Love and Forgiveness

God is a loving and forgiving God.  He is also just and sin is detrimental to any relationship with him.  Sin cannot be in His presence.  But, He wants to have a relationship with us and He loves us so much that He provided a way to atone for our sins.  As the Israelites, His chosen people, were delivered from the bondage of the Egyptians, a system was created to appease God of sin.  That is a long story for another time, but basically, a blood offering was needed,  a sacrifice for the sins of the people.  But, because of the sins of the people, including the priests, this was needed over and over, every year.  Read through Hebrews to learn more about this.  So, God the Father, sent His only Son, Jesus, who had no sin, to be that blood sacrifice to redeem all who believe.  Jesus Christ came to this earth, becoming fully man and fully God, giving freely His life, taking the sins of the world on His shoulders, being nailed to a cross and being raised from the dead on the third day.  He showed true love, unconditional love.  Because of what Christ did, we can be forgiven.
Continue reading “Love and Forgiveness”

Advertisements

Don’t Be a “Pew-sitter”

As we go through our series on “I am Saved…Now what to do?”, we will discuss the importance of being involved in your local church.  Probably one of the first things to do after you accept Jesus Christ as Lord of your life is to find a good church, one that teaches the Bible with no compromise, one that disciples new believers, one who has a community of believers to help each other grow and encourage one another, one who is a praying church.  Check out their mission statement, tenets of faith and what they offer.  I am a strong believer in small groups.  This is where people really get to know each other as they study God’s word.  I also am a strong believer that everyone has a ministry that God has appointed them to do.  We all need to be an active member of our church, participating in Bible studies, small groups, Sunday school, and ministries.  Seek what the Lord has called you to do.  Help where help is needed.  That is a good way to discover your gifts and your calling.  Don’t wait for it to come to you…but also know when to say no.  God will lead you.  Too many people come to Sunday services and think that is enough.  I call them “pew-sitters.”  Getting fed through the music and sermons is great, but there is more to it than that.  How do you help to “feed” others?  I believe this is what God meant when He says, “I know the plans that I have for you…to give you a future and a hope.”  (See Jeremiah 29:11) Continue reading “Don’t Be a “Pew-sitter””

Love One Another

The key to following Jesus is love.  Christ loved us so much He died for us and paid the penalty for our sins.  While on this earth, He set an example for us; showing compassion, loving all, particularly the “unlovable”…in the world’s eyes, not His. We are to follow His example.  The greatest commandments are to love God and love others. Continue reading “Love One Another”

Love Speaks Truth

Sometimes love can be harsh.  As parents we don’t want our kids to run out in the street.  We don’t want them too close to the fire.  We don’t want them to make poor choices.  As we grow older, we still hope that our loved ones make right choices.  If we sit by and watch, and say “that’s ok” while they make bad life choices that can affect the rest of their life or even eternity, is that love?  We need to not only set the example, but tell them the truth, show them the right way.  Share our faith and share who Jesus is and what He has done for us.

Ephesians 4:15

…”but speaking the truth in love may grow up in all things into Him who is the head – Christ”

(Feel free to read the complete paragraph or the chapter…it is always good to get the full context of any verse you may read)

Hebrews 3:13

…”but exhort one another daily, while it is still called ‘Today,’ lest any of you become hardened through deceitfulness of sin.”

Galatians 6:1-2

Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.

James 5:19-20

Brethren, if anyone among you wanders from the truth, and someone turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins.

I have often been accused of being judgmental. Sometimes it is that people don’t want to hear the truth, but many times they are right. I forget to speak the truth IN LOVE and it comes across as I want to show them they are wrong and I am right. My intent is to build them up and steer them in the right direction but I don’t always say it in the right way. Please pray for me that I always speak the truth IN LOVE and in a way that will be bold but gentle.

Other times, as I have said, it is that people don’t want their sin exposed or don’t want to hear the truth. Matthew 7:1 is often quoted, without the rest of the passage or ignoring those above and others. It says,

“Judge not, that you not be judged. For what judgement you judge, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, “let me remove the speck in your eye”; and look, a plank is in your own eye? Hypocrite! FIRST remove the plank from you own eye, and THEN you will see clearly to remove the speck in your brother’s eye.”

So, when leading others and telling them the truth, be sure the truth is in you and you are following Christ in a way that honors Him. Realize your own flaws and sin. Pray, and speak in the Spirit. Above all else, LOVE. Remember, though, not only is love gentle, but sometimes love needs to be stern and up front. If you love someone, you want what is best for them, and the best for them is Jesus Christ.  More on this next time.

Be a Servant

During the holidays, many have the spirit of giving. What if we did this all the time?  We should have this spirit throughout the year. Today’s scripture is about love and giving. How do we know that we are God’s children? By loving others. Continue reading “Be a Servant”