Archives For Love

never-stop-loving1

God has no rival when it comes to His lavish kindness to the ungrateful and wicked. In our own power,  we are not capable of loving the way He loves. He is love. He is Kindness. We are but mere reflections that only get it right when we allow Him to love through us those that position themselves as unlovable, unreachable, ungrateful and wicked.

We can’t love our enemies without submitting to the Spirit of God that lives on the inside of us. Yes,  you will be hurt loving like God but remaining gracefully vulnerable after being burnt time and time again is a bi-product of God’s love through you.

We are called to observable and working love for our enemies. The love that Jesus wants to operate through our lives is not abstract. It’s not a concept hidden in the treasure chest of your mind as just another hopeful idea. His love demonstrates itself by radical counter-culture actions.

The supreme absolution of all is to convert an enemy into a friend of God through the God pattern of kingdom love. When you love like God you’re not losing your mind; you’re imitating His heart and causing God’s kingdom to break into the world.

Matthew 5: 43-45
43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, 45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.

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Authentic worship shapes the Christ follower into God’s image. Whereas; counterfeit worship run the extreme risk of shaping God into our preferred image.  We are called to live authentic lives of worship that is free from the smell of the counterfeit worship of religious array.  For His glory; for our good, and the hope of others, we must live authentic lives of worship before the world.

It’s easy to have a form of godliness; but a form of godliness will never awaken the world from its zombie like apathy.  Authentic lives of worship shows  the image of God in a world that desperately wants their own way instead of wanting and embracing what they truly need.  As Christ followers, we are called to awaken the dead by living and giving them the true life of Christ.

We awaken the dead when we turn the other cheek. We awaken the dead when we move beyond being regularly offended at everything the world does and simply reflex God regardless. We awaken the dead when we feed the hungry, cloth the naked, give water to the thirsty, love the unlovable, visit the sick, take in the stranger, and go to them which are in prison.

We are called to help people see God. However, in order for us to help people see God we must not live lives that show  the idolatry of shaping God into our own images. There must be a daily death of self and a daily obeying of entering the harvest field of the walking dead.

Humanity that has long suffered in darkness calls to us to be awakened. Light has come into the world by Jesus Christ and His light is the only light that defeats darkness and awakens the sinner.  We must show them Jesus and not our religious routes. Jesus is the only way. We must show them Him. In John 14:9 Jesus proclaimed the amazing by saying, “Whoever has seen me has seen the Father.”

Let’s show them the Father! Let’s awaken the world from their sleep! Let’s show them the redeemer and lover of their souls. It’s our call; it’s our duty; it’s our grand privilege, and it can’t be done with religion.

The awakening can only happen when we start showing the world the true Jesus that is beyond the religious version that idolatry tries to shape. There is an echo from the future calling to us, “Well done good and faithful servant.” Let’s answer that call!

Let’s go awaken the dead!

heart-centred

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

It has been said that, “Love alone is credible; nothing else ought to be believed. This is the achievement, the “work” of faith…to believe that there is such a thing as love…and that there is nothing higher or greater than it…”

When heaven and earth come together, and all things are put to right, It’s my conviction we will not need faith or hope anymore; we will only need and partake of God’s love which is eternal. That is how beautiful and powerful the love of God is.

In this present world,  we need faith. In this present world,  we need hope. In the world to come we need neither faith nor hope, for God’s love will be complete and all consuming. Death, hell and the grave will be  cast away forever.

How powerful and beauty is God’s love I’m referring to? Jesus left all of glory for you and me because of His love. He lived among humanity because of His love. He washed the feet of His disciples showing love that was indescribable. He died upon a cross demonstrating His love for all that will repent and turn to Him for rescuing from their sins.

I think of the beautiful words in Zephaniah 3:17, where the Lord is said to be in their midst, and a mighty one who will rescue them. It goes on to say that he will even rejoice over them with gladness and will quiet them by His very love. It even declares God will gloat over them with loud singing.

Yes, God’s love is great for His children and His love is credible. Even though, the world around you may fall apart, His love will always pull you close to His heart. You are His. If you have been crucified with Christ, you no longer live, but it is Christ who is living on the inside of you.

That’s right my dear friend! God loved you so much when you turned to Him in repentance and faith, He moved in! Yes, God’s love is credible, and that love lives on the inside of you. He choose to love you eternal for His glory alone.  There is coming a day, Faith and Hope no more will give way to His eternal love and we will be with Him and the body of Christ forever. Think on that today and know you are eternal loved.

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Is it possible for your life to be a prophetic voice to the world? Can your life and mine as Christ followers be lived in such a way that our everyday life can describe and predict what will happen in the future? I believe the answer is an indisputable, “yes.”

The moment you trust Jesus as Lord, a work of God begins in your whole life. God’s goal is to finish what He has started in your life. You have been baptized into the death and resurrection of Jesus, and you have the power of the Holy Spirit living on the inside of you.

To put it in very simple terms, you are being shaped by God’s will and purpose. Every act of obedience He calls you to obey is shaping you more and more into His image. You are being shaped in the now from the viewpoint of His revealed end of Revelation 21:1-5.

As Christ followers, we are to embrace God’s end story reality and set our life in the full direction of that goal. We exercise faithfully our living faith in the now, how it will one day fully be when heaven and earth come together once and for all.

There are many examples that do well to illustrate this profound and exciting truth. I will share just one. Let’s say you wanted your body to look a certain way. You would first envision a preferred future for your body to look like, and then you would begin working daily toward that preferred shape by exercising and adjusting your eating habits to attain your goal.

This same is true with your kingdom life and this world. When we come to understand and live the virtues of the future kingdom we are announcing with a prophetic voice that Jesus is the one true Lord. When we live God’s future now, we show in advance His future will one day be a present reality for eternity.

In God’s future,  there is no more crying, pain or death. You can be assured there are no more injustices. All things will be made new, and all the old will have passed away.  I love Matthew 25 where Jesus says, for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’

When we give someone that is hungry something to eat, we are saying to him or her, “One day you will never hunger again.” When we give to someone who is thirsty a cool drink of water, we are saying to him or her, “One day you will never thirsty again.” The same is true with the rest of God’s kingdom works. In each act of kindness done in the name of Jesus, we are a prophetic voice shaping the world for His glory.

Is it possible for your life to be a prophetic voice to the world? I believe the answer is an indisputable, “yes.”

live-like-jesus

The latter part of the verse found in Luke 6:35 rocks my world and I think it will rock your world if you read it slow enough for it to read you. Jesus of course, if you will remember, is talking about loving your enemies.

Jesus is saying things like, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you.” He then goes on to take His grace and mercy to deeper extremes that often causes our flesh to cry out, “INSANITY!”

I can’t speak for you, but if I wrote those verses myself, it would have to read something like the following to make sense to me. I would write, “Crush your enemies, do the worst thing to them before they can do something bad to you, don’t pray for them that abuse you, they deserve what they have coming.” I think you get my point.

It’s deep in us to seek revenge on those who mistreat us, and to point the accusing finger at the unjust and evil people of the world. However, the latter part verse 35, found in Luke 6 deals the ultimate conviction to the soul.

Luke 6:35 says, “But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, (THEN HERE IT IS) for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil.”

Yes, that is correct! You read that right. God is KIND to the ungrateful and the evil. Now that is love. That is God’s love, and it should be our love. If He can love like that, then He can still love like that through us if we submit to His control and leading.

Anyone can have a ‘invite a friend to church Sunday,’ but can you have a ‘invite an enemy to church Sunday?’ Now that would change the world- don’t ya think?

I know you can love the loveable, but can you love the unlovable, the ungrateful and the evil? God does and I’m convinced that you and I can also. It’s hard but not impossible.

I challenge you with the words of N.T. Wright,“Think of the best thing you can do for the worst person, and go ahead and do it.

God has called us to be like Him and being like Him means you must love and seek to do good to the ungrateful and the evil. I bet if you do, you just might smell a little bit like Jesus.

Serving Jesus can’t be detached from serving others; otherwise you are not serving Him at all. Also, serving Jesus without serving your enemy is not serving Him at all also.

Peace

loneliestroad

Empty is the perfect starting place for God to do His work in your life. Let it begin. You are not forgotten, but you might have forgotten Him. You just might have something to recapture.

According to Wikipedia, In July 1986, Life magazine published an article that gave US 50 in Nevada the name “The Loneliest Road in America”. The article portrayed the highway, and rural Nevada, as a place devoid of civilization.

I can attest to the fact it is long, hot and lonely for sure. Years ago a friend and I took the route on our Harley’s as we were making our way from San Francisco to Florida. It wasn’t long until we needed some gas, but finding gas wasn’t easy at all. We started getting low on fuel and started looking well enough in advance for gas, but a gas station was nowhere to be found.

It wasn’t long until we were running on fumes. In order to conserve fuel, we slowed our speed  to only 25 miles per hours. Mile after mile went by and still no gas station in sight. It was looking bad, and all we could do was begin to imagine what it was going to be like stranded in the middle of nowhere-The Loneliest Road In America.

Finally, just when all hope was about gone, we saw a gas station a few miles ahead. I’ve never been so thankful for a gas station in my life! Normally, gas stations are on every corner, and you don’t even give them a passing thought. However, when you are on a remote road in the middle of nowhere, it recaptures proper value.

I often think there are times God allows us to run close to empty in order to RECAPTURE His proper value in our lives. We can get so use to Him that we don’t give Him the value He continually deserves.

We made it to the station. We filled our gas tanks. We smiled at each other and didn’t have to say a word. We both knew how valuable this gas station was to us.

Is your spiritual life running on empty? It might just be that God wants you to recaptures His proper value in your life. Take time today to allow Him to refuel your life and my prayer for you is that God Recaptures that very distinct place in your heart again.

JesuscrossPhoto Credit: brian-peck via Compfight cc

I once read the following quote. “To my children…if I had to choose between loving you and breathing…I would use my last breath to tell you…I love you.”

Jesus was the first to essentially say the same thing from the cross when He drew His last breath and said, “It is finished.” If you listen with your heart you can hear Him say, “I love you.”

You are loved; Just look at the cross and you will see. The Bible teaches in John 15:13, “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.”

Spurgeon says somewhere—“We would almost think that God loved us more than he loves his Son.” The greatest example of God’s love for us was found hanging on a cross. He didn’t just talk about how much He loved us, He showed us how much he loved us.

Romans 5:8 tells us,“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

Brennan Manning, in The Ragamuffin Gospel says, “My deepest awareness of myself is that I am deeply loved by Jesus Christ, and I have done nothing to earn it or deserve it.” What a beautiful and true statement!

Reflect on this today; God unconditionally loves us even though we are incomplete, and His love is ever-pursing a relationship with us who are the height of His creation. You are loved. You are loved. (See John 3:16-17)

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When you pray for someone, do you pray from guilt or heart? Before you answer that question, let me give you an example. Over the years,  I’ve received many prayer request by email. I would like to say I’ve prayed for all of them, but I’m human, and from time to time I would file them away to pray over them later in the day, and then forget. I guess that’s the cost of being human. I’m happy to say that is a pattern of the past.

Anyway, there was a time, many years ago that I would get a prayer request and then pray over them out of a sense of guilt. I thought first to myself, “If I don’t lift up a fast prayer, I’m a bad person.” I would then pray a very brief prayer without much thought and purpose. I would then go on with my day and the guilty feeling of praying a hurried prayer would soon fade away.

As you might expect, God wasn’t going to let me cheat myself and the other person out of the blessing and privilege of praying with a slow heart. We are not called to pray with a fast heart. We are called to pray with a slow heart. A quick praying heart is one that is usually grounded in guilt. On the other hand, a slow praying heart is grounded in caring more about others, than for yourself.

God helped me to see that when I pray fast, I’m missing the virtue of love. We are called to treat and care for others as we would like to be treated and cared for. Anything less is cheating everyone involved and most importantly missing the honor of God working through you. I’m happy to say that I now pray slowly, and it has changed my life. I take time to pray over the prayer need like it is my very own need.

Praying slowly for others is a great privilege. Take a moment and honestly think about that today. God is watching you as an audience of one, and when you pray slowly for others, you warm His heart. We have the greatest example of prayer if we just look to Jesus. Jesus looked beyond His own needs, suffering and pain on the cross and directed prayer over the crowd that day and beyond.

He abounded self-concern for the eternal consideration of others and prayed, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” How can we do anything less?

I ask you one finally time. Do you pray with a slow heart?

Bad Friday

March 29, 2013 — Leave a comment

Good_Friday

It was a bad Friday for the powers of darkness. It was a Good Friday for a world needing redemption.

He created the world and saw that it was good.  He redeemed the world and said, “It is finished. When Jesus died on the cross, He reached to the deepest place of collapse and with His might power, He rescued the world with His unmatched love.

We now stand in the victory won on the cross, and we live by the power of the resurrection breathing in the air of the new creation. The world is now different; therefore, we can live different.

We can and must behave as kingdom people that have had their lives renewed in order to witness to the world. We are citizens of heaven called to colonize this world with His beauty. Resurrection is an event that is still in progress for the deliverance of the world and humanity to the glory of God.

Your life and mine must point to the redemption and rebirth of God’s creation in order to witness of hope assured.  Our hope is not the world’s hope. Our hope is assured in Christ Jesus.

N.T Wright once wrote, “Good Friday is the point at which God comes into our chaos, to be there with us in the middle of it and to bring us his new creation.”

I end the devotion today by sharing a few lines of an old hymn.

This is my Father’s world. O let me ne’er forget

That though the wrong seems oft so strong, God is the ruler yet.

This is my Father’s world: the battle is not done:

Jesus Who died shall be satisfied, And earth and Heav’n be one.

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I’m starting to understand more and more as I grow older the better question to trouble in the world and evil in the word is “How long?” and not “Why God?”

I’ve arrived at a place where I no longer have to have an answer for trouble; nor do I have an unquenched need to have God give me an explanation for all things wrong and evil.

Instead, I’ve learned to live in the direction of healing and correction of all the wicked and evil in the world. After all, that is what the Christ follower is called to do.

We are called to follow the Price of Peace. My prayers are prayers for God to bring an end to all the evil and turmoil. The message of the Bible is God has promised to end evil, and I just stand, walk and believe. “One day,” will become “The day” all evil ends.”

I trust in the fact that God is perfect love and has a perfect power, and yet things often look out of control and dark. However, I don’t have to look for answers to why evil. I just have to look at the answer for evils final defeat, and that answer is Christ.

I’m not called to understand the evil of this world. I’m called to be a light in it until the light of Christ and His glory floods the earth forever. I don’t have to understand evil, and I don’t have to accept evil. I’ve accepted Christ, and He alone is the undefeated King.

Christopher Wright writes, “Evil has no proper place within creation. It has no validity, no truth, no integrity. It does not intrinsically belong to the creation as God originally made it nor will it belong to creation as God will ultimately redeem it.”

Now my beloved Christ followers…go and live the light and watch as darkness slowly dies. WE WIN!

Revelation 21:1
21 Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea.