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Tag Archives: grace

We Love Because God First Loved Us

Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love. God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins. Beloved, since God loved us so much, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God lives in us, and his love is perfected in us. By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and do testify that the Father has sent his Son as the Savior of the world. God abides in those who confess that Jesus is the Son of God, and they abide in God. So we have known and believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God, and God abides in them. Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness on the day of judgment, because as he is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear; for fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not reached perfection in love. We love because he first loved us. Those who say, “I love God,” and hate their brothers or sisters, are liars; for those who do not love a brother or sister whom they have seen, cannot love God whom they have not seen. The commandment we have from him is this: those who love God must love their brothers and sisters also. (1 John 4:7-21, NRSV)

We love God because He first loved us. We can not love if God does not live in us.

And we need to love people as God loved us. Where we are and how we are. So many of u feel we need to hide our true selves and make others happy. But here is the thing, God created us as we are and that is hwo we need to be. And we love because He loved us as He created us.

So live the love God gave you in everything you do. And allow the world to be changed through your giving of His Grace to the world.

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Pressing toward the Goal

Not that I have already obtained this or have already reached the goal; but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Beloved, I do not consider that I have made it my own; but this one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus. Let those of us then who are mature be of the same mind; and if you think differently about anything, this too God will reveal to you. Only let us hold fast to what we have attained. Brothers and sisters, join in imitating me, and observe those who live according to the example you have in us. For many live as enemies of the cross of Christ; I have often told you of them, and now I tell you even with tears. Their end is destruction; their god is the belly; and their glory is in their shame; their minds are set on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven, and it is from there that we are expecting a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. He will transform the body of our humiliation that it may be conformed to the body of his glory, by the power that also enables him to make all things subject to himself. Therefore, my brothers and sisters, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm in the Lord in this way, my beloved. (Philippians 3:12-4:1, NRSV)

Paul continues here telling the Philippians to not worry about the past. To not let past hang-ups or faults get in the way of what God is doing in your life.

You see we have to press forward. We can not stay stuck on the muck and mire we find our selves in but we have to press on towards the goal and the upward call of Jesus. For if we stay we wind up like the enemies of the cross whose god is their belly, feeding their desires and needs now. But God has called us to a higher understanding and calls us to walk with Him and to press forward sharing His love, grace, and mercy everywhere we go.

So press on and know that He is with you giving you strength.

 

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Jesus Foretells Peter’s Denial

Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, where are you going?” Jesus answered, “Where I am going, you cannot follow me now; but you will follow afterward.” Peter said to him, “Lord, why can I not follow you now? I will lay down my life for you.” Jesus answered, “Will you lay down your life for me? Very truly, I tell you, before the cock crows, you will have denied me three times. (John 13:36-38, NRSV)

Aren’t we all like Peter?

We are ready to lay down our lives for Jesus. We are ready to go the distance.

Isn’t it good that Jesus really knows us better than we know ourselves?

He knows how we will fall short, even when we have the best intentions, we will not quite measure up.

We are so close, yet oh so far away…

But thankfully God loves us even though we fall short.

So be like Peter. And try as hard as you can, knowing that God will pick you up when you fall.

 

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Rivers of Living Water

On the last day of the festival, the great day, while Jesus was standing there, he cried out, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me, and let the one who believes in me drink. As the scripture has said, ‘Out of the believer’s heart shall flow rivers of living water.’” Now he said this about the Spirit, which believers in him were to receive; for as yet there was no Spirit, because Jesus was not yet glorified. (John 7:37-39, NRSV)

Have you ever been really thirsty? Like you would drink water out of a mud puddle kind of thirsty?

Jesus said out of believer’s hearts would flow living water, and whomever drank this living water would never be thirsty.

Jesus will or has given us the Spirit and through the Spirit we are connected to God and through us God’s grace and mercy flows as a never-ending river.

Allow God to spray the world through you!

 

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The Vision of the New Temple

Then he measured the gate of the outer court that faced north—its depth and width. Its recesses, three on either side, and its pilasters and its vestibule were of the same size as those of the first gate; its depth was fifty cubits, and its width twenty-five cubits. Its windows, its vestibule, and its palm trees were of the same size as those of the gate that faced toward the east. Seven steps led up to it; and its vestibule was on the inside. Opposite the gate on the north, as on the east, was a gate to the inner court; he measured from gate to gate, one hundred cubits. Then he led me toward the south, and there was a gate on the south; and he measured its pilasters and its vestibule; they had the same dimensions as the others. There were windows all around in it and in its vestibule, like the windows of the others; its depth was fifty cubits, and its width twenty-five cubits. There were seven steps leading up to it; its vestibule was on the inside. It had palm trees on its pilasters, one on either side. There was a gate on the south of the inner court; and he measured from gate to gate toward the south, one hundred cubits. Then he brought me to the inner court by the south gate, and he measured the south gate; it was of the same dimensions as the others. Its recesses, its pilasters, and its vestibule were of the same size as the others; and there were windows all around in it and in its vestibule; its depth was fifty cubits, and its width twenty-five cubits. There were vestibules all around, twenty-five cubits deep and five cubits wide. Its vestibule faced the outer court, and palm trees were on its pilasters, and its stairway had eight steps. Then he brought me to the inner court on the east side, and he measured the gate; it was of the same size as the others. Its recesses, its pilasters, and its vestibule were of the same dimensions as the others; and there were windows all around in it and in its vestibule; its depth was fifty cubits, and its width twenty-five cubits. Its vestibule faced the outer court, and it had palm trees on its pilasters, on either side; and its stairway had eight steps. Then he brought me to the north gate, and he measured it; it had the same dimensions as the others. Its recesses, its pilasters, and its vestibule were of the same size as the others; and it had windows all around. Its depth was fifty cubits, and its width twenty-five cubits. Its vestibule faced the outer court, and it had palm trees on its pilasters, on either side; and its stairway had eight steps. (Ezekiel 40:20-37, NRSV)

The temple of God is very symmetrical. Things in God’s Kingdom line up and are equal. Unlike our world, where things get messy and are not always equal.

How is God calling you to help make things equal in our world?

How can God work through your life to bring equality to the world you live in?

Are you open to the coming baby in the manger to use your life to show His peace, mercy, and grace to the world in which you live?

 

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A Warning of Destruction of Jerusalem

The oracle concerning the valley of vision. What do you mean that you have gone up, all of you, to the housetops, you that are full of shoutings, tumultuous city, exultant town? Your slain are not slain by the sword, nor are they dead in battle. Your rulers have all fled together; they were captured without the use of a bow. All of you who were found were captured, though they had fled far away. Therefore I said: Look away from me, let me weep bitter tears; do not try to comfort me for the destruction of my beloved people. For the Lord God of hosts has a day of tumult and trampling and confusion in the valley of vision, a battering down of walls and a cry for help to the mountains. Elam bore the quiver with chariots and cavalry, and Kir uncovered the shield. Your choicest valleys were full of chariots, and the cavalry took their stand at the gates. He has taken away the covering of Judah. On that day you looked to the weapons of the House of the Forest, and you saw that there were many breaches in the city of David, and you collected the waters of the lower pool. You counted the houses of Jerusalem, and you broke down the houses to fortify the wall. You made a reservoir between the two walls for the water of the old pool. But you did not look to him who did it, or have regard for him who planned it long ago. In that day the Lord God of hosts called to weeping and mourning, to baldness and putting on sackcloth; but instead there was joy and festivity, killing oxen and slaughtering sheep, eating meat and drinking wine. “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.” The Lord of hosts has revealed himself in my ears: Surely this iniquity will not be forgiven you until you die, says the Lord God of hosts. (Isaiah 22:1-14, NRSV)

We didn’t do anything wrong.

It is someone else’s fault.

Why did the Lord let this happen?

We are good at throwing off blame, the only problem with that is, well one of the problems with that is, that if you always blame someone else, there is no room fro you to change anything about the situation. If you have nothing to do with it then anything you do will not change the situation.

God will not allow His people to blame others, or to live in lives that seem to be perfect.

I have a book on my shelf in my office called No Perfect People Allowed. It is a great book about a messed up church and that is us.

We need to allow God to work in and through our lives. Not to make us perfect, but to allow His perfect love to shine through us.

Don’t go down for the fall and destruction, but allow God to love you and shine through you.

 

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BUT…

For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, despicable, hating one another. But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of any works of righteousness that we had done, but according to his mercy, through the water of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit. This Spirit he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. (Titus 3:3-7, NRSV)

We were once lost, foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to our own passions and pleasure.

Then God came and saved us from ourselves.

We were once all separated from God BUT then God came in and saved us.

Always remember don’t put a period where God puts a comma…

 

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