Tag Archives: Love

A Spirit of Power

In the New King James Version, 2 Timothy 1:7 says, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” It is almost the same in the New Living Translation: “For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.”

Yes! God has given me His Holy Spirit. He, being the third Person of the Holy Trinity, certainly is full of power and love, and He works in me to get my wild thoughts under control and to take my upside down thinking patterns and set them right.

Because this Spirit of power, love, and a sound mind (or self-discipline) lives in me, I can:
 Do all things through Christ who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:13)
 Be steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord. (1 Corinthians 15:58)
 Keep my eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of my faith. (Hebrews 12:2)
 Keep my mind stayed on God, trusting in Him. (Isaiah 26:3)
 Go into each day with courage and confidence. (Joshua 1:9)
 Bring glory and honor to God every day. (Isaiah 61:3)
 Consider the interests of others as more important than my own.(Philippians 2:4)
 Develop the humility of Christ in thoughts and attitudes.(Philippians 2:5)

Ephesians 5:18, Amplified Bible: “…Ever be filled and stimulated with the [Holy] Spirit.”

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What’s New?

    “This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!” (2 Corinthians 5:17 New Living Translation)

The old me was touchy, irritable, grumpy, and rude. She sought only self and her way. She spent time with gossip, deception, unfaithfulness, anger, greed, quarreling, and jealousy. (See Galatians 5:19-21.)

The new me is patient, loving, pure in heart, and hardly even notices a wrong done to her (1 Corinthians 13:4-7). She fellowships with peace, kindness, joy, forgiveness, honest and loving speech, generosity, courtesy, and other such companions.

O Lord, please grant me grace to take off and dispose of the rags of the old me and put on the clothing of the new me which is renewed in the likeness of Christ. Holy Spirit, please help me do that more! (See Colossians 3:5-10.)

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Beauty for Ashes

flame-1According to forestry experts, small fires that clear the forest floor but don’t destroy the trees are beneficial. They leave nutrient-rich ash perfect for seeds to sprout and grow.
Like those purifying forest fires, the disappointments and difficulties of my life help me grow. They burn up my thorny pride and my tendency to look to self or others to make my life work (weeds). As I seek God amid the ashes in my heart, He grows seeds of humility and of love for Him and others. Fragrant flowers and fruitful shrubs develop from these seeds to replace the weeds and thorns.
Hebrews 12:11 “Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.”
Isaiah 61:1, 3 “’The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon Me, because the LORD has anointed Me…to console those who mourn in Zion, to give them beauty for ashes….’” (Both New King James Version)

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Wash It with Love

old-fashioned-washtub-laundry    I read something the other day that triggered a painful memory. I felt sad and angry. But I choose today to wash that recollection with God’s total love for me and for the others involved.
Thank you, Lord, for Your Word which tells me of Your unconditional love for us. You love us when we’re correct and when we’re not, when others approve of us and when they don’t, and when we succeed and when we fail.
So I will receive Your love and allow it to heal my soul. And I will forgive those who offend me because You have forgiven me for my offenses. Thank You for showing me how to deal with this troublesome memory. Amen.
“We love because He first loved us.” –1 John 4:19
“Therefore, God’s chosen ones, holy and loved, put on heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, accepting one another and forgiving one another if anyone has a complaint against another. Just as the Lord has forgiven you, so also you must forgive.” –Colossians 3:12-13
(Both Scriptures are from the Holman Christian Standard Bible.)

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My New Natural

Ephesians 2:4-5 New International Version: “But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions….”
I was “dead,” but now God has made me “alive in Christ.” When I was spiritually dead, it was natural for me to do whatever I felt like doing, act like people in the world who don’t know the Lord, and listen to the devil’s lies.

tree-silhoette-2-clickartFor example, I see what a good wife and mother my friend is—so wise, faithful, enduring, loving. I wish I were more like that. When I look at these qualities in her, I think of my own failings and am tempted to be ashamed and think myself worthless, even though I’ve already received forgiveness for my past sins.
But that’s the old way of thinking. Now that I’m alive in Christ, I have a new nature. Those old ways are no longer “natural” for me. So God’s Word tells me to get rid of those old ways and think and act like the new creation in Christ which I am.
young-tree-good-search

So because His Holy Spirit guides and empowers me to live my new natural way, I will do that. It brings glory to God and joy to His heart when His children walk according to His Spirit, acting from our new nature.
Dear loving heavenly Father, please help me walk in the light of Your love and forgiveness instead of in the dark of shame and despair. That old way of thinking no longer has any right to rule over me. You have transferred me from (delivered me out of) the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of Your dear Son—the kingdom of light. Let my life in Christ shine in all I do!
    Jesus, when I’m tempted to despair, let me remember Your everlasting, perfect love. Amen. (See Colossians 1:12-13)

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Escape

I almost got pulled down into that snake hole of regrets. Again. This time, though,  I saw the way of escape. I said aloud to myself, “I am determined to forget what lies behind and to shut the door on regrets and lock it.
Closed_weathered_door_cr commons
Today is real. I can live in today. The past is no longer a reality for me. I can’t live there. I am determined to live today!” (“Our lives are like water spilled out on the ground, which cannot be gathered up again.”—2 Samuel 14:14 New Living Translation)

Then I thought maybe Jesus was saying, “Come. Let us reason together. Though your sins were like scarlet, now you are white as snow. Every sin was washed away in the blood of the cross. Those sins were removed as far as east from west, forgotten never to be remembered again. Even your poor choices have not interfered with My continued love for you and goodness to you.”
God has loved me with an everlasting love. His plans cannot be thwarted. He can use everything in my life to make me into the person He wants me to be. He doesn’t regret making me His child. Jesus isn’t sorry He died for me.
Thank You, Father! Thank You, Lord Jesus!

(See 1 Corinthians 10:13, Philippians 3:13, Isaiah 1:18, Psalm 103:12, Romans 8:38-39, Jeremiah 31:3, Job 42:2, and Romans 8:28.)

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LOVE IS THE ANSWER. BUT WHAT WAS THE QUESTION?

The next-to-last paragraph of this sermon really spoke to me where it says, “…when I sin, one of the underlying things going on with me is that I am not loving God, or my neighbor, or sometimes, either one. It isn’t just that I need to behave better externally (though that is true) – it is also that I need to love God and my neighbor more.” Also, “…I have learned to…ask God not only to help me not to sin, but also to increase the love I have for Him and for my neighbor.” Thanks, Pastor Tom.

Clear Bible

Love conceptWe are to love God with all of our being. According to Jesus, nothing is more important than this. If we love God with our entire being and put him first in our lives, everything else will flow out of that in a way that fulfills what God wants. If we don’t love him, we are just a clanging gong; nothing. We are not to act religious for the sake of being religious. It is meaningless to follow Christian morality unless we do it out of love for God.

If you truly love God, and also your neighbor, you will fulfill, not ignore, the moral teachings of the Bible. 

To listen to the sermon, click the play button:

To download, right click on the link (or do whatever you do on a Mac) and save it to your computer:
Download Matthew Part 80

Matthew #80  Matthew 22:34-45

The third question with which…

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Choose Life Today

cross w- purple cloth        Several years ago, one friend told me how she came to faith in Jesus Christ. She had attended a church most of her life and thought her relationship with God was fine. Then she ran onto Ezekiel 18:4 (“For all people are mine to judge—both parents and children alike. And this is my rule: The person who sins is the one who will die.”
It haunted her. Finally someone told her the good news that “…God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ. (2 Corinthians 5:21)”
So she prayed and asked God for forgiveness for her sin because of Christ’s sacrifice. That day she believed in and received Jesus as her Savior and Lord. The last time I heard from her, she was still following Jesus.

My own commitment to following Jesus Christ began when I was a child and involved some stumbling. My friend and I came to Jesus differently, but we  have this in common—we believe in Jesus Christ as the Son of God, the Messiah of Israel, our Lord and Savior, and the only Way to the Father. He is Truth and the source of life now and forever.

If your faith and trust are in someone or something else (such as your good deeds, your religion, a church, your parents’ faith, or a belief that God is okay with our doing what we please and/or ignoring Him), please ask God to show you the truth about Himself and about Jesus. Do it today. His love for you is so great, and His plan of redemption is so marvelous that I don’t want you to miss out on it. God longs for us to be with Him forever, and we can be if we choose to go His way.

Ecclesiastes 7:20 “Not a single person on earth is always good and never sins.”
John 3:16-18 “For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. 17 God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him. 18 There is no judgment against anyone who believes in him. But anyone who does not believe in him has already been judged for not believing in God’s one and only Son.”
(All Scriptures New Living Translation)

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Are the Promises for Me?

heart w- forever    Psalm 103:17-18 “But the LORD ‘s love for those who respect him continues forever and ever, and his goodness continues to their grandchildren (18) and to those who keep his agreement and who remember to obey his orders.” New Century Version

God’s love lasts forever! His goodness extends to the grandchildren! What wonderful promises! But are they for me, or only for others? Am I one who qualifies to receive them?

Do I respect (fear in other versions) the Lord? Well, I do reverence Him and worship Him alone. I’m growing in letting my life revolve around Him and trusting Him above everything and everyone. Do I keep His agreement/covenant? I’m not sure what that looks like, but I know I belong to Jesus Christ, God’s Son and seek to follow Him, and I think that might be what it means to keep God’s covenant.

Do I remember His commands to do them (obey His orders)? God’s commands are to love Him with all I am and to love other people. I’m learning to do that more and more, although I still stumble. [Thank You, Lord, that Your mercies are new every morning (Lamentations 3:22-23) and that there’s no condemnation to those in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1).]

Yes, these promises would surely be for me also.

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Our Wonderful God

Isaiah 40:25 “‘To whom will you compare me? Who is my equal?’ asks the Holy One.”cardinal 1_edited-pub dom imagecom Dr Thomas G Barnes

I see beautiful clothes, lovely and fair,
But consider the cardinal, dressed beyond compare.
Who made the cardinal and dressed him so fine?
Our great Creator, the Lord of design.
What art of man compares to what God has done?
Or what feat matches His power? There’s not even one.

Lord, You are awesome, sovereign over all.
Yet You’ve chosen to love us, both great and small.
Your wisdom is broader than the universe vast,
And Your power is stronger than imagination can grasp.
Your mercy and favor, Your grace and Your love—
Overwhelming and humbling, such gifts from above!

Walking in His Love
Colossians 3:12-13 “Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. 13 Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.”
Knowing I am beloved to God puts joy and love in my heart. The more I’m rooted in this truth, the more I can be merciful, kind, and forgiving to others. The more I recognize His magnificence, might and total adequacy and my own powerlessness and inadequacy, the more I want to praise and thank Him and bring Him glory.

(Both Scriptures New Living Translation.  Picture courtesy Public Domain image.com, Dr. Thomas G. Barnes, creator.)

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