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 February, 2017

Love God by Loving Others

Respect- to esteem or regard favorably, to give a sense of worth or value to a person- to hold in honor- to refrain from intruding upon or interfering with…

We are to respect God, to think highly and favorably of Him. We honor God because He is worthy as the Creator of the universe. We value God and honor God when we honor and respect those who are created in His image. Respect by definition comes from a place of love and value for a person. This is why we cannot be disrespectful to a person and then say we love them.

We are to respect people because they were formed by God for the express purpose of carrying Him image. To disrespect people who are created in the image of God is to disrespect God! People may say they respect or love a person but hate their children or family, this cannot be. Either they will love them and their children or hate them, but they cannot do both in truth. They may need that person or want them, but they love themselves more. Some may speak words of love and respect, but in their heart there is animosity. Some may even deceive themselves into believing they can love God while hating and disrespecting their brothers, but God’s word says this cannot be so.

How can we say we love God whom we have not seen and hate our brother whom we have seen? The answer is we cannot. Someone who has hatred in their heart for anyone, no matter the reason, the love for God is not in them.

1 john 4:20-21    If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? 21 And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also.

This is not to say we have not been wronged. It is these painful and cruel things that Satan would use to tempt us with the thought that we have every right to hate. People are blinded by Satan to the truth of God’s word and many even live in self-deception. Sometimes we deceive ourselves into believing we are either justified in our hate or God understands what we have been through and He would not require us to forgive these people. This too is a tactic of the enemy, to get the people of God to deny God’s truth and live a lie that is rooted in Satan’s hatred of God.

2 Corinthians 4: 3-4   But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them.

Those who decide to go their own way and refuse to love they refuse the truth of God’s word and are perishing. They may not realize their minds are being blinded by Satan, the prince of this world system, and their life is headed for destruction. Self-deception is one of the hardest lies to overcome, because we have trained our minds to believe we are right and therefore close our minds to the truth. The only way to come out of this darkness is to let the light of God’s word shine into our hearts and minds.

 1 John 3: 10-11                     In this the children of God and the children of the devil are manifest: Whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is he who does not love his brother. 11 For this is the message that you heard from the beginning, that we should love one another,

We must practice the righteousness of God which is faith in Jesus’ completed work for our salvation. This is not our works of attending church, visiting the sick or just reading our Bibles. It is a relationship with God through the life of Jesus. It is accepting God’s love for us through faith in Jesus and the understanding of His Word. True faith gives us the love we need for others by the power of the Holy Spirit. This is not a thing that can be done by the natural man. This love for others is how the children of God will be known. Because they show love they are distinguished from the children of the devil and people of this world.   The love we show to the undeserving displays the God in us.

1 John 3: 14-17          We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love his brother abides in death. 15 Whoever hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him. 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 when we show love to all those who are created in the image of God we give witness to the love of God that is in us. If we hate others, Jesus says we have committed murder. This is a hard but powerful statement and it is the truth of God’s word. Jesus came and saved us out of our sinful state, while we were looking and acting like Satan. Jesus died the death on the cross to redeem us back as children of God. As children of God we are to lay down the hurt, pain and injustices we have received from others just as Jesus did for us.

Jesus did not want to die. He even asked the Father to take that cup away from Him and yet He submitted Himself to God’s will. We too, in our flesh do not want go through the process of forgiving others who misuse and abuse us.   We also, must submit our will to God just as Jesus did and ask Him to give us the love we need for those who have wronged us. In this God will be glorified in that situation.

1 John 3: 18    My little children let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth

We are told to show the love of God in our actions not just in words. Many can talk a good game, saying all manner of lovely things, but God tells us to demonstrate this love by our actions. Love gives of itself. God so loved the world He gave His only Son. When we see someone with a need we are to take from our abundance and help those who are without.

Resting in God – Waiting on God

In a society that is filled with seeking better and faster ways of getting things done, it is difficult to quiet our hearts, minds and spirit to rest in God’s perfect wisdom, plan and timing for our lives. Especially in a country that expects everything to be done in an instant. We have been taught and cultivated to react and to respond to every situation immediately. Waiting is perceived by many as doing nothing, a waste of time, being weak because nothing ever happens when you wait, but this is not so.

Psalm 27: 13-14         I would have lost heart, unless I had believed That I would see the goodness of the Lord In the land of the living.14 Wait on the Lord; Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the Lord! NKJV

God’s kingdom way tells us to not lose heart but believe we will see the goodness of the Lord while we are still on this earth. God’s blessing is not just for when we get to heaven in the sweet by and by. God tells us to decide to be in good spirits, to be determined and steadfast in our trust in God to strengthen our hearts. We are to be persistent with resolve because God will settle the matter. He will give power and strength to those who are looked on as weak, because they trust and wait on God to direct their steps.

Isaiah 40:28-31          Have you not known? Have you not heard? The everlasting God, the Lord, The Creator of the ends of the earth, neither faints nor is weary. His understanding is unsearchable. 29 He gives power to the weak, And to those who have no might He increases strength. 30 Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall, 31 but those who wait on the LORD Shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.   NKJV

Habakkuk 2:2 I will climb up to my watchtower and stand at my guard post. There I will wait to see what the Lord says and how he will answer my complaint NLT

 

The world will tell us to take action to do something or we will look pathetic. This is where we display the principles and power of the kingdom of God in the earth. When we respond according to God’s word we reflect God’s kingdom principles and not this world’s system. It is difficult for most people to understand or commit to God’s ways because they have been taught the lie of the enemy and have lived this lie all their lives. It takes a change in heart and mind to stand on the word of God. This only comes through renewing our minds to think as God thinks by reading His word, and then our hearts will follow.

Meekness is strength under control. Most people when they see meekness they think the person is feeble in not reacting in the way the world expects them to react. True meekness is to make a deliberate decision to take a different action or no action at all because of our faith in the word of God. We can only display the kingdom of God if we know how it operates. Most people who call themselves Christians or believers of Christ do not know Jesus or what He has said about the kingdom they now live in on this earth. They think they must wait until they go to heaven before they will have the peace and favour of God in their lives.

Psalm 37:7- 11           Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him; do not fret because of him who prospers in his way, Because of the man who brings wicked schemes to pass. Cease from anger, and forsake wrath; do not fret—it only causes harm. For evildoers shall be cut off; But those who wait on the Lord, They shall inherit the earth. 10 For yet a little while and the wicked shall be no more; Indeed, you will look carefully for his place, But it shall be no more. 11 But the meek shall inherit the earth, and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace. NKJV

To be an overcomer is not necessarily getting what we have been praying for, asking and seeking God for. Neither is it seeing vengeance on those who have wronged us. It is having the peace in knowing God is faithful and He is directing our steps for His glory in the earth. It is a mindset that is at peace in whatever situation it may find itself in. Christ on the cross brought glory to God in the earth. His glory and how we reflect His love may not always look like what we want or expect. It is knowing the love God has for us and that He chose us to show His mercy and grace to this world. This love gives us the tenacity to rest and patiently wait for God to do His perfect work in us. It is the love of God in us that keeps us at peace with ourselves and others. This is when we rest in God and wait on His direction.

Isaiah 30:18 Therefore the Lord will wait, that He may be gracious to you; and therefore He will be exalted, that He may have mercy on you. For the Lord is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for Him. NKJV

It is when we reflect the character and attributes of God in the earth that we reflect God’s glory. It is a sad testimony when those who call themselves children of God act like the children of the world. Those who know their God will do exploits and great things that the ordinary person may not understand or comprehend because it displays the power of God in us. The peace God gives to us surpasses natural understanding, as we wait with full assurance that God will settle the matter.

Micah 7:7 Therefore I will look to the Lord; I will wait for the God of my salvation; My God will hear me. NKJV

Psalm 39:7  “And now, Lord, what do I wait for? My hope is in You. NKJV

THE LOVE OF GOD

Many people today have had their sense of love shaped by the Disney princess. Who fall in love at first sight and live happily ever after. But that is not reality. We as parents, family and friends must be deliberate in training our children, young men and young women, yes, and even ourselves, the importance of words and especially the word love. Love is an action word. To say we love someone with our words and not the action is an oxymoron; that is a self-contradicting situation. We cannot love and not act because love gives of itself.

God says when a person speaks, though they speak as angels, but do not show love, it is like someone clanging a cymbal without any rhyme or reason. Many have been fooled by these sweet talkers who were only making loud clanging sounds with no intention of being truthful. God is truth and He has sent His word of truth to set us free from the deceitfulness of people.

God says there are some who are prophets, gifted with the talent of giving insight and may understand mysteries. They may even have a high level of knowledge or have the gift of faith to heal and move mountains. But if they do not demonstrate God’s love, they are nothing. Some may even have a deep concern for the poor and give much and possibly their lives for the poor. But if it is not from a position of love, it will profit them nothing.

I Corinthians 13: 1- 3 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal.  And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.  And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.

Love endures for a long time. It enables us to remain kind to those who may be responsible for the hurt. God is patient with us though we are sinners. He is kind to us and did not credit our sins to us. Jesus paid our debt and took our punishment. We who love must endure long with those around us even when they are not kind.

Love does not envy, crave for those things that belong to another, hold grudges, become bitter or harbor resentment. Love is quick to forgive, quick to show goodwill, and to be reconciled. God does not hold grudges. He reconciled us back to Himself at a great cost of His Son Jesus. While we were still sinning against God, He forgave us. Those who love God are given a ministry of reconciliation to bring those who are lost to God, even though they may still be in a problematic or distressing life. We are to forgive others as God, for Christ’s, sake forgave us.

Love does not behave rudely, offensively or disrespectfully. Love does not oppress others so to make one’s self look better and does not look for ways to take advantage of others. Love does not try to provoke others, or pick a fight, to have an advantage or to have things go their way. Love does not think evil of others; it does not accuse or believe the worst of people. God’s love for us caused Him to humble Himself and send Jesus for us. Jesus became a man and experienced our pain, hurt and death. God remembered we were made from the dust and could not save ourselves. The Mighty and the Strong gave Himself for the weak and the lost. He came that we might have His abundant life; to heal our sickness and disease. We, who are Christ followers, will have the love of God in us to enable us to show compassion, forgiveness and mercy to those who are undeserving.

Love does not delight, celebrate or cheer evil or injustices. God is merciful, kind and full of grace He forgives sin. But God will judge the guilty, those who refuse His pardon through faith in Jesus. Love rejoices and celebrates when truth prevails over lies. Love empowers us to believe and trust people and have hope in them. This love is willing to endure long and to help others. God has shown His love as He waits patiently for all those who will one day believe in Jesus. We too must be committed to truth and not turn a deaf ear or a blind eye to injustices. We too, must be patient and pray for those who do not believe hoping to see a repentant heart.

1 Corinthians 13: 4-8             Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

 Love never fails.

Love never fails because God is love. God is faithful and true. It is God Who defines love by Who He is.

Faith Hope and Love – The Greatest of These Is Love

We are told to abide in faith, hope and love. Abide is from a Greek word that means; to stay in a given place; expectancy, to continue, to endure, to remain. It is a verb which means action must take place for us to abide. Most people think they are abiding when they are just waiting on God to move but there is no movement in that. To abide in faith is to continue to hear the word of God. To abide in hope is to continue to expect a favorable outcome no matter the visible circumstances. To abide in love is to continue in the presence and communion with God and to reflect His love! To know God is to know love. To fellowship with God is to be in the presence of the very essence of love.

1 Corinthians 13:13     And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

Many people believe their love for God is shown in their emotional attachment to Him and/or the service they do and this will cause God to love them more and move in their lives. When they fall short and do not see what they expected from God, then they lose hope. It was not God who failed; it was their understanding of His word and His love. People begin to doubt God’s love when challenges come. They do not understand with every profession of faith, there will be tests to prove our faith in our action and to see if we really believe what we said. But God’s love never changes.

Love was created by God and it was one of the greatest gifts to mankind. This life would be void and dull without the love of people – family or friends. Love is the greatest gift we have both to give and to receive. Knowing we are loved is one of the most important things to all mankind. We may go seeking love and showing love in many different ways, but the expressing of love is universal; it crosses all cultures and people. Love is one of the deepest parts of God’s attributes that He has planted into mankind. We know only in part, the love God has for us. To be loved and to express love to others is so important that we have seen some who have risked all for love. This is the love God has shown to us in the person of Jesus Christ.

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 Greatest expression of God’s love towards us was to give His Son Jesus to die for us. This expressed a love so deep that it is mind boggling to think how much God must love us. Yet so many are deceived by the lie of the enemy that says God does not care and He does not love us because we are sinful. This world system is part of the fallen state of mankind which Satan has used to keep us blind and in darkness, regarding the deep love God has for us. The whole system is set up to keep the minds of the people so entrenched in the lies, in hate and in disunity, so they would not be able to recognize the truth of God’s love. Whether it is a culture of pride and entitlement or a culture of inferiority and inadequacy, both are based on lies to breed hate.

John 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.” NKJV

We are now accepted as the beloved of God because of our faith in Jesus Christ alone. Not our works of righteousness or service but total trust in the completed work of Christ Who died for our sin. It is out of this love that God has shown to us, that makes us want to serve Him and to change our lives. It is not out of duty to perform to obtain God’s love.

Jesus, after fulfilling all the requirements of the Old Testament, gave us a new commandment – to love one another as Jesus Himself has loved us. Jesus came to show mankind God’s love. God loves us so much that He was willing to give His Son to pay for our sin. We are now given the power of God by The Holy Spirit to live in us, so we may show the love of God to others. This is not a natural thing; to love others who are different. It takes the power of the Risen Christ and the Holy Spirit living in us, to change our hearts and minds that we may show the love of God to those who are unlovely.

Many religions, including the religious Christianity, will have us do many deeds and works to be right with God which is impossible. Jesus fulfilled the old law and gave us a new commandment, to love one another as Christ loves us. Unconditional love will show the world we are Christ’s disciples. When we love one another as He has loved us.

2 Corinthians 5:17- 19          Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation. NKJV

We who are Christ’s are given this ministry to reconcile sinners to God by showing the love of Christ. Not crediting sins to people, but rather bringing them into reconciliation through the love of God. The Disciples of Christ will be known by the love they have for one another, and not for the hate they have for the sinner.

1 john 4: 7-8, 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. …Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.

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