A Life that Is Blessed in This Life

When Jesus Christ taught His followers one  of the things that He taught them was how to be blessed in this life. The Lord wants to bless you. This is who He is. He delights in unchanging love and He wants you to be blessed.

Micah 7:18 Who is a God like You, who pardons iniquity
And passes over the rebellious act of the remnant of His possession?
He does not retain His anger forever,
Because He delights in unchanging love.

The Lord loves us. He forgives our sins when we repent and ask Him for forgiveness. He holds no grudges and does not reward us according to our sins but blesses us according to His lovingkindness.

Psalm 103:8-10 The Lord is compassionate and gracious,
Slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness.
He will not always strive with us,
Nor will He keep His anger forever.
He has not dealt with us according to our sins,
Nor rewarded us according to our iniquities.

It was God’s love that sent Jesus Christ to earth to show us the way to God. He not only came to die for our sins but to make disciples who would make disciples who would make more disciples and that each disciple would pass on to the next disciple what the Lord had taught while on earth.

John 16:29-31 His disciples said, “Lo, now You are speaking plainly and are not using a figure of speech. Now we know that You know all things, and have no need for anyone to question You; by this we believe that You came from God.”Jesus answered them, “Do you now believe?

When finally His disciples understood and believed that Jesus Christ was sent from God then Jesus knew that He had accomplished the work that the Father had given Him to do.

John 17:3,4 This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. I glorified You on the earth, having accomplished the work which You have given Me to do.

Once His disciples believed then they could receive the Holy Spirit (after his death and resurrection) and go out and do the work the Lord Jesus Christ had given them to do, and that was to do with others what Jesus Christ had done for them…teaching them all things to live a blessed life in His kingdom in earth.

Matthew 28:18-20 And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

God’s Word fits together like a puzzle and reveals to us who God is and His will and purposes for us. At the beginning of the ministry of Jesus when he taught His disciples how to pray He mentioned God’s will being done on earth. The Great Commission is teaching His disciples to do His will on earth as it is done in heaven.

Matthew 6:9,10 Pray, then, in this way: ‘Our Father who is in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
‘Your kingdom come.
Your will be done,
On earth as it is in heaven.

 

 

 

A Life of Blessed Faith

There are two kinds of faith. There is a faith that is an intellectual faith where we believe with our minds. The other kind of faith is a heart faith. We can believe with our minds but not with our hearts. Many people believe with their minds but few believe with their hearts. When Jesus walked on earth there were the two kinds of faith evidenced. When we have heart faith God changes and saves us but intellectual faith only pacifies the one with it and there are no changes.

Matthew 21:32 For John came to you in the way of righteousness and you did not believe him; but the tax collectors and prostitutes did believe him; and you, seeing this, did not even feel remorse afterward so as to believe him.

Many of the religious leaders believed that John the Baptist came in the way of righteousness but they did not believe with their hearts but only with their minds. Heart faith will act on the words which are heard. The words will go into their hearts and effect a change within the heart that will be seen in the actions of the person. Many of the tax collectors and prostitutes had heart faith and their lives were changed.

Luke 8:5-8a “The sower went out to sow his seed; and as he sowed, some fell beside the road, and it was trampled under foot and the birds of the air ate it up. Other seed fell on rocky soil, and as soon as it grew up, it withered away, because it had no moisture. Other seed fell among the thorns; and the thorns grew up with it and choked it out. Other seed fell into the good soil, and grew up, and produced a crop a hundred times as great.”

Jesus knew the hearts of men and so He told this parable to the people about the different kinds of hearts. This is a parable about the hearts of men. Three of these people believed the Word of God but only one had an honest and good heart faith.

Luke 8:11-15 Now the parable is this: the seed is the word of God. Those beside the road are those who have heard; then the devil comes and takes away the word from their heart, so that they will not believe and be saved. Those on the rocky soil are those who, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no firm root; they believe for a while, and in time of temptation fall away.The seed which fell among the thorns, these are the ones who have heard, and as they go on their way they are choked with worries and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to maturity. But the seed in the good soil, these are the ones who have heard the word in an honest and good heart, and hold it fast, and bear fruit with perseverance.

In the first soil the Word of God is kept from entering the mind or the heart of the hearer. In the second soil the Word of God only enters the mind but never goes into the heart of the hearer. In time the recipient falls away because the Word of God never took root in their heart. The third soil heard the Word of God but because their hearts were already so cluttered and filled with other things the Word of God never took deep roots in those hearts either. Their lives did not bear mature fruit. The last person heard the Word of God with an honest and good heart. They held the Word of God fast to their hearts and bore fruit with perseverance.

Mark 4:20 And those are the ones on whom seed was sown on the good soil; and they hear the word and accept it and bear fruit, thirty, sixty, and a hundredfold.

The same parable is repeated in the Gospel of Mark and the word “hear” means “keeps on hearing” in the original language of the Bible. It is a continuation of hearing and not just hearing once but “keeping on hearing”. This is how we hold fast the Word of God in our hearts. Since no one was born with an “honest and good heart” we need to hear the Word continually so that the Word of God will do its work of cleansing in our hearts so that we can receive the Word with an “honest and good heart”.

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

Once we receive the Word of God with an “honest and good heart” then we need to persevere in applying it to our lives so that we might bear fruit. All of us have need of perseverance. The Lord takes us to new levels of obedience and faith and stretches us toward maturity that is reached through perseverance and endurance.

Hebrews 10:36-39 For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised. For yet in a very little while,
He who is coming will come, and will not delay.
But My righteous one shall live by faith;
And if he shrinks back, My soul has no pleasure in him. But we are not of those who shrink back to destruction, but of those who have faith to the preserving of the soul.

If you find that you are weak in faith and need encouragement then read God’s Word for He will speak to your heart. Go and talk to a more mature Christian whose faith has been tested and who has endured and persevered when there did not seem much hope. The Lord is faithful but sometimes we need to reminded and encouraged. Don’t lose heart. Pray to the Lord and He will help you. This is His instruction to us when our faith is weak and our heart is faint.

Luke 18:1 Now He was telling them a parable to show that at all times they ought to pray and not to lose heart,

 

 

A Life that Abides in Blessedness

The word “abide” means to live. All of us want to live in a blessed state since one of the definitions of “blessed” is happy. The Lord wants us to abide in Him and His Words to abide in us. The Lord blesses His Word. He has obligated Himself to be faithful to His Words and His Words bring blessing.

John 15:7-11 If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples.Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.

If you will learn to abide in the Lord and allow His Words to abide in you then you can ask whatever you wish and it will be done for you. Of course, when you abide in Him and His Words abide in you then the longing of your heart will be to keep His Words, which are His commandments to us. When we keep His commandments then we will abide in His love. Your joy will also be made full.

Deuteronomy 28:1,2 Now it shall be, if you diligently obey the Lord your God, being careful to do all His commandments which I command you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth. All these blessings will come upon you and overtake you if you obey the Lord your God

The Lord says that His blessings will come upon you and overtake you if you obey His commandments. You might think that Jesus Christ came to take away the Old Testament Law and that if you are a “New Testament” Christian then you do not need to obey the Old Testament Law. Not so, He fulfilled all of the Law and completed the sacrificial Law since He was the sacrifice for all sins promised from the beginning in the garden of Eden. He did not nullify the moral law but fulfilled the sacrificial law.

Matthew 5:17-19 Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

The Lord Jesus Christ gave His followers a new commandment and did not abolish the previous commandments other than the ritualistic cleansing commandments concerning food.

John 13:34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.

The Lord wants us to remember His commandment and the commandments written beforehand in the Old Testament in how to live.

II Peter 3:2 that you should remember the words spoken beforehand by the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior spoken by your apostles.

If we keep the Lord’s new commandment then we will keep all of the Old Testament commandments because they are all summed up in loving God and loving each other.

Romans 13:8-10 Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law. For this, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and if there is any other commandment, it is summed up in this saying, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.

The Lord gave us both the New Testament and the Old Testament for our instruction.

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.

Grace does not free us from doing right but allows us to do what is right and thus fulfill all righteousness. The Law is righteous and good and when we keep all of God’s words and commandments then we are loving those around us. The Lord promises great blessing to those who abide in His Words and keep His commandments.

Isaiah 32:17 And the work of righteousness will be peace,
And the service of righteousness, quietness and confidence forever.

Do you have peace in your life? What about do you live with quietness and confidence? If you are frustrated then go back to the Bible and ask the Lord to help you learn His ways of doing life, work, relationships, ministry or whatever it is He has you doing. He will teach you His ways and lead you in paths of righteousness.

A Life Blessed Beyond Measure

If you really want to live a blessed life then take God at His Word. He loves it when we believe Him and trust Him completely. He is faithful to His Word and He has told us that it is impossible for God to lie, so if this is true, then live according to His promises.

Hebrews 6:17,18 In the same way God, desiring even more to show to the heirs of the promise the unchangeableness of His purpose, interposed with an oath, so that by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have taken refuge would have strong encouragement to take hold of the hope set before us.

The promised life is a life that is blessed beyond measure. If you have received Jesus Christi as your Lord and Savior then you are a child of God and if you are a child of God then you are an heir of all of the promises of God.

Romans 8:15-17a For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!”The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ,

If you have received Christ then you have been adopted into His family and you can cry out to God, the Father and call Him, “Abba”, which is another name for Daddy. If His Spirit testifies with your spirit that you are His child then you are an heir of God and a fellow heir with Jesus Christ. All of the promises are yours in Christ Jesus and they are true. However, you must believe them to experience them. There is no limit to His love when you believe Him.

Psalm 103:11-13 For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
So great is His lovingkindness toward those who fear Him.
As far as the east is from the west,
So far has He removed our transgressions from us.
Just as a father has compassion on his children,
So the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him.

He has removed your sins from you as far as the east is from the west. The east and the west will never meet, so in the same way, you will never have to face your sins again if you are His child. He has removed them from you. His lovingkindness towards you is beyond measure because it is as high as the heavens are above the earth and this distance can not be measured. If you want to be blessed beyond measure then learn to live in the Father’s love for you. It is expressed through His promises. Jesus lived the life of ultimate faith in earth and He lived according to the Father’s promises for Him. Jesus Christ went to the cross believing the Father would raise Him from the dead. Jesus Christ went before us and showed us how to live in the Father’s love and how to live by faith in the promises of God. Jesus Christ rested in the promises of God and came to lead us into that same rest.

Hebrews 4:1-3a Therefore, let us fear if, while a promise remains of entering His rest, any one of you may seem to have come short of it. For indeed we have had good news preached to us, just as they also; but the word they heard did not profit them, because it was not united by faith in those who heard. For we who have believed enter that rest,

If you have heard the good news of the Gospel then where are you in entering into the rest that He has promised? Have you begun the journey of knowing God in a personal way through Jesus Christ?

John 1:12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name,

If then, you have received Him, are you walking by faith and believing His promises or is there some unbelief in your heart?

Colossians 2:6 Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him,

We received Christ by faith and He wants us to walk by faith…faith in the promises of God. Is your faith weak? Read God’s Word. Faith comes through hearing the Word of God. The Lord will speak to you through His Word and He wants you to believe it. However, if you are not hearing Him speak to you then maybe He has spoken to you at an earlier time and you are still not believing and acting on what He has already spoken to you about earlier.

II Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.

Unbelief is what will keep you from a relationship with the Lord and unbelief will hinder your journey with the Lord and your growth as a Christian.

 

 

A Life with Love is Gentle

What is so amazing about the Lord is that He is so great and awesome, He is mighty and powerful, He is Lord of lords and King of kings and yet, He is also gentle. There is only one place in the Bible where Jesus Christ describes Himself and when He does He lets us know about His heart.

Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, Matthew 11:28,29a

Not only did He have a gentle heart but He never yelled when He spoke.

He will not cry out or raise His voice, Nor make His voice heard in the street. Isaiah 42:2

Not only did Jesus have a gentle heart and did not yell at people but Jesus Christ was gentle in His actions and especially in the way He related to those who were hurting.

A bruised reed He will not break And a dimly burning wick He will not extinguish; Isaiah 42:3

Jesus Christ is the Son of God and is the exact representation of God, the Father, so everything that He says about Himself is who God is.

God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world. And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. Hebrews 1:1-3a

Whoever knows Jesus Christ will also know God, the Father. He who has seen Jesus has seen God.

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me. If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; from now on you know Him, and have seen Him.” Philip said to Him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.” Jesus said to him, “Have I been so long with you, and yet you have not come to know Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on My own initiative, but the Father abiding in Me does His works. Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me; John 14:6-11b

Jesus, the Son of God, and God, the Father are One. The Bible is also the Word of God and is the revelation of who God is. When Jesus Christ came to earth, He was born of a virgin and lived and walked among men and women. He died and rose again. The Word of God became flesh in Jesus Christ. Everything that the Bible says about Jesus Christ is who God is. The Bible is God’s revelation to us so that we might know Him.

And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:14

The word “gentle” literally means to condescend. The word condescend literally means to “get down with on the same level”. When Jesus Christ, the Son of God, came to earth as a human being then God literally came down to man on man’s level.

For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit; I Peter 3:18

Jesus Christ crushed Satan on the head when He went to the cross. Jesus Christ fulfilled the promise that God gave to Adam and Eve in the garden. Jesus Christ rendered powerless, the one who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and Jesus Christ alone can set us free from the fear of death when we receive Him.

Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and might free those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives. Hebrews 2:14,15

There is nothing greater that has ever happened than God becoming man so we would know that He could understands us, mediates for us and brings us to God.

Therefore, He had to be made like His brethren in all things, so that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For since He Himself was tempted in that which He has suffered, He is able to come to the aid of those who are tempted. Hebrews 2:17,18

Jesus Christ became like us so that He could save us. Jesus Christ became like us so that He could not only save us from the penalty of sin but also from its power when we are tempted. He understands our struggles and He has given us salvation in Him and through what He has done for us. He has lifted us up and upholds us. It is His “condescension” which is the greatest expression of gentleness for He truly came down to our level and lifted us up from the pit of despair.

You have also given me the shield of Your salvation,
And Your right hand upholds me;
And Your gentleness makes me great. Psalm 18:35

How to Avoid Being Disappointed in Life

Hope deferred brings disappointment but desires realized are sweet to the soul and refreshing to those who see their desires fulfilled. Expectations will often lead to disappointment and will weigh the heart down. How do we avoid disappointments in life and how do we deal with disappointments so that our hearts are not discouraged?

Proverbs 13:12 Hope deferred makes the heart sick,
But desire fulfilled is a tree of life.

There is only One whom we can put our hope in and who will never disappoint us. Since we are all sinners we will eventually disappoint each other. For this reason, you must look to Him and point others to the One who will never disappoint. His love is poured out within our hearts if we have the Holy Spirit living within us. He loves you and sees your heart and knows your needs.

Romans 5:5 and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

If you are looking to Him and He is your hope then your desires will be realized for He is the Giver of all things. He is the only One who promises us that we will not be disappointed if we believe in Him.

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

Expectations in people will always ultimately bring disappointment if we put our trust in them to meet all of our expectations. Political leaders, even if they are good leaders will bring disappointment because they can never meet your expectations. Parents will ultimately disappoint you if you are looking to them with expectations. Husbands will disappoint wives if there are expectations. No one can meet all of your needs. You must look to the One who is God alone. He is the only One who will never disappoint you. This may seem hard since you can not see Him but He is faithful to His Word and He has promised those who believe in Him that they will not be disappointed. If you have never had this kind of trust and faith in Him then ask Him to help you. Pray the same prayer as the man in the Bible prayed, “Lord, I believe, help me in my unbelief.”

Proverbs 3:5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart
And do not lean on your own understanding.

Faith and trust in the Lord is increased through reading, studying and meditating on His Word. If you are not reading it every day then start there and read it every day. If you are reading and not studying the Word of God then find a Bible study that will help you study the Bible. If you are reading and studying but not meditating and putting it in your heart then start doing that and putting God’s Word in your heart. You can memorize and meditate on at least one verse a week. Watch God’s Word do His work in your life and increase your faith and trust in Him. You will not be disappointed.

Romans 10:17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.

 

A Life with Love Heals the Brokenhearted

The relationships and the love that God designed for us through them are gifts from God. He knew that we needed each other. That is why He said that it was not good for Adam to be alone. Adam needed the love and companionship of Eve. Eve needed Adam’s love and companionship as well. The Lord is not only the source of love but He also gives us the wisdom we need to keep love in relationships. When the love is not in our God-given relationships then the Lord wants to restore the love when the love is gone. We may feel that there is “no way” for a relationship and love to be restored but there is nothing impossible with God.

And looking at them Jesus said to them, “With people this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26

Sometimes it is not a husband and wife who are estranged but parents and children also can have hurt and damaged relationships. The Lord can heal broken hearts. Neither the parent or the child are completely happy unless they are at peace with one another.

The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. Psalm 34:18

The beginning of restoration is to acknowledge that your heart is broken. You may say that you do not care but you are not being honest with yourself or else your heart has become so hardened from seeking to protect yourself from further pain. When your heart is hardened then it can no longer experience any love, not even God’s love. To be fully restored in your relationship with others you need to first be restored in your relationship with the Lord. When we are restored in our relationship with the Lord then we will be able to see clearly.

Then again He laid His hands on his eyes; and he looked intently and was restored, and began to see everything clearly. Mark 8:25

Ask Him if there are any areas not pleasing to Him. Everyone has blind spots in their lives, in other words, we may be causing hurts to others and not even aware of it. The Lord wants to reveal our hurtful ways to us so that He can help us and change us.

Search me, O God, and know my heart;
Try me and know my anxious thoughts;
And see if there be any hurtful way in me,
And lead me in the everlasting way. Psalm 139:23,24

The Lord will teach us His ways. Often our blind spots are in our lives because of our backgrounds. When we humble ourselves before Him by coming to Him and asking Him for His help then He is more than willing to help us. He wants us to come to Him.

He leads the humble in justice, And He teaches the humble His way. Psalm 25:9

One of the most famous stories is the story of the prodigal son. Both the father and the son were reconciled. The father’s heart was broken and humble and the son’s heart was humbled and broken. Both wanted to be reconciled and both were willing to do what they needed to do.

And He said, “A man had two sons. The younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of the estate that falls to me.’ So he divided his wealth between them. And not many days later, the younger son gathered everything together and went on a journey into a distant country, and there he squandered his estate with loose living. Now when he had spent everything, a severe famine occurred in that country, and he began to be impoverished. So he went and hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country, and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. And he would have gladly filled his stomach with the pods that the swine were eating, and no one was giving anything to him. But when he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired men have more than enough bread, but I am dying here with hunger! I will get up and go to my father, and will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in your sight; I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me as one of your hired men.”’ So he got up and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion for him, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight; I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ But the father said to his slaves, ‘Quickly bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet; and bring the fattened calf, kill it, and let us eat and celebrate; for this son of mine was dead and has come to life again; he was lost and has been found.’ And they began to celebrate. Luke 15:11-24

Both father and son had a willing spirit. A willing spirit is necessary for reconciliation. Only the Lord can sustain us with a willing spirit. It is often our pride that keeps us from having a willing spirit and being restored.

And sustain me with a willing spirit. Psalm 51:12b

When relationships have been hurt and fellowship broken then there is the temptation to be defensive because we have been hurt. We have to allow the walls to come down and be vulnerable again. The father could have rejected the son and the son could have stayed away. Both would have been robbed of the love and joy that God designed for them.

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. John 10:10

Our enemies are not each other but our enemy is the devil. He is called the evil one because he wants to rob us of all the good things in life that God has for us.

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Ephesians 6:10-12

Be strong in the Lord and live in His strength. Be on your guard always against the schemes of the devil. He is always wanting to destroy what is precious to you. Don’t believe his lies. He is an accuser and will accuse the other one to you. Love believes the best. The Lord wants you to be restored and loved.

He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. Psalm 147:3

A Life with Love is More than Being Sorry

Even when Adam and Eve sinned by disobeying what the Lord had commanded them God still loved them. He still wanted to communicate with them.

When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loin coverings. Genesis 3:6,7

They hid from Him but God did not hide from them.

They heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. Genesis 3:8

They hid from God and knew they were naked so they made coverings out of fig leaves for themselves. For the first time they were afraid.

Then the Lord God called to the man, and said to him, “Where are you?” Genesis 3:9

However, even in their fear they were honest with God about what they had done. They did not deny what they had done.

He said, “I heard the sound of You in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid myself.” Genesis 3:11

The Lord provided for them because He loved them. In spite of their sin the Lord knew that they needed help. The Lord gave them what they needed.

The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife, and clothed them. Genesis 3:21

Cain, on the other hand, denied his sin to the Lord.

Then the Lord said to Cain, “Where is Abel your brother?” And he said, “I do not know. Am I my brother’s keeper?” Genesis 4:9

Of course the Lord knew what Adam and Eve had done before He asked them and He knew what Cain had done. He also knows what each of us has done but He wants to know if we will be honest with Him.

He said, “What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood is crying to Me from the ground. Now you are cursed from the ground, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand. When you cultivate the ground, it will no longer yield its strength to you; you will be a vagrant and a wanderer on the earth.” Genesis 4:10-12

Adam and Eve repented of their sin and sought to obey God from that time on. Cain seemed to be sorry for the consequences rather than sorry for what he had done. There does not seem to be any desire for obedience.

Cain said to the Lord, “My punishment is too great to bear! Behold, You have driven me this day from the face of the ground; and from Your face I will be hidden, and I will be a vagrant and a wanderer on the earth, and whoever finds me will kill me.” Genesis 4:13,14

The Lord still showed Cain mercy and provided for him. He did not need coverings as Adam and Eve did after they sinned but he needed protection. The Lord provided protection for Cain. The Lord still loved Cain and heard his cry for help.

So the Lord said to him, “Therefore whoever kills Cain, vengeance will be taken on him sevenfold.” And the Lord appointed a sign for Cain, so that no one finding him would slay him. Then Cain went out from the presence of the Lord, and settled in the land of Nod, east of Eden. Genesis 4:16a

There are still two kinds of people. There are those who repent of their sins and turn to the Lord and there are those who are sorry for the consequence of their sins but there is no desire to change. Peter wept over his sin when he denied the Lord and grieved over what he had done.

And Peter remembered the word which Jesus had said, “Before a rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.” And he went out and wept bitterly. Matthew 26:75

Judas on the other hand, was sorry for what he had done, but there was no repentance.

Then when Judas, who had betrayed Him, saw that He had been condemned, he felt remorse and returned the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, saying, “I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.” But they said, “What is that to us? See to that yourself!” And he threw the pieces of silver into the temple sanctuary and departed; and he went away and hanged himself. Matthew 27:3-5

The Lord loved both Peter and Judas. The Lord loves each of us and has shown us His kindness over and over again desiring that we will repent and come to Him.

Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance? Romans 2:4

Peter was restored in his relationship with the Lord and Judas was not. The Lord came to restore us. He loves us but He wants us to not only be sorry for what we have done but to turn away from our sin and turn to Him with all of our heart. He wants us to love Him. He wants our hearts. Love is more than just being sorry for what you have done. Love is changing and going in a different direction so you won’t do the same thing. If you love someone then you will get help rather than continuing to hurt them over and over again. Love is more than just being sorry. Love is repentance and changing.

How to Avoid a Life Empty of Love

Love is a basic human need for a healthy development and happy relationships yet it seems illusive at times and often the ones that we “hate” the most are those closest to us or that we have been close to at some time. How do we love others on a long term basis and keep loving, happy, healthy relationships? Love is the greatest commandment and if we fulfill this commandment then we will fulfill them all.

Matthew 22:36-40 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.”

Just as moral excellence is the root of love so love is the foundation of the Law and Prophets. The Law was to teach us how to love God with all of our heart and soul and mind and our neighbor as ourselves. The prophets were continually calling the people back to loving the Lord with all their heart, soul and mind and their neighbor as well. There is no peace, love or joy apart from love. There is no love apart from God, for God is love. Remove God from society, families and all relationships and you will eventually remove love.

I John 4:8 The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love.

The opposite of loving God and others is selfishness. Selfishness is loving ourselves at the expense of someone else. It is taking and not giving. It is me and not you. No one can serve two masters. He will either love the one and hate the other or vice versa.

Matthew 6:24a No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other.

You can not love yourself first and love God second. You must love God first and that will include loving others and then you love yourself next. If you love God first then He will watch out for your interests and He will be your security and defense. If you love yourself first then you will not be loving others the way you should. All of your “love” for others will be selfcentered and not love for them at all. There will always be a conflict of interests. For this reason, the Lord says that if we are to follow Him and love Him then we must die to ourselves.

Luke 9:23 And He was saying to them all, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me.

This is what it means to take up your cross daily, it is to die to yourself. The cross represents death. You can not truly love others if you do not learn to die to yourself. When you get married, the question is not, “Do I love this person more than everyone else?”. No rather, the question should be, “Do I love this person more than myself?”. If you truly love your mate more than yourself then you will truly love that person the way the Lord wants you to love them and there will never be another person that you will ever love in the same way (while you both shall live) because all marital unfaithfulness is all about loving yourself. Most marriages that fail began with selfishness and ended with selfishness in one or both spouses. Selfishness is loving or not wanting someone else for what they have or don’t have to offer to you.

I John 4:7-9 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love. 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.

Jesus Christ is the ultimate expression and manifestation of love. If you want to know love then you must know Jesus Christ. He came into the world to love and He loves everyone and the gift of His love is offered to everyone. Whoever will receive Jesus Christ will receive His love. We can not love others with a Godlike love without Jesus Christ.

I John 4:10-12 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. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has seen God at any time; if we love one another, God abides in us, and His love is perfected in us.

Jesus loved us and took our sins that we might receive and live in His love. He came that we might be able to love God and love others as He has loved us. If you know Jesus Christ then you will know true love and His love will be perfected in you. When you live in His love then His love will overflow into the lives of others. The life of love, joy and peace will truly overflow within you and you will begin to experience heaven on earth and what it means to live in His kingdom.

I John 4:20 If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen.

Hate comes from unresolved anger and unresolved anger comes from unforgiveness from being hurt. If you have been hurt and still struggling to forgive then take that hurt to the Lord and ask Him to help you forgive. He went to the cross to forgive us and because He has forgiven us then we can forgive others. He is the source of all love and because He loves us then we too can love others even those who previously seemed unlovable. You will also find that as you love others then your life will be filled with the love of others. Through Him we can love the world and everyone in it but apart from Him we can love no one.

Luke 6:38 Give, and it will be given to you. They will pour into your lap a good measure—pressed down, shaken together, and running over. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return.”

 

 

 

A Life with Love Listens and Hears

Love hears because love is listening for the voice or cry of the one whom they love. Every mother understands this fact. Even in her sleep she is always listening for the cries of her children. She knows their cries and their voices and each one is unique. She knows their sounds because she loves her children. Her heart is attentive to them.

But we proved to be gentle among you, as a nursing mother tenderly cares for her own children. I Thessalonians 2:7

So also the Lord hears our cries and He delivers His children from all of their troubles. He is attentive to each one of us.

The righteous cry, and the Lord hears And delivers them out of all their troubles. Psalm 34:17

The Lord loves us and wants us to cry out to Him. He does hear our voice and the sound of our prayers. He hears our cries of distress.

I love the Lord, because He hears
My voice and my supplications.
Because He has inclined His ear to me,
Therefore I shall call upon Him as long as I live. Psalm 116:1,2

Just as the Lord hears us He also wants us to listen to Him and hear Him. He said over and over again when He was on earth, “He who has ears to hear let him hear”.

Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life. John 5:24

It is through hearing His Word that we believe in Jesus Christ and receive eternal life.

He who is of God hears the words of God; for this reason you do not hear them, because you are not of God.” John 8:47

An unbeliever can read the Bible but the unbeliever will not be changed because they are only reading words with their mind. When a person becomes a Christian then they will read God’s Word with their mind and heart and it will no longer be just reading words but they will hear God speak to them through His Words.

So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ. Romans 10:17

It is through hearing God’s Word that we receive faith. Is your faith little? If you struggle in your faith then read God’s Words over and over again. Ask the Lord to increase your faith. Faith and fear can not reside in the same vessel. Are you fearful? Get into God’s Word and stay in God’s Word until you know His peace.

Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful. John 14:27

The Lord hears your cries and He listens to your prayers. He loves you. If you will come to Him then you will know His comfort and His peace. He will be with you in trouble.

As one whom his mother comforts, so I will comfort you; Isaiah 66:13a

Being a Christian is having a relationship with God through Jesus Christ. He hears the cries and prayers of His children and He wants us to listen to Him also. He speaks to us and He wants us to talk to Him. Being a Christian is far more than just believing intellectually in God and believing that Jesus Christ is God’s Son. Being a Christian is having a living faith that lives on His promises and follows Him in obedience. When a person is a true Christian then they will no longer “listen” to the world but they will “listen” to the Lord. For this reason, their lifestyle will be different. They will no longer want to do the things they did before. They will choose different friends if their nonChristian friends do not want to listen to the Lord. The Christian’s values will change. The Christian will have become a new person in Christ for they will have heard from God. God is still calling for those who will listen.

Therefore, just as the Holy Spirit says, “Today if you hear His voice,
Do not harden your hearts Hebrews 3:7,8a

The Lord says that “Today” is the day of salvation. If you hear His voice then come to Him. Do not harden your heart for you do not know what tomorrow holds and you do not know if you will hear His voice again or if you will have another chance.

for He says, “At the acceptable time I listened to you,
And on the day of salvation I helped you.” Behold, now is “the acceptable time,” behold, now is “the day of salvation”— II Corinthians 6:2

He hears you because He loves you. He is listening for your prayer and cry to Him.