Posts Tagged ‘love of God

02
Sep
13

Living the love of God instead of just talking about it

As I watched the “Secret Millionaire” show last evening, which featured Tri Coastal Community Outreach which I have worked closely with for seven years, I was struck again by how ignorant many Christian denominations are when it comes to charity. For reasons that escape me, there is a belief among some branches of our faith that it is a bad thing to help people in any way except preaching the Bible to them. I believe this is not only shortsighted but also in direct opposition to what Jesus said in the parable recorded in Matthew 25:34-46.

When someone has been beaten down by life’s storms, the last thing they need (usually) is someone to slam a Bible over their head and tell them to believe. When someone has seen their home washed away, their job dissolved, their family split apart or their physical body break down; the last thing they need to hear is that they are a sinner and all these things happened to them because they sinned.

When I dropped everything in May of 2006 and took off for the Gulf Coast to try and help those who were in great need after Hurricane Katrina, I had one goal in mind and that was to be of service. I of course had my Bible with me and studied it faithfully, but I did not embark on my journeys to be an evangelist but rather to be a servant.

Many times I found myself loading or unloading trucks in 99 degree heat, tearing out rotten drywall in a mold infested house, running all over three states trying to find supplies when none were to be found and numerous other menial tasks. My greatest joy came when I was able to be a part of a distribution day at one of the outreach centers when food and other supplies were passed out.

I remember vividly handing a package of toilet paper to an older lady at a distribution center one day. I had to drive nearly 100 miles to find that paper due to shortages. Upon receiving the package, the woman broke down in tears and thanked the Lord for His faithfulness over and over again. How can helping someone SEE the love of God in manifestation be wrong?

When I wasn’t actually helping people I was traveling across the United States trying to present the needs I had witnessed to churches, ministries and other groups who claimed they wanted to help people. For the most part my appeals landed on deaf ears. Time and again I heard the same excuses which were that these people needed to help themselves and just “giving them things” did not help them rebuild their lives.

If more Christian preachers and teachers spent less time talking and more time putting on their work clothes and helping someone rebuild their home, clean their yard or find supplies to stay alive; more people would come to the Lord by seeing the love of God in manifestation than just hearing about it on Sunday morning. Those who live their faith provide a far greater testimony to the faith than those who simply want to talk about it.

15
Jul
13

Overcoming the spirit of conflict surrounding us

I have never understood why people believe rioting solves anything. The current wave of violence spreading over America’s cities is crazy, unwarranted and obviously sparked by something other than a verdict in one court case. What is happening now is totally disproportionate in relation to the cause. In other words, the court case involved was NOT important enough to justify the rage, hatred and violence taking place.

Among the many things God frowns upon, rioting (or wantonness in the New Testament) ranks near the top of the list. There is absolutely no justification, from God’s point of view, for a crowd to run wild, throwing rocks through windows, setting vehicles on fire and physically injuring bystanders. God never told His people to riot against Pharaoh or against the Roman occupation. Rioting is never God’s way of dealing with a situation.

Riots are self-serving, disruptive and injurious to whatever the cause is. Riots solve nothing and in reality make a situation worse. I lived through the horrendous race riots of the late 1960’s and I can verify that nothing good came out of them. All they did was foster hate and destroy property.

People are simply looking for an excuse to riot. When a team wins the World Series, Super Bowl, NBA championship etc, there seems to always be a riot afterward. Why and how could winning a championship justify the destruction of property? It is all so absurd to me.

I see nothing wrong with having a demonstration as long as it is peaceful and does not break any laws. But, when a demonstration turns violent, the very cause being demonstrated against (or for) is quickly forgotten and replaced with the pent up desire for revenge. Are not the riots currently gripping this country merely the manifestation of the incredible anger and bitterness millions of people feel with respect to race?

In God’s sight there is neither male nor female, bond nor free, black or white etc. Within the Body of Christ, Christians are supposed to be “color blind”, but how many really are? Some of the most vicious examples of prejudice, bigotry, hatred and the desire to injure or destroy are found within the faith that is supposed to preach peace and manifest love.

If God’s people would stop attacking each other and instead reach out in honesty, understanding, love and compassion; we could do our part to generate an attitude of peace instead of a climate of animosity. This world is so full of hate that if Christians don’t watch out, they will become a part of the problem instead of a catalyst for finding solutions.

Just because the world is full of bad things should not give us an excuse to do bad things to each other. Just because the world is full of rage, anger, sarcasm, pride and injustice does not justify us manifesting the same things. We are supposed to be separate from this world and live on a higher plane which is the love, mercy and grace of God manifested in forgiveness, honesty and reconciliation.

10
Jun
13

The three-headed monster of envy, lust and jealousy

I was reading this morning about the uptick in brutal killings in Papua New Guinea. This backwards country that is heavily influenced by black magic and other primitive forms of evil has seen a rise in attacks on people who have broken free from generational bondage and taken on normal lives with jobs and permanent housing. Evidently those who do not have such “luxuries” are offended by this and take it upon themselves to destroy those who have what they want but don’t have.

Once again I am struck by the reality that the vast majority of people in this world have no clue what prosperity, stability and civilized behavior mean. Locked in cultures rife with anger and feeding upon every vile and barbaric tendency in man, these people have nothing to live for outside of self preservation and/or fulfilling the base lusts of their heart.

Starting with Cain and continuing unto this day, people who do not know or love God resort to violence when confronted with either envy or jealousy in their lives. If someone wants what another has, they simply steal it or kill the person to get it. If someone is jealous, they simply get rid of the person they believe is trying to steal something they love.

Envy has always been known as the “green eyed monster” because it arouses in people a motivation that many times ends in a violent attempt to get what they want. Jealously is very similar to envy except it specifically refers to the perceived belief someone is trying to steal something deeply loved and cherished. Both of these things are dangerous and lead to hideous crimes especially when mixed with hatred or desire for absolute power.

Envy for what is not yours, lust for what you want and jealously that someone is trying to steal what is yours all add fuel to the fire of anger that erupts in violence many times. Obviously, these three things are not only undesirable traits in a Christian, they are specifically singled out by God in both the Old and New Testaments as things that absolutely must be avoided and corrected in a person’s life.

What could possibly motivate a person to violently attack another person without provocation? More times than not, the motivations are envy, lust or jealousy. These “passions of infamy” turn people into monsters who will stop at nothing to get what they want.

Without question, things like envy, lust and jealousy must be eliminated in a Christian’s mind and heart because they hold the potential to harm others. One of the reasons God gives such specific instructions in Ephesians 4 about stealing is that simple stealing leads to envy and lust which usually end up violently hurting someone.

Envy, covetousness, lust, greed, jealousy etc are all things that must be rooted out and eliminated in our lives. There is absolutely no place for these destructive things within the Body of Christ. Love dictates that we never allow ourselves to fall prey to the vicious attributes of the enemy but rather rebuke them in the name of Jesus Christ and instead put on the new man which is created in righteousness and true holiness.

19
May
13

The commitment that is love

The very first thing I learned from God about God is that God is love. God is many things but the two which define Him in the greatest way are that He is love and He is light. Without love and light, there is no life.

Every day, countless couples decide to split up because they have “fallen out of love” with each other. I have often wondered what exactly this means and if the same thing happens to people in their relationship with God.

To fall out of love implies one first fell in love. To fall in love is mainly an infatuation prompted by the emotional response to physical attraction. As long as it remains, there will be love there, but once the fire dies the love grows cold. People wake up one day and realize they no longer love the person they are married to.

If a person comes to know God through an emotional experience and then does not build upon that experience with knowledge from the Word of God, it is inevitable that in due time the emotions will wane and the person will “fall out of love with God” and move on to something else in life. How tragic it is that people would file for divorce from God.

Just as in marriage, our relationship with God takes hard work, commitment, patience, forgiveness, communication and love. A deep relationship moves past the fleeting emotions of the moment to an absolute commitment to make things work. Marriages as well as relationships with God wither and die when that commitment wavers or “escape routes” are tolerated.

A solid marriage is built upon open communication and absolute commitment. A solid relationship with God is build upon open communication (prayer) and absolute commitment (trust). Without these two things, the pressures and pleasures of life will either cause a person to cave in or chase after fantasies.

Love is the commitment of the heart that supersedes anything that comes up in life. Love is the absolute commitment that no matter what, nothing will splinter or separate those involved. There is no way any relationship, earthly or spiritual, can endure without the deep roots of love. Love refuses to allow the enemy to enter, entice or end a relationship.

God is love. There is no issue with Him loving us. The issue is whether we love Him enough to trust Him with our very life. If we are willing to lay down our pride and crawl under the shadow of His wings, we are then able to receive the benefits the love of God brings. Without the love of God reigning in our hearts we are restless, dissatisfied with life and unhappy. Truly it is the love of God that brings rest to our souls, gives us deep satisfaction in our hearts and allows us to walk in the joy of the Lord.

19
Mar
13

Oh to know and love our God more and more

Sometimes we get so caught up in the details of our faith we lose sight of what our faith is all about. Simply put, we were dead in our sins and Jesus Christ paid the price as God’s perfect sacrifice for those sins so that we may live. God raised Jesus from the dead, defeating the sting of death and forever winning the battle for redemption.

God so loved the world that He gave His Son so that we might live through Him. God so loved the world that we now can be called the children of God. God so loved the world that He poured out His mercy and forgiveness on a creation which had rejected Him. God so loved the world that He gave us His Son to live and reign in our lives.

The beauty and simplicity of what God did for us through His Son Jesus Christ defines the word awesome. The greatness and power manifested by God in the resurrection of Christ defines majesty. The grace and mercy poured out on us by God defines love.

There are many things people devote their lives to, but the greatest thing any of us can fully be devoted to is knowing and loving our Savior more and more each day. In man’s unquenchable quest for knowledge, he has lost sight of that which is most important in this life and that is humility and meekness to know and love God more.

The prayer of our hearts should be that God would teach us about who He is and what He has done for us in Christ. The prayer of our hearts should be to walk humbly before our God, clothed in His goodness and bathed in His greatness. The prayer of our hearts should be to know Him more and more each day so that we can proclaim to all how great God is.

May we never become so vain we forget that without God we are nothing. May we never become so busy we forget about the God who saved us. May we never become so bitter that we refuse to taste and see that the Lord is good. May we never become so hard and cold that we live as people who never knew God’s love.

Jesus Christ poured out His life so that we may live. Jesus Christ suffered and died to pay for our sins and separation from God. Jesus Christ laid down His life as a sacrifice for sin once, for all and forever. Jesus Christ gave up everything so that we can have everything in Him. Jesus Christ was, is and will forever be our Redeemer, Deliverer, Savior and Lord.

I pray that each one of us draws closer to our Savior and bows down before Him in humble adoration for all He did and continues to do for us. We have been given so much. I pray we never forget all that He is and all that we are in Him.

17
Mar
13

The free gift of the grace, mercy and love of God in Christ Jesus vs religion

Without the grace of God, we are doomed to eternally suffer the consequences of Adam’s sin. Without the mercy of God, we are doomed to receiving the full punishment for every sin we ever committed. Without the peace of God, we are doomed to forever be in conflict with God’s righteousness. Without the love of God, we are doomed.

The only reason any of us have a life worth living is because of the grace, mercy, peace and love of God. Anyone who is too good, self righteous or perfect to need these things is no friend of God. Anyone willing to lay down their pride, arrogance, egotism and haughty self sufficiency is able to receive the fullness of all God has given to us in Christ Jesus.

Most of the Pharisees could and would not receive Jesus’ message due to their belief they were already righteous because of their piety. Religion has a way of driving people into a state of separation from God due to the belief that by good works they become self righteous and in no need of God’s grace and mercy.

Religion seeks to perfect the flesh through legalism, rituals and good works. Religion has nothing to do with God per se. Religion is far more interested in projecting an aura of perfection than be a living epistle of God’s love, grace and mercy. Religion may produce good works that help the downtrodden, hungry, but religion has nothing to do with one’s personal relationship with God.

Religion cannot and will not accept the free gift of God’s grace, mercy, peace and love found in Christ Jesus. Religion accepts no free gifts, period. Everything good is the result of hard work, faithfulness to rituals and staying out of trouble. When a religious person is offered everything he works so hard to get for free, it is rejected as being counterfeit.

True Christianity is not a religion. Religion is man doing things to become so righteous that God will accept them. Christianity is accepting everything Jesus Christ did to make us righteous. Religion and true Christianity do not get along even if those who are religious claim to be Christians.

Everything good we have in our lives is a gift from God through His grace, mercy and love. We were dead in our sins with no hope in this world before the grace and mercy of God saved us. In Christ Jesus we have been given justification, righteousness, sanctification, wisdom and redemption. None of these things were the result of our good or hard work. They were all given to us freely by God’s grace, mercy and love.

The world is full of “good people” who do not know God and have rejected the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The world is full of religious people who do not know God and have rejected the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I pray that we are willing to show the world the true Gospel of Jesus Christ as we live in the glorious grace, mercy, peace and love of God freely given to us in Christ Jesus.

11
Mar
13

The overwhelming, never ending and unfailing love of God

Of all the qualities that set our God apart from all others, His love manifested through mercy and forgiveness is perhaps the greatest. Although our God is a jealous God and in His due time His wrath will be poured out on this world, that which makes Him a God to be adored and obeyed is His all encompassing love which defines who He really is.

Yes, we should respect God for He is awesome and mighty, but we are to draw near unto Him as the Father that He is. Those who live in constant dread of sinning and being punished or stripped of all God has given live in a state of bondage best described as hell on earth. There is no fear in love but perfect love casts out all fear 1 John tells us. This is why we humbly bow down in awe of God but not cower in fear of His impending judgment and condemnation.

I firmly believe with every fiber of my heart that the most important thing in life is to keep our love for God strong, deep, fervent, and tender. Those who allow themselves to become distant from God have allowed their heart to become distracted and their love for God cold and distant. When living life becomes more important than loving God; we have succeeded in failing to be and do what God put us here for.

Whatever we love we want more of. Whatever we love we can’t get enough of. Whatever we love we give our heart, time and devotion to. Whatever we love the most gets the best we have to offer and the most that we have to give. This is why the first and greatest commandment is to love God with ALL of our heart, soul, mind and strength.

God is love and God loved us enough to give His only begotten Son so that we might have eternal life. God is love and God loves us with all of His heart. God is wholly devoted to helping and protecting us. God loves us enough to forgive us time and time again. God loves us enough to cast our sins as far as the east is from the west and remember them no more.

Why do we have such a problem loving a God who loves us so much? Why do we walk away from such amazing love and squander our lives in pursuit of earthly treasures and pleasures? Why do we insist on refusing to believe Almighty God loves us no matter what we have done and stands there waiting with outstretched arms to welcome us back when we stray?

Love can melt the hardest heart and can heal a broken and destroyed life. The love of God transforms mean and ugly people into beautiful and giving saints. I pray that no matter how difficult this life gets or how messed up we allow ourselves to become, that we never forget the overwhelming love of God. People will desert us, our strength will fail us and we will at times fail God. But, always remember that God will never cease loving us and His love never fails.