I’ve never seen, I’ve never been

Rising Joy, by Vicki Matheny

No one has seen God at any time. If we love one another, God resides in us, and his love is perfected in us. By this we know that we reside in God and he in us: in that he has given us of his Spirit. 1 John 4.12-13

How is it possible to believe in something that I have never seen? I believe what I have been told. I have never been to Europe, but I know that it exists. I have never seen God, but I know that he exists. I know because he has given me of his Spirit. John tells us in verse 16 of this same chapter that God is love. We see his love demonstrated through the sacrifice of Jesus for the sins of mankind. That same love is perfected, completed, matured in us. When does this happen? This love is matured in me and in you when we love one another. Not the mushy emotion of love that the world cares about. It is a love that is sacrificial and willing to put others first. It is a love that wants what is best for the other person. When we love one another, John writes that God lives in us. When God lives in us, we will love each other.

#risingjoy #1-John #love

Worth the struggle

Rising Joy, by Vicki Matheny

You have not yet resisted to the point of bloodshed in your struggle against sin. And have you forgotten the exhortation addressed to you as sons? “My son, do not scorn the Lord’s discipline or give up when he corrects you. For the Lord disciplines the one he loves and chastises every son he accepts.” Hebrews 12.4-6

My goal should be to imitate the life of Jesus. He needs to be my focus. A few verses earlier, the writer of Hebrews tells his readers to keep their eyes fixed on Jesus. What did he do? He obeyed the Father. He endured the cross. He disregarded the shame of the cross. Now he is seated at the right hand of God. Was it easy? No. Jesus prayed that he could do it another way. Even though he did not want to die on the cross, he obeyed. He died a horrible death so that I might be saved eternally and share that same home with God. Sin is what separates us from God. Everyone sins, Romans 3. We all struggle with sin, with doing what is wrong. The good news that encourages me is that God corrects me. He disciplines me. He loves me. His love is apparent when he disciplines me. As a parent, I must not make the mistake of not disciplining my children. That is not love for it will bring a lifetime of struggle and heartache to them. When I suffer, God is allowing me to be disciplined so that I can grow stronger in the fight against sin in my life. It will all be worth the struggle when we enter our eternal home! So fight on and do not give up!

#risingjoy #Hebrews #love

Through service

Rising Joy, by Vicki Matheny

“I give you a new commandment – to love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. Everyone will know by this that you are my disciples – if you have love for one another. John 13.34,35

Love one another as I have loved you. How did Jesus show his love for us? He gave his life. He served. He had just washed his disciples feet earlier in the chapter. It was an unpleasant service that needed to be done. But he did it without complaining, actually taking advantage of the situation to teach a valuable lesson. It is through this service to one another that we demonstrate our love for one another. Whether it be preparing a meal for someone, washing someone’s clothes, listening to grief that needs to be expressed, or keeping a watch over someone who is weak in the faith, we make a decision to act for the good of our spiritual family. We put others needs before our own. Many times we adapt our schedule to fit that of others to be of help. This is something at which the church in the past was very good. Today we are so wrapped up many times in our own lives that we fail to let the needs of others even register upon our subconscious, much less reach out with the decision to be of help to them. Let us make sure that we love one another so that everyone will know that we are his disciples.

#risingjoy #John #love

The depth of love

“Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends …” 1 Corinthians 13:7-8.

We’ve just left a season in which the entire world is focused on love. Flowers were given; chocolates were consumed; proposals were made; and radio stations played songs. What are the best love songs of all time? Those that speak about the greatest love story of all time—and they aren’t just sung during February but every first day of the week by those who know God’s love as demonstrated through the gospel. From the radio we might hear, “I want to know what love is? And I want you to show me.” The answer the singer is seeking is something in the range of superficial to committed from another—the best that human beings can do. Because we’re made in God’s image, we have the ability to love as He loved us, but it took God becoming flesh and dwelling among us to truly show us the depth of love. Up until Frozen, Disney taught that infatuation is love. The opening of “Up” for a deeper emotional look at mature love. When a movie shows a sacrificial love, it’s learned from the pages of the Bible.

Do you sing weekly about the greatest love of all?

Doug Kashorek

sermonlines.com: subscribe, study, share

#love #dougkashorek

Not easy to love

Rising Joy, by Vicki Matheny

Love is patient, love is kind, it is not envious. Love does not brag, it is not puffed up. It is not rude, it is not self-serving, it is not easily angered or resentful. It is not glad about injustice, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. But if there are prophecies, they will be set aside; if there are tongues, they will cease; it there is knowledge, it will be set aside. I Corinthians 13.4-8

Love endures. It is what will carry us to the end. Not the passionate, emotional type of love that the world holds in such high esteem. This love is the type that is a decision to do what Jesus commands, John 15.12-14. The above verses are in the middle of Paul’s teaching on spiritual gifts to the church in Corinth. Prophecies, tongues, and knowledge will all come to an end. Jesus teaches that if we love him, we will keep his commandments. We will obey him. Sometimes I put my name in the above verses and ask myself if my love has these qualities. At times, I pass the test. However, at other times I find myself falling far short in the love category. We as humans are not easy to love. If this love were the emotional feel good love, let’s face it, we would not finish the race to win the prize. But it is a decision to keep Jesus’s commands. He is there to help because he loves us. That, my friends, is reason to have joy overflowing.

#risingjoy #1-Corinthians #love

How it is possible

Rising Joy, by Vicki Matheny

My commandment is this – to love one another just as I have loved you. No one has greater love than this – that one lays down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. John 15.12-14

What a challenge! At first glance, one might think that this is an easy thing to do. Love one another. Sure, I can do that. However, if you have ever worked in a public job, you know how difficult people can be to like, much less to love. This love is a decision to do the best thing for a person. The emotions involved are not important. That is how it is possible to love our enemies, Matthew 5.44. It is a decision. That sometimes means putting aside our emotions to do the right thing. Not something that comes naturally to the general population. We have been fed the lie that my enemy does not deserve my good will, after all he is my enemy. But Jesus went to the cross when I was still his enemy, Romans 5.10. He died for me and for you. He demonstrated how great God’s love was for us. But, Jesus here is talking about laying down our life for our friends. Loving our friends. Should be easier, should it not? My relationship with Jesus is dependent on my obedience to him. Without that, there is no relationship with Jesus. If there is no relationship with Jesus, then there is no relationship with God. How is your friendship with Jesus?

#risingjoy #John #love

Who better to show us?

Rising Joy, by Vicki Matheny

In this is love: not that we have loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, if God so loved us, then we also ought to love one another. No one has seen God at any time. If we love one another, God resides in us and his love is perfected in us. I John 4.10-12

Have you ever thought about how we know to do things? Not many things, if any, are innate. Something that is there without me having to develop it. Breathing is perhaps one thing. But, even that at times can be compromised by stress so that it is not done properly. Why do we think that love is any different? Our natural tendency is to think about number 1, ourselves. We want what we want, except we want it yesterday. We have to be taught how to love. Who better to show us that than our creator? He loved us first by sending Jesus. He reached out with his love. I have never seen God, at least, not with my eyes. But if I look to his example, I will reach out to my fellow Christians to love them, to serve them. John says that God resides in us when this happens and that his love is complete in us. In John 13.35 we read that this is the way that people will know that we are his disciples, when we love one another. Let’s follow his example!

#risingjoy #1-João #love

Love by action

Rising Joy, by Vicki Matheny

Dear friends, let us love one another, because love is from God, and everyone who loves has been fathered by God and knows God. The person who does not love does not know God, because God is love. By this the love of God is revealed in us: that God has sent his one and only Son into the world so that we may live through him. I John 4.7-9

God is love. The initiative to love comes from God. He took the first step to make possible the renewing of my relationship with him. He sent Jesus, his one and only son, out of heaven, into the world. He sacrificed him upon the cross. Why? So that you and I might have hope of a renewed walk with God. The fact that I am alive spiritually through the blood of Christ shows the love of God in me. Now what do I do with that love that is shown in me? I love other Christians, not in the way the world defines love as an emotion. But in the way that God shows love, by action. If God is my father and I am like him, then I will show my love by action. To those who do not know him, I will teach them the good news about love with love. Just as God took the initiative to show love to me, I must take the initiative to show love to others, especially those who do not know him.

#risingjoy #1-John #love

The meaning of true love

Rising Joy, by Vicki Matheny

We have come to know love by this: that Jesus laid down his life for us; thus we ought to lay down our lives for our fellow Christians. But whoever has the world’s possessions and sees his fellow Christian in need and shuts off his compassion against him, how can the love of God reside in such a person? Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue but in deed and truth. 1 John 3.16-18

Love in action. That is what could describe the purpose of Jesus here on this earth. His purpose was to obey God and die for you and me. Jesus tells us that we must follow after him. I have to take up my cross and die to myself, Matthew 16.24. If I care more for my possessions than I do for a fellow Christian, then I fail to follow Jesus. If I refuse to help a fellow Christian in need, then I am denying Jesus and all that he came to do. John tells us that words alone do not get the task done. I can talk all day, but to no avail. I have to act. I have to do something to help those in need. But acting in any way I want also does not cut it. I have to act in truth. I have to act in such a way that the truth is being carried out and acted upon. Why is it so important for you and for me to read the Scriptures? Because within the Scriptures is where we will find the meaning of true love.

#risingjoy #1-John #love

To love as God does

Rising Joy, by Vicki Matheny

For this is the way God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. John 3.16

God loved the world. God is so much greater than my finite self. He has the capacity to love everyone equally and unconditionally, without any kind of prejudice. So hard to do. At times, I find myself deciding whether or not a person would be open to the Gospel. Something I need never do since I cannot know what is in a person’s heart. Then there is the way in which God showed his love for everyone. He gave Jesus to die. As a mother, I can only begin to understand how difficult that must have been. Romans 5.6,8,10 tells us that he did this while we were helpless, sinners, and his enemies. That paints a picture that is priceless! God’s love is unconditional. It is extended to all. However, there is a condition to eternal life. Eternal life is for those who believe in Jesus. Do not be tricked into believing otherwise. May I learn to love as God does and believe in the one who makes eternal life a reality.

#risingjoy #John #love

Who will separate us? Romans 8.35

“Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will trouble, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?”

Romans 8.35

Paul’s question draws attention to the strength of Christ’s love. Nothing can happen that will drive him away. No bad situation can overcome this relationship.

Does our faith drive us to Christ or do we desire new and better circumstances? Our relationship with God defines how we approach the difficulties of life, and not the other way around.

#votd #Romans #love

Why Bother?

For a brother in Christ I bother,
With love for the family of faith;
We care for one another,
Walking the narrow path.

#poetry #quatrain #love

Christopher Underwood’s Encouragement note May 2019

No love is greater than the love of God demonstrated by the life and death of the only Son of God.

Hope and pray that you show and say love of God to those you meet every day (and even those you do not see).

Pray to receive all that you need to receive love and give love in the walk to eternal life in heaven.

Be strong in the faith.

Have a great day

#encouragement-note #love

To let you know the love I have for you: 2 Corinthians 2.4

“For out of great distress and anguish of heart I wrote to you with many tears, not to make you sad, but to let you know the love that I have especially for you.”

2 Corinthians 2.4

Motives were misread and maligned. Paul insisted on making them clear. He did not give up. He was committed to engaging the Corinthians to make his reasons clear.

Distress is not a reason for inaction or for surrender. Does it motivate me to make new attempts to show love?

#votd #2-Corinthians #love

Even sinners do the same: Luke 6.33

“And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do the same.”

Luke 6.33

The world works off the principle of give-as-you-get. Tit for tat. Eye for eye. Jesus teaches a higher principle: love your enemies, v. 35.

Does my emotion cause me to react in kind, or does the mind of Christ permit me to respond always with love?

#votd #Luke #love