and the hype of Santa Claus. They have taken what was a simple story of a man, St. Nicholas, who loved God, defended the truth of the Gospel and gave gifts to those in needs and changed the meaning. We have fantasized Christmas from the time our children are born to be about something that is not true and created a fantasy in the name of Santa Claus. What a trap the world has laid for us to believe, that in order for our children to have a good time we must create an imaginary person, when the real story is even more wondrous. We tell them Santa Claus knows when you are sleeping and awake, he knows when you’ve been bad or good…

Even when we are asked point blank “is there a Santa Claus?” What answer do we give? What do our children learn about truth and trust? When they get older and we try to tell them about a man named Jesus, who came to save the whole world, an ever present God Who knows our every deed. We can only imagine what must be going through their minds…” I’ve heard this story before and it was a lie then what makes it a truth now.” So when they ask about Santa Claus tell them about St Nicholas, a man of God who cared about the poor and needy and gave gifts to children because he loved God.

We are not saying we can’t have fun with Christmas and Santa Claus but let us not forget the true meaning of Christmas. Let’s tell our children about the Love God has for them and show them with the fun and gifts we share. God sent His Son Jesus as a baby to the earth so we can have life everlasting. St. Nicholas was a Christian man who helped the needy. His legend of gift giving grew into a legendary character known as Santa Claus. His belief in Christ as the greatest gift God has given to mankind was the motivation for his giving.

We know children enjoy the excitement of getting presents from Santa Claus just as they like Ninja Turtles, dinosaurs and Cinderella princess. However, when they come and ask us, “Are they real?” we don’t feel the need to tell them a lie so that they can continue to enjoy those characters. It is amazing to witness the extremes some adults will go to just to keep the fantasy going. Some people choose to do a birthday celebration with their children where gifts are given to each other because the greatest gift was given so freely to us all and that was Jesus. When people ask children about Santa Claus we would simple say “we have a birthday celebration for the birth of Jesus.” We may get some of the meanest words and looks all because we refused to lie to our children. But that’s ok it is a small price to pay for our children’s trust.

The Advent Season of Christmas

This is the Advent season, a time many churches prepare for the celebration of the birth of Jesus at Christmas. The Advent wreath is circular, symbolizing the eternity of God. Traditionally it has four candles one for each week which represents the light of Christ. There is one larger candle in the middle of the wreath which represents a Christ candle.

In the four Sundays before Christmas one candle is lit each Sunday to symbolize the coming of Christ. The first Sunday’s candle symbolizes the expectation of His coming. The second candle symbolizes the Hope we have in Christ. The third candle represents the Joy we can now have because we are reconciled back into the family of God. The fourth candle symbolizes for the purity we have in Christ Jesus.

Isaiah 9:6 For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. KJV

God made a promise to man that He would send a savior and He would be all we need. God saw us as a people who walked in darkness and dwelled in the land of the shadow of death but He did not leave us in that state. God sent a great Light, His Son and increased our joy. God sent His Son born as a child in the most humble state. Jesus, though He was a King, was born not in a mansion or palace but in a stable with the animals. He had a very humble beginning.

As we celebrate this Advent season let us not forget that Jesus is our example to live in humility. Though we are royalty and children of the Most High King, we are to live and walk humbly before God. In Jesus, God has shown us what is required of us as mortal men. We are to do good, act justly, and just do the right thing. We are to love mercy that is being kind to others. We are to walk humbly with our God which is staying humble even when others attack us. Never are we closer to God than when we walk in humility. Never are we more like Satan than when we are lifted up in pride.

Micah 6:8 He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.

In Jesus we find all we need to live peaceably on the earth. When the world around us gets in such a state of hate and bitterness we are not without hope. We can trust in Jesus and He is in authority over all governments. Jesus will give us counsel that is beyond human reasoning. Jesus is the Almighty God. He is above all other kings, lords, governors and politicians. God rules and reigns forever. He will direct our path.

God is an Everlasting Father; He is not a man, one that comes and goes and may be there today and gone tomorrow. He is the Father that loved us before we were conceived and provided for us before the foundation of the world. God is the Father that will be there from the moment we open our eyes upon this earth and until we close them and enter into eternity.

God has not only provided for our natural needs such as food, clothing and shelter but He has provided for our spirit and soul. God has provided us with everlasting life for all eternity. God has given us such peace and joy that the world cannot understand.

1 John 1:2-4        The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. We write this to make our joy complete.

Fellowship with God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, is our joy made complete. When we focus on our relationship and fellowship with God, it magnifies God so big that it dwarfs all other problems and concerns. When we make much of Jesus and magnify God greater and bigger than all our problems, we will have such a peace and joy because we know how the story ends. We all have a life and it hands us challenges and struggles. The only question for us is, how will we respond to what is thrown at us? Will we let life and our circumstances define us or will we let the Word of God speak truth into our situation? When we know the end of the story, that we are victorious and more than a conqueror, we can make it through the hard and difficult times.

1 John 4:4 You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.

Where Do You Invest Your Life?

God created man to reflect God’s glory on the earth. That is man’s created purpose. However, Satan, the enemy of God came and derailed man from his created purpose. Man began following Satan looking and acting like the one they followed. The Bible tells us that whomever we obey is who we will serve. So whether we operate by a conscious decision or unconscious acts as creatures of habit or culture, what we do in this life reflects our deep seated beliefs and who we truly serve.

Romans 6:16  Don’t you know that when you present yourselves as servants and obey someone, you are the servants of whomever you obey; whether of sin to death, or of obedience to righteousness? WEB

Everyone is given a life to live for the glory of God. How we invest this life is our choice. What we decide to spend our time, talent and wealth on reflects those things that are important to us. Our culture has placed value on certain things such as houses, cars and bank accounts. Our families also put value on some things that may cause us to compromise our priorities. But the things that are eternal, those things that God has created us for, should take precedent over all others. We are all seeds planted by God in this time a space that we may produce a harvest.

Genesis 8:22   As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease.”
The seeds we should be sowing are things that are right. We are to do right by others even if it may cause us discomfort or loss. It is when we do what is right by others that the seed is planted and in due season it will produce fruit of righteousness. God wants to shower us with His righteousness and He to makes provisions for us.

Hosea 10: 12a             Sow righteousness for yourselves, reap the fruit of unfailing love, and break up your unplowed ground… 

God is faithful to His word. He tells us not to be deceived by Satan’s lies and the world’s deception, because whatever we sow we shall reap. God’s principle was put in place at the beginning of creation in Genesis. God promised as long as the earth remains there will be seed time and harvest time. This principle is as sure as gravity what goes up will come down unless we implement a greater principle.

If we sow good things we will reap good things and if you sow the things of the spirit, you will reap things of the spirit. As every farmer knows sowing and reaping is a process that takes time. We don’t plant today and reap tomorrow. The harvest must go through the seasons and maturing process. That is why God says we will reap if we don’t faint, if we don’t give up before the process is finished.

Galatians 6: 7             Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.

God wants to bless us with everything we need and more so that we can give to others out of our abundance and overflow. Greed is taking over our culture to the point that people are never satisfied. The more we have the more we want to spend on ourselves. We want to tear down our old barns and build newer and bigger barns to store our things. Just as the rich man in the parable didn’t know his life would come to an end that night, we don’t know when we will be required to give an account of our life.

God gives us the abundance and overflow so that we can give freely to the poor. Through our generosity, people will give thanks to God. It is through our giving we ourselves are refreshed, and the people’s needs are met and with this God is glorified.

2 Corinthians 9:8-12                   And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. As it is written: “They have freely scattered their gifts to the poor; their righteousness endures forever.”

 This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of the Lord’s people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God.

Just as we invest our money into financial institutions expecting a return on our investments, so God looks for a return on the life He gave us to invest in the earth. This life was created to bring glory to His name and to reflect His character. It is the end results that reflect the truth. In the end will our life speak of God’s glory or will it speak of us being self-centered and self-consumed people?

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