I have a number of things I am afraid of. God is God and Jesus is working with me to iron those things out. Jesus is the light of the world. Jesus is not going to let me fears hide in the dark. Jesus brings them out into the light.
The Master (aka Lord) is my light and my salvation —
whom shall I fear?
The Master is the stronghold of my life—
of whom shall I be afraid? | Psalm 27:1
Jesus demonstrated His love for me by dying on the cross so that I can be reconciled to God the Father. Jesus has sealed me with the Holy Spirit. The death of Jesus is how I know what love is. Now this is some good news!
I must confess that I am not the best at this. I am challenged many days. Let’s dig in. There is much to learn on how to love.
1 John 3:16 (NASB) — We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.
Jesus continues His Manifesto (aka The Sermon on the Mount). Jesus is getting close to wrapping it up. Jesus doesn’t let up. There are some big deal things left to say. Jesus is going to say them. I need to hear them and obey them.
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’ | Matthew 7:21-23
Many evangelistic churches make a big deal about the “profession of faith” and it is not to be diminished. That is only the beginning. When all we hear, Sunday after Sunday, is about the profession, we need to find a new church to spend time in. We are not learning as disciples should. Continue reading
Jesus the Messiah supremely displays God’s patient character in his work of salvation. The patience of Jesus the Messiah is seen in his relationships with people and in his perseverance through trial and suffering to death.
As a disciple of the Messiah I am called to demonstrate patience in all my relationships and circumstances. Jesus has shown me His mercy. I must show patience to all I have a relationship with as well. Continue reading
This is the third time Jesus appears to the disciples. They’ve been out fishing all night. They’ve been working. They have so much on their minds, better to do something productive.
What does Jesus do? What is he concerned about? Jesus doesn’t want their efforts to be in vain so He directs them on where to fish so they don’t come back empty handed. Jesus cares that they are hungry and fixes them some breakfast. Continue reading
Who is God?
Who is God?
How do I describe Him to others?
Where would I start?
Here is a good place to start. It will be good news for many. God is good and God is love. It is not something he does but instead it is who God is. Jesus personified it.
This translation is from The Message. We all recognize Psalm 23. The traditional translation of verse 6 is “Surely goodness and loving kindness will follow me all the days of my life.”
I want to live in the world where God’s beauty and love chase me every day of my life. I do, I do, I do! Imagine seeing every minute of every day that way? Imagine living life that way? Imagine?
“God, my shepherd! I don’t need a thing. You have bedded me down in lush meadows, you find me quiet pools to drink from. True to your word, you let me catch my breath and send me in the right direction. Even when the way goes through Death Valley, ’m not afraid when you walk at my side. Your trusty shepherd’s crook makes me feel secure. You serve me a six-course dinner right in front of my enemies. You revive my drooping head; my cup brims with blessing. Your beauty and love chase after me every day of my life. I’m back home in the house of God for the rest of my life. “ ~King David | Psalm 23 (The Message Bible)
There are times I am clearly not at peace. I am not at peace with myself and I am not at peace with God or Jesus. Something is wrong. I may or may not know it but it becomes evident in my anxiety and worry. I am not convinced, at that point in time, that God is good and has my best interest at heart.
It starts with faith. I need to get clear with my faith in Jesus. When peace leaves me, I need to get back to the real issue. I don’t have faith, I don’t believe who Jesus is and what He accomplished. Lack of peace comes from ignoring the core issue of unbelief. God is good. God sent His son to make me right with God. God did it out of love for me. Now that is some good news!
“Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus the Messiah.” | Romans 5:1 (NASB) Continue reading
Is love optional? Yes, I get to decide whether to love or not. So do you. I often am not loving. I can be mean and cruel. I have no defense. “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.”
There is good news in that the Word of God and Jesus offers an understanding of the source, character, requirement and value of love, based on the nature and actions of God our Father. Jesus sums up God’s goal (command) for us as one of loving God and our neighbors.
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the great and foremost commandment. “The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ ~Jesus | Matthew 22:37
I must confess that I am not the best at this. I am challenged many days. Let’s dig in. There is much to learn on how to love. Continue reading
Martin Luther King’s rationale for love and nonviolence was an attempt to follow in the steps of Jesus. Throughout his life, he reminded himself and others about Sermon on the Mount’s (the Jesus Manifesto) call to love our enemies (Matthew 5:43-48) and the arrest of Jesus (Matthew 26-36-56), which calls people to a nonviolent love in search for justice. Continue reading
Jesus told this parable to some people who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and viewed others with contempt: “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood and was praying this to himself: ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other people: swindlers, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I pay tithes of all that I get.’ But the tax collector, standing some distance away, was even unwilling to lift up his eyes to heaven, but was beating his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, the sinner!’ I tell you, this man went to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted.” Source: Luke 18:9-14 (NASB)
As background, the Greek word for contempt is ἐξουθενέω exouthenéō, (ex-oo-then-eh’-o). It means contemptible, despise, least esteemed or set at naught. The first principle of Jesus is to love. Contempt is hate but it is insidious in that I don’t see it in my life. Continue reading
We all know what Jesus said. Or do we? Do we serve an “angry God” who is out to do me in? Or is God good? I must decide and it makes a difference.
For God so loved the world …
We know that God is good. God is also in a good mood.
We also know there will be justice. There will be a judgement day. We will have to give an account of ourselves.
“God, Who is by nature good and dispassionate, loves all men equally as His handiwork. But He glorifies the virtuous man because in his will he is united to God. At the same time, in His goodness he is merciful to the sinner and by chastising him in this life brings him back to the path of virtue. Similarly, a man of good and dispassionate judgment also loves all men equally. He loves the virtuous man because of his nature and the probity of his intention; and he loves the sinner, too, because of his nature and because in his compassion he pities him for foolishly stumbling in darkness.”
— Maximos the Confessor
Κύριε Ἰησοῦ Χριστέ, Υἱέ τοῦ Θεοῦ, ἐλέησόν με τὸν ἁμαρτωλόν
Translated “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner”
Jesus compels us to love our neighbor as ourselves.
Jesus isn’t having any of our “Use and toss away” culture.
It just won’t do at all. There is going to be a day of judgement. Jesus has been given the authority from God the Father decide who will spend eternity with Him and who will spend eternity in the eternal flames of hell. Don’t think so. From Matthew 25 “Then He will also say to those on His left, ‘Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels; 42 for I was hungry, and you gave Me nothing to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me nothing to drink; 43 I was a stranger, and you did not invite Me in; naked, and you did not clothe Me; sick, and in prison, and you did not visit Me.’ 44 Then they themselves also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not [e]take care of You?’ 45 Then He will answer them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’ 46 These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”
“We ought not to treat living creatures like shoes or household belongings, which when worn with use we throw away.”
“So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets. Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.” ~ Jesus | Source: Matthew 7:12-14 (ESV)
Jesus is beginning to wrap up his Manifesto (aka the Sermon on the Mount). Jesus now lays out for us the summary of all summaries. Jesus says “this is the Law and the Prophets”. Jesus gives it to us at the highest level. This is what is known as the “30,000 foot view”. It is also traditionally known as the “Golden Rule”. Continue reading
“When the Pharisees heard how he had bested the Sadducees, they gathered their forces for an assault. One of their religion scholars spoke for them, posing a question they hoped would show Jesus up: “Teacher, which command in God’s Law is the most important?”
“Jesus said, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence.’ This is the most important, the first on any list. But there is a second to set alongside it: ‘Love others as well as you love yourself.’ These two commands are pegs; everything in God’s Law and the Prophets hangs from them.” | Source: Matthew 22:34-40
The religious leaders, in their contempt, arrogance and hypocrisy, thought they could get the best of Jesus. Of course, they couldn’t. It hasn’t stopped though. Religious leaders, and their followers, still think they can. Of course, they can’t. Continue reading
All God’s perfect qualities are made freely available to all for the benefit of the whole world. God is good. Jesus alerts us that God alone is good. God is good, kind, thoughtful, compassionate and loving. God so loved the world that He sent Jesus to die for us. God is good y’all.
Because God is good, God is in a good mood. It is a myth that the old testament (aka covenant) is all about an angry God. As James alerts us “Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.” God never varies from being good. At all. Ever! Continue reading
I’ve loved you the way my Father has loved me. Make yourselves at home in my love. If you keep my commands, you’ll remain intimately at home in my love. That’s what I’ve done—kept my Father’s commands and made myself at home in his love.
Source: John 15:9-10
Jesus, the Messiah, is all about love. We all want to be at home. It was in love that God, the Father, sent his Son to the world to save us from missing God’s goal for our life (aka sin). It all starts with the love the Father shown to Jesus. Jesus has taken that love and given it to me. I know how to love because of Jesus. Ah, it is great to be home! Continue reading
God has a goal for me. Primarily God wants me to grow up and not be a child my whole life. Growing up requires discipline from a father. God is in a good mood and disciplines me for a reason. It is out of true love. So, what is the goal of discipline? “All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness. (Hebrews 12:11)” Continue reading
King David asks God a great question. David talks with God all the time and he asks God a lot of questions. Do I want to have dinner with God? Is that my desire today? What will it take to get invited? All great questions.
David gets an answer from God. It is great to ask the question. Am I open to the answer? Do I hear what God has to say to me? I hear but many times I miss the goal that God has in mind for me.
Jesus simplified it for me. Love! That is it. Love God and love everyone else I know. the goal is clear. The good news is that God is in a great mood. When I miss the goal, Jesus picks me up, sets me straight on what happened and sends me on my way. God’s gift is to make me whole. Continue reading
Jesus is always clear and direct. I can count on that. Jesus isn’t going to sugar coat the message he has for me.
In the book of Revelation, Jesus confronts the 7 churches. Jesus also confronts me. Is what he finds to his liking? Jesus will be direct. There isn’t time for messing around.
Jesus challenges me to be hot or cold for him. I’m guessing the right approach is to be hot. Am I stagnant or am I on fire for Jesus?
This is telling. Jesus demonstrates his love by prodding and correcting. Jesus knows what is at stake. Jesus corrects me so that I will become a conqueror and be able to sit with him at the head table. Continue reading
We have to keep the rules (law). That is what religious leaders believe. I believe it way to much myself. I tend to want to be a rule-keeper.
Jesus came to fulfill the rules (law) and give them real meaning. Jesus wants to teach me that the real rule is one of love. Love answers the question about what is right and what is wrong.
Jesus knows what God’s goal is. Jesus never misses the mark. Jesus is right on target and it always starts with love. Jesus knows that the rules sometimes don’t make any sense and gives me an analogy to prove it. The law said you weren’t supposed to work on the Sabbath (Saturday). So if your child falls down a well, you shouldn’t save him? Continue reading
Jesus intends for us to have great relationships with people in our world. That is His goal for us. Jesus challenges me to love one another. Other than the love of God, this is the second most important thing for us to focus on. All of God’s plans come down to this.
Having great relationships requires being open. When I reflect His love and am open, I am prompting others to have a relationship with our Father.
Our generosity and love always points to our Father’s generosity and love. God is good and in a good mood. All the time.
May I learn to be open like my Master Jesus.
“By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.” ~~Jesus
~~Matthew 5:14-16 (The Message Bible)
God is a God of love and God is a God of justice. I must remember both of those things but not ignore the justice part.
God is in business. God’s business is putting things right. It is clearly not my job. It clearly is God’s job. God has put Jesus in charge of his business.
God sets me straight; I don’t set God straight. God is God. God is great. God’s will is going to be done. My focus is to understand and act on what God wants to happen today.
God’s business is putting things right;
he loves getting the lines straight,
Setting us straight. Once we’re standing tall,
we can look him straight in the eye.
Source: Psalm 11:7
Today is the day to focus on what God wants me to do. That is the simplest way forward.
Complex, multi-year plans are useless. God is God. Jesus is in control. I don’t know anything about what God wants beyond today.
Jesus has challenged me to love today. That is pretty simple. When I look at it, that is what Jesus will want me to do tomorrow as well. The people may be different. The circumstances will be different. The challenge and goal will be the same.
“In character, in manner, in style, in all things, the supreme excellence is simplicity.” ~Henry Wadsworth
Paul has just given a very lengthy rant on why followers of Jesus shouldn’t file civil claims against one another. He believes that Christians should judge each other and not leave it up to the civil court system.
The big picture summary is that I need to learn the difference between what is legal and what is right in God’s eyes. My judge is Jesus. I need to focus on pleasing him and not pleasing others. The spiritual law is the law of love. Am I loving God? Am I loving everyone I come in contact with? That is God’s goal for me.
I know many times a day I am not showing love. Showing love is what I need to worry about. Whether I am demonstrating love is what I will be judged on.
Jesus is very clear about this in his legacy of his words recorded by 4 of his followers.
“Just because something is technically legal doesn’t mean that it’s spiritually appropriate. If I went around doing whatever I thought I could get by with, I’d be a slave to my whims.” ~Apostle Paul
Source: 1 Corinthians 6:12
Once again, Jesus is very direct. No beating around the bush.
Jesus knew that Peter loved him. Even when he denied knowing Jesus, Jesus knew, in his core, that Peter loved him.
Jesus now gave Peter 3 opportunities to affirm his love. Jesus wanted him fully redeemed for the 3 denials. This was for Peter, and the others. It wasn’t for Jesus. Jesus knew. God is in a good mood.
Jesus wants to know if I love him. That is the only question of import. While not perfectly, I do indeed. I will stand for him.
After breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?”
“Yes, Master, you know I love you.”
Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.”
Jesus has some great news, for some of us. That is not always what we hear or want to hear.
Not all of us will enter into God’s country (aka the Kingdom of God). Jesus has been appointed Judge. As we stand there in front of Jesus, justice will be done. There is an eternal reward waiting for some of us. There is eternal doom waiting for others. Jesus loves us but he will also judge us. There is no “free lunch” or get out of jail free card.
Jesus challenges me to love. For Jesus, love is very practical. Love is feeding the hungry, giving water to the thirsty, giving a room to the homeless, clothing those who are cold, visiting the sick and prisoners. Jesus has a goal for what my love should look like. This is how I will be judged, not by what I say but by what I do.
Am I a sheep or am I a goat? Jesus will let me know. I know what to do to ensure the right answer to that question. I must focus and do it.
“When he finally arrives, blazing in beauty and all his angels with him, the Son of Man will take his place on his glorious throne. Then all the nations will be arranged before him and he will sort the people out, much as a shepherd sorts out sheep and goats, putting sheep to his right and goats to his left.
“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Enter, you who are blessed by my Father! Take what’s coming to you in this kingdom. It’s been ready for you since the world’s foundation. And here’s why:
I was hungry and you fed me,
I was thirsty and you gave me a drink,
I was homeless and you gave me a room,
I was shivering and you gave me clothes,
I was sick and you stopped to visit,
I was in prison and you came to me.’
Source: Matthew 25:31-36
- There are certain building blocks, where the focus leads from one to another. Am I building on them every day?
- My time and attention needs to be on God’s goal for me. Jesus has given me a list of goal areas to plan around. Jesus challenges me to grow and not stagnate.
- Jesus has also empowered me with the Holy Spirit to help me become mature. I can’t do it on my own. It is all about Jesus.
- Faith alone isn’t enough. I must build on the foundation of faith daily. Faith, on its on, isn’t enough for maturity.
“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 sinful life has been wiped off the books.” ~Apostle Peter
Source: 2 Peter 1:5-8 (The Message)
Here is the list of the seven to focus on, building on our foundation of faith:
- Good character, virtue and excellence
- Knowledge and spiritual understanding
- Discipline and self-control
- Passionate patience and steadfastness
- Reverent wonder and godliness
- Brotherly affection and friendliness
- Generous love
Can I hope unswervingly? It is an essential question. Can I? Will I?
- With the power of the Holy Spirit, I can. On my own, I get lost. It is up to me to trust in Jesus.
- This is an essential item. Without hope, I am lost every day. In fact, every minute of every day. God’s goal for us is to be hopeful.
- Without hope, I will fail to fully participate in God’s world (Kingdom). Hope doesn’t not stand on its own though. Coupled with trust and love we are complete.
- And so, when I am filled with Jesus and the power of His HOLY Spirit, I hope unswervingly. I don’t deviate from hope at all. This leads me to maturity. This leads me to completeness.
“But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation: Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love.” ~Apostle Paul
Source: 1 Corinthians 13:13
Is Jesus a respectable religious leader?
- Jesus is not interested in being a “respectable religious leader”. He is not Mr. Rogers with a beard. Jesus is powerful and very direct. Jesus challenges me every day.
- Jesus is in charge of everything. Seriously. Believe it. God has given everything over to Jesus. There is not a thing Jesus isn’t in charge of.
- All Jesus does is what He sees the Father doing. His power and authority come from God. Jesus is obedient and challenges me to do what God desires. That is mainly to find a way to love.
May I know that God is God.
Jesus does what He sees the Father doing.
May I do the same.
Here it is. It is the main thing about the main thing.
Our Father is in a good mood. He always has been. He always will be. His love for me is pure. He isn’t keeping a list of all of my sins. He isn’t frustrated with me at all. He is just tickled pink with who I am in Him.
The life He has given me as a gift is amazing. I didn’t do a thing to earn it. Never could. His love isn’t cautious at all. The most famous bible verse (John 3:16) starts with “For God so loved the world …”
Now how amazing is all of this. He so ROCKS!!!
May I know that God is good and in a good mood all the time. May I know He loves me all the time.
Great story from Francis Chan on creating a mega-church and what led him to leave.
- Many times Jesus challenges us to leave it all behind. God bless those who listen and obey.
- Is it all really about the numbers and money? I think we know what Jesus thinks. It is really only about love.
- What is “the church” really all about? What difference does it make in our communities? God has a plan for the church. It isn’t about the numbers. The church is about love. Here is what Jesus says! “Let me give you a new command: Love one another. In the same way I loved you, you love one another. This is how everyone will recognize that you are my disciples—when they see the love you have for each other.”
As parents, we know the frustration of asking our children to do something, only to discover they have completely ignored us.
- Listen and do: You can almost hear the frustration in Jesus voice over the issue of listening and doing. This is key. It is useless to listen only. Obedience must follow.
- My mission is to love. That is it, plain and simple. I really don’t have any other job. That is God’s goal for me.
- Love lays a solid foundation for everything else in life. It will stand the test of time. It will earn my God’s favor.
“Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say? I will show you what he is like who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice. He is like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built.”
Source: Luke 6:46, 49
May I have a well built house. May I put into practice what Jesus says. God has a goal for me. My job is to believe, be obedient and have faith.
Jesus has a way he wants us to follow to work out our grievances against one another. If I am not willing to follow it, I should keep my mouth shut.
- Jesus wants me to have the courage to go to the person, one on one, try to work it out.
- I have to decide, is this worth an intervention? If it isn’t, I can just forgive and move on.
- Now this is tough, do I want to take it to the whole church?
I don’t think most of us would ever get past step one. Step one is huge though. It forces me to think through do I just forgive and does the person need to know they hurt me.
Having done all that, what should I do? Jesus says start it all over again and focus on God’s forgiving love.
“If a fellow believer hurts you, go and tell him—work it out between the two of you. If he listens, you’ve made a friend. If he won’t listen, take one or two others along so that the presence of witnesses will keep things honest, and try again. If he still won’t listen, tell the church. If he won’t listen to the church, you’ll have to start over from scratch, confront him with the need for repentance, and offer again God’s forgiving love.”
Source Matthew 18:15-17
What do I have on my to do list for the day?
What must I do?
Thanking God should be at the top of my list every day. When I thank God, particularly for others, I will love them. I can’t thank God for all the good in someone else and then hate them can I?
Nope, can’t be done.
Thanking God over and over for you is the key!
You need to know, friends, that thanking God over and over for you is not only a pleasure; it’s a must. We have to do it. Your faith is growing phenomenally; your love for each other is developing wonderfully. Why, it’s only right that we give thanks. We’re so proud of you; you’re so steady and determined in your faith despite all the hard times that have come down on you. We tell everyone we meet in the churches all about you. 2 Thessalonians 1:3-4
Jesus said He only did what He saw the Father doing.
Mostly just finding ways to love me. The more I keep company with Jesus, the more I will learn a life of love.
What I see Jesus do, I will do likewise. I will not be selfish or cautious in my love. I must be extravagant in my love. That is His way.
So, what do I need to do to learn to love more? Spend more time with Jesus.
Watch what God does, and then you do it, like children who learn proper behavior from their parents. Mostly what God does is extravagantly 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 challenges me to have true friends in him. It starts with God. My love for him should be overwhelming.
Jesus wants to be my friend.
Jesus challenges me to love others with unreserved passion. Friendship develops out that.
It isn’t about popularity. It is about love.
If Barbie is so popular, why do you have to buy her friends? ~Steven Wright
For this we were created and for this we were rescued from missing God’s goal (sin) and death. In Ephesians, Paul lets us in on a little secret: We’ve been more than noticed. God has pursued us from farther than space and longer ago than time.
God has had us in mind since before the Foundations of the World. He loved us before the beginning of time, has come for us, and now calls us to journey toward him, with him, for the consummation of our love.
O Living Flame of Love . . . How gently and how lovingly Thou wakest in my bosom, where alone thou secretly dwellest; And in Thy sweet breathing full of grace and glory how tenderly Thou fillest me with Thy love. ~~St. John of the Cross
I know I tend to think that either I love or I don’t. Paul points out that there is another way to see it.
I can love and I can have a lot of love. But beyond that I should love well.
There should be a quality to my love. Love is not about quantity but it is all about quality. How well do I love? Something to think, pray and act on.
So I pray, may I love well!!
So this is my prayer: that your love will flourish and that you will not only love much but well.” Apostle Paul (Philippians 1:9-11 The Message)
With Jesus, it always starts with love. Jesus loved Lazarus. Everyone knew that.
Lazarus was sick. It got worse however. Lazarus died. Jesus knew that and allowed it to happen. He wasn’t in a rush to go see him.
Jesus knew how it would end. Jesus knew the power of God. Jesus knew he would raise him from the dead. Jesus believed in the power of God. He was okay with everything.
Jesus loved Lazarus. Jesus would take care of it.
Jesus knew what was happening. Jesus was the only one who knew. Everyone else freaked out.
May I live in the power God and confidence of God’s love. God is in a good mood. I am the one Jesus loves so very much.
A man was sick, Lazarus of Bethany, the town of Mary and her sister Martha. This was the same Mary who massaged the Lord’s feet with aromatic oils and then wiped them with her hair. It was her brother Lazarus who was sick. So the sisters sent word to Jesus, “Master, the one you love so very much is sick.”
This one is VERY simple. Loving others deeply and the way Jesus the Messiah does is the test of right living.
Right living in God and right living with all who are a part of my life. It is all about the relationships. Acting right equals right-living with God.
If we are not God’s child then we are the Devil’s child. This is a start reality. There is a clear difference between the two. The test is quite simple. Which am I?
Loving God and loving my neighbor is the test.
So, my dear children, don’t let anyone divert you from the truth. It’s the person who acts right who is right, just as we see it lived out in our righteous Messiah. …. Here’s how you tell the difference between God’s children and the Devil’s children: The one who won’t practice righteous ways isn’t from God, nor is the one who won’t love brother or sister. A simple test.1 John 3:7-10
That is what it is all about. Jesus had this focus. He cared all the time. His Father focused on caring for him. That is what love is all about.
God’s goal for me is to be full of care. Jesus challenges me to love everyone.
You’re happy when you care. At the moment of being ‘care-full,’ you find yourselves cared for.” ~Jesus (Matthew 5:7 The Message)
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!
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)