“…God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him.”
1 John 4:16b
Back in 1965 singer, Jackie DeShannon, recorded a song called “What the World Needs Now is Love.” It came at a time in America when there was much unrest. Racial tensions were high, the Vietnam War was going on, attitudes were changing and sometimes people disagreed in ways that were violent and hurtful. This song was a hit for DeShannon and hopefully it caused some people to rethink their behavior and respond in more kind and loving ways.
Hurtful actions and unkind attitudes are not new to us today either. We hear of family disputes, violence in our streets and disagreements that escalate out of control everyday. Yes, we do need more love. But instead of looking to a song for answers, perhaps we should look to God’s word. 1 Peter 4:16 tells us, “Above all, love each other deeply, because loves covers over a multitude of sins.” Also in Proverbs 10:12, we read, “Hatred stirs up dissension, but love covers all wrongs.”
When we can look at our fellowman with God’s love in our hearts, then we see things differently. We see another individual lost without the love of God. We see someone that also is dealing with hurt and pain, someone that may be struggling to get through another day. But, praise be to God, we change that bad situation when we respond in love. Instead of strife and disagreement, we can have forgiveness and harmony. Instead of hurtful words being spoken, we can speak help and healing.
Yes, the world does need more love — the love that only God can give. A love that is joyful, peaceful, patient, kind, good, faithful, gentle and self-controlled (paraphrased Galatian 5:22).
“But his mother treasured all these things in her heart. And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.”
Happy Mother’s Day! Today many will spend a little extra time trying to make Mom feel appreciated and special. Millions of dollars will be spent on cards, flowers, dinners, and other gifts. Whether it’s Mother, Grandmother, Aunt, Sister or friend, a loving “mother” is very special. To have a Christian mother is very special and a true blessing.
As we focus on our mothers, let’s think about Jesus’ mother, Mary. Although young, by today’s standards, when she gave birth, Mary was a very devout believer in God. Although she didn’t understand all that was happening to her, she accepted her role as the mother of the Messiah with faith and put her trust in God. As Jesus grew up Mary probably spent many times pondering His actions and His words, but she never gave up her faith in God. Mary was faithful to her God and faithful to the task He had given her — birthing, nurturing and caring for the the Savior of the world!
None of us will ever have such a grand assignment as Mary, but we are given the privilege and responsibility of rearing and influencing the children that God brings into our lives. We like Mary, should remain steadfast in our faith and trust wholeheartedly in the Lord. We do not what plans the Lord has for the children He has entrusted to us.
“He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth,”
This is May 1, the beginning of a new month and it is Sunday, the beginning of a new week. Each day that we wake up we begin a new day.
Our God is the master of new beginnings. He gave Saul (later Paul) a new beginning on the road to Damascus. He called Moses to a new beginning at the burning bush. He gave the blind man a new beginning when He restored his sight and the woman at the well a new beginning when He asked for a drink.
Jesus/God lifted each one from the life they were living and placed them on a solid foundation. As they each responded to the loving interaction of the Lord, He gave them new directions, new attitudes, and new desires — a new life to serve Him!
God is still in the business of giving new beginnings. He still lifts from the pit and slime of sin and places feet on the firm foundation of Jesus Christ. With God’s help addictions can be broken; with God’s help the scars of abuse or bad choices can be healed; with God’s help sin-filled lifestyles can be changed to joyous living!
What a wonderful Savior! He loves us so much that He is willing to reach down into our dirt and lift us up and make us clean and holy to serve Him.
Thank you, Father!
“But God will redeem my life from the grave; he will surely take me to himself.”
What a wonderful promise are these words from book of Psalms! The verses before and after verse 15 talk about how worthless it is to place trust in worldly treasures. We are reminded that all humans will face death sooner or later and nothing that we have accumulated on this side of eternity will mean anything when this life ends. Wealth, status, popularity, or talent cannot get us to heaven or assure us eternity with God.
Treasures here on earth may bring us happiness for a while, but they won’t last forever.
Only God can provide us eternal life and eternal happiness, peace and love. Only through the salvation given by Jesus’ death and resurrection can we know with assurance that we have a permanent home in heaven.
We cannot trust the world to secure our future, but if we place our trust in God, we can know without a doubt that He will redeem us from the grave and take us to be with Him!
Thanks be to God!
“…He has risen! He is not here.”
These words were spoken by the angel that greeted two women that came to Jesus’ grave early on the morning following the Sabbath. These two faithful women did not, at first, understand or comprehend the full meaning of these words. They like us, heard with human ears and felt with human hearts. It wasn’t until Jesus himself appeared to one of them, (Mary Magdalene) that she began to grasp what had actually happened.
Jesus had been crucified and died. He had been placed in a tomb and now He was not there — He had come back to life! Human minds could not and can not fully comprehend how and why this had happened. Although Jesus had tried to tell His disciples, they did not get it either. Today if we try to explain the resurrection logically, it is impossible to do. Only God’s great love for mankind is responsible.
The good news is that we don’t have to fully understand. All we need to understand and accept is that Jesus loves us. He died for us, to take away our sins and He rose again to eternal life so that we too can have life forever with Him. When we faithfully accept this salvation, confess our sins and choose to follow Him, we too can be saved.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only son that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” John 3:16
Thanks be to God! He is risen indeed!
“Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!”
Today is Palm Sunday. On this Sunday before Easter we rejoice and remember Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem. The scriptures tell us that crowds gathered and followed Jesus as He rode into the city on a donkey. They worshipped and praised Him. They waved branches, laid their cloaks on the ground for Him and children sang. What a wonderful image this brings to mind! Everybody was worshipping Jesus and praising the one that would soon give His life for them.
The joy of worship and praised soon changed though, and this same crowd of people were shouting for Jesus to be crucified. What caused this change? Were these people not sincere believers or was their faith not strong enough? It seems almost unbelievable that this could happen so quickly. But the scriptures confirms it.
The truth is that the same evil that is in the world today was alive and well at that time too. Satan entered their hearts and mind and stole their joy of worshipping. Satan tries to do the same thing to us. He will try to place doubts in our minds, he will make us think that we are wrong, that what we feel is not good enough or is not necessary. But rebuke that liar!
Jesus deserves our worship and praise everyday. He is our King and our Savior! He did die for our sins and rose again to life; when we praise Him we will be blessed. Remember the joy of Palm Sunday and let your praises flow endlessly everyday!
“Praise be to His glorious name forever.” Psalm 72:19
“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing.”
Jesus always spoke the truth with divine love. As He was confronted by the pious religious leaders of His day He spoke these words to them, which are also found in Luke 13:36.
Although Jesus went about doing only good, the religious leaders sought to find fault with Him and reasons to destroy His message. In the prior verses in Matthew 23, Jesus calls out the hypocrisy of these so called godly men. Jesus exposes their motives and misuse of the laws, yet He ends His reprimand with a loving statement.
Even though the Pharisees and other religious leaders had turned away from Him, Jesus reminded them that time after time He had longed to gather them to the safety of His side. He still loved them. Just as a mother hen protects her chicks, so the Lord Jesus wanted to protect His people. But sadly, they were not willing to let Him.
And so it is with us today too. Many times we reject the peace and safety that Jesus can give. Why? Pride, arrogance, an unwillingness to change, indifference to a situation all can cause us to turn away from a Lord that only wants what is best for us. He loves us too, and He desires a close relationship with us.
Let us always be willing to be drawn close to our wonderful Savior. James 4:8 reminds us, “Come near to God and He will come near to you”. Through prayer and dedication, we too can experience this place of blessed peace and security near to our Lord and Savior.
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.”
When Jesus was questioned by one of the learned men of His day about what the greatest commandment was, Mark 12:30 records His answer. Jesus said we are to love God with our whole being — heart, soul, mind and strength.
Why did Jesus give this answer and what does it mean? Jesus wanted the people then, and now, to understand that God must be the number one priority in our lives. This reiterates the first commandment that says, “You shall have no other gods before me.” (Exodus 20:2) God loves us dearly and wants to have a close relationship with us.
When we give God first place and let Him be our all in all we are drawn closer to Him. Closer to the One that loves us the most. Closer to the One that can give peace and security that the world cannot give. Closer to the one that can and will bless us beyond measure and cause our joy to overflow!
Words cannot describe God’s goodness, but He is worthy of all our praise and worship. We can begin to give Him the glory He deserves by first loving Him with all our heart, soul, mind and strength.
“See! The winter is past; the rains are over and gone. Flowers appear on the earth ; the season of singing has come…”
Song of Songs 2:11-12
The season we call spring has arrived. Many of us look forward to this time of the year when the grass starts to turn green again, flowers bloom, and birds can be heard singing as they build their nests in the budding trees. Baby animals are born. New life is everywhere we look! We are certainly blessed to know that our awesome God planned the seasons when He created the world. (Genesis 1:14)
But nature is not the only place we can see these changes. Through God’s plan of salvation, we too can be renewed and receive a new life. Paul says in 2 Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come.”
Spring is a great time to accept this forgiveness of sins and start a new life. The Bible teaches that “if you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord’ and believe that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved”, Romans 10:9.
Thank you Lord for spring, but most of all, thank you for a chance to become new in You. Winter has passed, let the new life begin!
“I am the Lord your God…
You shall have no other gods before me.”
In the book of Exodus we find in chapter 20 what we refer to as the Ten Commandments. These were rules given to the Israelites to live by. They still apply to our lives today.
In this first commandment, God tells us that He alone is God and there should be nothing more important than Him in our lives. He alone is worthy of our praise and adoration. He alone is almighty, all knowing, ever present, and always loving. He provides for our needs, heals our sicknesses, blesses us with good things and gives guidance. Most of all, God provides salvation through His Son, Jesus.
Why would we want another God? Our Lord is all we will ever need.
He is great and greatly to be praised! (Paraphrased Psalm 145:3)