Friday, October 14, 2016

Unfailing Love

Your unfailing love is better than life . . .
~Psalm 63:3

The psalmist says much in few words.

First, we see that God loves. God loves because love is essential to His very nature. God loves and always has. Even in eternity past, when no other thing or person existed, God loved. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit shared love within the Godhead. God is love (1John 4:8).

Second, we understand that God loves unfailingly. This lets us know that His love is not predicated upon what others do or don’t do. Rather, His love is based upon His character and nature alone. He does not love more at times and less at others. His love endures all things and never fails.

Finally, we are told God’s love is better than life. What does this mean? I think it means all loves pale in comparison to His. It means all things other than God are finite and can do and be only what their finitude allows. Thus everything life offers is impermanent or transitory; but not God’s infinite, unfailing love.

But while God’s love is constant, our comprehension and experience of it are not. That is, for any number of reasons, we don’t always sense, understand, or express it as we could or perhaps should. So, we want to grow in our capacity to know God’s love; both in the giving and the receiving.

Increasing love for God, self, and others is the primary manifestation of true spiritual growth. What will such progress look like? It will look more and more like Jesus.

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Prayer: All-loving God, enable us to intimately and increasingly know You and Your love. Let our love be fervent and genuine. Show us how to love in thought, word, and deed. Help us to love others like Jesus loves us. 

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Thinking About Thinking

And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing.
Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right,
and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are
excellent and worthy of praise.
~Philippians 4:8

Have you ever thought about your thinking? What thoughts occupy your mind and why?

It is apparent that many folks in our country—and even in our churches—are filled with anxious and angry thoughts. The impending election coupled with 24/7 cable news only serve to heighten their angst.

Sensing the tension in my own mind, about 6 weeks ago I felt led of the Lord to go on a “media fast.” (I have since found several other friends doing the same.) The difference in my attitude and thinking is astounding.

I am convinced that less news, more Jesus is a good thing.

We know the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23). But how can these be ours if we constantly feed our minds fearful, angry thoughts?

I assure you, appearances notwithstanding, there has never been a godly person with an ungodly thought-life.

So, Jesus cleans us inside out. He says, “First wash the inside of the cup and the dish, and then the outside will become clean, too” (Matthew 23:26).

Would you like to be loving, joyful, patient, kind, etc.? Then you must think about your thinking. You must “fix your thoughts” on excellent things.

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Prayer: Holy Spirit, please renew the spirit of our minds. Transform us. Help us to have a more disciplined, godly thought-life. Make us more like Jesus in what and how we think.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

God's Free Gift

The wages of sin is death,
but the free gift of God is eternal life
through Christ Jesus our Lord.
~Romans 6:23

A wage is something earned. Thus Jesus says, “The worker deserves his wages” (Luke 10:7). You and I certainly deserve the death-wages of sin, for we are sinners by nature and choice.

But God is rich in mercy.

Because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.
~Ephesians 2:4-5

Because God is merciful we don’t always get what we deserve. We’ve earned death but God’s amazing love compels Him to give us a free gift instead: eternal life. This precious gift comes through Jesus Christ.

Aren’t you thankful for merciful love?

His love for us is so great that He freely gives us life that never ends. In other words, God loves us so much that He desires to be with us now and always. Today and every day—for all eternity—God welcomes our company.

He’ll never regret the time we spend with Him and neither will we.

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Prayer: Father, how we rejoice in the forgiveness of sins and life everlasting! Holy Spirit, make us merciful towards others like Jesus is towards us.