April 23, 2017

Acts Of Love

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Sitting at the stoplight
He can’t be bothered by the heart-cry
Written on the cardboard in her hand
But when she looks him in the eye
His heart is broken open wide
And he feels the hand of God reach out through him
As Heaven touches earth

Oh – we bring the Kingdom come
Oh – with every act of love
Jesus, help us carry You
Alive in us, Your light shines through
With every act of love
We bring the Kingdom come

There’s silence at the table
He wants to talk but he’s not able
For all the shame that’s locked him deep inside
But her words are the medicine
When she says they can begin again
And forgiveness will set him free tonight
As Heaven touches earth

God put a million, million doors in the world
For His love to walk through
One of those doors is you
I said, God put a million, million doors in the world
For His love to walk through
One of those doors is you

~  Sing this song with me as our prayer and worship today.  ~

Written by Singer/Songwriter Jason Gray along with Jason Ingram

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Over on our Seeking Him devotional blog, we are just finishing up nine weeks of studying the Beatitudes.  Y’know, the portion of the Sermon on the Mount where Jesus taught the blessing of having certain ‘heart attitudes’ i.e., being meek, having humility, mourning, etc.  This past week, our focus was on Matthew 5:10.

Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

It almost seems that, in this beautiful song, Jason Gray could be offering up a suggestion for an addition to the Beatitudes.  “Blessed are those who do acts of love…for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.”  Living our lives with a heart to carry out acts of love definitely puts us in the category of those who are ‘blessed!’

Let all that you do be done in love.
1 Corinthians 16:14

This verse follows along after the great ‘LOVE’ chapter in 1st Corinthians.  No words minced here:  ‘Let a-l-l. that you do….’  Not some things, not a random act, not one good deed per day—but all that you do.  Whew!  Really?!?  When Paul penned this (inspired by the Holy Spirit…2 Peter 1:21), he wrote all and all was the directive.  And we CAN do this!  Here’s how….

And whatever you do [no matter what it is] in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus and in [dependence upon] His Person, giving praise to God the Father through Him.
Colossians 3:17 AMP

(Thank You, Lord!)  It is not in our own strength but in dependance on Christ Who dwells in us.  Just as our Lord truly did all in love, so can we!  We have the mind of Christ, remember?

But we have the mind of Christ (the Messiah) and do hold the thoughts of His heart.
1 Corinthians 2:16

And so, we determine and choose to live as Jesus did. As Laura reminded us the other day, “WWJD—What Would Jesus Do?”  We are His hands and feet in this world.  No longer does the Savior walk this earth reaching out to and ministering to all those around Him.  Just as Jesus was the physical, living proof of His Father…we can, too!  Remember, Jesus encouraged His disciples that they would be known as His by their love (John 13:35)!  Us, too!!!

No one has ever seen God;
but if we love one another,
God lives in us and His love is made complete in us.
1 John 4:12

And so we should be living our lives with acts of love as the standard, the norm, the given…truly, our hearts’ desire. We have been enabled…we can do this!

Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved,
compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience,
bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other;
as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.
And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.
Colossians 3:12-14 ESV

Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue
but with actions and in truth.
1 John 3:16-18

An act of love can look like oh-so-many different things…

  • to a relative living cross-country, it could be a photo montage of your kiddos latest antics…
  • to the elderly widower who around the corner, it could an invitation to have supper with your family…
  • to the crossing guard who is there every morning and every afternoon to guide the kids across the busy city street, it could be a cup of hot coffee…
  • to another mom sitting watching tee-ball practice, it could be a listening ear…
  • to your super-tired hubby who has worked extra late for the third-night-in-a-row, it could be some freshly baked cookies and a shoulder rub…
  • to the friend anticipating another round of chemo, it could be the promise of going and sitting with them during that time….

You get the picture. It is not in the bigness nor the smallness of the act…it is being Jesus’ hands and feet.  It is loving with His love!

“God put a million doors in the world
For His love to walk through
One of those doors is you”

Jesus our Messiah was THE Door (John 10)…the Way, the only Way, to the Father.

May we, as He was, be a door for others to walk through to reach God’s love.

CHRISTLife — FORTY: Embracing A Glorious Future

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What an opportunity, privilege, and awakening we have experienced in the last 39 days of this study.  We have been made aware again, or perhaps for the first time, that God created us because He loves us.  He created us on purpose to have a relationship and fellowship with Him.  We didn’t come crawling out of some swampland.  We came out of His heart.

We discovered that the ideal mirror to look into is not our bathroom mirror but the mirror of God’s Word, which is His Truth and His Love.  It is the “reliable, unchangeable grounds for accepting ourselves.” (Ruth Myers)

How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!

1 John 3:1

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Yes, we each came into this study with images of ourselves influenced by our past; many of those were negative experiences, failures, and hurts.  But God chose this time, this study, and each of us to destroy those images and replace them with His image of us from His Word, transforming our minds to line up with His mind.

Do not conform any longer to the pattern  of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.

Romans 12:2

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For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

2 Corinthians 10:3-5

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But we have the mind of Christ.

1 Corinthians 2:16

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Through this study we have begun to recognize and accept God’s description of us, His followers.  We “have chosen the way of Truth” (Psalm 119:30, NKJV).  I flipped back through the book, CHRISTLife, and was blessed to read again what God calls us:

created, child of God, daughter, called, chosen, loved, saved, sanctified, desired, beloved’s, bride, quilt-free, blessed, clean, redeemed, forgiven, righteous, purified, justified, alive, alert, new, holy, victorious, obedient, Christ-like, delivered, united, fruitful, transformed, temple, priest(ess), filled, complete, receiver, empowered, strong, enlightened, belong, accepted, approved, friend, citizen, servant, worshiper, worthy, delighted in, favored, honored, royal, nurtured, satisfied, secure, treasured, competent, beautiful, bold, confident, overcomer, anointed, purposeful, witness…and more!

Wow!  After reading those I’m breaking out into a little song and dance—what about you!?  Those affirmations fill me with hope, and confidence for now and for my future. As Ruth Myers said, “In God’s unlimited view, He sees our increasing glory as His Spirit transforms us into finished works of art.”

…Being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

Philippians 1:6

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Ladies, these “works of art” (us!) weren’t created to hang on some museum wall and gather dust.  We weren’t even created to walk this dusty earth forever.  Oh no, God has created us for purpose: “’For I know the plans I have for you,’” declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future’” (Jeremiah 29:11).  Our hope will be complete when we meet Jesus face to face (Isaiah 33:17).   Our future will be for all eternity, worshiping and serving in the presence of our King of kings and Lord of lords (Revelation 1:5-6).

Time after time in the Scriptures, God shares His desire and plan for us to spend eternity with Him in Heaven.  Here are just a few passages for you to look up as you study today:

John 3:14-17, 17:2-3
Psalm 16:11
Romans 6:22-23
1 Timothy 6:12
Titus 1:2, 3:4-7
1 John 1:2, 2:25
Jude 1:21
Revelation 3:5

Ecclesiastes 3:11 even tells us that He has set eternity in the hearts of men, even though we can’t fathom everything He has done for us.  God loves us, God has chosen us, God planned from before time began for us to spend eternity with Him.  That desire is in His heart, and He placed it in our hearts—and Jesus went to prepare a place for us (John 14:1-4).

If you have given your heart to Jesus, then you have everything you need to spend a glorious future in the very presence of our Triune God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  It’s time to embrace your true and deepest identity, for “God is the strength of your heart and your portion forever” (Psalm 73:26).   “I AM Who God Says I Am!”

What a day that will be,
When my Jesus I shall see,
And I look upon His face,
The One who saved me by His grace;
When He takes me by the hand,
And leads me through the Promised Land,
What a day, glorious day that will be.

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Dear Lord, we have completed the study of this book, but I pray that we never stop studying from Your Book what You have to say to us and about us.  Thank You for loving us and choosing us to be Your children so that we can spend both here and in Heaven a glorious future with You.  I pray that You, the God of peace, will sanctify each lady in this study through and through.  May their whole spirit, soul, and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.   The One who “…calls each of us is faithful, and He will do it”(1 Thessalonians 5:23-24).  I pray this in Jesus’ Name, Amen.