God’s Love Comes First

God’s power has given us everything we need for life and godliness, through our knowing the One who called us to his own glory and goodness. By these he has given us valuable and superlatively great promises, so that through them you might come to share in God’s nature and escape the corruption which evil desires have brought into the world. For this very reason, try your hardest to furnish your faith with goodness, goodness with knowledge, knowledge with self-control, self-control with perseverance, perseverance with godliness, godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if you have these qualities in abundance, they keep you from being barren and unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Yeshua the Messiah. Indeed, whoever lacks them is blind, so shortsighted that he forgets that his past sins have been washed away. Therefore, brothers, try even harder to make your being called and chosen a certainty. For if you keep doing this, you will never stumble. Thus you will be generously supplied with everything you need to enter the eternal Kingdom of our Lord and Deliverer, Yeshua the Messiah. – 2 Peter 3-11
 Because God created us, He loves us. It is unconditional love from the Father but since we became separated from God, we have to go through a process in order to love Him. Think of the time you met the person you fell in in love with. The feeling of love was not immediate but there was an attraction, a feeling of needing to get to know the other person better. Once you got to know each other then friendship, knowledge, trust, deeper affections, belonging, and finally love grew.

 You see we need these things to build a relationship because we have a block called sin which stands in the way of true knowledge of God’s Love. This block causes us to sometimes mistake one feeling for another or the difference between truth and sin. In truth, we are filled with God’s love and our original nature has deep love for Him but because of our human nature we have issues of acceptance. 

All we need is God’s love but He desires us to love Him back. Just because He loves us does not mean we are good to go once we accept Him, we must abide in Him. Remember Jesus told the adult rest to go and sin no more, that was not just for her own hearing or a quick lesson in God’s compassionate forgiveness. He flat out says, once you accept me, show the same love for Me that I have for you. 

 In other words, be faithful to Him as He has faith in us. This faith grows in the desire to please Him by doing good and worshipping only Him. Having the self control to abide in His Word forsaking the desire to fall because of temptation, striving to be better and gaining the knowledge, trust, and desire to finally understand and feel the embrace of God’s love. 

Remember that commercial where people stood behind a big x-ray screen which showed different levels of love then also added in the sin that God abhors? They advertised the idea that love is love but it is not. One must be able to recognize the difference. This world is not meant for the sinfulness and things that go against God’s natural order of things. 

So yes, the idea of all we need is love is correct but not the way that most of the world now sees it. For most have made evil seem good and good is now evil. Human kindness and love for our fellow man comes with much baggage that all must work through. Showing God’s love is of upmost importance and should outweigh the human misinterpretation that has occurred. 

Remain faithful and remember that God’s love is kind of like roses and chocolate. We must recognize and dull the thorns while sweetening  the bitterness with His Word so that we can experience and share Him with the world as He commands us to do.   

 

Make A Joyful Noise

Sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs to each other; sing to the Lord and make music in your heart to him; always give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Yeshua the Messiah. – Ephesians 5:19-20

Not everyone received the gift of song, but everyone who has a voice, including those who sign, can make a joyful noise to the Lord. Paul wrote this to the believers in Ephesus to encourage sharing and spreading the good news. David’s worship was through song, instruments, and prayer. The speaking of the Torah was done with tones and not just a monotone speaking Rabbi. We are meant to sing. 

Making music in our hearts means understanding God’s Word and making it sweet to our own hearing so that we never forget who is Lord. God created everything so we thank Him daily for granting us this opportunity to live, learn, and love. He did not create us to waste life completely experiencing only material/worldly things and activities; but to give God glory through doing what He designed us to do and to glorify God in praise and communal worship. Sing to the Father using the whole of our person and the spirit within us will praise God eternally. 

Share Christ today and everyday with the knowledge of His love, not our human understanding but the love of God. Live for Him, Laugh for it raises a healthy spirit, and Love because He first loved us. 

Forgiveness

Forgiveness—what is it? And why is it so important?
The Oxford Dictionary defines forgiveness “as the action or process of forgiving or being forgiven”. To forgive is to “stop feeling angry or resentful toward (someone) for an offense, flaw, or mistake”.
Forgiving does not mean to allow the offender or wrong-doer to continue to do wrong. It is an act of removing that person’s hold on you.
As Christians, we are forgiven. However, that forgiveness comes with a command. As Jesus said during his Sermon on the Mount:
“Our Father, which art in Heaven, Hallowed be Thy Name. Thy Kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever. Amen. For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” Matthew 6:9-15 KJV
I don’t know about you, but I have sinned and will continue to sin. I am human, not perfect. If I go a day without asking for God to forgive me for something, that is a day that I am enslaved to my sin. It is also a day that I have noticed that repeats itself in my mind until I request and receive the forgiveness. God WILL forgive a repentant heart.
Since I know that God will forgive me, how hard is it to forgive others? Extremely. There are people in my past and present that I have had to forgive in stages. Long, repetitious stages. I know that as time passes, the hurt and anger increases. But, I can use the promises of God to make those feelings subside.
“Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost”. Romans 15:13 KJV
“The Lord will give strength unto his people; the Lord will bless his people with peace”. Psalm 29:11 KJV
Now, I could hold a grudge against someone very easily. However, I strongly feel that if I am giving someone that much of my mind and heart, they are ultimately in CONTROL of me. I do not like anyone to have control over me (I’m stubborn that way). God gave me choices, I will use them. I will NOT have anyone else making those choices for me.
That being said, how are those I haven’t forgiven making my choices for me? Until I accept the peace that God provides, that person controls my thoughts and continually brings them back to the wrong. Everything I think about has that person and whatever situation in the forefront. Each decision I make will be second-guessed and bitterness usually prevails.
Bitterness pairs with unforgiveness. When the heart does not have the peace that only God can provide, it harbors ill-will and malice. We often wish for bad things to happen to the one that we haven’t forgiven. This is also not pleasing to God.
“Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you”. Ephesians 4:31-32 NIV
There are numerous verses in the Bible that either tell us that we are forgiven (if we repent) or command us to forgive others.
“Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, ‘Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?’ Jesus answered, ‘I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.’” Matthew 18:21-22 NIV
“And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.” Mark 11:25 NIV
“Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive and you will be forgiven” Luke 6:37 NIV
“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sings psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him”. Colossians 3:12-17 NIV
Brothers and sisters, is there someone that you haven’t forgiven? Are you letting that bitterness control you? Let it go. The forgiveness that you give isn’t for their sake, it’s for yours. Let God’s peace flow through you and feel the release.
–Father, if there is bitterness and unforgiveness in my heart, I ask that you give me the strength to forgive. Lord, guard my thoughts and keep them from resentment and ill-will. Allow me to forgive others as you have forgiven me. Thank You for Your love and grace. In Your Holy and Precious Name, Amen–
May the power and might of our one and only God guide you and protect your heart.
Michelle

Trust In the Lord Alone

There are many things going on in the world today where people are forgetting whom they need to completely put their trust in. Yes we need to have trust within the circle of family and friends but the trust in them is only temporary and earthly. I am not saying that we need to stop trusting in them, not at all because it is an ingredient in the glue that keeps families and friends together. Putting our trust in God will help keep us focused on Him even in our darkest moments when we feel lost in the temptations of this world. David had fallen into many trappings of the Adversary because He did not want us to succeed. David was now an easy target but as we know today even in his darkest times, David knew where to place his ultimate trust. 

Psalm 52:

Why do you boast of your evil, you tyrant, when God’s mercy is present every day? Your tongue, as sharp as a razor, plots destruction and works deception. You love evil more than good, lies rather than speaking uprightly. You love all words that eat people up, you deceitful tongue! This is why God will strike you down, seize you, pluck you from your tent and uproot you from the land of the living. The righteous will see and be awestruck; they will jeer at him, saying, “This fellow would not make God his refuge, but trusted in his own great wealth, relying on his evil plots.” But I am like a leafy olive tree in the house of God; I put my trust in the grace of God forever and ever. I will praise you forever for what you have done, and I will put my hope in your name; for this is what is good in the presence of  your faithful.

The evils of today have taken many forms as we have gone through the many church ages as spoken of in Revelation (not Revelations) and we are nearing the end. The evil that men do will surely be punished in the next world as it is running rampant in this one. In Psalm 52, the Psalmist speaks first of the evil and vile words that come from the mouth of those who do not know or trust in God. They use words of hate, jealousy, and other ungodly behaviors until the person is given his due on the earth by the devil when he is done with him. When the devil or false gods forsake you or do nothing at all for you, then you are truly damned. The only way is to humble yourself and plead forgiveness in this life while also placing your faith and trust in the only one that truly matters, God.

Of course, if it is not a true, sincere, fully humbling (think like how Scrooge changed) change of ways, the chances of eternal redemption are not so good. Those that see others who are not with God or don’t have Jesus (or however you want to put it), need to be mindful not to condemn but at least make known their folly. It may lead to the persons saving grace. Isn’t that where God wants us to put our trust, into His Amazing, Saving Grace?

The person mentioned above placed faith in something less than God. Things less than God (yes that is definitely including ourselves) cannot be feared as much as God can, cannot save you from eternal damnation like God can, and cannot love you as much as God does.   

Brothers and Sisters, the time is quickly approaching where we should be on the watch for the thief in the night. God will not tell us exactly when (even those who think to read the signs have been completely off), but He will tell us when the time comes. With that said, make yourself right with God. Humble yourself, grant God the full access into your heart that He not only desires but deserves because He is our creator/redeemer and not that human made product that lies their lifeless. Give God His Glory, Love As He Loves Us.   

The Benefits of Knowing God

Benefits

The benefits of knowing and loving God who loves us and desires a personal relationship with us is the theme of Psalm 103. The blessings that God grants us have a two- fold meaning. Our love for the Father is a blessing to Him while His love, care, and compassion for His creation are the benefits and blessings He gives us. The biggest benefit is the fact that when we abide by Him (even when we stumble), He showers us with the many facets of His love. As a father cares for his children so God cares for us.
The first twelve verses give a good introduction to the benefits for the righteous. Through Him we are redeemed from the pit, we are showered with His love and mercy, we are forgiven as long as we fear (respect) Him and acknowledge who He is in our lives. As it says in verse twelve, ”As far as the east is from the west, so far does He remove our transgressions from us”.
This seems like we are talking about the current state of the belief that all we have to do is believe, trust, and we are forgiven. It is this but the psalmist does say that we will still be chided for our misdeeds. He provides us with abundance, is decisive in His sharing of benefits, and compassionate when our hearts show and admit our faults with the understanding that we cannot control the temptations in this world.
The next section emphasizes His steadfast love and compassion for those who are and will be His people. The frailty of humankind is understood as these bodies will not last forever and to continue living it must be through the belief, trust, and faith in God. Because He initially created us to be in His image and the greater creation above the angels, God shows more love for us than any other portion of the world. We are created to go beyond the physical realm because of the Spirit within us.
This human frailty is expressed in verses 17and 18 where it is recognized that we are currently not meant to live forever on this earth but while here we must share and spread His righteousness and the benefits that come from the covenant He shares with us. We are His inheritance and to increase it we are required to share Him with our children who will share with their children until the appointed time.
How wonderful it is to understand that we are but like blades of grass that wither in the winter and burn in the summer heat unless we are fertilized and continually nourished through His Word. Though we may have moments where our stalk turns brown, belief and following His Word will make us green again. We are the branch of a the tree of the Word that bears fruit. If we do not take the nourishment then we cannot bear the fruit which is the moving forward of the Word.
The psalm closes with the blessing upon God and those who will do as we are required to do. How do we send blessings to God? Through doing what we are told to do. Through believing, sharing, trusting, giving of ourselves to God so that others may receive the benefits that God has bestowed on those who are His people.
Romans 8 reminds us that Jesus took the guilt of sin from us by taking sin into death so we can live. When we get to heaven and are seated at the judgement, when God pronounces sentence, Jesus will stand in our place because He already has. Isn’t that wonderful news? Why haven’t we been sharing, or better why have they not listened?
Brothers and Sisters, do not waste His benefits on ourselves for an unshared benefit will rot like a fruit never picked or picked and left without partaking of it. Conduct yourselves as the Angel of God (Old Testament form of Jesus) commands of us through His teachings in all of Scripture. Love One another Just as He has Loved us. And finally, be the good soil and grow in His Word.
God’s Love and Blessings
Pastor Rob