Archive for January, 2013

The Power of Love

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Daily God Walk for Thursday, January 31, 2013
I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together will all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge – that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. – Ephesians 3:17-20

Paul had a special love for the believers that he had ministered to over the years, and the church at Ephesus was special to him. In chapter one his prayer is they would have a spirit of wisdom and revelation, that they would know the hope to which they were called, their inheritance in Christ and the incomparably great power God had given them.
In chapter three he offers another prayer. This prayer is that these strong believers would be rooted and established in love and they would realize how wide, how long, how high and how deep is the love Christ. Oh, that today we could fully grasp how great is the love God has for us.
Paul often spoke of God in us as our heritage in Christ. In Colossians 1:27 he calls this the great mystery and the hope of glory. In our passage today he links love to being filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
A measure of being mature in Christ is the degree to which his love controls our life. In chapter four of this book Paul speaks of spiritual leaders bringing the body to unity and maturity and thereby gaining the full measure of the fullness of Christ.
As we grow in love we grow in maturity until we reach the fullness of the measure of God in us. It should be our prayer that God grant us the grace to grow in his love.

Prayer: Lord, help me to be fully surrendered to your love that I may grow in maturity and to the fullness of the measure of Christ in me. In Jesus name, amen.

Has this post blessed you? Do you agree with the message of this post? What is your understanding of “The Call to Selfless Love” as explained here? I would like to know your views. Do you have an interesting story that demonstrates the point? We would like to hear it. Please leave a comment that will help us to understand your perspective.

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Love the Truth

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Daily God Walk for Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Buy the truth and do not sell it; get wisdom, discipline and understanding. – Proverbs 23:23

Pilate, with Jesus standing before, asked the question multitudes have been asking for centuries, “What is truth?” And, just like Pilate, the multitudes are not as interested in the truth as they are in figuring out a way to protect themselves.
I ask the question: What is truth? Truth is the absence of falsehood. It is the factual representation of the way something really is. In reference to God it is the actual and factual revelation of himself.
The psalmist declared, “The law from your mouth is more precious to me than thousands of pieces of silver and gold” (Psalm 119:72). When we treasure God’s truth more than the riches of this world we will begin to understand his truth.
Jesus had just told his disciples that he was going away, but he would come back and get them. He then said, “You know the way to the place where I am going.”
Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?”
Jesus answered Thomas with a revelation that has been a standard to the Christian faith ever since. Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”(John 14:3-6)
Christ is the ultimate truth, the epitome of God’s revelation of himself. The only way to the Father is through Jesus the Christ. The only way to the life the Father offers is through Jesus the Christ. Jesus is the truth manifest.

Prayer: Thank you for showing the way to truth and giving us your life – everlasting life. Amen.

Has this post blessed you? Do you agree with the message of this post? What is your understanding of “The Call to Selfless Love” as explained here? I would like to know your views. Do you have an interesting story that demonstrates the point? We would like to hear it. Please leave a comment that will help us to understand your perspective.

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The Fruit of the Spirit is Love

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Daily God Walk for Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The fruit of the Spirit is Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. – Galatians 5:22-23

When we think of the source of fruit we think of a fruit tree, or a berry vine. The picture we get from this passage in Galatians is a tree called Spirit which is bearing certain fruit. We call it “fruit of the Spirit.”
This fruit of the Spirit is much different than the fruit of a normal human life. The first fruit mentioned is love. The Greek word translated love is agape. This is a word that is unique to Scripture, it is not found anywhere else in Greek literature.
Agape is used in reference to the special kind of love which comes from God. In Scripture it is used relationship between the Father and the Son, Between Christ and his church, and between believers.
This fruit of the Spirit, love, agape, flows naturally from those who are born of the Spirit and walk in the Spirit. This love gives beyond what is reasonable, as in the example we are given in John 3:16, “For God so loved (agape) the world that he gave his only begotten son that whoever believes upon would not perish but have everlasting life.”
Sometimes it is hard to love those closest to us and it is even harder to love those who persecute us and misuse us. It is downright impossible to love our enemies, yet we are called to do just that. How are we to do that?
It is the Spirit in us that loves the unlovely. When we are truly living in the Spirit He loves through us. I suppose a true test of whether we are living in the Spirit is to do a love check-up. Do you love as God loves?

Prayer: Lord, grant me the grace of being saturated, baptized, with agape love. In Jesus name, amen.

Has this post blessed you? Do you agree with the message of this post? What is your understanding of “The Call to Selfless Love” as explained here? I would like to know your views. Do you have an interesting story that demonstrates the point? We would like to hear it. Please leave a comment that will help us to understand your perspective.

Would you like a free book of devotions for the entire month of January? Find out how at http://www.biblestudydevotions.com/devotional.html

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The Call to Selfless Love

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Daily God Walk for Monday, January 28, 2013

The Call to Selfless Love
Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you truly love me?” He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.” – John 21:16

Peter had failed Jesus. Jesus had told him that before the rooster crowed declaring the morning had come he would deny Christ three times. Just as he denied Jesus for the third time the rooster crowed and Peter was immediately overcome with shame and guilt.
He was still hurting over his failure when he said to his fellow disciples, “I’m going fishing, anyone want to go?” So they all went out and fished all night, but they caught nothing.
Then Jesus called to them from the shore and told them to throw their nets out one more time. When they did they caught an abundance of fish.
Later, sitting around a morning fire eating the fish they had just caught Jesus asked Peter, “Do you truly love me?” “You know I do,” Peter responded. Then Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.” It was no coincidence that Peter denied Christ three times and Jesus asked him affirm his love three times.
Three times he asked him, three times Peter responded that he did, and three times Jesus called him to a commitment to serve. Jesus seemed to be teaching Peter that love is more than an emotion – it is a commitment to a principle that is greater than ourselves.
Declaring our love for God is not enough. We must show our love by being committed to serving God and others. We should all examine ourselves to see if our love of God is about what God can do for us or about what we can do for him. Something to think about.

Prayer: Lord, help me to love you and service in the kingdom in the selfless way you love me. In Jesus name, amen.

Has this post blessed you? Do you agree with the message of this post? What is your understanding of “The Call to Selfless Love” as explained here? I would like to know your views. Do you have an interesting story that demonstrates the point? We would like to hear it. Please leave a comment that will help us to understand your perspective.

Would you like a free book of devotions for the entire month of January? Find out how at http://www.biblestudydevotions.com/devotional.html

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The Love Triangle

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Daily God Walk for Sunday, January 27, 2013

The Love Triangle
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. – 1 Corinthians 13:13

When we think of a love triangle we usually think of an unhealthy relationship getting ready to explode. This devotion is not about that kind of triangle. It is about three components to a healthy Christian walk.
Faith, hope and love are as connected as the three sides to a triangle, and each is integral to the other. When Paul had finished instructing about the importance of love in the life of a believer he concludes with this summary: “And now these three remain; faith, hope and love.”
Our relationship with God begins by hearing, hearing leads to believing and believing leads to faith. Faith then is spurred on by hope. Faith is valueless if it is not accompanied by hope.
Faith is the motor which drives hope and hope is the tool which releases love. It is possible to have faith and hope without love, we see that often shown in despotic leaders of nations and people – but it is impossible to have true faith in God and hope in his promises without having his love released into our hearts.
James says, “Show me your faith without deeds and I will show you my faith by what I do” (James 2:18). My question is this: What was driving James to do good deeds? It was the love which accompanies faith and hope.
Here is my question to you: Does your faith and hope produce love for others? What is the expression of that love in your lifestyle? Faith and Hope produce a love driven purpose for our lives.

Prayer: Lord, help me to allow my faith and hope to be driven by your love. I don’t want to be a two sided triangle. Release your love into my heart. In Jesus name.

Has this post blessed you? Do you agree with the message of this post? What is your understanding of “The Love Triangle” as explained here? I would like to know your views. Please leave a comment that will help us to understand your perspective.

Would you like a free book of devotions for the entire month of January? Find out how at http://www.biblestudydevotions.com/devotional.html

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Love Him and Trust Him

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Daily God Walk for Saturday, January 26, 2013

Love Him and Trust Him

Many are the woes of the wicked, but the Lord’s unfailing love surrounds the man who trusts in him. – Psalm 32:10

I have done some thinking along the way concerning the relationship between God and man. In the beginning there was perfect love, perfect unity and perfect trust. Then, a seed of doubt was sown by the evil one and man began to question God.
Man failed the trust test when he listened to the evil one. Even though man failed the test, God still loved him and has since that time shaken heaven and earth calling man back into loving a and trusting relationship.
When man failed the test of trust he lost much. He lost eternal life and he lost his home in the garden God had made for him. Among his greatest losses was the peace of God. Man has been trying to find that peace ever since.
It is only when we return to trust God and His love for us that we can truly know peace. The Scripture says, “You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you” (Isaiah 26:3). The peace of God is given to those who will love him and trust him.
The book of Proverbs tells us that, “Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe” (Proverbs 29:25). I have tried trusting man and the problem with that is even the best of men tend to fail the trust test at some point, but God never fails.
Love him, trust him, and He will wrap his loving arms around you and keep you safe in the midst of all that life throws at you.

Prayer: Lord, grant me the grace to love you and to trust you so that you may wrap your loving arms around me and make me secure in the trials of my life. In Jesus name, amen.

Has this post blessed you? Do you agree with the message of this post? What is your understanding of what it means to “Love Him and Trust Him?” I would like to know it. Please leave a comment that will help us to understand your perspective.

Would you like a free book of devotions for the entire month of January? Find out how at http://www.biblestudydevotions.com/devotional.html

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Love Yourself

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Daily God Walk for Friday, January 25, 2013

Love Yourself

Jesus replied, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. – Matthew 22:37-39

In this interesting passage Jesus gives three objects of love: God, neighbor and self. We have often emphasized loving God, and that is a correct understanding of this passage. We have also emphasized loving our neighbor which is a noble calling.
It is this third object of love that I want to address today. Some have said that we must love ourselves if we are to love our neighbor, and there is some truth to that, but I don’t think that was what Jesus meant.
When Jesus said to loved our neighbor as ourselves his emphasis was on the neighbor, not on ourselves. It was a given that people would love themselves and Jesus was saying that we should give the same respect and consideration to others as we expect to get from them.
It is difficult, though, to love another if we do not have a proper respect for who we are as an individual. Sometimes we lose ourselves in serving and become frustrated with the lack of response by those we are serving and begin to resent what we feel forced to do for them.
That is often what comes from not caring enough about ourselves to keep a balance in our life. Even Jesus had times when he knew he needed to get away to recharge his emotional and spiritual energy.
Don’t be afraid to love yourself – you will serve better.

Prayer: Lord, I need a healthy love for myself so I can serve others in the way you have ordained. Give me wisdom to serve as you served and to retreat when I need it. Amen.

Do you agree with the message of this post? What is your understanding of “Love Yourself?” I would like to know it. Please leave a comment that will help us to understand your perspective.
Would you like a free book of devotions for the entire month of January? Find out how at http://www.biblestudydevotions.com/devotional.html

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Love Those Who Persecute You

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Daily God Walk for Thursday, January 24, 2013

Love Those Who Persecute You
I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? – Matthew 5:44

An order like this cannot be taken seriously if the one who gave it didn’t apply it to his own life. Luke 23:33-35 records, “When they came to the place called the Skull, there they crucified him… Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.’ And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.”
Jesus loved when loving didn’t make sense. He forgave when justice would demand retaliation and revenge. How could he? He could because he was the very embodiment of God. The God who inhabits heaven is the God who was in Christ.
The only way we can truly love those who persecute us and who hurl unmerited insults at us is to be immersed the love of God. It is the God in us who loves those who are not lovely toward us.
Jesus could endure suffering at the hands of his tormentors because he saw beyond himself and saw the kingdom of God.
We must have the same kingdom perspective. When persecuted we must have a kingdom perspective in our response.

Prayer: Lord, help me to have a kingdom perspective and not to respond according to my need but according to the needs of others and according to the effect in the kingdom. Amen.

Do you find it hard to love those who persecute you?It is hard for most of us. Let us know how you handle this command to love those who persecute you. Do you have an interesting story – tell us about it in the comments section.

Would you like a free book of devotions for the entire month of January? Find out how at http://www.biblestudydevotions.com/devotional.html

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Love Your Enemies

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Daily God Walk for Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Love Your Enemies

Love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. – Luke 6:35-36

I think this passage carries this love thing just a little bit too far. Love my enemies? How can they be my enemy if I love them? That is a real conundrum. Can a person really be my enemy if I love him?
That may be the point. Others may want to be my enemy, but we make it very difficult for them when we give them kindness instead of responding to their assaults and insults with the same as they give us.
We can all agree that it is very difficult, if not impossible to love those who treat us as enemies. It looks like that is another point Jesus is making. He is giving us a task that is impossible for us to perform in our own ability just to see if we will trust him to work his will through us.
I don’t know about you, but I find it impossible to love my enemies. At least in my own abilities. So what is Jesus trying to tell us?
If it is impossible to do this in our natural self perhaps Jesus is trying to tell us that we must depend upon the supernatural nature of the Christ in us. If God is love, as it says in 1 John, and if God truly does live in us, then wouldn’t it carry that our new nature, our God-nature, would also be love?
Maybe this whole “love your enemy” thing is a test to see if we are still living in our old nature or if we are living in our new nature. That is something to think about.

Prayer: Lord, all too often I find myself having less than loving affection for my enemies. Grant me the grace of full surrender to your nature so I can fulfill this command of Christ to love my enemies. In Jesus name, amen.
Do you find it easy to love your enemies?It is hard for most of us. Let us know how you handle this command to love your enemies. Do you have an interesting story – tell us about it in the comments section.

Would you like a free book of devotions for the entire month of January? Find out how at http://www.biblestudydevotions.com/devotional.html

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Love Your Spouse

Daily God Walk for Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Love Your Spouse

As the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her. – Ephesians 5:24-25

When two people are joined together in marriage they are to become as one. Physically, they will always be two, but functionally they are one. That means that each is committed to the welfare of the other. Commitment on that level requires selflessness which can only come through love.
Sometimes people get hung up on verse 24, “wives should submit to their husbands” and miss the point. Verse 21 reads, “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” In verses 22-33 he explains what he means.
Here is something we might consider. There are three verses that deal with the wife submitting to the husband, but there are nine verses that deal with how a husband is to love his wife. Isn’t it interesting that it takes three times as much instruction to put a man in his place than it does for a woman? Just a thought.
The point of this passage from v21-33 is submitting to one another. Culturally, the women of that day had been trained in submitting to their husband so little was needed to be said about that. It was different for the husband however. The man was considered to be the hunter, the provider, but that was not thought of as being submitted to the needs of his wife and family, it was just what a man did.
Loving our spouse means that we are committed to their welfare, security and comfort and that applies to both the husband and the wife. A Biblical husband is submitted to the needs of his wife just as the wife is submitted to the needs of her husband. That’s what love is. Love is seeing the needs of my spouse first.

Prayer: Lord, help me to learn the lesson of being submitted to the needs of my spouse . Grant me the grace of agape love toward my spouse and help me to consider her/his welfare, security and comfort. In Jesus name, amen.

Would you like a free book of devotions for the entire month of January? Find out how at http://www.biblestudydevotions.com/devotional.html

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Paul ”Hope Preacher” Smith

Messages of inspiration for the journey of faith

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