Thursday, 27 February 2014

A Look at Love

7 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. 8 The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love. 9 By this the love of God was manifested in us,that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him. 10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has seen God at any time; if we love one another, God abides in us, and His love is perfected in us.  1John 4:7-12

There are a number of things that struck me about these verses, most of them not very profound, but if they were profound they wouldn’t be coming from me.

Verse seven doesn’t read “some love” is from God, it reads love is from God. Therefore there is no other source.  Everyone who loves is born of God and knows Him.  The word “everyone” seems pretty all inclusive to me.  Verse eight suggests to me that when I am acting in an unloving way it is an indication that I do not know God.  It doesn’t mean that I have lost the intellectual knowledge of him, it means that I don’t love Him at the heart level nearly enough because if I did I wouldn’t act in an unloving way.

The last verse is scary because it suggests to me that the only way anyone is going to see God is when I or one of His children act in a way that exhibits God’s love.  So if my wife or children or neighbor has a hard time believing in God it might infer that they aren’t experiencing His love when they see me, a professed born again Christian.

Consider how we form opinions of people, perhaps even some people groups.  There are certain stereotypes, we read about them, we see them portrayed in films or on TV or in some cases we have met them and they have met us.  When we are in a foreign land those people you meet base some of their impressions of all Americans on their impression of you.

We are the face of God.  Whether or not we tell someone we are a Christian our behavior is either friendly, open and/or inviting or it’s not.  Some who know us best may have a hard time accepting the love of Christ because they don’t see it in us.

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Follow Me

27 If you don’t carry your own cross, as if to your own execution, as you follow Me, you can’t be part of My movement.   Luke 14:27 The Voice translation

There are some things many of us take for granted like our health. There are other things that we may have desired like being financially secure, enjoying a particular life style, or having a baby.  We may have had expectations regarding our marriage, our jobs, our kids, etc.  In any event there is probably something that you hoped for that has not, at least yet materialized.

If you are like me you probably don’t spend much time praising God for those things that you have desired but He has withheld.  However, I am learning in my maturing years to defer to God’s omniscience.  As difficult as it is to believe your financial struggles might be the cross that God wants you to bear.  Maybe your health is not good.  Maybe your children have made poor choices.  Maybe your marriage has caused you undue pain.  In each case this “may be” the cross that God has chosen for you. 

I can’t speak for Him but I’m convinced our crosses are tailor made, that God has handpicked the cross that I am to bear.   But why?   Through the death of Christ on the cross I have received everlasting life.  Through death to myself I can live the life that He has given me. Who knows me better God?  Who knows better than He those areas of my life that are the greatest temptation?  Who knows better than God what occupies a larger spot in my heart than He does at any given time?

God wants my heart.  God wants me to be dependent on him. God wants a personal relationship with me.  Numbers 23:19 assures us that God does not change his mind, that He doesn’t lie and that he does what he says he is going to do.  We can take it to the bank as the old expression goes.

If you can take a look back at some phase of your life that wasn’t going too well, you might see how God may have used those situations to draw you closer to him, to enable you to be more like his Son.  If we can treat these times of disappointment and heartache as teachable moments we can transform our worries into joyful anticipation about what He will do next.  As our faith grows we can be assured that in every situation He has a plan.

When you see that God always keeps His promises, your confidence in His faithfulness will soar. No matter what the situation, you'll know you can trust Him. Then He'll transform your worries into joyful anticipation about what He's going to do next in your life.