A Life that Loves

The greatest of all is love and love is the most powerful influence in the world. When we learn to love as Christ did then our world will be changed. We will be willing to die for each other even as Christ died for us.

Romans 5:7 For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die.

This word good means the highest form of love. What the Lord is saying is that someone would not be willing to give up their life for someone who does the right thing  but perhaps maybe someone would die for a person who loved them. Love is the greatest power in the world. We will always want to be around those who love us.

I John 3:16 We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.

We know that Jesus loves us. He died for us and He would do it again. He did not die for us because we were good but He died for us because He is good. Jesus Christ is the expression of the highest form of love.

Romans 5:8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

The only way we can love with the love of Christ is if we die to ourselves first.

John 15:13 Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.

We must deny ourselves and follow Him. It is a daily dying to ourselves and it is the path to freedom and to Christlikeness.

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 life is only possible through His Spirit and by His Spirit. He will only lead you where He has gone before you. There is no fear in a life of dying to self and following Him. In your dying you will begin living and in your death others will find life.

Romans 8:11 But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.

Jesus went before us. He was crushed for our iniquities and by His scourging we are healed. He died for us.

Isaiah 53:5 But He was pierced through for our transgressions,
He was crushed for our iniquities;
The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him,
And by His scourging we are healed.

The Lord is pleased when we offer ourselves to Him as a living sacrifice. How is it seen by others? It is seen through our love for others as we are poured out as an offering to Him.

Isaiah 53:10-12 But the Lord was pleased
To crush Him, putting Him to grief;
If He would render Himself as a guilt offering,
He will see His offspring,
He will prolong His days,
And the good pleasure of the Lord will prosper in His hand.
As a result of the anguish of His soul,
He will see it and be satisfied;
By His knowledge the Righteous One,
My Servant, will justify the many,
As He will bear their iniquities.
Therefore, I will allot Him a portion with the great,
And He will divide the booty with the strong;
Because He poured out Himself to death,
And was numbered with the transgressors;
Yet He Himself bore the sin of many,
And interceded for the transgressors.

You have the opportunity to be like Jesus when you intercede for those who have sinned against you. You may not be able to bear their sins as Jesus did on the cross but when you pray “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do”, you will be more like Him than you will ever know and others will see Jesus in you.

Luke 23:24 But Jesus was saying, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.” And they cast lots, dividing up His garments among themselves.

The greatest is love and those who love are the greatest.

I Corinthians 13:13 But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love.

 

A Life with Times of Refreshing

Just as our bodies can become weary so our souls can become weary also. Sometimes our bodies can be in a dry and weary place where there is not much water or rest. Just as cold water and rest can refresh the body so also God’s presence can bring times of refreshing to the spirit and soul.

Acts 3:19 Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord;

We may need to repent if we have never come to Jesus Christ to forgive us our sin and to give us eternal life. Repentance is turning away from sin and turning to the Lord. We are either going toward God or we are going toward sin. God desires that all come to repentance and that none perish.

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.

We need to repent if we have gotten away from having Jesus Christ be our “first love” and the lover of our soul and the giver of life. It is easy to become busy with life and fill our lives with “good things” and forget that the Christian life is a love relationship with Jesus Christ. Or, we may just have gotten our eyes off of Jesus Christ and have been trying to live the Christian life on our own and allowed it to become a life of “do this and don’t do that”.

Revelation 2:4,5 But I have this against you, that you have left your first love. Therefore remember from where you have fallen, and repent and do the deeds you did at first; or else I am coming to you and will remove your lampstand out of its place—unless you repent.

We may need to repent if we are a Christian and have become ensnared with a particular sin and are experiencing death to our soul, which is the defeat and guilt that we feel when we know that we are not living in a way pleasing to Him. Sin can cause weariness. Whatever it is that is causing our weariness, it is not design.

Matthew 11:28-30 “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, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

Come to the Lord Jesus if you are weary and heavy laden. He will give you rest. Repent, if you have gotten away from Him and have left your first love. Do the things you did at first when you first became a Christian. Remember how you marveled at how great a love that He has for you. Remember how His grace was poured out on your life and you experienced His forgiveness and cleansing? Repent and return to Him in order that times of refreshing may come from His presence. In His presence there is fullness of joy and in His right hand are pleasures forevermore.

Psalm 16:11 You will make known to me the path of life;
In Your presence is fullness of joy;
In Your right hand there are pleasures forever.

It is the kindness of God that leads us to repentance in order that He might bless us.

Romans 2:4 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?

 

A Life with a Great Love

The Lord offers us in His Word a great peace, a great reward and great goodness to be bestowed on us, but first we must receive His great love. His great love is available to all but only those who receive His Son will ever know the privilege,honor and gift of experiencing His great love by becoming His child.

I John 3:1 See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are.

Not only do you become His child but your Heavenly Father will love you with the same love with which He loves Jesus Christ. Unbelievable! We understand how He could love Jesus. Of course He loves Jesus because Jesus Christ is perfect but does He really love the rest of us the same way? Yes!!!

John 17:23 so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me.

Once you belong to Him there is nothing that can separate you from His love.

Romans 8:38,39 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Once you have His great love then He promises to give you all things. You no longer have to work for God’s favor or hope that your good will outweigh your bad. His love is a gift and everything that you receive after His great love is a gift. He wants to give to you and give to you some more.

Romans 8:32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?

God’s incredible great love is available to all. There is no one who has sinned too much or has done anything too horrible to be rejected by His great love. All have been disobedient to God. We have all sinned.

Romans 11:32 For God has shut up all in disobedience so that He may show mercy to all.

God has loved everyone, every single person ever born, the Lord has and is offering His great love to them.

Romans 8:5 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

The Lord talks about a “time of visitation”, which means that this is the time that He is coming to you and calling to you to come to Him. Do you hear Him calling to you to come to Him or if you have strayed, calling to you to come back to Him?

Luke 19:44 …because you did not recognize the time of your visitation.

The Lord works through His children so that the world might come to Him and be saved. The world is looking for the “real thing” and observing your life to see if you are genuine or a hypocrite. Are you a real Christian or are you pretending to be something that is not really real in your life. Are you ever afraid to be transparent? The Lord wants our lives to be transparent so that others might see Jesus in us. The only way that you can be transparent is if you have a clear conscience.

I Peter 2:12 Keep your behavior excellent among the Gentiles, so that in the thing in which they slander you as evildoers, they may because of your good deeds, as they observe them, glorify God in the day of visitation.

If you want to experience the greatest love ever known and want to live a life in His great love then you must receive Him as your Lord and Savior.

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,

Once you receive Him you will also experience His great goodness in your life. The Lord loves to show the world how good He is and He does it by showing His great goodness to His children, for those who fear Him and to those who take refuge in Him.

Psalm 31:19 How great is Your goodness,
Which You have stored up for those who fear You,
Which You have wrought for those who take refuge in You,
Before the sons of men!

 

A Life that is Not Anxious

Are you ever anxious and worried? Anxiety can debilitate a person. Worry robs us of peace, joy and love for others because when we are anxious we focus on our problems. Some of our anxiety is about things that have never happened and will never happen but we believe they might so we worry about them.

Philippians 4:6,7 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Anxiety is a lack of faith. A lack of prayer is a lack of faith. The Lord says that if we will pray then we will not be anxious. Prayer is an expression of faith.

Hebrews 4:16 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.

If you will go to Him with your cares then then you will find mercy and grace to help in your time of need.

I Peter 5:7 casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.

He tells us to cast all of our anxieties on Him because He cares for us. He cares for you and your burdens will become His burdens if you will give them to Him.

Psalms 138:8 The Lord will accomplish what concerns me; Your lovingkindness, O Lord, is everlasting; Do not forsake the works of Your hands.

Isn’t this an amazing promise…that He will accomplish what concerns you. Are there things that concern you? Are you anxious about whether you will ever meet a young man who will truly love you? Are you anxious in your school work or you job? Do you have a sick loved one? There are so many things that concern us but if we will give them to Him then He will accomplish them for us.

A Life of Humility

If you want to be great then the Lord says you must be least. If you want to be exalted then He says that you must humble yourself. He knew that His disciples wanted to be great and wanted to be somebody. In our hearts we are the same. So, as they walked with the Lord Jesus He taught them a different way of life. A way that leads to life and to life abundantly.

Proverbs 18:12 Before destruction the heart of man is haughty, But humility goes before honor.

If we don’t live life God’s way then we will have sorrow and pain.

Proverbs 10:22 It is the blessing of the Lord that makes rich, And He adds no sorrow to it.

Many people will get riches and honor but with it will come sorrow and destruction. Jesus Christ gives us the picture of what it means to have humility. We are to consider others more important than ourselves and to not merely look out for our own personal interests but also for the interests of others.

Philippians 2:3-5 Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus,

Humility is the inward expression of total dependence on God and the outward expression of total obedience to Christ. Moses was called the most humble man on earth before Jesus Christ was born of a virgin, came to live and die and rise again from the dead. The phrase that characterized Moses’ life was he “did according to all that the Lord commanded him”.

Exodus 40:16 Thus Moses did; according to all that the Lord had commanded him, so he did.

Humility and obedience go together. Jesus was obedient to the point of death and then the Father highly exalted Him above every name that is named.

Philippians 2:8-11 Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Jesus is Lord of all. Every knee will bow before Him. You can either bow now voluntarily or you will bow against your will in hell because you did not bow willingly on earth.

I Peter 5:5,6 … all of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble. Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time,

Yes, He will life up those who clothe themselves with humility and obey Him during this life. He says that we will reign with Him when He comes in His glory. Don’t be foolish and think that you can wait until tomorrow. Tomorrow may not come but eternity will.

 

 

A Life that is Gracious

A gracious life will receive honor. A gracious woman is a beautiful lady and a woman that lacks graciousness is displeasing to the senses.

Proverbs 11:16 A gracious woman attains honor,

A gracious lady knows how to speak in such a way that she gives grace to her hearers. The opposite is a woman who speaks or acts in such a way that people need grace to be around her and listen to her.

Colossians 4:6 Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person.

A righteous person does not want to disgrace or shame someone but will seek to cover up their shame. Joseph was called a righteous man and he did not want to disgrace Mary when he thought that she had sinned.

Matthew 1:19 And Joseph her husband, being a righteous man and not wanting to disgrace her, planned to send her away secretly.

The opposite of a gracious lady is a woman who is a gossip. This is a lack of moral excellence and will destroy her friendships, her reputation and people will not trust her.

I Timothy 3:11 Women must likewise be dignified, not malicious gossips, but temperate, faithful in all things.

The Bible says to not associate with a gossip and certainly do not be a friend with one who talks about others and reveals their secrets.

Proverbs 20:19 He who goes about as a slanderer reveals secrets, Therefore do not associate with a gossip.

A gracious person is a joy to be around and it is a privilege and gift to have a gracious lady as a friend. Are you the kind of person that others seek as a friend? Do you seek wise ladies to be your friends?

Ecclesiastes 10:12 Words from the mouth of a wise man are gracious, while the lips of a fool consume him;

Jesus was full of grace and it was evident in His words as well as His actions.

Luke 4:22 And all were speaking well of Him, and wondering at the gracious words which were falling from His lips; and they were saying, “Is this not Joseph’s son?”

 

 

 

A Life that Listens

A life that listens to the voice of the Good Shepherd is a life that lives in tranquility. The Lord speaks to us in different ways. He says that His sheep hear His voice. This is what He wants. He wants to speak to you through His Holy Spirit that He has made to dwell within you. He speaks to your spirit when you become spiritually alive. You become spiritually alive when you become born again. You become one of His sheep and He becomes your Shepherd. As your Good Shepherd, who lays down His life for the sheep, He will protect you and guide your steps to keep you out of harm.

John10:11 “I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.

He knows you by name and calls to you. He will communicate His love for you in many different ways. You will see His hand and hear His voice.

John 10:14-16 I am the good shepherd, and I know My own and My own know Me, even as the Father knows Me and I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep. I have other sheep, which are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will hear My voice; and they will become one flock with one shepherd.

He has sheep throughout the world and all through the ages. We belong to the Shepherd and He makes us one, regardless of color or race. He is the good Shepherd. The word “good” means the highest form of love. He has an unconditional love for each one of us. There is nothing that we can do to cause Him to love us more.

Proverbs 6:22 When you walk about, they will guide you;  When you sleep, they will watch over you; And when you awake, they will talk to you.

He speaks to you through His Word. You must be faithful to put it in your heart so that when the time comes that you need comfort or guidance or whatever your need is, He can talk to you as you walk about and even when you are asleep or awake.

Psalm 127:2 It is vain for you to rise up early, To retire late, To eat the bread of painful labors; For He gives to His beloved even in his sleep.

The word “beloved” means just what it says, “be loved”. The Lord calls you beloved because He wants you to be loved by Him. Let Him love you as He longs to do. Let your striving be your seeking after Him so that you can hear His voice. He will give to you even in your sleep.

 

 

A Life that Knows the Will of God

Often people will ask, “How do I know what is God’s will for my life?”.  Is it possible to know His will? There are several ways to help you know the will of the Lord for your life.

Romans 12:2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

There are three aspects of God’s will. The will of God will always be good and acceptable and perfect.

Mark 10:18 No one is good except God alone.

God is good. The word good means the highest form of love. God’s will for you will be loving for others. If something you want to do does not express the love of God then it is not God’s will for you to do it. There are many things that are not a sin but they are not loving because the activity may make someone stumble. If you think then that you will do it in secret then it will be okay because it will not make anyone stumble then you are not acting wisely.

Proverbs 18:1 He who separates himself seeks his own desire, He quarrels against all sound wisdom.

God’s will is always wise because He is the fullness of wisdom.

Colossians 2:2,3 a true knowledge of God’s mystery, that is, Christ Himself,  in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

God’s will is perfect. You will know what is God’s will when there is nothing to add to it and nothing to take from it. If you ever find yourself saying, “I really like him “but”…” or “I really want to do this “but”…” then you find that the “but” is what will come back to bite you later on and will bring great frustration and sometimes torment. The Lord has give you authority to help you in your desire to know God’s will. Go to the ones over you and ask them what they think. Often the Lord will speak through them. Maybe that particular thing that you want is His will but not His timing yet. Until there is nothing to add to it and nothing to take away do not do it but wait on the Lord and ask Him to help you.

Ecclesiastes 3:14 I know that everything God does will remain forever; there is nothing to add to it and there is nothing to take from it, for God has so worked that men should fear Him.

the will of the Lord will always be acceptable. God is holy and He has commanded us to be holy.

I Peter 1;15,16 but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior;  because it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”

God’s will can be seen in His commandments. His commandments are holy and He has called us to be holy so His will will never violate what He has said in His Word. His will for your life will always be acceptable to 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.

So ask yourself concerning something that you are wondering if it is His will…”Is this person I want to be with, this place I want to go or this thing I want to do” good and acceptable and perfect? If it does not meet these three criteria then do not do it. The Bible says that you will lie down in torment if you “light your own fire” rather than trust in the Lord and rely on Him.

Isaiah 50:10,11 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.
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.

One more thing, is there something already in your life that you know that you should be doing that you are not doing? You need to do what He has already shown you before you will receive more light concerning something else. Obedience brings light.

 

 

 

A Life that is Restored

The Lord is the only One who can restore us. He first restores us to a right relationship with Himself and then He starts restoring us and our relationships. He also restores us to a right relationship with His creation.

Psalm 23 1-3 The Lord is my shepherd,
I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside quiet waters.
He restores my soul;
He guides me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.

The Lord knows what we need for restoration. Notice that He says here that He makes you lie down in green pastures. Sometimes He will cause circumstances to allow us to be still and lie down in green pastures where it is safe and He will lead us beside quiet waters where we will find refreshment. He is your Shepherd and He says that you will not be in want, that means that He knows your needs and you will not be lacking anything that you need so don’t struggle against the circumstances but learn to accept what you can not change. He will guide you on your journey in paths of righteousness so that you will have peace, quietness and confidence, but first you need restoration. The sheep were never intended to stay in the same place.

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

As a Christian we can experience death to our soul when we sin and continue in a particular sin. Restoration comes when we confess our sins to Him, turn from our sins and He cleanses us.

I John 1:9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

After confession when we pray to Him we are drawing near to Him and we will experience His restoration. As He says in His Word, “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.”

Psalm 80:3 O God, restore us And cause Your face to shine upon us, and we will be saved.

The Lord is the One who restores us in our fellowship with Him.

Psalm 19:7 The law of the Lord is perfect, restoring the soul;

The Word of God is what the Lord uses to restore our soul. It is the power of God. It cleanses us.

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

Prayer and the Word of God brings restoration to our soul. Go to an older woman who you know is in a right relationship with the Lord and ask her to pray for you also if you are still struggling with a particular sin.

James 5:15,16 and the prayer offered in faith will restore the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up, and if he has committed sins, they will be forgiven him. Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed.

If you are walking with the Lord and have been doing so on a consistent basis and growing in your relationship with Him then you have a responsibility to restore others in their relationship with the Lord if they are struggling with being enslaved to a sin.

Galatians 6:1 Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted.

The Lord has given all of us responsibility to help each other. We need each other to help one another stay close to the Lord. We are not sinless when we become Christians but we do sin less.

James 5:19 My brethren, if any among you strays from the truth and one turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.

 

A Life of Favor

The Bible says that favor is better than silver or gold but how do we receive favor? Favor will give you more opportunities than what money can buy and open doors for you. It is basically not what you know but who you know.

Proverbs 22:1 A good name is to be more desired than great wealth, Favor is better than silver and gold.

There are two things that are required to find favor in the sight of God and man. These two qualities are lovingkindness and truth. If you have these then not only will you receive favor but you will have a good reputation. Is everything that you do, done in love? Are you honest in all of your dealings and words? A little white lie is still a lie.

Proverbs 3:3,4 Do not let kindness and truth leave you;
Bind them around your neck,
Write them on the tablet of your heart.
So you will find favor and good repute
In the sight of God and man.

Are you seeking the Lord and desiring to know His ways? You bless yourself if you are and if you do not then you bring pain and injury to yourself. If you really don’t want to hear His ways then you love death.

Proverbs 8:32-36 “Now therefore, O sons, listen to me,
For blessed are they who keep my ways.
“Heed instruction and be wise,
And do not neglect it.
“Blessed is the man who listens to me,
Watching daily at my gates,
Waiting at my doorposts.
 “For he who finds me finds life
And obtains favor from the Lord.
“But he who sins against me injures himself;
All those who hate me love death.”

One of the easiest and best ways to learn His ways is to have a daily quiet time or in other words, when you have a quiet time then you are listening to the Lord, watching for Him every day and waiting for Him. You will not be disappointed. Start with trying to be faithful to spend time in His Word each day even if for only five minutes. Then spend time in prayer asking Him to help you each day. After you have been faithful for a month then try to increase to ten minutes.

Psalm 5:12 For it is You who blesses the righteous man, O Lord, You surround him with favor as with a shield.

His favor is also a protection from evil people and from making the wrong decisions. You will never regret seeking the Lord and His favor.

Genesis 6:8 But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord.

Do not be afraid to stand alone. Just as Noah stood alone, the Lord took care of him. He will care for you no matter what storms rage or whatever the circumstances are in life.