A Life that Has Love

People can only love unconditionally to the degree that they have known unconditional love. People may love but apart from the Lord it is a selfish love. It is a “because” love. I love you because I want you to love me back. I love you because you are beautiful. I love you because of how you make me feel. It is all about me. It was not until Jesus Christ came into the world did we even see what an unconditional love looks like. God loves you because He is love and not because of anything that you have done or will ever do.

I John 3:16a We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us;

God’s love was manifested by sending His only begotten Son to die on a cross for sinners who did not even care about Him.

I John 4:9 By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him.

The justice of God was satisfied through the death of Jesus Christ. We sinned and we deserve hell but Jesus Christ took our place on the cross and rose again so that we might have life and know His love. This is what propitiation means. God is satisfied. God is holy and our sin is offensive to Him and causes His wrath to be stored up. Now, God is not mad at us anymore because His wrath was poured out on Jesus Christ, who never sinned.

I John 4:10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

God demonstrated His love towards us in that while we were His enemies Jesus Christ died for us.

Romans 5:6-10 For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.

We turned our back to the Lord and because of that we are responsible for the Father turning His back on Jesus. For this reason Jesus Christ cried out on the cross, “My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?” He was rejected so that we might be accepted. He was rejected and knows what it feels like when someone we love might turn their back on us.

Matthew 27:46 About the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” that is, My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”

Not only have we turned our back on God when we have sinned but we have also at times turned our backs on others. We would not and could not love them with the same kind of love that Jesus Christ has loved us, that is, until we came to know Him as our Savior and Lord. We were helpless to love with an unselfish love until we came to know His love. It is only when God is in us that we can love with His love because He actually loves through us through the power of His Spirit.

I John 4:19 We love, because He first loved us.

This is the mark of a true Christian. A true Christian will be known by their love.

I John 3:14 We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love abides in death.

He showed us what true, unconditional love looks like so that others might see Christ in us. When you see this unconditional love in someone else then you will know that you have seen the Lord in the life of someone who has love, God’s love.

A Life that Receives Instruction

The Bible describes a fool as one who will not receive instruction. A wise person receives instruction, benefits from it and is blessed. A wise person seeks out instruction and is grateful for it. A wise person’s life is saved through instruction. The Lord wants to give us instruction on how to live that we may truly experience life and not death.

Psalm 78:1 Listen, O my people, to my instruction; Incline your ears to the words of my mouth.

He will become your gold and your treasure when you learn to receive His instruction. Good will come to you and you will be at peace with God. He will restore you where you are broken. You will find delight in Him and He will hear your prayers. He will become your Savior and your Deliverer. Return to Him if you have strayed from Him and receive His instruction.

Job 22:21-30 “Yield now and be at peace with Him;
Thereby good will come to you.
“Please receive instruction from His mouth
And establish His words in your heart.
“If you return to the Almighty, you will be restored;
If you remove unrighteousness far from your tent,
And place your gold in the dust,
And the gold of Ophir among the stones of the brooks,
Then the Almighty will be your gold
And choice silver to you.
“For then you will delight in the Almighty
And lift up your face to God.
“You will pray to Him, and He will hear you;
And you will pay your vows.
“You will also decree a thing, and it will be established for you;
And light will shine on your ways.
“When you are cast down, you will speak with confidence,
And the humble person He will save.
“He will deliver one who is not innocent,
And he will be delivered through the cleanness of your hands.”

Don’t be a fool but learn to fear the Lord. He is good and He loves you. He will forgive you of any wrong doing and He will instruct you in the way you should go.

Proverbs 1:7 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; Fools despise wisdom and instruction.

When He gives you instruction then do it, exactly as He says.

Proverbs 4:13 Take hold of instruction; do not let go. Guard her, for she is your life.

Don’t neglect your time in His Word for it is through His Word that He will give you instruction.

Proverbs 8:33 “Heed instruction and be wise, And do not neglect it.

He came that you might have life and His instruction will keep you on the path of life. Is there something that He has been trying to tell you?

Proverbs 10:17 He is on the path of life who heeds instruction, But he who ignores reproof goes astray.

Don’t ignore what the Old Testament has to say for it was written for our instruction so that through perseverance and the encouragement of His Word we might have hope.

Romans 15:4 For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.

The Lord has put people in our lives to give us instruction. Listen to them. For they will give an account to the Lord.

I Thessalonians 5:12 But we request of you, brethren, that you appreciate those who diligently labor among you, and have charge over you in the Lord and give you instruction,

Finally, as the Lord has called all of us to instruct others, let it be done according to God’s Word, with great patience.

II Timothy 4:2 preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction.

Always, let the goal of our instruction be love…that others might love the Lord and excel in loving others. That the world might know that we are Christians by our love for one another.

I Timothy 1:5 But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.

 

 

A Life that Forgives

There are certain commands that carry much greater weight than others and the command to forgive seems to be one of the most important. A lack of forgiveness brings about one of the worse consequences that is mentioned in the Bible. The Lord said that if you do not forgive others then your sins will not be forgiven you.

Matthew 5:14,15 For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions.

Forgiveness also brings a great blessing from the Lord because He says that if you forgive others then your sins will be forgiven you. We are all sinners who have sinned greatly against the Lord and we desperately need forgiveness from God, the Father. In the same way, we need to desperately forgive others of their sins. You receive what you give away and what you withhold will be withheld from you.

Mark 11:25,26 Whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father who is in heaven will also forgive you your transgressions. But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father who is in heaven forgive your transgressions.”

The meaning of evil is to cause grief. It is hard to forgive when someone has caused us grief and especially great grief. However, when we see what a great debt that we have toward the Lord and the great grief that we have caused Him then we lean more toward forgiving. However, forgiving is impossible apart from the Lord. He has given you forgiveness and this is the forgiveness that you offer to others. Jesus has forgiven you and Jesus has forgiven them. We can only forgive by the power of the Holy Spirit.

John 20:22,23 And when He had said this, He breathed on them and *said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, their sins have been forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they have been retained.”

We forgive by faith, in the power of the Holy Spirit in obedience to Him, not by feeling. Our flesh will never want to forgive and does not have the power to do so.

Romans 8:6-8 For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so, and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

When you forgive then the Lord releases you from the bitterness and resentment of unforgiveness. You actually are the one who is set free. The person does not have to even be aware of their wrong towards you and they do not have to be sorry for what they did. If they are sorry and repentant then that is wonderful but it is not a prerequisite to you forgiving them. Healing for you comes after forgiveness. There is no pain so great that the Lord can not heal but first you must forgive. He does not hold your sin against you because He has forgiven you. Forgiveness is the promise never to bring it up again. How many times are we to forgive? That is a great question and Jesus answered it for us.

Matthew 18:21,22 Then Peter came and said to Him, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?”Jesus *said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.

Forgiveness is so important that the Lord told a parable about forgiveness to allow His hearers to understand more clearly what He was saying about forgiveness.

Matthew 18:23-35 For this reason the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his slaves. When he had begun to settle them, one who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him. But since he did not have the means to repay, his lord commanded him to be sold, along with his wife and children and all that he had, and repayment to be made. So the slave fell to the ground and prostrated himself before him, saying, ‘Have patience with me and I will repay you everything.’ And the lord of that slave felt compassion and released him and forgave him the debt. But that slave went out and found one of his fellow slaves who owed him a hundred denarii; and he seized him and began to choke him, saying, ‘Pay back what you owe.’ So his fellow slave fell to the ground and began to plead with him, saying, ‘Have patience with me and I will repay you.’ But he was unwilling and went and threw him in prison until he should pay back what was owed. So when his fellow slaves saw what had happened, they were deeply grieved and came and reported to their lord all that had happened. Then summoning him, his lord said to him, ‘You wicked slave, I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. Should you not also have had mercy on your fellow slave, in the same way that I had mercy on you?’ And his lord, moved with anger, handed him over to the torturers until he should repay all that was owed him. My heavenly Father will also do the same to you, if each of you does not forgive his brother from your heart.”

He who has ears to hear, let him hear. A day of accounting is coming and it will be too late to settle your accounts with your fellow man. For this reason it is of utmost importance to “keep your accounts up to date”. God declared the man wicked in this story because of his unwillingness to forgive someone else and therefore all of this wicked person’s sins were still on his account and were not wiped out and forgiven. Forgiveness is a matter of the will. It is letting it go and giving it to the Lord. You can’t, He never said you could, He can, He always said He would. Give the matter to the Lord and He will forgive that person through you by the power of His Holy Spirit. As long as you have unforgiveness in your heart then you are in a prison. However, you can settle the account with that person who owes you through your forgiveness by forgiving him. It is after this that you will be released from your prison.

Luke 7:47,48 For this reason I say to you, her sins, which are many, have been forgiven, for she loved much; but he who is forgiven little, loves little.”  Then He said to her, “Your sins have been forgiven.”

Did Jesus offer forgiveness to you? Yes, He did. Go and do likewise that you too may hear the words, “Your sins have been forgiven”.  Forgiveness begins with the prayer, “Lord, I forgive _________. Please forgive me of my unforgiveness and by faith I have forgiven _________. Then you will love much because you too will see how great a debt that you were forgiven by our Lord. Your slate will be wiped clean. You may have to forgive over and over again because the devil might continue to bring it up again but the devil hates to see you forgive and call on the Lord so he will quit bringing it up to you. It is hard to believe when you are in the pain but healing will come and the Lord will truly make something beautiful our of your life.

 

 

A Life that Knows the Truth

There is only One who is true and His Words are truth. If you do not know the truth then you will be deceived and the meaning of deception is that you are not aware that you are deceived, so much so that you believe a lie. Your beliefs will be manifested in your life so if you believe a lie then you will live a lie.

Proverbs 23:7 For as he thinks within himself, so he is.

Whatever goes into your heart and mind will come out in your words and actions. For this reason the Lord says to watch over your heart with all diligence.

Proverbs 4:23 Watch over your heart with all diligence,
For from it flow the springs of life.

Fill your heart with what is good and good will flow from your mouth and life. Fill your heart and mind with trash and trash will flow from you.

Luke 6:45 The good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth what is good; and the evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth what is evil; for his mouth speaks from that which fills his heart.

Your heart is a treasure chest and what you put into it is what you treasure. If you value your relationship with the Lord and value what He values then you will put His Words in your heart and treasure them.

Psalm 119:9-11 How can a young man keep his way pure?
By keeping it according to Your word.
With all my heart I have sought You;
Do not let me wander from Your commandments.
Your word I have treasured in my heart,
That I may not sin against You.

Do you want the Lord? You must have a pure heart and clean hands. You must guard what goes into your heart. Do you want to come into His presence and know Him?

Psalm 24:3,4 Who may ascend into the hill of the Lord?
And who may stand in His holy place?
He who has clean hands and a pure heart,
Who has not lifted up his soul to falsehood
And has not sworn deceitfully.

When you come into His presence then you will see Him and you will also see yourself for who you really are. You will no longer be deceived nor will you want to life up your soul to falsehood but will speak the truth. You will draw near to Him.

James 4:8 Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.

Do you want to know the nearness of God? Do you want to know His sweet presence? It begins by spending time with Him in His Word and prayer and seeing Him. Then after seeing Him and allowing Him to cleanse your heart through His Word, you then confess your sin and draw near to Him.

John 15:3 You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you.

The nearness of God will be your good and you will see the goodness of the Lord. When you know Him then you will know the truth and the truth will change your life.

Psalm 73:28 But as for me, the nearness of God is my good;
I have made the Lord God my refuge,
That I may tell of all Your works.

You will want to talk about Him and tell others all of the wonderful things that He has done. If you find yourself defending your actions or wanting to go to movies where you know in your heart that Jesus would not go to then stop…is it worth it? The Bibles says that Eve was deceived and she paid a huge price for her sin. Would someone who wants to know the Lord want to be with you because of your clean hands and pure heart?

Psalm 101:6,7 My eyes shall be upon the faithful of the land, that they may dwell with me;
He who walks in a blameless way is the one who will minister to me.
He who practices deceit shall not dwell within my house;
He who speaks falsehood shall not maintain his position before me.

Those who want the Lord will seek out others who want the Lord. Do you want to marry a godly man? Do you want godly friends? You must become a godly young lady. Be faithful to the Lord in all that you do and especially in what goes into your heart and mind. You can not have both the world and the Lord. If you try to have both then it is only a matter of time before your heart is deceived and you no longer will want or hear the truth, which is Jesus, for He said, “I am the way, the truth and the life”.

A Life that Runs Well

The Lord has called us to run. One of the ways that He wants us to run is to run from temptation. People often will talk about resisting temptation but that is not what the Lord says, he says to flee from temptation.

II Timothy 2:22 Now flee from youthful lusts and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.

The Lord says to flee from youthful lusts and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace with those who have a pure heart. The Bible says that those who have a pure heart will see God.

Matthew 5:8 Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.

Those with a pure heart will not be deceived by the lusts of the heart. The word “lust” in the Greek means “desire”. A lust is a desire that is outside of the will of God. Many lusts are greater temptations in our youth because we don’t want to wait for the Lord to give us His gifts. We want them now and so we “give in” to temptation.

James 1:14-16 But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death. Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren.

However, when you get what you want and it is not God’s will then you also lose the ability to fully enjoy it, that is why, the Bible talks about the passing pleasure of sin. It is only for a moment and then the guilt comes. We were deceived. We are always deceived when we sin. However, if our friends have a pure heart then they will help us in our weakness. The Lord will also help you flee from temptation. He understands your weakness.

Hebrews 4:15,16 For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

The other way that we are to run is that we are to run to Him and we are to run with endurance the race set before us.

Hebrews 12:1-3 Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

The saints who have gone before us are watching and they are the cloud of witnesses. Therefore, lay aside the things that make it hard for you to run the race and strive to run hard after the Lord. Fix your eyes on Jesus. He is at the right hand of the Father and He is praying for you. He also had to endure and was found faithful. You can do it. This is what grace is all about. Grace is the power and strength to be faithful to the end. Don’t grow weary or lose heart. Ask others to pray for you if you find yourself struggling. We all struggle. Jesus struggled. It is in the struggling that our faith is strengthened. It may seem like forever but in view of eternity it is only a moment. You will never regret being faithful but you will have great regret if you are not faithful.

Psalm 144:4 Man is like a mere breath;
His days are like a passing shadow.

Our life is like a mere breath and our days are a passing shadow but eternity is forever.

 

 

A Life that Waits

Sometimes we need very clear instruction about what to do when we do not know what to do. The Bible gives us that clear instruction. Have you ever been in a situation and you did not know what to do? Has there ever been a time of spiritual darkness in your life? Have you ever wanted God to write something in the sky to tell you what to do? If you have ever struggled with not having “light” on a situation then listen carefully to God’s Word.

Isaiah 50:10 Who is among you that fears the Lord,
That obeys the voice of His servant,
That walks in darkness and has no light?
Let him trust in the name of the Lord and rely on his God.

The Lord says that if you know Him and obey His voice and follow Him but are in a time of darkness then you are to trust Him.Trust Him. Trusting Him means waiting on Him. He promised to lead you. Wait for His leading. Do not take matters into your own hands.

Isaiah 50:11 Behold, all you who kindle a fire,
Who encircle yourselves with firebrands,
Walk in the light of your fire
And among the brands you have set ablaze.
This you will have from My hand:
You will lie down in torment.

You will lie down in torment if you make your own way and light your own fire. Trust Him. He will guide you and lead you in the way you should go.

Proverbs 3:5,6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart
And do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He will make your paths straight.

Jesus really will show you His way. He is the Light and He is the Way. He wants you to walk by faith and trust Him.

John 8:12 Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying, “I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.”

The Lord wants you to learn to wait on Him. Do not fret for it will only lead to you doing the wrong thing. Even when it seems like everyone else is getting what they want and taking matters into their own hands. Do not be like them but trust in the Lord and wait on Him.

Psalm 37:7,8 Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him;
Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way,
Because of the man who carries out wicked schemes.
Cease from anger and forsake wrath;
Do not fret; it leads only to evildoing.

In God’s perfect timing and according to His lovingkindness He will give you what you need and often what you desire. It will be a gift from Him.

James 1:17 Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.

Not only are His gifts good and perfect but they far exceed anything that you could ever bring about by your own doing. The Lord says that “It is the blessing of the Lord that makes rich and He adds no sorrow to it”. The gifts that He gives do not have drawbacks or sorrow with them. They are perfect and far more than what you could even imagine.

Isaiah 64:4,5 For from days of old they have not heard or perceived by ear,
Nor has the eye seen a God besides You,
Who acts in behalf of the one who waits for Him.
You meet him who rejoices in doing righteousness,
Who remembers You in Your ways.

The Lord will bless you and meet you if only you will remember Him in His ways and His ways are of faith. We walk by faith and not by sight. We trust in Him alone who does what He pleases and loves us perfectly.

Psalm 135:5,6 For I know that the Lord is great
And that our Lord is above all gods.
Whatever the Lord pleases, He does,
In heaven and in earth, in the seas and in all deeps.

And again…

Job 42:2 I know that You can do all things,
And that no purpose of Yours can be thwarted.

He can do all things and if you will only allow His will to be done in your life you will not be disappointed. He wants you to believe in Him and trust Him.

Romans 10:11 For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes in Him will not be disappointed.”

A Life that Chooses Life

The Lord presented His people with a choice many years ago and we are presented also with the same choice. We can either choose life or choose death.

Deuteronomy 30:19 I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. So choose life in order that you may live, you and your descendants,

If we do not intentionally choose life then we will be choosing death because that is our bent because of sin. Man chose death in the garden of Eden when He disobeyed God.

Romans 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

That sinful choice was passed down through the generations to all of us. Left to ourselves we will choose sin, which means that we choose to be our own God and the end result is death.

Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Death is the curse that comes to us when we do not choose life. The only way that we can choose life is to choose Jesus, for He is life. When we choose Jesus it means that we choose to have Him be our God and rule our lives.

John 14:6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.

When we choose life then we choose the life of Christ in us. We want Him to live through us in the power of the Holy Spirit. He always does what the Father desires and so if you choose Jesus Christ and life then you will do what He wills and that is, you will keep His commandments.

John 8:28 So Jesus said, “When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He, and I do nothing on My own initiative, but I speak these things as the Father taught Me.

Jesus did nothing on His own initiative. When you choose life you choose Christ and a commitment to keep His commandments and do His will. The only way you can do this is to die to yourself and what you want so that you might live for Him and His will.

Galatians 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.

It is a life of abiding in Him and obeying His commandments.

I John 3:24 The one who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him. We know by this that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us.

If you choose Him then He also will make known to others that you are His.

Matthew 2:49,50 And stretching out His hand toward His disciples, He said, “Behold My mother and My brothers! For whoever does the will of My Father who is in heaven, he is My brother and sister and mother.”

How well do you know His commandments? He wants our love and devotion and these qualities are manifested in our life through keeping His commandments.

John 14:15 If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.

Life is in Jesus Christ and His words are life. Choose life and you will choose Jesus Christ and the evidence of that choice will be obedience to Him.