Thought For The Week
1 John 4:19
We love because He first loved us.
Being loved unconditionally and forgiven by God, through the free gift of His Son, brings a reconciliation and freedom in Him. His love flows into our lives and then through us to flow into the lives of others around us. Time spent with God daily opens our hearts to be His vessel to put forth a reflection of Him to those around. A verse following states that he who does not love does not know God for God is love. We all fail at times and fall short but daily and consistently let’s askGod to increase His love upon us and through us to love others as well. “Lord, give us Your perspective and help us to be the hands and feet of Christ in a world that needs Your love incredibly. In Jesus Name. Amen.”
“Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”
Have you ever read through the Bible, the gospels, reading just the red, the words of Jesus? The Son of God has authority and his words are vital. Ask God when you read them to give you increased understanding of how to apply it. Here is one example of Jesus’s words in a principal, teaching.
Wesley’s commentary describes it this way: “Into your bosom” [or lap] - Alluding to the mantles the Jews wore, into which a large quantity of corn might be received. With the same measure that ye mete with, it shall be measured to you again - Amazing goodness! So we are permitted even to carve for ourselves! We ourselves are, as it were, to tell God how much mercy he shall show us! And can we be content with less than the very largest measure? Give then to man, what thou designest to receive of God.
In other words, we can all make a difference. Give in mercy, time, finances and more. For with the same measure you use, it will be measured back to you. The context surrounding the verse relates to mercy and relationships though the principle also applies to other areas as well.
Blessings upon blessings to those who bless others much. The reverse could also be said. How good God is to encourage benevolence, mercy and generosity with others and to promise that he will reward us and take care of our needs for it.
Lord, thank you for Your Word. Open our hearts to the ways You desire is to apply it and walk it out this year. Give us courage to stretch and expand the borders of our tent to do Your will.
In Jesus’s words, “Give and it will be given to you.” Give us Your priorities and grace, compassion and sights to see the needs of those around us this season we pray. In Jesus’s Name.
“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
Matthew 6:33-34 NIV
This world is not our home. We are but passing through so our rewards are in heaven. Contentment with godliness is great gain, according to the Word. We can be content and joyful with much or with little; but as our Father in heaven is perfect and knows the needs of His every child, so He knows our needs and the very number of hairs on our head. He calls us to place His kingdom and righteousness before other things, and to watch and trust as a child, that he will fulfill his promise to provide for our needs.
As the Lord’s Prayer teaches us, let’s seek His kingdom first, His priorities; and trust that He will cause all things to work together for good through it and cause all grace to abound to us, so that at all times, in all things, we will have all that we need. Joy comes not from our possessions but from the precious promises of God, from His Presence in the difficulties here and now. And He is the real joy giver. Nothing this world offers is able to bring hope, joy and peace the way following God and placing Him first can, leaning on His Precious Promises... day by day. And yet we continue to grow in it! Pray on. Press on, in prayer and fasting; then watch the Father’s hand work mightily through the days as we persevere in it regularly. Unfolding a work of the Holy Spirit in us and through us to affect those around us with His hope, His mercy and His love... the clouds of heaven opening through prayer, and faith, so others can see the light of God’s goodness for them as well.
Draw us into what you have for us Lord. Give us feet to walk by faith and get out on the water as Peter did, keeping our eyes on you through it all... and let the wind and the waves of this life on earth, calm in Your love and grace. Bring Your healing touch mightily where needed. And comfort us we pray (and those around us) in Your Presence... that others see Your glory. In Jesus’s Precious Name we pray.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” John 3:16-17
In the book of John, when the word believe is used the mean represented in the original language is a faith, believe with feet walking it out as well. It is a belief that results in action. Notice Jesus gave His life for us first even before we took an initiative towards him. He first loved and first gave tha might have life.
Then the very next verse explains that God did not send His Son to bring condemnation on us but rather love and life. He did out of an initiative of love as a good father with his children through unconditional love. It is ours to accept. Ours to take his hands and walk forward with him as our Lord and God. Salvation in the word refers not only to salvation through Christ from our sin but can refer to a broader aspect too. But we know God wants people to realize the greatness of this love and accept the gift he offers freely for any who will receive. We don’t need to be perfect, just willing to accept his gift.
Jesus, we accept your love and gift of loving us first and taking our selfishness on yourself. We ask for forgiveness for selfish ways and being less loving than you made us to be. We ask for your help and a greater understanding of your love for us in Jesus’s Name we pray.
“So the last will be first and the first last.” Matthew 20:16
The Lord told this to the disciples after a parable emphasizing the workers who were hired early in the day were paid the same as the ones who were hired last and throughout the day. The hired servants, paid they were as they had agreed to, but at the end of the day the owner paid them the same for their hard work, laboring in the field, with the sweat of their brow running down, as those who less and even just an hour.
God calls us to faithfulness, to fruitfulness, whether we begin early or late. Our call is the same. And it will be God who decides the reward. Whether we came to Christ early in life or late or began to serve later, the call of God is to be fruitful with what He has given us. Fruitfulness is the call. Faithfulness with obedience step by step. Pray through... abiding through, bearing fruit in every good deed.
Remember.... fruitfulness comes through abiding in Christ. Remaining in His love, Presence, time invested in prayer, His Word, and obedience, serving. And the Lord Jesus gave His life for us, serving, loving and abiding in God through.
Lord. let us apply this daily, to honor You, that You’re Name is raised up and many drawn to the gift of Your wondrous love in Christ! In Jesus‘s Name we pray.
16 So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen.
17 And Jesus going up to Jerusalem took the twelve disciples apart in the way, and said unto them,
18 Behold, we go up to Jerusalem; and the Son of man shall be betrayed unto the chief priests and unto the scribes, and they shall condemn him to death,
19 And shall deliver him to the Gentiles to mock, and to scourge, and to crucify him: and the third day he shall rise again.
“Love the Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your mind, with all your soul and with all your strength. And love your neighbor as yourself.”
Mark 12:30-31 paraphrase
Jesus taught that these two commandments fulfill all of the law and the prophets. Or, to say it another way, all of the law and the prophets hang on these two commandments. To live in unselfishness, in service to one another, laying down our lives for one another. There are different ways to apply it in situations. But love is the key, in our response, in prayer for one another and those in need, in our attitude of selflessness and forgiveness, in our willingness to overlook insults and be a representation of Christ to others anyway. To stand for truth and defend the defenseless. To love is the first and greatest commandment. Loving God first and then loving one another. Let’s look for creative ways to love, to keep God first and to reveal His love to others.
“Lord, grant us wisdom and discerning hearts to apply it rightly we pray, speaking the truth in love daily in Jesus Name.“
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
For all have sinned and fall short of Gods standards for us. We have all broken one or more of the Ten Commandments at times... We have all been selfish at times, and not loved as God calls us to. Yet he gave his Son to pay for our sin if we will believe in Him.
Pardoned from death to life, our sins are washed away by the precious blood of Jesus Christ.
Have you received the gift today? Tell him so. Ie. God, I receive the gift of your Sons payment for my sins. I ask for Your love in and through me in unselfish ways. Help me to live in unselfish and loving ways, as you want me to, I pray. In Jesus Name. Amen.
”You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.” Matthew 5:13
What is salt? It is a mineral and essential to living healthy. Our human bodies need it. Salt is also one of the basic human tastes God designed us with. In fact it is one of the ingredients that makes an inherent different on our enjoyment of food. To live without salt is to live a bland life. Our taste buds may adjust in time, but it is essential to flavoring at restaurants and kitchens everywhere.
We who know Christ understands the correlation. Life without Christ seems better to those who have never tasted and seen that God is good; but we who have the flavor, the aroma of Christ, the Spirit of the living God know there is an incredible difference with Him in our lives.
Salt is most often not visible just by looking at a food, (unless it’s baked on the peels of potatoes in large granules or things of the like); most commonly it mixes in and is not visible. So we must get close to it to taste or notice the difference.
So it is in the world we live. If our lives and homes are so excluded from anyone without Christ, how can we be the salty flavor that God desires?
Many believers have no friends who are not believers some time after becoming followers of Christ. Is this essential or is it merely comfortable? Jesus said, Go into all the world and make disciples. The great commission is flavored with us having an interest, a love and heart to reach and effect a world - lives around us - without a knowledge of the flavor of Christ.
How are we salt in the community we’re in? How can we be? Shut ins can pray mightily for people to come to a saving knowledge of Christ, for divine connections for those who are able to be in the community. We can also pray and ask the Father to give us His heart for people. Phones work well to touch the lives of people, neighbors included. Emails and internet provide possibilities. Visiting a neighbor, asking God to bring connections with who he wants and to push away those he doesn’t. Be a friend. Care. Pray. Fast. And be sensitive to His leading, not just to our comfort zone and ease.
Ask God to lay on your heart ones he desires you to reach with the flavor of Christ. Love, give to the needy, call a lonely friend or visit when able. Help the lady next door with groceries. And pray on for a clearer understanding of the love of God and the gospel in their lives. We can make a difference!
“The Lord is my Light and my Salvation”.
The Lord is our Light when we go forward and can't see the way, out of the places we go.
The Lord is our Salvation, to catch us, hold us up when the drop offs come... the unexpected things.
Through it all, good or bad... Whether it's loss or illness or loneliness, God's Presence is richer than we expect when we come close to a Father in heaven who sees. His comfort is good. His power able and His love unfailing. Come near to Him and reach out to be His hands and feet to those around you.
Fill up with His Presence... and then reach out.
Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. 2 Corinthians 9:6. Niv
The principle of giving applies to all of us, not only monetarily but also monetarily. A way to keep our hearts from the love of money coming before our love for God is by practicing generosity. It keeps our hearts free. And it brings joy to the giver.
"And God is able to bless you abundantly." It also says after this... "You will be enriched in every way..." To open the door for more generosity. And thanksgiving will be given to God!
Let this next year be a year of stepping out in faith to be generous.
"And pray in the Spirit in all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all God's people." Ephesians 6:18 niv
A story I heard of an area in Africa, told the custom of new believers in the area. As new believers they would often use prayer paths through the forest, to spend time in prayer. Each person had their own. And when one path became overgrown and unused, they would gently encourage the person, "Friend, there's grass on your path."
As part of the family of God, we are to lovingly encourage one another to grow up in our life for God. Lovingly. And in a manner that encourages. As the verse says: strengthen weak knees and feeble arms. Hebrews 12:12 niv. We all need encouragement at times. And we all need time spent in prayer, in intimacy with our Father in heaven. Whether it's walking in prayer, sitting, or other ways, let's keep our paths in prayer from being overgrown this coming year. Blessings come through persistence and through loving one another up in God.
But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. Isaiah 40:31. niv
How true it is that our way is not Gods way. Or shall we say His ways are above it ways. Look to God rather than the circumstances, rather than your own failure and frailties. In God we are revived daily. A joy comes to fill our hearts in His Presence. His Presence is worth it all. The hope He gives is above anything the world can give. His joy, the treasures of His Presence are like nothing this world can offer. Through his word, praying and fasting we draw into His Presence into a fullness of life only experienced in the presence of His Spirit. Treasures of hope come when we focus on the One who is able, rather than the challenges that lay in our path day by day.
For He is the Way Maker. He breathes life into dry bones if we allow Him to. He lives to make a way through things that come against us. Keep trusting. Keep plodding. Keep your eyes on Him, the One with whom miracles come in our families, in our lives, even bodies at times. Keep your hope in God my friends.