Monday, October 31, 2011
Chapter 5: LOVE = NO FEAR
"There is no fear in love;
but perfect love casteth out fear:
because fear hath torment.
He that feareth is not made perfect in love."
I John 4:18 (KJV)
As I begin my work on this chapter, it is one week before Halloween. While watching television last evening I heard a commercial for a marathon of scary movies. The advertisement was attracting viewers to these shows by portraying the week-long movie presentation with phrases like, “The only emotion you’ll feel is fear”, and “Eight movies that will scare you to death!”
Now, we could begin a long discussion on the celebration of Halloween in general and whether as good Christians we should allow our children to dress up and go trick-or-treating. If you have strong beliefs about the need not to recognize this “holiday”, I think you are justified. However I do feel there is a bigger issue in today’s culture regarding how much our society promotes anything involving the emotion of fear.
Just one look to see what Christ told John in Revelation 21 can be eye-opening:
"But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and
murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters,
and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth
with fire and brimstone: which is the second death."
(Revelation 21:8, KJV, emphasis added)
Do you see how those who are “fearful” are lumped in with these other “abominable” characters? That tells me that this notion of living in fear, or dealing with fear as a recreational activity is far more serious than most of us understand. To purposely sit at home or in a theater and allow fear to infiltrate your mind and spirit through what you see is as bad as letting pornographic material take hold of your will and emotions. Both are deeply affecting the souls of people all over the world today, believers and nonbelievers alike.
Monday, October 24, 2011
"... God is many things, but His character is most clearly defined by the disciple “whom Jesus loved” (John 13:23) in the statement he reiterated twice in the fourth chapter of I John, “God is love.”
You see God cannot hate one of his creations, “For everything God created is good” (I Timothy 4:4, NIV). So since each one of us was created by the Almighty God of heaven, He loves us. And not only that, He loves each of us equally.
Wow, that’s hard to fathom isn’t it? God loves me the same as He loves Mother Teresa, or Osama bin Ladin? When you think about the latter you are probably a bit upset. He loves a murdering terrorist as much as me? But it is sobering to take the other extreme. You mean He loves little old “ordinary” me as much as someone so loving and self-sacrificing as Mother Teresa?
Do you want a real eye opener? Check Jesus own words in John 17 as he prays for all believers, “…that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me” (John 17:23, emphasis added). God loves us as He loved Jesus! You may be thinking that Jesus meant that only for his disciples, but check it out! His prayer in that portion of John 17 is for all believers!
You may need to catch your breath after that revelation. The point is very clear in scripture that God loves every human being on this planet. As Peter stated in Acts 10:34, “Most certainly and thoroughly I now perceive and understand that God shows no partiality and is no respecter of persons” (TAB). This means that God does not love preachers more than bankers, or prophets more than teachers, or evangelists more than car salesmen, or even believers more than non-believers. He loves equally.
It is up to us to experience that love that God has for us. Scripture tells us to, “Draw near to God and [then] He will draw near to you” (James 4:8). We must be in covenant with God to experience the benefits and the mercy and grace that are the consequences of His love. As Dr. Charles Stanley puts it, “It is God’s nature to love both saint and sinner…The unbeliever has simply positioned himself in such a way that he cannot experience that love – a situation that can be remedied by trusting Jesus as Savior.” Osama bin Laden could experience the same love of God that is available to you and I if only he would repent of his past and embrace Jesus as his personal Lord and Savior. Most of us don’t expect that to happen, but this is the story of how we all received our salvation, and it is how thousands of upon thousands become children of God each and every year."
Tuesday, August 16, 2011
Friday, July 29, 2011
1 Peter 5:7 tells us, "...humble yourselves [demote, lower yourselves in your own estimation] under the mighty hand of God, that in due time He may exalt you,
Casting the whole of your care [all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares for you affectionately and cares about you watchfully."
You see when we "take care" upon ourselves, through worrying about a problem or an issue, we are saying our God is not great enough to handle it. He cares about us so "affectionately" that He wants to take our care and worry from us. He wants us to live totally reliant on His care and love. By not allowing Him to do so, we are not walking in faith, but in fear.
If we are constantly asking "What am I going to do about ....?" we are denying to trust in the loving "Abba" Father of us all. Worrying about a problem never solves it, but He always has the solution!
The key issue is for us to "humble" ourselves and admit we do not have all the answers, and no amount of worry and care will reveal any answers to us. By trusting God and casting all our cares on Him, we can be confident that the answer is on its way and we can sleep soundly and release the stress that causes so many illnesses in the world today!
As Joel Osteen puts it, "Stop talking to God about how big your problems are and start talking to your problems about how BIG your God is!"
When worry comes upon you, speak to it! Say, "No thank you I will not take that worrisome thought! My Father loves me and He takes all my cares and worries from me and brings me the solution to them all!"
Tuesday, June 14, 2011
"[your name], you bring your full presence and attention to certain members of the community but offer diminished presence to others. Those who have stature, wealth, and charisma, those you find interesting or charming or pretty or famous command your undivided attention, but people you consider plain or dowdy, those of lesser rank performing menial tasks, the unsung and uncelebrated are not treated with the same regard. This is no minor matter to me, [your name]. The way you are with others every day, regardless of their stature, is the true test of faith."
(from Abba's Child by Brennan Manning)
Wednesday, June 8, 2011
Monday, June 6, 2011
I have been ingesting many parts of the Word as well as the teachings of many anointed men and women of God in recent years. I have found God speaking to me as I studied, “See, now there’s an idea you need to incorporate into your new teaching.” It seems to be stronger now than ever. Each week there is something new that speaks to my spirit as an application to the lives of believers and nonbelievers, to the adults and to the youth of America.
I am following what I believe is God's plan for me at this time.There is a plan for each of us. Some have a special anointing to become doctors, others may be anointed to work in industry and develop new technologies. You may be one who has been blessed with an anointing to cook, or play music, or build houses. Perhaps your anointing is to preach the Gospel. Wherever our talents lie, I am firm in my beliefs that God can use those talents in extraordinary ways, if only we will let Him. We often shy away from a task or direction in life because we feel that we are not adept at whatever is involved in making that move. If it is something that brings us out of our comfort zone, we tend to balk, and often just what we need is to get out of that comfort zone and press forward. God can do marvelous things with someone, not just because they are qualified in a certain area, but simply because they are available and willing.
I'll be the first to admit that I am no expert in theology. I can only teach what I've been taught and found to be true.
I cannot help but think of the quote from William Wilberforce’s Introduction to his book Real Christianity:
"Someone will undoubtedly make the objection that because I am not a theologian, I am really not qualified to address this subject. If I need to defend myself against such objection…I think it should be good enough to point out that all of us have the obligation to do whatever we are able to do to promote the welfare of our fellowman."
I am always open to feedback from anyone who might care to read my work.
Thursday, May 5, 2011
For because of Him the whole body (the church, in all its various parts), closely joined and firmly knit together by the joints and ligaments with which it is supplied, when each part [with power adapted to its need] is working properly [in all its functions], grows to full maturity, building itself up in love." (Ephesians 4:15-16, Amplified Bible)
Saturday, April 2, 2011
Do you believe you love the Lord with all your heart, soul, and mind? And do you love your neighbor(s) as you love your very own existence and being? Most of us probably feel as though we do a pretty good job in these areas. It is quite easy to say we walk the love walk, but do our actions and how we present ourselves to the world back up those words? Are the ways in which we treat others going to bring them into the kingdom or make them think twice about being a part of such a disingenuous group? Someone once said, “Perception is everything.”
Are we examples of God’s love to all of our ‘neighbors’ or just a select few? Are we even walking the true love walk with those closest to us, those to whom we make sure we speak the words, “I love you” often? When the military commanders in various countries find that one of their service men or women are not present at their assigned base or outpost, they may declare them A.W.O.L. or Absent WithOut Leave (or in the case of some countries, Absent Without Official Leave). When a soldier or sailor or marine is AWOL it means that he or she is no longer acting in accordance with the prime directive of their branch of the military, which is to serve their country and follow the orders of their leader. This AWOL service man or woman has elected to “go their own way”, neglecting the commands given them. They are not in good standing with their commanders and have forfeited many of the rights and privileges of their rank and position in that branch of the service.
Friday, March 25, 2011
Chapter 1 – What Does “Love” Mean To God?
Chapter 2 – The Greatest Commandment
Chapter 3 – 1 Corinthians 13: “The Love Chapter”
Chapter 4 – Biblical Examples Of Love
Chapter 5 – Love = No Fear
Chapter 6 – Putting Love to Work: Am I AWOL?
Chapter 7 - In summation: “Love is the Answer”
Saturday, March 12, 2011
As soldiers in the army of Christ, we too have a prime directive. As with military personnel, if we Christians neglect the commands of our Leader and do not act in accordance with the prime directive to love one another, we can no longer be considered in good standing with our Commander, Father God. We forfeit rights and privileges promised us in the covenant God made with man. We then are considered AWOL as Christians (Acting WithOut Love).
Let A.W.O.L. Christians help you explore the agape love of God and guide you to the "love walk" God desires and expects.
Participating authors in a writer's group that I belong to are giving away a Kindle on May 15 th. You have a very good chance of winning. To enter the drawing, you can either order two books from me, or have a book signing party or event. Invite me to speak for your civic club, church group, library, or other group ...and you will be entered.
2 copies of The Stakes Are High = $22;
1 copy of The Stakes Are High and one preorder for AWOL Christians = $30.
For a preorder of one copy of AWOL Christians ($19.95) I will give you a Kindle entry!!