Posts Tagged ‘love’

God is Love

February 9, 2017

One thing that really bothers me is when I am accused of hate speech.  Because I have the nerve to call something a sin, some people automatically jump to accusations of hate.  This cannot be farther from the truth.  My entire belief system is based on the concept of love.

I.  Believe in God:  Genesis 1:1

 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

Our first challenge is to believe that God exists.  Before there was anything else, there was God.  I believe in God the Creator.  Some people believe that God guided the evolutionary process.  (I think they are wrong!)  The stating point is to recognize the truth of the first four words of the Bible, “In the beginning God”.

The most important thing to know about God, is that He loves us.  John 3:16 is the most well known scripture in the world.

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

God loves us.  If we are having a bad day, thinking about this magnificent truth should help us to feel better.  God does indeed love us.

II.  Love God:  I John 4:7-19

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. 10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.

12 No one has seen God at any time. If we love one another, God abides in us, and His love has been perfected in us. 13 By this we know that we abide in Him, and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit. 14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son as Savior of the world. 15 Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. 16 And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him.

17 Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world. 18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. 19 We love Him because He first loved us.

God is love.  God is not hate.  God loves us and we are to love one another.  There is no room for hate in a Christian’s life.  We are to love God and to love one another.

Love drives out fear.  If we can understand the great love that God has for us, then we will not be afraid.  “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31)

III.  Obey God:  I John 4:20-5:5

If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? 21 And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also.

Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves Him who begot also loves him who is begotten of Him. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and keep His commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome. For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?

If we love God, then we will obey God.  We are able to obey God because we have the Spirit of God in our hearts through our faith in Jesus Christ.  It is not in our own strength, but in the strength that God gives to us.

If we love God, we will also love people.  The commandments of God are based on love for God and love for people, so it will be relatively easy to keep the commandments, because of the love of God in our hearts.

We are able to overcome because of God.  Whatever obstacles we face in this life we know that we do not face them on our own.  “Greater is He who is in us, than he who is in the world”  (I John 4:4)

In the end, it is relatively simply, believe in God, believe in Jesus, love God and love people and obey God in all things.

These are the sermon notes from 2/5/17.  All scripture quotes are from the New King James Version of the Bible.  Any advertisements that might appear are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them.

 

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The Real Christmas Message

December 7, 2016

There are a lot of Christmas movies on television these days.  The vast majority of them are completely missing the mark because they make no mention of Jesus Christ.  He is the real message of Christmas.

I.  God Loves You:  John 3:16-17

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.

This is the basic message that we share with the world.  God loves you.  At Christmas we see the love of God demonstrated through sending His son Jesus to be born of the Virgin Mary at Bethlehem.  We know that Jesus did not come to earth to reign as king, but to be the lamb of God, who would take away the sins of the world.  He did not come to judge the world, but to provide a means of saving the world.

Through Jesus, God offers to us the gift of eternal life.  That is the greatest gift of all!

II.  Turn and Live:  Ezekiel 18:31-32

Cast away from you all the transgressions which you have committed, and get yourselves a new heart and a new spirit. For why should you die, O house of Israel? 32 For I have no pleasure in the death of one who dies,” says the Lord God. “Therefore turn and live!”

A.  Turn

We are called to turn back to God.  We have made wrong choices, wrong decisions and are going the wrong way.  We are called to turn back to God, which is the true meaning of repentance.  Like the prodigal son, we have lost our way, but when we come to our senses and return to our heavenly father, we will find Him waiting for us.

B.  Live

God offers to us a new heart and and new spirit.  God desires that we would turn to Him and live.  I get very upset with people who think that God hates people and that He takes delight in sending them to hell.  God loves us and offers us a new life.  That is our message.  It is not “Turn or burn!” but rather “Turn and Live!”

III.  Born Again:  John 3:1-6

 There was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. This man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, “Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.”

Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?”

Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.

We are born of water, which is a reference to the physical birth.  We also have the offer of a new birth, being born of the Spirit.  These verses are where the concept of being born again originated, although they go along nicely with Ezekiel 18:31-32.

We also read in II Corinthians 5:17:

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.

This is again the message that we share with the world.  II Corinthians 5:20-21

 Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God. 21 For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

With our limited understanding we will never be able to fully appreciate what God did for us through Jesus Christ, but we can believe in His name, and say “Thank you, Jesus!”

IV.  In Our Hearts:  Ephesians 3:14-19

 For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15 from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, 16 that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, 17 that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height— 19 to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

It is from these verses that we can know that Christ can dwell in our hearts through faith.  That is the way that we are born again, when the Spirit of Christ comes into our hearts through our faith in Him.  This faith is a gift from God, by His mercy and His grace.

This gift is offered to us all, but all do not accept it.

Even after Christ dwells in our hearts there is yet more to come.  We grow in our understanding of the love of Christ and are filled with the fullness of God.  This is an ongoing process which God continues to work in us throughout our lives here on earth.

As we grow in our knowledge of the love of God, our lives will become increasingly more what God would desire.  We will be more and more molded into the image of His Son.

Philippians 1:6

being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;

God loves us.

He is at work in us.

He wants to work through us.

That is the real message of Christmas.

These are the sermon notes from 12/4/16.  Any advertisements that might appear are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them.

 

 

A Full Life

November 2, 2016

This past week I was reading the second epistle of John and I was struck by the third verse.

II John v3

 Grace, mercy, and peace will be with you from God the Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in truth and love.

I.  Grace

Grace may be defined as receiving good things from God that we do not deserve, that we have not earned.  They are a gift.  I am reminded of Ephesians 2:8 which tells us that “By grace you are saved…”  God has reached out to us.  If we were left to ourselves, we would be lost in our sins.

I am also reminded of II Corinthians 12:9.

 And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

God’s grace is sufficient for us.  Whatever situation we face, whatever need we might have, God’s grace is sufficient for us.  God will give us what we need to do what He has called us to do.

II.  Mercy

Mercy may be defined as not receiving the punishment that we do deserve.  There are many verses on the mercy of God.  We recognize that we have all sinned and that the wages of sin is death.  However, God is merciful.

Psalms 103:8-14

The Lord is merciful and gracious,
Slow to anger, and abounding in mercy.
He will not always strive with us,
Nor will He keep His anger forever.
10 He has not dealt with us according to our sins,
Nor punished us according to our iniquities.

11 For as the heavens are high above the earth,
So great is His mercy toward those who fear Him;
12 As far as the east is from the west,
So far has He removed our transgressions from us.
13 As a father pities his children,
So the Lord pities those who fear Him.
14 For He knows our frame;
He remembers that we are dust.

On our part, we too, are to be merciful to others.  To not repay evil for evil.  To forgive those who have wronged us.  Even as we have received mercy, we should grant mercy.

III.  Peace

God offers to us a peace that is not dependent on the absence of external conflict.  The peace of God comes from the knowledge that God loves us, cares about us and is able to help us in our times of need.

John 14:27

Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid

IV.  Truth

John 8:31-32

Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. 32 And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”

I am reminded of when Pilate asked Jesus “What is truth?”  I am also reminded of John 14:6 “ Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

If we are seeking truth, and if we are open to it, we  will eventually find God.  Ultimate Truth is found in God.

V.  Love

I John 4:7-11

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. 10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.

As believers we can expect to have lives that are filled with the love of God.  Love that comes from God, and love that is expressed through the people of God.  Of course we are also expected to love God and others in return.

So in this one verse we are reminded that as Christians we should have lives that are filled with grace, mercy, peace, truth and love.  That makes for a full life indeed!

These are the notes from the sermon preached 10/30/16.  Any advertisements that might appear are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them. 

Transformational Love

July 5, 2016

The message today is an odd mixture of fear and hope.  I suppose that is not so strange, there is an ongoing tension between the law and the gospel.

I.  Deny Him:  Tits 1:16

They profess to know God, but in works they deny Him, being abominable, disobedient, and disqualified for every good work.

I wonder how many of the people professing Christianity today could have this statement applied to them?

I wonder how serious is this problem?

Matthew 7:21-23

“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’

This sounds serious to me.  It is made even more serious because the verses here in Matthew sound like they could be applied to Pentecostal pastors.

I am a Pentecostal pastor.

Now, I do not believe for a moment that we earn our salvation by our works.  Salvation is by grace, through faith.  It is a gift from God.

However, a living faith is transformational.  If we have a living faith our lives will be changed.

What sort of changes should take place?

II.  The Works of the Flesh:  Galatians 5:19-21

Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, 21 envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

Now the idea here is not to look at this list and focus on the things that are not a problem for us.  Rather, we look at the list and see if there are areas that need improvement.  We do not excuse our behavior, we repent and ask God help us to change our behavior.  We cannot change on our own, but we are not on our own.  God will help us.

III.  Good Works:  Titus 2:7-8

in all things showing yourself to be a pattern of good works; in doctrine showing integrity, reverence, incorruptibility, sound speech that cannot be condemned, that one who is an opponent may be ashamed, having nothing evil to say of you.

Here is an excellent goal!  We should try to live our lives in such a way that people will have to lie to say something bad.

How do we do this?

IV.  The Fruit of the Spirit:  Galatians 5:22-23

 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.

The Spirit of God is transformational.  The Spirit will transform us from who we were, to the people that we are meant to be in Christ.  This is something that we can offer to the unsaved.  Do people really not want to have love in their lives?  Do they have too much peace in their hearts?  Do they not desire joy?  God offers us these things and so much more.

V.  Focus on Love

A.  Motivated by Love:  I John 5:1-3

Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves Him who begot also loves him who is begotten of Him. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and keep His commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome.

As we grow in our relationship with God, His love transforms us.  We love Him.  We love other people.  We do what is right naturally, because of the love that is in our hearts.

B.  The Source of Love:  I John 4:18-19

 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. 19 We love Him because He first loved us.

We do not have to be afraid.  God loves us.  If we are discouraged or feeling overwhelmed we should stop and focus on the love that God has for us.  The knowledge of that love transforms us.  We love God.  We love other people.  We are strengthened.  We are encouraged.  We are changed.

The love of God is transformational.

These are the sermon notes from 7/3/16.  Any advertisements that might appear are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them. 

 

Love and Peace

March 24, 2016

I am greatly disturbed when I hear people talk about God hating people, or Christians who spew hateful things.  The Christian message is not based on hatred and fear, but on love and peace.

I.  The Goodness of God:  Romans 2:1-4

Therefore you are inexcusable, O man, whoever you are who judge, for in whatever you judge another you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things. But we know that the judgment of God is according to truth against those who practice such things. And do you think this, O man, you who judge those practicing such things, and doing the same, that you will escape the judgment of God? Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance?

A.  Sin is sin.  All sin is wrong.  It is wrong for us to judge the sin of others, while ignoring the sin in our own life.

B.  God is good to us.  He is patient with us.  The work of sanctification is an ongoing process in our lives.  The longer we walk with God, the closer we grow to God, the more sin-free our lives will be.

C.  It is the goodness of God that leads us to repentance.  We are drawn to God because of his goodness.  We desire to be more like Him, so we turn away from our sin and seek to imitate the goodness of God.

II.  Justified By Faith:  Romans 1-5

 Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

A.  We have peace with God through our faith in Jesus Christ.  We still seek to be good, because we want to please God, but we are forgiven, so the pressure is off.  We are not perfect, we are forgiven.  We are not worried.  We are at peace.

B.  Now that we are at peace within ourselves, we can face trouble in a different way.  We recognize that problems are opportunities for personal growth.  We place our trust in God, and draw close to Him in time of trouble.

C.  It is the love of God which truly changes us.  God loves us with a love that is beyond human comprehension.  The Holy Spirit assures us of that love as we grow in our relationship with God.

God loves us.  He has reached out to us through Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit confirms that truth to our hearts.  We respond to God’s love by drawing closer to Him.  As we draw closer to Him we turn away from sin and become more like Him.  We are not perfect, but we are perfectly loved and so we are at peace.

The Search for Truth and Love

September 8, 2015

As a philosophy instructor I have a particular appreciation for the search for truth.  This appreciation comes from the realization that truth is not as easily grasped as one might think.  The discovery of truth provides a bedrock foundation upon which we can build our understanding of life.

I.  Truth:  II John 1-3

The Elder,

To the elect lady and her children, whom I love in truth, and not only I, but also all those who have known the truth, because of the truth which abides in us and will be with us forever:

Grace, mercy, and peace will be with you from God the Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in truth and love.

As I read these verses I am reminded that Jesus said “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” (John 14:6)  If we have placed our faith in Jesus then we are at the correct starting point.  Starting with a belief in Jesus, the Holy Spirit will guide us into all truth.  (John 16:13)  In Jesus, “you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32)  I believe that throughout our life we can grow in our knowledge of the truth.  You could say that our life is a journey in search of the truth, which fits really well with a philosophers ‘love of wisdom’.  

II.  Love:  II John v5

And now I plead with you, lady, not as though I wrote a new commandment to you, but that which we have had from the beginning: that we love one another.

As I read this verse I am reminded that the great commandments, according to Jesus, are to love God, and to love one another.  (Matthew 22:36-40)

I am also reminded of the line from the famous song by the Beatles “All you need is love…”

Love is a powerful force and a powerful motivator.  It is probably true that more people search for love than truth.

In Christ we find both.

III.  Obedience:  II John v6

This is love, that we walk according to His commandments. This is the commandment, that as you have heard from the beginning, you should walk in it.

Unfortunately, we may lose a few people here.  People want to do their own thing.  They want to be independent.  However “doing it my way”  is not a good thing in the Christian walk.  We are to do things His way.  We are called to be obedient.  We do have the freedom to say no to Christ, but if we have given our lives to Christ, then He is both Savior and Lord.  If He is not our Lord, then neither is He our savior.  I John 5:3 says “ For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome.”  We are able to keep His commandments, not in our own strength, but because of the Spirit of God that dwells in us. 

IV.  Deceit:  II John v7

For many deceivers have gone out into the world who do not confess Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist.

We must be careful in our search for truth.  There are those who would seek to deceive us and lead us away from the truth.

As we continue our journey through this life.  We can continue to grow in our knowledge of the truth.  We can grow in our love for God and for one another.  We can grow in our ability to be obedient to Christ, as we guard against the deceit that is in the world.

These are the sermon notes from 8/9/15.  Any advertisements that might appear are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them.   

 

From Fear to Love

February 26, 2015

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,
And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.”  Proverbs 9:10

I have this verse on a poster on the wall in my office at the college.  As a philosophy instructor I consider it to be particularly appropriate since philosophy is made up of two Greek words that together mean ‘the love of wisdom’.  I consider faith in God to be the starting point of my philosophy of life.  Traditionally,when discussing this verse, I emphasize the need to believe in, be in awe of, and to have respect for, the person of God, resulting in obedience to His commands.

The other day I was in a Chi Alpha meeting at the college where I teach.  Chi Alpha is a student club for Christian growth and outreach.  At our campus, it primarily is a weekly meeting for prayer and Bible study.  It is open to all students, faculty, staff, and guests.  One of our regular guests is a retired gentleman who comes to the college library to read.  At this particular meeting one of the students brought up the question of the fear of the Lord.  We discussed it for a while and had agreed upon basically the definition that is stated above.

As we were concluding our discussion, the retired gentleman offered a different perspective.  He pointed out that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.  He commented that we start with that attitude, and grow in our love for God.  I have been periodically reflecting on that thought for the last two days.  I John 4:18 says ”  There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. ”  We still believe in, are in awe of, and have respect for God, but it is to be rooted in love, not fear.

One of my concerns is that people will over-emphasis the love of God to the point that they presume upon his mercy.  I have had people tell me that they know that what they are doing is wrong, but that God will forgive them.  That line of thinking is very dangerous.  We are not to “continue in sin that grace might abound.” (Romans 6:1)

However, as I thought about it, I was reminded of I John 5:3 “ For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome. ” A healthy maturation of faith will be an increase in love resulting in obedience.  If we truly love God, we will live in obedience to His commandments.

Our obedience to God may begin out of fear, but it is matured in love.

Godly Love

May 7, 2012

When I was a youngster my mother allowed me to make my first batch of cookies, by myself, without direct supervision.  She was at work, I could read the recipe,  it was an electric stove, my older siblings were at home, she figured if I had any questions or problems, I would ask my sisters.

I decided to make chocolate chip cookies.  Everything went just fine, except for one little problem.  I had never heard of measuring spoons.  The recipe said something about a teaspoon of salt.  I looked in the silverware drawer, figured that the small spoons that we placed on the table were tablespoons, so the larger spoons must be the teaspoons.

My cookies turned out a little on the salty side.

It’s important to get the ingredients right.

The primary ingredient in a Christian life is love; love for God and love for people.  God tells us in His Word what He means by love for people.

I. The Importance of Love

I Corinthians 13:1-3 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.

Tongues, spiritual gifts, knowledge, miracles, without love they would mean very little.  Love is the most important quality we can develop in our lives.

II.  The Traits of Love verses 4-7

Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

We should use this list to do a self-evaluation.  There are almost certainly areas  in our lives that could use improvement.  When I was young, I often got the “I” grade in school, standing for “improvement needed”.  As I grew older I did better and better in school.  I think that we can say that as a student, I improved.  If we are aware of the areas in our life that need improvement, we can seek to improve them.

III.  The Fulfillment of Love  verses 8-13

Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part. 10 But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away.

11 When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. 12 For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.

13 And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

When we are in heaven we will no longer need faith.  We will be in the very presence of God.  We will no longer need hope.  What more could we possibly hope for ourselves?  We will still have love.  Love for God, and love for the people of God.  These things are eternal.

IV.  The Source of Love

While it is important that we do a self-evaluation and determine what areas of our life need improvement to more accurately display the love of God.  It is even more important that we realize that the source of this kind of love is God Himself.  As the Spirit of God works within us, it helps to produce the fruit of the Spirit.  (That could be a different sermon.)  For today, we realize that it is by God’s Spirit, that true godly love is developed in our lives.

Valentine’s Day

February 14, 2012

Today is Valentine’s Day.

This will be a great day for some people and a lousy day for many others.  I believe that many in  American society have a distorted view of love.  True love is not simply the infatuation of a moment, or of a few weeks or months, or even years: but rather it is a life-long commitment of going through life together.

For better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, for as long as we both shall live.

True love is not a fleeting passion,  but a commitment to share in the varied experiences of life together; and to find ways to make the most of the journey.

Increasing Godly Love

December 5, 2011

This is a practical follow-up to the message last week on loving God and loving people.

Write out I Corinthians 13:4-7 on a 3 by 5 card and tape it to your bathroom mirror.

Love suffers long and is kind: love does not envy: love does not parade itself, is not puffed up:  does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil: does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth: bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.  (NKJ)

In the morning read through the verses, then ask God to help you demonstrate godly love throughout the day.  Each time that you are in the bathroom read through the verses.  At the end of the day, read through the verses and ask yourself in what ways you succeeding in showing godly love, and in what ways you failed.

I strongly suspect that we, and those around us, would see an increase in godly love demonstrated in our lives.