Monday, May 11, 2015

Love Is...

1 If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.
4 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant 5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6 it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
8 Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. 11 When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. 12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.
13 So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love. ~ 1 Corinthians 13:1-13 (ESV)
Love mentioned 684 times in the ESV, 442 times in KJV, 484 times in NASB and 686 times in the NIV. I would say that it is safe to assume that this is an important concept. As a matter of fact Jesus tells us, “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 first commandment. And the second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the law and the Prophets.” Matthew 22:36-40
With this much emphasis on love in God’s Word why do we find it so hard to love? We often find it difficult to love ourselves much less someone else. In order to love we must be willing to forgive, to look past the ugliness of our self and others. How was Jesus so readily able to love? Jesus knew before the disciples even opened their mouth what they were thinking and what they were going to say and still loved them. Jesus knew Peter would doubt when he walked on the water with Him but still loved him and reached out to save him. Jesus knew Peter was going to deny Him yet afterward Jesus went looking for Peter, (John 21). Jesus entire mission here on this earth was to teach us about love, to teach us how to love and we ignore it.
There is an exercise that I was taught many years ago, reread 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 slowly, but this time replace the word “love” with your name. Kind of stings some does it not? Now read it again this time replace “love” with “Jesus” makes more sense that way. If we are truly seeking to be “Christ like” then we should be seeking to love unconditionally. This does not mean we should accept ones sin, or condone sin, but to love the sinner while rejecting the sin. I am sure that Jesus did not love it when Peter denied Him but still loved Peter.

Pray 1 Corinthian 13:4-8 asking God to instill in you the traits that Jesus so elegantly displayed all the way to and through the cross. Another saying that I have come to cherish, “God Loves You And So Do I!” Amen <><

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Whose Heart Shines Through You?

17 But if, in our endeavor to be justified in Christ, we too were found to be sinners, is Christ then a servant of sin? Certainly not! 18 For if I rebuild what I tore down, I prove myself to be a transgressor. 19 For through the law I died to the law, so that I might live to God. 20 I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. ~ Galatians 2:17-20 (ESV)
In our life in Christ, we all have a tendency to rebuild what Christ tears down. We hand things over to Him knowing that He will take our yoke and then turn right around and pick it up again. We forget that when we give ourselves totally to Christ, He gives Himself totally to us. This does not mean that we will have easy lives, living in luxury it does not mean that all our problems will go away. It means that Christ is there to walk with us, to carry us when needed through the trial and tribulations of life. When we give ourselves to Jesus He transforms our heart, He takes away our greed and replaces it with purity, and He replaces our aggrieved hearts with His peace. In Christ, our minds are no longer limited with temporal thoughts; our meditations focused on the timelessness of God and life with Him.
15 The spiritual person judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one. 16 “For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ. ~ 1 Corinthians 2:15-16 (ESV)
We have the mind of Christ! We have a piece of God residing within us in the form of the Holy Spirit! The creator of all that we know and the things we do not see residing within us! Ponder this for a moment… God chose to give us a portion of Himself that we might live in His Light. Jesus died, buried, rose from the grave, ascended into Heaven and sent His Spirit to change our hearts and minds. So why is it that it seems that we are worlds apart from the eternal thinking of Christ? Why do we not love and He loves? Why do we continue to live as if this world is all there is? Why are we not living for Christ and the Kingdom of God?
12 Since we have such a hope, we are very bold, 13 not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face so that the Israelites might not gaze at the outcome of what was being brought to an end. 14 But their minds were hardened. For to this day, when they read the old covenant, that same veil remains unlifted, because only through Christ is it taken away. 15 Yes, to this day whenever Moses is read a veil lies over their hearts. 16 But when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed. 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit. ~ 2 Corinthians 3:12-16 (ESV)
Are we being transformed by the full glory of Christ into His image? Are we turning to Christ in all we do? Do we seek His wisdom, love, and guidance in every aspect of our lives? Are we like a hockey puck on the ice, bouncing from one circumstance to the next with no real plan or are we purposely and actively seeking Christ? We must remove the veil from our hearts, allow the Holy Spirit that is God, sent by God to lead us, transform us, and empower us to live as He lived and to love as He loves! Amen. <><

Friday, May 8, 2015

Do You Need Rest?

Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. ~ Matthew 11:29 (ESV)
Examining Jesus heart is not an easy thing to do, it causes one who is authentically seeking to be like Jesus to cringe as you begin to truly understand what Jesus heart looks like. When you first understand that Jesus heart was pure, that there is genuinely no sin within Him, as Peter phrased it, “but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot.” 1 Peter 1:19 (ESV) We begin to understand that our heart is not always inline with that of Christ
Further examination reveals that there is peacefulness in the heart of our Savior. As Jesus watched the disciples, fearful in the stormy seas Jesus was at peace as He calmly walked out to them on the water. As the disciples worried over what to feed the multitude Jesus thanked God for the opportunity to show God’s power and love. When being arrested in the garden, Peter drew his sword to fight while Jesus reached out His hand in love to heal. Without sin in His heart, there was no need for retribution. Jesus always kept His eye on the prize, never wavering or questioning His purpose and always peace in His heart.
Unlike many of us Jesus, focus was on His task, not aimlessly wandering through life, His objective to save the world from our sin. “For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through Him.” John 3:17 (ESV)
Most importantly and what we must consider is that Christ heart is spiritual. The intimate relationship Jesus shares with God the Father is the consummate quality that all Christ followers should aspire too. When He returned to Nazareth, the town where Jesus lived as a child. Jesus entered the synagogue on the Sabbath day, as He was accustomed to. When the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to Him to read, Jesus unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because He has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” Luke 4:18-19 (ESV)
After reading this Jesus returned the scroll to the attendant, sat down and with all watching and listening to Him, Jesus said, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” Luke 4:21 (ESV) Jesus acknowledging that God’s Spirit was with Him and in Him. Luke 4:16 we read that Jesus was accustomed to going to worship. Luke 4:4 we find that Jesus new Scripture from memory and from Luke 5:16 we know that Jesus often withdrew to desolate places to pray.
Jesus time with God in prayer guided His actions and thoughts, “So Jesus said to them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of His own accord, but only what He sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father dies, that the Son does likewise.” John 5:19 (ESV) Jesus then informs us, “I can do nothing on my own. As I hear, I judge, and my judgment is just, because I seek not my own will but the will of Him who sent me.” John 5:30 (ESV). Be assured that the heart of Jesus is unwavering and spiritual, connected in an intimate relationship with God the Father. Amen. <><