True love requires love for the truth—in fact, as the Apostle Paul said, love rejoices in the truth (1 Corinthians 13:6). And that truth forms the boundaries for love’s expression.
In Scripture, we see that Jesus loves all kinds of people, including the ones many of us would have a hard time loving: doubters, haters, atheists, homosexuals, traitors and even terrorists. But Jesus doesn’t love what they do. That’s the balance. God loves you, but He doesn’t love everything you do. If we don’t take both sides into account, love becomes license—a permission slip we use to excuse doing what we want instead of what God wants.
Jesus came to bring change. It’s His love that affects us and leads us to repentance, and it’s our rejection of His love that leads us to inescapable judgment.
“The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.”— James 5:16
Given the righteousness that we have in Christ Jesus, anyone in Christ may come before God in prayer with a clear conscience and without fear of condemnation. In point of fact, anyone in Christ may come before God with the expectation of good results.
Hebrews 4:16 says “So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.” We don’t have to grovel before God or get someone better than us to get what we need. Every Christian may come before Him with great confidence.
Incline Your ear, O LORD, and answer me; For I am afflicted and needy.—Psalm 86:1
When life is moving along smoothly, it’s easy to say, “God answers prayer.” But a crisis can bring doubt, especially if the Lord is not responding as quickly as we might like. That’s when we may be tempted to bargain with God as if He could be manipulated into acting on our behalf. However, the goal of prayer is not to get God to do what we want but to bring our concerns to Him, trusting that He will answer in His own way and time.
Waiting on the Lord is fairly easy when we’re not facing anything urgent. But difficulties and suffering tend to make us impatient. We may even begin to find fault with God, thinking that if He truly loved us, He would intervene and bring relief.
As we seek the Lord for help, David’s prayers in the Psalms provide wonderful patterns for us to follow. He faced many dire situations and continued to turn to God. He recounts God’s character—gracious, good, ready to forgive, and abundant in lovingkindness to all who call on Him. These characteristics are the basis for trust.
Knowing who God is enables us to trust Him through the crises of life. Because He is faithful, we know that He will keep His promises. His holiness causes us to examine our life and repent of any sins that are hindering our prayers. And His mercy, grace, and love give us the comfort we need to endure hardship.
I started writing this blog some time ago. How long to be exact I’m not sure. I started out with the intention of writing uplifting messages that show God’s love and care for us. I felt like a lot of people needed to read these stories. But, much to my surprise, my daily statistics show very few people visit my blog. Therefore, I am prayerfully considering to “continue writing anyway.” That’s right, I’m not giving up just yet.
You see, numbers in the grand scheme of things aren’t important. It’s the message that’s important. I believe with all my heart that someone out there will stumble across my blog one day and be saved by reading it’s messages. That’s why I continue to write each day.
I will not give up on that one individual who desperately needs to hear about Jesus and His soul saving action of dying on the cross. Many people don’t know who Jesus is and what He did for mankind. In my opinion that is sad. We as believers have the responsibility of sharing the “good news” with others. What “good news” you might ask?
The “good news” is that Jesus died for our sins so that we may have eternal life in heaven after we die. There is only one way to an eternal life in heaven and that is through our belief that Jesus died for our sins. Take the time to tell others about this great act and the free gift given to us by our Lord, Jesus Christ. Your gift of the gospel may be the one thing that saves that person from eternal damnation. So, give it away. It’s your free “Good News” gift to those around you.
“God in his gracious kindness declares us not guilty. For God sent Jesus to take the punishment for our sins. We are made right with God when we believe that Jesus shed his blood, sacrificing his life for us.”—Romans 3:24
Do you want more than anything to be set free from the guilt of sins past? Do your sins grind you down on a daily basis? How do we get set free from all this guilt? I know it’s something all believers want but somehow just can’t manage to get a good grip. We are incarcerated by our past. In our minds we have been found guilty! Our executioner’s footsteps echo against stone walls. We sit on the floor of the dusty cell, awaiting our final moment. We don’t look up as he opens the door. We know what he’s going to say.
“Time to pay for your sins.” But we hear something else! “You’re free to go. They took Jesus instead of you!” The door swings open, the guard barks, “Get out.”
And we find ourselves with shackles gone, crimes pardoned, wondering what just happened? Grace just happened! Christ took away your sins. Romans 3:24 says, “God in his gracious kindness declares us not guilty. For God sent Jesus to take the punishment for our sins. We are made right with God when we believe that Jesus shed his blood, sacrificing his life for us.” What happened? Grace happened!
May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
be pleasing to you, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.
— Psalm 19:14 NLT
David prayed earlier in Psalm 19 that the Lord would keep him from sinful deeds of all kinds. In the verse above, he takes the issue deeper by asking that the Lord would also keep him from speaking words that are sinful. From David’s point of view, the things that we say are just as capable of being sinful as the deeds we do and we need the help of the Lord to keep from speaking them just as much as we do to keep from doing sinful deeds.
If our words and meditations are free from sin, then they will be pleasing to the Lord. The word translated as “pleasing” is borrowed from the language of the sacrificial system of the old covenant. The animal sacrifices that were brought before the Lord were required to be without defect, so likewise the words of our mouths and the meditations of our hearts should be without defect. The idea here is that everything we say and think is done before the Lord and should be pleasing to Him as a consequence.
The Lord wants us to be pleasing before Him. He is concerned not only with the deeds we do, but also with the words we say and the thoughts we think.
Today, then, let us ask the Lord to cleanse us, inside and out.
“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.”— Matthew 5:14-15 NIV
Jesus is the true light that gives light to everyone (John 1:9). As the true light, He is a beacon in the darkness that tells us and shows us the way we should go in life. If we accept Jesus as the true light, then we will reflect His life. Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12).
We are the light of the world, as our verse for today proclaims, because we follow Jesus and have the light of life as a result.