Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Let Love Win

This week, Michael writes to us:  Submit yourself ...  Relinquish yourself to the power of the love of God.  This is not a message, but rather a life. The weapon that Jesus Christ used to fight the darkness of this fallen world is “Love”. The world cannot comprehend unconditional love; thinking that there has got to be a catch. Men and women of this world can only understand reciprocal love. Oswald Chambers said that people would make promises that they couldn't keep. Therefore never expect people to be your friend, but always be their friend. Never expect others to respect your time, but always respect theirs. The question is always, what would Jesus think and what would Jesus do? We need to unleash the love of God on a culture that is divided, angry and frustrated. If love wins, we have to allow the love of God to win, not our own selfish pride. 

A child of God is not a person who never sins, rather they are an individual who asks forgiveness when they stumble and fall. Humility is to pray that God will send others into our life to correct us ... to restore us to an upright position when we fall. According to Hebrews 12, whom the lord loves, he "chastises." The 1828 Webster’s dictionary define chastise as: To correct by punishing; to punish; to inflict pain by stripes, or in other manner, for the purpose of punishing an offender and recalling him to his duty. To reduce to order or obedience; to restrain; to awe; to repress. To chastise is to train with instruction in righteousness. 

Chastisement counteracts superficiality. We must confront our deep seated issues that turn our hearts away from the love of God. The "easy-believing" superficiality of "church-inanity" is counter to the pruning of our sinful natures that God requires of His children. When Jesus asked Peter if he would desert him, Peter said "even if I have to die with you, I will never desert you." Jesus didn't say to Peter that he was an unfaithful man. However He knew Peter's weakness, and said to Peter, "before the rooster crows twice you shall deny me three times."

The problem with the church at Ephesus in the book of Revelation is that they had "left their first love." What was the first love of the church at Ephesus? According to Ephesians 3:17-19 That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love,  May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.  Although they had good intentions the Ephesians' priority was no longer in the right place. They had lost the intimate, abiding, and deep rooted experiential knowledge of the love of Christ. Jesus said, "I am the vine, ye are the branches."  They had lost their desire to keep in close proximity with Jesus Christ and be joined to the vine.

To walk in close proximity with our Lord, we must give up our right to "get even." Human Rights are often spiritual wrongs. Jesus asked Peter three times "Do you love me unconditionally with the love of God?"  Peter responded, "I'm your friend, I'm fond of you."  The third time Jesus asked Peter, "Do you love me like a brother?"  Peter said, I love you with brotherly love."  Until the day of Pentecost, Peter was not able to die to his own pride and to love Jesus unconditionally. How about us? To walk in fellowship with Christ, we cannot make excuses. It's easy to blame others. However, we need to find our identity not in ourselves, but only in Him. If our heart's desire is to spend the rest of our lives journeying to become just like Him, this is a prayer that God yearns to answer.  Everything else will not matter, it will come to naught. If the whole world hates you, will you still follow Him? The one who endures to the end will be saved. If you're willing to compromise with the world, you cannot be a faithful servant of Christ. Unless a person is willing to forsake their earthly lifestyle, they cannot be a true follower of Christ.  

On the day of Pentecost, Peter preached the first message to the Christian church in Acts chapter 2. What changed Peter? Peter had changed lords. He was no longer lord of his own life.  He had been born again of the spirit of the living God. He had received power from on high and had been baptized within the power of the Holy Spirit.  

The point of decision is to let love win.  According to Colossians 3:14, above all things put on charity, the love of God in the renewed mind in manifestation, for this is the bond of perfection.

May God richly bless you!
Your brother in Christ, Michael

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