Mother’s are so special to us. Of course, my mother is no different.
God is so very generous to me. Although I don’t deserve it, He lavishes me with every gift imaginable. I can’t even think of every thing He is going to do for me.
Jesus demands that I live generously. Love God; love others! That is His command in His mission for my life.
Jesus wants me to move beyond just living and to live generously. When I think about my “to do” list for the day, is “be generous” at the top of the list?
Live generously.” ~~Jesus (Matthew 5:48 The Message)
It means you walk right into the house without knocking. It means family members wait up for you when you are out late. It means that you are cared for enough that somebody wants to know where you’re going, when you will be back and reminds you to “be safe.” It means you get a kiss when you go out the door in the morning. That’s what being a member of the household means.
The Good News is that we are members of God’s household. And it’s the very same way at His House only better. So go on right in!
And don’t forget to yell “I’m HOME!!!” Jesus is so very glad to see you!
Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household.” -Ephesians 2:19
God is love. He is not frustrated with me. He is patient.
Jesus puts up with a lot but keeps on loving. He doesn’t give up. He will never, never, ever abandon me. Nothing I do can change that. He is love.
May I learn to love like God. May I be patient and not get frustrated.
Love is patient. 1 Corinthians 13
Being thankful comes from being compassionate, kind, humble, gentle and patient. Being thankful comes from being clothed in love.
May I be compassionate and kind.
May I love like Jesus.
May I be thankful.
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Let the peace of the Messiah rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the message of the Messiah dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Colossians 3:12-17 TNIV Bible
Jesus, God’s son, loves and never stops loving. He is loyal and faithful to us all.
God is God. There are none others. Not money or credit cards or 401k’s can save us from missing God’s goal for our lives.
Jesus, the Messiah, alone is worthy of our faith and love.
So, let’s shout it out!!
Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth.
Worship the LORD with gladness;
come before him with joyful songs.
Know that the LORD is God.
It is he who made us, and we are his;
we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving
and his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and praise his name.
For the LORD is good and his love endures forever;
his faithfulness continues through all generations.
The love of Jesus will turn you INSIDE OUT!
Jesus was pretty clear that it’s mandatory. “A New Command,” He said. “Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”
The best thing about love is not just what it does to others. They will react as they can within their own limits. I think that Love’s most powerful aspect is what it does to the Lover. Loving others as God loves me will turn me inside out from the toes up!
It leads to personal transformation. It changes me.
It leads to Freedom. It leads to Joy. This is really powerful stuff! It is the real deal!
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 1 Corinthians 13 4-7
Jesus challenges me to love. That is it. Love God and love everyone else I know or meet.
The alternative is to hate. That is a choice many of us take. It doesn’t work.
There is no other way in God’s world. God is love and we must love.
I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.” ~~Martin Luther King, Jr.
The ability to agree with our Father and others can move mountains. That positive force of the Holy Spirit moves us all in agreement.
Here is a list of characteristics I should cultivate:
May I know what our Father wants and agree with Him. May I bless others with my Father enabled agreeableness!!!
Summing up: Be agreeable, be sympathetic, be loving, be compassionate, be humble. That goes for all of you, no exceptions. No retaliation. No sharp-tongued sarcasm. Instead, bless—that’s your job, to bless. You’ll be a blessing and also get a blessing. 1 Peter 3:8-12
Jesus love is extravagant!! It is absolutely over the top and He never holds back at all. Mostly what my heavenly Father does is love me.
When I keep company with Jesus, I learn to love like he does. His love is the kind that is giving not looking for anything in return.
May I spend more time with Jesus. May I watch what He does and then do it myself.
Watch what God does, and then you do it, like children who learn proper behavior from their parents. Mostly what God does is love you. Keep company with him and learn a life of love. Observe how the Messiah loved us. His love was not cautious but extravagant. He didn’t love in order to get something from us but to give everything of himself to us. Love like that. Ephesians 5
Jesus wants us to tell the story of what He has done for us, the mercy and the love.
Jesus has done something. It involves mercy.
For our family and friends, it is our story that can’t be denied.
My encounter with Him has changed everything. The new world I live in is so vastly different than this world.
His demand to me, “Go ..” “Tell …”
Go home to your own people. Tell them your story—what the Master did, how he had mercy on you.” ~~Jesus (Mark 5:18-20 The Message)
Jesus has a standard that is different than what religious leaders try to make us follow. His standard is one of love. Love of God and love everyone else. Every minute of every day.
That is a focus on getting my attitude right, getting what I say right and getting what I do right. Love is the summation of all the laws and “rules and regulations” of the religious world.
Love is God’s goal for me. Missing that goal is the essence of sin. If I love, I won’t get angry which, in Jesus’ world, is just as bad as murder.
I’m telling you that anyone who is so much as angry with a brother or sister is guilty of murder.” ~~Jesus (Matthew 5:21-22 The Message)
I have a new heart. God has said it. Do I believe it? Do I act like it?
I can’t afford to be heartless. I must be like David and have a heart after God. I must live a life of passion and love for Jesus.
I must love, from my heart, everyone I come in contact with. To not do so is to disobey Jesus. And that must bring him grief. How sad.
I must be a person with heart.
A heartless Christian must be a terrible grief to our Lord.” ~~Oswald Chambers
I get offended. Probably way too easy. Eventually, everyone is going to say something to offend us.
Love is the way of friendship. Jesus challenges me to live a life of love and not get offended. God’s goal for me is love. That is all.
Overlook an offense and bond a friendship; fasten on to a slight and—good-bye, friend!
Here is Soren Kierkegaard’s version of the story:
Suppose there was a king who loved a humble maiden. The king was like no other king. No one dared breathe a word against him, for he had the strength to crush all opponents. And yet this mighty king was melted by love for a humble maiden. How could he declare his love for her? In an odd sort of way, his kingliness tied his hands. If he brought her to the palace and crowned her head with jewels and clothed her body in royal robes, she would surely not resist—no one dared resist him. But would she love him?
What is the best thing to do? What does God want? Do I pray first or just do what I want?
Paul has a heart for what is best for his brothers and sisters. He really wanted to see them. He decided to write to them to express his ideas rather than visit. His entire motivation was love and concern.
Do I do what is best or do I act selfishly satisfying my own needs?
That was my reason for writing a letter instead of coming—so I wouldn’t have to spend a miserable time disappointing the very friends I had looked forward to cheering me up. I was convinced at the time I wrote it that what was best for me was also best for you. As it turned out, there was pain enough just in writing that letter, more tears than ink on the parchment. But I didn’t write it to cause pain; I wrote it so you would know how much I care—oh, more than care—love you! (2 Corinthians 2:3 The Message)
Oh my heavenly Father. Your love runs so deep and true in my life. A waterfall falling in two. A river like you. Amazing and so powerful.
So deep. Running through my soul.
What I give to drink from your living water. A river like you, Jesus!!
Your love runs so deep and true. I have been searching. Now I have found you and we are best friends.
Your love runs to me. I see your reflection.
I am still.
Peaceful in your presence.
A river like you, Jesus!!!
“Faith makes all things possible… love makes all things easy.” Dwight L. Moody
He is talking to me but it is a whisper.
So … I press in to hear what he is saying to me.
I lean in close.
My face close to His face
to hear what He is saying.
He promised me I would find HIM
if I search for him with my whole heart.
How precious is that.
When I come to him,
He turns and sees me.
And He smiles.
His face lights up with joy
that I am coming to hear what He has to say.
He smiles at me
and He winks at me that knowing wink.
He is just so darn happy that I want to be in His presence.
He is tickled pink that I want to spend time with Him.
He bursts out laughing at my awkward ways.
Somehow He makes me feel good about all the stuff I worry about.
He is talking to me.
I press in.
I want to hear Him.
I lean in.
I press in.
Just to hear more.
Just to know Him more.
I want more.
I really do!!
Jesus started a whole bunch of new stuff. He wasn’t about the old world. His mission was to bring God’s love to us all. He also set whole new standards for how I should live.
And so …. what Jesus expects is straightforward. No wiggle room here. He love us. We are to love each other that same way.
A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:34-35
Jesus loves the word of God. He also knows the legalism can be taken to the extreme.
I certainly have legal “rights” that I can insist on being fulfilled. Jesus also gives me the option to pursue love. His challenge to me is to pursue love and not “my rights”.
Jesus summarizes God’s Law up as 2 essential requirements. Love God and love everyone I come in contact with every day. Jesus demands that I focus on those two requirements.That is the essence of things in God’s world. That is His law.
Legalism isn’t going to get Me anywhere. End of story.
An ‘Eye for eye, tooth for tooth.’ Is that going to get us anywhere?” ~~Jesus (Matthew 5:38-42 The Message)
How easy is it to focus on what God doesn’t do for me? Way too easy. I get distracted. The “shiny object” grabs my attention and diverts me. It happens a lot.
The big thing Jesus never gives me is fear or worry. That is NEVER as in not at all. Worry is not from Jesus.
What Jesus does gives me is power. That is POWER in a big way. Jesus has given me His Holy Spirit.
And Jesus gives me love. When I don’t know how or even can’t find it in me, Jesus shows me the way.
But here is the kicker. I need self control to get to where God wants me to be. He gives me self-control as well. And oh how I need self-control.
How amazing is that? VERY. God is so very good.
For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self- control.” 2 Timothy 1:7
Jesus is very clear. I am not to judge others. He is also clear that all judgement has been turned over to Him by His Father.
Why? Because He is God’s Son. He gets to decide and He will carry it out. God has spoken.
If I know that, I need to act like it. I have no authority to judge. My only job is to love. Everything else is up to God and Jesus.
And he has given him the authority, simply because he is the Son of Man, to decide and carry out matters of Judgment.” ~~Jesus (John 5:25-27 The Message)
I need the mercy of Jesus. I have completely missed God’s goal for my life. God is in a good mood, however. I am ready for mercy!
I should keep my arms open. They are outstretched . I am eager for His mercy.
I am ready beyond anything I have felt before for our Master’s mercy. I am staying at the center of of God’s love.
I am building myself up in in holy faith. I am praying in the Spirit. This life in Him never ends. It goes on and on and on. It is the real life.
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 the Messiah to eternal life. Jude 1:20-21
What does Jesus love look like?
Jesus is in there sticking up for me. When I am accused of something, fair or not, he sticks up for me. He is loyal to the core.
For me!! With me!!! Nothing can separate me from that loyal love and His courage for me.
No one can drive a wedge between Him and me. No matter what comes my way, it doesn’t faze me. No matter what I do or bad I am, the worst sin, nothing can separate me from Him.
He is sticking up for me!!!
The One who died for us—who was raised to life for us!—is in the presence of God at this very moment sticking up for us. Do you think anyone is going to be able to drive a wedge between us and the Messiah’s love for us? There is no way! Not trouble, not hard times, not hatred, not hunger, not homelessness, not bullying threats, not backstabbing, not even the worst sins listed in Scripture: They kill us in cold blood because they hate you. We’re sitting ducks; they pick us off one by one. None of this fazes us because Jesus loves us. I’m absolutely convinced that nothing—nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable—absolutely nothing can get between us and God’s love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us. Romans 8:35-39
There were the multitudes.
There were the 72.
There were the 12.
Peter, James and John made up the 3.
Then there was the one whom Jesus loved. He reclined next to Jesus at the last supper. He heard what He whispered.
May I recline next to Jesus.
May I hear what He whispers.
One of them, the disciple whom Jesus loved, was reclining next to him. John 13:23
So knowing this, I can wait for hope to appear. It will. He loves me.
He cares and doesn’t put any roadblocks in my way. He isn’t involved with making my life hard. I just need to wait on Him.
I shouldn’t run away but I should face reality with Him. Nothing is too hard for Him. He makes the Lion and the Lamb to lie down together. How good is that?
He has stockpiles of love. No end to His love.
My job is to wait. That is all. Jesus will appear.
When life is heavy and hard to take, go off by yourself. Enter the silence. Bow in prayer. Don’t ask questions: Wait for hope to appear. Don’t run from trouble. Take it full-face. The “worst” is never the worst.
Why? Because the Master won’t ever walk out and fail to return. If he works severely, he also works tenderly. His stockpiles of loyal love are immense. He takes no pleasure in making life hard, in throwing roadblocks in the way.
— Lamentations 3
If the praise of man elates me and his blame depresses me…
If I can not rest under misunderstanding without defending myself…
If I love to be loved more than to love, to be served more than to serve…
then I know nothing of Calvary Love.
What a good and great God we have: His love gives us more than enough strength and peace to meet the challenges of our lives and to love those around us.
Love is amazing. It just blots out everything else. No time to be angry, resentful or judging.
If you judge people, you have no time to love them.”~~ Mother Teresa
The Apostle John was the disciple Jesus loved. He was one of the 72, one of the 12, one of the 3 and the one whom Jesus loved.
John knew Jesus better than anyone else. He saw it all “up close and personal”.
What does he tells us about all of this? Jesus is the Word of Life. He is Life itself.
And, we share it with John. That is the mystery of God’s goal for us.
John has no advantage here.
From the very first day, we were there, taking it all in—we heard it with our own ears, saw it with our own eyes, verified it with our own hands. The Word of Life appeared right before our eyes; we saw it happen! And now we’re telling you in most sober prose that what we witnessed was, incredibly, this: The infinite Life of God himself took shape before us. 1 John 1:1-2
Self criticism, even when it is deserved, leaves me crippled. I hobble around on crutches pretending no one sees.
They see I can’t get out of myself. They see my selfishness.
Practicing love, getting outside of myself, shuts self criticism right down. God knows me and He knows what I need.
Jesus knows me better than I know myself. He doesn’t condemn me but shows His steadfast love day after day. He puts it into practice.
Jesus challenges me to practice real love. That is God’s goal for me today. Loving others takes me out of my self and focuses on others.
My dear children, let’s not just talk about love; let’s practice real love. This is the only way we’ll know we’re living truly, living in God’s reality. It’s also the way to shut down debilitating self-criticism, even when there is something to it. For God is greater than our worried hearts and knows more about us than we do ourselves. 1 John 3:18-20
Jesus cares about us in a way we probably can’t understand. His love is the “gold standard” for how to love.
It is the Messiah’s nature to be good. He can’t be anything else. He has always been that way and always will be. His love just won’t stop.
May I give thanks to Him. He is good.
Give thanks to God—he is good
and his love never quits.
Say, “Save us, Savior God,
round us up and get us out of these godless places,
So we can give thanks to your holy Name,
and bask in your life of praise.”
Blessed be God, the God of Israel,
from everlasting to everlasting.
Then everybody said, “Yes! Amen!” and “Praise God!”
1 Chronicles 16:34
Jesus had a goal. God had given it to him. Jesus is the obedient son.
Knowing what would happen, Jesus came anyway. His love for the Father and for us is overwhelming. It consumes Jesus.
Jesus knew what was coming. He came anyway.
Thank you Jesus.
If you knew that only a few would care that you came, would you still come? Jesus did.” ~~Max Lucado
The first two fellows went out into the marketplace and doubled their investment. As a result, they were handsomely rewarded.
The third servant was not so fortunate. His gold was taken from him, and he was thrown into “outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” My goodness.
Why? All he did was bury the money under the porch until his master’s return.
Most of us would probably agree with the path he chose-at least the money was safe there. But listen to the man’s reasoning.
Speaking to his master, he said, “I know you are a hard man, harvesting crops you didn’t plant and gathering crops you didn’t cultivate. I was afraid I would lose your money, so I hid it” (see Matt. 25:14-30 NLT). He was afraid of the master, whom he saw as a hard man. He didn’t trust his master’s heart.
The issue isn’t capital gains- it’s what we think of God. Are we saying the same thing: “God, I don’t dare desire because I fear you; I think you are hard-hearted.”
Or do we see our Father as someone who loves us more than anyone else can. Someone who has our best interests at heart.
Even though we may profess at one level a genuine faith in him, at another level are we like the third servant? My obedience is not so much out of love as it is out of carefulness. “Just tell me what to do, God, and I’ll do it.”
The deepest moral issue is always what we, in our heart of hearts, believe about God. And nothing reveals this belief as clearly as what we do with our desire.
Telling everyone about the good news of God was the mission of Jesus. It was why He came to our world.
I am living in His favor. He loves me. Even though He corrects me, it because He cares like no other can. He only has my best interest in His heart and soul.
He has given me a crown, oil and new clothes.
Will I put them on? Will I wear the crown of beauty? Will I pour on the oil of gladness on my body? Will I wear the new cloths of praise?
May I experience the freedom and the release He has given me. What a gift!!!
The Spirit of God, the Master, is on me
because God anointed me.
He sent me to preach good news to the poor,
heal the heartbroken,
Announce freedom to all captives,
pardon all prisoners.
God sent me to announce the year of his grace—
a celebration of God’s destruction of our enemies—
and to comfort all who mourn,
To care for the needs of all who mourn in Zion,
give them bouquets of roses instead of ashes,
Messages of joy instead of news of doom,
a praising heart instead of a languid spirit. (Isaiah 61:1-7)
God has abandoned the old plan. He has completely left it behind. He did it in Jesus our Master. The old plan kept us short of the goal God has in mind for us.
So, what is the essence of the new plan, His agreement with me?
It is that I will know Him. My friends won’t have to teach me how to do it. I have a relationship with Him through Jesus.
We will all know Him. He doesn’t remember what I was like before. I am absolutely forgiven the debt that couldn’t be paid before anyway.
It is in my heart to do so. It is in my mind all the time. That is it!!
This is the new plan…. ,’ declares the LORD. ‘I will put my way in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. No longer will they teach their friends, or say to one another, ‘Know the LORD,’ because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest,’ declares the LORD. ‘For I will forgive their wandering heart and will remember their missing the mark no more.’ Jeremiah 31:31-34
Jesus guidance to me is so simple and straightforward. He frames the issue clearly. How should I behave?
Be proactive. Ask myself what I want done for me. Then do it for others.
This is the “big thing”. Easy said, not easy done. It is the goal Jesus gives me. It is my goal today.
The good news is that His Holy Spirit renews me daily. I have God’s power in me. I am a new creation in Jesus.
Here is a simple, rule-of-thumb guide for behavior: Ask yourself what you want people to do for you, then grab the initiative and do it for them. Add up God’s Law and Prophets and this is what you get.” ~~Jesus (Matthew 7:12)
There are some things to be careful about. I must take responsibility for building myself up. In fact, I can listen to my-self, others, and the enemy in ways that takes me out of God’s love.
Praying in the Holy Spirit connects me with God’s love. If I am not feeling His love, I am not hearing Him.
I need to be ready for mercy.
Or am I looking for judgement?
The real life is about mercy. God is in a good mood and he is loving. All the time. No doubt about it.
That is the real life.
But you, dear friends, carefully build yourselves up in this most holy supernatural courage by praying in the Holy Spirit, staying right at the center of God’s love, keeping your arms open and outstretched, ready for the mercy of our Master, Jesus the Messiah. This is the unending life, the real life! Jude 1:20-21
If I asked my family, friends and colleagues if it is clear that I am on their side, what would the answer be.
I am not sure and I am uncomfortable with that.
Jesus challenges me to love and be on the side of all I meet. That should be clear. Is it?
Celebrate God all day, every day. I mean, revel in him! Make it as clear as you can to all you meet that you’re on their side, working with them and not against them. Help them see that the Master is about to arrive. He could show up any minute!
He challenges me that I can do better than how religious leaders approach God’s world (Kingdom). He wants me to start from the knowledge that this is God’s world. He is in charge. It is not a democracy.
Jesus wants me to love God more than anyone or anything. He wants me to love everyone I come in contact in a very real and concrete way.
Jesus knows I can do better and it doesn’t start by emulating religious leaders.Tough but true.
Unless you do far better than religious leaders in the matters of right living, you won’t know the first thing about entering God’s world.” ~~Jesus (Matthew 5 The Message)
God’s love for us is astounding. That is all there is to it.
He sent his son Jesus to redeem us and redeem us he did. I didn’t deserve it but he loves me none the less. Nothing can stop his love. His love is 24/7 and forever. It will never stop.
Jesus sits next to God in the place of power and authority sticking up for me. And he is sticking up for you as well.
God’s love for us is over the top.
So, what do you think? With God on our side like this, how can we lose? If God didn’t hesitate to put everything on the line for us, embracing our condition and exposing himself to the worst by sending his own Son, is there anything else he wouldn’t gladly and freely do for us? And who would dare tangle with God by messing with one of God’s chosen? Who would dare even to point a finger? The One who died for us—who was raised to life for us!—is in the presence of God at this very moment sticking up for us. Do you think anyone is going to be able to drive a wedge between us and the Messiah’s love for us? There is no way! Not trouble, not hard times, not hatred, not hunger, not homelessness, not bullying threats, not backstabbing, not even the worst sins listed in Scripture:
They kill us in cold blood because they hate you.
We’re sitting ducks; they pick us off one by one.
None of this fazes us because Jesus loves us. I’m absolutely convinced that nothing—nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable—absolutely nothing can get between us and God’s love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us.
There are times I am in the dumps. It happens. It isn’t always pretty but it is true.
God gives me a way out. Jesus challenges me to go through everything God has done. In fact, I should rehearse your promises and the love you show to me.
God’s way isn’t my way. God loves me in ways I can’t imagine.
God has made promises. God will not break them.
When my soul is in the dumps, I rehearse
everything I know of you,
From Jordan depths to Hermon heights,
including Mount Mizar.
Chaos calls to chaos,
to the tune of whitewater rapids.
Your breaking surf, your thundering breakers
crash and crush me.
Then God promises to love me all day,
sing songs all through the night!
My life is God’s prayer.
We have amazing news. This is not trivial. This is beyond good. This is great.
God is in a good mood. God delights in us.
God is not embarrassed by who we are. God doesn’t want to hide when he sees us coming.
God wants to dress us up and parade us around.
God delights in us.
Psalm 149:1-4 The Message (MSG)
Sing to God a brand-new song,
praise him in the company of all who love him.
Let all Israel celebrate their Sovereign Creator,
Zion’s children exult in their King.
Let them praise his name in dance;
strike up the band and make great music!
And why? Because God delights in his people,
festoons plain folk with salvation garlands!
I could trust myself, my friends, my family. Nothing wrong with that. That is what we should do.
Beyond that though, I am sticking with God. That is the way of His world. And so, I say it over and over. Great is His faithfulness.
How wonderful is God’s love. He shows it over and over. He has promised to bring an answer. To show me the way. God sent Jesus. Jesus is the way to God. There is no other.
God’s love is new every morning.
But there’s one other thing I remember, and remembering, I keep a grip on hope: God’s loyal love couldn’t have run out, his merciful love couldn’t have dried up. They’re created new every morning. How great your faithfulness! I’m sticking with God (I say it over and over). He’s all I’ve got left. —Lamentations 3
I think of certain friends very often. Every time I think of them, I am so thankful to God for that they live freely in Jesus. What a blessing that is.
The chains that bound them are off. Amazing.
To see their open access to God is inspiring. What Jesus has given them freely blesses me just thinking of it. I will be glad with what is happening. It is good stuff for sure. I am not one to judge. I am one who has received great gifts. I am one who owes a lot. I can only answer for myself. That is what love means. I am called to love.
There is clearly no end to what is happening to my friends. It is hard to express in words. It is hard to know what it is all about some days. If anyone needs evidence of how good God is, you just have to know them. It is all the verification that is needed.
They are a blessing. That is that and that is all there is to it.
May I continue to blessed knowing such amazing people.
John 15:14-15 The Message (MSG)
I’ve told you these things for a purpose: that my joy might be your joy, and your joy wholly mature. This is my command: Love one another the way I loved you. This is the very best way to love. Put your life on the line for your friends. You are my friends when you do the things I command you. I’m no longer calling you servants because servants don’t understand what their master is thinking and planning. No, I’ve named you friends because I’ve let you in on everything I’ve heard from the Father.
I want more supernatural courage. That kind of faith is growing and I thirst for it. Do you?
I want more of His courage. That kind of commitment is moving in me. Is it in you?
Jesus can do it. Jesus will do it. He is LOVE and He is faithful.
I must move with Jesus. He ROCKS and is my rock.
I know you join with me. I know you have His courage. I know you believe.
Thanks for standing with me. I stand with you.
Interesting that John challenges us to continue to love.
Not start but continue.
Real love that comes from our Father requires a lot of “continuing”. It is easy to start but that is not the point.
The point is to continue.
Our relationship with God teaches how to continue to love each other. God is love. That is what it is all about; love.
And it always starts with Jesus. He leads the way.
May my love continue on as His love for me continues.
My beloved friends, let us continue to love each other since love comes from God. Everyone who loves is born of God and experiences a relationship with God. The person who refuses to love doesn’t know the first thing about God, because God is love—so you can’t know him if you don’t love. This is how God showed his love for us: God sent his only Son into the world so we might live through him. This is the kind of love we are talking about—not that we once upon a time loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to clear away our sins and the damage they’ve done to our relationship with God.
My dear, dear friends, if God loved us like this, we certainly ought to love each other. No one has seen God, ever. But if we love one another, God dwells deeply within us, and his love becomes complete in us—perfect love! 1 John 4:7-12
I have a choice. We live in a culture where we are all critics. It is an easy trap to fall into to judge people. My choice is to judge or to love. Jesus challenges me to love. God’s goal for me is to love. It all comes down to that.
We don’t like to use the word “judge” but that is what it is all about. Jesus is clear that we shouldn’t live that way.
The choice to make is to love. I must love and not judge. I have a lot to learn here.
If you judge people, you have no time to love them.
~~ Mother Teresa
The Apostle John is consumed with the purity of Jesus life. It came down to one thing in John’s mind.
It is all about love. Jesus is all about love. That is the essence of the commandments. That is how Jesus lived.
Do I live like Jesus? Do I love like Jesus?
May I live like Jesus. May I mature my love.
Anyone who claims to be intimate with God ought to live the same kind of life Jesus lived.” ~~Apostle John (1 John 2:6 The Message)
Jesus challenges us to love everyone, all the time.
Jesus challenges us to love God, with a passion that can’t be replicated.
Jesus challenges us to love God more than the world or our family.
Jesus is clear about all of this.
Am I clear? Do I get it? Is that the path I am on today?
Because we love something else more than this world, we love even this world more than those who know no other.” ~~C. S. Lewis
What is worth reporting on, in Paul’s opinion? It is all about the love we show to others. That is it. There is nothing else.
It isn’t the new church building. It is not how moving the Worship Team sang the new song. It isn’t new car we just bought. It isn’t the college our oldest just go into.
There are only two ways to get God’s attention. Love Him and love everyone we know and meet.
That is how our faith in Jesus is demonstrated. It is only about love. That is all that counts.
We keep getting reports on your steady faith in the Messiah Jesus, and the love you continuously extend to all Christians.
~Apostle Paul (Colossians 1:4 The Message)
How do we know we are keeping God’s word? Now that is a very reasonable question. God has said so much, it is easy to get overwhelmed.
The answer from the Apostle John (the one whom Jesus loved) is stunningly simple. Do we see God’s love in someone? Then they are keeping God’s word.
That is what it comes down to over and over again. Love god. Love everyone else. That is the summation of the word of God.
It is in fact the only way to be certain.
But the one who keeps God’s word is the person in whom we see God’s mature love. This is the only way to be sure we’re in God.” ~~Apostle John (1 John 2:5 The Message)
Will I be proud when I stand before Jesus?
That is a stunning question. Think about it. Will I?
Do I live in His love or ashamed?
Do I live in condemnation, because of my enemy?
The answer is a resounding NO! Jesus has freed me from my life of missing God’s goal. I am living a new life.
May I live in His love. May I know how proud He is of me. May I know it in my soul.
We want you to be as proud of us as we are of you when we stand together before our Master Jesus.
I like to think I know a lot about love. It doesn’t start with me however.
It starts with God. God initiated everything.
And God proved His love for us. He gave us a great gift, his son Jesus, the Messiah. How stunning. My identity is based on His love.
Here some old plan thoughts that carry over into the new plan that Jesus has revealed to us.
Mostly things we should avoid doing but one affirmative act that is one of the two great laws that Jesus said to do.
In way of Jesus, the Messiah, loving our neighbor is the BIG thing. If we do, we won’t pervert justice, show favoritism, gossip or seek revenge.
God is love.
Don’t pervert justice.
Don’t show favoritism to either the poor or the great.
Judge on the basis of what is right.
Don’t spread gossip and rumors.
Don’t just stand by when your neighbor’s life is in danger.
I am God.
Don’t secretly hate your neighbor. If you have something against him, get it out into the open; otherwise you are an accomplice in his guilt.
Don’t seek revenge or carry a grudge against any of your people.
Love your neighbor as yourself.
I am God.
–Leviticus 19:15-18 The Message Bible
The Apostle John can be direct. I think he learned it from Jesus. No point beating around the bush so to speak.
Jesus was clear. There are 2 commandments that we need to focus on. Love God. Love everyone else. That sums it up and it is pretty easy to remember. If we say we are a Messiah follower and don’t do that, we are a liar. We aren’t following Jesus.
Jesus has a goal for me today. It is to love. Jesus, the Messiah, challenges me to focus on that.
May I live, as a Christian, the way Jesus said I should. May there be no doubt about it.
If someone claims, “I know him well!” but doesn’t keep his commandments, he’s obviously a liar. His life doesn’t match his words.
I am a child of God. I believe that Jesus is the anointed one (the Messiah) who is in charge of God’s country. Jesus is my Master. Jesus has been put in charge of everything by our Father.
Jesus challenges me to love God. When I love God, I must love my brothers and sisters. The two go hand and in hand.
God’s goal is for me to love. As God’s child, I must obey him. That isn’t a big deal at all.
Every person who believes that Jesus is, in fact, the Messiah, is God-begotten. If we love the One who conceives the child, we’ll surely love the child who was conceived. The reality test on whether or not we love God’s children is this: Do we love God? Do we keep his commands? The proof that we love God comes when we keep his commandments and they are not at all troublesome.
~Apostle John – Source: 1 John 5:1-3 (The Message Bible)
Following Jesus should make a difference in how I live my life. I need to have a heart and care deeply with my brothers and sisters in Jesus. God’s goal for me is to love and care.
I need to cultivate a spirit of agreement. It should never be about who is right. Agreement comes out of love. I really need to get this.
Love drives me to be friends and put myself aside. I must focus on helping others get ahead and becoming all that Jesus wants them to be.
There are some days when I obsess about what I want and why getting what I want is important. What I want is not important at all. My job is to help. That is all.
If you’ve gotten anything at all out of following Christ, if his love has made any difference in your life, if being in a community of the Spirit means anything to you, if you have a heart, if you care— then do me a favor: Agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirited friends. Don’t push your way to the front; don’t sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand.
~Apostle Paul – Source: Philippians 2:1-4 (The Message Bible)
What do I want to be different in my life? Actually, there are lots of things. I must admit it is not a short list.
Great question and the follow up is: Why don’t I do something about it?
Finally, is this important to God? If it is important to Jesus, I should pursue change. I shouldn’t let it go. It starts with how I think about things. Jesus challenges me to change my mind (repent). Jesus challenges me to love.
It is important that I get love right in my heart and soul. The focus needs to be on loving more and loving better. That is the challenge. Change is not important outside the context of love.
Through God’s power, Jesus can do something about my ability to love.
I have a job. Jesus has given it to me. I must be faithful in fulfilling it. I can’t shirk it off and leave it to others.
Jesus, my Master, expects me to live up to it. Jesus has given me the Holy Spirit to give me the power to do what God wants when I don’t have capacity within my self. I am a new creation because of what Jesus has accomplished.
As an “older man”, Paul makes it clear that my job is to:
- Live a life of temperance (moderation or self-restraint)
- Live with dignity
- Show wisdom
- Demonstrate healthy faith
- Model love
- Endure until the end
Others will judge me based on my behavior. I don’t want them to look down on God’s message. I can’t afford to be found a hypocrite.
Your job is to speak out on the things that make for solid doctrine. Guide older men into lives of temperance, dignity, and wisdom, into healthy faith, love, and endurance. Guide older women into lives of reverence so they end up as neither gossips nor drunks, but models of goodness. By looking at them, the younger women will know how to love their husbands and children, be virtuous and pure, keep a good house, be good wives. We don’t want anyone looking down on God’s Message because of their behavior. Also, guide the young men to live disciplined lives.
~Apostle Paul – Source: Titus 2:1-6 (The Message Bible)
I shouldn’t think too much of myself. There is nothing there to see of importance. I know that but I like to pretend otherwise. God knows it so I might as well deal with it.
God acts completely out of love. There is no other motivation. Jesus challenges me to see that and get it in my heart and soul.
Jesus has freed me. Jesus has brought me out of slavery. God is God. God is mighty and I can depend on him. God keeps his promises to me and my family.
God does not ignore my choosing to ignore his goal for my life (sin). If I ignore him, there is a judgement day. My choice needs to be to love God.
God wasn’t attracted to you and didn’t choose you because you were big and important—the fact is, there was almost nothing to you. He did it out of sheer love, keeping the promise he made to your ancestors. God stepped in and mightily bought you back out of that world of slavery, freed you from the iron grip of Pharaoh king of Egypt. Know this: God, your God, is God indeed, a God you can depend upon. He keeps his covenant of loyal love with those who love him and observe his commandments for a thousand generations. But he also pays back those who hate him, pays them the wages of death; he isn’t slow to pay them off—those who hate him, he pays right on time.
Jesus challenges me to do things differently than the way people of this world do things. He is not subtle at all.
Jesus knows my friends and acquaintances, even my family, will give me a hard time. Following Jesus guarantees that for sure.
What should I do? I should devote my whole energy to praying for them. That is the way of Jesus and God’s goal for me.
When God is in me, praying is second nature to me. I start reflecting my God-created self that way.
Jesus challenges us to be like God, to love like God. He gives us the power.
When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer, for then you are working out of your true selves, your God-created selves. This is what God does.
~~Jesus (Matthew 5 The Message)
I think I know it all. I am very confident about what the future holds for me. But can I really out imagine God? Do I really know what Jesus has in mind for me?
No, I can’t out imagine the creator of the universe. I can’t out imagine the inventor of love. I can’t out imagine the author of faithfulness.
God loves us and we can’t imagine what He has in store for us. So let’s just fasten our seat belts and enjoy the ride. God is in an amazing mood and has stunning things in store for us.
That’s why we have this Scripture text: No one’s ever seen or heard anything like this, Never so much as imagined anything quite like it— What God has arranged for those who love him.
Source: Apostle Paul (1 Corinthians 2:9 The Message)
I must work hard for Jesus. I must not quit. I must labor for the Messiah. I must persist and then persist again.
It must all be about love for him though. Every act must be out of love. It starts with love and ends with love. If it isn’t about love, I fall into error and lose my way.
Persistence is great but it has to be motivated by love.
Write this to Ephesus, to the Angel of the church. The One with Seven Stars in his right-fist grip, striding through the golden seven-lights’ circle, speaks:
“I see what you’ve done, your hard, hard work, your refusal to quit. I know you can’t stomach evil, that you weed out apostolic pretenders. I know your persistence, your courage in my cause, that you never wear out.
“But you walked away from your first love—why? What’s going on with you, anyway? Do you have any idea how far you’ve fallen? A Lucifer fall!
“Turn back! Recover your dear early love. No time to waste, for I’m well on my way to removing your light from the golden circle.
“You do have this to your credit: You hate the Nicolaitan business. I hate it, too.
“Are your ears awake? Listen. Listen to the Wind Words, the Spirit blowing through the churches. I’m about to call each conqueror to dinner. I’m spreading a banquet of Tree-of-Life fruit, a supper plucked from God’s orchard.”
~Jesus – Source: Revelation 2:1-7 (The Message Bible)
Jesus, the Messiah, demands that I care. He insists on it if I want to live in His world. Being full of care is His way. God, our Father, cares. That is the way of God’s world. The challenge is for me to care. I must not be indifferent.
We all want to be cared for. The path is to care for others. That makes us more than happy.
May I care deeply the way my heavenly Father cares. May I show His love today.
“You’re more than happy (blessed) when you care. At the moment of being ‘care-full,’ you find yourselves cared for.” ~~Jesus (Matthew 5:7 The Message)
It was the Sabbath. The religious leaders of the day are watching Jesus. Will he heal the man with the crippled hand? They just knew he would and then they could condemn him for breaking the Law. They were excited for the wrong reason.
Jesus knows how to handle this. He won’t be trapped. He stops, looks them in the eye and asks “What kind of action suits the Sabbath best? Doing good or doing evil? Helping people or leaving them helpless?”
It is silent. Perhaps for a long time because Jesus is waiting on an answer. He didn’t ask it rhetorically. He looked them in the eye, one after another, angry now, furious at their hard-nosed religion. Jesus got angry. Very angry. Furious.
He wanted someone to speak up. No one did.
Getting no answer, Jesus did the right thing. Jesus healed the man. The religious leaders got out of there fast. No after service meet and greet today.
It is all about love. God’s goal for me is to help people. That is the challenge. Will I love or will I condemn?
What kind of action suits the Sabbath best? Doing good or doing evil? Helping people or leaving them helpless?
~~Jesus (Mark 3:4 The Message)
He loved us so much, He gave His only Son as a sacrifice for us to get us back in right standing and in the new plan.
Clearly this is how I am to love. God’s goal is that I should not take my own interests in mind but care more about others than myself. That is the way of God’s love. This is the challenge that Jesus has laid out for me every day.
May I love like Him!!!
Love cares more for others than for self.
1 Corinthians 13 (The Message Bible)
- Daily Bread: 1 Corinthians 13: 4-7 (kycotchristiangifts.wordpress.com)
- Perfect love… (greatriversofhope.wordpress.com)
- God’s Love (iaminhim.wordpress.com)
This is a great prayer. Simple but focused on God.
Peace can be ours. It is ours by knowing who we are and who God is.
May today there be peace within.
May you trust God that you are exactly where you are meant to be.
May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith.
May you use those gifts that you have received, and pass on the love that has been given to you.
May you be content knowing you are a child of God.
Let this presence settle into your bones, and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise and love. It is there for each and every one of you.
I watched what my father did. I now see so many of his traits and expressions as my own. In some ways, I can’t seem to help it. It just happens.
I need to leave that world behind and watch what Jesus is doing. Jesus is my Master. God is my heavenly Father. They are my role models.
It is clear that they are all about love. That is all that God focuses on. God’s world is built on love. It starts with the love of God and continues with the love of everyone else that I can.
How does Jesus love me?
Is Jesus’ love timid and cautious?
Jesus shows me extravagant, over the top love. The love of Jesus is stunning. There is nothing like it.
I need to love like Jesus does. That is all there is to it. I don’t now but God has given me power in the Holy Spirit. God can through me. It is all about Jesus.
Watch what God does, and then you do it, like children who learn proper behavior from their parents. Mostly what God does is love you. Keep company with him and learn a life of love. Observe how the Messiah loved us. His love was not cautious but extravagant. He didn’t love in order to get something from us but to give everything of himself to us. Love like that.
~Apostle Paul – Source: Ephesians 5:1-2 (The Message Bible)
God is good and He is in a great mood. This is nothing to take lightly. I know it and I will be held accountable.
There is a judgement. I don’t like to think about it but it is true. I can’t turn our back on what I know. And I know His goodness.
I can’t insult Him, His Son and His Spirit by pretending I am not His child. I am and I must live like it.
I know He is love. I must continue on in the new plan and His good news. No turning back. No half hearted efforts.
May I be accountable for showing God’ goodness to everyone I know.
So be it LORD!!!
I need to thank God for my brothers and sisters in the faith of our Master Jesus. When I don’t know what to pray for, being grateful is a very good thing.
Love is expressed in gratitude. I need to show love by being grateful. Gratitude is a very powerful expression of love. Gratitude gives love legs. Every day should be thanksgiving.
God is grateful. God is thankful. God shows us how to love. God’s goal is that I replicate how his son Jesus loves. Jesus shows me the way.
Every time your name comes up in my prayers, I say, “Oh, thank you, God!” I keep hearing of the love and faith you have for the Master Jesus, which brims over to other believers. And I keep praying that this faith we hold in common keeps showing up in the good things we do, and that people recognize the Messiah in all of it. Friend, you have no idea how good your love makes me feel, doubly so when I see your hospitality to fellow believers.
`Apostle Paul – Source: Philemon 1:4-7 (The Message Bible)
Jesus was clear that we will always have poor people with us. We always have. We always will.
Jesus challenges me to give to the poor. I am to do what I can to help. God’s goal for me is to love. Jesus challenges me to not judge. I don’t need to understand why someone is poor. God knows why.
Insulting and mocking the poor is insulting God. It is wrong and it is criminal. It is a moral failure on my part when I do it. I will be held accountable for what I say and do. I will be held accountable to God’s standard of love.
We should assess our leaders on their attitude about the poor. Do they love the poor? Do they help the poor? Do they “judge” the motives of the poor?
“Misfortune” does happen. It is possible, to get laid off from work and become poor, due to no fault of your own. I shouldn’t gloat over that. My goal is to love.
Whoever mocks poor people insults their Creator; gloating over misfortune is a punishable crime. ~King Solomon
Source: Proverbs 17:5 (The Message Bible)
I complain about others. It isn’t very pretty or becoming. I am ashamed, when I think about it. Many times I don’t think about it, feeling very justified with myself. They deserve it, I think.
Jesus is clear to me. I am not to judge. Jesus is the Judge, not me. I know I am guilty.
It is clearly a gift of God, through his son Jesus, that I am redeemed and don’t face the music.
God’s goal for me is for me to love. I am not to judge others but I am to love them. Thank goodness for the power of the Holy Spirit to help me. I can do all things with that power.
Friends, don’t complain about each other. A far greater complaint could be lodged against you, you know. The Judge is standing just around the corner.
Source: James 5:9 (The Message Bible)
I was in big trouble. I didn’t feel God’s love. I didn’t know how to love. I missed God’s goal for my life. Over and over again, minute by minute. Day in and day out. Yes, I was in big trouble.
Jesus rescued me from all of that. Having never missed God’s goal, Jesus became the sacrifice I needed. I now know love and can love. I am focused on God’s plan and not my own. It is God’s gift to me and nothing I have done.
We know the meaning of those words because Jesus the Messiah rescued us from this evil world we’re in by offering himself as a sacrifice for our missing God’s goal (sin).” ~~Apostle Paul (Galatians 1:4 The Message)
I like hearing about the “new thing”. What is the shiny new object?
Truth is not new. Truth is eternal. I need to hear the word of God and God is saying I need to love. That is nothing new. What is new is doing it consistently.
I haven’t done it before. So it is “new to me”. The power of love is amazing. I must be open to finding how God wants me to love right now and doing it. God will tell me. Jesus will show me.
The Messiah Jesus is shining a light for me. Jesus is pointing the way to love. God’s goal for me is to love. That is all there is to it.
My dear friends, I’m not writing anything new here. This is the oldest commandment in the book, and you’ve known it from day one. It’s always been implicit in the Message you’ve heard. On the other hand, perhaps it is new, freshly minted as it is in both the Messiah and you—the darkness on its way out and the True Light already blazing!
Source: 1 John 2:7-8 (The Message Bible)
God has a goal for us. God, through his victorious son Jesus, wants us to build on the foundation of our faith. God wants a miraculous and beautiful house built. It is a house with an innovative architect. It is a house that is stunning beyond believe.
Everything starts with faith. I must believe that Jesus has put me in right standing with God, our heavenly Father.
What are the building blocks built on the foundation of faith?
- Faith – The foundation.
- Good character
- Spiritual understanding
- Alert discipline
- Passionate patience
- Reverent wonder
- Warm friendliness
- Generous love
Jesus wants me to become mature. When I change my mind about Jesus (repent) I am like children. God wants me to grow up and mature.
So don’t lose a minute in building on what you’ve been given, complementing your basic faith with good character, spiritual understanding, alert discipline, passionate patience, reverent wonder, warm friendliness, and generous love, each dimension fitting into and developing the others. With these qualities active and growing in your lives, no grass will grow under your feet, no day will pass without its reward as you mature in your experience of our Master Jesus. Without these qualities you can’t see what’s right before you, oblivious that your old life of missing God’s goal (sinful life) has been wiped off the books.
Apostle Peter – Source: 2 Peter 1:5-9
I must be diligent in living out the truth of God’s commandment. I must be consistent and not waiver. I must not give up.
Jesus, the Messiah and my Master, makes it clear that my one task is to love. There is nothing new here. It has been so from the beginning.
I can circle around many issues and pursue all kinds of interesting ideas. Nothing has changed about what God expects of me or what God’s goal is for me. If someone tells me something different, they are not to be listened to.
God wants me to love. That is it.
I can’t tell you how happy I am to learn that many members of your congregation are diligent in living out the Truth, exactly as commanded by the Father. But permit me a reminder, friends, and this is not a new commandment but simply a repetition of our original and basic charter: that we love each other. Love means following his commandments, and his unifying commandment is that you conduct your lives in love. This is the first thing you heard, and nothing has changed.
Apostle John – Source: 2 John:4-6
Gratitude goes a long way. The Messiah is the one who makes us adequate to do anything. It isn’t about us. I am so very grateful for what Jesus is doing for me. His kindness is overwhelming.
I am nothing and Jesus is everything. Jesus is the one who trusts us to get his work done. Jesus goes “out on a limb” for us and not the other way around.
Before Jesus, we are arrogant and think everything in our life is a result of what we’ve done. Everything in our life is a result of what Jesus has done.
Despite our arrogance, Jesus ignores that and treats us with love, kindness and mercy. It is all about the love of God and his son Jesus.
I’m so grateful to the Messiah Jesus for making me adequate to do this work. He went out on a limb, you know, in trusting me with this ministry. The only credentials I brought to it were invective and witch hunts and arrogance. But I was treated mercifully because I didn’t know what I was doing—didn’t know Who I was doing it against! Grace mixed with faith and love poured over me and into me. And all because of Jesus.
Source: 1 Timothy 1:12-14
There is good. We all know it and point it out. We try to be better people and be good as well. When we love we are being obedient to God and the commands of Jesus.
There is evil. Many today don’t want to admit it. Why did such and such happen? We don’t know why. We are confused. We think all sorts of erroneous thoughts. Maybe this or maybe that. We don’t want to believe it is because they are evil.
Clearly if we knew God and focused on love we would be good. People who don’t are following the evil way and don’t know anything about the God of love.
The one clear and compelling message from the Apostle John is to love. Why? God is love.
Friend, don’t go along with evil. Model the good. The person who does good does God’s work.
The person who does evil falsifies God, doesn’t know the first thing about God.
Source: 3 John Verse 11 (The Message)
Jesus challenges me to live like my faith means something. My faith must be lived out in love. I must have a passion for good. I must have a real commitment to seeking the good in life.
God’s goal for me is to hate evil. I must be clear about what is good and what is evil. Evil exists. I cannot allow it get a hold in my life.
God is good. I must seek after him and his ways.
14 Seek good and not evil—
You talk about God, the God-of-the-Angel-Armies,
being your best friend.
Well, live like it,
and maybe it will happen.
15 Hate evil and love good,
then work it out in the public square.
Maybe God, the God-of-the-Angel-Armies,
will notice your remnant and be gracious.
It is all about love and compassion. Jesus challenges me to love God and everyone else we know or meet. That is God’s goal for me.
I have not excuse for not doing it. I know the goal. God has given me his Holy Spirit to help me. Jesus, my Master, has paid the price for me.
“Computers are magnificent tools for the realization of our dreams, but no machine can replace the human spark of spirit, compassion, love, and understanding.” – Louis Gerstner
God has a clear message for me. Jesus challenges me to quit being religious. Jesus wants me to have nothing to do with that way of life.
I can’t claim to follow Jesus and still miss God’s goal for my life to love. Love can be seen in my acts of working for justice, helping the down-and-out, standing up for the homeless, and going to bat for the defenseless.
Jesus challenges me to clean up my act. I need to get it together for my Master and the Messiah Jesus. I need to stop my charade.
God is in a good mood and gives me the power to live this way through his Holy Spirit.
Isaiah 1:16-17 The Message (MSG) ~ A message from God!
Quit your worship charades.
I can’t stand your trivial religious games:
Monthly conferences, weekly Sabbaths, special meetings—
meetings, meetings, meetings—I can’t stand one more!
Meetings for this, meetings for that. I hate them!
You’ve worn me out!
I’m sick of your religion, religion, religion,
while you go right on sinning.
When you put on your next prayer-performance,
I’ll be looking the other way.
No matter how long or loud or often you pray,
I’ll not be listening.
And do you know why? Because you’ve been tearing
people to pieces, and your hands are bloody.
Go home and wash up.
Clean up your act.
Sweep your lives clean of your evildoings
so I don’t have to look at them any longer.
Say no to wrong.
Learn to do good.
Work for justice.
Help the down-and-out.
Stand up for the homeless.
Go to bat for the defenseless.
But he’s already made it plain how to live, what to do,
what God is looking for in men and women.
It’s quite simple: Do what is fair and just to your neighbor,
be compassionate and loyal in your love,
And don’t take yourself too seriously—
take God seriously.
God is in a good mood and has already shown us how to live. Our Master Jesus challenges us to love — Love God and love our neighbor.
It also helps to take God seriously. God is God and he is in control. God shows us his goal for our lives. We must change our minds (repent) and put Jesus and others first.
Love is not all about the emotion of it and our feelings. It is not sentimental gush.
Over time, we learn to act out the commitment of love not the feeling of love. We have to learn what real love is all about. Jesus, the Messiah and our Master, shows what it is and how to do it.
Here are some questions to think about.
- Is it about how much I love or how well I love?
- Is Jesus proud of my love?
- Is my love an example for my family and friends?
- Does my love bring glory and praise to God?
I need to learn to love a lot and I need to love well.
So this is my prayer: that your love will flourish and that you will not only love much but well. Learn to love appropriately. You need to use your head and test your feelings so that your love is sincere and intelligent, not sentimental gush. Live a lover’s life, circumspect and exemplary, a life Jesus will be proud of: bountiful in fruits from the soul, making Jesus the Messiah attractive to all, getting everyone involved in the glory and praise of God.
Love is amazing in its power. When we love, we get consumed by it. Jesus challenges to focus on loving God and loving everyone else we know.
Jesus challenges us to become consumed by love. “I know that love, especially God’s love, is not on your working agenda. ” ~~Jesus
To love is so startling it leaves little time for anything else.
We place a heavy emphasis on “being good”. We hear it all the time. He’s a good man or woman. Being good isn’t the issue. The law shows us that we are missing God’s goal for our lives (sin). Being good (some of the time) won’t make things right with God.
There is only one way to get right with God. It is through Jesus the Messiah. I can’t impress God. I can only live the life that Jesus has given me and trust completely in him. Jesus loves me and gave his life for me so that I can be right with God.
What actually took place is this: I tried keeping rules and working my head off to please God, and it didn’t work. So I quit being a “law man” so that I could be God’s man. The Messiah’s life showed me how, and enabled me to do it. I identified myself completely with him. Indeed, I have been crucified with the Messiah. My ego is no longer central. It is no longer important that I appear righteous before you or have your good opinion, and I am no longer driven to impress God. The Messiah lives in me. The life you see me living is not “mine,” but it is lived by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I am not going to go back on that. Galatians 2:19-21
When we talk with God, Jesus the Messiah challenges us to be direct. God already knows what we need. God loves us. God cares for us. God will give us what we need.
One of the more important things that Jesus knows we need is the Holy Spirit. We need the power to have faith and be courageous. How often do I ask for the Holy Spirit in my prayers? Not enough I am afraid.
God is in a good mood. May we be direct and ask for what we need.
Don’t bargain with God. Be direct. Ask for what you need. This is not a cat-and-mouse, hide-and-seek game we’re in. If your little boy asks for a serving of fish, do you scare him with a live snake on his plate? If your little girl asks for an egg, do you trick her with a spider? As bad as you are, you wouldn’t think of such a thing—you’re at least decent to your own children. And don’t you think the Father who conceived you in love will give the Holy Spirit when you ask him?” Luke 11:10-13
Jesus, the Messiah and God’s son can do anything he wants. Jesus has been giving all power and authority from his Father. For religious leaders who want to control what is going on, that is a threat.
God’s goal for us not to be religious. Jesus challenges to focus on love and love’s brother mercy. Are we caught up in who has made the biggest mess out of their life or are we showing God’s mercy in forgiving everything.
Jesus want to forgive us and he wants to heal us. Jesus wants to make us whole.
Back in the boat, Jesus and the disciples recrossed the sea to Jesus’ hometown. They were hardly out of the boat when some men carried a paraplegic on a stretcher and set him down in front of them. Jesus, impressed by their bold belief, said to the paraplegic, “Cheer up, son. I forgive your sins.” Some religion scholars whispered, “Why, that’s blasphemy!”
Jesus knew what they were thinking, and said, “Why this gossipy whispering? Which do you think is simpler: to say, ‘I forgive your sins,’ or, ‘Get up and walk’? Well, just so it’s clear that I’m the Son of Man and authorized to do either, or both. . . .” At this he turned to the paraplegic and said, “Get up. Take your bed and go home.” And the man did it. The crowd was awestruck, amazed and pleased that God had authorized Jesus to work among them this way.
Passing along, Jesus saw a man at his work collecting taxes. His name was Matthew. Jesus said, “Come along with me.” Matthew stood up and followed him.
Later when Jesus was eating supper at Matthew’s house with his close followers, a lot of disreputable characters came and joined them. When the Pharisees saw him keeping this kind of company, they had a fit, and lit into Jesus’ followers. “What kind of example is this from your Teacher, acting cozy with crooks and riffraff?”
Jesus, overhearing, shot back, “Who needs a doctor: the healthy or the sick? Go figure out what this Scripture means: ‘I’m after mercy, not religion.’ I’m here to invite outsiders, not coddle insiders.” Matthew 9:1-13
Some times, OK, many times, I need to be reminded to fan the flame. It hasn’t completely gone out but it is flickering. It isn’t very strong and is providing very little light.
So the reminder comes. It is now. The Spirit of God gives us power. This is the same Spirit that raised Jesus, the Messiah, from the dead. Why be timid? No reason at all.
I just need to fan the flame. The Spirit is in me. It is in us. No need to be timid at all.
For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.
2 Timothy 1:6 TNIV Bible
First of all, God conceived us in love. That is the starting point and is amazing in and of itself. I could stop here.
But …. even as imperfect we are, we know how to be good to our children. God is perfect. Imagine what His love is like? Seriously. Let us contemplate on that.
So … God’s love is better than anything we can imagine. End of story.
This isn’t a cat-and-mouse, hide-and-seek game we’re in. If your child asks for bread, do you trick him with sawdust? If he asks for fish, do you scare him with a live snake on his plate? As bad as you are, you wouldn’t think of such a thing. You’re at least decent to your own children. So don’t you think the God who conceived you in love will be even better? Matthew 7:7-11