Love

     God sends us into the world with a trunk full of love to give to others. We are to dip into that trunk and scatter love to everyone we meet. That love takes the form of listening, sharing, caring, forgiving and some occasional foot-washing.
     Our trunk has compartments that contain an inexhaustible amount of all forms of love. He also gives us the wisdom to use the most effective form of love with each individual we meet. With the help of the Holy Spirit we can match each recipient with the proper form of love at the appropriate time. 
     When I find myself running low on the motivational drive to be a "love scatterer" I must remember how empty my trunk was before He filled it, how small was (is) my qualification to be a receiver of such love and how much better my life is now because of that love.

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     The Bible is a love story...not a romance, but a love story none-the-less. It is a story of love freely offered, but often rejected. In the cases where that love was accepted the result was wonderful loyalty, joy and power in each individual's life.
     It is a love story featuring you and me, just as much as Biblical characters.

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     I have grown up with the idea that as Christians we should "Love the things God loves and hate the things God hates."  I think "...and with the same intensity" should be added. This may be an accurate summary statement of being and living as a Christian.
     It seems lately that the intensity of our hating is much greater than the intensity of our loving.

Christian Repentance

Public repentance (which preachers often call for from the pulpit) may be more difficult for a Christian than for an unsaved person. This is especially true when that sin was something that directly damaged another person. Such behaviors include adultery, character assassination, robbery and fraud.

A Christian is usually aware an action is sinful before he does it, but he still chooses to do it. He ignores God’s teaching. He knowingly breaks God’s laws. On the other hand, the unsaved may not have been aware of God’s prohibition of a specific action. He had no moral compass to ignore. He can often truthfully say “I did not know it was wrong.”

When the Christian faces his sin He must say “Forgive me, Father. I knew I was sinning and I did it anyway.”  The unsaved can approach God with “Forgive me. At the time I really did not know I was sinning.”

A Christian is likely to face public embarrassment in his social circle when he confesses and repents. The unsaved person faces no such condemnation from his friends because to them he was only doing as expected.

Our prior knowledge of good and evil may make repentance after salvation more difficult than our original repentance at the time of our salvation. If we had assurance from fellow Christians that they would be as forgiving and accepting as our Father, repentance would be much easier.

Jesus accepts us each time we return to Him and acknowledge our sins. He instructs us to accept our brothers and sisters just as quickly and completely. He will give us the ability to do so as we lean on Him.

My Provision and Protection

Because Jesus is my protector and provider I will always have all I need.

He provides me with food and shelter. When I am discouraged and frightened He calms and comforts me.

He shows me how to behave in ways that honor Him.

Even in the scariest of times I am not afraid of Satan because Jesus has the power to keep me safe.

He provides times of celebration for me and my family. I can’t even count all the ways He blesses me.

I know such love will continue throughout all my life and I will be with Him in heaven forever.

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In Luke 6:31 Jesus gave us the guiding standard for living a life that pleases Him. If we expand the principle He expressed we will smile at others the way we would like to be smiled at, listen to others the way we would like to be listened to, share with others the way we would like others to share with us, talk to others the way we would like others to talk to us, visit with others the way we would like them to visit with us, encourage others the way we would like them to encourage us, and love others the way we would like for them to love us.

Bits & Pieces, Odds & Ends – 4

For forty years the Hebrew people had to go out each morning (accept on the Sabbath) and gather their food for the day. This is a reminder to me to spend time each morning allowing myself to feel God’s Spirit, become more grateful for His blessings and fully understand my assignments for the day.

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“I will set nothing wicked before my eyes… I will not know wickedness.” Psalm 101:3-4) Avoiding temptations is largely my responsibility. I am to take specific steps to avoid being tempted. If I ask the Holy Spirit He will help me, but the resolve to avoid sin and sin-inducing situations is up to me.

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I tend to want to live in “hallelujah” territory and remember that the “whosoever” of John 3:16 includes me. But I want to ignore “I’m sorry” territory and forget that the “all” of Romans 3:23 also includes me.

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Immanuel… God with me. Impossible! Incomprehensible! Outrageous! Wonderful! Unbelievable! The God who imagined and created and understands and controls all the universe has chosen to be with me – to love and value me. This has to be the greatest miracle of all time!!!

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Jesus said “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me… and you will find rest…” (Matthew 11:29) What is His “yoke?” I think it is concern, sympathy and love for others. (Can I learn such feelings?) Whatever it is, I will rest when I accept it and wear it. I think wearing it allows me to learn some things I cannot learn any other way.