Archive for the ‘love’ Category

Does Anyone Care? (Isaiah 63, Matthew 11)

July 1, 2014

“For you are our Father, though Abraham does not know us, and Israel does not acknowledge us; you, O Lord, are our Father, our Redeemer from of old is your name,”  Isaiah 63:16

Last week the FBI conducted its 8th week-long crackdown on sex trafficking in the Us.  168 children were rescued from 106 cities.  All together over 3,000 children have been rescued this year.  We give praise and honor to Jesus.  The director of the FBI was quoted as saying, “We were greatly encouraged to be able to be this successful, but at the same time we were broken because many of these children had never been reported as even missing.”

Brothers and sisters, as I read this statement, my heart broke.  I wondered, “Why did these parents not report their children missing?”  At the same time, I asked myself this question, “Does anyone care?”

This morning, we see the caring heart of Isaiah as he pleads with God the Father concerning his countrymen who were in exile.  It is clear that Isaiah knows it is God who has placed them here and he knows it is God who is judging them.

You and I must also know that this is a picture of the wrath of God that is to come upon the whole world (Rev. 14:14-18).

Isaiah is encouraged as he remembers the works of God which were from of old.  “In his love, and in his pity he redeemed them, he lifted them up and carried them all the days of old.”

Isaiah is compelled to plead for God to work in the present for the deliverance of his people.

Think it through:

Why would Isaiah come before God in a time of trouble?  Answer, “Because God cares!”  Brothers and sisters, God cares for each of us.  Paul writing in the book of Romans reminds us that we have been adopted into God’s family (8:15).  We are His children and He never forgets us.  He never turns from us and He never leaves us to ourselves.

In our New Testament reading we are reminding of Gods compelling love in calling us to come to Him in order to receive rest (Matt. 11:28-29).

Our response:

We should rebuke the thoughts that no one cares for us.  This day you are highly favored by God.

We should reach out to those in whom God cares.  They do not know that God cares.  Many are living in a society where no one has ever loved them.  Let us show them the love of Christ this very day.

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Wasting Everything (I Corinthians 13; Job 27)

February 26, 2014

“If I give away all I have, and if I deliver my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.”  I Cor. 13:3

He had such wonderful ability. There was nothing he could not do on the basketball court.  In his early days, he was the envy of many people who knew him.  But in the end, he wasted everything!!!  The once humbly and selfless young man turned into an arrogant and selfish adult who could no longer find a team that would connect with him.

Spiritually speaking, Paul is sharing truth about the subject of exercising spiritual gifts.  In chapter 12 we find a listing of spiritual gifts and we find a valuable lesson concerning spiritual gifts.  Here was the lesson, “To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.”

Question:  “What causes a person to see this and stay focused on this very lesson?”  The answer is found in I Corinthians 13, “Love.”

Paul begins the chapter by sharing with us the outrageous example of a spiritual gifted person who wastes their gifts.  As I read those verses, 13:1-3, I came away thinking this is not just an example, this is reality.  Paul’s goal is simply this, “Christians must exercise their gifts in a spirit of love.”

Think it through:

1.  Daily recite the characteristics of love, Vs: 4-7

I wrote them down this morning and committed them to memory.  I also prayed that God would give me the grace to live them out.

2.  Daily resolve to continue in love, Vs: 8

Make this the number one priority of your Christian life.  Love God and love people.

3.  Daily center your life in love, Vs: 9-13

When you encounter a task, “love.”  When you encounter difficulties, “love.”  When you have fear and doubt, “Love.”

Take away:

If this is the pattern of your life, you will never waste even a minute in your life!!!

The Father of the Fatherless (Numbers 25; Psalm 68)

May 16, 2013

“Father of the fatherless and protector of widows is God in his holy habitation.”  Psalm 68:5

“Dad, they don’t have a home.  Can we bring them home with us?”  These were the heartfelt words of my daughter when she was 12 years olds.  It was her first trip to Romania with me.  I can still remember the heartache in her heart for the orphans in Romania.

In a much deeper way we see the love of our God for those who he calls to himself.  Psalm sixty eight can be seen in three sections that teach us much about the Father of the Father-less:

1.  Our God goes before his people, Vs: 1-7

In these verses we see the God who redeems; who rewards; and who removes our enemies.  There should be no fear in our hearts.

2. Our God constantly bears up his people, Vs: 8-19

Our God is constantly in touch with us and he is leading us to freedom (Vs: 19).  Brothers and sisters there should be no failure in our minds.

3.  Our God delivers his people, Vs: 20-35

We see the work of our Lord being prefigured here.  This work is accomplished by Jesus on the cross.  We see Paul clearly teaching this in Ephesians 4:8-11.

This God, our Father, loves us and is to be praised.  Here is how the Psalmist describes his praise:”Awesome is God from his sanctuary; the god of Israel-he is the one who gives power and strength to his people.  Blessed be God.”

8 years after Beth’s first trip with me to Romania, we find ourselves headed back once again in July.  For my daughter, I can truly say, “God has gotten larger in her eyes and heart because of her experience with God.”  This year she can have confidence that her God is the Father of the Fatherless!!!  Oh that you and I would know and say the same.

 

The God who loves you (Exodus 12:21-51; Lk. 15)

March 1, 2013

And the Lord had given the people of Israel favor in the sight of the Egyptians, so they let them have what they asked. Thus they plundered the Egyptians.” Exodus 12:36

“Now the tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to hear him.”  Luke 15:1

“I love you,” came the reply from a son who received a gift that was both a surprise and a special gift.  The young man responded in the most significant way possible, “Dad I love you!”  Question, “When was the last time you said to your heavenly Papa, “I love you?”

In Exodus 12 the Children of Israel had every reason to cry out, “I love you.”  One of the deep abiding blessings of the Passover is in its reminder to cry out to God in love because of the sacrifice of His Son for the redemption of His people.

In Luke 15 we see three pictures of how much God loves us:

1.  The picture of the God who rescues lost sheep, Vs: 1-7

Jesus came to seek and save the lost, Luke 19:10

2.  The picture of the God who retrieves what is lost, Vs: 8-10

The light of the world (Jesus) shines in dark places, John 8:12 to retrieve that which is lost in the dark.

3.  The picture of God who restores his wayward children, Vs: 11-24

Yes, God allows us to go it alone.  Yes, God allows us to suffer in our wrong decisions.  Yes, God does bring us to our senses.  Yes, God does make atonement for our sin so that we can be forgiven (Kill the lamb). In all of this the Father is reaching out to us!

Question, “Have you received his rescuing, his retrieving, and his restoration?”  If so, spend time telling him how much you love him.  If you have not received these things, then you are like the older brother (Vs: 25-32) who refuses to give these things or to receive these things.  His life is a bitter mess!!!

But thanks be unto God that this does not have to be our lives.  On this Friday I praise my Lord for loving me and for causing me to love those around me.  God help me to love you more and more every day!

A Triangle Of Love (John 14:11-31)

December 14, 2012

“Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me.  And he who loves me will be loved by my Father and I will love him and manifest myself to him.”  John 14:21

Recently I was working through a passage in the Gospel of Matthew where Jesus gave warning to those who were at the cross-roads of life.  In the passage Jesus gave the following warning, “Beware of false teachers.”  Certainly there are many who would lead us in different paths other than the path set for us by Jesus Christ.

Consider John’s goal in this gospel, “Men might believe that Jesus is the Son of God and that believing they would have life in Him.”  However there were those who tried to lead people away from this path.  Here in John 14 the disciples are on the path.

As Jesus describes this path we discover a triangle of love.  Notice the text:

1.  We are loved by Jesus, Vs: 14-19

In Jesus we have life.  “Because he lives we also will live.”  This is great love.  Jesus had to die, be buried, and rise again for this victory in our lives.

2.  We are loved by the Father, Vs: 20-23

Our Father in heaven has prepared a place for us.  He also is willing to make his home with us.  Oh what love God has for us.

3.  We are loved by the Spirit, Vs: 24-31

The Spirit is Jesus representative in our lives.  We are never alone (orphaned).  We have a direct connection to the will of Jesus.  We have one who gives us comport, peace, and direction in this life.

Brothers and sisters we are greatly loved.  The question that comes to mind is this, “Do we love Him?”  We do not have to debate the answer.  Here is the criteria, “Those who love Him keep His commandments.”

This Christmas season I challenge you to rejoice in the gift you have received in God’s triangle of love.  I also challenge you to seek to give this gift to all you hold dear and even those who have never been on your radar before.