Love will always Win

1 Corinthians 13The Message (MSG)
The Way of Love
13 If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don’t love, I’m nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate.
2 If I speak God’s Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, “Jump,” and it jumps, but I don’t love, I’m nothing.
3-7 If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.
Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
Love doesn’t strut,
Doesn’t have a swelled head,
Doesn’t force itself on others,
Isn’t always “me first,”
Doesn’t fly off the handle,
Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn’t revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.
8-10 Love never dies. Inspired speech will be over some day; praying in tongues will end; understanding will reach its limit. We know only a portion of the truth, and what we say about God is always incomplete. But when the Complete arrives, our incompletes will be canceled.
11 When I was an infant at my mother’s breast, I gurgled and cooed like any infant. When I grew up, I left those infant ways for good.
12 We don’t yet see things clearly. We’re squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won’t be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We’ll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us!
13 But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation: Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love.  Eugene Peterson from the Message Bible

Love is an action word

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We worship idols?

Our lives reflect that which we seek. Whether it is influence, position, throne or money, the problem is the same. We’ve placed something other than the Almighty in the place that rightfully belongs to him.  Dear friend, let this reminder from C.H. Spurgeon help to remove anything that bars the sacred space that is Christ.

“Shall a man make gods unto himself, and they are no gods.”—Jeremiah 16:20.

NE great besetting sin of ancient Israel was idolatry, and the spiritual Israel are vexed with a tendency to the same folly. Remphan’s star shines no longer, and the women weep no more for Tammuz, but Mammon still intrudes his golden calf, and the shrines of pride are not forsaken. Self in various forms struggles to subdue the chosen ones under its dominion, and the flesh sets up its altars wherever it can find space for them. Favourite children are often the cause of much sin in believers; the Lord is grieved when He sees us doting upon them above measure; they will live to be as great a curse to us as Absalom was to David, or they will be taken from us to leave our homes desolate. If Christians desire to grow thorns to stuff their sleepless pillows, let them dote on their dear ones.
It is truly said that “they are no gods,” for the objects of our foolish love are very doubtful blessings, the solace which they yield us now is dangerous, and the help which they can give us in the hour of trouble is little indeed. Why, then, are we so bewitched with vanities? We pity the poor heathen who adore a god of stone, and yet worship a god of gold. Where is the vast superiority between a god of flesh and one of wood? The principle, the sin, the folly is the same in either case, only that in ours the crime is more aggravated because we have more light, and sin in the face of it. The heathen bows to a false deity, but the true God he has never known; we commit two evils, inasmuch as we forsake the living God and turn unto idols. May the Lord purge us all from this grievous iniquity!

“The dearest idol I have known,
Whate’er that idol be;
Help me to tear it from thy throne,
And worship only thee.” 

We Are Debtors

“Therefore, brethren, we are debtors.”—Romans 8:12.

S God’s creatures, we are all debtors to Him: to obey Him with all our body, and soul, and strength. Having broken His commandments, as we all have, we are debtors to His justice, and we owe to Him a vast amount which we are not able to pay. But of the Christian it can be said that he does not owe God’s justice anything, for Christ has paid the debt His people owed; for this reason the believer owes the more to love. I am a debtor to God’s grace and forgiving mercy; but I am no debtor to His justice, for He will never accuse me of a debt already paid. Christ said, “It is finished!” and by that He meant, that whatever His people owed was wiped away for ever from the book of remembrance. Christ, to the uttermost, has satisfied divine justice; the account is settled; the handwriting is nailed to the cross; the receipt is given, and we are debtors to God’s justice no longer. But then, because we are not debtors to our Lord in that sense, we become ten times more debtors to God than we should have been otherwise. Christian, pause and ponder for a moment. What a debtor thou art to divine sovereignty! How much thou owest to His disinterested love, for He gave His own Son that He might die for thee. Consider how much you owe to His forgiving grace, that after ten thousand affronts He loves you as infinitely as ever. Consider what you owe to His power; how He has raised you from your death in sin; how He has preserved your spiritual life; how He has kept you from falling; and how, though a thousand enemies have beset your path, you have been able to hold on your way. Consider what you owe to His immutability. Though you have changed a thousand times, He has not changed once. Thou art as deep in debt as thou canst be to every attribute of God. To God thou owest thyself, and all thou hast—yield thyself as a living sacrifice, it is but thy reasonable service.

Charles Haddon Spurgeon

 

Teach Us

Oh! Teach us to live well! Teach us to live wisely and well! Come back, God—how long do we have to wait?— and treat your servants with kindness for a change. Surprise us with love at daybreak; then we’ll skip and dance all the day long. Make up for the bad times with some good times; we’ve seen enough evil to last a lifetime. Let your servants see what you’re best at— the ways you rule and bless your children. And let the loveliness of our Lord, our God, rest on us, confirming the work that we do. Oh, yes. Affirm the work that we do!

Psalm 90:12 MSG

This Man Receives Sinners

“This man receiveth sinners.”—Luke 15:2.

BSERVE the condescension of this fact. This Man, who towers above all other men, holy, harmless, undefiled, and separate from sinners—this Man receiveth sinners. This Man, who is no other than the eternal God, before whom angels veil their faces—this Man receiveth sinners. It needs an angel’s tongue to describe such a mighty stoop of love. That any of us should be willing to seek after the lost is nothing wonderful—they are of our own race; but that He, the offended God, against whom the transgression has been committed, should take upon Himself the form of a servant, and bear the sin of many, and should then be willing to receive the vilest of the vile, this is marvelous.
“This Man receiveth sinners”; not, however, that they may remain sinners, but He receives them that He may pardon their sins, justify their persons, cleanse their hearts by His purifying word, preserve their souls by the indwelling of the Holy Ghost, and enable them to serve Him, to show forth His praise, and to have communion with Him. Into His heart’s love He receives sinners, takes them from the dunghill, and wears them as jewels in His crown; plucks them as brands from the burning, and preserves them as costly monuments of His mercy. None are so precious in Jesus’ sight as the sinners for whom He died.

When Jesus receives sinners, He has not some out-of-doors reception place, no casual ward where He charitably entertains them as men do passing beggars, but He opens the golden gates of His royal heart, and receives the sinner right into Himself—yea, He admits the humble penitent into personal union and makes Him a member of His body, of His flesh, and of His bones. There was never such a reception as this! This fact is still most sure this evening, He is still receiving sinners: would to God sinners would receive Him.  C. H. Spurgeon

Jesus

What a mighty powerful word.  Our glorious, wonderful Lord.  We receives us.  Praise be to God.

2014

2014 has arrived with all the usual fanfare, a party in New York Times Square, fireworks, parties, parades, and of course football games.  These elaborate demonstrations are over.  Here is the question of the day.  Have you already broken a new year resolution?  Researchers report the first Monday after new year’s is the most depressing day of the year. People are back to work and depressed they had to go back to the job.  Many have already given up on keeping the new year’s resolution to stay fit.  Others are despondent because they didn’t get what they wanted for Christmas, or are sad due to the lost of a loved one.  Whatever the reason the party is over, and now things back to “normal.”    For many normal is not good.

However, we are called to shine a bright light for those who are experiencing dark days and moments.  God sent a million, million lights of love in the world – that would be us.  “God doesn’t call the qualified He qualifies the called.”  We are “the called.”  Share your bright light and the love of God today.  Someone out there needs it.

Is There A Church In Your House?

“The church in thy house.”  Philemon 2

C.H. Spurgeon

Is there a church in this [your] house? Are parents, children, friends, servants, all members of it? or are some still unconverted?

Let us pause here and let the question go round–Am I a member of the Church in this house?  How would father’s heart leap for joy, and mother’s eyes fill with holy tears if from the eldest to the youngest all were saved!  Let us pray for this great mercy until the Lord shall grant it to us. Probably it head been the dearest object of Philemon’s desires to have all his household saved; but it was not at first granted him in its fulness. He had a wicked servant, Onesimus, who, having wronged him, ran away from his service. HIs master’s prayers followed him, and at last, as God would have it, Onesimus was led to hear Paul preached; his heart was touched, and he returned to Philemon, not only to be a faithful servant, but a brother beloved, adding another member to the Church in Philemon’s house.  Is there an unconverted servant or child absent this morning? Make special supplication that such may, on their return to their home, gladden all hearts with good news of what grace has done! Is there one present? Let him partake in this same earnest entreaty.

If there be such a Church in our house, let us order it well, and let all act as in the sight of God.  Let us move in the common affairs of life with studied holiness, diligence, kindness, and integrity.  More is expected of a Church than of an ordinary household; family worship must, in such a case, be more devout and hearty; internal love must be more warm and unbroken, and external conduct must be more sanctified and Christlike. We need not fear that the smallness of our number will put us out of the list of Churches, for the Holy Spirit has enrolled a family-church in the inspired book of remembrance.  As a Church let us now draw night to the great head of the one Church universal, and let us beseech him to give us grace to shine before men to the glory of his name.

[Is there a church in your house?]

Wait for the Lord

Wait patiently for the Lord.

On the anniversary of the attacks at the World Trade Center, Pentagon, and the loss of Flight 93, there is a silent cry for the Lord from the families, and communities who lost loved ones.  The horror of that dreadful day as we stood in disbelief as thousands were viciously killed still brings pain and sorrow.  Let us pause for a moment, and ask for healing for our world, and comfort for those who lives were forever changed.

Oh Lord, we still need you.  Help us, Lord to learn the lessons of that day.  May we reach out to one another in love and peace.  May we show how to live, really live as you want us to.  Help us to show the love of YOU today.  May we extend hands of comfort, hearts of compassion, and arms filled with the joy of you.    In Jesus’ name.  Amen

 

Burden-bearer

“Give me a stout heart to bear my own burdens. Give me a willing heart to bear the burdens of others.

Give me a believing heart to cast all burdens upon Thee, O Lord.” 

 John Baillie

Read the quote above again.  Do you see the difference, dear friend?  Baillie asked the Lord to give him a stout heart to carry his own burdens, and a willing heart to carry burdens of others.  There are two different types of burden-bearers.

First, I am to carry my own burdens with a stout heart.  Stretch my spiritual muscles, and lift those cares He wants me to carry as I work out my soul salvation.   Yes, we can do all things, however we still need to know which burdens to carry, how many and for how long.  Carrying burdens brings pressure, and that pressure, or the attention caused by the burdens may keep our minds on the burdens, and not on Christ.   Also, additional strength may be required due to the weight of these burdens.  So, you and I need to be fully aware of the weight of those burdens, the limitations and the risks involved in carrying those burdens.

Oftentimes, we are tempted to carry too many things at the same time, or carry the wrong things.   We need to stop, and drop some things before moving forward.  God is a “rewarder of those who diligently seek him“. [Hebrews 11:6]  Stoutness of heart requires not only strength, but wisdom also.   James wrote God gives wisdom liberally to those who ask for it. It is through a sound heart encased with wisdom that we learn the amount and types of things we are to bear.    Carrying our own burdens as directed by the Holy Spirit, turns us into effective witnesses of how to carry burdens, and also demonstrates the power of Almighty.

Don’t carry someone else’s burdens, no matter how tempting.  Don’t do it!   “Each one should carry his own load.” Galatians 6:5 tells us everyone has his own burdens to bear.  Stop trying to rescue everybody, or fix everything.  Prevention can be worst than the cure.  Some will have a Job experience, others a Jonah.  But each person has to carry their own load.   There is a Damascus Road encounter awaiting.  Don’t be like Sarah who created Ishmael, instead of waiting for the promise Isaac.  She tried to carry the burden of giving Abraham a son, instead of allowing God to complete the divine plan.  People stretch their spiritual muscles from carrying their own burdens.  They also learn to trust God if allowed to grow through the experiences.  Rushing in deprives them of the Damascus Road experience.  They need to meet the Lord, and learn from Him how to carry their own load with a willing heart.  Let them grow. Let them learn to trust the Lord and seek Him.  They must pick their cross daily and follow Him.  Besides, if we are burdened down with their load, then we will be unable or unwilling to successfully carry our own.

However, look at the second sentence in the above quote, “Give me a willing heart to bear the burdens of others.” Seems like a contradiction from what I just wrote. But it really isn’t.  God wants to bear the burdens of others, but by doing it His way.  Some believers’ spirits are being crushed by emotional and physical distress. They need us to fulfill the divine law by sharing God’s love.  However, sometimes, we are unwilling, or go overboard.  That is our lesson.  Ask God for a willing, and discerning heart to know when and how to bear another’s burden.   We must understand what it means to be a burden-bearer.   Show Christ to others with a willing heart, and as we do, we demonstrate His commandment to love one another as Christ loved the church.  The whole experience strengthens everyone, including ourselves, and brings Him glory.  Remember, the key is a willing heart.

Finally, with a believing heart bring ALL the cares to Christ, the Power that calmed the raging seas, gave sight to the blind, and healed the sick, and gave us new life.  In spite of our stoutness and willingness, we still need to bring all the cares, all the burdens to Him – our ultimate burden-bearer.  

So don’t hold those burdens.  Give them to Christ, and rest in the knowledge that He is fully capable of carrying all things, according to His perfect, divine plan far better than we ever could.

Staying Connected

John 15:5 states,  “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”

God is not in the business of making those who are strong stronger, rather He takes the weak and makes them strong through His Son, our Savior Jesus Christ.   And how is this accomplished?  How do we become instruments for His plan and purpose in this world?  By staying connected to the true vine.   No movement, growth, development takes place without staying connected to the power source of the universe-God.  We can’t bear fruit [His fruit] without Him.  We try, and fail miserably.  There is ample proof of that.  But when our lives are devoted to Him, when our hearts seek Him, when our eyes are fixed on Him, we become stronger, more creative, more loving, more giving, we become more like our Christ.  But we must stay connected to the vine.

One of the ways to stay connected is through prayer.  How is your prayer life?   John Bunyan wrote, ” Pray often, for prayer is a shield to the soul, a sacrifice to God, and a scourge for Satan.”  The Holy Scriptures encourages us to pray, and provides many examples of how to pray, and answered prayer.  In fact, we are obliged to pray. It is our duty to pray, and it is a blessed privilege to engage in prayer.  Think of it, we mere confused, hurting, sinful mortals can speak to God through Christ, the author and finisher of our faith.  The Bible tells us God wants to hear from us and speak to us, because of His great love for us.   We also discover through prayer there is great power, great wisdom and great love.  We learn how to better manage our bodies, minds and spirits by staying connected.  All the issues; and “the personal, pertinent, and all-important questions for every soul” brought to Him in prayer are effectively, and efficiently dealt with. Enemies are defeated, grace and favor is applied.

You have an amazing day and life ahead of you.  Don’t waste it.  Don’t get side-tracked or distracted. Draw closer and  stay connected to Christ today, and experience the amazing and miraculous.