Let Your Love Increase & Overflow

Let Your Love Increase & Overflow

Our love for ourselves and for other people should be increasing and overflowing as we mature in Christ and in our relationship with Him.  Here are some key Scriptures:

A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’  (Mt 22:39 NLT)

We can’t learn to love our neighbor, until we learn to love ourselves—by the grace of God.  God loves us as we are, even though He knows all about our weaknesses and our past.  God’s love is mature and steadfast and doesn’t accept offense.

And this I pray, that your love may abound more and more [displaying itself in greater depth] in real knowledge and in practical insight . . . (Phil 1:9 AMP)

As the verse quoted above says, our love will display itself in greater depths as the years and our experiences in Christ continue.  This will make us better spouses, parents, neighbors, and witnesses for the Kingdom of God.

And may the Lord cause you to increase and overflow with love for one another and for everyone, just as we do for you.  (1 Thes 3:12 CSB)

As we grow in our awareness of God’s steadfast and unfailing love for each one of us, individually, the Lord will trigger a yearning in our hearts to show God’s precious and anointed love to everyone with whom we come into contact. May your joy abound and be shared with everyone you meet!

Enduring Faith Through Temptation & Testing

Enduring Faith Through Temptation & Testing

As believers in Jesus Christ, we must learn to persevere and to prevail in faith even in the midst of trials, temptations, and testing.  The grace of God will carry us through such times if only we rely upon the Lord.

The Scriptures talk frequently about the ways in which we will face tribulations, adversity, and hardships in our walk of faith.  And to the overcomers, the Lord will give a crown of life.  Praise God!

My brothers and sisters, think of the various tests you encounter as occasions for joy. After all, you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance. Let this endurance complete its work so that you may be fully mature, complete, and lacking in nothing.  (Jas 1:2-4 CEB)

Such difficult and painful life encounters produce a tenacious and durable faith.  Exactly what we need for life on this earth.

Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.  (Jas 1:12 NKJV)

When we come through temptation victoriously, we will have tasted and experienced the sustaining grace of God at work in our lives.

You will be hated by everyone because of me, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.  (Mt 10:22 NIV)

Expect to be hated and persecuted, because Jesus also experienced such treatment.

You greatly rejoice in this, even though you have to suffer various kinds of trials for a little while, so that your genuine faith, which is more valuable than gold that perishes when tested by fire, may result in praise, glory, and honor when Jesus, the Messiah, is revealed.  (1 Pet 1:6, 7 ISV)

Our faith is more precious than gold; and just like gold, our faith is tested and tried in order to purify, concentrate, and refine it.  Our coming through testing triumphantly results in glory and honor being given to Jesus.  What an honor!

Instructions for Holy Living

Instructions for Holy Living

Today we’re taking note of the Bible’s helpful ideas about holy living.

In a large house there are articles not only of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay; some are for special purposes and some for common use. 21 Those who cleanse themselves from the latter will be instruments for special purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work.  22 Flee the evil desires of youth and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart. 23 Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. 24 And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. 25 Opponents must be gently instructed, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, 26 and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.  (2 Tim 2:20-26 NIV)

The passage above is talking about different kinds of people who all attend the same church.  Some are precious vessels of gold and silver who can withstand the fires of hardship, heartaches, or persecution.  Others are vessels of wood and earth which are fragile and soon destroyed in the flames of hardship and misfortune.

The people who constantly purify themselves by “being cleansed by the washing of the water of the word” (Eph 5:26 NASB)—reading and obeying God’s Word regularly—are set apart and made holy unto God.

We’re told to run away from the lusts of the flesh.  Instead, we should pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace along with our brothers and sisters in Christ.  We need to be diligent to avoid unwise and reckless squabbles.  The Spirit of God instructs us to be kind to everyone, able to teach God’s ways to others, and that we should be thankful.  We are urged to treat our enemies gently by sharing God’s Word and wisdom with them, and in so doing, hope to bring them to salvation. 

Since an overseer manages God’s household, he must be blameless—not overbearing, not quick-tempered, not given to drunkenness, not violent, not pursuing dishonest gain.  (Tit 1:7 NIV)

The book of Titus reminds us that anyone in a place of authority should be virtuous and approachable.  We should not give in to human frailties such as intoxication; physical or verbal abuse; or chasing after or being corrupted by seeking wealth.

Keep away from worthless and useless talk. It only leads people farther away from God.  (2 Tim 2:16 CEV)

Avoid discussions that have no spiritual or eternal value, which can only alienate people from the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

These are fairly easy to understand guidelines which are challenging to fulfill without the ongoing grace of God and our obedience to the leading and guiding of the Holy Spirit in our lives.  God bless you!

Looking for Blessed Hope

Looking for Blessed Hope

For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, 12 teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, 13 looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ . . . (Tit 2:11-13, emphasis added)

I think it’s too easy in this age of high pressure and constant stress overlaid by tense world events for us to lose sight of our HOPE.  We need to meditate more frequently and regularly upon the truth that we are expectantly waiting and watching for our blessed hope which will be evidenced by the glorious appearing of our Savior, Jesus Christ! 

Here is what the Bible has to say about it:

Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. 31 And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.  (Mt 24:30-31) 

The righteous rejoice to even anticipate this event, so think of what the reality of it will be like!  In the meantime, we have many responsibilities to attend to—not only those of being responsible spouses, parents, children, or friends—but also the responsibilities that we have to Jesus, our Savior.  We have an active and eager enemy according to the Bible.

Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. (1 Pet 5:8) 

Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober.  (1 Thes 5:6)

Do not be taken unawares.  Do not be drowsing or spiritually dull.  Keep yourself spiritually keen, effective and alert.  Read the Scriptures; praise and worship God regularly; fellowship with other believers, and be a witness of what Jesus has done for you.  This lifestyle will energize your faith and move you forward in realizing your purposes in the Kingdom.  God bless you.

Blameless in Jesus

Blameless in Jesus

Whoever walks blamelessly will be saved.  (Proverbs 28:18a NKJV)

For the upright will dwell in the land, and the blameless will remain in it . . .  (Proverbs 2:21 NKJV)

It’s impossible for a human being to live blamelessly without the grace of God operating in their life.  When we accepted Jesus as our Savior, we established a relationship with God wherein we were given access to His grace for every need that we may have.  (Ephesians 1:7; 2:5; 2:7; 4:7)

In Jesus, our Savior and Lord, we DO walk blamelessly because HE lived a perfect, sinless life on our behalf!  He became sin for us that we might be made the righteousness of God in Christ.  (Romans 8:10; 2 Cor. 5:21) Glory Hallelujah! 

Jesus fulfilled the law and gave Himself as the propitiation for our sins, so that WE could receive ALL of the blessings that were due to Him.  Jesus shares all of the blessings of His righteous, sinless life with each and every believer.  Once we understand these truths, it is easy to rejoice in the gifts that Jesus has so freely given to us!