Archive for December, 2014

The Ever-Present Love of God

December 19, 2014

images   I believe evidence of God’s love can be found on every page of the Bible.

In Genesis we find that we were all created by God Himself in His very image.  In ways, I am like God because He made me that way.  So are you.  So is your neighbor.  So is your enemy.  I think that shows God’s love, that He made us like Him.

In the rest of the first five books, we find many commandments of God.  He says these commandments are good for us.  God surely should know the best way for us to live since He is our Maker.  Trying to follow those commands will make us happier people.

In the next books we see the development of God’s people, Israel.  God chose them though they were undeserving: His love.  He stuck with them though they were often rebellious: His love.  Christians today are spiritual Israel, the successors to physical Israel.

In the books of poetry we find deeply moving and emotional expressions of man’s frustration with the bad things that happen in this life.  But God is always shown to be there, to never abandon us, and to be our Rock of refuge.  Next time you are depressed, read carefully some of the psalms.

The prophets continue to develop the theme of the coming Messiah, Jesus Christ.  He is the ultimate expression of God’s love for us.  He bears the guilt of sin on our behalf.  God’s people are promised an ultimate reward.  This is fulfilled for spiritual Israel in heaven.

The gospels present to us the life of our Savior, Jesus Christ.  Every time you read the words of Jesus, you are blessed with an increased insight into God’s love and an increased appreciation of the Christ-like lifestyle.

The epistles discuss who Christ is and give practical help in our attempts to live like He lived.  We have a life’s purpose, a reason for our existence.  It is to reflect the image of Christ to the world.

Bible reading and meditation always helps me see God’s love for me. Unworthy as I am, He loves me anyway.

God bless you!

And the LORD passed before him and proclaimed, “The LORD, the LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth, “keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children and the children’s children to the third and the fourth generation.” (Exodus 34:6-7 NKJV)

– The above passage is sometimes called the Golden Text of the Old Testament.  Notice the contrast between thousands versus three and four.  God had a thousand times rather be merciful than vengeful.

“And now, Israel, what does the LORD your God require of you, but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all His ways and to love Him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, “and to keep the commandments of the LORD and His statutes which I command you today for your good? (Deuteronomy 10:12-13 NKJV)

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” (John 3:16-17 NKJV)

“In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” (1 John 4:10 NKJV)

Core Christianity

December 18, 2014

Jesus said the two great commandments were (1) love God with all you’ve got, and (2) love your neighbor as yourself.  I believe this is the core of Christianity.  Jesus and the New Testament are explicit about a number of things.  The statements are clear and require no logical mazes to figure out.  One such passage is what we commonly call The Beatitudes.  Begin the Christian life by first of all making sure these attitudes  are in your life.  Start here.  If you don’t have these, your Christianity is poor.  I firmly believe that if the world saw Christians actually living like the beatitudes, they would be drawn to Christ.  They would want to be part of a group of people that treated each other like the beatitudes.  This is what a Christian is supposed to look like.

Jesus taught his disciples to acknowledge their complete dependence on God and their inability to be what they were designed to be apart from God.  He taught them to live a life of repentance, to constantly realize they made poor decisions and that they could always improve.  He taught them to be humble and to want to be like God more than they wanted anything else.  Jesus’ disciples are to be merciful, which by definition, means to be good to people when they are undeserving and are not good to you.  Otherwise, it would not be mercy, would it?  Christians are to rejoice in the good and to always concentrate on what is good and right so that they might think, speak and act that way.  They are to seek peace.  A faithful Christian will always ask, “How can I respond to this situation in a way that will encourage peace and not arguing, fighting, violence, and hurt?”  The Christian who tries to live this way will realize that this will offend many people, including some false Christians.  This will cause persecution.  The Christian will acknowledge this and face the persecution with an unwavering faith in God.

Jesus said to him, ‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ (Matthew 22:37-39 NKJV)

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, For they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek, For they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, For they shall be filled. Blessed are the merciful, For they shall obtain mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, For they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, For they shall be called sons of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. “Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you. (Matthew 5:3-12 NKJV)