Happy Mother’s Day! God’s Priceless Legacy: The Hope of Faithful Moms.

For as long as I can remember I wanted to be an archaeologist. The whole idea of my finding something buried and unseen by others appealed to me. When younger, I could be found digging in some corner of the yard. Best thing I ever found was a big old cookie tin with three small words on it – “Love, From Mom.”

And then, one day I was playing archaeologist in my dad’s old dusty library. I looked in an old, unlocked drawer on his secretary and encountered Christ. My whole life changed, but my love for a good dig didn’t. It was simply redirected.

God placed a treasure trove of priceless jewels within reach when I removed an old torn up Bible with pages falling out everywhere. Miner’s hat? Check. Pickaxe and shovel? Check. A new-born burning passion to discover God? Check, check.

Thus began my youthful lifelong search for God’s nature. The pages which had fallen out of the old Bible were from Psalm 139. I read it but really did not know what I was reading. So, I took it to Mom who was in the kitchen baking bread.

Mom took the pages and she read them. She picked me up and put me on her lap and read them to me. In this moment of youth, I realized had stumbled across something stunningly lovely: His handiwork in fashioning my mothers’ heart.

It’s easy to miss God weaving Himself into mothers and their hearts. Man can only offer up a deep, well, totally unfulfilling definition coming from myriads of greeting cards offering vast armies of “sentimental” words feebly addressing it.

Hollywood’s script writers have spent countless millions, (if not billions by now) depicting it onscreen. Yet the very truest wellspring of a mother’s heart remains mysterious. They try to depict what cannot be depicted.

What can never be depicted is this incredible truth: Our Creator God takes great care to knitting all of Himself into who we are and will become.

In examining His deep love for us, His mothering nature is quickly apparent:

Psalm 139:13-18 Authorized (King James) Version

13 For thou hast possessed my reins:
thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb.
14 I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made:
marvelous are thy works;
and that my soul knoweth right well.
15 My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret,
and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.
16 Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect;
and in thy book all my members were written,
which in continuance were fashioned,
when as yet there was none of them.
17 How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God!
how great is the sum of them!
18 If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand:
when I awake, I am still with thee.

The Word of God for the Children of God. Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia! Amen.

Our Creator takes care to knit Himself into who we are and will become. In examining His love for us, His mothering nature is quickly apparent:

“…How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings…” (Matthew 23:37 NASB)

How could God reference Himself as a protective mother, lest He’d poured His compassionate nature into the mother’s heart? His maternal temperament continues:

“…He will rejoice over you with joy, He will be quiet in His love, He will rejoice over you with shouts of joy.” (Zephaniah 3:17b NASB)

“Quiet in His love,” duplicates the tenderest moments between mother and child, referencing the child being fully contented and simply enjoying the closeness of its mother.

The child wants nothing more than its mother’s presence. It’s a time of very quiet love. Drawing powerful strength from her proximity alone.

Again, we see His mothering side:

“Can a woman forget her nursing child and have no compassion on the son of her womb?” (Isaiah 49:15a NASB)

Who better than the Designer of mothers could explain this nurturing side of Himself? The nourishing definition of Jehovah Jireh. Our Provider.

His provision in limitless care was famously spoken to Moses. Asking a yet unnamed God His true name, He replied, “I Am.” A statement begging to fill in the blank. “I AM everything. I AM infinite. I AM all powerful.”

Until my mother’s passing from a heart attack 1997, I took fullest possible advantage of my family membership and went straight to her for comfort.

I guess Dad understood my running past him to reach her arms.

With advancing years, hurts changed, but the source of my consolation didn’t.

I still went directly to Mom and her lap for comfort and my “momma hug”.

For through her deep and limitless kindness, forgiveness, and never-ending compassion, I came to feel God’s caring, hugging presence, I came to wholly trust God’s ever nurturing presence. He was easily recognizable in her and I very deeply valued God’s mothering heart woven tightly into hers.

The birthing process is God’s idea. He’s maternally given birth to the universe, birth to our planet, and birth to us. Most importantly He’s given us re-birth, calling us into reconciliatory relationships with Him.

Nicodemus needed clarification. He knew it impossible to reenter a mother’s womb a second time. God’s way was easier with no gestational period.

Being born-again in the Spirit granted restoration with the Father, enjoying unbroken intimacy.

Our Father in heaven is solidly our Father. His maternal nature guarantees attendance at every bird’s funeral. Keeps track of 7.2 billion heads of hair.

Tallies innumerable thoughts about us exceeding grains of sand. Stills our storms, heals our diseases, binds our broken hearts.

The most potent attribute of His mother’s heart is His lavish forgiveness of our sins. Dark sins, washed in red blood, producing robes of white righteousness.

Like the mother that deliberately forgets her child’s shortcomings, He casts our sins directionally as far as the east is from the west, and as far as the north is from the south, until sinking to the absolute floor of the Sea of Forgetfulness.

Simply stated, He is Father God with a mother’s heart.

Waiting to wipe every tear; sitting up with us through the night; and listening to our troubles—solving them while we are yet wounded, suffering, speaking.

The mother’s heart is best defined by her unselfish generosity in ongoing, unconditional giving and raising her family to become loving parents too.

Proverbs 22:6Authorized (King James) Version

Train up a child in the way he should go:
    and when he is old, he will not depart from it.

Psalm 119:9-16Authorized (King James) Version

ב  Beth

Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way?
by taking heed thereto according to thy word.
10 With my whole heart have I sought thee:
O let me not wander from thy commandments.
11 Thy word have I hid in mine heart,
that I might not sin against thee.
12 Blessed art thou, O Lord:
teach me thy statutes.
13 With my lips have I declared all the judgments of thy mouth.
14 I have rejoiced in the way of thy testimonies,
as much as in all riches.
15 I will meditate in thy precepts,
and have respect unto thy ways.
16 I will delight myself in thy statutes:
I will not forget thy word.

Pastor Billy Graham is quoted as saying, “Only God Himself fully appreciates the influence of a Christian mother in the molding of character in her children.”

Now listen to these other quotes you may find of particular interest:

“All I am I owe to my mother; I attribute all my success in life to the moral, intellectual and physical education I received from her.” George Washington

“All that I am or ever hope to be, I owe to my angel mother.” Abraham Lincoln

“I cannot tell you how much I owe to the solemn word of my good mother.” Reverend Charles Haddon Spurgeon

Only loving relationships provide lasting legacy and hope.

Today, Mother’s Day 2022, we will celebrate and encourage all moms in their contributions to legacy…to being that character forming mother!

Plus, we will remind each of us—parents, children, teens, and young adults, of the importance of pursuing God’s plan for relationships.

Questions for Moms and Dads

What hope do we have that our children will stand by their faith and live by their values?

What or who do you trust to impact their lives?

What are you hoping will produce relationally healthy followers?

Who had a profound effect on Jesus? (Proverbs 22:6).

What legacy are we leaving?

We certainly can’t hope for perfect children like Jesus because our children are just like us—imperfect people. But where do they go for guidance does matter.

Do they go to God’s Word?

Do they seek guidance from attentive parents?

Both Parents, even Grand-Parents must continuously pursue relationship with their children so they will “earn the right” in their child’s eyes to speak God and Jesus Christ into their lives as they begin to make their own choices.

Could you join with me and every mom here today in this hope?

Look square into your mom’s face and tell her:

“I praise God for you and Psalm 127:3 Behold children are gifts from the Lord”

Let’s fervently hope and pray that…

Our children are raised by Godly principles drawn directly from the Word of God. (Romans 15:1-6, Ephesians 6:1-3, 2 Timothy 3:10-17, Hebrews 4:12)

• Our children are more influenced and shaped by their parents and their faith than by the world.

• Our teens and young adults remain open to our input and continue to be open about the details of their physical, emotional and spiritual life.

• Our adult children want to be around us, and we regularly enjoy being around them!

Some of us may also champion the simple, but profound, hope our current family could be a little healthier or a more functional than our own childhood family.

Thank God for creating motherhood!

Today we celebrate all moms who pay the price for making a difference in us!

Thank you, Mom, for letting me feel God’s love radiate through you.

In the name of God, the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit,

Lt us Pray,

A Child’s Prayer for their Mama’s on Mother’s Day

Dear God, My Creator …

I just want to say, “Thank you for my Mama!”

Thank you for the woman who gave birth to me and has loved me ever since.

I’m grateful for her impact on my life, for her presence, for her love.

Thank you for every moment she was there to pick me up from school, and every moment she helped me heal from heartbreak.

Thank you for every phone call, hug, compliment, even complaint.

Thank you that she cares.

Thank you that despite us not always getting along, our love has endured.

I’m grateful for Mama, and pray that you help me to better honor her every day.

Show me how I can express appreciation for what she has done.

Help me to see all that she has done. God, please help me practice patience when I feel like she’s being too much, or too bossy, or too much like a mom.

Honestly God, who would I be without my Mama?

I pray to you now, God, asking you to bless the remainder of her life.

Please bring her comfort when sickness and body aches occur. Please give her continued direction for her life. Keep her mind renewed.

God, I ask the remainder of her life may be enriched, that she would still feel like she has purpose to fulfill, despite having accomplished so much already.

I pray for those Mama’s who have found their eternal reward with you. They have earned their place of rest by your side, and I know you will keep her safe.

Rest well, Mama, from your labors. One day we shall worship God together!

In the name of Jesus,

Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! Amen.

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Romans 5:6-8 |The Surprise Gospel | We Shall All See God as He Really Is!!!

When you and I see God as He really is, we will Worship Him in the beauty of His Holiness and not ours. We’ll truly worship Him as He desires to be worshipped. We shall have Communion with Him. We’ll all share in this surprising moment.

When Moses saw God and worshipped Him, He ended up giving us the Law – the Ten Commandments. When Job saw God as He really was and worshipped Him, his whole family and estate was magnified and restored to him, Job received his second chance at living life. When Isaiah saw the Lord high and lifted up, he was given a glimpse of His throne room, inducted into the role of a Prophet of God.

I introduce you to the Pharisee Saul, in his zealousness when he was blinded by the holiness of God on the Damascus Road, he repented, was healed and became Paul, the greatest missionary evangelist who ever lived and gave us the bulk of the New Testament Writings from which we study and learn who Jesus really is.

And when John saw God and fell down before him as dead, he got up and wrote the Book of Revelation, the great Apocalyptic story of the New Testament. As he himself walked behind and alongside his Rabbi for three years with the twelve disciples, he looked upon Jesus as He really was, hung upon the cross and dying. With Peter, He looked into the empty tomb and witnessed to the power of God.

When we finally see God as He really is, we will look forward to the day when we too will be like Him. In the New Testament we are told that someday we shall be like Him because we will see Him as He really is. On that day, we will be holy in perfection. We will be changed, and the sins of our lives will be taken away. We are going to be beautiful in our worship because God is beautiful in His holiness.

Romans 5:1-8 Authorized (King James) Version

Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: by whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; and patience, experience; and experience, hope: and hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.

For when we were yet without [inner] strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

The Word of God for the Children of God. Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia! Amen.

Unconditional love! WOW! This is the “LOVE” God has for us. 

A PICTURE OF GOD’S UNCONDITIONAL LOVE FOR HUMANITY is found in John 3:16-For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.

In spite of the wrong and sinful things we have done, the unclean places we have gone in our deeds, the unpleasing sinful acts we have committed and continues to commit, the ugly things we have said or the evil thoughts that crosses our minds can, surprisingly, God’s love never leaves us.

God’s love for humanity transcends our sinful condition because even in the midst of them, He showed us His unconditional love.

In other words, there is nothing we can do to make God stop loving us.

There are a vast multitude of sinful things, i.e. (idolatry and unbelief) that we can do to cause us to be separated from a personal relationship with God, but not from His love for each one of us.

Nothing we do can stop God from loving us. Calvary proved that! Yes, it was at Calvary where the “LOVE” of God for humanity was put on display.

Even after salvation, regardless of what we may have to endure through long suffering, hardship, etc.,  Apostle Paul surprisingly declares this concerning God’s love for us in Romans 8:38-39 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, neither angels nor principalities nor powers, neither things present nor things to come, 39 neither height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Surprisingly, regardless of my diverse tests and trials, I am “PERSUADED” that NOTHING can separate me from the Love God has for me through Christ Jesus!

It comes as no surprise to me then that I can read and study and pray through the full length and breadth of God’s Holy Scriptures and just want to worship!

My living hope is built on nothing less than Jesus Blood and His Righteousness.

Romans 5:5 This hope does not disappoint us, for God has poured out his love into our hearts by means of the Holy Spirit, who is God’s gift to us.

If you are saved and have accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior by faith, you are daily tasting the outpouring of God’s “LOVE” in your hearts through God’s Holy Spirit whom He was given to us at our point of salvation.

If you do not know Jesus for the pardon of your sins, invite Him in on today by first asking Him to forgive you of your sins and to open the eyes of your heart to His “UNCONDITIONAL LOVE” for you.

When you have made your confession of your desperate need for God, not only is He faithful and just to forgive you, but He is willing to lead, guide and direct the rest of your life by the leading of His Holy Spirit.

Not surprisingly Warrior, King, Master Poet, even master sinner, David declares these words concerning God “LOVE” in Psalm 34:8-Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.

It should not come as such a surprise that God’s “LOVE” is an everlasting love.

New life in the “SPIRIT” is available to you on today. 

The Great Exchange is God’s love for our sins. WOW! What an exchange. 

Unconditional “LOVE” is found at the foot of the cross. 

Run to Jesus for He alone offers you UNCONDITIONAL LOVE!

This kind of love cannot be found in nothing or no one else.

When nothing else could help me, “LOVE” was broken for me!

When nothing else could help me, “LIVING LOVE” lifted me!

JESUS IS UNCONDITIONAL LOVE!

DO NOT LET THIS BE SUCH A SURPRISE TO YOU!

SHARE COMMUNION WITH GOD AS HE FIRST SHARED IT WITH US!

God bless.

In the name of God, the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit,

Let us Pray,

God of enlightenment, help me to read, study and understand your word. Give me insight into the meaning of your commandments and how I should follow them in their beauty and their truth. As I meditate on your wonderful miracles, As I search your beauty, wonder who you really are, may I be encouraged and empowered. As I study how you have fought our battles from the stories in the Bible, may I be built up and strengthened. Help me to know how you want me to put the hope of your word into real practice. Assist me to know you more fully through your word, be pleasing to you. Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia! Amen.

Romans 5:8 |The Surprising Gospel of God: What does the Surprise Look Like? “I Loved You at Your Darkest!”

The Love of God. It’s a complicated thing. Every generation tries to understand love, fall in love, and explain love. People have gone to extremes to display their love for others, and thousands of years ago God did just that for each one of us.

In Romans 5:8, Paul tells us God demonstrated His love for us this way: “While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Out of the abundance of God’s great love for us He sent His only Son to pay the debt for our sins, even though we were all His enemies, powerless and ungodly. God’s display of love was not conditional.

It was not based on anything we had done or could ever do for Him. God knew that without His timely intervention we would be forever separated from Him.

Jesus’ obedience displayed grace in an amazing way. Jesus poured out His life for the forgiveness of our sins so we could be reconciled with God. Each of us, through faith, can have the opportunity to enter into a relationship with Jesus Christ and experience peace with God, hope in every situation, and eternal life.

Having a relationship with Jesus doesn’t mean life is always easy. Rather, it provides us with the ability to face anything that comes our way. We can have hope in all situations, confident of God’s grace, His faithfulness, and His 100% willingness to do whatever it takes to fully restore our relationship with Him. 

Romans 5:6-8 Amplified Bible

While we were still helpless [powerless to provide for our salvation], at the right time Christ died [as a substitute] for the ungodly. Now it is an extraordinary thing for one to willingly give his life even for an upright man, though perhaps for a good man [one who is noble and selfless and worthy] someone might even dare to die. But God clearly shows and proves His own love for us, by the fact that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

The Word of God for the Children of God. Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia! Amen.

The Apostle Paul tells us here in Romans 5:8 that God has shown us his love in the death of Christ. The One who created the heavens and the earth, the One who rules overall, the One who is in the heavens and does whatever he pleases—this One has shown his love to us in the death of his only Son. John 3:16 rings gracefully in our ears, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son.”

This verse explains what Jesus said in John 15:13 when he told his disciples, “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.”

What Jesus says in John 15 he accomplishes at the cross in John 19 and Paul explains it to us here in Romans 5:8. This is the single most important story the world has ever known. The scale of this sacrifice is still being weighed today.

In fact, for all eternity we will see that the cost and the prize do not seem to balance, but there is glory in this gospel that fills up the throne room of heaven and shoots joy down to our hearts like lightening. This is a surprising gospel.

Romans 5:8 explains this surprising gospel by revealing how God shows his love to us in a surprising way, to a surprising people, and at surprising cost.

God shows his love in a surprising way.

I want us to linger here for quite a few minutes. Let this sink in, because this is abundantly and completely glorious. God shows. God is not a quiet, reserved, no-big-deal king. He’s not afraid to shake the world. He’s ambitious and he’s bold, he loves radically. The very expanse of heaven declares the glory of God.

Why else do stars exist? Why are sunsets as beautiful as they are? What purpose do they serve outside of lighting your heart on fire? God puts on display his love.

These two words, “God shows”, speak to both camps of people, those who think they are too good, those who believe they are too unworthy for the love of God.

From every which direction of our circumstances, we are confronted here with what God does. He shows. He is a relentless lover. He is always inviting us, not just so that we will agree on a limited intellectual level that we are loved, but also beckoning all of us to feel deep in our hearts we are both invited and loved.

It’s as if he is speaking to each one of us from the depths of eternity, “Look. I know some of you think you don’t need me. Some of you think you can’t have any part of me. What made you doubt my love?” “What can I do to change your mind?”

Do we realize the surprising ways in which God loves each and everyone of us?

He doesn’t stop with mere words we may never read or study, he does not stop with parting seas, he doesn’t stop at pillars of fire, or clouds of glory, he doesn’t stop with breaking down walls at the sounds of hundreds of great trumpets, he doesn’t stop with voices from heaven or angels standing before us. He doesn’t stop with a promise we’re just as likely as not to completely, abundantly ignore.

He doesn’t stop with a great or lesser earthly king. He doesn’t stop with one nation, mighty or weak. He doesn’t stop with only one people group. He doesn’t stop with “just good enough”. He doesn’t stop with perfect teaching or with amazing miracles. No, he stops with the death of the Son on the cross. God the Father loves so intensely that he could not give anything less than the absolute best that he had to offer himself in the person of Jesus Christ, the Son.

God shows his love to us in a multitude of ways but the supreme way he shows his love to us is in the death of Christ for us. What greater love is there?

We, in all our sin and all our messiness – WE – were loved enough by God that he would die for you. He did not just tell us that. He showed it two thousand years ago at 3:00 in the afternoon on a hill called Calvary outside of Jerusalem.

And, even more surprising, he yet, he still shows his love in the death of Christ.

These words are in the present active tense. God, today, now in this moment, is showing us the love, he has for us through the death of his Son, Jesus Christ.

What we see right here in our Bibles – this black text on a white page – is lifting Jesus up before us right now so that we can see with the eyes of our heart the very love of God for us. Do you see it? Oh, I pray you do! Father, open our eyes!

Now, in this exact and exacting moment, that’s the kind of Gospel love we need, the kind of surprise we each need, that’s the unrelenting kind of love God has.

Is not that even 0.01% surprising to you?

Today, surprise yourself and surprise a friend or two or three and Reflect:

  • Have you ever seriously asked Jesus into your life? If so, take some time to thank God for His grace. If not, please surprise God, learn more about His salvation. 
  • How can you surprise someone – show grace to someone today?
  • Do you have hope God can get you through any situation? Why or why not?

In the name of God, the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit,

Let us Pray,

God, from the beginning, you were the word. You sent your only son to save us all and he even allowed himself to be tortured and crucified to obey you. Bless me with the gift of understanding and of unshaken faith in you. Let me know the meaning of your words in the Bible and how to live accordingly. Open the door of my heart, fill me with your light and understanding. Alleluia! Amen.

Another Part Tomorrow …… Struggling with the Surprise

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Why “Faith, Hope, and Love” Are So Important and WILL Last Forever. 

Faith, Hope and Love. These three things will last forever. Love as described in 1 Corinthians 13 is best understood as being a way of life, lived in imitation of Jesus Christ, as focused not on oneself but on the “other” and his or her good.

Love is about action, how a person lives for the Lord and obeys him and how a person lives for others and serves them.

Yet it is also about being. This is because its foundation is in God who is love, and in Christ who shows that love and the Holy Spirit. The sense that this is about more than simply how people behave is seen in passages like Paul’s prayer of Ephesians 3:14–19, particularly as he prays that Christians will be “rooted and grounded in love.” To “know the love of Christ” is to experience his presence “through faith” in their “hearts.” God’s people are to look and become more and more like Christ, and it is this for which Paul prays here.

It is because being and actions are so closely tied together in God and in Christ, first, but then also in his people, that Paul calls love a “more excellent way” (12:31b). It is the way of the new kingdom which has been ushered in with the appearance of the Messiah, who has shown it in his life, passion, and death, but who has also exhibited it in his coming, in his being, His death and resurrection.

Love is the way of existence in the heavenlies. As this break into the present in Christ, his people, filled with the Spirit of Christ, are to take on this way of existence and develop a life where love guides their approach to all things. Of course, this will immediately be seen in how they live and speak and think. Even so, when all that is mentioned here is done, the meaning of love for the believer is by no means diminished, minimized, defeated, exhausted in its importance!

1 Corinthians 13:13 AKJV

13 And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.

The Word of God for the Children of God. Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia! Amen.

In 1 Corinthians, the Apostle Paul describes various spiritual gifts and ways we can demonstrate Godly living in the world. He touches on the gift of tongues, prophecy with understanding, and faith that could move mountains.

Yet somehow, he passes all of these things for just one thing: Love. 

In 1 Corinthians 13:13 he says, “Three things will last forever: faith, hope, and love-and the greatest of these is love.” 

I have found myself skipping over this verse with a thought of “Yep, got that one down.” I have heard it and read it so often that I forget the application and power of it. What is this for? Why are these the things – faith, hope, love – that last forever? The greatest power of our lives is contained in this verse. We just have the high task of unfolding the purpose behind it in order to connect to it.

The Purpose of Faith

Faith is one of the first things we learn about as Christians.

It often starts with the quote from Jesus in Luke 17:6 where He says, “If you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘May you be uprooted and thrown into the sea,’ and it would obey you!” Hebrews 11:1 gives this clear definition of faith: “Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.”

In my maturing years of my Christianity, I genuinely believed these Scriptures to be that I had the power and authority to believe something “as hard as I could” and it would be done, even if it meant defying the physical realm. I did this patiently for months before I started to lose hope and I began weeping to God. “Why! I truly believe you could deny this from me! Why won’t you do it!?” 

The purpose of faith is not to influence my own comfort. The purpose of faith is to lead forward to know the heart of God and then trust His ways to guide us. It is practical exercise reminding us of our place on the vine. We are the branches, and we can do nothing apart from the vine (John 15:5).

Hebrews 11:1 is a great definition of faith, but I believe Hebrews 11:6 gives us the life application of it. It states, “For we come to God in faith knowing that He is real and that He rewards the faith of those who passionately seek Him.” (TPT)

The Purpose of Hope

Hope is defined by Google as “a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen.” It can also be defined as “a feeling of trust.” So, faith is the belief that there is something significantly better to seek and to discover, while hope is the expectation, or the certainty, that it is absolutely there. Hope is the 100-octane fuel that keeps our faith alive in our quest to seek and find love.

The way that faith, which is the seeking of the Lord, connects with hope, which is the expectation of finding Him, is through wisdom. 

Proverbs 24:14 says, In the same way, wisdom is sweet to your soul. If you find it, you will have a bright future, and your hopes will not be cut short.”

Jesus is our model of constantly seeking after wisdom. Often in our spiritual development, we hit a place of complacency where we are good with what we have. It is a great thing to be grateful, but there is more for your life when you continually seek wisdom. At each level we should be graduating, moving, and growing, constantly adding to what we understand.

This is what keeps hope alive. As we seek more, we learn more, and we store up confidence in who we are on the vine. In Luke 2:52 we get a subtle, yet powerful, picture of Jesus’ character that reveals the deep foundation of his influence and confidence. It says, Jesus kept increasing in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.” Jesus is our only true King! Jesus is our Savior! We should follow his authority, lead by constantly seeking wisdom and relationship with others.

The Purpose of Love

Paul makes it very clear in 1 Corinthians 13:13 that the greatest of all spiritual gifts is love. Based on this, we know that love is the MAX result that we see of our faith and our hope. Love is the pen-ultimate goal. How wonderful is it to understand the goal! When you start a new game, the biggest hurdle is often obtaining an understanding more than physical limitations. If you understand the goal, you can use what gifts and graces you have been gifted to get there.

The purpose of love is evident in 1 John 4:7-8 that it is the clearest picture of God that we have. It states, Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. It goes on to say in verse 19 that we love because God first loved us.” So, the purpose of love is twofold. First, it is revelation of identity. It tells us who God is and who we are in God, God alone.

Second, it is the very power that allows us to do the work of Jesus and even unto greater works as Jesus described in John 14:12. He says, Whoever believes in me will also do the works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father.” Love has the power to help us believe again and restore hope in others. It is the ultimate momentum engine that drives all of our spiritual lives.

Faith, Hope, and Love: The Perpetual Cycle of Life

If faith, hope, and love are the things that last forever, it becomes clear these are the things we should pursue with our lives. Some may feel concerned at the thought of knowing what the end goal is, that perhaps there is no point to life if there is nothing left to discover. But there is life in these things that will never be diminished, defeated, minimized, exhausted or drowned or burned out!

In the beginning, we are born with no other understanding besides faith.

As newborn babies, we instinctively, naturally, reach out to our parents, seek care and to be nurtured. We confidently look for someone to give us the care that we need. As we earn the badges of life, we become scarred by experiences which can strip our faith and our hope away, and in turn, we forget our natural instinct to love as we become too consumed with finding a new starting point.

Finding faith, hope, and love for ourselves does not mark the end of anything.

It can, however, mark the exact beginning for someone else. If you have ever been in a broken place, you have spent time trying to find “bottom” then you know the power of someone else showing you kindness or believing in you.

It is a true progression of divinely orchestrated events. When you are shown love, you ignite a new belief of what you could be. Then you become hopeful that there is still good in this world. Then you love yourself. Then you share love with others and spark this cycle over and over again. This is our beginning, our new beginnings, and our forever and ever amen, both for us and fellow man.

Imitating Christ’s love

A further explanation why love comes to function as the marker par excellence of the true believer lies in the imitation of Christ. Christ stands as the supreme example of love through the whole of his life, but specially in his death.

In 1 Corinthians 1 the death of Christ was at the center of Paul’s understanding of God’s wisdom (his plan) to save his people. It was the “word of the cross” that was the power of God to those “being saved” (1:18). Supremely in Christ’s death the love of God and of Christ was shown. The link is explicit in Romans 5:8: “God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (ESV). It is also clear in Ephesians 5:2: “Walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God” (ESV).

Finally, perhaps the great surprise of chapter 13 is the MAX depth of intimacy of the love relationship Paul described. It is surely infinitely more than could have been imagined, especially as Paul looks forward to seeing “face to face” and writes, “Then I shall know fully even as I have been fully known” (v. 12).

Through a disciplined devotion to prayer, reading, studying Scripture, we shall know God, not in the sense of having the same omniscience as God has, but “even as” he has known us personally with such extraordinary depths of love.

But this life is the first step into an eternity of love with God; the love of God and our love for God, and these three graces of faith, hope and love must of necessity all continue beyond this mortal sphere, for the attributes of God are incomparable in their beauty, His perfections are unlimited in their number, His excellence is everlasting in its duration, splendour is absolute in its span.

In the name of God, the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit,

A Prayer for Faith, Hope, and Love

We can start with this prayer from 2 Corinthians 1:3-4“All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.”

God, thank you for loving me. Thank you for starting my cycle of life and giving me the wisdom needed to walk with you. I pray I will continually be interested in wisdom so that my faith and my hope cannot be cut off. I pray that as I stay full, I will look for ways to carry out your work to help someone else in need. Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! Amen.

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5 Powerful Lessons from Psalm 139 about God’s Truest Wonderfulness! 

I absolutely adore Psalm 139. The words bring me to tears almost every time I read them.  I have quoted sections of this Psalm over and over again in my life as it has become one of the most precious examples to me of how intimately the Lord knows and loves me. Yet, we get all too shy about expressing it There is no viable reason we should ever to ever try and hide from the love of God because God is not afraid of any darkness in me. He sees it and He know it intimately! We may play our children’s game of “Hide and Go Seek” but God never does!

Psalm 139 is an eloquent psalm of prayer, meant to be sung in praise at worship services. When we but seek to learn, when we look for help or healing, when we express gratitude or anxiety, and when we celebrate God’s blessings … we pray!

Prayer is conversation with God, layered upon layered with all of these intricate levels which contribute to our relationship with God our Creator and our Father.

The NIV Study Bible shares, “Nowhere (outside of Job) does one find expressed such profound awareness of how awesome it is to ask God to examine not only one’s life but also one’s soul.” Life deep within the unconditional love of Christ further amplifies what words the psalmist poured from his heart. We have been each created by God, purposefully. He knows us, intimately better than we know ourselves! He is mighty to save, He’s always mightily good. He is all-knowing and everywhere. Because of whom He is, we are always loved and never alone.

Let us now pick up our Bibles, dust off the dust covers and take the time to read the whole Psalm – not just separate the verses out individually or in groups of verses as I generally do when I am writing a devotional focused on one point.

Psalm 139 New International Version

Psalm 139

For the director of music. Of David. A psalm.

You have searched me, Lord,
    and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise;
    you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down;
    you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue
    you, Lord, know it completely.
You hem me in behind and before,
    and you lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
    too lofty for me to attain.

Where can I go from your Spirit?
    Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
    if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
    if I settle on the far side of the sea,
10 even there your hand will guide me,
    your right hand will hold me fast.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
    and the light become night around me,”
12 even the darkness will not be dark to you;
    the night will shine like the day,
    for darkness is as light to you.

13 For you created my inmost being;
    you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    your works are wonderful,
    I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
    when I was made in the secret place,
    when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
    all the days ordained for me were written in your book
    before one of them came to be.
17 How precious to me are your thoughts,[a] God!
    How vast is the sum of them!
18 Were I to count them,
    they would outnumber the grains of sand—
    when I awake, I am still with you.

19 If only you, God, would slay the wicked!
    Away from me, you who are bloodthirsty!
20 They speak of you with evil intent;
    your adversaries misuse your name.
21 Do I not hate those who hate you, Lord,
    and abhor those who are in rebellion against you?
22 I have nothing but hatred for them;
    I count them my enemies.
23 Search me, God, and know my heart;
    test me and know my anxious thoughts.
24 See if there is any offensive way in me,
    and lead me in the way everlasting.

The Word of God for the Children of God. Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia! Amen.

Let us ask the question, what truths were on David’s heart writing Psalm 139?

Psalm 139 reflects David’s prayerful meditation of God’s omnipresence and omniscience, and the effect those characteristics of God have on the human heart. Omnipresence means God is everywhere, simultaneously. Omniscience means that God is all-knowing, His knowledge is not limited. Knowing God creates gratitude and praise for who He is and what He does for us. We were made to glorify God. Our personal experience and knowledge of God directly affects our relationships, especially in times of hardship, injustice, and pain.

David’s heartfelt journey with God, through the good, bad, challenging, and unbelievable, remains alive and relatable throughout Psalm 139.

https://archive.spurgeon.org/treasury/ps139.php

“It sings the omniscience and omnipresence of God, inferring from these the overflow of the powers of wickedness,” Rev. Charles H. Spurgeon’s Treasury of David explains, “since he who sees and hears the abominable deeds and words of the rebellions will surely deal with them according to his justice.”

Who God is, allows us to understand who and Whose, we are. Life within the love of Christ Jesus, Immanuel (God with us), changes our hearts forever and continually until we finally arrive home in heaven. The journey of each human heart is truly unique, purposed, and intimately known by the One True God.

Here Are 5 critically essential truths from Psalm 139 to Strengthen Your Heart:

Critically Essential Truth # 1 — We Are Intimately Known!

Psalm 139:13 Amplified Version

13 
For You formed my innermost parts;
You knit me [together] in my mother’s womb.

Before we were known to our mothers, God was forming every intricate detail and fabric of who we are. We often default to a critical view of ourselves and others. Psalm 139 helps each of us to see ourselves and others through God’s perspective. Color, ethnicity, disability …every trait and characteristic were intricately crafted by our purposeful God. We are each God’s Masterpiece!

We are crafted personally and purposefully, to bring all glory to God. Nothing about us is the least bit accidental. God doesn’t simply allow us to be a certain way or to carry a certain trait – every cell of our being is intentional. When my wife became a mother, she experienced love on another level. Yet, she only could carry her son into this world in her womb. God alone gave them life and God alone cares for them infinitely more. We are all loved by God this way.

“God has perfect knowledge of us,” Theologian and Commentator Matthew Henry wrote, “and all our thoughts and actions are open before him.”

Matthew Henry’s Complete Commentary:

https://www.biblestudytools.com/commentaries/matthew-henry-complete/

We cannot control the thoughts popping into our minds all day long, every day. But we do have some say over what happens to them once they arrive.

Scripture advises to take our thoughts captive. Some of the rogue thoughts that enter our minds are absolutely crazy! God sees every last one of them. He knows all of our words before we let them exit our mouths. He knows what we will do. He’s numbered our days. We are intimately known by God, not just outwardly, but inwardly too. When the heart is mentioned in Scripture, it often refers to the seat of our souls, the place from which we make all decisions, and we harbor all our beliefs. God is there. He is not surprised by our physical or mental struggles!

Being intimately known by our sovereign God means we are not hidden, nor should we feel compelled or convinced by guilt or shame to hide from Him in any way. The sacrifice Jesus made on the cross negated 100% the shame which compelled Adam and Eve to hide from God in the garden. Though the curse of sin we live under compels us to do the same—run and hide when we sin—God made a way for us, through Jesus, to bring our sin to His feet and confess and repent of it. God’s faithfulness, God’s forgiveness, His mercies, and the grace available to us through our Lord and Savior Christ Jesus, are new every day!

Critically Essential Truth #2 — We Are Purposefully Made

Psalm 139:14 Amplified Version 14 

I will give thanks and praise to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Wonderful are Your works,
And my soul knows it very well.

We were each made with purpose, to bring glory to God. Each talent, gift, and occupation have a place in the workforce of the Kingdom of God. Who we are is meant to bring fearful reverence to God! Not a fear to be anxious or afraid of, but a respectful, reverence for God. When people look at the lives of those who follow Christ, they should witness the life He shed dripping from our daily lives.

According to Biblestudytools.com, wonderfully means “to be distinct, marked out, be separated, be distinguished.” We aren’t made wonderful in the eyes of world, but from the heart of God, to bring glory to His name. We have each been intentionally set apart, different from the world. In the midst of their daily life, Christians do well to remind themselves of the Good Shepherd’s knowledge and provision, most of our doubts, anxieties, and fears that occupy our Christian soul can be attributed to our own lack of trust in Christ as the Good Shepherd.

Even though David penned this psalm at least a thousand years before Jesus walked the earth, everything in Scripture points to God’s greatest expression of love for us in the birth, life, ministry, crucifixion resurrection of Christ Jesus.

Living in these New Covenant times, we can read this psalm knowing Jesus has defeated death and is seated at the right hand of the Father. Those who follow God, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit will ultimately be welcomed into heaven for eternity upon death on this earth. God moves through the whole of our earthly lives to spread the gospel. His desire is not to leave behind even one!

Critically Essential Truth # 3 — God Is in absolute Control

Psalm 139:16 Amplified Version

16 
Your eyes have seen my unformed substance;
And in Your book were all written
The days that were appointed for me,
When as yet there was not one of them [even taking shape].

We may try to hide ourselves from the truth here is infinitely more happening in the world and our lives than we can plausibly see. But God’s view is limitless, transcending all time and space. He has numbered our days, and nothing can change or alter His good plan for our lives. His will overcomes what we want. 

It’s hard to genuinely grasp, comprehend God is in control of a world spinning far off its rails. So much injustice, unfairness, tragedy and heartbreak surround everyday circumstances world-wide. Even devout Christ-followers gaze up to the depths of the heavens to wonder where God is during tumultuous seasons.

“God’s sovereign control is complete, not partial,” Reverend Dr. John Piper explains on desiringGod.org, “Whether it’s more or less direct or more or less indirect, more or less by active intrusion or more or less by tactical permission- however it is, God controls it, and the control is complete and pervasive. Nothing in the universe is random without divine design and purpose.”

Critically Essential Truth # 4 — We Are Never Alone

Psalm 139:7 Amplified Version


Where can I go from Your Spirit?
Or where can I flee from Your presence?

One of the biggest tricks and deceits of our greatest adversary is to isolate and convince us we are alone. Especially in today’s society, as the world endures a global pandemic, isolation has become a reality we experience for long periods of time. Even when we are out in society, masks and plastic barriers isolate us from each other. Quarantine puts us in our rooms alone for half a month’s time!

But even when the physical presence of other people is socially distant, even absent from our lives for a designated time, we are never alone. God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are always and forever with us. God is impossible to escape from. And He is mighty to save. David knew these qualities of God well, as he was chased down by a very vengeful King Saul and exiled to hide in a cave!

God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit encompass the One True, Triune God. God is everywhere, all at once. The Zondervan Illustrated Bible Dictionary explains, “Not a part but the whole of God is present in every place. This is true of all three members of the Trinity. They are so closely related that where one is the other can be said to be also.”

https://bibleandbookcenter.com/read/zondervan-illustrated-bible-dictionary/

Jesus sits at the right hand of the Father in heaven, interceding for us. Through His life’s sacrifice on the cross, the Holy Spirit dwells in every Christ-follower.

Critically Essential Truth # 5 — Judgment Belongs to God Alone

Psalm 139:19-20 Amplified Version

19 
[a]O that You would kill the wicked, O God;
Go away from me, therefore, men of bloodshed.

20 
For they speak against You wickedly,
Your enemies take Your name in vain.

Throughout his life, David experienced many “wicked men” who sought after his life. Yet he spared his greatest enemy King Saul when him and his best men were asleep in a cave. David knew, judgment belongs to God and to God alone. Much of the Psalms teach us to love our enemies, pray to God on their behalf.

What does David mean, then, when he wrote verses 15-22? David’s pen was divinely inspired by the Holy Spirit of God. God’s Word is Truth, and in its entirety points the devout follower decisively and directly unto Christ Jesus.

Sensibly, these verses are followed by: “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me and lead me in the way everlasting.” (Psalm 139:23-24)

When we genuinely and humbly pray this verse, God faithfully answers! We are to pray for all our enemies and the enemies of God and beseeching, He searches our souls as well. He knows our enemies, and ourselves, far better than we do.

Psalm 139 is a deeply personal and intimate prayer and song of praise to God.

Though Author and Creator of the entire universe, and each of us, God is 100% personally invested and in touch with every single one of our lives! He cares deeply and compassionately for us, not only as a whole but individually.

The NIV Study Bible relays, “This final Davidic collection contains the Psalter’s two most magnificent expositions of the greatness and goodness of God, one of them (Psalm 139) focusing on his relationship with an individual…” (emphasis added). https://www.biblica.com/resources/scholar-notes/niv-study-bible/

Because of Jesus Christ’s sacrifice on the cross and resurrection from the dead, we are able to come freely to God through Christ. In hope, in prayer, praise, and everyday life, He is our constant companion. Jesus calls us friends. What a God we serve! A God who 1000% saves! We are 1000% known, loved, never alone.

In the name of God, the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit,

Let us pray,

Dear Father in heaven, your Son promised that we would see him again if we wait patiently and listen to what the Holy Spirit says to us. Illuminate our hearts and send your Spirit in. All that is yours will be ours through your Spirit. I pray that I learn to quiet my mind so I can hear the Holy Spirit. I pray that I am filled with the understanding to know how to follow its guidance for me. Amen.

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By what standard ought We to Love all others? By Whose standard? We love only because God first loved us!

11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.

The eternal God loves us in three tenses: past, present and future – for He is the same yesterday today and forever. It is a divine love that cannot be compared with the inadequate love of fallen man, but is a love so penetrating, that He sent the unique, and only begotten Son of His love to be the propitiation for our sins.

That single act of the Father should stagger us to the core of our being… that our God sent Christ as a gift of His grace… to be made the penultimate curse for us – so that, for the sake of love we might be made the righteousness of God, in Him.

But having redeemed us He sent His Holy Spirit to abide in our heart and day by day, He seeks to transform us from ugly, bitter, antagonistic sinners into good, obedient and mature children of God, having the same, godly nature as the Lord Jesus Christ, Himself.

But His love extends into the never-ending, eternal future, for no eye has seen, nor ear has heard – nor has it entered into the imagination of man the glories that God has prepared for those who love Him. Since the eternal God loves us in three, staggering tenses – the standard set, we ought also to love one another.

1 John 4:7-21 English Standard Version

God Is Love

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. 10 In this is love, not that we have 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 ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us, and his love is perfected in us.

13 By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. 14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. 15 Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. 16 So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. 17 By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world. 18 There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. 19 We love because he first loved us. 20 If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot[a] love God whom he has not seen. 21 And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.

The Word of God for the Children of God. Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia! Amen.

Today’s passage is all about love. The first couple of things that probably pop into your mind when you hear “love” likely involve romance, dating, marriage, I know because it did for me the very first time, I remember reading the text!

Today, we will be devoting our time to talking about a love that is much greater, very much stronger, and much more powerful than any love we could possibly conjure up or imagine we can bound within our human limits. The answer to “What kind of standard of love is that?” God because God is love, so God’s love. 

The New Covenant text for today explores the scope of God’s love and the vast implications of it: how that love was presented to us, how it was displayed in Jesus Christ, and how that standard of love both transforms and changes us.

A short caveat: for the organizational purposes of exploring these three topics, the verses referenced in this devotional offering might be a bit out of order, so just be aware of that. Man’s boundaries all come back to the center who is God!

How the standard of God’s love is presented to us

The first thing I wanted to take a look at today is how this beloved passage from 1 John answers for us the question of “How is/was God’s love presented to us?”

There are two verses in particular which begin to address that question today:

1 John 4:10Authorized (King James) Version

10 Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

1 John 4:19Authorized (King James) Version

19 We love him, because he first loved us.

What is so special about these two verses?

They both show the initiative of God. Who loved first? God loved first. This isn’t meant to be a dive into any meaningful discourse or theological discussion on predestination or whatever, but to really take a well-considered look at the initiative that God takes in setting before us, His children, his standard of love.

And this exercise of personal initiative is significant, because it shows reveals to us God is in no identifiable way shape or form passive. God does not just sit back and twiddle His thumbs and leave us alone to figure this sin problem out, but rather, He takes and is taking an indescribably active role in the redemption of his children. Let’s let our fingers wander back to the first couple of the books of the Bible and bring to remembrance some of the events and characters there.

The Creation Story. Who initiates it? Who speaks creation into being? God!

Noah and the ark. Who initiates there? It was God!

Abraham and his covenant. Who initiates there? Again, it was God!

Moses and the burning bush. Who initiates there? Once again, God! 

And once we realize this pattern in the Old Testament of God initiating and taking an unimaginably active role, we can recognize that it doesn’t end there. As we keep thumbing through the pages, God’s undeniably active role continues in the sweep towards the sacrificial work of Jesus on the cross unto Revelation.

How God’s love was displayed through Christ Jesus

And now, with God’s initiative in mind, let us advance our thoughts into and unto the second topic. We are able to allow our souls to genuinely and deeply appreciate how God displays his love through Jesus. Let’s take a look at our text:

1 John 4:9-10 Authorized (King James) Version

In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. 10 Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

How was God’s love displayed and made known to us?

Through the death through which Jesus paid, and in return, the life that was given to us. His atoning death has led to the forgiveness of our sin. But what makes that love so grand and almost baffling? It’s that God is not obligated to send Jesus for the forgiveness of sin, he does not have to do it, but he does so willingly. He takes the divine initiative and unconditionally loves us first, even if it is for a people that do not––and may not–– ever, ever, ever love him back.

God’s standard of unconditional love inevitably transforms and changes us all

The final thought I wanted to take a look at regarding this passage is how God’s love transforms and changes us. At the beginning of this post, I had mentioned how powerful God’s love is, and this entire passage really brings that into focus:

He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. (1 John 4:8 AKJV)

11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another. 12 No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us. (1 John 4:11-12 AKJV)

17 Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world. 18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love. (1 John 4:17-18 AKJV)

20 If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? 21 And this commandment have we from him, that he who loveth God love his brother also. (1 John 4:20-21 AKJV)

Again, God’s love is never a passive love. And in that same way, God’s love does not act passively in us. It drives us, it transforms, and it changes us. It drives us to love one another (v.11), to care for our brothers and sisters (vv. 20-21), gives us confidence towards God even in judgement (vv. 17-18), and transforms us to be more like Christ (v. 17).

As God was willing to take and exercise His divine initiative to love and sacrifice His ONLY Son, for these people, surely, I can go out of my way to love them too. 

God’s love does not, has never and will never act the least bit passively in us. It constantly and continuously drives us, it transforms, and it 1000% changes us. God’s love is inevitable! It never changes! It can never change because our God never changes. God’s love is limitless! His love is not bound by our standards! His love can never be bound up or be held in bondage by frail human standards! These thoughts ought to just blow our minds outside the bounds of what we will tightly tape, wrap up securely inside gift boxes titled “impossible and possible.”

With what I fervently pray is a much better understanding today of how God exercises initiative in his love, how can we, today, take initiative in our love?

What does it look like to take initiative to love a friend in a mental health crisis? A difficult to talk to neighbor. A family member with different political views?

Maybe it is something “smaller,” like asking and then listening well to how someone’s been doing. Or maybe it’s something a bit bigger, like apologizing to someone, asking for their forgiveness from a mistake which caused them grief.

Regardless, we do not love because it’s something we have to do, or because we are obligated to do, but because God’s love drives us to do it. As much or as little as we follow Jesus, we serve a loving God who decided to take initiative to give His one and only Son as a “paid in full” ransom in exchange for many. And that should charge, change us, and transform us, to take some initiative of our own.

The only questions and answers we need to give a maximum accounting unto God for is: What did that God driven, Jesus loved, Holy Spirit inspired initiative look like? Did we recognize the divine nature of it? Were we obedient unto it or we all too deeply living and loving from deep inside our all too typical passivity?

In the name of God, the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit, let us now collectively gather as the Body of Christ, God’s Ecclesia, in some prayer.

Gracious God, you give us the Word that turns us again and again to you. You give us Jesus who is the greatest manifestation of your word, your love and your purpose. Help us to live fully as baptized people, those grafted into Jesus the branch, the crucified and risen One. God of the risen Jesus, hear our prayer.

God of all dominion and power, God of love; we can love only because you first loved us. Empower us by your Holy Spirit to be and do the same. When we rest in your love, fear—though present—cannot overpower us. Help us to rest there always. God of the risen Jesus, hear our prayer. Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! Amen

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