Tuesday, May 29, 2012

About Love

Matthew 22:36-40 (NASB) “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And He said to him, “ ‘ 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.’ On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.”

When Jesus came to earth in the flesh, He summarized the law into these two commandments.  If you would look at all the commands God gave Israel in the Old Testament, every single one of them is covered with these two.  There are just things you won't do to someone you love.  I Peter 4:8 tells us that love covers a multitude of sins.  I Corinthians 13:13 tells us that love is the greatest virtue to have.  With love, every other "good" trait exists.

But I'm not speaking of that friendly love or that romantic love.  I am discussing godly love.  The love that we have to ask God to help us to have.  The love that sees past every fault of people we encounter; the love that reaches around the globe to people we've never met.  The love that can care for the well-being of an individual without compromising our standards or beliefs.  This love has nothing to do with compatibility.

God is love (I John 4:8), so how can we worship Him without love?  Worshiping God involves loving people, and loving them enough to make sacrifices of our own desires.  When we begin to place the needs of other people (even perfect strangers) before our own, we show God's love for us.  Even while we were sinners, totally against God and His righteousness, He sent His only son to die for us (Romans 5:8).  There was and is no guarantee that we will accept God's love, but still He offers it to us.  We must offer our love to others, and let them decide whether they will accept it.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Study the Word!

Mark 12:24 (NASB) Jesus said to them, “Is this not the reason you are mistaken, that you do not understand the Scriptures or the power of God?

In this particular passage the question has come up about marriage in heaven, and Jesus' response is a classic.  This answer goes beyond the question that was even asked of Him.  This answer is for every one of life's questions that we ponder on a daily basis. 

II Timothy 2:15 instructs us to study the Word, so we can apply it appropriately.  We often err in life because we don't know the Scriptures.  The Bible contains answers for the saved person to live holy, correction when we've gone astray, and blessed hope when we are in despair.  Even when asked for advice, we should revert to what God has said about a matter.  Our opinions should be based on our understanding of the Word of God.  Sure, we will still make human mistakes, but studying God's Word opens up our minds daily to fresh, new revelations and applications.

The second part of Jesus' answer explains the rest of our issues.  We don't understand the power of God.  The knowledge of the Word of God, coupled with the power of God will make us UNSTOPPABLE!  The enemy can't defeat me if I understand the promises God has spoken over my life, and I know He is able to bring them to pass in His omnipotence (all powerful-ness).  I can get back up after a failure, if I understand the lesson that God was teaching me and trust in His power to yet try again with what I've learned.

I don't have to keep making the same mistakes.  I can study the Scriptures and understand the power of God, as they apply to my life.  I can live a better life; I can be a better me, and that will bring glory to God.  All I want to do is what's pleasing to God, and I can't know what that is without studying His Word and trusting in His power.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Uncluttered Mind

Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. (Romans 12:2 NLT)

Have you noticed how much craziness is on the television these days? From the news to these unreal reality shows, there is far too much foolishness competing for our minds. The enemy wants to keep us from all forms of enlightenment, especially spiritual awakening. If he can dumb us down with cat fights, who's not the father, and who has the best voice, he can keep us from our various God-given assignments.

It is our responsibility as God's people to allow the Holy Spirit to dwell within us. He gives us the training and instruction we need through God's Word to live our best lives. Our minds must be constantly renewed, considering the amount of junk we process daily. Even without the foolery of the t.v., we still have distractions, tests, and trials to overcome. We need our spiritual tools to withstand against the wiles of the enemy.

Your mind has a lot of stuff in it, from grocery lists to birthday reminders to scriptures. Spend some time with God to clear out the junk and reinforce the treasures. Cut back on some of that polluted television. Watch more wholesome programs or just watch less t.v. altogether. God desires you to know His will for your life, and you must spend time with Him in prayer, Bible study, and meditation to discern it. Don't let the world's behavior dictate yours. Let God transform you by renewing your mind.

Friday, May 4, 2012

For the Sake of Christ!

2 Corinthians 4:8-10 (KJV) We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.

It doesn't matter what your situation may look like.  God is still and always has been in control.  One of the most important things about your circumstance is your reaction to it.  We have been warned time and again throughout the Bible that afflictions will come.  When we have received Christ, however, HIS character should be manifested in our lives.

Someone is watching how you handle your troubles and persecution.  How do you respond when falsely accused or crushed to your very soul with heartache?  Is your reply "Though he slay me, yet will I trust him" like Job?  How will the world see Christ through you if you lash out at every hurt that someone inflicts upon you?  These afflictions are developing your character and preparing you for your next level of glory.

These tests that we all must endure are growing us up in the body of Christ.  We continue to grow (or not) spiritually as long as we live on this earth.  We have to study the Holy Scriptures and apply them to our lives, so that we can mature in the supernatural realm.  We can't bear witness of Holy Ghost power living raggedy lives.  For the sake of Christ we must change and grow.  We have to be able to take the good with the bad, the trouble, the perplexity, the persecution, and being cast down because we know that isn't the end for us.  The life of Jesus needs to be made manifest in our body, whatever the alleged cost.  For me to live is Christ, no matter what difficulties I face because I am living to live again and eternally!