Love is the Active Agent

Love is the foundation for a Godly life. Without love, everything we think, say, or do is in vain. Without love all spiritual gifts are temporary. Love is permanent.  Without the love agent, all ingredients remain materials but do not produce a permanent product. The gift of tongues without love leaves a hollow reverberation.  James Boyce, workinpreacher.org,  refers to love as the active agent.

I believe verses 2-13 AMP explains what love is more thoroughly than I can express.

And if I have the gift of prophecy [and speak a new message from God to the people], and understand all mysteries, and [possess] all knowledge; and if I have all [sufficient] faith so that I can remove mountains, but do not have love [reaching out to others], I am nothing. If I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body [b]to be burned, but do not have love, it does me no good at all.

Love endures with patience and serenity, love is kind and thoughtful, and is not jealous orenvious; love does not brag and is not proud or arrogant. It is not rude; it is not self-seeking, it is not provoked [nor overly sensitive and easily angered]; it does not take into account a wrong enduredIt does not rejoice at injustice, but rejoices with the truth [when right and truth prevail]. Love bears all things [regardless of what comes], believes all things [looking for the best in each one], hopes all things [remaining steadfast during difficult times], endures all things [without weakening].

Love never fails [it never fades nor ends]. But as for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for the gift of special knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part, and we prophesy in part [for our knowledge is fragmentary and incomplete]. 10 But when that which is complete and perfect comes, that which is incomplete and partial will pass away. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things. 12 For now [in this time of imperfection] we see in a mirror dimly [a blurred reflection, a riddle, an enigma], but then [when the time of perfection comes we will see reality] face to face. Now I know in part [just in fragments], but then I will know fully, just as I have been fully known [by God]. 13 And now there remain: faith [abiding trust in God and His promises], hope [confident expectation of eternal salvation], love [unselfish love for others growing out of God’s love for me], these three [the choicest graces]; but the greatest of these is love.

The AMP version further explains love is the active ingredient, the basis for all things (vv. 4-7). According to Warren Wiersbe, love puts maturity into character. Love puts eternity into life (vv. 8-13). Love lasts, and what love does will last. Love is the greatest and does the greatest because “God is love”. (1 John 4:8)

Hayford’s Bible Handbook shares that this scripture focused on the Corinthians who were wasting their spiritual gifts. Jack Hayford further stated love is the motive for the gifts and the method by which they are to be conveyed.

Asheritah Ciuciu, Inspiring Bible Verses about God’s Love, ibelieve.com wrote – God is love and He loves us. We know that in our minds, but often we don’t live that way.  This is an on-going disconnect, in that Paul shared the same concern with the Corinthians.

She wrote, but the reality of God’s love surrounds us day by day, as revealed in these inspiring Bible verses about God’s love below. We learn that…

  • God’s love is steadfast and unchanging
  • God’s love comforts us
  • God’s love is revealed to us through Jesus Christ
  • God’s love is poured into us through  the Holy Spirit
  • God’s love compels us to love one another

Image – YouVersion,  Roger Cole, Bible.com
Scriptures – Bible.com
Resources – James Boyce, workinpreacher.org; Hayford’s Bible Handbook; Asheritah Ciuciu, Inspiring Bible Verses about God’s Love, ibelieve.com

Trust In God

We are taught to trust in our parents, to have confidence that they will care for us. They do the best that they can, but they are still mortal. Sometimes they succeed, sometimes they let us down, sometimes they are not able to care for us, or choose not to care for us and lose our trust. When our parents fail us, it leaves a devastating effect on us as we grow seeking someone or something to trust.

The scriptures tell us not to rely on mortal man for our care because people will always fall short of the glory of God. People are people, and we do not always know their intent concerning our trust.  It’s important to be careful who we trust, the devil was once an angel and wears disguises well. Have confidence in the Lord. Seek Him first. God is our Father, our parent through adoption, and will never fail us. Trust in the Lord. He is the only perfect being, and when the world lets you down, He will still be there. God is not fallible.

Scriptures

Do not trust in princes, in mortal man, in whom there is no salvation. ~ Psalm 146:3

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. ~ Jeremiah 17:5

Stop regarding man, whose breath of life is in his nostrils. ~Isaiah 2:22

Images – Google Images
Scripture Resource – Bible.knowing-Jesus.com

Join me.

This year I am holding to the task of resolving to become a stronger Christian in my actions and deeds every day. Each step we take will bring us closer to Christ and demonstrate the Good News in action.

Thank you for reading my Posts. God Bless.

Love, Do No Harm

Love does no harm. The Holy Spirit resides in us. We are love. Therefore, we should do no harm.

Light breaks through the darkness. Love breaks through hate. A soft voice is louder than a high volume pitch. An act of kindness changes the atmosphere.

The term ’Neighbor’ is figurative describing all people in your sphere. All people are your neighbors.

Our command is to love all people. There are no exceptions. Jesus did not categorize people to exclude them.

We can make a difference. It is time we overcome the hate that is blanketing the planet. We can change the world through the daily demonstration of the Holy Spirit who indwells us.

Do no harm…

We Sharpen

We sharpen each other through conversation and prayer. Accountability is a cherished tool. Two minds can provide mutual counsel and strengthen each other’s judgement. It builds our countenance in the Lord. What better gift can one bestow on the other than helping one another mature in the Word and to do good in their sphere of influence?

Dying To Self

The Bible is our manifest for life. It is our operations manual, others call it our guidebook. Its precepts are designed to teach us how to govern ourselves, as we mature as Christians, and travel down the path to our destiny.

The Old Testament precepts provide our travel instructions and through them we are encouraged to stay the course regardless of how live appears on earth, looking to our destiny, heaven as the purpose of our time on earth. The precepts offer hope in what can be defined as the godless world we live in today.

According to John Gill, learning encompasses: instruction “in the knowledge of Christ, of his person, offices, grace, righteousness, obedience, sufferings, death, resurrection, and ascension; and of the great salvation and redemption he came to obtain, and has obtained; and to teach us the doctrines of grace, of pardon through the blood of Christ, atonement by his sacrifice, justification by his righteousness, acceptance in his person, and eternal life through him; as also to inform us of our duty, and how we ought to behave both towards God and men.” (Romans 15:4, BibleStudytools.com/commentaries/Gill-exposition. March 23, 2018)

What Does that Mean for Us?

The theme of the month is dependence upon God and our obedience to Him. This scripture is yet another dimension of how we are to follow his instruction and rely on His Word to govern our lives. It informs us as to our duty as Christian Warriors in not only applying the precepts to our lives, but to demonstrate them through obedience to the Word. It describes the Trinity and how we can access the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. The application of the precepts ensures that we are living a Christ-like life.

Accepting Jesus as our Lord and Savior

When we received Christ as our Lord and Savior, we received our Salvation and insurance that we are part of God’s family. We have been pardoned through the Blood of Christ. We are justified in his likeness and he dwells in our being.  As a member of his family, we received the promise of eternal life.

Instruction Requires Obedience to and a Dependence upon God

In an earlier post I discussed Obedience and Dependency. Both require our allegiance to our faith. By this I mean, it is impossible to live a Christ-like life without being obedient. Obedience is ascribed to the practice of our faith and is one of the initial acts of obedience and is essential to our character. (Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary, pp 438) This again takes us back to the Fruit of the Spirit defined as the characteristics of Christ. Living by these characteristics is a life long process because we fall daily and are in constant battle with our own demons given birth by Satan, and represent the opposite of Christ’s fruit.

Knowing we are susceptible to failure, we rest on the fact that as long as we are dependent upon our Father and rely on the Holy Spirit for guidance, our ability to overcome our flesh rests in the constant reminder of being obedient. Whenever we feel the nudge or hear the quiet, soft voice warn us of doing wrong, doing things expressed in our fleshly desires (acts of omission), or are not doing things we know we should (acts of commission). Paul said it thusly,

15 For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do. 16 If, then, I do what I will not to do, I agree with the law that it is good. 17 But now, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. 18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find. 19 For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice. 20 Now if I do what I will not to do, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. 21 I find then a law, that evil is present with me, the one who wills to do good. 22 For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man. 23 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. 24 O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? 25 I thank God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!
Romans 7:15 NKJV

“So then, with the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin.”

Dying to Self

Our struggle is harnessing our fleshly desires to live like Christ. One author defines it as ‘carrying the cross’. It’s literally, dying to self. Dying to self is the true essence of the Christian life. It is part of being born again.

3 Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” 4 Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” 5 Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’
John 3:3-7 NKJV

We also die continually. To die to self is part of the process of sanctification. Dying to self is both a one-time event and a lifelong process. Dying to self is denying our flesh and living a spiritual symbolic life while living here on earth, and in so doing, as mentioned above, find eternal life in Christ. Dying to self is the reality of the new birth; no one can come to Christ unless they are willing to see the old life crucified with Christ and begin to live anew in obedience to Him. (Got Questions. What does the Bible mean by ‘dying to self’? gotquestions.org. March 23, 2018)

Humility, the Ultimate Dying to Self

Giving up your old self, dying to self, is living in a state of humility. Jesus died to self on the cross, surrendering himself in exchange for our sins. Though our rebirth we are freed from our fallen nature, our sin nature. Jesus accomplished this when he came down from heaven to dwell with us. Through the crucifixion he won life through death. “Humility and death are in their very nature one: humility is the bud; in death the fruit is ripened to perfection.” Humility leads to perfect death. Jesus humbled himself and became obedient to death to set us free.

“The death to self is not our work, it is God’s work…the full manifestation of the power of this death is in our disposition and conduct and depends upon the measure in which the Holy Spirit imparts the power of the death of Christ. We must humble ourselves and surrender to God.” (Humility and Death of Self. biblestudytools.com. March 23, 2018)

Our primary responsibility in life is to die to self through meekness and humility. To accomplish this we should draw our strength from the Lord. We must (fully and completely) trust in God. I discussed sacrificing ourselves for others in an earlier post. We are to become dependent upon the Lord through prayer and study. We generally find that God’s grace abounds when we have come to our own end.

14 For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, 15 from whom [a]every family in heaven and on earth derives its name, 16 that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may be able to comprehend with all the [b]saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God. 20 Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, 21 to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations [c]forever and ever. Amen. Ephesians 3:14-21, NASB

Websites – Other posts on faith, hope, obedience and dependence, and more on lisasdailyinspirations.wordpress.com
youngchristianwarriors.com
biblestudytools.com
gotquestions.org

Other Resources
Vine, W.E. Vines Complete Expository Dictionary. 1996
Nouwen, Henri. Can You Drink the Cup. 1996

Scriptures – Bible.com, Biblegateway.com

Images – Google Images. Bible.com. LAB’s photo collection

Thank you for spending time on my sites, if you like what you are reading, follow me, lisasdailyinspirations.wordpress.com and receive the daily inspirations in your inbox, or visit my other site, youngchristianwarriors.com and subscribe.

Caught in The Thought

Have you ever been caught saying something under your breath, only to be ‘called out’ by a person nearby, and your immediate response is, ‘I didn’t say that’! God is somewhat like us, only he hears our inner thoughts. In fact, I believe at times he has a ‘belly laugh’ when he is focusing on us and listens in to our thoughts.

Sarah-GettyImages-171408769-57066c8b3df78c7d9e980d24Genesis 18:1-15 is one such instance when he, to use a colloquialism of the day, ‘called someone out,’ no doubt tickled and laughing. It takes place in the Story of the Three Visitors. Three Visitors visited Abraham. One says to Abraham, Sarah will have a son by next year this time. [If she was of child-bearing age, it would be believable, but she is not, Sarah was I her 90’s.] The hilarious part begins in verse nine.

“Where is your wife, Sarah?” they asked him. “There, in the tent,” he said. Then the Lord said, “I will surely return your way about this time next year, and Sarah, your wife, will have a son.” Now Sarah was listening from the entrance to the tent, which was behind him. Abraham and Sarah were already very old, and Sarah was past the age of childbearing. So Sarah laughed to herself as she thought, “After I am worn out, and my lord is old, will I now have this pleasure?” Then the Lord said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh and say, ‘Will I really have a child, now that I am old?’ Is anything too hard for the Lord? I will return to you at the appointed time next year, and Sarah will have a son.” Sarah was afraid, so she lied and said, “I did not laugh.” But he said, “Yes, you did laugh.”
Genesis 18:9-15 NIV

One visitor, the Lord, asked, where is Sarah? Abraham responded she’s in the tent. Sarah was not with the men and was listening from the tent.

Then the visitor said,  she will have a son next year this time. When she heard him, she said to herself, why now, I’m too old and so is Abraham.

The Lord asked Abraham, why did Sarah laugh and say, “will I really have a baby now that I’m too old?”

Recognizing that the Lord heard her thought, she lied and said, ‘I did not say that.’ What an internal conversation. She was most likely in a state of shock and disbelief at this time. How could someone hear her most inner thoughts? Still not fully convinced, but frightened, Sarah heard the Lord reply, “Oh, yes you did laugh.” 

Throughout the Bible, there is a reference to the fact that God hears all of our thoughts. There is nothing we voice, internal conversations, or actions we take that He does not hear or see, and yet, we think we hold secret thoughts from God.  Most of us have been put on notice by God during the course of our lives letting us know He hears and sees EVERYTHING. Like Sarah, we hear his voice say, why did you say that, or why did you do that? The Lord hears all and knows all. We, humans, are arrogant and egotistical, thinking we are smart enough to keep our thoughts to ourselves and from God.

Let’s laugh with our Lord about our immaturity and then begin to pay more attention to what we think, take control of our thoughts and shift our actions, which are given life through our self-talk. Let’s work to hold honest conversations with God. Let’s begin to pray earnestly.

In my earlier Post, The Trinity, Consecration, and Lent, we discussed the premise of Consecration and Lent. Both require we enter into prayer with God, still our minds, and have honest conversations with Him. 

Now, all humor aside, I am entering Consecration today, and the issue of dependence is weighing heavily on me. I have been in prayer about how to proceed with my Blog over the next several weeks and it seems we need further discussion about what dependence means to us spiritually. Everything we do, as Christians, rests on Jesus Christ, our cornerstone. Dependence requires radical faith.

Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act. He will bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your justice as the noonday.’
Psalms 37:5-6 ESV

Spiritual dependency does not mean sit and wait for the Lord to take over and do our work for us, it means, ask for his direction and when you hear from Him move forward. His way may not seem logical in human context, but it will forge our path and direct us to our purpose.

radicaljesusTo unpack this, we are talking about radical change. You may ask, how does this relate to Consecration or Lent?  Keeping in mind that no one can tell you what to pray about, this is a suggestion – If you plan to take part in this time of introspection, you may consider entering into prayer to discuss your radical change in becoming an active Christian Warrior with God.

Psalm 36 and 37 focuses on Radical faith. “Godly living is radically different from the way we learned to live while in the world. It requires the supernatural assistance of the Holy Spirit” because it is not part of the logical, earthly way of doing things. Living a Godly life requires that our speech, and conduct changes; that we refuse to respond with anger; that we let God fill our thoughts and avoid wickedness; that we honor commitments even when they may be personally costly to do so; that we think and speak in a way that pleases the Lord; and that we understand that righteousness actively rejects wrongdoings.

Radical faith in the Lord requires energy, perseverance, dedication, and concentration. When we enter this process, we have to be aware that the evil one will enter into attack mode because we have become active threats to his existence. We no longer aimlessly commit sin, we stop to think about what we are preparing to say or do instead of strategizing about how to circumvent what you know in your heart to be true. The evil one lives on the plots against the ungodly and we are entering the realm of godliness. Once we have radical faith, we become radical warriors.

Radical warriors walk by faith and not by sight. Radical warriors believe in God’s Word and not what they see with their eyes and feel with their senses. God’s Word is the only true reality.

Martin Luther said, “Rest in the Lord; wait patiently for Him. ‘In Hebrew, ‘ Be silent to God and let Him mold thee’ Keep still and He will mold thee to the right shape.”

Whether you join others in Consecration or Lent or not, it is time for all of us to enter into radical, life-changing faith with our Lord and Savior and become Radical Warriors. To accomplish this, we must enter into prayer, and as Martin Luther said, ‘be silent’ until we hear God speak to us and lead us to a place of dependency where we stand on the cornerstone of our very existence.

Images – Google Images; Rembrandt – dks.thing.net, Public Domain, Link“>

Resources – Bible.com; Hayford’s Bible Handbook, Jack Hayford, General Editor, 1998, pp. 142,43; Nelson’s Quick Reference, Warren Wiersbe, 1991, pp 330,31

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Living Through the Muck and Mire of Life

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Over the past week or so, we have been talking about our dependence upon the Lord and how he works wonders in our lives, not because of anything we do, but because of his unconditional love for us. Just think how life would be if we did not interject our own wants and desires that derail us. Our Free Will causes problems when not in alignment with the Word. Our Free Will hears the voice of the Holy Spirit telling us what to do but ignores it, it falls on deaf ears. Free Will carries consequences. We head off blindly down a trail, not a clearly defined road, and when we look up, we find ourselves in the muck and mire, or according to the King James Version of the Bible, mud and mire.

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He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. Psalm 40:2 NIV 

Think of muck and mire being something like quicksand, or a horrible muddy pit at the worst and a muddy hole in the road, at the least. The Lord plucks us out of the pits we fall into – the muck and mire of destruction. While we’re in the pit wallowing in the mud, we often feel that our situation is beyond hope, beyond help, beyond recovery. We find ourselves slipping off the rock we are attempting to perch ourselves on to stop the slippage, still trying to be in control of our destiny; and in a ruinous state of sin and guilt, unable to save ourselves.

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And, while we are slipping and sliding, seeking solid ground and exhausted, ‘in steps God’. Christ is our rock, and he takes us by the hand and plants us back on solid ground. He re-establishes our steps and leads us to safety. Whenever we find ourselves caught in the muck and mire of life, remember Psalm 40:2. Like a parent, he picks us up, cleans us off and stands us back up.

 

As Christians, we continue to grow in a relationship with our Lord, and we will continue to follow Free Will that diverts us from our path. We will continue to find ourselves in situations that nudge us to become more and more dependent on our Lord and Savior. Our experiences are lessons that cause our ears to become more inclined to hear the quiet voice that says do not turn to the left or the right; keep your foot from evil. Proverbs 4:27 NIV.  Branches on the Canyon

The direction we take is of our choosing. We choose to follow the Lords’ voice, and we also choose the way of the muck and the mire. As Christian Warriors we must learn not to depart from the prescribed path but listen to the quiet voice behind us saying, this is the way. We must learn to tame our Free Will to stay out of the muck and mire,  however, when we find ourselves there, call out to the Lord. He is patiently waiting for us.

Our Lord is a Lord of multiple chances. As long as we are in a relationship with him, he will never turn away from us.

 

 

 

 

 

Images – Google Images
Scripture – Biblehub.com

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