Because He Loved Me First

 we loveIf 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?  -1 John 4:20
New King James Version

What concerns God is whether a person is actually and practically following Him with his mind, actions, words, time and energy. This proves to Him whether one sincerely loves the truth or merely sees his religion as an intellectual profession or social occasion.

Our deceitful mind can find multitudes of ways, reasons and excuses to avoid confronting the real issue of life—overcoming, allowing God to form and shape us into His image. Knowing this very well, Satan works to involve the intellectually inclined among us in pursuits that though they may involve religion and are stimulating and challenging, have little or nothing to do with overcoming. The issue, however, becomes so “big” that God’s focus is lost under the ever-growing mounds of research.

He distracts others through conspiracy theories. Though these things may be occurring at least to some extent, and though people reason they are “watching world news,” it is not preparing for God’s Kingdom. It becomes so “big” in their minds that they are nearly consumed by it—it is all they can talk about!

Jesus said what is in the heart comes out the mouth. Where is there room for God in the heart when this other pursuit is crowding Him out? Are these people in danger of being swept away by the flood? I have noticed that people involved in this gradually become very suspicious and cynical of others, especially those with some authority. Satan subtly destroys the fabric of trust that any institution—be it a relationship, family, church or nation—must have to function.

The Day of the Lord is not yet upon us, but we are in the headwaters of the flood that is swiftly approaching. The flood of deception is a precursor of more physically persuasive tactics designed to deceive the whole world into accepting the lie. But for now, Satan is surely concentrating primarily on God’s called-out ones.

God is permitting a sifting to take place. Paul uses the word “delusion” in II Thessalonians 2:11, indicating a “wandering out of the way.” Does that not happen to people who are confused and have lost direction and motivation? They wander. They drift. They get tossed about in the winds and currents. But the love of the truth will keep a person clear-minded, focused on the right areas of life and motivated to overcome. And this will lead God to save them.

We need to examine honestly what receives our time and attention. We need to evaluate truthfully what is the focus of our lives. This will reveal whether we love the truth or merely profess to. Those who only profess to love it will be the ones sifted by the flood now swirling around us.

Jesus cried out in John 7:37, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink.” Brethren, this is our salvation. He says He is the way, the truth and the life. Now is the time to dig deeply into His Word to make that foundation sure. And let’s truly live and build upon what we find there! — John W. Ritenbaugh

Meditate On These Things

Habit, If Not Resisted Soon Becomes Necessity.

Sometimes we have thoughts that will pull us away and distract us  from our journey in Christ . I’m not saying that it is wrong, after all we are human and we hold the treasure of the Holy Spirit in these earthen vessels. Yet there is a Scripture that I love that always helps me to get back to the place where I am walking circumspect or cautiously, keeping my thoughts with the Lord in all things.

Philippians 4:8 says:
“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.”

The wonderful thing about this passage is that no matter what we are doing, when we are putting our thoughts on such things we will find ourselves centered in the Lord. This is the fruition of Colossians 3:23 – “Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men

It all leads to the continuous renewing of our minds. “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–His good, pleasing and perfect will.” – Romans 12:2

As we set our minds to meditate on the Word of God, our feet will began to move in the Way of God and those times we feel distracted and pulled away from the Life will be less and less and farther and fewer in the midst of our thoughts.

Life or Death Kind of Loving

As Christians we can not go on this journey with a mindset that is not grounded and founded in Love. To believe that it is our moral obligation to serve God because He is after all our Creator alone, is of no value. To Love God removes the feeling of moral obligation and face it… mankind ain’t very moral. When we Love Him we are so enamored with His beautifully glorious nature that our hearts desire sorely to serve Him. When we have deeply fallen absolutely and intimately in Love with God; we can’t wait to be in His presence and bask in the glow of His Love for us. With great certainty we acknowledge that we are His as Jesus is our Beloved.

What does it feel like to be in this perfect relationship?

I do not just want to settle for salvation and go through this life with the simple joy and expectation of the eternal ever-after. I desire to celebrate my Salvation and to live Life here and now enjoying the benefits and fullness of this great gift of Salvation!!! I want Jesus all of the time; every step, every breath every second, not out of the inherent need that every person has for Him but out of the joyous desire to just Love Him, the desire to know Him right now and to share my Love for Him. I want Jesus because He is wonderful and precious to me. What an awesome One to adore wholeheartedly!

In the midst of our sweet Love there is deliverance from the things that would hold me captive, there is healing there is so much joy and a peace that I won’t even try to describe. Oh let me tell you about it. In our great Love together He provides everything that I require and He always forgives me for my feeble ways and I love Him even deeper. He never wants me to be alone or to miss Him; so His very Spirit is alive in me. It is a love like no other that I’ve known. We are Spiritually bonded.

Jesus saw that I had committed so many capital crimes and knowing that the death sentence was inevitable for me; He stepped out in the greatest Love that anyone can have for another and He died in my place to satisfy the huge debt of my crimes. He was in that grave for 3 days He did not want me to be afraid or alone so with GREAT victory over my enemy He arose from that grave and returned to me. But He loved me so much… during those  days He did not lay dead He went to utterly destroy death and the grave; defeating satan who had been my enemy from the beginning. So when my spirit which is bonded with His has left my natural body that still I can be with Him.

If we Love Him we will die with Him… (DIE TO SELF) and as He has loved us we will relinquish our efforts to love. Having experienced so great a Love as He lavishes upon us; our love is invalidated. Hence Jesus teaches us; “Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; ~ Matthew 10:37  ‘If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters–yes, even his own life–he cannot be My disciple.” – Luke 14:26  By this verse our Lord is not advocating that we hate others; He is in fact illustrating that we are NOT even capable of TRULY loving at all. Human love is filled with impurities and can breed jealousy, prejudice, murder, adultery, segregation, bias, covetousness, greed, gluttony and the list continues. When our flesh is crucified; when we bear our cross daily then we put ALL the we are and every action we embark upon under the authority of His Holy Spirit. Now when we  love we will Love with a measure of God’s Love. When we bear our cross daily we are hidden with Christ in God who IS LOVE; and therefore we truly abide in Love and that same Love in us. This then is the Love we pour out on to others. This Love puts God above all others and Loves Him Best. 

Unlike human love the Spiritual Love of God that we lavish upon God and others is pure; it is of these noble and precious characteristics: patience, kindness, gladness for others’ good fortune, gives praise to God in all things, humble, polite, desires no spotlight, calm, merciful, forgiving, abhors evil, rejoices in truth, protects trusts, always hopes, always perseveres, NEVER Fail and is eternal!

Crucify the flesh bear your cross daily and have Life and that more abundant… anything less is DEATH!