And This Is LOVE

“Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the Lord and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your body And refreshment to your bones.” Proverbs 3:7‭-‬8 NASB

The nature of love:

“Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant,” 1Corinthians 13:4 NASB

LOVE is defined by the cross, not by culture; Sacrificial Love, for the best and highest good of others. It is Patient, it is Kind. Read verses 4-7 to understand the SPECTRUM of love, the components of love.

What exactly is Love?

Love is showing patience to people, and it is long suffering. We don’t know what anyone else is dealing with, so how can we judge them? Love is being kind, easy, mellow, and comfortable – easy to receive, difficult to practice.

Those words should describe all Christians, the people who are supposed to be like Jesus. We are to cultivate contentment and gratitude and Love by focusing on God’s Sovereignty.

“The LORD is the One who goes ahead of you; He will be with you. He will not fail you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.” Deuteronomy 31:8 NASB

“For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life, and I Myself will raise him up on the last day.” John 6:40 NASB

THIS is Love:

What Comes Into Your Mind When You Think About GOD?

A.W. Tozer said: “What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us. … … For this reason the gravest question before the Church is always God Himself, and the most portentous fact about any man is not what he at a given time may say or do, but what he in his deep heart conceives God to be like.

And yet, in spite of us and our sin filled thoughts, GOD LOVES US. We are loved by God because of WHO we are, NOT what we do. Can we return this to our GOD, and love HIM for Who He is, rather than what we perceive is going on around us or to us? God doesn’t ‘make’ bad things happen. These things are courtesy of our enemy, the one who tempted Adam and Eve in the Garden and introduced sin into the world. Blame him, not GOD!

“Therefore, beloved, since you look for these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, spotless and blameless, and regard the patience of our Lord as salvation; [the longer He waits, the more people will be saved; therefore, the more we evangelize and share the Gospel, the quicker He will come/return] just as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given him, wrote to you, as also in all his letters, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which the untaught and unstable distort [false teachers], as they do also the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction. You therefore, beloved*, knowing this beforehand, be on your guard [Post a guard; beware of those who look and sound like Christians, but who are teaching wrong things/false doctrines] so that you are not carried away by the error of unprincipled men and fall from your own steadfastness, but grow in the GRACE [something we do not deserve by grasping/acknowledging the sin that we are in every day, constantly – sometimes grace is kind, and sometimes to make us grow have to have the ‘manure’ of life] AND KNOWLEDGE [from study and teaching the Truth – discernment, stability, realizing are sinners] of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.” 2 Peter 3:14‭-‬18 NASB

The final written words of the Apostle Peter : “To HIM be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.”

Now to Him

“These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 NASB

It is so easy to be judgmental based on how a person looks. We can look at someone on a street corner & think “Get a job! Quit begging!” But do you know their circumstances? Personally, I find it difficult to understand how – and why – anyone is homeless with all of the resources available now… And yet, I spent several months living on the street years ago because of my own bad choices. I was too proud to reach out for help, so God used others to help me out of that pit. Not with money, because He knew that wouldn’t help me, but with a place to stay and food to eat until I got my health back, and I could get a job and my own place. We look at the outside, but thank God that He looks at the heart!

“I thank Him who has given me strength, CHRIST JESUS our LORD, because He judged me Faithful, appointing me to His service, though formerly I was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent. But I received Mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief*, and the Grace of our LORD overflowed for me with the Faith and Love that are in Christ Jesus. The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. But I received Mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life. To the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.” 1 Timothy 1:12‭-‬17 ESV

*Unlike Paul, I was not ignorant of God, nor was I an unbeliever. Still, in His infinite Mercy and Grace, the LORD of the Universe forgave me and took me back into His arms. How thankful I am for His Mercy and my wholly undeserved forgiveness! I remain convinced that of those people who helped lift me out of the muck, some had to be angels in disguise. Take time today to thank God for what you have, and do something good for someone. We never know when we might be entertaining angels!

“Now to Him Who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.” Ephesians 3:20‭-‬21 NASB

Christian Living

“But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are Blessed. And do not fear their intimidation , and do not be troubled, but sanctify Christ as LORD in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the Hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence; and keep a good conscience so that in the thing in which you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ will be put to shame.”
1 Peter 3:14‭-‬16 NASB

This verse should constantly be on my lips and in my heart: “always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the Hope that is in you” ….

Are you Blessed; do you have Hope? Are you ready, with gentleness and reverence, to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with others, especially in the face of scepticism and derision? Are afraid of upsetting – or even angering – friends or family with your testimony of the saving Grace of Jesus?

I answer ‘yes’ to each of my questions, but am I being truthful? I am Blessed, I have Hope eternal, but I find myself holding back when I should be sharing the Love of Jesus, because I don’t want to upset or anger someone. But then, is that even the truth? I have no problem telling anyone that I am a patriot and staunch defender of the 2nd Amendment to the Constitution. I happen to like firearms and shooting. I’m not afraid of offending anyone, because I know that I am correct in doing so, and yet all of that pales in comparison to Eternity, and the SAVING GRACE of my Saviour Jesus Christ! I’m so glad Jesus loves me in spite of myself!

Humans are so weird.

Forgiven

“If You, Lord , should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand? But there is forgiveness with You, That You may be feared.” Psalms 130:3‭-‬4 NASB

This reminds me of this phrase: Because I say I am a Christian doesn’t mean I’m perfect (far from it!); it just means I am forgiven.

There’s a song the Newsboys sang called You Are My King, and this is the beginning verse.

I’m forgiven because you were forsaken
I’m accepted, You were condemned
I’m alive and well
Your Spirit is within me
Because you died and rose again

If Jesus hadn’t voluntarily left heaven and accepted living as a human, and then died as our sacrifice for our sins, where would we be today? If Jesus hadn’t voluntarily hung on that cross, forsaken and condemned, where would we be today? If Jesus hadn’t conquered death and hell, and walked away from the tomb, where would we be today?

It is because of His sacrifice that we live.

Have you accepted that? Because of Jesus, all of my sins are forgotten! Without Jesus, there would be no peace in my life. I pray that you find that peace today!

Special

“I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of Truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you.” John 14:16‭-‬17 NASB

“But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you.” John 16:7 NASB

I am special. Every person who rejects the world to embrace Jesus as LORD is special! GOD, the very same God Who created the Universe, is a part of their life; He is an integral part of my life. We have this supernatural, incomparable helper that non-Christians can’t begin to understand. Too many times, we – I – forget that. Worry and frustration creep into our lives, despair begins to manifest itself, and all along, we have the means to repel them. The Holy Spirit is real. He is alive. He will defend us and defeat the enemy if we just allow Him control of our lives.

So simple, yet so difficult for stubborn humans, and I definitely include myself in that group. Once again, I’m reminded of one of the sayings that is repeated often in recovery groups: “Let go, and let GOD.” Just do it!

Stand Firm

“It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost of all.” 1 Timothy 1:15 NASB

Do you feel like a prisoner? Sometimes, since we’ve been in this pandemic, I feel as though I’m under house arrest. Honestly. I get 2 or 3 days a week to go to my job for a few hours, and I’ve gone to the drug store to pick up prescriptions twice since this began. Twice, I’ve gone to a big box store for a couple of items, and once to a grocery store for basics. In some ways, it doesn’t bother me at all. I’m an introvert, so not being “allowed” to be surrounded by people is wonderful….. but to be told that I can’t go if I choose to….. that’s different!

“It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.” Galatians 5:1 NASB

I confess to having some real hard feelings towards some of those in government, especially the ones who sit in their huge houses purchased with our money, refusing to return to work, as millions of Americans aren’t allowed to work and support their families. Then I read this verse from Matthew, where Jesus tells the parable of the slave who was forgiven his debt to his master, but refused to forgive the debt a fellow slave owed to him:

“My heavenly Father will also do the same to you, if each of you does not forgive his brother from your heart.” Matthew 18:35 NASB

I need to stand firm in the knowledge that GOD is in control of this mess. Instead of anger and disgust (or maybe fueled by them), I need to be lifting up these people in prayer. When I raise my head and my hands to the One Who created the world, I find the freedom the LORD wants me to have. When I turn my head away from Him, thos negative feelings rush back into my heart and my head.

Thy will be done, LORD. You alone can Stand Firm and hold us up. Thank You for Your Mercy and Grace upon me, a sinner of the worst kind. I believe that You are a GOD of the Highest kind; in fact, You alone are GOD.

“If I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or if I command the locust to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among My people, and My people who are called by My Name humble themselves and pray and seek My Face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:13‭-‬14 NASB

Judgment

“For if God did not spare angels when they sinned,* [Genesis 6:4; Jude 6] but cast them into hell and committed them to pits of darkness, reserved for judgment; and did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a preacher of righteousness, with seven others, when He brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly; and if He condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah* [Genesis 18-19] to destruction by reducing them to ashes, having made them an example to those who would live ungodly lives thereafter; and if He rescued righteous Lot, oppressed by the sensual conduct of unprincipled men (for by what he saw and heard that righteous man, while living among them, felt his righteous soul tormented day after day by their lawless deeds), then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from temptation, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment for the day of judgment, and especially those who indulge the flesh in its corrupt desires and despise authority. Daring, self-willed, they do not tremble when they revile angelic majesties….” 2 Peter 2:4-10 NASB

“And angels who did not keep their own domain, but abandoned their proper abode, He has kept in eternal bonds under darkness for the judgment of the great day, just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities around them, since they in the same way as these indulged in gross immorality and went after strange flesh, are exhibited as an example in undergoing the punishment of eternal fire.” Jude 1:6‭-‬7 NASB

God’s judgment never misses: If GOD says He will ….. then He will. His judgment is inevitable.
God is the God of Love and Mercy, AND He is the God of Judgment. From the very beginning of time, God has judged the wicked. Cosmically, He judged the angels who rebelled, banishing them from heaven. He judged globally by flooding the entire earth, killing everyone and everything except Noah, his family, and the animals he brought to the Ark. He judged locally with the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, saving only Lot and his family. The final judgment is coming.

“Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness; Who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!” Isaiah 5:20 NASB

Judgement is not immediate, and it is not idle or asleep, but God’s Judgment is inescapable – it is only escapable if we are saved by accepting Jesus as LORD of our lives. We escape by being made Righteous in God’s eyes through His Son, Jesus Christ. The LORD rescues the righteous through Unmerited Favor through His Son. There are no loopholes, there is only Jesus.

Noah was righteous but that didn’t save him. What saved him was the mercy and grace of God. Jesus is our Ark of salvation. Lot was righteous because he was distressed, tormented, oppressed, by the sin around him. We should be grieved and shocked by the sin around us. Noah and Lot were removed before God sent His judgment, and believers will be removed in the Rapture before His wrath and judgment falls. Perish or have salvation and life through Jesus – John 3:16 – EVERYONE who calls on Him will be saved. We will ALL meet Him, either as Saviour or as Judge. “Make friends with Jesus, make friends with unbelievers, then introduce them to each other.”

Vengeance

“To those who are the Called, Beloved in GOD the FATHER, and kept for JESUS CHRIST: May Mercy and Peace and Love be multiplied to you. Beloved, while I was making every effort to write you about our common salvation, I felt the necessity to write to you appealing that you contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints. But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the Love of GOD, waiting anxiously for the Mercy of our LORD JESUS CHRIST to Eternal Life.” Jude 1:1‭-‬3‭, ‬20‭-‬21 NASB

Are you among the Called? Have you given your heart to JESUS? Do you belong to Him, heart, mind, and soul? Or are you just following the church crowd, (trying to be) “good” enough to spend Eternity with Him? No one can be good enough. Salvation only comes through JESUS CHRIST. BELIEVE IT. Without JESUS, the vengeance that GOD, the ALMIGHTY FATHER, spoke about in Deuteronomy will be enacted against you. Don’t wait! Ask JESUS to be your Savior today, right now. The only path to Salvation is through the Grace and Mercy of our LORD.

Don’t wait until it is too late. You aren’t giving up anything; you are gaining everything. AMEN.