new testament

All Things Work Together For Good

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1 John 4 says, “God IS love.” It’s a very important verb choice. He didn't say God HAS love. If He HAD love, He might NOT have love. Instead, he uses the verb "is," the state of "is-ness," this is one's state of being,  the part of you that cannot be changed. God IS love, and He made us a promise in Romans 8:28 that “All things will work together for good to those that love God and are called according to His purposes.” This is true even for the worst choice ever made by a man in all of history. A choice that's even worse than the one Adam made two-thousand years ago. 

My friends, Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey. He had healed the sick, raised the dead, fed the poor, heralded the Kingdom of God and proclaimed that in Him there would be forgiveness of sins and life eternal. The people hailed Him as the Messiah, but at that point, the Jewish leadership got a little envious. John 11 reveals that they knew this man did miracles. Did you hear that? Unbelieving, rebellious men, admitted that miracles were being done. These were not Jesus’ followers; these were people who hated Him, and they acknowledged that miracles were being done. The problem for them was that if they let Him keep doing what He was doing, all of Israel would believe in Him, and the key is in their next phrase, “We’ll be out of a job.” 

My friends, do you know what really killed Jesus? It was job security. And so they held an illegal trial, trumped up false charges against Him that He was inciting rebellion against Rome and turned Him over to Rome for permission to have Him crucified. The problem was, the Roman Governor found Him innocent of all charges, but the Roman Sanhedrin continued to stir up the people. Pilot was afraid of a riot. If he could not govern well, he'd be out of a job. He realized there was a custom in Israel where they would release one prisoner every year. Coming up with an idea, he made a choice, and the choice was offered to the crowd: Jesus or Barabbas. 

Barabbas, the text says, was an insurrectionist, a murderer and a thief. The choice before them, my friends, was simple; you can have the righteous and innocent Son of God, OR you can have the murderer. What will you do with Jesus? And they chose Barabbas. They chose a murderer over the Messiah, and they screamed for Pilot to have Jesus, who had been declared innocent, crucified. 

I don't know if you've ever thought about the fact that Pilot had already declared Jesus innocent. Jesus not only could have been set free, but He should have been set free. The people CHOSE to have Jesus crucified, and Pilot CHOSE to let it happen. There were so many poor choices made, and those choices had horrible, horrible consequences. 

Pilot washed his hands to try and declare himself innocent; that it was not his choice to crucify Jesus. At that point, the people cried out, “His blood be on us and our children.” They made the most horrible choice that man has ever made, to crucify the Lord of Glory... But God! But God! See my friends; it was a true statement; His blood was on them, it was their choice. But because of God, his blood was FOR them. 

In Matthew 20:28, Jesus said, “I'm coming to give my life as a ransom.” In Matthew 26:28, He said, “This is my blood which is shed for many for the forgiveness of sins.” Do you realize my friends, that our incredible God used their choice against Jesus, as a consequence, but not as a consequence against them, but as a consequence for them. It is the greatest fulfillment of Romans 8:28 in all of history, “That all things will work together for good.” The one they killed shed His blood for them that they might be offered a second chance choice to place their faith in Him and secure life eternal and forgiveness.

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Sin Isn't Your Master

 If I am not "under grace"... but instead look to self-discipline, or principles, or effort, or meeting expectations of myself or others, SIN WILL BE MY MASTER!

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Heavy Upon Us

He oppresses us with His glory, forces His glory upon us so we can bathe in and share it with Him.

He oppresses us with His glory, forces His glory upon us so we can bathe in and share it with Him.

God will not let anyone compete with His glory, He is jealous of what is rightfully His. This is fact! Remember the "god" Dagon? It had to bow before the ark of the covenant every day. God will not let anyone or anything rob Him of His glory. However, He gladly and willingly shares His glory with his kids...

In II Cor 4:17, God calls this phenomenon an eternal WEIGHT of glory. Amazing choice of words. IT IS HEAVY UPON US! Dare I put it this way: He oppresses us with His glory, forces His glory upon us so we can bathe in and share it with Him.

WOW!!! Bring on the oppression!!!

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A Man

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Interesting...

When the gospel writers Mark and Luke wrote their gospel, they tell the story of the call of Levi (Matthew).  They detail that Jesus saw a tax collector.  When Matthew wrote his gospel, he wrote NOT that Jesus saw a tax collector, but that Jesus saw "a man".

Isn't that glorious!  Matthew did not define himself by what he did, but by who he was... a man, made in the image of God.

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Mansions

Is that what heaven is really all about? Living out our days in the hopes that we are one day going to get a huge house to live in?

Is that what heaven is really all about? Living out our days in the hopes that we are one day going to get a huge house to live in?

So what is God talking about when the New Testament speaks of us getting a mansion? Let's think about that for a moment. Is that what heaven is really all about? Living out our days in the hopes that we are one day going to get a huge house to live in? Let's not trivialize the heart and purpose of the Bible in such a way! The Apostle Paul did not say that there was "one thing" that he pressed on for - to get a big mansion! What did he say? My "ONE THING" is to KNOW CHRIST!

The passage on "mansions" is found in John 14. The key to understanding John 14 is to read it in light of John 13. CONTEXT!!!

In John 13, Jesus has told them that He is going to go away, and they cannot go with Him. They are saddened by this news, of course. But then He tells them to not be troubled because He is going to prepare a place for them, in the Father's house are many "mansions". In doing so, He says that He will return for them again, and receive them unto Himself, that where He is they will be also. The heart behind this passage is an intimate relationship, not a construction project.

What troubled them is separation. Once you have tasted God, you want all of God, and cannot stand the thought of separation from God. Now focus on the word "mansions".... the word is really dwelling places or as I would translate it "abidings". Jesus is going to prepare places for "abiding",  places where He and us can live together in union. And note that He says as soon as He prepares that place, He will return and we will be received unto Him.

May I suggest, that this has nothing to do with mansions in the sky that we have to wait for one day when we get to heaven in order for us to be able to have Jesus receive us! In the context, the place He went to prepare is us! Rom 6 tells us that He took us to the cross. There He killed our old man, our old sinful self and resurrected us brand new creations (II Cor 5:17). Having now been "prepared", having been made right, He the RIGHT ONE could now come back to us and live in us, through the presence of the Holy Spirit. Now He could receive us unto Himself so that we could be with Him (seated in Heaven right now Eph. 2:6) and so that He could be with us wherever we go. 

This is our true "ONE THING" --- to know Christ! The Greek word for "know" there is ginosko which means to know by experience. I do not believe that God made a bunch of big houses for us to dwell in in heaven, but I do believe He "prepared us" as the place of His own residence so that we could be with Him and experience Him forever.  And it all is starting right now and continuing in union with Him when we leave this earth.

WOW!

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Don't Drive Too Quickly

If you race through the book of Philippians, you will see this wonderful truth in c. 4:19 that our God will supply all our need according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus

If you race through the book of Philippians, you will see this wonderful truth in c. 4:19 that our God will supply all our need according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus

It is a good thing to read through the Bible. It is a better thing to work slowly through the Bible. If I could illustrate it. You could drive the Yellowstone Park and be amazed. But if you hiked through Yellowstone you would be overwhelmed. When you race through the park you miss so much, but when you journey slowly you have the potential to discover so much more. 

If you race through the book of Philippians, you will see this wonderful truth in c. 4:19 that our God will supply all our need according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus. But you might not “see” how INCREDIBLY  WONDERFUL this declaration really is! Do not drive your car through this verse, walk very slowly through it with me.

Did you see it?

He said that He would meet our needs “according to His riches” – OH MY GOODNESS! The awe and wonder of his choice of words in that statement is overwhelming! 

Note that he did NOT say that God is going to provide for us “out of” His riches. As an illustration, if a millionaire decided to give you a gift “out of” his riches, he could give you a dollar, or even just a nickel and that would be giving “out of” his riches. That, however, is NOT what Paul said. He said God gives us “according to” His riches. So if a millionaire gave a gift to us “according to” His riches, he would be giving us a million dollars.

Do you see the difference?

What an incredible statement of how much the Father wants to do on our behalf as we journey through this world with our faith in Him. He wants to provide for us “according to” the riches of His glory in Christ Jesus. He wants to give us Himself. Oh the wonder of all that He longs to be to us, but we could have missed the wonder if we drove too quickly through this verse. Never read the Bible casually my friend, read it intently and stand in awe of the God Who loves and cares for you so very much that He would provide for you “according to” all that He Himself is. 

WOW!

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A Good Plan

This will certainly be unnerving to many of us unless we recognize and embrace what God has stated in Ezekiel - that his plan for us is good.

This will certainly be unnerving to many of us unless we recognize and embrace what God has stated in Ezekiel - that his plan for us is good.

If you aim for nothing, you are sure to hit it. That is true in our world, and it is true in our spiritual lives as well. As you look at Paul in the New Testament, he was certainly not in some ethereal float through life as he depended on the Holy Spirit. He was a man on a mission, laying out plans with great spiritual purpose. In multiple instances, he mentioned his plan to visit Rome and with Rome as a base, he intended to journey to Spain. 


In the Corinthian letters, he planned to stay in Ephesus, and then journey from there to Macedonia and then to Corinth. I picture him hovering over a map like a General planning his next move in the great battle of faith. The only problem is he had to alter his plans… on many different occasions. Paul understood, as the old book taught, that though man plans his way, God directs the steps. Paul recognized that though we are to plan and purpose, our plans must be yielded to God who is ultimately in control of our lives. 


This will certainly be unnerving to many of us unless we recognize and embrace what God has stated in Ezekiel - that his plan for us is good. In other words, we can trust His plan. This was certainly proven true for a couple named Aquila and Priscilla. They were Jews, comfortably living in Rome until an imperial edict forced them to leave the capital city. Their plan was altered to be sure.

But their being out of control, meant that God was in control in a wonderful way.

From Rome, they journeyed to Corinth where they established their new home. There in their new home in Corinth, they met a traveling apostle named Paul, who in turn introduced them to Jesus. There could be no more wonderful altering of their plan, for a better plan. 
 

As we journey through life, by all means, let’s make our plans and purposes but may we hold lightly to our plan, for God may have a different plan, and it is going to be a good plan.

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Grace is Jesus

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Grace is not a word we define.
Grace is not a doctrine we agree with.
Grace is a Person we are to experience.
Grace is Jesus (Tit 2:11-12). 

Therefore, Grace is NOT the freedom to do whatever we want, but the freedom to be who we are --- containers of God who have the privilege of God expressing Himself through our humanity as we trust Him by faith.

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This is No Time for Wimpy Christians

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Christianity is anything but an ethereal float through this world. It is a battle, that we must actively contend in. I am not so sure that we shouldn't call it "conflictianity".

In I Corinthians 16, there is a very concise but powerful call put forth by the Apostle Paul. "Be alert"... The phrase occurs some 22x in the New Testament. It means to be aware (of the danger), to be on guard (taking every thought captive), to watch (for he lurks around every corner.)

We are the light of the world which instantly puts us into a struggle with him who is the prince of the darkness. He travels the world like a ravening and roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. He is the tempter, laying snares that can trap us, sowing lies in the hopes of leading us to make choices that will have devastating consequences.

I love the glory of our new identity in Christ, that we no longer sinners, but saints. We must realize though, that ours is a multi-faceted identity. Father's Word also says that we are soldiers and that because we are in an epic battle. Embrace who you are and whose you are, and fight this good fight of faith with the courage that the Lion of Judah places inside us with His presence. This is no time for wimpy Christians.

I raised my kids on a mantra, I share it now with you...

TRUST GOD AND KICK BUTT!

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Scan The Horizon

You see, God did all those things to us and for us so that His LIFE could flow through us!

You see, God did all those things to us and for us so that His LIFE could flow through us!

Over these last many years we of the grace community have fought hard to proclaim loudly what God has done to us and for us in the finished work of Christ! We have heralded that we were crucified with Jesus, have been resurrected in Jesus, that we are seated in heaven, have been made righteous, have been made the children of God, are now saints and not sinners, that we have been completely forgiven, and so many other wonderful truths that the body of Christ desperately needs to know.

I wonder though if we have focused so much on what has been done, that we might be neglecting what needs to be done! You see, God did all those things to us and for us so that His LIFE could flow through us! Case in point: Titus 3:8.

“This is a faithful saying” – Own that statement! Paul only uses it in the Pastoral letters. Just released from prison, realizing that he is on borrowed time, he uses this phrase to highlight very important issues like Jesus came into the world to save sinners (I Tim 1:15). So what he is about to say is VERY important!!!

And what does he say?

We who have believed in Christ are to “be careful” – Normally we use this phrase in a negative context to maintain a diligent scrutiny of our environment. BE CAREFUL – there are lots of bad things out there in this world. This is the only time Paul uses this verb in the New Testament and he uses it in a positive instead of a negative manner. BE CAREFUL – Scrutinize your environment, be watchful, be aware, scan the horizon --- so that we can “engage in good works”.

We are to scan the horizon, looking for every opportunity to “DO” good works!

To not only live our lives in a righteous manner as individuals, but also to live in such a way that we sacrificially love and serve others whenever and wherever we can. In fact, the word “engage” is actually used elsewhere to “take the lead, or be the best”.  In other words, the grace of God NEVER makes us lazy or slack in our walk with God. It actually intensifies our walk as we release the LIFE of Jesus to the world around us.

Grace people are intended by God to be the best servants, the best friends, the best helpers, the best worshippers. I have a plaque on my wall that says, “Do the kindest things in the kindest way” – That is what real Grace People do.

It just comes naturally to them, because the “GOOD ONE” lives in them.

Let me put it this way: We are to so live our lives that people see that we have been given new and beautiful hearts in the New Covenant economy (Ezek. 36), and their being able to see our beautiful hearts will prompt them to ask, “I love your heart! Where do I get a heart like that?”

And then, we can simply introduce them to the One Who transformed our lives – We can tell them about Jesus!

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Remember Where Home Is

God put us in a beautiful playground. By all means, enjoy the playground. But a playground is not a home

God put us in a beautiful playground. By all means, enjoy the playground. But a playground is not a home

Found this AMAZING thought when I was teaching through I Corinthians 7.

What a special passage. Paul there says that our time is short. The word actually means "compressed".

Paul then goes on to what could almost be a tirade:

If you are married, live as if you are not married.
If you are joyful, live as if you are not joyful.
If you are sorrowful, live as if you are not sorrowful.

What?

The point is pretty clear. Whatever we are experiencing on this planet we are only going to experience for a very short time.

Do not let this present experience dominate your life - whether it is good or bad.

I put it this way to the saints at Grace Life:

God put us in a beautiful playground. By all means, enjoy the playground. But a playground is not a home. Every night a little kid, though he plays on the playground goes home.
Home is a place where there is peace, security, love, and acceptance. Home is where kids belong! That is what awaits us and that is what should govern all that we do during this "shortened time".

We are going home.
In the meantime, play hard!

In the meantime, work hard!
In the meantime, love hard
!
In the meantime, recognize and rejoice that your sorrow is going to end soon.
But NEVER, NEVER get too attached to anything here... This is not home!

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Two Kinds Of Knowledge?

This is the knowledge of God that likewise has one purpose --- others.

This is the knowledge of God that likewise has one purpose --- others.

I Corinthians 8 Paul made it clear that there are two kinds of knowledge of God. There is knowledge of God and there is the true knowledge of God.

The difference?

Knowledge of God puffs up, makes one arrogant, divisive and critical. This is a knowledge of God that has only one purpose --- the exaltation of myself.

The true knowledge of God is that which makes one loving. This is the knowledge of God that likewise has one purpose --- others.

Oh, that the true knowledge of God would be known and expressed.  Jesus said it was this that would turn the world upside down --- LOVE.

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Father Is A Name of Summation

He is so grand, glorious, and magnificent that no one name can adequately describe Him.

He is so grand, glorious, and magnificent that no one name can adequately describe Him.

On the final night of His life, Jesus prayed what has been called His “High Priestly Prayer” in John 17. It is one of the most incredible possessions we have because it takes us into the “dialogue of God”. In it, we are afforded the privilege of listening in to “God talk” between the Father and the Son. Amazing! 

In that prayer, Jesus declares that He has finished the work that He was sent to do. He states that “Father, I gave unto them (us) your name!” Now think about that! Throughout the Old Testament God manifested Himself through a multiplicity of names. El Shaddai, Elohim, Yahweh, Jehovah Rapha and so on. This is as it should be, because really, how do you describe God?

He is so grand, glorious, and magnificent
that no one name can adequately describe Him.

There was one name however, that was not used in the Old Testament that Jesus used throughout the Gospels. In fact, in His communication with God, the religious world was scandalized at how freely and intimately Jesus used this name - - - Father! I believe with all my heart that this is the name that Jesus was referring to in John 17.

All those other names, though they contain wonderful truth about the nature of the Father, are limited in their scope. Father is a name of summation. It wraps up in one word all that He is and longs to be to us. A father is strong, a father is a provider, a father is a protector, a father loves his children and desires and implements the best for his children, and we could go on and on. It really is, the name above all the other names for God, the name that He desperately wanted us to know, the name He sent Jesus to herald to us.

This is so important to understand because most people get their view of the Father from distorted sources. They view our heavenly Father through the lens of their own earthly father. That is so potentially destructive because so many earthly fathers are horrible fathers. Please understand, even the best earthly father is a hideous distortion of what our heavenly Father is really like. Others get their understanding of the Father from religious leaders, renaissance art, and a faulty understanding of the Scriptures and end up with a heavenly Father that they are desperately afraid of in His awesome glory. No, my friends. The Father is love. That is what it says in I John. And our Father wants to be known for who and what He is really like. Maybe I could put it this way if I could be so bold? He is tired of so many others telling what He is like in their own distorted views, so He sent His Son to herald once and for all what He is all about. “I am your heavenly Father, and so you could know Me and how much I love and care for you, I sent you My Son to provide you with a visual so that once and for all you would know what I am really like!"

Who is God? Oh, He is omnipotent and omnipresent, and sovereign, and omniscient and all those other glorious attributes. But He is above all else, My Father, which means that He is omnipotent and omnipresent, and sovereign, and omniscient and all those other glorious attributes to me personally as my Abba (Papa) God!

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No More Fish Out Of Water

...we got caught, cast out of God onto some very dry land where we flopped around, gasped, entered the dying process and were really getting eaten up. 

...we got caught, cast out of God onto some very dry land where we flopped around, gasped, entered the dying process and were really getting eaten up. 

The shortest sermon I ever taught was out of Romans 11:36. One verse.

"For of Him, and through Him, and to Him are all things!"

"OF HIM" --- God is the source

"THROUGH HIM" --- God is the means, the ability

"TO HIM" --- God is the purpose and the goal

God is everything that pertains to what true life is all about. Kind of like a fish in the water. All that fish knows is water. When you catch that fish and pull him out of the water onto dry land, the fish gasps, flops around, enters the dying process, and then dies. (Then he gets eaten up)

This is what happened to us. We were like that fish in water. All we knew was God. Then, we got caught, cast out of God onto some very dry land where we flopped around, gasped, entered the dying process and were really getting eaten up. 

However,

If you had compassion and intervened, you threw that fish back into the water and the fish "lived" once again.

This is what happened to us. God had compassion on us, and through the work of His Son placed us back into God and put God back in us and now we really "LIVE"...

No more gasping. No more flopping around. We have found God to be our source, our means, and our home. Enough said!

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Teaching vs Training

Just like a little kid learns by looking into the eyes and life of its Father, so that is how we learn.

Just like a little kid learns by looking into the eyes and life of its Father, so that is how we learn.

Ah, the wonderful grace of God. How can we learn of it?

Not the usual way, that is for sure. In Titus 2, we are told that the grace of God has appeared bringing us salvation. First, we must embrace that grace therefore, is not a doctrine, nor a formula, a message, or a teaching.

Grace is a Person because Jesus is the One Who brought us salvation.

The next verse says it is this grace (this Person) Who teaches us, to deny ungodliness and live righteously. "Teaches" is our key word in answering the question of how we learn of grace.

The normal word for teach is "didaskalos", which refers to formal, classroom type of instruction. Not the word used here. You will never learn how to live out of grace in a classroom or a book.

The word used here is from "pais" --- or little child. Little children are concrete learners, not abstract learners. Their learning is more caught than taught. The word should really be translated "training".

Do you see the word picture? Just like a little kid learns by looking into the eyes and life of its Father, so that is how we learn. As we look into Jesus's eyes, we are allowed to see His eyes that are to us and for us. I would put it this way, the teacher talks at us, but the trainer (the Person of Grace) walks with us.

May I illustrate it? One father may tell his child to do a particular chore. That is "didaskalos" - teaching. Another father does that chore with the son. That is "pais" - training. That is Grace.   That is Jesus.

We learn of the grace of God by fixing our eyes on Him, so that He may walk with us and show us how to live. His LIFE is so much more caught than taught.

Be a little kid, fix your eyes on Him, and let Him walk with you.

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Never Going To Leave You

Jesus says, if that is what you are going to do, I am going to be right there with you the whole time.

Jesus says, if that is what you are going to do, I am going to be right there with you the whole time.

One of the most common fears I hear voiced is that "this time I have really done it!" The dear one making that statement has made a choice, a really bad choice and entered into such poor behavior that they are sure God is going to abandon them, and deservedly turn His back on them.

In I Corinthians 6, Paul addresses such a poor choice with a response that has scandalized the religious world for centuries.  If ever there was an occasion where God would, dare we say "must" reject His sinning child, it would be this one! BUT HE DOES NOT DO SO!

What did they do? They had sex with a prostitute. Now, finally, we are going to see it said! Right? Surely for this sin, God is going to separate Himself from the sinning one, at the very least for the time that this sin is occurring. Right? Jesus is going to say, "If that is what you are going to do, I will wait for you outside. Right? NO! DEAD WRONG!

Jesus says, if that is what you are going to do, I am going to be right there with you the whole time. When you unite yourself to that prostitute, you are going to be uniting Me to that prostitute.

Oh my friend, Jesus said He is never, NEVER going to leave you or forsake you. NEVER!

A friend of mine says it this way, "When you backslide,
He is going to backslide with you."

When you became His child, nothing can ever separate you from the love of Christ! NOTHING!

Now, grow up in this love, rest in this love, embrace this love, affirm how secure and significant you are in Him. You have not, nor can you ever separate yourself from His love.

And by the way, as you learn of this love, I believe you will find that your pursuits of other counterfeit life and love, will dissipate and you will not be making those poor choices, because they really do not satisfy the desperate need of your soul to find life and love, for you will have found it in Him!

Clay Pots Full Of Greatness!

There are no earthly heroes, my friend, there are only clay pots that the  Hero of all Heroes  expresses Himself through.

There are no earthly heroes, my friend, there are only clay pots that the Hero of all Heroes expresses Himself through.

I Corinthians 1:29 says, "no man should boast before God." Two verses later Paul writes "Let him who boasts, boast in the Lord." One says it negatively, the other positively. I think Paul did that purposely so we would hear it. Later, he will write that we have no adequacy in ourselves, but that our adequacy comes from God.

We must guard against the adoration of man. It is true that men are able to say great things and do great things in the kingdom of God, but we must never forget that they are able to do those things because of the "greatness" of the Person that dwells in and through them.

There are no earthly heroes, my friend, there are only clay pots that the Hero of all Heroes expresses Himself through.

Forever Creating...

God is a creator!   That is Who He is.

God is a creator! That is Who He is.

In I Cor 13 we are told that faith, hope, and love endure even when we are in heaven. One might be tempted to ask, why we will need hope in heaven when we will have arrived into the perfect state. The key lies in the definition of hope.

Hope is the confident expectation of MORE TO COME!

The glory of heaven is that there will always be more to embrace and experience because God is infinite and eternal. Please hear me, heaven is not going to be the eternal church service in the sky! That would be boring! We must take care to not see heaven through the eyes of the earthly realm but through the nature and character of God.

God is a creator! That is Who He is.

What would make us think that a created universe could ever exhaust His creative ability? In other words, my personal conviction is that He is going to be eternally creating new and wondrous things. Further, since He created us to share His love with us and express His love through us, and since in His Word He created us to reign with Him in glory, and since He made us in His image, that means we are “little creators.” I believe that He is going to include us in His infinitely creative work for all eternity!

I would liken it to a kaleidoscope. Have you ever looked into a kaleidoscope? When you do, you see this panoramic expression of multi-colored and multi-faceted shapes and you marvel at what you see. But there is more. All it takes is a slight rotation of the kaleidoscope and the shapes and colors change. Every time you turn the kaleidoscope, this phenomenon occurs and you can literally stare for hours and hours and herald "ooh" and "ah" as you observe this glorious creative display. That is what heaven will be like for us as we live in hope, the confident expectation of more, which will be delivered to us by our infinitely Glorious Creator and Father!

WOW!

Love Keeps No Lists

But what happens when we keep lists?  Those lists minister tremendous emotional power to our lives and they are not healthy emotional powers

But what happens when we keep lists? Those lists minister tremendous emotional power to our lives and they are not healthy emotional powers

I Cor. 13:5 - "Love thinks no evil" KJV

The word is "logizomai" = an accounting term

It would be used in the keeping of a perfect record for financial purposes (very necessary for us in terms of the IRS, but very damaging for a walk with God).

Let's be honest, it hurts when someone hurts us. And we don't want to get hurt again because after all, it hurts!

But what happens when we keep lists? Those lists minister tremendous emotional power to our lives and they are not healthy emotional powers! Hurt! Anger! Fear! Which in turn lead to anxiety and bitterness.

These "emotions" trigger us to build walls around ourselves in order to protect us from others. We say things like, "I will never let anyone get close to me again. I will never give my heart away again!"

Case in point:

Proverbs 18
"It is easier to win a fortified city than it is to win a wounded brother."

Put simply, the walls we build work. They keep people out!

Let's put this verse into history. Alexander the Great decided to conquer a greatly walled city named Tyre and it took 10 years to build it. And what did the Proverb say? It is easier to win the city of Tyre, than it is to win a wounded brother.

THE WALLS WE BUILD TO PROTECT OURSELVES WORK! They keep people out.

The verse has a final phrase though:
"and his contentions are like bars"

Did you see it?

When we build our walls to protect ourselves, our walls, our fortresses that we build to keep people out, morphs into a prison. This prison locks us in, and this beautiful creation that God made, CANNOT GET OUT OF THIS PRISON OF HIS OWN MAKING! Why would we want to do that to ourselves? Why would we want to put ourselves in prison?

Love keeps no lists.

If we keep a list and refuse to forgive, not only are we most likely going to fail in loving the one who hurt us, but we will also fail to be loving ourselves.

Our Created Design To Love

"By   this   the world will know that we are His disciples, in that  we love one another. "

"By this the world will know that we are His disciples, in that we love one another."

The word "REPETITION" is to a teacher, what the word "LOCATION" is to a realtor. The real estate mantra is "Location! Location! Location!" The teaching mantra is "Repetition! Repetition! Repetition!"

Well, in I Cor 13:3, Paul repeated three times that without love we are nothing.
HE MADE THIS PERSONAL!

Note, he did not say that what we do is nothing. We can do some pretty incredible things but without love, even though we do great things, we personally remain "nothings..."

Why, that is a hard pill to swallow? Reminds me of old Nicodemus in John 3.... "you mean I must go back to the womb, you mean that everything I did counts for nothing?"

The answer lies in the created design. If we buy a drill but it doesn't drill, it is useless as a drill, EVEN THOUGH we can use it as a screwdriver, a hammer, or as a decoration. The fact remains it is useless according to its design.

Now, we can understand we were designed to be the image bearers of God.

That we were designed to experience and express the love of God.
THAT IS OUR SUPREME PURPOSE for our existence.

But even though we might preach a great sermon, speak in tongues, prophecy, give away all we have, or offer our lives in martyrdom.... if we do those things without loving people, we are failing to fulfill the purpose for which we were created!

At that point, WE ARE NOTHING! WE ARE NOTHING! WE ARE NOTHING!

"By this the world will know that we are His disciples, in that we love one another."