Archive for the ‘Love’ Category

ENABLING GRACE

Monday, December 20th, 2010

DAY 279

“And God is able to make all grace abound to you…”
2 Corinthians 12:9

We are familiar that grace is God’s unmerited favor to us. Some call it saving grace because we have been saved by the gift of God, not of ourselves. In addition to this grace, there is another grace called enabling grace.

God does much more than save us. He fully equips us with everything we need in this life. He gives us the ability and power to live our lives in righteousness and holiness. And added to this is enabling grace to carry out the work of the Kingdom of God as seen in Stephen; “Now Stephen, a man full of God’s grace and power …” (Acts 6:8).

Another definition of grace is help. God’s enabling grace is to help us desire extraordinary and excellence in running the race. Grace cannot function in us when we live in our own strength, ways and thinking. The old has to die and every day we must find God’s provision in our weakness – “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9).

“Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”

THE KINGDOM

Monday, November 15th, 2010

Day 252

“Fear not, little flock, for your Father takes pleasure in giving you the kingdom”
Luke 12:32

This is the very heart of God our Father.

It reveals the tenderness of God and His pleasure in giving us gifts. He not only has freely given us grace and mercy, but now He imparts His kingdom to us. He gives of Himself so that we may rest under His kingship, rule and sovereignty.

He says to us, “Fear not.” We need not be anxious about our life. We are not to live in fear of man or the world. He takes care of the less and menial, so how much more will He care for us. We are His children, He is our Father and knows our needs and will supply them. We are free from worry to live in His kingdom, a gift to us.

We are the crown of His creation, the joy of His heart and He takes great pleasure in us. God is so pleased, joyful and happy that He sings! Yes, He sings—”He will rejoice over you with singing” [Zephaniah 3:17].

“Fear not, little flock”

“He tends His flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in His arms and carries them close to His heart;
He gently leads those that have young”
Isaiah 40:11

THE GOD OF MUCH MORE – PART 4

Wednesday, November 10th, 2010

Day 247

“Christ reconciled us to God by dying for us, surely now that we are reconciled we may be perfectly certain of our salvation through His living in us” [vs 10, J.B. Phillips]
Romans 5:6-10

Christ stands at the center of God’s redemptive divine plan. It is through His sacrifice that we live. His death and resurrection has made it possible for us to be cleansed, saved and translated into the kingdom of God to become a child of God.

Jesus Christ, Son of God, Second Person of the Holy Trinity, our Savior, gave Himself so we may live and enter into an eternal relationship with Him and His Father. He is our Helper and now through Him we receive deliverance from the power and dominion of sin. He has made every provision for us to live in holiness and enjoy a joyful relationship with the Father. We “have been set free from sin and have become slaves of righteousness” (6:18.

There is “much . . . much more;” our sins are forgiven for the past, the present and the future. Paul declared, “…it is no longer I who lives, but Christ who lives in me” (Galatians 2:20). What more could we ever ask? We have been richly and deeply blessed by a loving Father who freely gave of Himself. True love is the voluntary placing of other lives ahead of one self. It is an action, not an intent or sentiment.

“How great is the love the Father has lavished on us!”
1 John 3:1

BOUNDLESS LOVE

Monday, October 25th, 2010

Day 233

“In love He predestined us to be adopted as His sons through Jesus Christ, according the good pleasure of His will”
Ephesians 1:5

Our Father’s boundless love broke right into our fallen world with salvation. It destroyed the work of the devil who held the power of death, and restored us to His original plan. The glorious beauty of His boundless love not only restored us, but brought us to stand before our Father holy and without blame. We can fellowship with our God and call Him “Abba”-Father, a term of endearment.

The verse “He predestined us” further accents God’s glory. This is part of His original and ultimate plan. He determined before hand, before time began. It has never changed! Read this carefully—before the foundation of the world, before anything was, we were chosen in Him [Ephesians 1:4]. How can we fathom this? In the face of our rebellion and separation from Him, living our lives onto ourselves, He still remained steadfast, faithful and true to His nature. It is beyond our comprehension, yet it is the power, depth and magnificence of this love that overwhelms us.

God’s love reaches the highest expression as John states, “Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed (lavished) on us, that we should be called children of God” [1 John 3:1]. The Amplified says, “See what [an incredible] quality of love the Father has given …” We’ve been adopted as His children, given His Spirit. Why? For one reason, and one reason only—His love. It was according to the good pleasure of His will. He was motivated by love alone. He delights in the revelation of His divine plan, of restoration to His original purposes.

“For you are a people holy to the Lord your God. Out of all the peoples on the face of the earth, the Lord has chosen you to be His treasured possession”
Deuteronomy 14:2

THE INVESTMENT

Wednesday, October 13th, 2010

Day 221

“We should go up and take possession of the land,
for we can certainly do it.”
Numbers 13:30

The Old Testament reveals a history of God preparing a land for His people. After freeing them from their long Egyptian bondage, the people amazingly grumbled, complained and rebelled during the time of reaching the new land. The verse today sees them at the place where they can enter the land. They had a good report about the land, but they believed the bad reports. They saw their enemies as giants and they grumbled against Moses and Aaron and accused God of leading them into a death trap! Joshua spoke and declared the Lord was with them and they could take the land; but the whole camp turned on them and began to talk about stoning them to death.

The people’s hearts were stubborn, hard and filled with rebellion and wickedness. They saw God as their enemy and wanted to kill His leaders in the face of His blessings! God wasn’t happy about their response and wanted to strike them down with a plague and destroy them. In the midst of this Moses pleaded for their lives and God heard him. He spared them and sent them back into the wilderness for 40 years. Both Joshua and Caleb made a decision to stay with these people, bearing their burden by going back into the desert with them for the 40 years. They made a decision to serve though they tried to kill them.

Joshua and Caleb’s decision to stay with the people in the face of their rebellion foreshadowed Jesus Christ who came in the midst of our sinfulness to die for us. Through it all, He continually demonstrated His love towards us in His actions, bearing our burdens, ignorance, and sins. It is this sacrificial love that redeemed us. What an investment Christ and those before him made! Shouldn’t we also invest ourselves in the brethren?

“He is a faithful God, keeping His covenant of love . . .” Deuteronomy 7:9

THE ONE REQUIREMENT

Tuesday, October 12th, 2010

Day 220

“You servant was tending his father’s sheep”
1 Samuel 17:34

What is the one overriding characteristic of our Father in heaven? It is His love for us. First, He created us with the explicit purpose of being partakers in His divinity and having fellowship. He proved to be unchangeable in this purpose. He has never deviated from His original plan in spite of man’s rebellion. Everything He does points to the completion of His eternal plan.

The recorded history of God’s relationship with us continually demonstrates His love. He first loved us. He seeks us. He restores us. He is faithful, even when we are not faithful. He continually thinks on us. He sustains, girds, strengthens, and prospers us. And, in our weakness and wickedness, He sent His only Son to show us the way back. And for that He paid a price of suffering and death. All for us.

Do you aspire to minister? There is only one requirement. When David made his case to challenge Goliath, his reason was that he took care of his father’s sheep. Go all the way to Jesus’ last days and listen to His conversation with Peter; “Do you love me more than these?” Jesus asked Peter the same question three times. Each time Peter said yes and the Lord’s answer was, “Feed My lambs,” “Shepherd My sheep,” and “Feed My sheep.” There is the one requirement; you must have a compelling and practical love to the point of laying down your life for God’s people. It is as He Himself has shown us.

“Then we your people, the sheep of your pasture,
will praise you forever; from generation to
generation we will recount your praise”
Psalm 79:13

GOD’S SOVERIGNTY

Saturday, September 25th, 2010

Day 203

“He does as He pleases with the powers of heaven
and the peoples of the earth. No one can hold
back his hand or say to Him:
‘What have you done?'”
Daniel 4:35

Our concepts of free will and freedom clash with the reality of God’s sovereignty. When Adam usurped God’s place, he brought humanity into bondage. Separated from the fellowship of God, our human nature became an independent self-sufficient spirit. We pride ourselves on these character traits. Yet, it is these very traits that cloud our ability to see God clearly. When Proverbs warns us to “not lean on your own understanding,” it is clearly stating that if we do we will be misled in life.

Recognizing our separation from God comes when we see our foolishness and sinfulness. When we acknowledge this we acknowledge the sovereignty of God. “He does as He pleases…” God sets the nations, determines our place, and chose us for Himself. We may plan our way, but the Lord directs our steps (Proverbs 16:9).

God’s divine sovereignty is His Fatherhood and love for us. It is the love that caused Him to send His only Son to become one of us. He permitted the lowering of Himself, a deep humbleness that subjected Him to the frailties of humanity. He did this to show us the way and give us eternal life. He literally presented Himself to His creation that rejected Him!

Now we can live by the grace and mercy of God our Father. “A man can receive nothing unless it has been given him from heaven” [John 3:27]. Our true freedom rests in the sovereignty of God and by leaning on His sufficiency. With John we can say, we know and rely on the love of God.

“Great and marvelous are Thy works, O Lord God, the Almighty; Righteous and true are Thy ways, Thou King of the nations. Who will not fear, O Lord, and glorify Thy name? For Thou alone are holy; For all the nations will come and worship before Thee, for Thy righteous acts have been revealed” Revelation 15:3-4

THE CROSS

Monday, September 20th, 2010

Day 198

“As for me, God forbid that I should boast about anything except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. Because of that cross, my interest in all the attractive things of the world was killed long ago, and the world’s interest in me is also long dead.” Galatians 6:14

One can only surmise what the Father and Son talked about in heaven when it came time to redeem mankind. The whole thought of God subjecting Himself to human flesh, living 33 years on the earth, and then abject rejection ending in a torturous death is beyond our understanding. Yet, God the Father determined it before time—“But God, following his prearranged plan, let you use the Roman government to nail him to the cross and murder him” Acts 2:23 [LB]. Jesus was the Lamb of God.

We think about the cross more in a historical context or as a passing mention rather than meditating on its meaning to us. We [should] know that we were purchased and set free through Christ’s redemptive work, but, that is not all the cross infers. Paul declares it made him a dead man to the world. That is opposite of how most of us live. That position can only come to us when we have looked into the depth of the cross and understood the price that was paid for our redemption.

Do you want to know the heart of the Father? The cross is the center of God’s plan and it reveals His very character to us. One writer called the cross “love in excess,” probably because our love is so faulty. Actually, the cross is what true love is all about. And when recognize that compelling love, the world suddenly has nothing to offer.

“My constant boast is God. I can never thank you enough!” Psalm 44:8

LOVE OPPOSES US

Sunday, September 19th, 2010

Day 197

“I have come here to oppose you because
your path before me is a reckless one”
Numbers 22:33

Sometimes God opposes us.

God will not permit us to be consumed by our own devices. In our self-sufficiency and independence we often are blinded by our own thoughts, desires and plans. Balaam had that problem. Even though he sought the Lord, his motives in carrying out the Lord’s direction were wrong. Balaam was occupied with the honor and riches he was promised instead of exactly heeding God’s direction. This is a great danger.

How many of us are eager to do God’s will. We pray to get direction. We fulfill scriptural commands. Yet, in the process our motives and desires are of the flesh. Our earthliness is mixed in with God’s labor and purposes. An evangelist once announced he prayed and had a plan to convert everyone in the world. All we needed to do now was pray and get God interested! Sadly, many hearing him believed in what he said.

God loved Balaam and because He loved him, he stood in His way and opposed him. Three times he attempted to stop Balaam. Yet, Balaam resisted, blinded by his own thoughts. The donkey had served him all his life and yet Balaam didn’t see his behavior as a sign. He got very angry. Finally the Lord caused the donkey to speak! When the Lord opened his eyes, he then knew how blind he was. Yes, God’s love compelled Him to stop Balaam before he was destroyed.

Prayer

Father help us to be pure of heart in all our
labor before you so that our motives
and desires are for You only. Amen.

SALVATION AND MORE

Tuesday, August 31st, 2010

Day 181

“I have given you an example to follow.
Do as I have done to you”
John 13:15

There is no question that God’s salvation is the greatest gift anyone could receive. It has set us free from sin and death, made us new, partakers of His nature, His children, personal friends of our Lord and Savior and residents of a greater kingdom than any other on earth or in the heavens. What we’ve gained is endless. The height and depth of it is not measurable. His love is the foundation and basis for this great salvation.

Christ’s love that brought us salvation is not a one time act. The power of His love equips us to not only live, but grow every day in Him. He has given us the means to make our salvation rich and full. How? “Do as I have done to you,” He said. And He showed us how by example. It could not be seen more powerfully then at the last supper when He girded Himself and became a humble servant washing the feet of the very people He created!

How is God glorified; by walking in His love with humility. “We should please others” [Romans 15:2]; “Live a life filled with love for others” [Ephesians 5:2], “You must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy … You must make allowances for each other’s faults … the most important piece of clothing you must wear is love. Love is what binds us all together in perfect harmony” [Colossians 3:12-14]. Oh, how rich and full our salvation is by loving Him and our brethren!

“Hereby perceive we the love of God, because
He laid down His life for us, we ought to
lay down our lives for the brethren”
1 John 3:16