Tag Archive | love

The Light of Faith

Focus Verse of the Week

Do all things without grumbling or questioning, 15 that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, 16 holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain. (Philippians 2:14-16)

Classic Commentary

[The believers were called to] unity of spirit by grace, and a walk according to God, so that they may be as heavenly lights amid the moral darkness of this world. [They were] to always carry, and thus hold forth, the word of life: such was Paul’s desire. Thus, they would give proof by the constancy and practical effect of their faith, that the apostle had not run or labored in vain; and they would themselves be his glory in the day of Christ. (Oh, if the church had continued that way! Be that as it may, Christ will be glorified.)

The apostle unites his work and the reward in the day of Christ with the blessing of the assembly. He would not be separated from it in his death. This union of heart and faith is very touching. He presents himself as capable of being poured out (that is to say, his life) upon the sacrifice and service of the Philippians’ faith.

(Adapted from the John Darby’s Synopsis of the New Testament.)

A Thought to Keep

Is your faith lived out so consistently that others see you as being a light that shines in a dark world?

Hold Firm

Open BibleI pulled out of my driveway heading for my mom’s house and noticed a katydid on my windshield.

This is rare for the area I live in since it is more city than farm or wooded area. For those of you who do not know what a katydid is, it is similar to a grasshopper. It is green but has a flat body whereas the grasshopper has a round body and is more brown colored.

As I accelerated, I noticed the wind was making his body flutter, but the legs were securely attached to the windshield. I was sure he would lose his battle to the wind, but he kept hanging on, body fluttering in the wind. He did this for a couple of miles.

As I slowed down one time, he tried to re-adjust his footing. He released his grip on the windshield with just one leg and it was all over; he was gone.

The wind is our trials.

The windshield is like the word of God.

When we hold on to our “windshield” securely, we are secure.

When things start to settle down, we often loosen our grip on God’s word. We start to rely on our strength and understanding rather than staying in God’s word. That’s when the trials come back and catch us unprepared and the trials drag us away.

If we hold firm to God’s word, we will be ready for the trials as they come.

by Mike Stull

Staying in His Love

Greg Laurie

 

I am amazed at how certain people will think that, because they were privy to a special time of blessing or a notable time in church history, they are somehow exempt from living the Christian life in the present day.

Occasionally, I will run into people who went to the church where I pastor—Harvest Christian Fellowship—when we first began in the 1970s.

“Greg, I haven’t seen you for a long time,” they will say. “It’s good to see you again.”

“Where have you been?” I will ask. “I haven’t seen you at church.”

“No, I haven’t been around for quite a long time. But I remember those old days,” they will tell me. “They were something, weren’t they?”

“Yes.”

“Those were great days,” they continue. “I loved the 70s. God was really working in the Jesus Movement, wasn’t He?”

“Yes, He sure was.”

But my question for them is what have they been doing lately? How are they doing with the Lord today?

It is wonderful if God did a work in your life 20, 30, or 40 years ago. But God wants to make His mercies new to you every morning (see Lamentations 3:22-23). This is why Jesus said, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily,and follow Me (Luke 9:23 NKJV, emphasis mine).

This is the very problem Jude identified in his epistle. There were some believers who were not moving forward spiritually. They were sloppy in their understanding of biblical teaching. As a result, they were vulnerable to false teaching.

They were resting on their laurels, thinking that because they had been blessed in the past, they were exempt from living a godly life in the present.

Jude then presented an important theme: “Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life” (verse 21 NKJV). Jude was saying, “If you don’t want to go the way of some of these people that I am about to discuss, then you have to keep yourselves in the love of God.”

What an interesting phrase that is: “keep yourselves in the love of God.” The Bible says we “are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation” (1 Peter 1:5 NKJV), but in Jude, we are exhorted to keep ourselves in the love of God.

Obviously, there is God’s part. He is ready to keep us. But we also must take practical steps to keep ourselves in His love.

Does that mean that we are to keep ourselves in a state where God will love us? That is virtually impossible because, no matter how hard we try, we ultimately will fall short of His standards.

 

Rather, to keep myself in the love of God simply means that I need to keep myself in a place where God can actively bless me.

A good illustration of this is the prodigal son. He was loved by his father, but he foolishly took his portion of the inheritance and went to a distant country, where he lived as a fool. Ultimately, he came to his senses and returned to his father.

The question is: Was he still his father’s son while a prodigal? He was a wayward son (no doubt) and a distant son (without question), but he was still his son.

Was he keeping himself in the love of his father or in a place where his father could actively demonstrate his love? No. His father probably didn’t even know where he was at the time.

When he returned home and his father forgave him and threw a party for him, was he then in a place where the father could actively show his love toward him? Yes.

In the same way, when we disobey God, when we do things that we should not do, it is not that God stops loving us or that we have ceased to be true Christians. But we have essentially taken ourselves out of the love of God. We have removed ourselves from the place where God can actively show His love in our lives.

Simply put, Jude was reminding us that we must keep ourselves from all that is unlike God, from all that would violate His love and grieve Him.

We must stay away from the things that could tear us down, and stay close to the Lord and in fellowship with believers who build us up. In other words, keep ourselves in the love of God.

 

The Jar

bigstock-Empty-Glass-Jar-6728865

When things in your life seem almost too much to handle, when 24 hours in a day are not enough, remember this story about a jar and a cup of coffee.

A professor at a Christian college stood before his philosophy class with several items in front of him. When the class began, he picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls. He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was.

The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly and the pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls. He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They nodded their approval.

The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled in the gaps. He asked once more if the jar was full and the students responded with a unanimous “yes.”

The professor then produced a cup of coffee from under the table and poured the contents into the jar, effectively filling the empty space between the sand. The students laughed. “Now,” said the professor, as the laughter subsided, “I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life.

“The golf balls are the important things–God, your family, your children, your health and your friends–things that if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full.

“The pebbles are the material things that you think matter and we seem to be so consumed by, like your job, your house and your car.

“The sand is everything else–the small stuff. “If you put the sand into the jar first,” he continued, “there is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls.

“The same goes for life. If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff, you will never have room for the things that are important to you.

“Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness. Have a close walk with God. Play with your children. Take your partner out to dinner. There will always be time to clean the house and fix the disposal.

“Take care of the golf balls first–the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand.”

One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the coffee represented. The professor smiled. “I’m glad you asked. It just goes to show you that no matter how full your life may seem, there’s always room for a cup of coffee with a friend.”

Source: (allworship.com)

Installing Love…(Part Two)

love1Customer: Okay, done! Love has started installing itself. Is that normal?

Tech Support: Yes, but remember that you have only the base program. You need to begin connecting to other Hearts in order to get the upgrades.

Customer: Oops! I have an error message already. It says, “Error–Program not run on external components.” What should I do?

Tech Support: Don’t worry. It means that the Love program is set up to run on Internal Hearts, but has not yet been run on your Heart. In non-technical terms, it simply means you have to Love yourself before you can Love others.

Customer: So, what should I do?

Tech Support: Pull down Self-Acceptance; then click on the following files: Forgive-Self; Realize Your Worth; and Acknowledge Your Limitations.

Customer: Okay, done.

Tech Support: Now, copy them to the “My Heart” directory. The system will override conflicting files and begin patching faulty programming. Also, you need to delete Self-Criticism from all directories and empty your Recycle Bin to make sure it is completely gone and never comes back.

Customer: Got it. Hey! My heart is filling up with new files. Smile is playing on my monitor and Peace and Contentment are copying themselves all over My Heart. Is this normal?

Tech Support: Sometimes. For others it takes awhile, but eventually everything gets it at the proper time. So Love is installed and running. One more thing before we hang up. Love is Freeware. Be sure to give it and its various modules to everyone you meet. They will in turn share it with others and return some cool modules back to you.

Customer: Thank you, God.

God/Tech Support: You’re welcome, I’m here anytime.

Even as we celebrate this festive season, lets do away with things that hinders Love and proceed into the next year fully and confident in Love…

Installing Love…(Part One)

love1Tech Support: Yes, how can I help you?

Customer: Well, after much consideration, I’ve decided to install Love. Can you guide me through the process?

Tech Support: Yes. I can help you. Are you ready to proceed?

Customer: Well, I’m not very technical, but I think I’m ready. What do I do first?

Tech Support: The first step is to open your Heart. Have you located your Heart?

Customer: Yes, but there are several other programs running now. Is it okay to install Love while they are running?

Tech Support: What programs are running?

Customer: Let’s see, I have Past Hurt, Low Self-Esteem, Grudge and Resentment running right now.

Tech Support: No problem, Love will gradually erase Past Hurt from your current operating system. It may remain in your permanent memory but it will no longer disrupt other programs. Love will eventually override Low Self-Esteem with a module of its own called High Self-Esteem. However, you have to completely turn off Grudge and Resentment. Those programs prevent Love from being properly installed. Can you turn those off?

Customer: I don’t know how to turn them off. Can you tell me how?

Tech Support: With pleasure. Go to your start menu and invoke Forgiveness. Do this as many times as necessary until Grudge and Resentment have been completely erased.

Even as we celebrate this festive season, lets do away with things that hinders Love and proceed into the next year fully and confident in Love…

THE HOLY ALPHABET

alphabet-light-writingA – Although things are not perfect
B – Because of trial or pain
C – Continue in thanksgiving
D – Do not begin to blame
E – Even when the times are hard
F – Fierce winds are bound to blow
G – God is forever able
H – Hold on to what you know
I – Imagine life without His love
J – Joy would cease to be
K – Keep thanking Him for all the things
L – Love imparts to thee
M – Move out of “Camp Complaining”
N – No weapon that is known
O – On earth can yield the power
P – Praise can do alone
Q – Quit looking at the future
R – Redeem the time at hand
S – Start every day with worship
T – To “thank” is a command
U – Until we see Him coming
V – Victorious in the sky
W – We’ll run the race with gratitude
X – Xalting God most high
Y – Yes, there’ll be good times and yes some will be bad, but
Z – Zion waits in glory where none are ever sad!

(Source: allworship.com)