1 Corinthians 16:14 GNT “Do all your work in love.”
Whoever follows the above passage is outstanding. 😊 Doing everything in love will make you stand out above the rest. Not that you want to you just will. Paul inspired by the Holy Spirit was talking in the passage above about charity: agape love. This kind of love is deep. It’s brotherly affection, a love feast, good will, and benevolence. It’s filled with tender affection and compassion. It seeks only good for others. We are told to do everything in love especially towards our brothers and sisters. How opposite this love is from the world’s:
John 15:19 NIV “If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.”
We are in a demon possessed generation. That’s why many act so weird and cranky. The world’s love is different from the love of God. Even when the world shows you love it’s phony. They only desire to use you. Those who seek acceptance, praise, or love from this world are in trouble:
John 5:44 RSV “How can you believe, who receive glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the only God?”
John 12:43 RSV “For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.”
1 Thessalonians 2:4 RSV “But just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not to please men, but to please God who tests our hearts.”
Those who live the life of love to please God and not men will be greatly rewarded:
Revelation 22:12 KJV “And, behold, I come quickly; and MY REWARD IS WITH ME, to give every man according as his work shall be.”
Romans 13:10 RSV “Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.”
1 Corinthians 13:4-7 GNT “Love is patient and kind; it is not jealous or conceited or proud; love is not ill-mannered or selfish or irritable; love does not keep a record of wrongs; love is not happy with evil, but is happy with the truth. Love never gives up; and its faith, hope, and patience never fail.”
Become and stay outstanding by living the life of love. Love is God and God is love. Don’t let the world change you. 😊
1 John 4:7-8 GNT “Dear friends, let us love one another, because love comes from God. Whoever loves is a child of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love.”
Isaiah 30:20-21 KJV “And though the Lord give you the bread of adversity, and the water of affliction, yet shall not thy teachers be removed into a corner any more, but thine eyes shall see thy teachers:  And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left.”
Can you determine when something you desire and what God’s word says is at a crossroads? If the answer is, “Yes,” you are so blessed! 😊 Because MANY are not able to do this:
1 Timothy 4:2 KJV “Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having THEIR CONSCIENCE SEARED WITH A HOT IRON.”
Romans 1:28 RSV “And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, GOD GAVE THEM UP to a base mind and to improper conduct.”
Many are incapable of hearing when God speaks. They have denied the truth so much God has given them up. That’s right, God has given up on them! It is written. But if you can still hear God’s voice saying, “This is the way, walk ye in it,” when you turn to the left or to the right; even when what God’s word is saying contradicts your feelings and desires, you are blessed! GOD HAS NOT GIVEN UP ON YOU!
Contrary to what condemning voices in our heads say, things like; “You blew it again, just give up.” “How can God love you when you keep sinning?” “If God cared about you so much why would you be suffering like this?” GOD HAS NOT GIVEN UP ON US! The fact that you even care about your sins, that you even care about why you are suffering shows you’re still in the fight. And as long as you and I do not give up on God we will continue to hear His voice.
We may get down but we’re never out. We fall short but we get back up. There will be many times we discern we haven’t lived up to God’s righteous standard. And during these times we are reminded of what a kind generous Father we have. He could destroy us in our sin but instead chooses to love us in spite of as long as we do not give up.
When we find ourselves at the crossroads; where what we want and what God desires is in stark contrast, know that this is normal:
Galatians 5:17 GNB “For what our human nature wants is opposed to what the Spirit wants, and what the Spirit wants is opposed to what our human nature wants. These two are enemies, and this means that you cannot do what you want to do.”
God’s thoughts and ways are higher than ours. So of course what we want will at times be at odds with one another:
Isaiah 55:8-9 GNB “My thoughts,” says the LORD, “are not like yours, and my ways are different from yours. As high as the heavens are above the earth, so high are my ways and thoughts above yours.
Be thankful that you can discern when God is speaking because many cannot. Their consciences have been seared as with a hot iron. Also ask God earnestly in prayer to give you the strength to do what he says. Do not be deceived:
James 1:22 GNB “Do not deceive yourselves by just listening to his word; instead, put it into practice.”
When you fail get back up again. Never give up, that’s the key. And remember Jesus paid a high price with His own blood for our sins. All who are in Christ are forgiven! 😊 So stop condemning yourself. (Romans 8:1)
If God is still guiding you; if you can still hear His voice even when what you want contradicts His will, this is proof that God has not given up on you! You are blessed. Now let’s make our Father proud by obeying Him. 😊
Matthew 7:21-23 GNB “Not everyone who calls me ‘Lord, Lord’ will enter the Kingdom of heaven, but only those who do what my Father in heaven wants them to do. When Judgement Day comes, MANY will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord! In your name we spoke God’s message, by your name we drove out many demons and performed many miracles!’ Then I will say to them, ‘I never knew you. Get away from me, you wicked people!’ “
The above verse applies to Church folks, not the world. It is Christians who call Jesus Lord. It is Christians who speak Christ’s message, drive out demons, and perform miracles in His name. On judgment day many of them will be looking for a reward only to hear Jesus say, ‘Get away from me. I don’t know you.’ That’s got to be the most horrible feeling in the world! Because you know what comes next. That’s right, the fire.
Have you ever seen someone so deceived who thought they were right? It’s especially sad for me when that person professes to be a Christian. When we meet God at the judgment will we get a rude awakening? Can you imagine expecting to be rewarded by God only to receive His eternal curse? The above passage should make us test ourselves. If we think this could never happen to us we are already deceived and need to repent. Here’s one reason why many Christians are in danger of hearing those very unpleasant words from Jesus: “I never knew you. Get away from me, you wicked people!”
Something someone said or did to us has us so transfixed we choose not to get over it. We then start talking about the sins of the person(s) that offended us. We harp on their faults and shortcomings. This then turns into a habit. We’re now in more trouble than we know and aren’t even aware of it. We know that it’s wrong to highlight other people’s faults but we just can’t resist the temptation to voice our discontent and dissatisfaction for another Christian to another Christian. I ask you, would you want someone shining the spotlight on your sins, on your faults and shortcomings? Of course not. So are we following Jesus’ command to, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” when we keep talking about the sins of others? If this conduct continues over time our heart becomes hardened towards the individual that offended us. Yes, we begin to hate our brother or sister and often aren’t even aware of it. Our enemy the devil is very tricky. By now whatever the brother or sister did to us seems small compared to our problem. And all of this could have been avoided had we obeyed Jesus’ commandment to forgive.
Matthew 18:21-22 NIV “Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?”  Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.”
Luke 17:3-4 NIV “So watch yourselves. “If your brother or sister sins against you, rebuke them; and if they repent, forgive them.  Even if they sin against you seven times in a day and seven times come back to you saying ‘I repent,’ YOU MUST FORGIVE THEM.”
1 John 4:20 NIV “Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.”
There’s a popular gospel song out by a popular gospel artist, the chorus goes, “I don’t wonna love nobody but you, I don’t wonna love nobody but you, I don’t wonna love nobody, love nobody but you.” Sounds cute? They’re talking about loving God. Only problem is that’s not what God’s word teaches. God says there is no way you can love only Him and not love your brothers and sisters too. We’re a package deal. You must accept the whole package. Imagine telling a woman you are interested in marrying that has children, “I don’t wonna love nobody but you. I don’t care to love your children too.” See how well that goes over.
Anyone who says they love God and does not love their brothers and sisters the Bible says is a liar. God says we cannot love only him, we must love His children too, our brothers and sisters.
1 John 3:14-15 KJV “We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death. Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him.”
If something a brother or sister has done has hurt you so bad be honest about it. Also be honest with yourself if you’ve come to realize you haven’t forgiven them. All we have to do is repent guys. God will forgive us. 😃 If we do not repent of this sin believe it or not we are in danger of going to hell because we are not living in love. Jesus said:
Matthew 5:21-22 GNB “You have heard that people were told in the past, ‘Do not commit murder; anyone who does will be brought to trial.’ But now I tell you: whoever is angry with his brother will be brought to trial, whoever calls his brother ‘You good-for-nothing!’ will be brought before the Council, and whoever calls his brother a worthless fool will be in danger of going to the fire of hell.”
If someone who claims to be a servant of Christ starts talking about how they have been hurt or offended by another brother or sister direct them to the words of their master Jesus Christ:
Matthew 18:15-18 KJV “Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother.  But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.  And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.  Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”
This is how Jesus says to handle the situation. There is a three step process to resolving issues in God’s household; His church. And most of these can be squashed immediately if we follow the first step. If someone has sinned against us step one is to go to that brother or sister just the two of you alone and work it out with a view to reconciling or gaining good relations again with our brethren. Do not go telling everybody in the church first. According to Jesus’ words above we are getting way ahead of ourselves when we do that.
DO WE LOVE JESUS?
How many of us really love Jesus enough to obey what He says about solving issues between brethren? How many of us know that when we obey Jesus’ command in this regard we are keeping Satan out of our churches? And how many of us know that when we don’t obey Jesus in this regard we are inviting the Devil in? What’s interesting is often the person who offended us doesn’t even know they have deeply hurt us. That doesn’t make it right of course. They may in fact need correction so they don’t go around continually offending others. When we handle the situation the way Jesus says not only does the offender get the help they need but we are also freed from the damaging effects of bitterness and unforgiveness. We get healing too. 😊
John 14:23-24 NIV “Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.”
If we’re guilty of not settling issues the way Jesus says let us repent please. Ask God for strength to approach the one who has offended us. And do this with a view toward reconciliation. Don’t approach someone and throw a temper tantrum. Sometimes we can just let things go. There’s no need to talk about it at all. But there are other times we may have been so deeply wounded we need to discuss the matter in the spirit Jesus says. God understands this. And has given us the perfect way to handle it. Let us not allow unforgiveness to cause us to go to hell.
2 Timothy 3:13 NIV “While evildoers and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.”
Doesn’t it feel like something different is happening as evidenced by people’s behavior? Like a sudden shift in the spiritual realms? We know that the evil one does things subtly, covertly, and gradually, so much so that you hardly notice or don’t notice at all it’s going on. He’s a deceiver. But some of his moves lately seem to have a haste about them and are more noticeable. It’s as if things have spiked not from the incremental level 3 to level 4 but from a level 3 to level 6! People are acting so differently these days you would think someone has poured evil juice into their drinking water, or food supply, or vaccines. Hmmmm. 🤔
THE EVIL KING
If you were an evil king who just found out you had a terminal illness and didn’t have long to live what would you do? Would you do the noble thing and get your house in order? Or would your main focus be destroying all of your enemies before you die? The latter is the Devil’s main focus:
Revelation 12: 10-12 NIV “For the accuser [Satan] of our brothers and sisters, who accuses them before our God day and night, has been hurled down. They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death. Therefore rejoice, you heavens and you who dwell in them! But woe to the earth and the sea, because the devil has gone down to you! HE IS FILLED WITH FURY, because HE KNOWS that HIS TIME IS SHORT.”
The above passage is the first place in the Bible where I remember reading the devil has a ticking time bomb attached to him. Satan’s original home was in heaven where he dwelled in the very presence of Almighty God. This was before his rebellion. God lives outside of time. He lives in eternity. Satan has been kicked out of heaven though and thrown down to earth. He and his angels are now subject to the confines of time just like mere mortals. This is a HUGE HUMILIATION for the devil. Not only did he go from the penthouse to the poor house, he’s dying and he knows it. For this he is royally pissed! Hence the heat, the persecution we feel. As Revelation says, “Woe to the earth and the sea,” the devil, “Is filled with fury, because he knows that his time is short.” He is focused on revenge; destroying all of God’s people:
Revelation 12:13,17 KJV “And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child. And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.”
Yes, if you keep God’s commands and hold fast to the testimony of Jesus Christ the Devil is after you. He always works overtime. He doesn’t take a day off or go on vacations. In fact this entire world system which he rules is designed for our downfall. But be encouraged, OUR TRIUMPHANT VICTORY HAS ALREADY BEEN FORETOLD!!! 😀
Revelation 12:11 NIV “THEY TRIUMPHED OVER HIM [Satan] by the blood of the Lamb [JESUS] and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death.”
Because of Jesus God says we win! We’re winners! 😃 Not just in the end, we’re winners right now:
Romans 8:37-39 NIV “No, in all these things WE ARE MORE THAN CONQUERORS through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Proverbs 13:12 KJV “Hope deferred maketh the heart sick: but when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life.”
Not getting what you want can make you sick. And if we’re not careful it can make us sick to death. There are many great men and women in the Bible who did not always get what they wanted either. And yes, it sometimes made them sick. Some of them even vented their anger to and at God. Moses was one of them. (Numbers 11:10-15) Jeremiah was another. (Jeremiah 12:1-3) So was Jonah. (Jonah 3:10-4:11) What I love about these (and others) is they were real. What I also love about them is although their thinking was wrong at times (being angry at God and all) they at least had enough sense to talk to God about how they were feeling.
Let’s face it, none of us are superman or superwoman. If you’ve been in the faith long enough you may have gotten mad at God sometimes too when things didn’t go your way. I know I have. ‘Hope deferred sometimes makes our hearts sick too.’ But when these moments occur do we have enough sense to talk to God about our feelings like Moses, Jeremiah, Jonah and others? Or has our hearts grown stone cold? Do we find ourselves not praying to God at all anymore? Do we also find ourselves not reading His word like we used to? Are we shunning God? If the answer is, “Yes,” be honest about it. Because confession is the first step to our broken heart being cured.
God himself says, ‘not getting what you want can make your heart sick.’ (Proverbs 13:12) He understands how the heart works. He made it. He already knows how we’re feeling. God is so cool about the whole situation; His word says:
Psalm 43:18 NIV “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” 😃
When Moses, Jeremiah, and Jonah ranted to God about how unfair life was to them God didn’t hurl lightning bolts at them. And he won’t throw lightning at us either. In fact He wants us to come to Him in prayer with all of our problems, with all of our disappointments and hurts:
Matthew 11:28 NIV “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”
The worse thing we can do is alienate ourselves from God and from fellow believers. We need God more than anything. And we need our brothers and sisters more and more each day:
Hebrews 10:24-25 GNT “Let us be concerned for one another, to help one another to show love and to do good. Let us not give up the habit of meeting together, as some are doing. Instead, let us encourage one another ALL THE MORE, since you see that the Day of the Lord is coming nearer.”
Fellow believers can help us get out of our rut:
Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 NET “Two people are better than one, because they can reap more benefit from their labor. For if they fall, one will help his companion up, but pity the person who falls down and has no one to help him up.”
Isolating ourselves and sulking too long about life’s disappoints can make us REALLY sick. Use what God has given us; prayer, his word, and each other His church. Be willing to share some of our problems with one another. This can be very encouraging. And also be willing not only to be a good listener to our fellow believers problems, be willing to carry each other’s burdens:
Galatians 6:2 NIV “CARRY EACH OTHER’S BURDENS, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.”
As we continue to seek God regardless of what we do or do not have we will learn a whole lot about our heavenly Father and about ourselves. There are things we need to learn before we go home to heaven. When it’s all said and done we will also learn that some of the things we wanted so badly were not good for us. And we will thank God for not allowing those things to consume us.