The Nature of Love

The Nature of Love

What is the nature of love, especially God’s love?  The Scriptures teach us what we want to know. 

We need to ask the Lord to give us wisdom, insight and revelation knowledge about these passages.

Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.  (1 Cor 13:6-7 NIV)

Love is patient, love is kind, it is not jealous; love does not brag, it is not arrogant.  (1 Cor 13:4 NASB)

. . . but love covers all offenses.  (Pro 10:12b NIV)

God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him won’t perish but will have eternal life.  (Joh 3:16 CEB)

Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.  (1 Pet 4:8 NIV)

God’s kind of love, which we should desire to imitate, is described in these terms.

LOVE does not:

  • Delight in evil;
  • Is not jealous;
  • Does not brag; and
  • Is not arrogant.

LOVE:

  • Rejoices with the truth;
  • Always protects;
  • Always trusts;
  • Always hopes;
  • Always perseveres;
  • Is patient;
  • Is kind;
  • Covers all offenses;
  • Gives; and
  • Covers many sins.

This is the kind of love that God showers upon us each and every day.  And in order to be His ambassadors on this earth, it is our calling to share this same love with everyone.  Glory to God!

Guard Your Words & Emotions

Guard Your Words & Emotions

It is important for us to guard our words and our emotions.  Words are very important in life, and the Bible attests to that.  Let’s see what the Scriptures tell us.

My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.  (Jam 1:19 NIV) 

Those who guard their mouths and their tongues guard themselves from trouble.  (Prov 21:23 CEB)

When words are many, transgression is not lacking, but whoever restrains his lips is prudent.  (Prov 10:19 ESV)

Whoever controls his temper is better than a warrior, and anyone who has control of his spirit is better than someone who captures a city.  (Pro 16:32 ISV)

But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth.  (Col 3:8 NKJV)

We’re taught by the Word of God to be quick to listen, but slow to speak and slow to become angry.  Do you notice that the only thing we should be QUICK about is listening?  Isn’t that opposite to what usually happens?

The wisdom that we can glean from God’s Word is that:

  • Restricting our words keeps us away from trouble;
  • We should control and limit our words;
  • Curtailing our lips is sensible and discreet;
  • Being able to control our own spirit is better than conquering an entire city; and
  • We should put away anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy and all filthy language.

As we live in harmony with and obedience to the Word of God, we invite God’s blessings upon our lives.  Hallelujah!

We Know Love, Thanks to Jesus

We Know Love, Thanks to Jesus

The Scriptures teach us that humanity knows love and is acquainted with love because Jesus gave up His own life to reconcile us back to our Father God.

By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.  (1 Joh 3:16 NKJV)

 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.  (Rom 5:8 NIV)

 Husbands, love your wives as Christ loved the church and gave himself for it . . . (Eph 5:25 NCV)

And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.  (Eph 5:2 ESV)

All of these Bible passages refer to the fact that Jesus’ redeeming sacrifice was an ACT OF LOVE.  The Lord tells us through the Word that we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters in Christ. 

Husbands are admonished to love their wives even as Christ loved the Church and sacrificed Himself on behalf of the Church. Husbands should want to protect their wives and children even as the Lord did.

And we’re encouraged to follow the example of Christ, and to become (as He did) a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.  This gives us a reason to examine ourselves and to ask ourselves if we are demonstrating our love in ways that are spiritually and relationally significant to our nearest and dearest.  God bless you as you allow the Holy Spirit to lead you and guide you in showing love to everyone in your life!

The Holy Spirit in Us

The Holy Spirit in Us

As the Scriptures tell us, the Lord has placed His Spirit within all believers.  In some places, the Bible even says that God poured out His Spirit upon us!

 I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them.  (Ezek 36:27 NKJV)

And I will not hide My face from them anymore; for I shall have poured out My Spirit on the house of Israel,’ says the Lord God.  (Ezek 39:29 NKJV)

Therefore being exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He poured out this which you now see and hear.  (Ac 2:33 NKJV)

Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst?  (1 Cor 3:16 NIV)

The person who keeps his commandments abides in God, and God abides in him. This is how we can be sure that he remains in us: he has given us his Spirit.  (1 Joh 3:24 ISV)

We need to listen for the leading and guidance of the Holy Spirit daily.  We need to be continuously sensitive to His presence within us.  The Holy Spirit was given to all believers to be a helper and teacher, and to guide us into all truth.  (Joh 14:26; 16:13)

The Holy Spirit within a believer is the source of our revelation, wisdom and power.  (1 Cor 2:10-11; Jas 1:5; Ac 1:8)  The Holy Spirit supplies spiritual gifts to believers.  (1 Cor 12:7-11)  God, the Holy Spirit, has specific roles and obligations in the life of every believer.  Take time as soon as possible to study this key feature of your salvation.  God bless you!

Rooted in Christ

Rooted in Christ

The Scriptures talk about our being rooted in Christ; rooted in love; and as branches grafted onto a tree which depends upon its roots.

. . . having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude.  (Col 2:7 NASB, underscoring added)

We are firmly rooted in Christ by establishing a strong faith in and reliance upon Jesus Christ so that we won’t fall or be tossed around by the harsh circumstances of life.

Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.  (1 Cor 15:58 NIV)

This passage (above) reminds us to stand firm (unshaken; immovable).  We should not allow ourselves to be tossed around by every wind of circumstance which may be bitter, severe, or critical.  Rather, we find our strength and hope in our faith in Jesus Christ.

. . . that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love . . .  (Eph 3:17 NKJV)

We are rooted and grounded in love because Jesus Christ is the son of God; and God is love.  (1 Joh 4:8)  Jesus is God’s love shown to us in human flesh.

But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, being a wild olive, were grafted in among them and became partaker with them of the rich root of the olive tree, 18 do not be arrogant toward the branches; but if you are arrogant, remember that it is not you who supports the root, but the root supports you.  (Rom 11:17-18 NASB)

The root or foundation of the church is Jesus Christ.  (Mt 21:42; Mk 12:10; Lk 20:17)  He is the root who supports the church and all of its individual members.  We rely upon Him for life and for everything that supports life!  We are blessed indeed!

Jesus, the Good Shepherd

Jesus, the Good Shepherd

Jesus spoke about Himself as the Good Shepherd in John 10:11-18.

The Lord is my shepherd. I lack nothing. He causes me to lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside quiet waters.
  (Ps 23:1-2 EHV)

I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep.  (Joh 10:11 NKJV)

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.  (Mt 6:33 NIV)

 And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.  (Phil 4:19 NASB)

And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.  (1 Pet 5:4 ESV)

A shepherd is an overseer of his flock.  By identifying Himself as the Good Shepherd, Jesus was claiming to be the Messiah foretold in the Scriptures.

In Ezekiel 34:1-10, the Lord outlines what constitutes a bad shepherd.  Through Ezekiel 34:11-31, Jesus establishes Himself as the Savior and Messiah, and the new leader of the Israelites.  He is the Good Shepherd who protects, provides for and cares for His sheep. We are the sheep of His pasture!

Jesus calls out to all people to (obey) His voice.  Glory to God!

Baptized into Christ

Baptized into Christ

When we received Christ as our Savior and Lord and were baptized in water, we were baptized into His death.  Wow!  That sounds a little dark, huh?

Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?  (Rom 6:3 NIV)

But the triumphant news is that we, who were baptized into Christ’s death, now live with Him and through Him, as the following Scriptures attest.

Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him . . .  (Rom 6:8)

This is a faithful saying:  For if we died with Him, we shall also live with Him.  (2 Tim 2:11)

I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.  (Gal 2:20, underscoring added)

Christ lives in each and every believer!

For we who live are always delivered to death for Jesus’ sake, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh.  (2 Cor 4:11) 

Believers are always delivered to death for Jesus’ sake because we are denying ourselves, by dying to our flesh, in order to follow and to obey Jesus and His earthly example.  (See Colossians 3:5)

All who follow the Lord Jesus Christ, who have accepted Him as their Savior and have been water baptized, have been baptized into the body of Christ—His Church.  Praise His Holy Name!

Saved, Sanctified, Justified

Saved, Sanctified, Justified

We, who believe in Jesus Christ, have been saved through God’s mercy.  We have been cleansed, sanctified, and justified in and through Jesus, our Savior.

He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit.  (Tit 3:5 NIV)

The indwelling Holy Spirit is constantly cleansing us and renewing our minds. One tool that is helpful is the Word of God.

And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.  (1 Cor 6:11)

. . . that he might sanctify her [the Church], having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word . . .  (Eph 5:26 ESV, words in brackets added)  Another way that we are continuously cleansed and sanctified is through a daily reading of the Scriptures as well as constant meditation upon them.  This is what we may choose to do in order to cooperate with the Holy Spirit, our teacher.

. . . knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law; for by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified.  (Gal 2:16)  This Bible verse reiterates the truth that no one is justified by fulfilling the law but rather through an ongoing faith in and relationship with Jesus Christ, the Savior of mankind.  Praise God!

Sow Righteousness

Sow Righteousness

The concept of sowing and reaping is an important one in the Scriptures.  We are instructed by the Lord to sow righteousness.  How may we do that?

The wicked man does deceptive work, but he who sows righteousness will have a sure reward.  (Pro 11:18)  We are taught by God’s Word, that those who “sow righteousness” will have a certain reward.

Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.  (Gal 6:7)  We are warned that whatever we sow, we shall also reap. 

In other words, if a person sows corn, they will produce a corn crop.  If they sow malice and hatred, they will gather heartache and sorrow.  If we sow love and mercy in order to honor the Lord, then we will harvest blessings for ourselves and our children.

For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life.  (Gal 6:8)  If we satisfy our own fleshly desires and sinful nature, we will collect only decay and death as a result.  But if we will sow to the Spirit (or sow righteousness), we will harvest eternal life and many of God’s blessings along the way..

The Bible makes it very clear that the seed that every believer should sow is the Word of God.  When we sow the Word of God, we sow righteousness.

For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God.  (1 Pet 1:23 NIV)

The seed is the word of God.  (Lk 8:11b NIV)

Sharing our testimony with other people, inviting people to visit our church so that they can hear the Good News, and praying for the salvation of people that we know are also beautiful ways to sow righteousness.  Praising God and supporting the Kingdom of God financially, as well as doing good works, are other righteous seeds to plant.  Blessings upon you!

Defend the Destitute & the Oppressed

Defend the Destitute & the Oppressed

The Lord has outlined everything in the Bible that believers need to know about life and godliness. (2 Pet 1:3) 

The Scriptures appeal to followers of Jesus to defend the destitute and the oppressed—those who can’t speak for or protect themselves. 

Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute.  (Pro 31:8 NIV) 

This verse tells us to uphold (endorse) the rights of the destitute.  Destitute means deprived, underprivileged, impoverished, or disadvantaged.

Defend the poor and fatherless; do justice to the afflicted and needy.  Deliver the poor and needy; free them from the hand of the wicked.  (Ps 82:3-4)

In the passage above, the psalmist encourages us to defend:

  • the poor,
  • the orphaned,
  • the afflicted and
  • the needy

. . . from evil, wicked people as well as from wicked factions, lobbies, programs or organizations.

He does not preserve the life of the wicked, but gives justice to the oppressed.  (Job 36:6)

God will ensure that all of the oppressed [tyrannized, persecuted, repressed, tormented] people on the earth will receive His justice.  We, His servants, must cooperate with and collaborate with the Lord in this undertaking.

Who executes justice for the oppressed, Who gives food to the hungry. The Lord gives freedom to the prisoners.  (Ps 146:7)

The Lord achieves justice for the all of the oppressed.  Jesus, our Savior, feeds the hungry and liberates the prisoners from every form and every type of imprisonment.  Glory to God, most High!