Tuesday, December 31, 2013
As we come to an end of the year 2013 some of us will look forward to a new year. A new year to do so many things... We even get caught up in the excitement of making resolutions... sometimes we look at this time as a new starting point. This year I will do better... This year I will get my weight under control... This year I will not act so badly... This year I will try to love more... This year I will draw near to God... This year I will be a better person... So tomorrow start 2014 and like many we want to be better... But what makes this year so special? Some of us have been trying hard for many New Years to be better... And believe it or not for many of us the New Year just fades away in a few days or weeks and we are living life just as we had before. Back to the same old, if you will. How can we change this New Year thing? How can we reach the goals that we know God wants in our lives? Now let us pull back a little and say small goals... small changes... and for some maybe big goals. You see we are always waiting for the right time... timing is everything right? We wait for the right day, we wait for the right season, the right place... But in God's word there is this verse Lam. 3:22 "The Lord's lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness." So as we go ahead this new year some may start a right if you will, some might not, some might still be waiting... but we do not have to wait for special days.. to seek God... to change for every day is new and with God's lovingkindnesses; you have to like that word lovinglindnesses. So let us go forth day by day in God's lovingkindnesses. Lovingkindnesses fits in with our study just right.
Sunday, December 22, 2013
As we have been going through what love is as written in 1Cor.13, it seems that we need to understand why we love! Let us start with why does God love us? Why would God love me; I'm not that likable... I have messed up a lot and I still mess up a lot... sometimes it seems that I just can't get it right, sometimes I feel like I am a one man wrecking crew or you may think that you have done something(s) so bad there is no way that God can love me. As we have been learning that love is an action(s), but what motivates that action of love. What motivated God to love us that He sent His Son! He does say in His word that not one is good. Why would God love us? Now before we go further let me say that this is not going to be an answer of great theology... God love us because we are His creation, and we are created in His image/likeness. I also believe that God also knows what we would be like when we can handle the knowledge of evil and when we really start understanding the knowledge of good. We are His! That is why He reaches down with love, the love of sending His Son to pay the price for our mess ups... to fix our thinking... so we can have everlasting life with Him. As for us when we accept this gift of God, Jesus, our life is changed... and love for Him becomes more real if you will and more... Now why do we love? A good example would be the love parents have for their children. Because they are yours part of you... The same as love for family! We love each other for we are connected. We don't have to do anything to earn that love. A child could be crying or over active... but as parents we still love them. How much more does God love us His creation. Now why does a man love His wife what is the bond that makes their love stand out if you will. The bond is that an attraction becomes more when they become married for they become one, a bond that is greater than family. Love is actions but before we get to those actions love is a choice. We need to choose to whom we love and then do the actions of love. As for God He chose the world, all of us, that all have the choice to accept His love of Jesus. As for us we need to learn how to love all and to do those deeds of love. Yes, God did give a gift, His Son but with His gift He is still doing what we are learning in 1Corinth. 13. For us we need to understand that just giving gifts to show love is not enough we need to do those action of 1Corinth.13 So Merry Christmas to you all!
Friday, December 20, 2013
As we continue our series of love; we find ourselves leaving the section of what love is not, and back to another section of what love is. You see love is an action, that is doing acts that demonstrate love and as we have seen that it also includes not doing actions that do not demonstrate love. With that the next of what love does is love "rejoices with the truth." Truth, so many times we wonder what is truth in the big picture of things. Some believe that the bible is true and some only think that parts are true... (there is another devotional for this). For us it will be helpful to recognize that when we look at truth in this circumstance that we focus toward individuals. That when we look at truth we are looking at the actions of someone, or ones. Are those actions done in good will? Are they sincere? Did they tell the truth? Are they honest? So many times we look at things of being factually true... that we miss in life when one tries to do something good... and things go array... we only see the negative... Or when one does a wrong we can't wait to jump... on them, make them pay... even when they are up front and tell the truth... our anger... So many times when we see truth... what do we do? but what should we do? Rejoice! So no matter what is happening when we see, hear... truth, we need to rejoice. Yes, when our children tell the truth we need to rejoice! Guess what, if we do rejoice it will help us in the way we deal with them... When we hear of someone who has done something... and tells the truth we rejoice! And if we are rejoicing then hopefully all that negative thinking... will go away. For hopefully when we are rejoicing we can put on the other positive actions of love; being patient and kind. You see when we where honest with God, confessing our sins... and believing that He will forgive us... in the Name of Jesus His Son who takes away the sins of the world. Do you not think that when God hears us being truthful... He rejoices! Not only then but when we come before Him in our Christian walk and confessing our sins as we are instructed in 1 John 1:9 "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." Not only does He forgive us but He rejoices! He is not up in heaven saying here comes Peter again, can't he get anything right... No He is waiting for us to come to Him, yes with a good attitude... and when we start confessing in truth a smile of rejoicing if you will start... So this Christmas season let us have rejoicing more a part of our lives!
Tuesday, December 10, 2013
Love is not provoked. Now this is an interesting concept of what love is not. When I think of provoke the thought of pushing one to act with anger is at the forefront. Some one's actions or words, bringing up feelings... to get me to respond in a negative way... Let's face it people know how to press others buttons... They know how to get under ones skin... knowingly or not. Yes, people for some reason do put people in negative "light" if you would trying to get that negative response... to confirm all what they have been saying... Provoke how ever has that positive meaning also; to provoke someone to continue in a good direction... to provoke a smile... so provoke is not a bad thing. But when love is provoked it is. Now before we go on we must remember that things need to be put in to perspective. That having a hard black and white approach may not fit; here is one of those times. The first example would be that of dangling an object... in front of someone. You want the object or even have a need for the object... so with that you show affection... even when you do not want to. OK I'm going to say it, "money can't buy me love". Nor can one who does the other of threatening... Another one would be that of favoritism... For if one is doing these things to get love, then one needs to stop doing those things for love is not provoked. The love you think you have is not really love, it is shallow, weak at best. For love is not something that can be bought, influenced... Just like you cannot buy God's love or the love of God for love is not a thing that can be bought. Remember it is a gift! You can try to buy it, steel it, borrow it... but you can never get the real deal with those ways... For love is a gift that one gives... if you need to do something to earn... influence... or buy... it is not a gift freely given...
Love does not rejoice in unrighteousness. Or rejoices not in iniquity. We are to be marked with love as a Christian. That is love is what comes forth from us ... Not only toward the people we know, or close to or the people we like... but toward all. When we think of this what love is not we can get stuck in the out ward appearance we have if you will. That is we are not doing bad deeds... to others; we are not the one that did such an such... that we have had no part in that... But this of what love is not goes much deeper. It reaches deep down inside of us. For deep down is where things boil up that should not be. We think that when someone is going through a hard time... that they deserve it because of their sin... Even when an unthinkable thing as a death of a child, people think that something is a miss... in their lives that is why it happened... Oh, some might say, that is not what I am doing... Love does not rejoice in iniquity, that is evil. Love does not rejoice when evil... comes upon someone... If you were to have love you would have compassion... not thinking what they did to cause this... or thinking that this evil/bad thing is deserved or what they have coming... You see if you are getting stuck in what people deserve... or what sin have they done... to be where they are... Then you will have a hard time to demonstrate love... I would even go as far to say you will have a hard time witnessing for our Lord and Savior Jesus. You see for God so loved us He sent His Son. This He did out of love. You see we all deserve His judgment but He reaches out to us in love... Love is foremost. You need to love the people that God created, even when they are in the midst of bad things because of sin or when things fall their way because we live in a fallen world... So if you find yourself thinking that they deserve such an such... or hoping that something happens to someone... That get'em attitude. Just maybe you need to refocus, rethink... even thinking that this might be tough love... you still need to change for love does not rejoice in evil.
Tuesday, December 3, 2013
"Love does not take into account a wrong suffered," Of all the "does not" maybe this one gives most people the most problems. When I think of wrong, I default to my school days of getting problems wrong... but the main definition of wrong has to do with unjust, injurious acts, principles being violated and conduct. As with all things dealing with people there seems to be those things that have different meanings for different people. that what is wrong to one may not be a wrong to another. Never mind putting ones feelings into the equation. So with that said, you have been wronged by someone. The question is are you taking into account that wrong? Did you forgive the one who wronged you? Has the one who wronged you been restored? Here is the deal if you are one who is holding a grudge, you are not putting on love; if you are not willing to forgive someone for a wrong, you are not putting on love; if you are waiting for one to ask forgiveness... before you will forgive, you are not putting on love; if you are one who is judging someone's actions, you are not putting on love. For many of us we have great memories when it comes to remembering wrongs... we need to forgive and to forgive like Jesus forgives. Forgiveness is what demonstrates love. Eph.4:31-32 "Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you."
Saturday, November 16, 2013
Love is not self seeking. Now this is easy to see in others... Your watching a chix flick and there is that one person who is doing things to impress... for their own goals... It is usually pretty pronounced in the movies. In real life there are ones who do the same, they are good at putting on the charm... and good at doing things to pursue their own desires... Now I know that this example is toward romance; but it does not end there. Self seeking brings the thought of one doing things that would benefit them self. That you give a gift to someone for you know that one will be given in return, hopefully a better one. You have someone over for dinner because you know that they will have you over... You show love if you will because love will be shown back... Always looking at what will be given back... what is in it for me. Now sometime that what is in it for me would be praise. Yes, praise; let me tell you looking good... for doing something... is a good motivator for a lot of us. Praise, of men... Now let us not get to far to the left/right, having one thank you... is ok; it is when the line is crossed. What line? Say that you reached out in "love" by doing or giving to someone and they never thank you... Now here is the line test, how did you feel... and what do you think... would you reach out again? Did those negative feelings... boil up? The true test of love is that you do... with no expectations... and you are happy... that you showed/ demonstrated love... The joy of giving! One more thing; we must be aware of who we show love too. That we do not show partiality. An example, in a church I have attended there was a signup sheet for meals for people in need/ going through crisis... A family was on that list and there where meals signed up for weeks... and during the same time there was another family on the list; but very few would sign up... Calls were made to try to fill in the gaps... but still people were reluctant to help... saying they were helping the other family... Even now it brings tears to my eyes... Oh, it happens all the time in churches; oh yes it does. We are the church of the living God, how can this be? Let us all work on not letting this be in our lives. Now one last thing for men, so many times we do things for our wife... and guess what we sometimes do these things with expectations... and after a while when these expectations are not met we stop doing. Love does not stop doing. So keep on doing. Yes I know it is hard but don't give up.
Monday, November 11, 2013
"Love does not act unbecomingly" , 1 Corinthians 13:5. For me it is still hard to get over of knowing what love is not. Is it only me, does it not seem that we need to know more of what love is? So we can do what love is. Well yes, but we need to know what love is not, for we tend to think that some of the actions of what love is not, is showing love... so let us dig in to this next concept. Unbecoming is talking about our conduct. Rude is a word used in some translations; but unbecomingly reaches beyond the meanings of rude. It has in its meaning the respect of person(s), no matter who they are, were they are and what ever station of life they are at, being age or rank or wealth(rich or poor)... As I was thinking of this I can relate to acting unbecoming toward the poor and also acting unbecoming toward the rich. How can that be? That acting unbecoming could reach so vast a people in me, in you? So here it is we need to watch that we do not act unbecoming, that is bad conduct, feelings, speech, ..., toward people. That we treat people with love no matter who they are... For when God reached down for us it was not that we were deserving, nor that we were noble, nor that we were good looking, nor that were bright, nor that were we better... He reached down to all of us because we all are His creation; and He loves us, His creation. He reached down to us by sending His son, to redeem us... For this was our first great need. Now one last thing, unbecoming/rude also implies the idea of one not preparing/ thinking it out... not learning how to love, as pertained to the individual/ groups... for we all are so different in our preferences... also with these words of what love is not; could suggest the deliberate act of being rude/ unbecoming. Hopefully that is not us and hopefully we will try to be more studious about how to love our spouse, children, family and others.
Thursday, October 31, 2013
Love is not arrogant or love is not proud. One should not show or say or boast of how much they love. For love is an ongoing thing and not only is it on going, the opportunities of showing love are changing... and not only that, that as one grows his love should grow... When I think of arrogant, it makes me think of one thinking that they are better than_____. That their gifts... are better than.... What they do is better than... That no matter what for the most part you cannot compete with them for they are better than and do better than... And eventually this will make them think that the one being loved, shown love... should appreciate them more for showing such great love... We joke about this saying(s), "She is so lucky to have so and so" or "She is so lucky to have me." That just being associated with them, they are blessed... You see if we are only relying on our ability to love we have missed the mark; for we do not know how to truly love. Think about it! We think we know how to love but as time goes on we realize that we know so little... And when we want to truly love more... it somehow get's mixed up... and we find ourselves not doing the actions we want... You see for us to show love... we need God's help. We need Him to show us the way. We need Him guides us so we know how to love, when to love... and we need His strength also; for without Him our love is shaky at best.
Monday, October 21, 2013
As we continue of what love is we are faced with another, what love in not. Love does not brag(1Corinthians13:4). This is good that we learn what love is not. Just like there are actions that show love; there are actions that do not show love. Some of these actions would surprise us as we look at them. Like the one before us now; love does not brag. Brag, to boast. That is to tell what one has done... Wow, doesn't that hit hard. Love does not boast. So when you do something that demonstrates love... don't brag about it. When you buy your wife a gift just because you love her, don't bring it up later... saying this shows that I love you... That when you start saying that, this demonstrates the love I have for _____. That really is saying that maybe your priority has been amiss. You see love does not need to be defended because it is an ongoing process. Passed deeds that show love, are void if new deeds are not present. Love is a continuing process that involves multiple deeds/things. Love is more than just feelings, it is action based. Action based, that would be actions based. It is not just many actions it is actions that continue in the future, thus being on going. Now that, that is said, those actions being done have to have meaning. Not just financial meaning, but meaning that is personal. Maybe actions that fit needs and actions that makes one feel special. Actions that are personal to the individual... Sometimes actions just because it seems nice.... If you find that you are bringing up past actions of love... to justify your love... maybe you need to take a hard look at yourself and ask have I been demonstrating love enough? Now if you are married, maybe we all need to ask that question more frequently. Did I say maybe? No we need to ask that question frequently! An to act; so many times I find myself wanting to do... but then I get tired... and .... and ... So let us do the actions that demonstrate love to our spouses, to our children and to the brethren...
Tuesday, October 15, 2013
We have been talking about what love is, but our next characteristic would be of what love is not. Love is not jealous. Jealous, hostile to a rival or one having an advantage. Another word used would be envy; this word seems to work a little better for us in our era. Envy, painful or resentful awareness of an advantage enjoyed by another with the desire to possess the same advantage, or an object of envious notice or feeling, also sometimes in its meaning is malice. Most people when we think of envy we associated with possessions. Envious of some ones car or the house they have... it is a feeling. Now some one can be envious of say a friend...who has a new nice car but instead of going to malice, he checks himself and becomes happy for his friend. The thing about envy that needs to be watched out for would be when we have malice (bad, evil intentions, thoughts verses good happy...). The thing about envy is that it can cause a lot of damage. For with our example about one is envious of a possession, car, one might go so far as to damage... the car. Or if something was to happen (stolen, damaged) they have that happy feeling about what has happened, they are happy that it was done to so and so. In the example above we used possessions but it is not the possession that is being hurt it is the person. Now some times we take our envy to people themselves; we are envious of how they look, their position at work..., their abilities, their influence, their achievements, their wisdom... the things they are doing... Here is where a lot of damage takes place. Remember associated with this word is malice. So in our society how does one show envy? It would be with the use of words, gossip if you will. The use of words to put one down... showing the little flaws in someone, their weakness... to try to over shadow the good... that the person does... Putting up negative words... to invoke negative feelings of others toward that person. One could even use resources that are different than what the person is about to tear them down. "To tear them down", that would be a good phrase. Now envy also involves a dislike of a person, it does not have to have a solid reason... it goes on feelings... It amazes me how we can dislike someone just in a few seconds... of seeing them. It amazes me how sometimes it is manifested, and how long it is carried out... Love does not envy.
Saturday, October 12, 2013
Love is kind. The second character of love. As we have mentioned before love is an action; so this character of love is also an action. There are some words that we can associate with what it means to be kind. The first would be gentleness, I am using this one first for it seems that if one is practicing being patient, then kindness would start manifesting itself, hopefully. So gentleness is more than refraining... It is that of be understanding and caring. Now here is an example, some people have that gentleness, calmness when dealing with animals, but remember it is a lot more than that. The next word would be compassion, to sympathize with someone. Now it is not only feeling bad about what has happened to someone but to be active in helping... Here is what I think about when I think about, kindness, when you hear someone say, " you were so kind to do that..." It's an action being done, even just being prayer. Another words that is associated with kindness would be mercy. This I am going to link to situations that arise from some ones wrong choices... Even though it is not limited to that... but sometimes one needs to be shown mercy for something they have done. That kindness needs to be there. Now this is when we need to work on kindness. You see it might not be affecting you... but you know about the "wrong" if you will and the feeling of resentment... comes. So put on kindness, fight all the other feelings and action. For our God is merciful to us, look what is said in Lam. 3:22 "The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, His mercies never come to an end. They are new every morning great is your faithfulness." This is a great verse about love and what we are looking at; just like God we need to be full of mercy, full of kindness. One more verse to demonstrate this, Matt. 9:36 "When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd."
Tuesday, October 8, 2013
We have been looking at the verse John 3:16 "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life." There is a very important word for why God would send His Son to pay the price for our short comings...sin. That word would be love. Now when we think of love, if you are like me, some things come into mind. Love for my wife, children, extended family and even some friends. We will think of romance, sex, love of certain foods, possessions and the love of certain activities. For us that use the English language the word love is used in a very broad way as mentioned above. But is that the way that the word love is used in our verse or better yet; how is it used in our verse and what does it mean? So first let me put out three Greek word used for love, The first would be, agape(agapan), the second philo(philien) and the third eros. Now the third eros, sexual love we will not deal with. The second philo means, brotherly love, freindship. Now agape, let's call this God's love, it is unselfish love, a love that is dedicated to something no matter what. So what is love is still the question; love is an action it is more than just words. So what actions show love? Remember we are not including eros. Now before we get to those actions that show love let us not confuse love with lust, a strong desire. The best place that describes love is found in 1Corinthians 13:4-7 let's include part of verse 8. Verse 4 "Love is patient" would be the first character, or part that makes up what love is. Patient is an interesting word, it involves a few meanings like not acting hastily, bearing pains and trails calmly, steadfast despite opposition, manifesting forbearance under provocation or strain. So here are the first actions that demonstrate love. Not acting hastily, some of us are in a hurry most of the time, go, go , go. And when something comes up or when someone (usually someone close) doesn't perform or do... what we think needs to be done.. or doesn't do it "right" ; you know what happens. For some it happens in a big way for others their inpatient is shown in a little way (their good at hiding it). Now those instances of not performing are part of everyday life of doing things, but sometimes things are done a miss, on purpose if you will or even unawares that test our patience. So patient is what we all need to do to demonstrate love. Instead of getting wound up stop and think... come along side help if needed and forgive if needed. Now do not think that this is something that is easy... that we don't react fast, we wait a few minutes... some time you might need to be patient for a long time,hours, days, weeks, or even years. Think how patiently God waited for you just for salvation to be accepted, never mind how patient He is for us now as we try to follow His ways. This first character of love is not easy to do but let us all make a big effort to be more patient.
Tuesday, October 1, 2013
We have been looking at John 3:16 "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him will have everlasting life..." We looked at grace and mercy but today I want to look at why we all need to believe in Jesus the Son of God. Now this might seem a little different if you will but keep on reading and hopefully it will make sense. As believers we look at this verse and come to the conclusion that this the only way to get into heaven. But many think there is another. That other is what most are trying to do! That would be to live a life without sinning too badly if you will. Now with that comes the idea that if we are a so called "good" person you can get to heaven... And also comes the idea if you do more "good" than bad you can get into heaven. There is a lot of rationalizing, bending of what is good, bending of what is good works and the rationalizing away what is bad. This is where a lot of people are, not many want to think of themselves as bad, no good... or needing a savior. If only the world will come to the conclusion that they need a savior, that savior being God's Son, Jesus. You see we all have the same thing in common. that we all have sinned and that we all were born with sin as part of us. Romans 3:23 "for all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God." Now this is simple, all of us have sinned; why is it so hart to admit that? Even as Christians it is hard to admit that, that we still sin. That we still need to go to Jesus for forgiveness. One last thing when we look at what is sin... we need to look at what God has said is sin, not what we think is sin; nor should we rationalize that there is no God so this issue does not matter. In the end it does! When we enter heaven and ask how did you get here? The answer will all have the same tune, "Jesus
Tuesday, September 24, 2013
Grace and mercy; are key to our Christian walk. It is also key to winning one to Christ if you will. You tell people of the grace of God and the mercy of God; which is seen and implied in John 3:16-18. Sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Now there are many ways of sharing, Christmas story, Easter story, Romans road... but there are not many listening... and the ones who are, are on the defensive. The other day another brother and I had the opportunity to talk to two people about Jesus, both were not followers. It was interesting for both had different back grounds, one didn't believe in God... and had had bad experiences when confronted about Jesus. The other had had some "religion" in her life but it never drew her to God... to believe. You see belief is the key factor for one to be saved; for one to be a Christian, for one to keep on walk through life as a Christian. One needs to believe in the one true God and His Son Jesus Christ and all that is said about them and all that They told us They will do... This is all found in the Bible! It is not my words or words of men that we need to believe; it is the words of God that needs to be believed. The bible is so key to our faith... it is what makes our belief sure. God's word says that the creation point to him or declares that God is... It gives us a starting point if you will to seek the one true God. The word of God is what gives us the direction/instruction... for us to have a relationship... with Him That why John 3:16 is so important, that is what gives us our firm conviction, that we all need Jesus. "Jesus loves me this I know for the bible tells me so... " this simple children's song is so true. So one needs to believe in the word of God as true and all that it says... Oh, if the masses would stop believing in the lies of men.. and come to believe the truth of the bible and to believe in the True God and His Son Jesus. 2Timothy3:16-17 "All scripture is inspired by God..." One more note one needs not only believe the bible as true but more important is that they believe in Jesus the Son of God...