A Life with Love Gives Freedom

When God created Adam and Eve, He created them to be free. Their sin brought fear and death. Fear makes our world much smaller. The Lord gave Adam and Eve the world to rule and the entire garden to enjoy but their sin caused their world to become the size of their hiding place. They were no longer free.

and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. Genesis 3:8b

Adam and Eve had no fears until they sinned. When they sinned they experienced death and with it the resulting fear of death. Adam and Eve exchanged life for death and freedom for fear and slavery.

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 2:14b,15

What a person fears is what enslaves that person. What we fear is what controls us. When we are enslaved or controlled by our fears then we are not free.

Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin. John 8:34

When we sin we are not free. For this reason we often will do the very things that we do not want to do because it is not us doing it but the sin that controls us that is causing us to do the very thing we hate.

For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not. For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want. But if I am doing the very thing I do not want, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. Romans 7:18-20

The very first step to becoming free is to realize that there is nothing good within us. Since Adam and Eve sinned all of us have inherited the sinful nature that resides within us and that sinful nature is what causes us to sin. There is only One who can set us free from the power of sin and death and that is Jesus Christ.

Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! Romans 7:24,25a

Jesus Christ came to set us free. God made man to be free. It was God’s love that set us free. He loved us when we least deserved His love.

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

It is His love that sets us free and it is His love that keeps us free. It is also His love that casts out all of the fears that come with sin and death.

There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, I John 4:18a

When we receive His love through Jesus Christ then He gives us a new nature and the power to not sin but to do the very good that we want to do.

Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. II Corinthians 5:17

When we become a new creation in Christ then we become born again into God’s family of love. We are born of God’s Spirit and His Spirit gives us the power to do what is right.

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, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. John 1:12,13

When we have Christ in our life then we also have the Holy Spirit who sets us free from the power of sin.

For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. Romans 8:2

God is good and He loves us. God has given us His Spirit and made us a new creation so that we can do what is right and be free. He created us for freedom and He came again to give us freedom. It is sin that makes us a slave and takes away our freedom. It is sin and death that brings us fears. Jesus Christ conquered death on the cross and set us free from the power of sin and death. He has delivered us from our fears.

It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery. Galatians 5:1

Learn to live in the freedom that Jesus Christ came to give us. When we learn to live according to His Words then we will live in the freedom that He designed for us. He gives us His Words not to limit our freedom but to give us freedom. His Words and His commands keep us from doing the very things that bring us death, slavery and fears.

So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” John 8:31,32

A Life with Love is Faithfulness

One of the greatest gifts that you can give to someone whom you love is faithfulness. Faithfulness is being faithful in every area of your life. A faithful person will be a faithful spouse and parent. Love and trust is built on faithfulness. Faithfulness is learned from the only One who is truly faithful.

This I recall to my mind,
Therefore I have hope.
The Lord’s lovingkindnesses indeed never cease,
For His compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness. Lamentations 3:21-23

We can learn to trust and love God because He alone is faithful. We have hope because of Him. His lovingkindnesses and His compassions are new every morning. Great is His faithfulness.

If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself. II Timothy 2:13

His faithfulness is not based on our faithfulness. He is faithful because that is who He is. It is through Him that we learn to be faithful. The only way that we will ever be faithful to the people on earth that we are called to love is if we learn to be faithful to the One who loves us completely and has called us to love Him. Someone asked Jesus what is the greatest commandment.

“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” Matthew 22:36

Jesus answered and said that the greatest was to love God.

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.’ Matthew 22:37-39

The second commandment was like it because the evidence of our love for God is our love for others. If we love God then we will love others. If we don’t love others then we do not love God and we are only deceiving ourselves.

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. And this commandment we have from Him, that the one who loves God should love his brother also. I John 4:20,21

Faithfulness begins with loving God and is expressed through loving others. Faithfulness begins in the heart. We can go through the motions but if we are not faithful in our heart then we are not faithful. However, faithfulness is not merely in our heart but it will be seen through our attitudes and actions. If we love with a whole heart then the recipient will know it and if we love only half-heartedly then they will know that also.

For their heart was not steadfast toward Him, Nor were they faithful in His covenant. Psalm 78:37

.The Lord wants us to be faithful to Him and do according to what is in His heart and His soul. When we learn to be faithful to the Lord then we will walk before God. When we learn what it means to walk before God then we will also learn what it means to be faithful. There is no faithfulness apart from God and apart from walking with God.

But I will raise up for Myself a faithful priest who will do according to what is in My heart and in My soul; and I will build him an enduring house, and he will walk before My anointed always. I Samuel 2:35

One of the greatest gifts that a father can give to his children is to be faithful to his wife and their mother. One of the greatest gifts that a mother can give to her children is to be faithful their father and her husband. God gave His greatest gift to us when He gave His Son to take our place on the cross and to pay for our sins so that we might become one of His children.

God is faithful, through whom you were called into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. I Corinthians 1:9

The faithfulness of Jesus Christ to do what the Father had sent Him to do was His greatest gift to us.

He was faithful to Him who appointed Him, Hebrews 3:2a

Jesus accomplished the work that the Father had given Him to do.

I glorified You on the earth, having accomplished the work which You have given Me to do. John 17:4

In the same way, the Lord has given each of us some work that He wants us to do. If He has called you to be married then He wants you to be faithful. If He has called you to be a parent then He wants you to be faithful. Whatever work in building His kingdom that He has given you to do He wants you to be faithful. Faithfulness is who God is and faithfulness is what He is looking for in His children, in those who are called by His name.

“He who is faithful in a very little thing is faithful also in much; and he who is unrighteous in a very little thing is unrighteous also in much. Luke 16:10

If a wife were to love her husband every second of every day of the week except for ten minutes on a Friday night would she be a faithful wife? No, she would have been unfaithful if she had been with another man. Faithfulness is being faithful all of the time with all of your heart. Love is faithfulness and faithfulness to love is truly loving the way that God loves us and has called us to love one another.

A Life with Love Does Not Grow Weary

Love is not a fifty yard dash but it is a marathon. It is a long run in the right direction that brings incredibly great rewards if we stay the path. Do not grow weary. It is worth the struggle, the perseverance, the endurance, the pain and the growth that will occur in you.

Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary. So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith. Galatians 6:9,10

We will not always have opportunity to do good to others. The word good means the highest form of love. When we love we are doing good to others. First, we are to love and do good to our spouses. Then we are to love and do good to our children. Next we are to love and do good to our extended family, friends, neighbors and those whom we work with or engage in business. This is the order of the requirements in responsibility that the Lord has for leaders.

An overseer, then, must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, prudent, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not addicted to wine or pugnacious, but gentle, peaceable, free from the love of money. He must be one who manages his own household well, keeping his children under control with all dignity (but if a man does not know how to manage his own household, how will he take care of the church of God?), and not a new convert, so that he will not become conceited and fall into the condemnation incurred by the devil. And he must have a good reputation with those outside the church, so that he will not fall into reproach and the snare of the devil. I Timothy 3:2-7

The Lord says that we will know others by their fruit. No one knows what another’s relationship with the Lord is like but if his relationship with the Lord is not right then it will show up in his marriage. No one really knows what a person’s marriage is like but the fruit of the marriage will be made known in the children. If the children are not being brought up right then there will be problems with those outside of the home. The Lord would not make these requirements in leadership if it was random how a marriage or children end up.

Many a man proclaims his own loyalty, But who can find a trustworthy man? Proverbs 20:6

A person’s relationships and family are the fruits of a trustworthy man. They are indications of a person’s relationship with the Lord. The most important relationship is a leader’s relationship with the Lord but no one knows what is done in secret but the Lord. The Lord tells us to look at the fruit.

Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they? So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. So then, you will know them by their fruits. Matthew 7:15-20

If there are issues in your marriage, family or outside of your family then the temptation is to focus on the marriage partner, children or others but the need is to focus first on your relationship with the Lord. Are you being faithful? Are you seeking Him with all of your heart? Are you spending time with the Lord in His Word and prayer daily and especially in the morning? Or are you secretly feeding your flesh? Do you have bitter jealousy or selfish ambition in your heart? The good fruit or the corruption in our own relationship with the Lord, in our marriage and our family will be evident.

Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. Galatians 6:7,8

Do not be deceived by the deceptiveness of sin and the flesh, God is not mocked. If you are feeding your flesh secretly it will be seen openly in the fruit in your relationships. If you are feeding your spirit then you will see life and experience life and peace in your life and in your relationships.

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. Romans 8:6-8

A Life of Generosity and Joy

Generosity and joy go hand and hand. The Lord Himself said that it is more blessed to give than to receive. Giving gets your eyes off of yourself and your interests and needs and causes you to become aware of the needs of others around you. The ore yo give, the more your cup of joy will overflow.

Acts20:35 In everything I showed you that by working hard in this manner you must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He Himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”

Giving gives you a heart for the Lord, for where your treasure is there will your heat be also. Your heart will follow your treasure. Time and money are two of your treasures that you can give away.

Matthew 6:21 for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

The generous person will be prosperous or successful.

Proverbs 11:25 The generous man will be prosperous,

Give to those who can not pay you back. The Lord says that even sinners give to those from whom they will receive something back. When you give to the needy of His people you are giving to the Lord.

Matthew 25:35-40  For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.’ Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink? And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’

The person who gives to the rich will come to poverty. Give to a person in need and they will give you their heart.  When you meet the need of the needy then you are removing the obstacle in their life so that they can hear the Gospel. You are allowing them to see the love and truth of God so that they can hear the love and truth of the Lord.

Proverbs 22:16 He who oppresses the poor to make more for himself Or who gives to the rich, will only come to poverty.

Give to the poor and the Lord says that He Himself will pay you back. It is the only time in Scripture where the Lord says that He will become man’s debtor. His payment is in full and more. He remains no man’s debtor.

Proverbs 19:17 One who is gracious to a poor man lends to the Lord,  And He will repay him for his good deed.

Give to those who have helped you spiritually.

Galatians 6:6 The one who is taught the word is to share all good things with the one who teaches him.

Your cup of joy will overflow as you give to the Lord by giving to His people, the needy and to reach others for Christ.

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 is Not Easily Angered

Anger is an emotion that can easily destroy love. Only a fool will allow anger to control him and it is best to not be angry at all.

Do not be eager in your heart to be angry, For anger resides in the bosom of fools. Ecclesiastes 7:9

A person who is slow to get angry is greater than the mighty. He who rules his spirit shows more power than he who captures a city.

He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, And he who rules his spirit, than he who captures a city. Proverbs 16:32

Love is not easily angered because love and understanding sees the need in the other person rather than the desire in one’s own self to get angry.

He who is slow to anger has great understanding, But he who is quick-tempered exalts folly. Proverbs 14:29

The angry person does not realize that once they are over their anger the damage has been done in the spirit of the other ones who have seen it. Anger destroys intimacy in a marriage and a family because it puts fear in the one who is vulnerable. A wife is vulnerable to her husband and children are vulnerable to parents. Fear keeps the vulnerable one from opening up.

A man’s discretion makes him slow to anger, And it is his glory to overlook a transgression. Proverbs 19:11

It is a wise and discreet person who is slow to anger. It is a loving person who overlooks mistakes and shortcomings in others. It is love that covers a multitude of sins.

Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins. I Peter 4:8

A wise person is slow to anger and a prudent person conceals dishonor. A loving person is one who conceals dishonor in someone else. They will not seek to exalt themselves at the expense of someone else.

A fool’s anger is known at once, But a prudent man conceals dishonor. Proverbs 12:16

Anger pours gas on a potentially explosive situation whereas love pours water on a fire. A wise and loving person will learn to turn away from anger.

Scorners set a city aflame, But wise men turn away anger. Proverbs 29:8

Anger and wrath are related and so is fretting. Fretting is another word for being anxious and when we are anxious then it leads to evildoing. Doing evil is usually taking things into our own hands to deal with a situation and the outcome will not be good.

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.
For evildoers will be cut off,
But those who wait for the Lord, they will inherit the land.
Yet a little while and the wicked man will be no more;
And you will look carefully for his place and he will not be there.
But the humble will inherit the land
And will delight themselves in abundant prosperity. Psalm 37:7-11

The opposite of anger is to trust in the Lord, rest in Him and wait for Him. We can only do that if we know Him and know His love. If you do get angry with someone and say or do something that is not right then go to the person and ask their forgiveness for what you have done.

He who conceals his transgressions will not prosper, But he who confesses and forsakes them will find compassion. Proverbs 28:13

Don’t try to conceal your angry response by excusing or justifying what you have done or blaming someone else by saying they caused your anger. Maybe what they did was wrong but it does not excuse our response if it is not right. If we confess our sins to one another and forsake them then we will find compassion. Ask for prayer from another who has struggled and seen victory. All of us can relate to being angry but it does not justify us being that way.

Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. James 5:16

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. James 5:19,20

It is the soul of the angry person who dies when they get angry and say and do things that they regret. We need each other to help us in our struggles when we stray from the truth of God’s ways. Ask the Lord to help you find an older Christian who will pray for you and who you can talk with and confess your sins to so that they can turn you back to the Lord and His truth.

A Life with Love Is a Response

Love is a response to love. We can only love to the extent that we have known love. We can only know love through God since He is the source of love and God is love. When we love God then we will know the Lord and His love and we will be known by Him. It is then that we can love others with a God like love.

but if anyone loves God, he is known by Him. I Corinthians 8:3

God loves us and when we experience His great love for us then we want to love Him back. It is only when our hearts are evil that we do not want to love One who loves us so deeply and so sacrificially. The Lord is good and only does good towards us. The opposite of good is evil. One aspect of the meaning of good is the highest form of love and one of the meanings of evil is to cause grief. The Lord loves us and shows us good. We are the ones who bring Him grief and sadness by not loving Him and by rejecting His love for us. When we do not love God then we not only bring grief to God but we bring grief on ourselves. We also bring grief on those whom God has called us to love.

He who returns evil for good, Evil will not depart from his house. Proverbs 17:13

Since our hearts are evil we can not love God the way we need to so when we come to Him then He gives us a new heart to love Him. It is also this new heart that allows us to love others.

Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. Ezekiel 36:26

If you are struggling with loving God and loving others then ask God for a new heart. It is not within ourselves to love God and love others.

Cast away from you all your transgressions which you have committed and make yourselves a new heart and a new spirit! Ezekiel 18:31a

Either we will love something else first or we will love God first. Whatever else it is that we love before God will be sin to us and will ultimately destroy us. The Lord wants us to cast our sins away from us so that we can love Him. When we love God and come to Him then He will bring healing to our lives and our relationships. He will heal us and restore us.

Woe to them, for they have strayed from Me!
Destruction is theirs, for they have rebelled against Me!
I would redeem them, but they speak lies against Me.
And they do not cry to Me from their heart

When they wail on their beds;
For the sake of grain and new wine they assemble themselves,
They turn away from Me.
Although I trained and strengthened their arms,
Yet they devise evil against Me.
They turn, but not upward,
They are like a deceitful bow; Hosea 7:13-16a

When we stray from the Lord the destruction follows. The Lord wants us to respond to His love and come to Him with all of our heart. He does not want us to just seek Him when we need something.

‘Call to Me and I will answer you, and I will tell you great and mighty things, which you do not know.’ Jeremiah 33:3

Love is a response to love. We can only respond to God’s love when we see it. He will show you His love. Call to Him. He will answer you. The Lord will meet you where you are. He will show you great and mighty things which you did not know. The Lord will bring healing to your broken heart, if your heart has been broken. He will show you His great love and restore your relationships. He will teach you how to find and keep love. He will give to you with an abundance of peace and truth. He will show you how to respond in love.

Behold, I will bring to it health and healing, and I will heal them; and I will reveal to them an abundance of peace and truth. Jeremiah 33:6

There is none like the Lord. He is the Only true God and He rides the heavens to our help. He is our dwelling place and underneath us are His everlasting arms.

“There is none like the God of Jeshurun, Who rides the heavens to your help,
And through the skies in His majesty.
“The eternal God is a dwelling place,
And underneath are the everlasting arms; Deuteronomy 33:26b,27a

God’s love never changes. He always loves us. The Lord keeps loving us and waits for us to come to Him and respond to Him once again. When we respond to Him then we will love Him by keeping His commandments. When we keep His commandments then we will experience His love and want to love Him more.

He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me; and he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will disclose Myself to him.” John 14:21

Jesus loved the Father and did exactly as the Father commanded Him. Jesus has asked us to do what He Himself did.

but so that the world may know that I love the Father, I do exactly as the Father commanded Me. John 14:31a

If we will keep His commandments then we will live in His love just as Jesus kept the Father’s commandments and lived in the Father’s love.

Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him. John 14:23

A Life with Love is Met with Love

The plan from the beginning was that we were to be loved and we were to respond in love. This is still the plan and it is the plan for all relationships. Love seeks only the best for the other and has no selfish ambitions. When we are loved and love in return then we will be and do what we were created to be and do. God created us to be loved by Him and it was His desire that we respond with love for Him. However, love is a choice and in the beginning man chose not to love God.

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. Then the Lord God called to the man, and said to him, “Where are you?” He said, “I heard the sound of You in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid myself.” And He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?” Genesis 3:8-11

We hide ourselves from those whom we do not love. We will find reasons to be elsewhere. When two people are in love then they will find every reason to be together. They will make time to be together. When two people no longer love each other then they will find excuses to be elsewhere and hide from each other behind the excuses. When Adam and Eve hid they no longer loved God but God still loved them. God is faithful even when we are not.

If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself. II Timothy 2:13

God’s design was that nothing could separate us from His love, that is, nothing can separate us from His love but our own selves. Love is a choice and we do not have to love God. We can try to hide ourselves from Him.

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. Romans 8:38,39

We can try to hide from God and we can try to run from Him but we can never get away from His love for us.

Where can I go from Your Spirit?
Or where can I flee from Your presence?
If I ascend to heaven, You are there;

If I make my bed in Sheol, behold, You are there.
If I take the wings of the dawn,
If I dwell in the remotest part of the sea,
Even there Your hand will lead me,
And Your right hand will lay hold of me.
If I say, “Surely the darkness will overwhelm me,
And the light around me will be night,”
Even the darkness is not dark to You,
And the night is as bright as the day.
Darkness and light are alike to You. Psalm 139:7-12

There is no place that we can go to where He is not there. There is no place that we can hide that He dies not see. His love pursues us and He longs to love us.

Therefore the Lord longs to be gracious to you, And therefore He waits on high to have compassion on you. For the Lord is a God of justice; How blessed are all those who long for Him. Isaiah 30:18

He longs to be gracious to us and He is waiting for us to come to Him so that we can know his compassion and His love. How happy are all who come to Him. He meets us with His love.

A Life with Love Does Not Disappoint

Expectations destroy relationships because no one can meet up to another’s expectations. Expectations destroy relationships because when there are expectations then that becomes the focus and all the other wonderful things that can come in a loving relationship are not seen because the eyes are set on a certain set of expectations. Expectations bring disappointment. However, there is One who says that He will never disappoint. There is no one else who can make that promise.

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

The Lord is all loving and all powerful and He keeps His Word. When we believe in Jesus Christ then He promises us that we will not be disappointed. Our spouses, our parents and every other human will eventually disappoint us. When we look to the Lord rather than to a person to meet our needs then we will not be let down. The Lord has poured out His love on us and that is what gives us hope and hope in Him does not disappoint.

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. Romans 5:5

When our hearts are filled with love then we are like a sponge that is full but if our hearts are empty of love then we are vulnerable to mistake what we think is love and end up being hurt and more empty. Only Jesus Christ can fill our hearts so that we won’t mistake the bitter for the sweet.

But to a famished man any bitter thing is sweet. Proverbs 27:7

Love is the greatest gift and the one who finds it and keeps it enjoys life and they are able to give love and bring joy to others. Love must first be found in the Lord. God’s love never disappoints and His love never changes. God’s love is perfect and when we live in His love then we no longer live in fear of rejection or fear of being disappointed.

There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, I John 4:18a

If we cry out to the Lord then He will deliver us from what troubles us. We can trust in Him and in His love. We will not be disappointed.

To You they cried out and were delivered; In You they trusted and were not disappointed. Psalm 22:5

There is no one person who can meet all of our needs. Those who end up being hurt the most are those who put their hopes in another human being to meet their needs. When hopes and expectations are not met then unhappiness and ungratefulness follows along with the disappointment. When we are disappointed with someone then the cup is half empty rather than half full. We will see what that person can not give us. This is especially true in marriage. Your spouse will never provide all of the money, intimacy, time, etc. that you desire. We will not see our spouse as a blessing and a gift but we will see what we don’t have. Marriage can be the sweetest relationship on earth but if one of them is unhappy then it can be the most miserable existence on earth. A husband especially will struggle if he has an unhappy wife. The most beautiful face to a husband is a smiling wife.

Thus says the Lord,
“Cursed is the man who trusts in mankind
And makes flesh his strength,
And whose heart turns away from the Lord.
“For he will be like a bush in the desert
And will not see when prosperity comes,
But will live in stony wastes in the wilderness,
A land of salt without inhabitant. Jeremiah 17:5,6

People are humans and so there are sometimes false hopes in them that lead to unrealistic expectations, which will always leave us empty and disappointed. When we look to a person to fill the needs and longings that only God can fill then we will end up being very lonely and living in an emotional land of emptiness. We will not see the prosperity that only the Lord can give to us.

“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord
And whose trust is the Lord.
“For he will be like a tree planted by the water,
That extends its roots by a stream
And will not fear when the heat comes;
But its leaves will be green,
And it will not be anxious in a year of drought
Nor cease to yield fruit. Jeremiah 17:7,8

The one whose trust is in the Lord will see their spouse as a gift and will know that their spouse can never meet all of their expectations and all of their needs. Their cup of joy will overflow as they thank the Lord for their spouse and the gift of marriage. As they give thanks to the Lord for who He has given to them then they will see even more wonderful things in their spouse. Life will be sweet for them and for the one whom they are married to. They will be blessed and their spouse and children will be blessed. Blessed is the person who trusts in the Lord.

A Life with Love Does Not Hate

Love is an expression of everything that is good and hate is an expression of everything that is bad. If we love someone then we will do them good and build them up but if we hate someone then we will do what is bad towards them and will want to bring them grief. Love wants to be with someone and hate wants to do away with someone.

“You have heard that the ancients were told, ‘You shall not commit murder’ and ‘Whoever commits murder shall be liable to the court.’ But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court; and whoever says to his brother, ‘You good-for-nothing,’ shall be guilty before the supreme court; and whoever says, ‘You fool,’ shall be guilty enough to go into the fiery hell. Matthew 5:21,22

Hate goes before abusive speech and actions and anger is the beginning of hate. Hate desires destruction to the one whom it is aimed towards but in actuality it destroys the one who has it within their heart. Cain hated Abel because God accepted Abel’s offering but not Cain’s offering.

Cain told Abel his brother. And it came about when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother and killed him. Genesis 4:8

The Lord did not tell anyone but Cain that He did not accept Cain’s sacrifice. The Lord does not shame but we bring about our own shame when we do not do life right. When we do wrong we can seek forgiveness from God or we can continue in our shame and receive more shame. Sin never stands alone. Sin brings more sin.

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

Abel knew where his brother was. A dead man does not move. If someone will kill they will lie. If someone will steal they will lie. If someone will commit adultery they will lie. Do not be in a relationship with a liar. If you hear them lie then flee from that relationship. The person who lies can not be trusted and the one who lies will lie to you.

He said, “What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood is crying to Me from the ground. Genesis 4:10

The Lord asked Cain the same question that He asked Adam, “What have you done?”. Cain could not silence the dead nor could he do away with Abel. Whenever a person hates someone then they give the devil power over their lives. Whenever someone kills someone then they can not get away from the victim. They become a tormented person and the person whom they killed now lives within their thoughts. Hatred destroys the person who has it.

By faith Abel offered to God a better sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained the testimony that he was righteous, God testifying about his gifts, and through faith, though he is dead, he still speaks. Hebrews 11:4

Cain was angry with God for not accepting his sacrifice. All anger is ultimately directed at God but it is taken out on someone else. Anger is not getting your way and what you want. Abel received what he wanted but Cain did not and so Cain killed Abel.

For this is the message which you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another; not as Cain, who was of the evil one and slew his brother. And for what reason did he slay him? Because his deeds were evil, and his brother’s were righteous. I John 3:11,12

Love is of God and the message that has been from the beginning is that we should love one another. The violence that comes from anger is from the devil and when it is carried out then the perpetrator has done the works of the devil. Violence is different from other sins in that some of the other sins are natural desires that are fulfilled in the wrong way. It is wrong to commit adultery but physical intimacy is a natural desire that becomes adultery when it is accomplished between two people not married. The Lord hates violence.

The Lord tests the righteous and the wicked, And the one who loves violence His soul hates. Psalm 11:5

When the Lord comes into our lives then He sets us free from our own selfish desires which lead to the anger, hatred, jealousy, envy and all the other feelings and attitudes that can control us that leads to death within our souls. He takes out of our lives the things that destroy us and replaces them with what is good. He also will do this with relationships when they are given to the Lord.

We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love abides in death. Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer; and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him. We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. I John 3:14-16

Jesus Christ took our death, and all that dwells in death and causes death, to the cross that we might be set free. The anger, hatred, jealousy, strife and more are what characterizes the person who is still in death and separated from God. Love is what marks the person who has passed out of death into life. Jesus Christ died and rose again that He might bring us to God. He laid down His life for us.

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

Abel loved God and Cain could not destroy Abel’s love for God nor could he silence Abel. Evil destroys the person who does it but God came to destroy the works of the devil.

The Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil. I John 3:8

The one who knows God will love others. The one who does not know God, their heart will have hatred. Those who love God will want to do what is right. Those who do not know God can not do what is right, for their hearts are wicked.

By this the children of God and the children of the devil are obvious: anyone who does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor the one who does not love his brother. I John 3:10

The Lord loves you whether you belong to Him or not. He wants you to come to Him. God loved Cain. Cain did not choose to love God. Love is a choice. God’s wisdom is a mystery. We do not fully understand it but when we do come to Jesus Christ our lives are changed now and forever.

Behold, I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. I Corinthians 15:51,52

The Lord says that if only those who crucified the Lord Jesus Christ had understood that He loved them then they would not have crucified Him. Jesus Christ loved even His enemies and those who hated Him.

but we speak God’s wisdom in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God predestined before the ages to our glory; the wisdom which none of the rulers of this age has understood; for if they had understood it they would not have crucified the Lord of glory; but just as it is written,

“Things which eye has not seen and ear has not heard,
And which have not entered the heart of man,
All that God has prepared for those who love Him.” I Corinthians 2:7-9

His plan for man from the beginning has always been love. God has always loved man but God has also given man a choice. Man can respond to that love through Jesus Christ or they can reject that love. When they reject that love then their hearts continue to stay darkened and what is wrong starts to seem right and what is right seems wrong to them. Those who crucified Jesus Christ hated Him and believed that they could silence Him. God raised Him from the dead and He still desires that all people come to Him and receive eternal life.

“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

There is no sin too great. We all are guilty of crucifying the Lord. It was for all of us and for all of our sin that He went to the cross. It is not too late to come to Him.

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. II Peter 3:9

A Life with Love Does All Things Well

After Adam and Eve left the Garden of Eden then they began to do what the Lord had commanded them to do and that was to be fruitful and multiply.

God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, Genesis 1:27,28a

First Cain was born Adam and Eve and then Abel was born. Both boys grew up into young men. Knowing that there was a God to be worshiped both of the young men sought to make an offering to the Lord. Cain was a tiller of the ground and Abel was a keeper of flocks.

Now the man had relations with his wife Eve, and she conceived and gave birth to Cain, and she said, “I have gotten a manchild with the help of the Lord.” Again, she gave birth to his brother Abel. And Abel was a keeper of flocks, but Cain was a tiller of the ground. Genesis 4:1-2

The Lord God does all things well and He wants to show us who He is and teach us His ways. When Jesus lived among men He did all things well.

They were utterly astonished, saying, “He has done all things well; He makes even the deaf to hear and the mute to speak.” Mark 7:37

After Adam and Eve sinned then they had to learn how to please God. The Lord wants us to seek Him first and to give Him our best. Cain offered a sacrifice to God in the course of time. It was when he was ready to seek the Lord. How easy it is for all of us to seek the Lord on our own terms and say such things as, “Some day I will give my life to the Lord” rather than to come to Him today when we hear Him speaking to our heart.

So it came about in the course of time that Cain brought an offering to the Lord of the fruit of the ground. Genesis 4:3

Abel, on the other hand, came to the Lord with his best. He offered the first and best of His work as an offering to the Lord. The Lord received His offering.

Abel, on his part also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of their fat portions. And the Lord had regard for Abel and for his offering; Genesis 4:4

The Lord did not receive Cain’s offering. It was not because He loved Abel more than Cain. The Lord loved both of them. The Bible does not say that God was mad at Cain but only that the Lord did not have regard for Cain’s offering.

but for Cain and for his offering He had no regard. Genesis 4:4a

The Lord loved Cain but Cain’s offering was not what God wanted. It is easy to become angry when our work or anything that we do is rejected. Giving into anger can give the devil an opportunity. Anger is an emotion that can easily lead to sin. Anger makes us vulnerable to the devil.

Be angry, and yet do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not give the devil an opportunity. Ephesians 4:26,27

Sometimes we learn more through rejection than we do through success. Our response to life often is more important than what happens to us in life. Our response determines the direction our life will go in. When we feel rejected by someone we were trying to please we can look to the Lord or we can become angry and try to justify ourselves.

Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? Genesis 4:6

When we become angry with someone then we close off our spirit to that person. Anger is an outward expression of hurt but it can easily lead to sin and bitterness. Sin and bitterness go together. Bitterness takes root in our lives through unresolved hurts and leads to immorality.

See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it many be defiled; that there be no immoral or godless person like Esau, who sold his own birthright for a single meal. Hebrews 12:15,16

Immorality is exchanging the eternal for the temporal. The Lord wants to build eternal values into our lives and teach us what will last for eternity. Esau exchanged the blessing of God and what was eternal for what was of momentary value. All of sin is exchanging the eternal for the temporal satisfaction of the flesh.

If you do well, will not your countenance be lifted up? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it.” Genesis 4: 7

Cain had not sinned when he did his offering. All we know was that the Lord did not have regard for his offering. Cain could still “do all things well” and the Lord would have been pleased with Cain. The Lord was instructing Cain in how to love God. The Lord loved Cain and wanted Cain to listen to Him so that Cain would know Him and please Him.

But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger; for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God. James 1:19b,20

God is love and He is righteous and does all things well. The Lord says that if we will be quick to hear and be a doer of what He says then we also will be like Him and do all things well. His Word is the Law of liberty and they will set us free from the anger and bitterness that can so easily get a hold in our lives.

Therefore, putting aside all filthiness and all that remains of wickedness, in humility receive the word implanted, which is able to save your souls. But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror; for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was. But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man will be blessed in what he does. James 1:21-25

When we feel rejected and respond rightly rather than in anger then it produces in us a humility. Humility is necessary to receive God’s instruction. It is our pride that allows anger to take hold of our emotions but if we will in humility receive His Words planted in our hearts then they will take root and bear the good fruit of becoming a doer of God’s Word. The Lord wants to bless us and gives us a promise that if we will do this then He will bless us in what we do. God will bless you in your relationship with Him. God will bless you in your job and in your marriage. He will bless you in all that you do.

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.
Blessed are You, O Lord;
Teach me Your statutes. Psalm 119:9-12