1. How freeing it is to apprehend that God uses every circumstance (even though He does not cause them all) in our life to develop both our character and our calling (purpose!)
2. God is all about family. He is the good, good Father, and we (every human being) are fully and unconditionally loved by Him. (thank you Chris Tomlin) That’s it! Our purpose as human beings is so simple … yet we mess it up all the time. Our individual calling (purpose) is simply to receive the boundless love of God, then share it with each & every person we encounter. Simple!
3. Since God is all about family, He sees no rejects, no losers, no lost causes. Since the beginning of time, He has desired a family. His desire is for ALL to join His family to share His goodness and His love, and since the beginning or your life and mine, He has been working to bring us into His family for the purpose of loving us. That’s it! No rules. No obligations. Only love! But … such unconditional love is so foreign it frightens most of us. Why?
4. Perhaps the most difficult concept to understand @ God is that He is much more concerned with our character than our comfort. He works continuously to craft each of us into unique billboards that radiate His love, so all may come into His family. It is God’s love that comforts us, corrects us, compels us & challenges us to share the love we so richly & abundantly receive. God is forever motivated by love, and so, too, we, as God’s sons and daughters are compelled to act out God’s love in our own lives.
5.”What if you rejected everything about God that wasn’t God and accepted Him for who He is — God for you?” This is from a powerful little book entitled, IF, by Mark Batterson
How much of what we attribute to God ought to actually be attributed to the words, attitudes, or deeds of certain believers? The single most radical concept of God is that He chooses in every case to love each person, AND He continuously moves heaven and earth to draw each one into His forever family. Unfortunately, none of us get it right … even most of the time,but He never stops drawing us. e never stops teaching us. He never stops lov
It really is simple! For thousands of years, men of education, and assumed intelligence, have sought to explain what is elementary enough for the youngest, most simple-minded among us to grasp. We complicate it with sophistication, assuming we can improve the experience of history: HIS-STORY! We complicate it with lofty knowledge’s elaborate words trying to impress … whom? God? or man?
From before Creation was spoken into existence until the time of His-story’s culmination, GOD is LOVE. That’s it! Every thought, every word, and every action of God is motivated, directed, and empowered by LOVE. Unconditional Love. A Perfect Father’s Love.
Problem: Burdened by inexplicable (and unaccepted in our society) guilt, we hate our Self. And because we hate our Self, we are unable to fully love any one or anything. We can’t give real love or receive it. We Fear instead. We fear alone-ness. We fear one another. We fear our differences. We fear our sin. We fear our Self. And we blame God.
Our imperfections, our sinfulness, cloud our understanding of God, of Love, so we distrust Him. This causes a separation resulting in loneliness, which is not about people, but about missing our closeness with Father God. In our loneliness, our vision (still clouded,) we see the brokenness and imperfections in others and feel repelled and rejected.
NEWSFLASH: GOD IS LOVE!!!!! Not just ambiguous, unfocused, vague, and random, but person, intimate, accepting and individual love. Every minute of every day, GOD is literally moving heaven and earth to LOVE YOU. He will not quit until your life’s last breath is gone.
Just a few of the hundreds of promises that are yours and mine!
What’s more … Every promise, every promise, every promise contained in His book … between Genesis 1 and Revelation 22 is a personal promise for YOU (and me.) But to see these promises fulfilled, though some again make it complicated, the only requirement is that you RECEIVE them. Of course, to do that, you must first have some belief that God can and will actually come through.
From the beginning of time, God knew we would fall, we would not always do the right thing. God knew, and because He didn’t want us to be estranged from Him indefinitely, so He set up a plan to reconcile us. It meant sending Himself in human form, Jesus, to live as a sin-free man. This enabled Jesus to choose to pay the price of my sinfulness, suffer and die on the cross, then walk out of the tomb, conquering death. Why? because He loves us and wants to hang out with us. Everything he says, everything He does, and everything He speaks comes from that Love … Everything!!!! He wants to love us outrageously, lavishly, happily, boundlessly forever! It’s really that simple!
Ray Comfort: Here is a rule of thumb when reading the Bible: “With God, nothing shall be impossible.”
Now you can believe that seas can open, food can fall from the heavens, the sun can stop, whales swallow people, animals can fit on a boat, arks float, walls tumble, and fish can multiply. It’s really quite simple.
Nothing is impossible in your personal life. Nothing is impossible in your family. No thing is impossible in this nation, if we return to God, receive His love and pass it on to one another freely, as He commands! God can fix what is broken in America, but first, we have to ask Him!
Have you ever been rejected? Have you ever wanted to talk to someone and had them say, “Leave me alone!”? Has anyone ever told you, “I hate you!”? Do you ever call and leave a message, and your call is not returned? Do you ever want affection and your spouse has a headache?
Rejection, it’s part of living. Does anyone like it? I sure don’t. Why does one person reject another? I think it’s because we’re selfish. We don’t want to be bothered. We want to be left alone. We don’t want to deal with situations we’re not comfortable with. We don’t see the other person as a human being precious to God, Who loves that person totally and commands us to love him as well. We only see that it is not advantageous to us to love that person, so we don’t.
Has anyone besides me noticed that there’s a shortage of real love among God’s people? I think everyone is looking for love, and it’s not easy to find. If we, the children of God, would begin to truly love one another, love wouldn’t be so hard to find. The kids wouldn’t be turning to drugs and pre-marital sex. The bars would be empty. I am amazed at how preoccupied most Christians are with their own little soap operas while the people around them are dying and starving for love.
Command, not request!
This thing called rejection, How sad it is! If you like this brother’s teaching, another brother regards you as an enemy. If you play this style of music, you can’t play at that church. If you dress this way, speak in tongues, or don’t speak in tongues, you believe in divine healing or in modern medicine, it’s all a big deal to most Christians. “What church do you attend?” they ask. You answer, and they get a funny look on their face.
The question I have for everyone I meet in the Body of Christ is, “Do you love me?” Most believers feel like it’s up to me to be “loveable.” If I believe the same way they do and conform to their code of conduct, they might love me just a little after a while. If I don’t conform, they’ll avoid me. Of course, at a church meeting, they’ll shake my hand or even hug me and say, “How’s it going?” They want to “appear” to be righteous for their audience, but the dirty truth is, they find me objectionable. They don’t love me. Now, there is no possibility whatsoever that a person who rejects me will call me at my home later and say, “Brother David, I perceive there is strife between us, and it grieves me. Can we get together and talk?” That will never happen because the other person feels justified in not loving me. It’s my fault. I didn’t satisfy his requirements. Something about me isn’t right. If only I would change.
We are surrounded by promises, in America, and most of them never had any intention of being fulfilled! Politicians say exactly what they think we want to hear, not because they actually believe it, but simply to earn our trust and our vote. Broken promises have been in the news lately with the “If you like your plan and your Doctor, you can keep them!” lie. The President and his adherents knew from the beginning that was a lie, yet they intentionally repeated it for months.
Contrary to the multitude of unfulfilled promises of politicians, GOD fulfills promises everyday. The Bible is filled with wonderful & lofty promises that, frankly, are incredibly hard to believe. Yet, any one of us can challenge GOD’S faithfulness by apprehending any promise in faith.
At the top of the page is a promise: All things are possible with God. (Matthew 19:26)
Believe that? I mean do you believe it in your LIFE, or just with your head? There is a difference!
There are many, many more!
Pick a promise! Choose one that fits a difficult circumstance in your life. Pick it & believe it! Each & every promise issues from the loving heart of God. Every one! But that’s not the cool part! The cool part is that GOD has spoken each promise to ME and to YOU … as individuals! When GOD says, “Don’t be afraid, for I AM with you. Don’t be dismayed, for I AM your GOD! I will comfort you! Yes, I will help you! And I will uphold you with the right hand of My righteousness!” (Isaiah 41:10) GOD is talking to me, but HE is also talking to you. All we have to do … is actively BELIEVE! Can you do that? I can …if I remember who GOD is. If I remember He designed Creation, all its moving parts (not the parts mankind has corrupted, but the wondrous ways Laws of Nature,) and brought it into being with a Word! Ha!
In spite of GOD’S vastness, or maybe because if it, GOD has set His unfathomable love on us, and we see that in His promises. All his promises flow from that love and are evidenced in His unspeakable GOODNESS!
The yes to all of God’s promises is in Christ, and through Christ we say yes to the glory of God.2 Corinthians 1:20
LOVE. It’s our deepest, most urgent need. It’s a requirement for life. Every single human shares this basic need, yet in spite of the volumes written on the topic, a vast array of poems and songs written on the subject, few of us have a clear handle of exactly what Love is.
We often hear “Life is a journey” these days, and I suggest that Love is our destination and our source. We taste it on clear sunny days. We smell it in a gentle spring shower. We hear it in the laughter of children, and we get a glimpse in the touch of a loved one. Never a banquet, only a sample, enough to compel us onward … and a Promise.
Love is not weak, easy, or shallow. Love always … always multiplies. The deepest Love is a promise, a unity of hearts, goals, and future hope.
11 I say this because I know what I am planning for you,” says the Lord. “I have good plans for you, not plans to hurt you. I will give you hope and a good future. 12 Then you will call my name. You will come to me and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will search for me. And when you search for me with all your heart, you will find me! 14 I will let you find me,” says the Lord. “And I will bring you back from your captivity. Jeremiah 29:11-14
As humans, we typically look for the easy route, the path of lest resistance. But the richness of God’s Love takes us always into the deep water without a life jacket, not to drown us, as some suppose, but to empower us to fly higher, dive deeper, push harder, to continue on when there are no landmarks we recognize to take GOD’s love to each and every person. God’s love soothes and inspires. His love never changes … NEVER! Still, it doesn’t always feel like a warm blanket either, but Love is always … always ultimately drawing us to Him: our Source and our Goal, the Beginning and the End. One taste just isn’t enough, but how do we get there?
This song as always been a prayer to me. I’m asking God to show me what Love is … and I know He will answer. Care to take the plunge with me? It’s a little scary, but … is it safe? “Safe?” said Mr. Beaver; “don’t you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.” ~ C.S. Lewis, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
♫ I Want to Know What Love is ♫
I gotta take a little time
A little time to think things over
I better read between the lines
In case I need it when I’m older
Now this mountain I must climb
Feels like a world upon my shoulders
And through the clouds I see love shine
It keeps me warm as life grows colder
In my life there’s been heartache and pain
I don’t know if I can face it again
Can’t stop now, I’ve traveled so far
To change this lonely life
I wanna know what love is
I want you to show me
I wanna feel what love is
I know you can show me
I’m gonna take a little time
A little time to look around me, oooh ooh-ooh ooh-ooh oooh
I’ve got nowhere left to hide
It looks like love has finally found me
In my life there’s been heartache and pain
I don’t know if I can face it again
I can’t stop now, I’ve traveled so far
To change this lonely life
I wanna know what love is
I want you to show me
I wanna feel what love is
I know you can show me
I wanna know what love is
I want you to show me
And I wanna feel, I want to feel what love is
And I know, I know you can show me
Let’s talk about love
(I wanna know what love is) the love that you feel inside
(I want you to show me) I’m feeling so much love
(I wanna feel what love is) no, you just cannot hide
(I know you can show me) yeah, woah-oh-ooh
I wanna know what love is, let’s talk about love
(I want you to show me) I wanna feel it too
(I wanna feel what love is) I wanna feel it too
And I know, and I know, I know you can show me
Show me what is real, woah (woah), yeah I know
(I wanna know what love is) hey I wanna know what love
(I want you to show me), I wanna know, I wanna know, want know
(I wanna feel what love is), hey I wanna feel, love
I know you can show me, yeah
GOD is love! He is in the business of LOVE … for the Love of GOD!
2013 is just about finished. It’s been a year of defining priorities, on a national, as well as a personal level. I found for myself, that the more I thought and wrote about the downward spiral our nation and our American society is on, the more distracted and depressed I became … and that is unacceptable!
So I’m returning to what I KNOW!
What’s important to me? LOVE! Not so much the mushy, sentimental kind of stuff that’s built on emotion, or the lusty “can’t get enough sex,” but the gutsy, enduring stuff that fights through the junk of life. Love is much more than an emotion or our sex drive. It is sometimes emotional. Love and lust are two completely different things.
Love is a decision. It’s an act of our will to commit our energy to the support, the encouragement, the best interest of the one(s) we love.
1 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. 2 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. 3 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.
4 Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; 5 does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; 6 does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
8 Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part. 10 But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away.
11 When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. 12 For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.
13 And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
Have you noticed that many times we attach little things to our love … little things like EXPECTATIONS, CONDITIONS, or PREREQUISITES? Maybe you don’t, but I’ve found myself doing that, even to those I love the most!
My New Year’s Prayer is that I would remove the strings and simply, LOVE … my children, my neighbors, and those who share my community and nation, and find ways to Live that Love. Maybe, just maybe if people start to see LOVE, they will stop seeking destructive behaviors and attitudes.
Do you remember what happened in the Garden of Eden? Whether our understanding is literal or figurative, SIN entered the human experience. (Sin being the deliberate and willful disobedience to God’s word.) Interestingly, the immediate response to the “eye-opening bite” was SHAME. Adam and Eve felt the need, suddenly, to HIDE themselves.
Note: Eve had not been created yet when God told Adam not to eat of this particular tree. Although Adam later told her, for centuries she has been blamed when in reality, God instructed ADAM! Just sayin …
We’re told God made two special trees in the Garden, a Tree of Life and the Tree of the KNOWLEDGE of Good and Evil. When Adam and Eve shared the fruit from the Tree of the KNOWLEDGE of Good and Evil, their eyes were suddenly opened, and they were aware they had SINNED. They felt shame and guilt, they attempted to justify it, but death became part of Life. Prior to this event, Adam and Eve were blissfully unaware of evil.
I find it fascinating that God did not forbid them to eat of the Tree of Life until after sin entered the world. Had they chosen its fruit, we would live forever as pure babes! But, the gnawing desire to be “like God” lured them to the one forbidden Tree. Only then, did GOD set a guard to prevent them from the Tree of Life.
Again, I find it interesting that the “knowledge” of good and evil is a divine characteristic. Something to “chew” on …
“Has God indeed said …?” God told Adam if he ate of the tree he would surely die. When the serpent came along to “tempt” Eve, he simply introduced a tiny measure of doubt – “Has God indeed said …” It doesn’t seem like much to you and me, but prior to that God had never been questioned or contested. Funny thing is today, that “serpent” continues to use the same tactic …
“Has God indeed said a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh…?” God’s idea!
“Has God indeed said all men are created equal and should be treated equally regardless of wealth, religion, sexual preference, race or eye color? God’s idea!
“Has God indeed said his followers should live in this world but yet be separated from it? Live differently? God’s idea!
But Adam and Eve, along with each of us, rejected God’s way and insisted on our own. They ate and instantly they KNEW good and evil, and they KNEW they were naked. Before, they were naked and unashamed. Now, they were compelled to cover their nakedness. They were ashamed.
Immediately, too, they began to attempt to justify their sin. When confronted, Adam blamed the woman, and she blamed the serpent. “Not my fault!”
As I look around this once great nation, example after example of this same pattern is evident. We fall prey to “Has God indeed said …” and SIN always attempts to justify itself by claiming popular approval. Adam tried to explain to God that the woman God gave him lead him to eat, so he ate. We hear our children say, “Everyone else is doing it!” (whatever IT is!)
Bottom line, though, we KNOW good and evil. We inherited the Knowledge of Good and Evil! We are intimately aware of our SIN. What we don’t know is GOD’s unmatchable and boundless love for each of us.
This is precisely why we must live what the Word of God says –
1 My friends, if you have faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ, you won’t treat some people better than others. 2 Suppose a rich person wearing fancy clothes and a gold ring comes to one of your meetings. And suppose a poor person dressed in worn-out clothes also comes. 3 You must not give the best seat to the one in fancy clothes and tell the one who is poor to stand at the side or sit on the floor. 4 That is the same as saying that some people are better than others, and you would be acting like a crooked judge.James 2: 1-4 CEV
Now, doesn’t that sound like what’s happening in our nation?
As many of you know, I have three adult children who continue to teach me about life. Funny how we, as parents, think we will teach our children, and we do, but only in proportion to who well we learn from them!
Family is about LOVE. Home should always be a “safe haven” from the harsh realities of life for each member of a family, a place of acceptance and truth. This is not so simple these days! We all have many influences in our daily lives and not all of them are healthy. Choices are a requirement!!! We have to learn to choose what builds us up rather than what destroys or corrupts us.
This reality prompted me on many occasions to ponder the “Nature of LOVE!” Parents, teach your children LOVE by loving them … by giving to them not material things, but REAL things that will help them through life. Things like manners, integrity, and kindness are foreign in our modern culture, particularly in our celebrities and leaders, yet if well-learned, they can lead to a satisfied life.
We SPEAK our love every time we part from one another, whether for a routine trip to work or to go to our separate space. But words sometimes fall short. Have you noticed? I cannot be content simply saying, “I love you!” Since my kids were small, I have prayed for creative ways to DEMONSTRATE my love to each of them in unique ways, personal to them. LOVE is a VERB, and it is not only a CHOICE we make, but actions take confirm our choice.
One thing about a basic life truth is that it fits every situation from the most public to the most intimate. The same active-love that motivates my daily life with my family simultaneously impassions me as regards my country. I cannot simply SAY, “I love America,” I must DO whatever I can do to strengthen her, to build her, to inspire her to further greatness, and to unify her.
Do you love your family? your GOD? your nation? Are you as tired of all the divisive, hate-filled rhetoric filing the airways? We must overcome hatred with LOVE!!! What actions demonstrate your love?
This has been a busy few weeks in my little world. Included has been a deep heart issue: LOVE!
I’m a mom, and there is no more satisfying and challenging position (career) in life (except perhaps fatherhood!) My kids are all adults, but that doesn’t mean I stop being their mom. In fact, it seems as they grow and mature, so does my role as their mom! The hard part is redefining LOVE in accordance with my role as mom to adults!
As believers, we are COMMANDED, not requested, to love one another as Christ loves us. That is quite a tall order! First, we have to accept that Jesus loves us more than words can express, more than any human can possibly apprehend, more than our finite brains can even imagine. That is LIFE! But accepting Jesus love as truth is just the beginning! We are to love one another the same way … even FAMILY … even the absolutely unlovable!
This revelation shook me! It seems like common sense, but … how many of us really treat family with the kind of love Jesus pours into each of us continuously? I tend to try to control my kids’ lives! I confess! I am always right, and of course, I know better then they do what is best for them, right? 🙂 It was a “loving” smack across the face when I realized I was putting MY expectations, MY dreams, and MY plans onto them. THAT isn’t Christ’s love!
Strangers are much easier to love! We don’t have to see them often and deal with their imperfections routinely. Family we do! We are commanded to love one another as Christ loves us … in spite of our bad habits, inherent weaknesses, bad choices, and frailties!
Not so easy … but if we practice appreciating the best in each of our family members, our friends and co-workers, maybe … just maybe they will see Jesus in us!
What is God’s plan for His Church in These Troubled Times?
First, God’s Church is defined as all who call on the name of Jesus to be saved from their sinfulness by Jesus’ sacrifice and resurrection. Denominations, local assemblies, or groups (including the Roman Catholic church) are each PART of the whole. In addition, there are millions of believers who no longer go to a local fellowship, but rather they gather together randomly at local restaurants, parks, or private living rooms. ROMANS 10: 1-13 NASB
Second, we (God’s Church) are to grow up into the likeness and image of Christ by letting the Holy Spirit teach us God’s ways and God’s nature and equip us to be Salt and Light to a world in darkness thirsting to be free. Like our physical muscles need exercise to grow strong, so our spiritual muscles require exercise to grow and develop into useful gifts and skills. It is our responsibility (and joy) to be equipped via the Holy Spirit residing within us, and prepared for whatever path God leads us to follow. Ephesians 4:11-16 NASB
Finally, our day to day life is to reflect the love of God we have received, even as a mirror reflects the image of the one gazing into it. God has stamped each believer with His own image, and that image is what draws the lost, from the farthest corners of the globe, to Jesus. Obviously, we cannot do this in our on design, our own intelligence, our own wisdom, or our own compassion. We just can’t, because it isn’t our intelligence, our wisdom, our plans, or our compassion that can open the understanding of one still blinded by sin. Only God’s love can rent that veil. We carry that love, if in fact, we have received it, and that allows us – empowers us to reflect it, to let it flow through us out toward the lonely, the broken, those in despair, lost in the darkness. Every place we go … to work, to shop, to play … we carry the Love of God. It is not given to us to hold, but to share, and that requires courage and faith! 2 Corinthians 3: 15-18 AMP
As the days grow darker, Light will become more needed, but it will also become more visible (or it should!) We must allow God to continue to cleanse and purify our hearts and minds so the Light will be clear and bright. God, by His Holy Spirit, does the work. All we must do is let Him!
My experience tells me most local congregations spend more time, talent, and money on their own “aquarium,” rather than on training and equipping “Fishers of men!” Jesus said that the way the world would recognize His people (and thereby HIM) was by the way we LOVE one another. Is that not our Primary Mission? To draw all men (and women) to God? John 12: 31-32 NASB; John 15: 9-17 NKJV
34 I give you a new commandment: that you should love one another. Just as I have loved you, so you too should love one another. 35 By this shall all [men] know that you are My disciples,
if you love one another [if you keep on showing love among yourselves].
John 13:34-35 AMP
THIS, then, is God’s plan for His Church, to LOVE … to Love one another and appreciate our differences, to love the lost, to love sinners (like us!), to love them FROM the darkness INTO the Light!
“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation,
a people for God’s own possession”
“so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him
who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; 1 Peter 2:9 NKJV
No finger pointing, no condemnation, no name-calling, no back-biting, no slandering, no judgement!!! THAT is God’s job, and He judges via mercy. LOVE is the Mission of the CHURCH. Not soft, sentimental, mushy love, but strong, decisive, empowering, freeing, UNCONDITIONAL love that ONLY flows from God the Father of all mankind! Nope, not easy. Only way we can do it is by the LOVE of God flowing THROUGH us … If we run out, we know it wasn’t God’s love, but our own. Come on, CHURCH … LOVE!!!!! The lost are waiting … Let’s get fishing!!!