"... being confident of this very thing, that He Who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ." (Philippians. 1:16)
Can you really imagine faithfully and lovingly abiding with someone who is often unlovable, miserable, whiny, and mean? Somehow the phrase "kick 'em to the curb" comes immediately to mind, exposing the scads of redemptive work still necessary in the humble heart of this daughter of God! Just being real with you.
THANKFULLY... God is that Faithful and Loving. That's why HE is God and we are not. He sticks closer than a brother and hangs in there with us, no matter what. As long as we cooperate with Him, He carries out the full details of His marvelous plan for our lives with no default. It is only we who ultimately block the perfect plans of Yahweh for our lives, friends - that's actually a bittersweet truth, because it means we can actually fatally hinder and derail our life plan through disobedience, or help it along through obedience. The choice is ours, because God's part of the covenant is sure; only we can mess it up!
The same God Who loves us with perfect, persevering love also asks us to love others the same way, fulfilling His Divine plan for our part in their lives. Can you love the "unlovable" as God has loved you? By God's power, YES, you can! The true question, friends, is WILL you - and only you can answer it before the Lord. Let's pray...
Thank You, Lord God, for Your unyielding faithfulness and love on our behalf. Please fix our hearts, minds, and emotions like flint towards Your purpose, plan, and design in our lives, that we will take on Your Faithfulness through obedient hearts and Your Wisdom through increased understanding by Holy Spirit's power. Please enable us to love the unlovable, just as You, in Your mercy, have loved us. In Jesus' Name we pray. Amen.
(Originally published May 29, 2013)
I asked the Lord what He wanted to speak to you for today's Devotional, and I immediately heard the word, "Faithful". When I turned to the word in my Bible's concordance, I sensed that faithfulness and being faithful by God's definition should highlight this week's entire series of messages. That's awesome. My goodness, loads of marvelous examples about which to write in extolling God's magnificent heart! Every lesson is also a lesson for me... so I'm excited in Jesus to learn what He'll teach by Holy Spirit today!
PRAISE GOD AND UP INTO IT, in Christ's Name!
"Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of Life." (Rev. 2:10)
Wow... we know what that means. God's not pulling any punches, beloved. There's a tough road coming - one that will make the one we're on now look like a cake walk.
So, what are you going to do? Have you given it truly serious thought? I didn't used to think much about this but, of late, I have because it's not that our world is changing, my friends... IT HAS CHANGED; and not for the better but for the worse. It continues to be true that, increasingly, Christians are being prejudicially singled out for mistreatment and discriminatory practices. Increasingly, the world hates us simply because of our belief in the One True and Living, Immortal, Eternal Lord God Jehovah and His Only Begotten Son Jesus the Christ. It's true, and it's only going to get worse.
We have not suffered unto blood as some of our brothers and sisters in Christ,
worldwide... but we will - be assured of it.
So, in light of this truth, I humbly ask again... what are you going to do? I urge those of you who desire to stand in Christ Jesus, not only "to" the end, but through the end - that's right, unto death - to pray this prayer with me:
Almighty God, it's You for whom we are living. You hold the circle of our hearts
and lives on the earth. In the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ of Nazareth Who came in the flesh we ask that You enable us, by Your power, to do what Your Living Word says, and be faithful TO YOU unto death that we will receive Your Crown of Life Eternal. We commit, commend, and remand our hearts, minds, and emotions into Your custody, dear Father, and ask that You bring Your life and will to pass in us, and for us, no matter what it takes. Again we ask in Jesus' Mighty, Majestic, and Holy Name. Amen.
That's a powerful prayer, friends; and, if you prayed along with me with a heart of
sincerity before our God, rest assured, HE HEARD YOU. Your prayer is on record in Heaven with the One Who is Faithful... and my soul says, Amen.
(Originally published May 28, 2013)
"LOVE NEVER FAILS." (1 Cor. 13:8a)
I bless God for the following awesome, revelatory point:
Not only can God's Love conquer all when appropriated to our lives by His definition, but LOVE, in and of itself, never fails to BE the things we've looked at in this series. In other words, God's LOVE never fails to be:
God's Love never fails to:
God's Love never fails to:
AMEN, beloved! And whenever and wherever these traits are revealed in all of life, GOD - their Source and Initiator - is also revealed. His Love never fails to bear fruit in Righteousness and Holiness, and it never fails to point mankind to He Who Himself IS Love! Amen.
Thank you so much for sharing this series of "Thoughts on Love" with the Glory Shield family.
His Love to you all, eternally...
(Originally published May 24, 2013; revised Nov. 2015)
"(Love) bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things." (1 Cor. 13:7)
Commentary from the Spirit-filled Life Bible best conveys the truths in today's verse:
"Love bears all things, defending and holding other people up. Love believes the best about others, credits them with good intentions, and is not suspicious. Love hopes all things, never giving up on people, but affirming their future. Love endures all things, persevering and remaining loyal to the end."
(Copyright © 1991 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.)
A hearty AMEN to that. Maturity in Jesus means abiding in His unconditional LOVE and continuing to bear all things, believe all things, hope all things, and endure all things. Only by Abba's power can it be done.
And, Father, I pray that the appropriation of LOVE by Your definition be sealed within each one of our hearts, minds, and emotions by the power of Holy Spirit. I pray that Your definition of Love be manifested in our daily walks, above all - to Your praise, honor, and glory, in Christ's Name. Amen.
(Lord willing, the next installment will visit that last line again... "Love Never Fails.")
(Originally published May 23, 2013 revised Nov. 2015)
"(Love) does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth;" (1 Cor. 13:6)
Celebrating the shortcomings or downfalls of others is not indicative of love by God's definition. Being the first to advertise wrongs or mistakes of others only exposes the deep need for God in the advertiser!
God-defined Love rejoices when a person does well and supports the Truth; God-defined Love is quick to encourage, strengthen, and pursue promotion in others to the delight of the Godhead.
Wouldn't you want others to do that for you?
God's Golden Rule is the solution to all of life's relational ailments, trials, conflicts, and afflictions! Since most of us know what it says (if you don't, just click here), let's apply its principles and directives with all our might, and rejoice in God's TRUTH shown forth in the lives of others. Make haste to turn away from every shadow of spreading gossip or otherwise evil reports about our brethren. Let righteousness, loyalty, and self-control be our banner so that God's good fruits will be reaped in our lives! Doing so will also ABUNDANTLY please the Father, which is the ultimate goal of every Christian life. He loves to see His own character shining forth in His beloved children. Be blessed, y'all!
(Originally published May 22, 2013; revised Nov. 2015)
"(Love) does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil:" (1 Cor. 13:5)
Wow, some serious points today on the character of Love by God's definition, friends!
Simple, sincere gestures in good manners and courtesy are trademarks of love - did you know that? In today's world especially, it's so easy to be rude and unthinking, isn't it? But what if our God were inconsiderate and rude? What if He reacted in belligerence to our misbehaviors and sin? We'd be up the creek, y'all... for real. When you think about it, even God's rebukes are laced in love and life and His desire to bless us when we come out of conflict with His righteousness. God is amazing.
We know that love is noncompetitive and nonpossessive (in the "suffocating" sense) - therefore it makes sense that it also is not "self-seeking", demanding precedence and its own way. How do folks who "seek their own" make you feel? Yep, enough said.
Unselfishness is God's banner trademark, beloved. Altruism is the true beat of Abba's heart in "sacrifice" one for another. Love is not love by God's definition, unless it is sacrificial. The greatest example of this is in the blood sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ, our eternal Example in all things.
Being overly touchy and irritable at times has been a personal struggle. It is my desire to show God's unconditional love to my brethren in Christ, whether I'm under the pressure of sensitive topics or not. It's not love's definition to become rough or hostile towards others because they've stepped on your "landmines", friends. Rather, God wants us to yield to His persevering love and forgiveness of ourselves and others in the face of strain. That's my prayer for all of us.
Finally, for today's devotion, love thinks no evil. This has also been translated, "keeps no record of wrongs"... what an accurate censure of the enemy's chiding within us. In unfortunate cooperation with the flesh, the enemy is the chief accountant of offenses.
How disgusting and heartbreaking to the Lord!
Merciful Father, please enable us to erase resentments, self-talk, and spiteful record keeping; realizing we'd be damned forever if such was Your way... we'd have nowhere to stand if our sins were continually held against us even after we've repented. Please forgive us for doing so to our fellow humans, and change our hearts in this ever-so-critical area, in Christ's Name. Amen.
Hope I've given you lots to think about. (God willing, next time, verse 6.)
(Originally published May 21, 2013; revised Oct. 2015)
"Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; ..." (1 Cor. 13:4)
Old KJV says, "Love is patient ..." Remember that?
Trials and tribulations in loving the unlovable builds patience; so does "the trying of your faith" according to the book of James. When you ask the Lord for this outstanding virtue, be prepared to go through "the trying" it takes to build it within you. DO NOT FEAR, but ask God to prepare you to persevere in love and to endure challenging circumstances in Christ's Name.
Envy does not show love by God's definition. Covetous living is torturous and vexing to relationships. Also, a jealous spirit is a murderous spirit; look to Cain for the perfect case-in-point, and ask his brother Abel about its disastrous results. (Gen. 4:1-15). Showing off and befriending pride are also traits of the enemy. Our Father is greater than all; our Father has it all... why should we flaunt anything? Why should we boast of anything but knowledge of Him? Jeremiah 9:24 admonishes,
"But let him who glories glory in this, that he understands and knows Me, that I Am the Lord, exercising loving kindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth. For in these I delight,” says the Lord."
That's the only permission actually given to the Godly regarding personal "glorying" of any kind; constantly, we are to seek to point others to the saving knowledge of God the Father through the shed blood of His Son, Jesus. We are to be ever thankful that - because of Christ - we have come to know Yahweh for ourselves in all His loving kindness, justice,, and righteousness in the earth.
Now THAT'S truly something to glory about!
(Please check back soon for truths concerning the next verse on "Love".)
(Originally published May 20, 2013; revised Oct. 2015)