Love is one those terms that is used so frequently and in so many contexts that it can be difficult to discern it’s meaning. In English, we use the same word no matter what the object or intensity of our love: “I love chocolate; I love steak; I love the mountains; I love to read; or I love you sweetheart.” So when we talk about the love of God, and in particular, the love of God for us personally, we may import into what we say the various ideas conveyed in other contexts. So it is important that we understand the love of God Biblically.
Love is not a quality that evolved out of some primordial soup. It is an eternal attribute of God. It has existed eternally as an attribute of Almighty God. So if we want to study love and see love for what it is, we must first see it in the Godhead, because God is the perfect essence of love. The Apostle John says so in 1John 4:7,8. He tells us that God is the source of true love (“love is from God”) and that God is love itself (v. 8). In fact this is so true that it is impossible to know true love, to understand its meaning, without having a personal knowledge and understanding of God: “God is love.”
Perhaps we have heard it said of someone; “That person is love personified.” And we know what they mean by that, but it cannot be strictly true. It can only really be said of One; and that is the God of Scripture. We must be quick and clear to say that love is certainly not all that God is, but it is definitely one thing that He is.
Love is more, however, than a static quality or even a sentimental emotion. God is not only the perfect essence of love. He is also the perfect expression of love. Not only do we see what love is in God, we also see what it is like in God. Perhaps the two are one and the same. For what would it matter that God is love if He did not give expression to it. God has “manifested” or “made known” His love. In particular, God has shown His love to His children. That love has been expressed in the person and work of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. We will look more carefully at God’s general love and His special love next time. But we can at least think on these aspects of love revealed in the Godhead. Love gives, forgives, forebears, has pity, sustains and cares for. Love is kind and patient and genuinely concerned for its object. And it is not subject to changing circumstances or emotions.
So when we think of the love of God, let’s consciously avoid importing much of the typical use of the idea. Let’s think Biblically and be guided by the person of God Himself, “for God is love”.
Let’s take a look at what go looks like for a missionary couple in Mexico.
Now that you know what Go looks like for Steven & Grace, What Will Go Look Like for You?
[you can also view this video at Vimeo]
Passion4Chrsit 2012 | October 24-28 | Perrysville, Ohio
Registration opening May 1st
A dear friend of mine, Terri Smith wrote on her Facebook wall that a dear friend of hers had passed away. She called her an Ambassador for Christ. I started thinking about it, and I realized what a beautiful thing to say about someone.
I looked up the dictionary definition for ambassador: 1. ranking diplomatic representative appointed by one country or government to represent it in another. 2. a special representative , on a mission, an agent with a special mission.
Oh, yes, the second definition is for the believer. 2 Cor. 5:20 says, “Now, then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us; we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.” Christ has appointed us, as it were, to represent Him and His kingdom to this world we live in.
It is such a blessing to reflect on all the ambassadors the Lord has placed in my life to guide me over the years. They have represented Christ in my life to show me the way and to impact my life. I would like to share a few with you.
My Sunday School teacher at a very young age, Mrs. Kilpacktrick. She taught me the Spirit of Femininity. She was a lovely lady and always wore a hat. I guess that is where my love of hats began. She taught me the word of God, and it came at a critical time in my young life. I did not grow up in a Christian home, and I walked to the nearest Church every Sunday to sit under her teaching. She was an example of the art of being a lady.
Mrs. Gail Upton, a Godly wife and mother, was in my church also. She showed me, when I was in her home, what a Godly Christian home looked like. She was preparing me to be a wife and mother in the Lord. Something I knew nothing about growing up. She showed me beauty from the heart and feminine strength. Femininity is so much more than lace and flowers. A woman with the spirit of femininity is a woman with a teachable heart – a heart that can give and forgive, protect and respect, and go from craze to praise. “When we nurture the spirit of femininity in our lives we are not just primping and polishing; we are wrapping God’s word around our homes, filling it with prayer, peace, and pleasure.” (Emilie Barnes)
Mrs. Jean Simmons, taught me so much about being the Titus 2 woman and about giving: the spirit of always giving of yourself and time to others. Once I admired a butterfly pin she was wearing, and she took it off and gave it to me. Sounds too simple. That made a big impact on my young heart, and I have never forgotten it. I have done that with others, and it brings such joy to your soul. It’s fun – try it sometime.
Mrs. Verlie House, taught me the Spirit of Stillness. When Charles took his first pastorate she was a member of our church. She was a lady I grew to love and admire. When life distresses came, she was always available for council and to pray with me. She taught me stillness in the word. She was a woman I could trust. “Be still and know that I am God”, the psalmist urges. Stillness is not a word that many of us even use anymore, let alone experience. As a young woman, I was tilted more outward, and she taught me to be more inward. Growing in the Lord and geared towards heaven. We need to experience the fragrance of Christ’s love and let that love permeate our lives – to let the calmness of His spirit replenish the empty well of our heart, which gets depleted in the busyness and rush of the everyday demands and pressures. She was 70 years old and a woman who was like a sponge, always learning and growing in the Lord. I always said, when I am old and grey-headed (which I am fast approaching!) I want to be like her. She was always young at heart! The Lord is so gracious to provide all the spiritual blessings we need in our walk with Him.
Mrs. Louise Crawford taught me the Spirit of hospitality, the spirit of the Kitchen, and the Spirit of Godliness. She became my spiritual Mom. The Spiritual Mom I never had growing up. Her home was a refuge for me and a learning center for Godliness. She is a prayer warrior, a Godly example, and she has and still treats me like a daughter. She taught me genuine love for others. One time as a Pastor’s wife, she came to my home and brought me a beautiful gift of a sweater. She said it was a “happy” and she often did these kind of things. She had a welcoming home, a place of refuge, were people worn down by the noise and turmoil of the outside world could find a safe resting – a place where you are made aware of God’s blessing and through which you pass on his blessing to others. This is the kind of home I want to strive to have. Many a meal was served with lots of invited guest around her table, sharing hospitality and the wisdom of God.
These aren’t huge things, but they were everyday moment-by-moment investments in my life and examples to follow. These are the older Godly women, but there is still the Spirit of Celebration. These are all the young ladies, especially the P4C ladies, that have brought to my life that spirit. Living your lives with exploding joy! Celebrating laughter, a gift of God that brightens our good times; lightens the rough ones. Celebrating their Passion for Christ and each other. What a privilege it has been to spend time with each of you. I am inspired and always renewed in my spirit to serve Christ better.
I feel I must put a man figure in here somewhere!!! Of course, I cannot leave out Charles Cavanaugh, my precious husband of 31 years. He has been faithful to the word of God. For so many years, I was blessed to sit under his preaching. I am a better person for it. He has been a man of God, who has taught me how to stand-alone and to trust the Lord in all situations of life. He is trustworthy, honest, strong in the Lord, and that has been the driving force in our family. Thank you, Charles.
I hope I have caused you to bring remembrance to those Ambassadors the Lord has place in your life. Take some time to be grateful before the Lord for them and maybe this week you could let some of them know what they have meant in your life. A note, a call, or just pray for them. Let us be still and never take for granted the spiritual blessings that are ours in Christ Jesus.
Remember, Child of God, you are an Ambassador for Christ, a special representative on a mission, an agent with a special mission for others.
Share your life, and find the finest joy man can know. Do not be stingy with your heart. Get out of yourself into the lives of others, and new life will flow into you- share and share alike. – Joseph Fort Newton
Every year at this time millions of people flood the stores looking for new clothes. They will go where they hardly ever or never go. They will attend a church worship services. But why bother? What is so important about this day? What makes it different from any other day; any other Sunday?
As you know, we call this day Easter. I like to call it Resurrection Day; the day set aside to celebrate the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. But what difference does the resurrection make?
Perhaps no event from history is as well attested as the resurrection of Christ. Christianity stands on the issue. Western Civilization has built its calendar on it. Many have challenged its veracity, but none has disproved its reality. The early disciples (over 500 at once) and the Apostles saw their risen Lord and willingly put their lives at risk for Him and His gospel. Some saw His tomb; empty of all but the suffocating grave clothes He had left behind. And the religious leaders could not suppress the fact nor the zeal and passion that grew from it. Some of them even bowed the knee to the risen Lord as we see in the book of Acts. The grave, the grave clothes, the changed disciples, the changed lives of former rejecters, and the eye witness accounts all point to a risen Christ.
The reality of Christ’s resurrection has been and is a source of peace to countless of His followers. Those who know and follow Christ are not devotees of a dead or even martyred founder. We know and are known by the living Lord Jesus Christ who foretold His crucifixion and promised His resurrection.
The earliest believers illustrate the change from doubt to fear and confidence and faith that comes with a personal knowledge of the risen Lord. The account in John 20 rehearses the wailing of Mary upon her discovery that the body of the One who changed her life was missing. The disciples were holed up in a closed room likely hoping to escape martyrdom themselves. What was left for them now that Jesus was dead and buried?
But Mary’s sorrow was turned to joy and peace when she heard His voice and saw Him. Peter and John hurried to the tomb when they were informed it was empty. There the truth of the resurrection dawned on them. As word spread, the excitement grew until Christ appeared to the Apostles (absent Thomas). These usually bold, courageous men, frightened at the prospect of being arrested as Jesus’ accomplices, were suddenly visited by Christ. Appearing out of “nowhere”, He pronounced His peace upon them. His presence and words changed everything for them. Worry, fear, confusion, and uncertainty were all eclipsed by the reality of their resurrected Lord.
Read the accounts of the four Gospels, and you will find Christ gave the a mission: “Go into all the world and preach the gospel…” He gave them the means: “Then He breathed on them and said, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit.’” And He gave them a message. They could assure all those who would come in faith to Christ of God’s forgiveness. And they could assure all who reject Christ of judgment.
But the resurrection is not just something to ponder. It is something to proclaim. Thomas was absent when Christ first appeared to the Apostles, but it did not take them long to tell him. Thomas would not be swayed. He wanted proof – to see for himself. So when Christ appeared the second time to the Apostles, it was under similar circumstances, with the doors shut. Out of “nowhere” the Lord appeared. This time He went directly to Thomas and with all his love and mercy shows him the wounds of the crucifixion. Then He said to him, “Thomas, stop doubting and believe.” And Thomas responded with that wonderful declaration, “My Lord and my God!”
What Thomas declared and proclaimed in that closed room he later helped proclaim throughout Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and every corner of the known world. And that is what we who know Christ are to do.
Ultimately, the resurrection proves Jesus is who He said He was. Romans 1:4 says, “He was declared to be the Son of God with power…by the resurrection from the dead.” That resurrection power is owned by every believer and just as salvation comes by grace through faith, the resurrection life is lived by grace through faith. “I am crucified with Christ; nevertheless I live. Yet, not I, but Christ lives in me. And the life that I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God who lived me and gave Himself up for me.” (Gal. 2:20) “Since you then were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sits at the right hand of God. Set your affections on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.” (Col. 3:1-3) “Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? How shall we who are dead to sin live any linger in it…we are buried with Him by baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.” (Rom. 6:1-4)
As you worship this “Resurrection Day”, ask the Lord to stamp these truths on your heart afresh and pray for the grace to daily live the resurrected life.
A quick look at what Go looks like for another sister in Christ: Katie Davis.
Now that you know what Go looks like for Katie, What Will Go Look Like for You?
Passion4Chrsit 2012 | October 24-28 | Perrysville, Ohio
Registration opening May 1st
This weekend I spent the whole day weeding and preparing my yard for mulch. It brought to my mind time we spend in our lives. Time began in a garden, not the “tick tocking” get it done time, not stuffed crammed kind of time – sorry I’m late time, I got stuck on the freeway form of measurement. It’s purposeful hours – a time for recreation, for dreaming; a time for growing, for sharing. The kind of time I would like to reflect on is: what are we sowing for worthwhile work? Time: a resource for creating the beautiful and growing the soul – purposeful hours, planting the seeds in our spiritual lives and others.
We can start this spring off right by sowing need seeds in our spiritual life and the lives of others. Here are just a few you can think about:
1. SEEDS OF KINDNESS.… Psalm 36:7: “How excellent is thy loving-kindness O God! Therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of your wing.” Ps. 63:3: “Because thy loving-kindness is better than life, my lips shall praise thee.
2. SEEDS OF NEW FRIENDSHIPS.… Proverbs 18:24: “A man who has friends must show himself friendly; and their is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” John 15:13: “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”
3. SEEDS OF JOY.… Psalm 16:11: “Thou wilt show me the path of life, in thy presence is fullness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.” Ps. 126:5: “They that sow in tears shall reap in joy.” Going out spreading that seed of who Jesus is, brings great joy.
4. SEEDS OF FORGIVENESS.… Col. 1:14: “In whom we have redemption through His blood, even the forgiveness of sins.” Col. 3:12-14: “Put on therefore as the elect of God, holy beloved, tender mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, long-suffering, forebearing one another and forgiving other, if any man have a quarrel against any; even as Christ forgave you, so also do you, and above all these things put on love the bond of perfectness.
5. SEEDS OF HOPE.… Psalm 39:7: “And now, Lord what wait I for? My hope is in thee.” Col. 1:27 “To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles which is Christ in you the hope of glory.”
6. SEEDS OF HELPFULNESS.… Isaiah 41:6: “They helped every one his neighbor and every one said to his brother, be of good courage ” Psalm 124;8: “Our help is in the name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth.”
7. SEEDS OF THE GOSPEL.… Matthew 24:14: “And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations and then shall the end come.”
8. SEEDS OF ENCOURAGEMENT.… 1 Thes. 5:14: “Now exhort you brethren, warn them that are unruly, encourage the fainthearted, support the weak, be patient toward all men.
9. SEEDS OF EXAMPLE.… 1 Cor. 10:11: “Now all these things happened unto them for examples and they are written for our admonition upon whom the end of the ages are come.” (All the things that happened in the wilderness were examples to God’s people. What happens in your life can be used to be an example of God’s mercies.) 1 Tim. 4:12: “Let no man despise your youth, but be an example of the believers in Word, in Conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity.” John 13:15,17: “For I have given you an example that you should do as I have done to you. Verily, Verily I say unto to you, the servant is not greater then his Lord, neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him. If you know these things happy are you if you do them.” (Jesus was talking to his disciples while washing their feet!)
So fill your pots with spiritual packets above for worthwhile work, creating the spirit of Godliness. Growing in Godliness is a lifelong process. God wants us to be a container full of His love and mercy. “If a man, therefore, purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel (a container) unto honor, sanctified and fit for the master’s use, prepared unto every good work.” – 2 Tim. 2:21
May the Lord help us to be containers worthy to be used for his glory..
Weed out the old… sow new beginnings… Spring gardens… A time to sow and a time to reap… Let’s reap a harvest of love in the seeds we sow together!