Live Love, Part 2

 

image_of_god_love

What Love Does

Just like “faith without works is dead” (James 2:20), so faith without action is not love.  It must be proven through good deeds for others to see.

(1John 3:18 KJV)  My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.

(1John 3:17 KJV)  But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?

(2 Corinthians 8:8 KJV)  I speak not by commandment, but by occasion of the forwardness of others, and to prove the sincerity of your love.

(2 Corinthians 8:24 KJV)  Wherefore shew ye to them, and before the churches, the proof of your love, and of our boasting on your behalf.

God proved it:

  1. He sent Jesus.

(1John 4:9 KJV)  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.

(1John 4:10 KJV)  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. He corrects us.

(Revelations 3:19 KJV)  As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.

(Proverbs 3:12) For whom the LORD loveth he correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth.

We prove it:

  1. We keep His commandments.

(1John 5:2 KJV)  By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments.

(John 14:21 KJV)  He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.

  1. We keep the peace.

(Proverbs 17:9 KJV)  He that covereth a transgression seeketh love; but he that repeateth a matter separateth very friends.

(Proverbs 10:12 KJV)  Hatred stirreth up strifes: but love covereth all sins.

(Ephesians 4:2 KJV)  With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love . . .

  1. We live selflessly.

(1Corinthians 13:4-7) Charity [love] suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.

2 Corinthians 12:15 KJV)  And I will very gladly spend and be spent for you; though the more abundantly I love you, the less I be loved.

(Ephesians 5:2 KJV)  And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling savour.

(1John 3:16 KJV)  Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.

(Romans 12:10 KJV)  Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another . . .

  1. We work to serve.

(1Thessalonians 1:3 KJV)  Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father;

(1Thessalonians 5:13 KJV)  And to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake. And be at peace among yourselves.

(Hebrews 6:10 KJV)  For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister.

(Galatians 5:13 KJV)  For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.

  1. We encourage good works.

(Hebrews 10:24 KJV)  And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works . . .

  1. We never stop loving.

(Hebrews 13:1 KJV)  Let brotherly love continue.

(1Corinthians 13:8) Charity [love] never faileth . . .

  1. We speak the truth.

 (Ephesians 4:15 KJV)  But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ . . .

  1. We fulfill the law.

(Romans 13:8 KJV)  Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.

  1. We build up (edify).

(Ephesians 4:16 KJV)  From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.

 

To be continued . . .

 

The Same


We should all be grateful that God never changes. He does not change His gender, change His nature, or change His Word. If He did, we would find Him unreliable, unfaithful, and untrustworthy. But because He is always the same, we can have confidence that Who He is today will be who He will be tomorrow! 

Exodus 3:14 “And God said unto Moses, I Am That I Am…”

Hebrews 13:8 “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.” 

Malachi 3:6 “For I am the Lord, I change not…” 

Numbers 23:19 “God is not a man, that He should lie, nor a son of man, that He should repent (change His mind)….”

(Photo courtesy of google images.)

Just As He Said

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God is a perfect example of faithfulness.  Many well-meaning people may attempt to exemplify faithfulness, but they can’t hold a candle to God’s perfect, promise-keeping nature.  His very name is “Faithful and True” (Revelation 19:11), and He keeps His word to a “thousand generations” (Psalm 105:8).  In fact, Numbers 23:19 says, “God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?” Hebrews 6:18 confirms that it’s impossible for Him to lie!  With this kind of reputation, we should have no difficulty trusting Him.

Unfortunately, our human nature has a hard time putting full confidence in something – or Someone – we cannot see.  We are so led by our five senses that anything out of our physical reach or vision seems impossible.  We have been so scarred by examples of unfaithfulness in our life that we don’t want to trust anyone ever again.  Even God is added to the list of “do not trust,” and we walk away, disillusioned and hardened.

A lack of trust in God’s faithfulness is not a new flaw.  It started in the Garden of Eden when Eve believed a lie from the devil rather than the truth of God’s Word.  The distrust continued right up to Jesus’ Resurrection, the most glorious day to those who believe in Jesus!

God expects us to believe His Word, so faithfully He gives us a word to believe.  He communicated with His disciples the same, giving them a prophecy of His betrayal, crucifixion, and His resurrection.

“Behold, we go up to Jerusalem; and the Son of man shall be betrayed unto the chief priests and unto the scribes, and they shall condemn him to death, and shall deliver him to the Gentiles to mock, and to scourge, and to crucify him: and the third day he shall rise again.” (Matthew 20:18-19)

These were attention-grabbing words!  To those who followed Him for three years, it meant a disbanding of their group and the loss of Someone they had come to love.  Regardless of Who said them those words, however, the disciples rejected them.  They continued on as usual, marching joyfully through Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem, oblivious to what lay ahead of them.  From then on, every tragic, yet God-ordained event, took them by surprise.  Sadly, the doubt in God’s faithfulness continued right up to the tomb.

“Now after the Sabbath, as the first day of the week began to dawn, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to see the tomb. And behold, there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat on it. His countenance was like lightning and his clothing as white as snow.  And the guards shook for fear of him, and became like dead men. But the angel answered and said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for He is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.” (Matthew 28:1-6)

Mary Magdalene and the other Mary left behind their mourning friends and prepared to do what any grieving mourners would do – apply spices to Jesus’ body (Mark 16:1).  They were prepared, not for a resurrection, but for a corpse, wrapped in burial clothes.  They expected guards on site, and a stone inhibiting their entrance.  Instead, they found an open tomb and an angel sitting calmly, waiting for their arrival.   Within minutes their unbelief in Jesus’ third-day resurrection melted into faith and they quickly left to obey the angel’s orders.

When the two women left to share the good news of Jesus’ resurrection, they were met with further unbelief (Luke 2:11; Mark 16:11, 13).  The disciples doubted their words, even though the Jesus’ previous words backed them up!  Later, Jesus was gracious enough to give the unbelieving disciples a refresher course concerning everything He had said before about His redemptive acts (Luke 24:44-49).  The talks didn’t come without a verbal spanking, however.  He rebuked them for their hardness of heart and unbelief, the root of their fear and lack of expectation (Mark 16:14).  Sadly, even after this, doubt didn’t completely leave the clan of “disciples.”  Even as Jesus stood on the mountain and gave them the great commission, some still doubted (Matthew 28:17).

Unlike God, human nature would have stomped away in disgust after hearing so much unbelief.  It would have given up and left all prophecies in the dust because it was too difficult to get support.  God, however, cannot lie or change His mind.  He has no Plan B.  Abortion of a plan is not an option.  It might take years of patience as He waits for people to take Him off the “do not trust list.”  It may take consistent prodding of His presence and repetition of His Word to soften a person’s hardened heart.  Regardless of what it takes, He knows He will find, in time, someone who will believe His Word and act on it.

God’s desire for us is that we be of the believing group and not of the unbelieving.  He wants us to believe His Word the first time, followed by expectation that He will do just as He said.  He wants us to have confidence in His faithfulness.  He wants our faith in Him to go beyond what we can see, reaching for the humanly impossible Resurrection power.  To those who believe that Resurrection power, all things are possible (Mark 9:23).

Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” (John 20:29b)