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7-31-2017 Mixed-up Morals

“Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Corinthians 6:9-10 NKJV). It’s not enough that some people want to sin and ignore the love of God, but many, it seems, want to condemn any who express concern for their souls. Jesus said, “The world cannot hate you, but it hates Me because I testify of it that its works are evil” (John 7:7 NKJV). Christians should follow Jesus’ example and show compassion on sinners, to “save with fear, pulling them out of the fire, hating even the garment defiled by the flesh” (Jude 23 NKJV). Concern is not condemnation.
This is Johnny Polk, with “Words of Wisdom” brought to you by the Oneida church of Christ.

#concern, #love-of-god, #sin

The kind of love God has toward us

What kind of love does God have toward us?

On one occasion, Paul described God’s love like this:

But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us,” (Ephesians 2:4)

According to the context, even before we were saved God had (and by default still does) a great love for us – a love too large to express in words alone.

Read Ephesians 2 and you will see that this great love, expressed through Jesus, was great enough to cover the multitude of our sins against God, to cover the vast distance between us and a right relationship with God, and to cover us all in the same household and family of God.

And that’s why Paul considered the love of God to be huge news for the world!

#description, #ephesians, #love-of-god

God loves you, regardless. His commands permit fellowship.

white-gloveGod loves you, regardless. His commands are conditions to enjoy his presence, for he is holy and whoever approaches him must be purified through obedient faith in the blood of Christ. His commands are not requirements for love. He loved you before you sinned, and after. It is his love that reaches out to you and invites you to obedience. His love comes before your obedience, not after.

Humans make behavior a condition of love. To earn love you must do this or that, or be perfect in some way. God does not do this. His commands put us in a position to receive forgiveness. His commands are themselves an expression of his love. Continue reading

#books, #corollaries, #love-of-god, #poetry, #success, #travel

Striking the right note

piano-note

Years ago, an elderly couple in a congregation whom we barely knew were often heard to say, “We just want to love everybody.” Their phrase has stuck with me across the decades.

I don’t know what they meant by it. Did they want to ignore the doctrine of Christ and be, back in that day, all-inclusive? Had they been hurt seeing some harsh attitudes in the body of Christ?

They were not prominent people in the congregation. Even their attendance may not have been as regular as one might expect. Back then, their phrase didn’t impress me much. It seemed to leave too much out. Maybe they meant to cut away beliefs or actions important to others. Maybe not.

Whatever they meant by it, they struck the right note. The Way is the path of love, if it is anything. One thing for certain, God just wants to love everybody. And not only wants, but seeks it.

God sent his Son for salvation. He sent his Spirit for transformation. He sent his Word for sanctification. All in the name of love.

Maybe that couple was on to more than I knew. Continue reading

#books, #corollaries, #discipleship, #leadership, #love-of-god, #prayer, #servanthood

March 2016 Issue of Christian Worker (Our Great God)

Here’s a link to the latest PDF issue of the Christian Worker.

Here are the topics that you will find:

  • His Great Holiness (Mike Vestal)
  • Our Great God (Cody Westbrook)
  • His Great Love (Dave Rogers)
  • His Great Power (John W. Moore)
  • His Great Mercy (Jason Rollo)
  • His Great Justice (Stephen Wiggins)
  • His Great Blessings (Kris Groda)

Christian Worker is an edification effort of the Southwest church of Christ in Austin, Texas.

You can subscribe to the email version of the Christian Worker paper by clicking on the publications link on their website and then following the given instructions…or by clicking on the link provided here in The Fellowship Room under the “Friends” category to your right.

Copyright © 2016 Southwest church of Christ, All rights reserved.

#blessings-of-god, #christian-worker, #god, #greatness, #greatness-of-god, #holiness-of-god, #justice-of-god, #love-of-god, #mercy-of-god, #power-of-god

Add your reply to this wholesale rejection of God's hate

This issue is so central to the gospel and the truth, that I made a post out of it, on my personal website, and used it for a devotional today.

On the Reddit site, I linked to the prayer, “Hate the things you hate.” A person objected to the idea of God’s hate. God is love, she stated, and hate is the opposite of love. Here’s how I replied:  If God is love, he cannot hate, right? Wrong!.

Why not add your reply as well, on the Reddit site? (A link to the actual conversation is in the first paragraph of the link above.) It might be helpful to clear up the lady’s confusion.

#god, #love-of-god, #religious-dialogue

Things Change — God Doesn’t

===== Thursday’s Thought For The Day (Apr. 17, 2014) =====

THINGS CHANGE — GOD DOESN’T

A family went to one of those restaurants where the walls are plastered with movie memorabilia. The grandmother went to see the hostess about reserving a table. When she returned, she found her 10-year-old granddaughter staring at a poster of Superman standing in a phone booth. She looked puzzled.

“She doesn’t know who Superman is?” she asked her husband.

“Worse,” he replied. “She doesn’t know what a phone booth is.” Continue reading

#faith, #immutability-of-god, #love-of-god

Red and Yellow, Black and White

For some reason a lot of people have no problem singing about the love of God for all the children of different races but things seem to change when they look at adults.

The truth of the matter is that the only “race” God is concerned about is the one we’re called to finish as his people! (2 Timothy 4:7)

Marshall Keeble once preached about the wonderful way that God could take a white egg and produce a black chicken. There’s a thought for you.

And I’ve often pointed out that cows of all colors have no problem living in and sharing the same field. It’s amazing to me how an ignorant animal can get past the color barrier but “intelligent” people run right into it!

Peter got it straight when he told a Roman solider, family man and truth seeker, “…In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality. But in every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him.” (Acts 10:34-35)

Red and yellow, black and white, Jesus died for all in his sight because he doesn’t only love all the little children of the world – he loves us stubborn adults too.

Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a dragnet that was cast into the sea and gathered some of every kind,…” (Matthew 13:47)

#christianity, #heart, #love-of-god, #race, #racism, #the-gospel-is-for-all, #the-love-of-jesus

Hugh’s News & Views (Jesus Loves Me)

hugh’s news & Views

JESUS LOVES ME, THIS I KNOW

In circa 1860, Anna B. Warner penned the following words that later were set to music by William B. Bradbury and continue to be sung around the world:

Jesus loves me! This I know, for the Bible tells me so;
Little ones to Him belong; they are weak but He is strong.
Yes, Jesus loves me; Yes, Jesus loves me;
Yes, Jesus loves me; The Bible tells me so.

While often thought of as a children’s Bible School song, the words are nevertheless profound. When Karl Barth (1886-1968), the famous Swiss theologian, visited the United States in 1962 and lectured at Princeton Theological Seminary and the University of Chicago, he was asked to summarize all the millions of words he had written. He is reported to have thought for a moment and then replied: “Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so.”

God’s love for sinful humanity is the theme of the Bible. At the heart of the gospel is God’s gift of Jesus Christ to all the world as the atoning sacrifice for sin. “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). The tremendous truth expressed here in what has often been called the “Golden Text” of the Bible is reiterated throughout the pages of the New Testament. Consider the following:

  • “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).
  • “For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He was seen by Cephas (Simon Peter, hf), then by the twelve” (I Corinthians 15:3-5).
  • “But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honor, that He, by the grace of God, might taste death for everyone” (Hebrews 2:9).
  • “To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood” (Revelation 1:5b).

For the faithful child of God (the person who has obeyed the gospel, been saved from his or her sins, has become a Christian, and is walking in the light [I John 1:5-7]) there is the blessed assurance of the never failing love of Christ. Reflect deeply on this tremendous passage from the pen of the great apostle Paul: Continue reading

#hughfulford, #love-of-god

Neat Little Poem

The following poem about the Love of God toward man came from a class book I’m using with the teenagers on Sunday morning called “The Lord’s Supper” by Dick Blackford from the “Guardian of Truth Foundation.” It doesn’t have the title but the given author is P.M. Lehman:

Could we with ink the ocean fill,

And were the skies of parchment made,

And every stalk on earth a quill,

And every man a scribe by trade;

To write the love of God for man

Would drain the ocean dry;

Nor could the scroll contain the whole,

Though stretched from sky to sky.

Have a blessed day thinking about that!

#lords-supper, #love-of-god, #poem, #poems

Our God Is Rich in Mercy (Eph. 2:4)

 The Apostle Paul, writing in Ephesians 2:4 wrote “but God being rich in mercy….”.  In the first few verses of Eph. 2 Paul contrasts the two “life’s” of man. One is his lost state out­side of Christ and the other, his life in Christ.

     As is evident in many Scriptures, Paul contrasts what we common only call “both sides of the coin.” He shows us that we are influenced by both good and bad throughout our lives.  He contrasts a life that is controlled by Satan and one who is controlled by the Holy Spirit. 

     Paul tells us that we all are  following a course in life.  Here in Eph. 2 we have the negative viewpoint, a life that is directed by Satan. It is a life that centers on the things of the flesh. It is a life that stresses living in the flesh and satisfying carnal desires. It is a life that is alienated to God.  It is a life that has no room for the Lord Jesus Christ and one that will lead to Hell.

     But, praise God that He exhibited His mercy.  Romans 5:8 says that “God demonstrates His own love towards us, in that while we were sinners, Christ died for us.”  He is not a God who is stingy with His mercy; rather He is, like the title of our article, rich in mercy.

     He has lavished His love and mercy upon us. Jesus said that He came that we might live an abundant life spiritually (John 10:10). We have been blessed with every spiritual blessing in the Heavenly place in Christ (Eph. 1:3).

     As a result of God being rich in mercy, Jesus came and died for us that we might have life in Him.  Eph. 2:8-10 tell us of that great news of salvation. Paul tells us of grace and faith and their part in salvation. He tells us that there is absolutely nothing we can do to earn that salva­tion. He tells us that we have be saved in order that we might work for the Lord. Not working to be saved, but working because we are saved.  Christians should be  the best workers the Lord has. 

     Because He is  rich in mercy and has delivered us out of the darkness of this world (Col. 1:14ff), we have the privilege to tell others of that mercy and  help them find the marvelous light of the Gospel.

     Let’s always be a thankful people, living the Christian life to the fullest and always be striv­ing to “grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ.” (2 Peter 3:18)  By do­ing this we will “let our light shine for Him.” (Matthew 5:16)

-Larry Miles, April 17, 2012

 

#love-of-god, #mercy-of-god

Oh, what wondrous love!

Some of the most amazing aspects of God’s creation are within the lines of Hebrews 2:5ff.

God made everything because he loved man. “For it was not to angels that God subjected the world to come, of which we are speaking,” the writer of Hebrews 2:5, 8 tells us, “putting everything in subjection under his feet.” Man’s feet.

God’s creation was not made for the enjoyment of the heavenly host, but it was made and given to man ― to you and me. See how much God loved man! The world and everything in it is a testimony of this love.

Then, when Adam and Eve rejected and disobeyed God’s command, that love was expressed again as the Lord God moved everything in heaven and earth to reconcile us by the blood of his only begotten son (Acts 20:28). The writer of Hebrews continues, “But we see Jesus, who for a little while was made lower than the angels, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for every one,” (Hebrews 2:9 RSV).

Hymn writer William Walker wrote, “What wondrous love is this, O my soul, O my soul? What wondrous love is this, oh my soul! What wondrous love is this that caused the Lord of bliss to bear the dreadful curse for my soul, for my soul!”

Indeed, that wondrous love escapes our ability to describe it, doesn’t it?

#creation, #jesus-christ, #love-of-god

Where does love come from?

People often think love is a human emotion and came from humans. That couldn’t be further from the truth.
Where did love come from? Love was created by the same being that created everything else in heaven and on earth. God created love. That’s right. No matter how much Hollywood wants to claim to be the purveyor of love, no matter how many want to claim love is of human origin, it was God that created love because God himself is love.
The Apostle John, by the inspiration of God, wrote much about love. In the gospel that bears his name, Jesus said, and John wrote, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son,” (John 3:16) and John 14:15, “If ye love me, keep my commandments,” and “If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love,” (John 15:10).
True to form, John wrote from inspiration, “Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God: and every one that loveth is born of God and knoweth God,” (1 John 4:7). Love is of God, which is to say, it belongs to God because he created it. One commentator wrote, “Love is a reflection of something in the divine nature itself.” Yes, human love is such a reflection, but the very definition of love must be that it was created by and comes to us through the knowledge of God.
For how is love defined apart from God? It cannot. Apart from God there is not love. Surely, there can be physical attraction, but that is not love. Everything mankind knows of love has been revealed from God. Think of how God demonstrated his love in giving his only begotten son to die for us. The Apostle Paul wrote, “But, God demonstrates his own love for us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us,” (Romans 5:8 NET). How many times have human beings learned the meanings of words by a demonstration? We learn love by the demonstration of Almighty God from whom love descends. John wrote very much the same as Paul in 1 John 4:10, “Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his son to be the propitiation for our sins.”
It is through God, and only through him, that we come to know what love really is.

#god, #love, #love-of-god

True Love: From Cover to Cover (aka: what God has done for man)

I John 4:8 – “He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.”

The love of God was first displayed in the book of Genesis via the creation of this world and all the beautiful things contained therein. God’s love was shown as He made man in His own image and blessed him with the gift and responsibility of free will. Because of God’s love, eight souls (Noah and his family) were spared during the global flood. God’s love was manifested in the promises He made to the great patriarch Abraham and his descendants. In the book of Exodus, God raised up a deliverer, Moses, to powerfully lead the people out of Egyptian bondage. His love was seen as the Red Sea was parted for His children and the covenant was established on Mount Sinai. The love of God was shown in Leviticus as He instructed His people how to worship and maintain fellowship with Him. God’s love was demonstrated to His children in the book of Numbers by guiding them to the border of the Promised Land (after He punished them as a nation for their disbelief). We see the love of God in Deuteronomy as the Lord reviewed, through Moses, His laws with the new generation of Hebrews. He wanted them to know His will so they could obey it and be richly blessed!

In the book of Joshua, God’s love was shown as He brought Israel into the promised land and allowed them to conquer it. Although the children of Israel fell into sin time and time again in the book of Judges (and were punished accordingly), God loved them by raising up an appropriate deliverer each time they repented. He continued to forgive them when they came back to Him. The lesson of God’s love that can be gleaned from the book of Ruth is that the Lord will embrace anyone, regardless of their nationality, if they will put their faith in Him and obey Him. We see the love of God in the books of Samuel as God promised to set up an eternal kingdom through David’s lineage. God’s love was demonstrated very clearly toward His faithful children in the historical books of the Kings and Chronicles. He blessed those who obeyed Him and punished those who defied Him (of course, His discipline is also a manifestation of His love; cf. Heb. 12:5,6). Ultimately, He allowed all twelve tribes to be conquered by foreign nations because of their idolatry and infidelity to His covenant. However, He showed His love even as He allowed Jerusalem to be destroyed in that He preserved a remnant (i.e., some survivors). The love of God eventually restored the Hebrew people to their homeland as was recorded in Ezra and Nehemiah. God did not leave His people in captivity! In the book of Esther, the love of God was demonstrated providentially through the saving of the Jewish people from destruction.

Through a careful study of the book of Job, mankind can better understand earthly suffering and the value of perseverance. The fact that God provided man with such a book underscores His love for us. The love of God is also seen in the other books of wisdom or poetry (Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Solomon) in that God instructs man how to find true joy. It is not through the vain things of this world; it is through fearing God and keeping His commandments. God loves His creation so much that He provided these words of wisdom and instruction for practical guidance in life.

The rest of the Old Testament is made up of the Prophets. These books include dozens of warnings to God’s people to turn from sin before it became too late. These warnings are proof of God’s love. Additionally, these books include many prophecies concerning the Messiah (including detailed information regarding His genealogy, birthplace, sufferings, etc.). The prophetic books are indeed the result of God’s love.

In the New Testament, God showed His love by fulfilling the Messianic prophecies through His Son Jesus. The love of God was shown in the gospel accounts of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, as Jesus the Christ was born into this world of a virgin. Jesus’ ministry, which included His teachings and good works, was a testimony to God’s true love. It was the love of God that resulted in Jesus’ death on the cross and His subsequent resurrection. God’s love is clearly seen throughout the book of Acts as the Lord established His church and the saving gospel message was preached in all the world to Jews and Gentiles alike.

The remainder of the New Testament, except the last book, is composed of epistles or letters (most of which were written by the apostles Paul, Peter, and John). Divine love is demonstrated through these writings in that God did not leave Christians–His children–without instructions. These books, some of which were written to congregations and others to individuals, provide the necessary guidance for Christian living (cf. II Tim. 3:16,17). Finally, God’s love is also shown in the book of Revelation. Although this is a difficult book, its theme is simple: ultimately, those on God’s side will be victorious. Therefore, be faithful until death! God loves His faithful children enough to glorify them with Him in the heavenly abode for all eternity. Truly, it is impossible to overlook the love of God in the victory He makes possible through Christ Jesus.

Who can deny that God is love (I John 4:8) and that His love is true? No matter where one turns in the sacred text, the love of the Almighty springs off every page. These facts remain unchanged, even with the passage of time. God’s love is still true–even in the twenty-first century! May we always be mindful of this, especially in the midst of difficult days.

#every-book-of-the-bible, #love-of-god