Tuesday, November 30, 2010

True Love and How to Walk in It: Chapters 16 & 17

Chapter Sixteen

Perseveres …
to persist in a state, enterprise, or undertaking in spite of counterinfluences, opposition, or discouragement

What a perfect definition of God’s love for us. God knows that the devil is a constant influence in our lives against the influence of Him. So many people find reasons not to trust God. So many people don’t want to change their habits or behaviors to let God in. So many people think we have to follow rules to follow God and some don’t see the benefit of following God even in the practical sense. This is nothing new but has existed since the serpent came into the Garden of Eden. Yet God persists in His love for us and in our submission into His loving arms.

James 1:25 (Amplified)
But he who looks carefully into the faultless law, the [law] of liberty, and is faithful to it and perseveres in looking into it, being not a heedless listener who forgets but an active doer [who obeys], he shall be blessed in his doing (his life of obedience).

Stand strong. The enemy is going to come at you like a storm - full of force! He is not a wimp. He knows how to use our fears against us to make us afraid to step out on the path God has set for us. He knows how to use our habits against us to become addictions. He knows how to manipulate our feelings to cause us to become selfish, to become hurtful, to become resentful, to become morally loose, and to become hateful and full of spite. But all of those are tools of the devil and cannot stand up and defeat the grace of God. We have choices in this life. We can choose to let Satan use us as puppets to do his bidding or we can become heirs with Jesus and help bring others to God. But remember if we are following Jesus the devil has put a bull’s eye on our backs. But don’t be afraid - be ready. Stand firm.

Ephesians 6:12-19 (Amplified)
For we are not wrestling with flesh and blood [contending only with physical opponents], but against the despotisms, against the powers, against [the master spirits who are] the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spirit forces of wickedness in the heavenly (supernatural) sphere. Therefore put on God's complete armor, that you may be able to resist and stand your ground on the evil day [of danger], and, having done all [the crisis demands], to stand [firmly in your place]. Stand therefore [hold your ground], having tightened the belt of truth around your loins and having put on the breastplate of integrity and of moral rectitude and right standing with God, And having shod your feet in preparation [to face the enemy with the firm-footed stability, the promptness, and the readiness produced by the good news] of the Gospel of peace.
Lift up over all the [covering] shield of saving faith, upon which you can quench all the flaming missiles of the wicked [one].
And take the helmet of salvation and the sword that the Spirit wields, which is the Word of God.

Chapter Seventeen

Fail …
1 a: to lose strength: weaken b: to fade or die away c: to stop functioning normally
student) as not passing

I think the biggest point to make in love never fails is that the devil knew who Jesus was and he thought the best way to defeat Him was actually to just get rid of Him and His influence. But the greatest thing happened through the devil’s own plan…because of Jesus’ death and then of course His burial and resurrection, we were delivered from the snare of the devil. The devil no longer has power over us. We have been delivered. Why? Because God would not let us die. He would not give up on the children who thought they knew better. I always think of the story of the Prodigal Son. His father never gave up on him returning. The bible says "But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was moved with pity and tenderness [for him]; and he ran and embraced him and kissed him [fervently]" (Luke 15:20). Look at that verse closely…”while he was still a long way off” that meant his father had been looking for him. God is constantly looking for those who He can bless, to those who will turn to Him and make Him Lord of their life and accept Him as their Father and that He loves them.

Romans 8:27 (Amplified)
And He Who searches the hearts of men knows what is in the mind of the [Holy] Spirit [what His intent is], because the Spirit intercedes and pleads [before God] in behalf of the saints according to and in harmony with God's will.

Just as the shepherd who left the 99 to find the 1, God seeks to find everyone who releases themselves from the devil and seeks His forgiveness and love. He rejoices at every turned heart and every repentant soul. He loves us all!
The world would say sacrifice the few for the many, God says sacrifice none, I want them all! To God none of His creation are collateral damage. To God we are the lost and the saved. He wants the saved to seek the lost and bring them back to Him.

Mark 16:15 (Amplified)
And He said to them, Go into all the world and preach and publish openly the good news (the Gospel) to every creature [of the whole human race].

One way to bring those to Christ is to be an example of Him:

John 13:14-16 (Amplified)
If I then, your Lord and Teacher (Master), have washed your feet, you ought [it is your duty, you are under obligation, you owe it] to wash one another's feet.
For I have given you this as an example, so that you should do [in your turn] what I have done to you.
I assure you, most solemnly I tell you, A servant is not greater than his master, and no one who is sent is superior to the one who sent him.

Philippians 2:5 (Amplified)
Let this same attitude and purpose and [humble] mind be in you which was in Christ Jesus: [Let Him be your example in humility:]

God sent Jesus to earth in human form so that He could be a true example and sacrifice for us. Jesus came with the same weaknesses we have. And He overcame them. That is our example. We do not have to let our flesh control us; we should be controlling our flesh. With Jesus authority was taken away from the devil and given back to us - just how God had intended it from the beginning.

1 John 4 (Amplified)
1BELOVED, DO not put faith in every spirit, but prove (test) the spirits to discover whether they proceed from God; for many false prophets have gone forth into the world.
2 By this you may know (perceive and recognize) the Spirit of God: every spirit which acknowledges and confesses [the fact] that Jesus Christ (the Messiah) [actually] has become man and has come in the flesh is of God [has God for its source];
3 And every spirit which does not acknowledge and confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh [but would annul, destroy, sever, disunite Him] is not of God [does not proceed from Him]. This [nonconfession] is the [spirit] of the antichrist, [of] which you heard that it was coming, and now it is already in the world.
4 Little children, you are of God [you belong to Him] and have [already] defeated and overcome them [the agents of the antichrist], because He Who lives in you is greater (mightier) than he who is in the world.
5 They proceed from the world and are of the world; therefore it is out of the world [its whole economy morally considered] that they speak, and the world listens (pays attention) to them.
6 We are [children] of God. Whoever is learning to know God [progressively to perceive, recognize, and understand God by observation and experience, and to get an ever-clearer knowledge of Him] listens to us; and he who is not of God does not listen or pay attention to us. By this we know (recognize) the Spirit of Truth and the spirit of error.
7 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is (springs) from God; and he who loves [his fellowmen] is begotten (born) of God and is coming [progressively] to know and understand God [to perceive and recognize and get a better and clearer knowledge of Him].
8 He who does not love has not become acquainted with God [does not and never did know Him], for God is love.
9 In this the love of God was made manifest (displayed) where we are concerned: in that God sent His Son, the only begotten or unique [Son], into the world so that we might live through Him.
10 In this is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation (the atoning sacrifice) for our sins.
11 Beloved, if God loved us so [very much], we also ought to love one another.
12 No man has at any time [yet] seen God. But if we love one another, God abides (lives and remains) in us and His love (that love which is essentially His) is brought to completion (to its full maturity, runs its full course, is perfected) in us!
13 By this we come to know (perceive, recognize, and understand) that we abide (live and remain) in Him and He in us: because He has given (imparted) to us of His [Holy] Spirit.
14 And [besides] we ourselves have seen (have deliberately and steadfastly contemplated) and bear witness that the Father has sent the Son [as the] Savior of the world.
15 Anyone who confesses (acknowledges, owns) that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides (lives, makes His home) in him and he [abides, lives, makes his home] in God.
16 And we know (understand, recognize, are conscious of, by observation and by experience) and believe (adhere to and put faith in and rely on) the love God cherishes for us. God is love, and he who dwells and continues in love dwells and continues in God, and God dwells and continues in him.
17 In this [union and communion with Him] love is brought to completion and attains perfection with us, that we may have confidence for the day of judgment [with assurance and boldness to face Him], because as He is, so are we in this world.
18 There is no fear in love [dread does not exist], but full-grown (complete, perfect) love turns fear out of doors and expels every trace of terror! For fear brings with it the thought of punishment, and [so] he who is afraid has not reached the full maturity of love [is not yet grown into love's complete perfection].
19 We love Him, because He first loved us.
20 If anyone says, I love God, and hates (detests, abominates) his brother [in Christ], he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, Whom he has not seen.
21 And this command (charge, order, injunction) we have from Him: that he who loves God shall love his brother [believer] also.

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"A righteous man may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all." Psalm 34:19