GODLY LIVING…


Titus 3:5-11 – “He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, 6 whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 so that being justified by His grace we would be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. 8 This is a trustworthy statement; and concerning these things I want you to speak confidently, so that those who have believed God will be careful to engage in good deeds. These things are good and profitable for men. 9 But avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and strife and disputes about the Law, for they are unprofitable and worthless. 10 Reject a factious man after a first and second warning, 11 knowing that such a man is perverted and is sinning, being self-condemned.”  NASB

Interesting translation of the word in v 10 “hairetikos”.  The KJV translates it heretic and the NASB uses factious.  On the surface, they do not seem the same but when you examine the word in the Greek the word is “itself and schismatic” coming from the word that means ‘to make a choice’ or ‘prefer’.  In that light, I can see both renderings for this individual is one who has made the choice to make self, more important than truth and promotes schisms in the Body of Christ. 

Titus was instructed to ‘reject’ which would be to ‘shun’ or ‘avoid.’  That identifies a root problem in the Church that is too often avoided rather than confronted.  That was one of the purposes of Paul leaving Titus behind.  He was to ‘set in order’ the church and establish godly leadership which included church discipline, a foreign element in the modern church world.  We are too busy trying to keep everybody happy to address issues that separate, divide, and diminish the testimony of the church and hinders the spiritual progress of the members.

We are Saved not based on ‘what we have done’ even righteous acts but by Grace through God’s incredible Mercy!  We have experienced the washing of regeneration and renewal by the ministry of the Holy Spirit.  It is by Grace that we become heirs of God and granted the Hope of Eternal Life.  In our pursuit of God there are times when we must ‘separate’ from people and things in order to pursue God and His righteousness and to maintain a testimony before the world.

The devil likes nothing better than the church or churches to engage in unanswerable questions, hair-splitting, straining at gnats, and debates that do not produce life or win souls.  Thus, we come to the issue of church discipline and marking individuals who continually engage in division. 

Notice, he said that this person was to be warned twice before this drastic action took place and that is in perfect harmony with the instructions of Jesus in Matthew 18:14-20 as He gives the directive on dealing with divisions.  You go to the one who sins or offends and, with a heart of love with the objective or restoration in mind, discuss the matter with him/her.  If that is rejected, you take one or two more with you.  You do not take people on your side but on God’s side who meet the qualifications

Paul lists early in his instructions for leadership.  If that is rejected, you then (third time) take it to the church and if that admonition or plea is rejected and not repentance results you “reject” or “shun” that individual.  Your purpose is never to prove a point but with a heart of redemption.

We need godly people speaking into our lives to reveal our blind spots or in those times we drift from the pathway God has designed and become factious or heretical and cause division and disruption.  We are The Body of Christ and the Body needs all its members to function in a manner that builds up the entire body in love.

God, bless you as you enjoy this day in Jesus!

GOD IS NOT BLIND, DEAF, DUMB, or UNCONCERNED…


Micah 2:1-2 – “Woe to those who scheme iniquity, Who work out evil on their beds!  When morning comes, they do it, For it is in the power of their hands.  2 They covet fields and then seize them, And houses, and take them away. They rob a man and his house, A man and his inheritance.”  NASB

I don’t care if it is a political figure, world leader, businessman, religious leader, activist, or anyone else, God sees what you are doing! There are those in our world, not unbeknown to other times, who fit this description perfectly.  They scheme incessantly how to rob, steal, deceive, and manipulate for their own purposes and gain. They have no concern for the safety or welfare of their targets only the amassing of fortune, fame, position, and power.  The prophet warns, “Woe to you!” 

Politicians appear to be notorious for scheming ways to infringe on our inalienable rights, confiscate our property, wealth, and entrench themselves in the pursuit of their ideological agendas.  They plan, in the night, behind closed doors, in the shadows, and then step forth into the morning light and enact their schemes. 

I have heard the lament of many who have been trampled by this type of iniquitous scheming and some have become disillusioned and confused even to the point of being angry with God.  I have heard some accuse God of not caring and even relegated Him to being an ‘absentee landlord’ who birthed us then allows mankind to do his worst with no interest or involvement.  GOD is not Blind or Unconcerned! 

There is coming a “Payday, Someday,” and I can assure you, that is not an experience you would relish.  Sometimes, we feel powerless to address the wickedness, schemes, and travesties that occur in our world often by the hands of those supposedly operating in our best interest.  Sometimes, we feel God has abandoned us, forsaken us, or is blind, deaf, dumb, or unconcerned about our plight.  He Is Not!  When will God act?  I cannot answer that in a way that would be completely satisfactory to anyone experiencing this type of drama in their life.  I can say that He Will even if that is in Eternity. 

Some practice such debauchery and wickedness defiantly believing and expressing they believe they are getting away with it.  They laugh at the devastation caused by their evil schemes and self-serving pursuits. They have no compassion for others and continue in their lawlessness, robbing (often legally), stealing, and destroying. 

They seem to be exempt from judgment and the Law of Sowing and Reaping does not seem to apply to them. They continue with their blatant disregard for God’s moral laws and principles seemingly unscathed.  That can cause one who seeks to be faithful to lose heart and lose sight of God’s truth, principles, promises, and warnings. 

Dear heart, take the counsel of the Psalmist in Psalm 37and “Do Not Fret because of evildoers…”  “Do Not Be Envious of those who commit such acts.”  Their day is coming, and it will not be pleasant.  They have not escaped the view of the Righteous and Holy Creator of the Universe, Jehovah God.  There is coming a payday and an accounting for their actions. 

Remember the words of Jesus and take heart, “Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me.  In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you.  If I go to prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also.”  [John 14:1-3].

God, bless you as you enjoy this wonderful day in Him, and never let the wickedness of the wicked prevent you from rejoicing in God and His Promises!  

Be blessed and be free in Jesus!

RIGHTEOUSNESS AND FAITHFULNESS – Learned…


2 Timothy 1:3-7 – “I thank God, whom I serve with a clear conscience the way my forefathers did, as I constantly remember you in my prayers night and day, 4 longing to see you, even as I recall your tears, so that I may be filled with joy. 5 For I am mindful of the sincere faith within you, which first dwelt in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am sure that it is in you as well. 6 For this reason I remind you to kindle afresh the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands. 7 For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline.”  NASB

There are several sermons or devotionals in these few verses so I will lump them together and hopefully encourage you in your daily walk and pursuit of your ministry and assignment in life.  Timothy was Paul’s spiritual son and someone he had learned to rely on for encouragement, loyalty, faithfulness, and prayer support to name a few.  In Paul’s address to Timothy, he reveals his heart and the upbringing of Timothy and how important godly examples are in life.

Paul expresses his overflowing heart of thanksgiving declaring that he serves God with a Clear Conscience.  I could spend enough time here to write chapters on the matter of conscience and how powerful this declaration is especially when coupled with a demonstrated life of faithfulness and godliness.  Paul not only addressed his own heart but reminded Timothy of the importance and power of Prayer telling him, “I constantly remember you in my prayers day and night.”  It was not a “God bless Timothy” passing mention but testifies of intercession out of love and longing to be reunited with him. 

He reminded Timothy of how powerful Timothy’s own tears and love touched the great apostle.  Then, Paul called to remembrance the heritage of faith that Timothy had in his mother and grandmother.  He was raised in a godly home and that is a powerful testimony to the directive of Proverbs 22:6, “Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it.”  Your influence and impact on your children are far greater than you might imagine or believe.  You are sowing seeds in them that will produce a harvest so ensure you are sowing to godliness.

Then the apostle reminds Timothy of the gift or gifts of God in him and the power of being ordained of God to function in a particular area of ministry and life.  Then, Paul calls to attention the gravity of this ministry and the reality that not everyone will willingly accept the Gospel message.  He says, “For God has not given us a spirit of timidity but of power and love and discipline.”  The KJV says, “sound mind” or “committed/fixed mind” which can be understood in Isaiah 26:3, “The steadfast of mind You will keep in perfect peace because he trusts in You.”  We become like a nail driven in a sure place because of our commitment to and devotion to the Lord.  Our minds are stayed on Him and we are bringing every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.

We are more than conquerors in Christ and as we are nurtured and developed by godly parents and godly mentors, we find that we gain strength for the struggle and power to overcome.  Righteousness begets righteousness and faithfulness begets faithfulness.  We can learn both as the Love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit.  So, allow your heart to be nurtured and become a nurturing example to those under your care.

God, bless you as you enjoy this wonderful day in Him!

SETTING THEM STRAIGHT…


1 Timothy 1:3-5 – “As I urged you upon my departure for Macedonia, remain on at Ephesus so that you may instruct certain men not to teach strange doctrines, 4 nor to pay attention to myths and endless genealogies, which give rise to mere speculation rather than furthering the administration of God which is by faith. 5 But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.”  NASB

In Church, I have witnessed some incredibly zealous people who believed it was their God-given assignment to ‘Set People Straight’ when in doctrinal error or perceived doctrinal error.  They were not wholly as the Church of Ephesus of Revelation 2 where they could not tolerate evil men and put to test those who claimed to be apostles and found them false.  No, they were equal opportunity correctors of anyone and everyone who strayed from their doctrinal trail and they SET THEM STRAIGHT.  There were times they would use Paul’s instructions to Timothy in 1 Timothy 1 to justify their actions as well as using the words of Jesus.

However, before we condemn this action or defend it, we should consider a key statement by Paul regarding Timothy’s assignment and their ministry.  In verse 5 Paul says, “But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.”  Simply, the objective in correction is not SETTING THEM STRAIGHT but leading them to the truth so that restoration can transpire. 

That is always the objective in dealing with sin or error.  It is not simply putting people in their place it is leading them to the light.  I am reminded of the ministry of Priscilla and Aquila in dealing with Apollos in Acts 18.  They led him to a more full understanding rather than attempting to put him in his place or set him straight.  The objective as in all ministry is reconciliation and restoration.  It is bringing people to their fullest potential in Christ and the Gospel.

Paul addressed some of the areas these false or deceived teachers were engaging in and identified their ignorance as well as malice.  He does not trash the Law but identifies the truth that the Law is not for the Righteous but the Unrighteous.  He testifies of his own ignorance and persecution of those who believed and rejoiced in the Mercy of God.  He recognized that it is possible for a person to drift into error and through love be led back to the right path and restored. 

I have heard preachers preach hell and judgment so powerfully that one could almost feel the flames of hell leaping at their feet.  When that transpires under the anointing of the Holy Spirit out of a heartbroken in love it is incredibly powerful and beneficial.  However, I have known some who preach hell as though they enjoyed it and demonstrated a Pharisaical attitude looking down their noses as SINNERS!  That is not the heart of God nor was can it be found in Paul’s instruction to Timothy. 

Timothy was given an assignment that would be difficult.  Often false teachers have a devoted following and when you counter their tenets you encounter the wrath of the devotees.  However, if we walk, as Jesus walked and manifest His heart, character, love, and righteousness the Holy Spirit brings conviction to hearts and people are brought back to the right path and enjoy restoration.  Our objective is not to present ourselves as ‘holier than thou’ and our assignment is not to SET THEM STRAIGHT but to speak the truth in love and lift up Jesus!

God, bless you as you embark on today’s leg of your life’s journey in Christ!

THE OPEN DOOR TO THE COMING CHAOS…


2 Thessalonians 2:1-12 – “Now we request you, brethren, with regard to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, 2 that you not be quickly shaken from your composure or be disturbed either by a spirit or a message or a letter as if from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come. 3 Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, 4 who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God. 5 Do you not remember that while I was still with you, I was telling you these things? 6 And you know what restrains him now, so that in his time he will be revealed. 7 For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only he who now restrains will do so until he is taken out of the way. 8 Then that lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming; 9 that is, the one whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders, 10 and with all the deception of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved. 11 For this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they will believe what is false, 12 in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness.”  NASB

Through the years, the church has branded various world figures as “The Antichrist” only to be proven wrong.  Some have insisted that Barack Obama, the former president of the United States was the “Antichrist” but again, they are wrong.  “The Man of Sin, The Lawless One, or the Antichrist” is probably alive today somewhere on the planet.  Regardless of your belief as to who he might be or where he might come from, the fact that He will come should be foreboding. 

The former President Obama moved to allow a UN Resolution that would return Israel to Pre-1967 borders and effectively cripple the nation’s ability to defend itself.  I believe that any such action would not be in the best interest of Israel or the Free World including the United States of America.

The Door to Lawlessness is open in today’s world and it has largely resulted from Silence by the Church on too many fronts.  Paul advised or prophesied in our text that this one will not ascend to his ultimate position of power Until or Unless there is widespread ‘apostasy’ in the church and the world.  I have contended for a long time, based on my understanding of the Bible and observation of human nature, that when the Church is silent evil grows strong and often prevails.  When the Church is a strong force in voice and demonstration of purity, righteousness, and holiness evil is suppressed. 

The Antichrist, the Man of Sin that Lawless One, cannot find acceptance without the Church drifting from its biblical and moral mooring.  Tragically, too often, that is visible in today’s world.  Deception cannot prevail when there is diligence in prayer and commitment to God, His Kingdom, and His Word.  When the Church’s voice is strong, society, as a whole, resists deception, suppresses selfishness, and maintains moral sensibility.  That is not a breeding ground for the devil, so he has worked tirelessly to erode our commitment, tarnish our convictions, and encourage us to adopt the worldview of ‘tolerance.’  

Tolerance is a biblical concept but only to the degree that it does not violate the core principles of God’s Word and Righteousness.  The Bible is not Tolerant of Sin!  We are tolerant of sinners but not sin!  We are tolerant of differing views but not the Core Foundational Principles of God’s Word.  Jesus is the Door to Salvation.  Jesus is the Messiah who gave His life a ransom for whosoever will.  Jesus is the only begotten, sinless Son of God. 

There are not many roads leading to heaven and there is no other name under heaven whereby we can be saved but the Name of Jesus.  Trying to be inclusive at the expense of conviction is not inclusive it is destructive.  Therefore, the coming chaos is coming because the Church has opened the door.  The Spirit of Antichrist is and has been at work in the world and it is high time that we The Church, Believers, members of the Family of God, and the Body of Christ stand firm and “seek first the Kingdom of God and His Righteousness.” 

God, bless you as you dedicate, rededicate, and anchor your hope in God through His Son, Jesus Christ.  

RUNNING FROM YOUR ASSIGNMENT…


Jonah 1:1-3 – “The word of the LORD came to Jonah the son of Amittai saying, 2 “Arise, go to Nineveh the great city and cry against it, for their wickedness has come up before Me.” 3 But Jonah rose up to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the LORD. So he went down to Joppa, found a ship which was going to Tarshish, paid the fare and went down into it to go with them to Tarshish from the presence of the LORD.”  NASB

The story of Jonah is more than a little interesting and informative.  The word of the Lord came to Jonah giving him the assignment of going to a major city in Nineveh and decry their wickedness.  He was to go pronounce judgment on that wicked city.  There are any number of possible reasons that Jonah found this assignment less than desirable and among them could be fear and his desire to not be identified as a naysayer. 

Rather than doing what God told him, he booked passage on a ship to Tarshish.  During his journey the ship he was on came under siege from the elements and those aboard recognized that this was the hand of God, therefore they sought to determine who was the culprit.  In the process, they determined that it was Jonah.  Jonah instructed them to throw him overboard and they would be spared.

Had God relented of His call to Jonah that would have been the end of the story, but it was not.  The great fish God had prepared swallowed him and for three days and nights, he was in the belly of that beast.  Then, after such a time and Jonah realizing he had been spared, repented, and prayed.  God then prompted the fish to vomit him onto the shore and at that point, the Spirit of God came to Jonah a second time instructing him to go to Nineveh.  This time he obeyed and preached the impending judgment on the city.  To Jonah’s chagrin, they repented! 

That should have been his hope but after his pathway to obedience, he now considered this a slap in his face, that he had preached judgment and no judgment would come.  He got angry with God and complained about the long-suffering nature of God and lamented, “This is what I feared would happen.”  What a man of God!  Rather than having redemption as his end view, he had the accuracy of his word as the most important element.  Preaching hell without a broken heart is a tragedy.

God came to Jonah and used a worm and a plant to communicate His grace and remind him of the value of forgiveness and the power of love.  If you have ever experienced the Holy Spirit prompt you to deliver a message that you knew would not be well received, you know a little of Jonah’s plight.  If you have watched those you considered wicked receive God’s mercy you have tasted Jonah’s plight.  God is not a man, does not operate according to the ideology of man or in the timing of man.  God’s ultimate desire is for us to be reconciled to Him and if He sends forth a word of judgment and repentance takes place we should rejoice in His mercy and the restoration. 

I have uttered warnings that were heeded, and repentance brought about restoration and I have uttered warnings that were scorned and ignored and watched the impending destruction that ensued.  I know what it is to rejoice in restoration and weep in destruction. I know what it is to hear a word from the Spirit of God and find the assignment so troubling I resisted and suffered in my heart, mind, and spirit Until I repented and fulfilled my assignment. 

In nearly all those cases my desire was to see the restoration, even when I did not fully trust those appearing to repent.  I was simply the messenger not the judge and trusted God enough to respect His assessment of the situation.  If you have or are running from your assignment, I call upon you to find a place to pray and repent before God for your rebellion.  Allow the Holy Spirit to lead you forth into the pace of obedience and rejoice in what God does.  You bring needless pain and suffering to yourself and those you were assigned to minister to in your disobedience.

God, bless you as you enjoy this wonderful day in Him!

IF YOU CONTINUE…


John 8:31-32 – “So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, ” If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; 32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.”  NASB

My purpose is not to start a firestorm of religious argument, but to call attention to both the requirement and promise of our LORD to those of that day and us today.  He was speaking to Jews who believed Him or believed in Him.  They believed He was who He claimed to be, “Messiah”.  They believed that He had the words of eternal life.  They recognized Him as a great prophet and knew that His message was completely other than that of the religious leaders of their day.  The believed!

Jesus then said something troubling for many.  He said, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will now the truth and the truth will make you free.”  There are many facets of what He said that need to be considered, observed, and accepted if we are to find, have, receive, and walk in the Abundant Life He Promised and become the Glorious Church He came to build. 

First, they were believers!  However, Jesus indicated that just believing was not enough to enter into that fullness He taught there had to be Continuing as well.  That continuing meant obedience to His words, precepts, and teachings.  It is only in continuing that we become genuine disciples not simply one that professes a belief that He is who He declares Himself to be. 

The profession of faith is the first step, not the entire race.  It is the beginning, not the conclusion.  If we stop there, we fall so far short of what God has for us we will be tormented by the enemy of our souls and never fulfill the words of Isaiah’s promise in 40:31 – “…They that wait upon the LORD will gain new strength; they will mount up like the eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and to become weary.”  We will not find ourselves in the place of Psalm 91 nor will we truly embrace and experience the promise of Jesus in Matthew 11:28-30.  So, Continuing is a necessary ingredient in our spiritual development and life.

Next, Jesus promises that If we Continue and become genuine disciples, two things will happen.  We will Know the Truth and that Truth that we know will make us free.  I said the Truth that you know not just truth.  Yes, God’s truth is what makes us free but if we do not know that truth, we will not exercise faith with regard, to it nor will we walk in that truth, and being made free requires both knowing and obeying therefore it is The Truth that You Know that makes you Free.  Not your own definition of truth but God’s Truth.  God’s Truth becomes part of your being, part of your consciousness, and shapes who you are.  So, continuing in His Word in obedience leads to Freedom. 

It is not enough to give mental assent to the truth we must continue in it.  It is not enough to express the belief that Jesus is the Christ we must continue in His truth and as we embrace that truth, walking it out in our lives that Truth liberates us, empowering us to stand in the face of all temptation and in the midst of any storm of life. 

God, bless you as you continue in His Word and Follow Him fully and freely!

JUST SAYING IT DOESN’T MAKE IT REAL…


Luke 6:46-49 – “Why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?  47 ” Everyone who comes to Me and hears My words and acts on them, I will show you whom he is like:  48 he is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid a foundation on the rock; and when a flood occurred, the torrent burst against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built.  49 “But the one who has heard and has not acted accordingly, is like a man who built a house on the ground without any foundation; and the torrent burst against it and immediately it collapsed, and the ruin of that house was great.”  NASB

I have witnessed the disparity between what a person says and what they live in and outside the church.  That is a natural reality in life that people say one thing and do another.  However, when it comes to a relationship with God, just saying you are a Christian does not make you one.  Let me state, clearly, that I refuse to be anyone’s judge, and if anyone professes, they are a believer I will evaluate the fruit of their life, contrast their life with their declarations, but leave the determination of whether they are or not to God. 

In this passage, Jesus identified this problem vividly. His words should resonate with us and provide sufficient cause for us to carefully examine our own lives.  Jesus asked, “Why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?”  Clearly, it is not our own declaration that makes His Lordship a reality in our lives it is the fruit of our lives that reveals the true condition.  No, I am not offering a justification for becoming judgmental and self-appointed fruit inspectors.  Jesus gave an analogy that is valuable for us as individuals in the self-examination of our own lives.  Let’s examine his comparisons and see if we can glean benefit.

If we Hear, the Words of our LORD and act on them in obedience, Jesus said we could be compared to a prudent and competent builder.  That builder would dig a deep and solid foundation going to bedrock ensuring that if the floods or violent winds came the house would be strong.  In short, “having done all to stand, able to stand.”  The person that Hears, the Words of Christ but does not act or obey them is like the person that ignores the foundation and erects his structure.  It may look wonderful on the outside but has no stability and will easily be destroyed. 

Obedience involves an investment of time and energy in allowing a solid foundation to be built. This is the work of the Holy Spirit with our cooperation as we “study to show ourselves approved unto God, rightly handling the Word of Truth.”  This is allowing the Love of Christ to be shed abroad in our hearts and a commitment to obedience.  This is a love relationship that is not interested in simply looking right or sounding right but being right.

Just because one professes to be a follower of Christ does not mean the fruit of their lives will validate that claim.  When trouble comes, we find out what we are made of.  When the enemy comes in like a flood, we need a foundation that can withstand his assaults.  We must make Christ our Rock and upon that Rock build our lives, otherwise, it is the shifting sand of will-power and nothing more than rain on a tin roof.  Noise but no substance.

God, bless you as you seek Him in all things and at all times! 

AGAPE LOVE…


Romans 12:3-8 – “For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith. 4 For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function, 5 so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. 6 Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to exercise them accordingly: if prophecy, according to the proportion of his faith; 7 if service, in his serving; or he who teaches, in his teaching; 8 or he who exhorts, in his exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.”  NASB

1 Corinthians 8:1-3 – “Now about food sacrificed to idols: We know that we all possess knowledge. Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up. 2 The man who thinks he knows something does not yet know as he ought to know. 3 But the man who loves God is known by God.”  NIV

This might be a good devotional for Valentine’s Day but I’m offering it today.  We will not focus on Romantic Love but one of the greatest needs among humans today, LOVE!  More specifically I want to address AGAPE LOVE! I have observed through the years of ministry and Christian service as well as through studying God’s Word that Disunity is the most destructive thing that the New Testament Church faces today.  I believe that even a cursory reading of the New Testament reveals the Unity is one of the greatest needs of the church and can only be realized through a manifestation of AGAPE LOVE! 

I believe it is impossible to read the New Testament without realizing that God has a unique plan for every believer.  God desires that every believer is a functioning member of the Body of Christ and in so doing be a Member of the Family of God which lends itself to being a part of a local congregation.  In Paul’s letter to the Ephesians (4:15-16) he addressed this issue of Body Ministry and Love. 

Repeatedly the New Testament writers exhorted believers to engage in specific activities to enable the Body of Christ to function the most productively and thereby grow spiritually.  Frequently they used a word that described that mutual and reciprocal process:  Allelon – “one another”.  You find that word 58 times in the New Testament and Paul used it 40 of those times.  You find it a common thread in his letters and lists 12 significant actions that Christians are to take toward “one another” to build up the Body of Christ.

Love is the more excellent way according to 1 Corinthians 12:31 and 13:13. In fact, “Love one Another” occurs more frequently than all the rest.  Of the 48 references to ‘one another’, eleven times we are told to love one another.  If you add the direct commands of Jesus from John’s Gospel that list climbs to fifteen times.  Therefore, without question Love is the most significant issue for the believer in the New Testament.  

Colossians 3:14, “Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity.”  1 Peter 4:8, “Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins.” 

When you consider the directives of our Lord to His disciples it comes as no surprise that He would place an emphasis on Love.   Remember His commandment in John 13:34-35, “A new commandment I give you: LOVE ON ANOTHER.  As I have loved you, so you must LOVE ONE ANOTHER.  All men will know that you are my disciples if you LOVE ONE ANOTHER…” (Emphasis Mine).

In truth, all the actions we are enjoined to take toward ‘one another’ are simply Love in Action commands.  That was the basis of Paul’s prayer in Philippians 1:9-11, “And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in the knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ.”  

I have learned and observed that when there is a sufficient flow of Agape Love in the Body, all divisive factors shrink and diminish.  Agape drives the devil back into darkness because Love brings Light, and the devil cannot stand the Light.  Increasing Love will cover all the differences concerning the nonessentials and bring oneness to the Church in a most powerful manner.  Therefore, I believe that one of the singular greatest needs of the church is Agape Love!  We are family and 1 Corinthians 12:27 declares, “Now you are the Body of Christ, and each of you is a part of it.”

Let me conclude with three specific things the church needs to understand:

  1. No Individual Christian Can Function Effectively by Himself.
  2. No Member of Christ’s Body Should Feel He is More or Less Important Than Any Other Member of That Body.
  3. All Christians Should Work Diligently to Create Unity in the Body of Christ.

There is no difficulty that enough Agape will not conquer.  There is no disease that enough Agape will not heal.  There is no door that enough Agape will not open.  There is no gulf that enough Agape will not bridge.  There is no wall that enough Agape will not pull down.  There is no sin that enough Agape will not redeem. 

Love defeats the devil-like nothing else will or can.  So, as you put on love and walk out into your world today, go with God and He will go with you. 

Blessings abundantly are my desire and prayer!

BROUGHT OUT OF NOTHINGNESS TO PLENTY…


2 Samuel 9:2-5 – “2 And there was a servant of the house of Saul whose name was Ziba. So when they had called him to David, the king said to him, “Are you Ziba?” He said, “At your service!”  3 Then the king said, “Is there not still someone of the house of Saul, to whom I may show the kindness of God?” And Ziba said to the king, “There is still a son of Jonathan who is lame in his feet.” 4 So the king said to him, “Where is he?”  And Ziba said to the king, “Indeed he is in the house of Machir the son of Ammiel, in Lo Debar.”  5 Then King David sent and brought him out of the house of Machir the son of Ammiel, from Lo Debar.”  NKJV

Here is a beautiful picture, that I suggest is an example of the ministry of our Lord Jesus for all who are ‘weary and heavy laden’ and lonely and living in lack.  The servant of Saul’s house informed the king that there was a descendant of Jonathan, Saul’s son.  The descendant, Mephibosheth was lame and unable to fully care for himself.  David sought to demonstrate kindness in fulfillment of his promise to Jonathan and his honoring of the fact that Saul had been God’s anointed leader. 

Where Mephibosheth was dwelling is of importance it was Lo Debar or Lodebar which means “a place of no pasture” and indicates ‘loneliness and lack’.  Some historical suggestions are that this city was a forgotten place where those dwelling there were largely the outcasts of society ignored by those outside.  It was a PLACE OF LONELINESS!

David sought out Mephibosheth and that is exactly what our Lord does for us.  He has sought us and seeks us out to restore us and bring us out of our Lo Debar.  I love the words of David to Mephibosheth when he was brought before the king.  David called to him calling him by name and Mephibosheth responded, no doubt with trepidation and trembling for kings in those times usually executed the surviving members of families of prior kingdoms. 

David immediately said, “Do not fear, for I will surely show you kindness for Jonathan your father’s sake and will restore to you all the land of Saul your grandfather; you shall eat bread at my table continually.”  WOW!  Did you hear that?  I am going to show you ‘checed’ or kindness.  That’s what God does for us.  Then he said, I am going to restore to you all the lands of your grandfather.  God is a God of Restoration and will restore all that has been stolen from us.  Then, he said, “…you shall eat bread at my table continually.”  HALLELUJAH!  We have a seat at the Master’s Table CONTINUALLY!

I don’t know what you are now experiencing or have been experiencing.  I don’t know if you are in a state of loneliness and lack but I know the Lord’s Promise and heart for you.  Remember Jesus’ words in Luke 12:32, “Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.”  In Matthew 6, Jesus spoke to the disciples and followers and to all of us now assuring us that WE DO NOT HAVE TO WORRY! 

Jesus uses the illustration of flowers and their beauty and the grass of the field that is temporary but clothed in majesty by the creator to remind us that if God takes that kind of interest in grass what will he do for His children.  Then in Matthew 6:33 we come to a most powerful word for God, “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.”  As the song says, “I don’t worry, I don’t fret, God’s isn’t finished with me yet.” 

You may be in a place of no pasture, feeling a castaway and forgotten by society but God has not forgotten you and will bring you out of nothingness to plenty.  Just lift up your heads and lift up your eyes knowing your redemption is near!

God bless you as you embark on today’s leg of life’s journey.