God has faithfully loved faithless people

The Directional Love of God

Faithlessness toward God is why the people of Israel were acting faithlessly toward each other. As their spiritual adultery continued to blacken their hearts, they lost all motivation to love or serve anyone but themselves. This was no accident. God has designed his love for his people to produce love for him and love for others. So if we love God, it’s only because he loved us first (1 John 4:19). And then like a channel redirecting the course of a river, God’s love flows through us to other people. It is a “down and out” sort of love, beginning with God, realized in us, and then extended to others.

This is why the two greatest commandments are (1) love God with all our being and (2) love our neighbors as ourselves (Matt. 22:26-40). They are linked because true love for God always results in love shown to others. It works in reverse, too. A failure to love others is the key sign that we don’t truly love God, no matter what we say with our lips. That’s why John the apostle writes, “Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen” (1 John 4:20).

How to Grow in Love

It is impossible to become more loving toward God or others unless you begin with the acknowledgment and confession of your own faithlessness. You must first see yourself as the whore of Ezekiel 16, Malachi 2, and Hosea 1, before you can become the bride of Christ in Ephesians 5.

And this is how the bride of Christ comes to wear white on her wedding day: “Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might make her holy, having cleansed her by the washing of water through the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish” (Eph. 5:25-27).

The only way to grow in love for God and for others is to realize how he has already loved us in Jesus. Through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, God has faithfully loved a faithless people. He has been faithful to keep his promises to rescue a people for himself, though we have not earned this right or deserved this in any way. All those who understand this are transformed at the level of their hearts. God begins in a work in them that he never ceases until the day of completion. Through the work of Jesus and the Spirit, God turns us into the faithful bride that we were created and called to be.

 Bible verses on God’s Love:

 John 3:16 – For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

Romans 8:37-39 – No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Ephesians 2:4-5 – But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ— by grace you have been saved …

Romans 5:8 – but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Zephaniah 3:17 – The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.

1 Peter 5:6-7 – Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.

Psalm 86:15 – But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.

 

 

Presence of the Holy Spirit

The first resource, and the most important, is the presence of the Holy Spirit in our hearts, without whom victory over sin is impossible. Not only must we have the presence of the Spirit, but we must also be “filled” with the Spirit in order to overcome sin (Ephesians 5:18-21). We should be so completely yielded to the Holy Spirit that He can possess us fully and, in that sense, fill us. Romans 8:9 and Ephesians 1:13-14 state that He dwells within every believer, but He can be grieved (Ephesians 4:30), and His activity within us can be quenched (1 Thessalonians 5:19). When we allow this to happen, we do not experience the fullness of the Spirit’s working and His power in and through us. Therefore, the presence and the filling of the Holy Spirit are essential to overcoming sin. Another resource God has given to us to overcome sin and live for Him is the Word of God, which is sufficient to equip us for every good work and to make us “complete” (2 Timothy 3:16-17). If it is able to make us complete, that would include the power to have victory over sin. Hebrews 4:12 tells us that the Word of God is living and powerful, able to penetrate straight to our hearts to root out and overcome the deepest sins of heart and attitude. Psalm 119:9 (NIV) refers to the power of the Word: “How can a young person stay on the path of purity? By living according to your word.” Joshua 1:8 further exhorts “This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.”

Sometimes victory over sin comes quickly; other times, victory comes more slowly. God has not left us helpless in our battle against sin. He has promised that as we make use of His resources, He will progressively bring about change in our lives. We can persevere in our efforts to overcome sin because we know that “The LORD is trustworthy in all he promises and faithful in all he does” (Psalm 145:13b NIV).

There is Power in the Blood of Jesus

One of the most vital and fundamental themes of Christianity that often seems to be missing in modern churches today is the blood of Jesus.  The blood is vital and necessary because the Scripture tells us that without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sins.  It was Jesus who came to this earth and shed His blood at Calvary, making our salvation possible.  He willingly was the perfect Lamb, the sacrifice for our sins, and without that sacrifice we would be eternally lost.  But unfortunately it is often no longer consumer friendly to share a message that emphasizes blood.  The modern church attender gets turned off by that so sermons and music avoid that topic.  And yet, without the blood, the church has no relevant message to share to a lost world.  It is the power in the blood that frees us from the burden of sin and gives us victory and power for living.  There is wonder working power in the precious blood of the Lamb, Christ Jesus.

 

The text was written and the tune was composed both by Lewis Edgar Jones (1865-1936).  Graduating from Moody Bible Institute in the same class with well-known revival evangelist Billy Sunday, Jones became active in YMCA work which he did for the rest of his life.  Hymn writing was his hobby, and in his spare time he produced quite a few songs that were published.  His most famous song, “There Is Power in the Blood,” was produced while Jones was attending a camp meeting at Mountain Lake Park, MD, in 1889.  I trust that you have been redeemed by the power of the blood of the Lamb.  May we never forget the importance of it and the sacrifice that was involved.  May we ever be thankful that Christ did this for us.  Be reminded of that power as you think upon these words this week.

 

 

(1)    Would you be free from the burden of sin?

There’s pow’r in the blood, pow’r in the blood;

Would you o’er evil a victory win?

There’s wonderful pow’r in the blood.

There is pow’r, pow’r, wonder-working pow’r

In the blood of the Lamb;

There is pow’r, pow’r, wonder-working pow’r

In the precious blood of the Lamb.

 

(2) Would you be free from your passion and pride?

There’s pow’r in the blood, pow’r in the blood;

Come for a cleansing to Calvary’s tide;

There’s wonderful pow’r in the blood.

There is pow’r, pow’r, wonder-working pow’r

In the blood of the Lamb;

There is pow’r, pow’r, wonder-working pow’r

In the precious blood of the Lamb.

 

(3) Would you be whiter, much whiter than snow?

There’s pow’r in the blood, pow’r in the blood;

Sin-stains are lost in its life-giving flow;

There’s wonderful pow’r in the blood.

There is pow’r, pow’r, wonder-working pow’r

In the blood of the Lamb;

There is pow’r, pow’r, wonder-working pow’r

In the precious blood of the Lamb.

 

(4) Would you do service for Jesus your King?

There’s pow’r in the blood, pow’r in the blood;

Would you live daily His praises to sing?

There’s wonderful pow’r in the blood.

There is pow’r, pow’r, wonder-working pow’r

In the blood of the Lamb;

There is pow’r, pow’r, wonder-working pow’r

In the precious blood of the Lamb.

 

To be saved

trusted Jesus Christ and Him alone, as your Savior. If not, you could be — one year, one month, one hour, one minute, one heartbeat — away from eternity in a lake of fire!

Revelation 20:15 says, “And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.”

God does not want you to go to hell. 2 Peter 3:9 says, “The Lord is. . . not willing that any should perish. . .” Jesus loved you so much He died on a rugged cross, to pay for YOUR sin, and to keep YOU out of hell! Revelation 1:5 says, “. . . Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood.”

Know you’re a sinner.

“As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:” Romans 3:10

“… for there is no difference. For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;” Romans 3:23

That Jesus Christ died on the cross to pay for your sins.

“Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree,” 1 Peter 2:24

“… Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood,” Revelation 1:5

“For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16

The first step is to walk in the ways of Christ. Matthew 6:33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

 Pray this prayer, and mean it with all your heart: Lord Jesus, I know that I am a sinner, and unless you save me I am lost forever. I thank you for dying for me at Calvary. I come to you now, the best way I know how, and ask you to save me. I now receive you as my Savior. In Jesus Christ name, Amen.

 

Immersed in God’s Glory

Immersed in God’s Glory

When God’s people put the ark in the center of their worship, they become immersed in God’s Glory. Look in 2 Chronicles 5:2-14, the glory of the Lord fills the temple. Hundreds of professional musicians are ready to sing. The gatherings is huge, the trumpet section alone numbers 120 priests. Music leader Asaph ascends the podium and raises his hand. A mass choir begins to praise the Lord with full enthusiasm. Can you hear it? Israel’s “Praise Festival “

What happens then? The glory of the Lord fills the temple. The Sanctuary becomes so brilliant that the priests can’t even conduct a service or to light the sacrifices. God does it himself with fire from heaven. (2 Chronicles 7:1)

When God’s people sing praises for goodness and love of God in one accord and in spirit, they see the anointing filling the temple.

Wouldn’t it be great to see the shinning glory of God today? You can! For Jesus is the glory of God in human flesh (John 1:14). Like the ark, he symbolizes God’s presence. And you are the temple in which God dwells (Ephesians 2:22).

The more we put Jesus in the center of our lives, the more God makes his glory appear in us. The more we sing about the goodness and love of God, the more radiant our faces become. The more we love other people the way Jesus loves them, the more others will say, “Now I know what the face of God is like.” You can also read (John 17:20-24; 2 Corinthians 3:7-18)

My prayer is may we worship the Lord in Spirit and in Truth.

 

Wonderful Peace

Haldor Lillenas

1885-1959

Courtesy of the Cyber Hymnal™

Hymn

 Born: November 19, 1885, Stord Island (near Bergen), Norway.

Died: August 18, 1959, Aspen, Colorado.

Buried: Floral Hills Cemetery, Kansas City, Missouri.

Lillenas

Lillenas emigrated to America as a child; his family settled first in South Dakota, then moved to Oregon in 1889. He attended Deets Pacific Bible College in Los Angeles, California (later renamed to Pasadena College); studied music at the Siegel-Myers School of Music in Chicago, Illinois; and received an honorary Doctor of Music degree from Olivet Nazarene College. His first pastorate was in Lompoc, California, in 1910; he later pastored in Redlands, California, and Indianapolis, Indiana. In 1924, he founded the Lillenas Music Company (bought by the Nazarene Publishing Company in 1930), and worked as an editor there until retiring in 1950.

Haldor married Bertha Mae Wilson, a songwriter like himself. He and Bertha were elders in the Church of the Nazarene. Haldor traveled as an evangelist, then pastored several churches, 1914-24. In his lifetime, he wrote some 4,000 hymns, and supplied songs for many evangelists. His works include:

  • Special Sacred Songs, 1919
  • New Sacred Songs
  • Strains of Love

 WONDERFUL PEACE

Coming to Jesus, my Savior,

I found Wonderful peace, wonderful peace;

Storms in their fury may rage all around,

I have peace, sweet peace.

Peace, peace, wonderful peace,

Peace, peace, glorious peace;

Since my Redeemer has ransomed my soul,

I have peace, sweet peace.

Peace like a river, so deep and so broad,

Wonderful peace, wonderful peace;

Resting my soul on the bosom of God,

I have peace, sweet peace.

Peace like a holy and infinite calm,

Wonderful peace, wonderful peace,

Like to the strains of an evening psalm,

I have peace, sweet peace.

Gone is the battle that once raged within,

Wonderful peace, wonderful peace;

Jesus has saved me and cleansed me from sin,

I have peace, sweet peace.

 

Two-edged Sword

For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heartHebrews 4:12-NKJV

NIV reads -For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.

The emphasis in this passage is on the fact that a two-edged sword is sharp. In comparison, God’s word is even sharper because it can divide or make a distinction between things we generally think of as being closely related or indistinguishable. For example, what is the difference between a soul and a spirit? What is the difference between a person’s thoughts and their intent?

God’s word is able to penetrate to the heart of a person and cause a change, and unlike a physical sword it leaves no external scar. That is why you find those hearing Peter’s message responding, “Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heartActs 2:37.

Another thing to remember is a two-edged sword is considered to be a dangerous weapon because of the two edges. Handled improperly it can cut the wielder just as easily as it can cut someone else. When the Bible is used as a weapon to point out the flaws in another person, the person using it often finds himself convicted by the same word. “You, therefore, who teach another, do you not teach yourself? You who preach that a man should not steal, do you steal? You who say, “Do not commit adultery,” do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples?Romans 2:21-22.

Psalm 149:6 Let the high praises of God be in their mouth, and a two-edged sword in their hand.

Proverbs 5:4 But her end is bitter as wormwood, sharp as a two-edged sword.

Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is quick and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

Revelation 1:16 and he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp two-edged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength.

The sword of the Lord will bring instruction and correction to our lives. Proverbs 5:12 …How have I hated instruction, and my heart despised reproof. Ultimately, each one of us is responsible for how we receive the Word of God when it comes to us. We have the freedom of choice to accept or reject the Word.

There is no way to avoid the two-edged sword. Let us strive to come into compliance with the Word now, before it comes to us in correction. The strange woman spoken of in Proverbs is well established in today’s world. May we heed the words of Wisdom, and avoid the door of the strange woman’s house.

 

THANK YOU LORD GOD FOR EVERYTHING

Thank you, God, for everything –
the big things and the small,
For “every good gift comes from God”–
the giver of them all.

And all too often we accept
without any thanks or praise
The gifts God sends as blessings
each day in many ways.

And so at this Thanksgiving Time
we offer up a prayer
To thank you, God, for giving us
a lot more than our share..

First, thank you for the little things
that often come our way,
The things we take for granted
but don’t mention when we pray.

The unexpected courtesy,
the thoughtful, kindly deed…
A hand reached out to help us
and in the time of sudden need…

Oh, make us more aware, dear God,
of little daily graces
That come to us with “sweet surprise”
from never-dreamed-of places –

Then, thank you for the “Miracles”
we are much too blind to see,
And give us new awareness
of our many gifts from Thee,

And help us to remember
that the Key to Life and Living
Is to make each prayer a Prayer of Thanks
and every day Thanksgiving.

 

Thanksgiving Day Prayer

 

Our Father in Heaven,

We give thanks for the pleasure Of gathering together for this occasion.

We give thanks for this food Prepared by loving hands.

We give thanks for life, The freedom to enjoy it all And all other blessings.

As we partake of this food,

We pray for health and strength To carry on and try to live as You would have us.

This we ask in the name of Christ, Amen

 

 

About Thanksgiving in Canada

 

Thanksgiving in Canada can be traced back to Martin Frobisher in 1578. He came from England in search of a way to get to the Orient by going north. While he never found the passage, he did establish what later became Newfoundland and Labrador. His celebration of making it all the way from England to his new home became the first Thanksgiving in North America. More settlers joined Frobisher, and as the settlements expanded, people continued to celebrate Thanksgiving.

French settlers arrived in Canada, led by Samuel de Champlain, who had their own Thanksgiving feasts. Similar to the Pilgrims first Thanksgiving, the French shared what they had with the Indians who lived in the area.

Over the years, there were various special Thanksgiving celebrations. One was at the end of the Seven Years’ War in 1763. The British took possession of New France and celebrations were held in Halifax. At this point, celebrations were not held every year yet.

Thanksgiving finally became a yearly celebration in 1879, however the date was not always the same. Each year people were encouraged to focus on different things for which to be thankful. It varied from the usual abundant harvest to remembering significant events in Canadian history. Some of the themes for different Thanksgiving celebrations were being thankful for God’s mercies, victory over enemies, the end of wars, cessation of cholera and other diseases, peace, blessings and most often, abundant harvests.

After the Revolutionary War, many American Colonists left to live in Canada. They brought with them the traditions that had been passed down from the first Thanksgiving with the Pilgrims at Plymouths Rock. They brought many of their favorite foods with them, to add to the menu as well.

For some time after WWI, Canadians celebrated Armistice Day and Thanksgiving on the Monday closest to November 11. In 1931 Armistice Day was renamed Remembrance Day and people began to celebrate them separately. In 1957 Canadian Parliament finally established the second Monday in October to be the official Thanksgiving. Since Canada has an earlier harvest, it only makes sense that Thanksgiving is held earlier in the fall than it is in the United States.

Many of the foods served for Thanksgiving in Canada are quite similar to those served further south in the United States. They also enjoy turkey, mashed potatoes, different vegetable dishes and pumpkin pie. The Europeans introduced the cornucopia to the celebrations as well.

Despite all the changes in the date and why it was celebrated, Thanksgiving in Canada is still about being thankful for all the blessings of the past year and being with family.