Unusual Kindness

Luke 6: 35

But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great; and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men.

Jesus says a lot in this short passage. It is a summation of the previous several paragraphs. He is giving us a model for living. This is the way He and His Father interact with others. Jesus tells us that God is kind to ungrateful and evil men as a way of showing us that we, being made in the image of God, should behave in like manner.

Anyone can be kind to those who are kind to them, but the life of Jesus calls us to a higher plane of existence. Jesus wants us to be like Him. To do so, we must expect more of ourselves than the simple life that anyone can accomplish. We should aspire to the high life, and that is the life and likeness of Jesus.

We need to love even when it is uncomfortable. We must learn to not only forgive those who transgress against us but also to pray for them; and moreover to pray from a generous and kind heart. We should learn to give generously, especially when there is no hope of a return. It is not a gift if you are expecting something in return. It is an investment. God, on the other hand, gives even to those who hate Him. He would have given His son even if there was only one person on earth and that person hated Him with the full strength of his being. Our God is a loving God, and we are seeking to be just like Him. Therefore, we must give from our heart love, goodness and every good thing, expecting nothing in return but just to please the Father.

The Word is Love

John 1: 1

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

This passage contains a revelation that we would do well to comprehend. We will have a much better understanding of the Kingdom of God if we do. You would really be well served to read the entire first chapter of John. It says that Jesus existed before the world was made and it was through Him that God made everything. Importantly, this chapter teaches us that Jesus is the Word. So, God made everything we see through the Word.

The Word is God. When you understand that you see that if you don’t obey the Word, you are not obeying God. Then one might ask, “How can you obey the Word if you don’t know the Word?” I believe that our society, our American brand of Christianity, has not given the Word of God its proper place of respect. Sometimes we don’t like what it says so we invent excuses to put it away from us. The truth is, though, once you understand the Word, you will find you don’t disagree with it so much. It is very often misunderstanding that has misled you. As you spend time with the Word, and hence with God, you will see love arising.

It is this prevalent fear that God is trying to take something away from people that drives them away from God and away from the Bible. When you, once and for all, understand that God is love, you will embrace God and all that He has to say. God is not judgment, anger or correction. He is love. He is trying to communicate His love to you. God is not threatening or scary. He is love, and He is love all of the time.

If God is love and the Word is God, then doesn’t it stand to reason that the Word is love? Jesus came into the earth as a human being to heal and save a broken and dying world. Love sent Him here. Love required it. Now as you dig into the Word of God you are digging into Him and to all deliverance. Let the Word of God heal you and set your feet on a high place. Dust off that book, not for God but for you.

One and the Same

1 John 4: 17

By this, love is perfected with us, that we may have confidence in the day of judgment; because as He is, so also are we in this world.

This is an amazing passage of scripture! It is saying that we are as Jesus. This whole passage of scripture speaks of love. We discover that love abides in us because God abides in us and God is love. That love is then perfected in us and through that love we are just the same as Jesus.

Jesus didn’t walk and talk and act on this earth in his own capacity. He was a witness of the love of God. He lived in that love and with that love and He was in complete unity with the love of God. He walked in love on this earth because He walked in God, and God was with Him through and by that love. It was this love, God’s enduring compassion, that gave Jesus the power to heal the sick and raise the dead. Love called Him and compelled Him.

That same love abides with us and in us. That same love can work miracles through us just the same as it did through Jesus if we will allow it to mature in us. It is that very same love because it is the same God that works in each one of us. Therefore, we can walk just exactly as Jesus did because the same love is at work in us as was in Him. We have the same witness and that is that God first loved us. And now His love is at work in us. We didn’t do anything to earn this love, it is because God chose us.

Now here is your part. Each person must allow God’s to mature within them. Each person must allow love to have its perfect expression through them. It’s not that we really have to do much, but we do need to allow love to have its perfect work in us. We must let go. We must give the Lord permission to work in us and through us. We have to release our selfish aims and ego-based desires. Those are rooted in fear. Release the fear of not having what you want or what you think you need and allow God to raise you to your high, appointed place by His grace and His love.

Love Is . . .

1 John 4: 8

The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love.

Love and God are interchangeable. They are one and the same. You cannot know God if you do not know love. If there is not love inside of you, then God is not inside of you either. If you are not walking in love, then you are not walking with God. It is just that simple. The very essence of God is love. It is not a personality trait, not something He has a lot of. It is what and who He is. Verse 16 reads, “the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.”

Here is a revelation for you straight from God. Love is the principle thing. It is what God has been telling us and teaching us about for five thousand years. Jesus left us this one commandment, to love one another even as he loved us (John 13: 34). He only needed to leave us one commandment because the one covers all. You will not hurt others if love guides you. And you will be good to others if you allow love to guide you. Everything that the apostles, Jesus, God and the Holy Spirit have tried to teach us is contained in one word. It is so simple that it has eluded us. Love!

Hey, Christianity is not difficult to understand. It is not complex. It is really quite simple. If you want to be the greatest Christian ever, then be the biggest lover ever. Learn to get outside yourself and be kind, generous and considerate. Get yourself off of your mind and ask what you can do for someone else. You are God’s hands in this earth. Allow Him to bless someone through you today. Get completely wrapped up in love and stop being judgmental and critical. Stop finding fault in others and just give yourself over to loving them and blessing them. You will be walking so deeply with God that your every breath will be a greater infilling of Him. That is a pretty good place to be.

The Love of Salvation

1 John 4: 8

God is love.

Let’s talk about salvation a little bit today. We have all kinds of thoughts and theories about salvation and from many different perspectives. I would like to focus on love today. Dare I? What’s love got to do with it? I think you already know the answer. Absolutely everything.

From where does salvation come? We know that salvation is the product of Jesus’ sacrifice. We also believe that we have a responsibility to share the good news of Jesus’ offering to others so that they may know that the price of salvation has been paid for them? So, here is the question, what happens if a person dies having never encountered a person who told them about the love of God?

John 3: 16 reads, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish, but have eternal life.” Jesus went on in verse 17 to say that he did not come to the earth to judge and condemn, but rather to save. So, God, who is love, offered his own son as a sin sacrifice for us because that is what love does. Another way of thinking about Jesus’ sojourn on earth is that the entire trip here was so that people would be saved.  If God sent Jesus to earth to save us, doesn’t it stand to reason that He would provide assurity that we all get multiple chances at salvation.  Would God go to such extreme measures and then leave salvation to chance?  Love saves. Love does not condemn. Love doesn’t judge, banish or kill. Those are the things of the thief, not of the Father. God gave everything so that each person on earth might be saved. Let me say this again, “Love Saves!”

So, now let me ask the question again. What happens to a person who leaves this earth having never made a confession for Christ? The answer is, Love saves. God is not dependent on me to have preached this glorious gospel in order for Him to save someone. God did not leave salvation to people. He and Jesus provided it. If you think about it, you realize it is very arrogant of us to think that we are the source of salvation. We tend to think that a person’s salvation is decided here on this earth and because some person preached him the gospel. Don’t get me wrong. I am all for everyone of us telling the good news of our salvation. I just don’t think God has left this important matter to such tenuous circumstances.

I believe in love. I believe in a Father who gave His son specifically to save us. It stands to reason, then, that He has plenty of methods in place to assure that people get the chance to meet Jesus. Who says that has to happen on this earth? Does God not have the means to control the stars and planets? Can He not meet a person in the Spirit or in ascension? Who knows, but we know that God is big. He is not limited to this earth or our corporeal ideas.

I am not saying I believe in limbo, because I know that my salvation is not the product of my right or wrong behaviors. It is because of Jesus and him only. I know my Father well enough to know that if He gave His son to die a cruel death for humanity, He isn’t going to sit on His thumbs and let us go to hell. I am convinced He has His ways to preach the gospel to people after they leave the earth. And why not? Why do we think the whole universe is tied up in our miniscule realm of experience? God is big, the universe is big, and He has ways.

Do you have a loved one who passed away without a public expression of faith? Do not worry. Jesus didn’t die on a cross just to let them pass to eternal torment without introducing himself personally. And when someone meets Jesus face to face, they will make a proper decision for him. Everyone who meets Jesus wants to be with him.

Love saves. It sent Jesus to the cross for salvation. Will Yahweh Father not do everything He can to make sure we all get to enjoy that salvation with Him? What does Love have to do with salvation? Everything, absolutely everything.

Rooted

Ephesians 3: 17

And I pray that Christ will be more and more at home in your hearts as you trust in him. May your roots go down deep into the soil of God’s marvelous love.

This verse is the very thrust of this ministry. Our slogan is “Intertwined with Jesus.” I pray for you to be so interwoven in the fabric of Jesus and of God’s love that you can no longer discern a separation between you. Your thoughts are His thoughts, His are yours. I pray for His heartbeat to throb in all of our chests.

Truly, today’s Word of the Day is a thematic continuation of yesterday’s. Seek God so that He may be found and when you continue to seek Him, daily, you become more and more intertwined with Him. Finding Yahweh is not a one-time thing. It is daily pressing in and demanding more and more of Him. Never be satisfied. Always ask for more of Him. That is what He wants of you. He wants you to live in Him and to allow Him to live in you.

All the little things of the day are part and parcel of the life lived in Christ. I know some people think it is funny that I pray when I grocery shop, pump gas or ride my bike, but that is where life happens. So, if God is to be intimately intertwined in all of life, then He will be at the board meetings and the dinner table. He helps with the laundry and the cleansing of our souls.

I pray that the tendrils of your heart will become inextricably intertwined with Jesus and will, indeed, root themselves in the rich soil of God’s love.

This Love

Proverb 6: 16

There are six things that the Lord hates, even seven that are disgusting to him.

Hate is not something Christians talk about or dwell in. However, even God hates a few things and I fear I have experienced a similar emotion.

A couple of weeks ago I was riding a bicycle class at the gym. These classes are set to music. The last song of the ride was What’s Love Got to Do with It by Tina Turner. It is a well known song but definitely has a dark side.  Most of the song consists of this lyric:

Oh-oh, what’s love got to do, got to do with it?
What’s love but a second-hand emotion?
What’s love got to do, got to do with it?
Who needs a heart when a heart can be broken?

Now, this is not a criticism of Tina Turner or even the songwriters but what kind of society do we live in that over 30 years after its release we are still singing such a horrid lyric? The person leading the bike class said, “Oh, I love this song.” Wow, that’s kind of oxymoronic, isn’t it? How can we believe in love at any level and accept such a denunciation of it?

You can empathize with someone who has been hurt and thus can relate to the song, but hopefully that person heals and comes to understand the soullessness of the song, even to despise the lack of faith and belief in love or even the possibility of love.

The song is about having sex with another person and the imperative not to let love enter into the exchange. How many things are wrong in that? I can say, I really do hate this song. It has a good beat and lures you into singing it but that day I wanted to get off my bike and leave the room. I simply cannot stand this song any longer. What does love have to do with it? Absolutely everything and that is what I answer, aloud, when I hear the song. And I did that day as well. You don’t want to be around me because I am going to push back. I am not going to let songs and lyrics like this poison my spirit, a spirit which, by the way, is sanctioned in love. The spirit which is within me was born in love, created by love.

We all get hurt and probably more of us than would like to admit can relate to Tina Turner’s song, but I hope she has found reason to sing a new song, a better song as I know we have. Love sent Jesus to earth for us. The more you intertwine your life with Jesus, the more the world becomes a strange place to live. It becomes harder to turn a deaf ear to language and ideas that are in direct contradiction with everything our Father is.

Let me get theological for just one moment. If that song is diametrically opposed to what our God is and what our Lord teaches, what is its source? Obviously, God had nothing to do with the writing of this song. Was it just damaged people expressing worldly ideas? Or is there more to it? I don’t know the answer, but it does make one wonder because this song undermines so much of what we believe in. Generations of children have grown up with this lyric. What has it done to their impressionable spirits? It has sown seeds of promiscuity and for denying the importance and power of love.

Love is the greatest force in the universe. He, Love, created this earth and all the stars in the heavens. He sent His beloved to this broken, decaying world to save all the silly little humans who live here so that we would not spend eternity in the lake of fire. There is so much more though. He, Love, is alive and well right now here on planet earth. He is here to live with us, to heal our broken hearts and to help us live better lives. He mends our spirits and restores us simply because that is what love does. Whatsmore, love is doing just that every day of the year. He will move into any heart that will have Him and heal the broken parts. He will give us as much healing and love as we will allow.

What’s love got to do with it? Absolutely everything . . . and everything meaningful is born of love.