Can we bring ourselves to care for others with great concern and sincere appreciation? Can we offer ourselves up for the good of others? We must see people instead of commodities. Behind each face is a person who is important to God. Our treatment of others is rooted in how Christ treated us. “But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.” (Rom. 5:8, NLT) God’s greatest act of love for us was before we were loveable. God did not wait for us to get cleaned up. He sacrificially came after us. We need to be people who love. We must not just let it be a Christian slogan. The slogans don’t work anymore. It has to come from the heart that has been changed by the heart of God. Strong love is a gift from God that is ours to use. Remember these words from Ephesians 3:17–19
Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. 18 And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. 19 May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God. (NLT)
We have made love too small. The voices we have heard all of our life have been from sources of small love. The voices are in our brain and they scream small love. That is why it is so critical to renew the mind. That is why knowing the great expanse of Christ’s love is paramount. We must comprehend the incomprehensible nature of His love. His voice should override the voices of our mind that tell us to limit our love. The voices we have heard and learned from tell us that if we love completely we will get hurt, so we have been trained to limit love. Jesus said, “Love God with everything you are and your neighbor as yourself.” (paraphrase mine). Today, I want you to know you are able to love. You are able to demonstrate sacrificial love that smells good to God. It is a “sweet smelling aroma” when we love like Jesus.
You have probably learned that life is about using others for your own fulfillment. We seem to learn that if we lower the level of morality we will experience greater love and acceptance. We are tempted with sexual immorality and covetousness. We lower the value of others in order to increase our own value in our eyes. These are assaults on our ability to love. You can love the way Christ loves when you listen to His voice, live in His power and obey His Word.
I have not posted in so long you might just pass this by. However, I hope you read it and maybe find a little encouragement when your storms hit.
I am finding peace in the middle of the storm. There are so many things in life right now that are uncertain, unclear, but not uncharted. The peace I have found is not in anything other than Jesus. I know God has charted the right course for my life and has taken into account every wind, current and storm. He knows where every obstacle is located and every unseen danger. He has not only placed my sin under the blood but my entire life. This came to me last night and gave me peace. Let me set up what God had done earlier in the day. We enjoyed the Lord’s Supper yesterday with our faith family. I went by Panera and got a loaf of bread so we would not have anyone choke on a wafer. We had everything prepared and ready for the observance. Mary Anne and I cut off our pieces of bread and got our cups of juice. As we prayed and took the bread, I was moved to dip my bread in my cup of juice, it soaked up the juice.
Shock was my first thought. Fear has tried to get me. Discouragement knocks at the door. Peace has protected my mind. It’s a peace given by my Jesus. I found out last night at 4:55 that I have a carcinoid tumor. The doctor said is was cancerous and needs to be removed. That news coupled with the other events of our life has created a storm of sorts. Before falling asleep last night my mind was racing and trying to figure everything out. As I did, the Holy Spirit spoke to me these words of comfort, “This tumor is under the blood of Jesus!” I pictured the bread soaking up the juice. I know this part of my life God has charted. He knows everything going on in our life right now. The winds, currents and storms have been accounted for. So, I choose to trust Jesus. I will have set backs and thoughts that spiral out of control, but I will return to Jesus. I will be in His Word. I will believe in Him.
“What are we going to do with the rest of our life?” That is the question that seems to be popping up in my mind most these days. In the days we (Mary Anne & I) have left, we don’t know and have never known how many that will be, what are we to do? If it is a week or 30 years, what are we to do? I think God has given me an answer that really seems pretty simple. It is not a Christian motto that never really seems true or the slogan that would make sense on a bumper sticker. It is really just two things.
We must accept God loves us unconditionally, that is without any conditions. This results in joy, freedom and celebration.
We need to respond to God’s love faithfully. God demonstrates His love in many ways and circumstances. In each of those our greatest act of love is to join Him.
So simply put if each of us will accept God’s unconditional love and respond to God’s love faithfully we will walk in the fullness of the Spirit and make an impact in the world in which we live.
You will never find peace until your soul (mind, will and emotions) is crushed and you release everything within your soul to the Spirit of God. Then and only then will the Spirit be able to freely accomplish His will. Don’t rebuild that which God has allowed to be crushed and you have released. The first sign of rebuilding will be the emotional return to what has been released. What the Spirit of God brings back to life will be rebuilt by Him as well. It is our will, our mind and our emotions that must not return. Our life should manifest His mind, His will and His emotions. Too often the things that break our heart are not the things that break God’s heart.
Have you been praying for something that just has not happened yet? Is there something you have been waiting on for quite some time? Is there something you have just quit asking for? Have you give up? You believed at first things could be different but that has long passed. You tried to keep the faith, as some would say, it you have just grown weary. You have quit trying because it seems to always end in futility. So, you are tired of waiting and are ready to give up! Take a minute to read these few verses.
Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, in Aramaic called Bethesda, which has five roofed colonnades. 3 In these lay a multitude of invalids—blind, lame, and paralyzed. 5 One man was there who had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. 6 When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had already been there a long time, he said to him, “Do you want to be healed?” 7 The sick man answered him, “Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, and while I am going another steps down before me.” 8 Jesus said to him, “Get up, take up your bed, and walk.” 9 And at once the man was healed, and he took up his bed and walked. Now that day was the Sabbath. (John 5:2-9)
I think on the first day someone believed this man would be healed. I believe on the 7th days someone thought he would be made complete. I believe someone somewhere was praying. I believe people came and went. People had hope and gave up. This man had a place, a place that revealed he had been here a long time – too long. He had given up the thought of walking but still wanted to walk.
I don’t know how long you have been waiting. I don’t know how many people have came and went. I don’t know many people have come along your side with great hope and left in disappointment. I don’t know if Jesus will “fix” your situation, but I know he has in the past. I know he can. I don’t know if he will. But one thing I do know, it is still worth hope. It is still worth prayer. It ain’t dead until God kills it. Stay strong and continue on.
I find myself when typing on my phone to type “live” when I want to type “love”. So I type, “I live you” instead of “I love you”. I got to thinking about that the other day and wondered what the difference is. “I live you” sounds like it means that I live your desires. It sounds as if you have become that person. I know this might sound a little crazy, but can we “love” God if we don’t “live” God. Isn’t that our call as Christians? Aren’t we to “live” God out in our society. Isn’t that why we have the Holy Spirit.
My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.