I am currently studying at the Master’s College for my Bible Certificate. Right now my class is New Testament Survey. Every week I have to write a blog post on the Scripture. So this time I thought I would share my thoughts with you all : )
Paul starts this section off by saying “Let love be genuine.” So I was going to write about the whole passage but seriously this verse alone is enough to write a whole book on. Like WOW!!!
I am sure it would be easier for each of us to let our love seem genuine, to walk around with the façade of love instead of the real thing. In my own life I am very good at being nice to people and listening to what they have to say, but at the end of the day can I really say that I love them? In many cases I would have to answer no. I am nice, however, not because I genuinely care or love people but because if I’m not, what would people think of me?!? (aka: the motive behind my actions is pride, not love.)
In John 13:34 Jesus gave His disciples a new command which was to love one another. Then in verse 35 He told them that by their love for one another the world would know they belonged to Him. Love was their identifying badge; the act that set them apart.
Real love cannot help but be noticed. It is practically like putting a giant billboard in the sky for all to see. It glorifies the Father and allows Him to show Himself to the world.
However if we masquerade as people who “love” each other, no one will really ever know because a fake seed cannot bear fruit.
As I get older and study the Bible more and more, I am finding love, genuine, all out love is neither easy nor comfortable. It is, however, vital! It requires that we remain humble, lay down our self, be vulnerable and honest. It may be received and equally given back or it may be rejected and thrown in our face. Either way it is not a suggestion that will help us change the world, it is a command that is guaranteed to change the world.
So while it is hard, it is not impossible. We have the perfect example in the Father and the Son, we have the Word and Spirit to lead and guide us and we have the joy of knowing it will glorify the Lord as it puts all the spotlight on Him, which is exactly what we were created to do. Plus, just think how our brothers and sisters will blossom and flourish if we give genuine love freely, how it will strengthen the body and allow us to grow in the process!
“… if we are faithless, he remains faithful—for he cannot deny himself.” 2 Timothy 2:13
“And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” Philippians 1:6
“The Lord will perfect that which concerns me; Your mercy, O Lord, endures forever; Do not forsake the works of Your hands.” Psalm 138:8
“… just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love…” Ephesians 1:4
“Now to Him who is able to keep youfrom stumbling, And to present you faultless Before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy…” Jude 24
How many more promises need to be made by a God who is incapable of lying before I will believe Him? My Friend has promised that He will always be with me, yet somehow, I would rather try to do things on my own. The work I’ve been called to do is not mine, but His. He will perfect everything that concerns me. He will do it because He is faithful.
So, what role do I play in this?
“But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.” Jude 20-21
“For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls.” Hebrews 12:3
“Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.” Hebrews 3:15
“Therefore let that abide in you which you heard from the beginning. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, you also will abide in the Son and in the Father. And this is the promise that He has promised us—eternal life.” – 1 John 2:24-25
Abba, convince us of Your goodness, please. Convince us that You are for us, that You love us, and that no matter what we do, Your heart towards us never changes. Convince us that Your grace is true, and that all You require of us is to be weak, and willing to receive You in our weakness. Convince us, Papa, that when we are weak, You are strong. It’s what You’ve promised.
Teach us to believe You, and teach us to receive Your love. Teach us that you are trustworthy.
Thank You for allowing us to come before You in complete confidence. Thank You for sending Jesus to be our Hope, our Redemption, our Sanctification, our Righteousness, our LIFE.
Faithful Father, teach us how to love you. Through Jesus I ask this, amen.
On November 3, the church recognized International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church. As I thought about and prayed for my brothers and sisters who are persecuted for their faith in Jesus, I also thought about being a martyr. I hear testimonies of people who have laid down their lives for the sake of the Gospel – and I think, “And that is worth it.”
I know that it is worth it to live for Jesus, and to lay down my life for His sake.
But why do I somehow think that living for Jesus is not worth losing sleep over, or is not worth being inconvenienced by? That being Jesus’ disciple is not worth giving up my comfortable life for?
I do believe that following Christ is worth giving my life and my everything for. But very often, the choices I make and the way I live my life do not reflect that.
Something is wrong here. Following Jesus IS worth everything. So I need to start living like it.
Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.” – Matthew 16:24-25
I Love Mockingbirds. They are just happy all of the time, and it seems like to me that they are free to sing whatever they want; they can chirp, squeak, trill, peep…you get the picture. Any way I love them, and yesterday I was sitting at my desk thinking to myself, “I haven’t seen a mockingbird in forever!” (they usually are all over down here in Texas). I really wanted to see, and hear a mockingbird (did I mention they are AWESOME!).
But I wrote it off because one, it’s not spring, and two, it was cold and if I were a bird I would want to be where it is warm right now. So that was me, depressed and sitting at my desk because there were no mockingbirds in Texas.
This morning I awoke from my very restful sleep, I sleepily got dressed and went outside for my morning prayer/walking time, but as I closed the door of my apartment guess what I heard! A MOCKINGBIRD! Needless to say I thought it was cool, but not much more than that until I started praying.
“Josiah, that bird is for you” said a still small voice, “What!? No way! Are you serious God? You care enough about me to put a single mockingbird on the roof of an apartment complex, in the middle of Carrollton, in the state of Texas, in the center of America, in the country of the United States, on a tiny planet called earth, in a tiny solar system (comparatively), in a huge galaxy, in the unending expanse of space? It’s not possible!”
Or is it? In John 17:23 says “…Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me” (Emphasis mine). Friends God loves us as much as he loves Jesus Christ! It blows my mind the vastness of His affection for us. Psalm 37:4 says “Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” I didn’t even pray for that Mockingbird, but God still put it there for me, and the reality probably is that He does stuff like that for us all the time!
I will stop saying things now and let scripture speak for itself:
Matthew 6:25-34 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air (Strangely appropriate); they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?
28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
The School of Discipleship January 2013 year is coming to a close and we are now officially studying our last book together as a class. But, not only are we studying it, but we are going to be teaching it, Lord willing! Yes, you read that right! We as School of Discipleship students have the amazing opportunity to facilitate class! I know that it will be a huge challenge, but in that, it will help me to depend on my Saviour more, and help me grow deeper in my relationship with Him! Yet another benefit to this is, as Susan said, we will get way more out of the lessons we teach, than what we ever have before! This year has been absolutely amazing! I have learned a lot and I praise my Heavenly Father for all that He has done in my life as a result.
“Jesus, I need to give myself up. I am not strong enough to love You and walk with You on my own. I can’t do it, and I need You. I need You deeply and desperately. I believe You are worth it, that You are better than anything else I could have in this life or the next. I want You. And when I don’t, I want to want You. Be all in me. Take all of me. Have Your way with me.” ~Francis Chan
This is my heart’s desire!
God has definitely been faithful to me! He’s been working in my life and trying to teach me to rely on Him for everything and in every area of my life. I have had a lot of trouble just completely trusting in the Lord for all circumstances. I went through a bit of a struggle recently that showed me that I had to rely on the Lord because I don’t know if I would have made it otherwise.
I seemed to notice though when I kept on yielding more and more things to the Lord, He was bringing peace to my heart. I learned that I had to start taking my eyes off of my situations and problems and concentrate on how I could be a blessing to others. I needed to concentrate on the Lord and dwell on Him and not the past. I had to let the past be the past and leave it there.
Somebody told me that I need to bring things to the foot of the cross and then leave it there and stop going back and picking it up again. It’s hard but I know that it’s worth it to do that. May the Lord get all the glory, honour, and praise for what HE has done! Here is a verse that I like. “He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much.” Luke 16:10
Even while I was in South Asia, I had to learn to yield myself completely over to Christ because I did find it hard at different times. The cultural differences were something that I struggled with the most. There were quite a few things that I was told before I went out there that I had to remember to constantly keep in mind. I was feeling a little bit overwhelmed with all that but I made it through so praise the Lord! Even just the part of men and women having to be so segregated was something that I wasn’t used to. It was really good for me to be there and be out of my home environment and just experience what God had for me.
So I was thinking recently about what I would say if the question was asked me “How would you describe yourself in a few sentences?”
I wasn’t sure at first, but after a little while I came up with this:
My name is Alley, and I am a child of the One True God. My mission in life is to love others as God loves me, and make His name known throughout the nations. This is accomplished through my pursuing a relationship with Jesus Christ that grows deeper daily.
And that is who I am in a nutshell. How would you describe yourself?
The School of Discipleship class here in Canada just recently finished reading Charles Swindoll’s, The Grace Awakening. One point Swindoll made had to do with the significance of giving others the freedom to be who they are.
The way I was best able to apply and more fully understand his point was by imagining what it will be like if I have kids someday. I hope I would be a parent who imparts wisdom and disciplines my children when necessary, but also one who gives them the freedom to be who they are, as well as the room to make mistakes.
I think that this practice of letting others be can be applied not only to parent-child relationships, but to friendships and marriages as well. While there may be times for speaking words of caution and correction to our loved ones, I believe there will also be times when the best thing we can do is to just let them be.
While travelling back from the Gospel For Asia UK retreat last weekend, one of us remarked on how much of a blessing my great-aunt’s car is to a couple on staff. As I followed my great-aunt’s car home, which I have nicknamed Dorothy after her, I took a trip down memory lane. I couldn’t help but praise the Lord for taking something as ordinary as a car and making it significant for His Kingdom.
Dorothy, the car, is a testimony of God’s goodness to my family, my Gospel For Asia family and even to the most unreached. Dorothy began her life in Belfast, Northern Ireland, when my great-aunt bought her to take her to the shops, the hairdresser and her many social engagements. Dorothy was kept busy. My great-aunt was remarkable in many ways and she kept me on my toes. She liked to teach me the proper way to do things including brewing a good cup of British tea. I enjoyed drinking tea with her and listening to stories from her life. One of my favourites is of her playing billiards with Second World War soldiers in London during a German bombing. They choose to continue their game rather than retreat to a bunker! She lived a full and exciting life, which meant growing old was her enemy.
Dorothy, the car, was very important to my great-aunt as this was her link to the life she once had. As her health deteriorated, Dorothy got taken out less frequently. This is when my great-aunt began to seriously consider the life to come. One fateful day my great-aunt caused a car accident which required her to take a driving test for the first time in her life. My gracious and very patient mum helped her practice for the test in Dorothy. She managed to pass the test despite finding it hard to hear the driving examiner’s instructions. Unfortunately, the stress was too much for my great-aunt and she never got to drive Dorothy again. Confinement to her apartment forced her to consider eternally significant questions and she opened up to my mum.
The Lord only knows with certainty where my great-aunt is today, nevertheless, my mum and I are hopeful. We were especially encouraged by her funeral arrangements which she had organised herself, as she had changed the hymns last minute to include “Amazing Grace.” She left the car, Dorothy, to my mum who then gave it to my brother, Richard. Last year, Dorothy took Richard on a life-changing adventure to England. Today, Dorothy belongs to a couple on staff with Gospel For Asia, which is the Lord’s provision. I find it incredible that my great-aunt’s car is being used to reach those who have never heard the precious name of Jesus. Seeing Dorothy at the Gospel For Asia office everyday reminds me of God’s goodness. He can take something ordinary, bless and multiply it beyond what I could imagine, even beyond a lifetime. Dorothy lives on, serving the Lord in Gospel For Asia UK. I wonder what my great-aunt would say to me if she knew her car belonged to Gospel For Asia-missionaries. Maybe that living for eternity is all that matters.
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