Archive for February, 2014

Love one another . . . one more time

February 26, 2014

1 John 4 9-10The Verse of the Day for February 26, 2014 reminds us that love must be demonstrated, as 1 John 4:9 relates to the love of God:

In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.

How do you know that someone loves you? Listen to what the individual says and watch what that person does. There must be a demonstration of love, first of all with God, and secondly with others. God didn’t just say, “I love you, world” and blow the earth a kiss, He communicated His love when He so loved that He gave His only begotten son.

1 John 4 goes on to discuss the love of God in more detail, exhorting believers, likewise to show their love to one another:

Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.

He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.

In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.

10 Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.

This time Steve Green offers yet another reminder to love one another:

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I know the plans

February 24, 2014

The following video graphically illustrates the Verse of the Day for February 24, 2014 taken from Jeremiah 29:11-14

Jeremiah 29:11-13 KJV

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you. And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.

As I reflected on this familiar passage from the Old Testament, I thought of a statement made by Apostle Eric Warren, who mentioned, “Everything God gives you is to prepare you for your next assignment.”  His statement has particular significance during this period of transition where find ourselves.

Although the words of Jeremiah were specifically addressed to Israel concerning their release from Babylonian captivity after seventy years, we recognize the truth expressed in Romans 15:4:

Whatsoever things were written aforetime, were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures, might have hope.

The prophetic word from Jeremiah can certainly have personal application, in that the plans that God has for each of His children are no less grand than those He has for the Children of Israel.

As we ask God for guidance and direction, He will lead us and teach us all along the path that unfolds as a shining light that shines more and more unto the perfect day (Proverbs 4:18).  Jeremiah 29:11-14 also informs us of God’s concern for our future or “final outcome”, so that we need have no fear for our future.

Damaris Carbaugh shares “I Know the Plans” (Debby’s Song), a musical reminder of Jeremiah 29:11

There is no fear in love

February 22, 2014

1 John 4 18 2The Verse of the Day for February 22, 2014 offers a comforting reminder in the midst of these tempestuous times in which we live.

1 John 4:18 NIV

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

Jesus Christ is the embodiment of perfect love. The love of God is “perfected” or made complete or full in us when we walk in the steps of Jesus Christ, the ultimate example of perfect love, which is the antidote to fear: “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear. . . .”

The book of I John also reveals the “perfect” connection between fear and love, particularly in 1 John 2:5

But whoever keeps His word, in him truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this know that we are in Him. [NKJV]

In those who hear the Word of God and keep it, the love of God is “perfected” or made perfect or complete, wanting in nothing or brought to maturity in them. To be “perfected” is to be brought to a full end.

When an individual is “perfected in love” and walks in or demonstrates that love, there no room for fear. The love of God is the key that releases each believer from the bondage of this “self-imposed prison” from which Christ came to set the captives free.

Self-imposed Prison

“Fear is a self-imposed prison that will keep you

from becoming what God intends for you to be.”

–Rick Warren

 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear,

 because fear involves torment. But he who fears

 has not been made perfect in love.

 I John 4:18

This self-imposed prison, not made with bars of steel,

Nor formed with bricks, yet each subtly constructed wall

Restricts the mind, scars the soul and cripples the will

And impounds us to a state of constant free fall.

Held captive by past mistakes that seek to instill

Fear: this deadly acronym binds, confines the heart,

So disguised as “false evidence appearing real”

Keeps us from being all God intends us to be.

But Christ, our sovereign Lord, pardoned each life sentence,

Commuted penalties, declaring not guilty.

With his blood, having blotted out every offense,

Displayed undying love: key to set captives free.

Pure freedom to serve awaits those with ears to hear,

For perfected love destroys all walls built by fear.

Throughout the New Testament believers are exhorted to walk in love, to demonstrate or manifest love, to put on love. Colossians 3:14 in the Amplified Bible puts it this way:

And above all these [put on] love and enfold yourselves with the bond of perfectness [which binds everything together completely in ideal harmony].

As followers of the Lord Jesus Christ, when we walk in power of God’s love, we will recognize a notable change, not only in our own lives individually, but we will also experience fruitfulness and favor upon our land, even in the midst of famine. The expression “corn, wine, and oil” is symbolic of the material abundance that God gives. The following poem expresses the two-fold blessing that God generates through “Perfected Love”:

Perfected Love

Yea, the LORD will answer and say unto his people,                                                                                               

Behold, I will send you corn, and wine, and oil, and                                                                                                       

ye shall be satisfied therewith: and I will no more make                                                                                              

you a reproach among the heathen:

Joel 2:19

 

Jehovah, creator, author and finisher,

Who initiates to nourish perfected love;

Ever-abiding source and resource, publisher

Of declarations of genuine love to move

The soul of man to return to the place of his first

Love, the Beloved, whose heart overflows to give,

For only this passion can satisfy our thirst,

As you refresh us and teach us how we should live.

You have pledged your love through a sacred covenant.

If we maintain your vows of love, you will sustain

Our souls and feed us so that we shall never want.

You will shower with mercy as the gentle rain

And will bless and multiply the fruit of our land

With corn, wine and oil supplied by your gracious right hand.

To close this discussion here is a musical composition that repeats the message: “There is no fear in love.”

The greatest commandment

February 21, 2014

Romans_13-9

Romans 13:9-10 NIV

The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not covet,” and whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.

The Verse of the Day for February 21, 2014, reminds us once again that “It’s all about relationships. . . Whether interacting as a married couple, getting acquainted as a single man or woman, whether communicating as friends or co-workers, from pre-teens to senior citizens:

Whether with God, family, friends, co-workers, husband or wife,

“It’s all about relationships,” the foundation of life.

Dane Findley, health writer and wellness coach, commented that “Paying close attention to the relationships in your life is not an extracurricular activity — it’s the reason for life itself.”

Without question, “It’s all about relationships. . . “from Genesis 1:1 to Revelation 22:21. The opening verse of Bible declares, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth,” establishing the relationship between the heavens and the earth, between bodies celestial and bodies terrestrial. Genesis further reveals the relationship between God, the Father, Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and the Holy Spirit. The expression of the interaction of the three is in revealed in Genesis 1: 26: “And let us make man in our own image, after our own likeness.”

Verse two of Genesis 1 begins with the conjunction “and,” the most frequently used word in the King James Version of the Bible, being used 28,364 times.  The figure of speech known as polysyndeton involves using “many ands” where is there is emphasis placed on each item listed in any series connected by the conjunction. This figure is particularly noteworthy in Genesis 1:2 and the verses that follow.

The Book of Genesis and subsequent books of the Bible unfold the consequences of the first broken relationship when Lucifer chooses to break fellowship with God, thus becoming the “first murderer” and “the father of lies” who begets an untruth in the very presence of truth. We see the devastating consequences of his deadly influence in the Fall of Man and the degradation of humanity and all of earthly life itself.

The Scriptures reveal God’s ultimate desire for reconciliation and the healing of all broken relationships, expressed through Jesus Christ. As ambassadors or representatives of Christ, we stand in his place, using the word of reconciliation which is part of the ministry of reconciliation, as we endeavor to restore broken relationships, first with God and with others as well (II Corinthians 5:17-21).

The primary relationship in life is one’s relationship with God.  Matthew 6:33 reminds us to “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you.” We also recognize “The first and great commandment: To love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength.” Believers are further instructed to “love your neighbor as yourself.” When we love God, first of all, and then love others to the same degree that we love ourselves, we fulfill the law of love which is the highest expression of God who is love.

Here is a musical expression of these profound truths by Martha Hall Bowman, who sings “The Greatest Commandment”:

Another reminder: Love one another

February 19, 2014

1-john-4-111 John 4:11-12

Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.

In thinking about the Verse of the Day for February 19, 2014, we come to realize that our relationship with one another should be a reflection of our relationship with God. We also come to recognize that God loved us so much, and He expressed or demonstrated His love in the gift of His son for us. Since He loved us so much that He gave, we should love one another and express that love toward one another. The passage from 1 John brought to mind this poem:

This Debt of Love

Owe no one anything except to love one another,

for he who loves another has fulfilled the law.

Romans 13:8 [NKJV]

 

What can you give when all you have is not enough

And when you have exhausted all your resources

And you still come up short as you assess the worth

Of the precious love so freely given to you?

When the last dram of oil from your vial has been poured

As a sacrifice and you have no more to give

But still feel this unction to offer all the more,

What more can you say beyond a feeble thank you

When words cannot convey all you desire to say.

Though you try to show Him as you follow His ways,

You still stumble from time to time and miss the mark,

But He looks beyond your faults and sees your intent.

As you live your life to serve, you will come to see

This debt of love so great that no one can repay.

Kathy Trocolli and friends offer another musical reminder to “Love One Another”:

Love one another

February 16, 2014

1 John 3--11The Verse of the Day for February 16, 2014 brings to mind a life-changing conference conducted last year: “It’s All about Relationships Conference–2013” Hosted by Apostles Eric and Carolyn Warren of Equip U Ministries in Reynoldsburg, OH,  the three-day event offered informative presentations, workshops and forums designed for married couples, singles, friends, co-workers, teens and senior citizens.

Among the powerful and insightful presentations during the Relationship Conference was a teaching by Apostle Carolyn Warren who discussed seven principles that can be universally applied to “launch, challenge, and grow relationships.”  These seven principles were expressed as verbs which connote action when specifically applied in terms of what should be done to “one another.”  The first principle was “love one another.”

Love, indeed, is the first principle of all relationships, the foundation stone expressed in the first and great commandment:  Love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength, and love your neighbor as yourself. On these two hang all the law and the prophets,” said Jesus Christ.

Each day we must

Decide to demonstrate, freely give and practice love:

The first thread whereby we must launch all relationships

And follow Christ’s command that we love one another.

“Lovc one another.”

Last year as I went over my notes from the conference and endeavored to process all that I was learning, I was inspired and wrote this poem which captures the essence of the theme of the conference:

“It’s All about Relationships”

Inspired by the teaching of Apostle Eric Warren

It’s All about Relationships Conference 2013

God floods the eyes of our hearts with light that we might know,

As we discover new depths of our relationships

While we mature, applying the Word that we might grow.

We recognize that “It’s all about relationships.”

Enlightened, we now no longer walk in ignorance,

Being much more aware of vital spiritual matters,

We experience victory, healing and deliverance.

The anointed Word of God breaks all yokes and shatters

Barriers that hinder fellowship with God and others.

When the enemy raises his head, we fight to maintain

Relationships with God and with sisters and brothers,

Returning to “His image” the source that will sustain.

Whether with God, family, friends, co-workers, husband or wife,

“It’s all about relationships,” the foundation of life.

Michael W. Smith offers comments and a spirited rendition of a “Love One Another.”

On the day after Valentine’s Day, love still prevails

February 15, 2014

1-John-4-10

On the day after Valentine’s Day, the Verse of the Day for February 15, 2014 continues to focus on love:

1 John 4:10 KJV

Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

The lyrics to the popular love song “My Funny Valentine” express the following profound yet simple truth:

Stay, funny Valentine, stay.

Each day is Valentine’s Day.

1-corinthians-13 7-8

And so on the day after Valentine’s Day, love still prevails—the love of God, the highest form of love, called agape, never fails. As 1 Corinthians 13 reminds us:

Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.

The chapter presenting the greatest definition of the love of God closes with this reminder:

13 Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love. (New Living Translation)

A previous blog entry on love closed with the Jim Brinkman song performed by Amy Sky: “Love Never Fails.” On the day after Valentine’s Day, the message bears repeating:

Love one another

February 14, 2014

John-13-verse-34-35

The Verse of the Day for February 14, 2014, Valentine’s Day, is found in John 13:34-35, a passage that speaks of love:

A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.

In this instance, love is used as a verb which connotes action when specifically applied in terms of what should be done to “one another.”

Let’s put it another way:  Love is the application of the first and great commandment:  Love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength, and love your neighbor as yourself. On these two hang all the law and the prophets,” said Jesus Christ.

Love is where it begins, and love is where it ends. Also remember that the last shall be first, and the first shall be last. Each day we must decide to demonstrate, freely give and practice love, as we follow Christ’s command that we love one another.

And so on Valentine’s Day, love still prevails—the love of God, the highest form of love, called agape, never fails. This love is most clearly revealed in one of the most recognized verses in the Bible, the Verse of the Day for yesterday, which has this hidden reference to Valentine’s Day:

For God so loVed the world,

That He GAve

His onLy

BegottEn

SoN

That whosoever

Believeth In Him

Should Not perish,

But have Everlasting life.

Happy Day Valentine’s Day, and may every day be filled with God’s love, as we love one another. The essence of message that Christ proclaims in John 13:34-35 is also reiterated in 1 John 4:7-8

Maranatha Kids offer this musical reminder:

God so loved. . . so ought we

February 13, 2014

1-John-3-Verse-16

The Verse of the Day for April 6, 2014 is found in 1 John 3:16 which brought to mind a blog entry posted earlier this year in which I made reference to these two parallel verses related to the love of God: John 3:16 and 1 John 3:16. That entry is re-blogged here:

John-3-16

John 3:16, the Verse of the Day for February 13, 2014 is among the most often quoted verses in the Bible. Christianity Today reported that Bible Gateway visitors spent more than 76 million hours on BibleGateway.com in 2013. Of the 456 million visits and 1.5 billion page views, number one among the top 10 searches for Bible verses last year was John 3:16:

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

The Sound of Music, one of the most popular Broadway musicals of all times, gives us these memorable lyrics from Oscar Hammerstein II:

A bell is not a bell till you ring it. A song is not a song till you sing it. Love in your heart isn’t put there to stay. Love isn’t love till you give it away.

The last line reminds us that with love, there must be a demonstration or manifestation to express the reality of that powerful emotion. We speak of the love of God in manifestation which is so clearly demonstrated in one of the most widely recognized verses in the Bible, John 3:16.

The book of I John also elaborates on the love of God in the corresponding verse:

1 John 3:16
And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God and God in him.

I recently came across this anonymous quote: “Love is a verb. Love is doing, saying, showing. Never think just saying you love someone is enough.” There must be corresponding action to show that we love. Another statement reiterates the same point: “Love is a verb. Without action it is merely a word.”

Verse 18 of 1 John 3 further reminds us,

 My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.

The love of God is “perfected” or made complete or brought to maturity in us when we walk in the steps of Jesus Christ, the ultimate example of perfect love.  We must do more than think about love or talk about love; we must demonstrate love by what we do, just as God did in offering His son as a demonstration that He so loved the world.

Hillsong provide this musical expression of John 3:16: “God so loved the world.”

The love of God always endures

February 12, 2014

1-corinthians-13-4-7In the Verse of the Day for February 12, 2014, we find two more verses from 1 Corinthians 13 further describing “charity” in the King James Version or agape or the love of God:

1 Corinthians 13: 6-7 KJV:

Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;

Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.

Here are two variations of these verses from two other Bibles:

New Living Translation:

It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out.

Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.

Amplified Bible:

It does not rejoice at injustice and unrighteousness, but rejoices when right and truth prevail.

Love bears up under anything and everything that comes, is ever ready to believe the best of every person, its hopes are fadeless under all circumstances, and it endures everything [without weakening].

As I thought about these verses from 1 Corinthians 13, a passage from Romans 8 (my favorite chapter in the whole Bible) also came to mind, relating to the constancy of the love of God which never fails. No matter the circumstances of our lives, whether on the pinnacles of success and dreams come true or in the pits of disappointment and failure, we are assured that God loves us and that His love endures. I recall a statement from the late Dr. Adrian Rodgers, “God cannot love us any more than He does, and He will not love us any less.” The chapter concludes with this assuring reminder expressed in the Amplified Bible:

Romans 8:37-39

37 Yet amid all these things we are more than conquerors and gain a surpassing victory through Him Who loved us.

38 For I am persuaded beyond doubt (am sure) that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities, nor things impending and threatening nor things to come, nor powers,

39 Nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

The vastness of God’s love is revealed in the song “The Love of God,” rendered so powerfully, yet poignantly, by “Mercy Me,” an appropriate way to conclude this blog entry.