Posts Tagged ‘Mercy Me’

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.

A reminder: “Hold fast”

September 4, 2013

2_Timothy_1-13

Today, September 4, 2013, I begin my day by reflecting upon the “Verse of the Day.”  In this case, 2 Timothy 1:13-14 (KJV):

13 Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.

14 That good thing which was committed unto thee keep by the Holy Ghost which dwelleth in us.

 

As is sometimes the case, I prefer reading the passage in the Amplified Bible:

13 Hold fast and follow the pattern of wholesome and sound teaching which you have heard from me, in [all] the faith and love which are [for us] in Christ Jesus.

14 Guard and keep [with the greatest care] the precious and excellently adapted [Truth] which has been entrusted [to you], by the [help of the] Holy Spirit Who makes His home in us.

Hold fast means “to remain strong in the faith.” The phrase is actually translated from a compound word in Greek that literally means “upon to hold.” It means “to hold fast, to give close attention to, and to give heed to.” Pastor Scott Harris speaks of the phrase as meaning “to heed, that is, to pay attention to and then not stray from it.” The pronoun “it,” as revealed in Philippians 2:16, refers to “holding fast the word of life.”

The phrase is used as an exhortation to “hold fast the profession or confession of our faith” in Hebrews:

Hebrews 4:14:

Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession.

Hebrews 10:23:

Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised);

As believers we are encouraged in 1 Thessalonians 5:21 to “Prove all things and to hold fast to that which is good” which is rendered this way in the Amplified Bible:

But test and prove all things [until you can recognize] what is good; [to that] hold fast.

As we continue to advance ever so rapidly into the 21st Century, now more than ever, Christians need to be reminded to “hold fast,” particularly today when the pressures of life bombard us and circumstances seems to make it easier to just give up and go with the flow. Despite the pressures to do otherwise, we must resist and tenaciously hold on to, give our full attention to and not stray from the pattern of sound doctrine. Not just today but every day, we must “hold fast.”

The contemporary Christian musical group “Mercy Me” offers this moving reminder to “Hold Fast.”

Celebrating the love of God: every day, not just on February 14

February 14, 2012
I Corinthians offers the quintessential definition of true love–God’s love.
Valentine’s Day is set apart to celebrate love, but we must recognize various forms of love, including the love of God or agape, the highest form of love. It differs from eros or passion or sensuous love of the flesh and is even beyond philos­ or love of friends or family. The root of philos is found in the designation of Philadelphia, which is known as the “City of Brotherly Love.” There is a love which is “more intimate than friend, or kin or wife;” this close-knit love is known as agape.

This particular term which is used exclusively in the New Testament, reveals the uniqueness of God’s love, so clearly defined in I Corinthians 13, a passage of scripture that is often excerpted or quoted in its entirety at weddings. This section from verses 4-7 of the Amplified Bible illustrates the distinctive power of the love of God:

Love endures long and is patient and kind; love never is envious nor boils over with jealousy, is not boastful or vainglorious, does not display itself haughtily.

It is not conceited (arrogant and inflated with pride); it is not rude (unmannerly) and does not act  unbecomingly. Love (God’s love in us) does not insist on its own rights or its own way, for it is not self- seeking; it is not touchy or fretful or resentful; it takes no account of the evil done to it [it pays no attention to a suffered wrong].

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].

The first part of verse 8 reiterates that “Love never fails [never fades out or becomes obsolete or comes to an end].”

With love, as with any other emotion, there must be a demonstration or manifestation whereby one knows the reality of the emotion in question. 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:

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

It has been said that you can give without loving, but you cannot love without giving. Indeed, all love is giving. The essence of love as defined by giving is also seen in this poem by John Oxenham:

            Love ever lives, outlives, forgives,

            And while it stands with open hands it lives.

            For this is love’s prerogative:

            To give and give and give

 

To learn more about three essentials of Christianity—faith, hope and love, click on the following links:

http://www.examiner.com/christian-spirituality-in-columbus/faith-hope-and-love-three-essentials-christianity

http://www.examiner.com/christian-spirituality-in-columbus/christianity-101-what-is-faith

http://www.examiner.com/christian-spirituality-in-columbus/christianity-101-what-is-hope

http://www.examiner.com/christian-spirituality-in-columbus/christianity-101-what-is-love

Mercy Me, contemporary Christian musical group, offers a most poignant portrait of “The Love of God”  in their version of the hymn with that title:

Friday, the 13th—but have no fear

January 12, 2012

Some people have a negative reaction to Friday, the 13th, but believers are encouraged to have no fear.

The second Friday in the New Year is actually Friday, the 13th, a day that some react to in a negative way.  Some even have an abnormal fear of Friday, the 13th, actually expressed in the psychological term paraskevidekatriaphobia. While not everyone harbors an ungrounded fear of Friday, the 13th, we cannot deny that fear seems to abound during these intense times. We all recognize that fear is a common and natural emotional response to potential danger, but if not properly addressed, it can become a deadly emotion with serious consequences. Excessive fear can become crippling and impact our daily lives in a negative way. Unbridled fear is a toxic emotion that limits and inhibits. Proverbs 29:25 makes this clear:

The fear of man brings a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD shall be safe.

Fear is a tool of the Enemy used as a barrier to stifle our confidence in God, as it attempts to limit our access to the Father’s throne of grace. Satan tries to instill fear in believers in the same way that a ferocious lion roars, seeking to instill fear that paralyzes its victim, described in I Peter 5:8:

Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.

It has been said that fear is the only thing that defeats the promises of God. Pastor Rick Warren describes fear as “. . . a self-imposed prison that will keep you from becoming what God intends for you to be.”                                               

The Bible addresses the issue of fear with numerous reminders that as believers we are not to fear. The comforting exhortation to “fear not” or “do not fear” occurs 365 times in the Bible, indicating a daily memo from God that we are to have no fear.

We also find great encouragement in Isaiah 41:10, 13:

Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you,
Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’ 

For I, the LORD your God, will hold your right hand, saying to you, ‘Fear not, I will help you.’

When we encounter stressful situations that cause us to respond in fear, we are encouraged to seek the strength to overcome any obstacle that attempts to block our path to success. Again the Psalmist offers this reminder:

Psalm 34:5

I sought the LORD, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears.

In 1 John 4:18 we find the perfect antidote to fear:

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.

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, as this poem indicates:

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.

In a previous blog, I also discuss “toxic fear and its antidote—love.”

https://drlej.wordpress.com/2011/02/10/toxic-fear-and-its-antidote-love/

In his book Consider Your Ways, Apostle Eric L. Warren, Founder and Overseer of Equip U Ministries, Headquartered in Columbus, Ohio, contrasts a number of positive character qualities or virtues with their corresponding opposite vices. He points out that the opposite of fear is courage, a trait God continually exhorts believers to take upon themselves. Christians are to be bold and take courage, not just on Friday, the 13th but every day of our lives. Friday, the 13th, is just another day to remind us to put on our “no fear gear”, as we walk in the love of God which casts out all fear.

http://gospelrhythms.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/no-fear-in-love.jpg

Everyday we are reminded that "perfect love casts out all fear," for there is no fear in love.

To read about the awesome power of God, an understanding of which should also dispel fear, take a look at

http://www.examiner.com/x-20264-Columbus-Christian-Spirituality-Examiner~y2009m10d12-Massive-ring-around-Saturn-displaying-the-power-of-God

Listen to this powerful rendition of “The Love of God” by contemporary Christian band, MercyMe:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vjj2kZ1qoqw&feature=player_embedded