Archives For Love

When all else has passed away, faith, hope, and love will remain (1 Corinthians 13:13). Faith, hope, and love are the essence of our belief in God. They are the underpinnings of all Christianity is meant to be. On a personal level, they are the glue holding our lives together. Take any one of the three out of the equation, and things begin to unravel. Together, they are the anchor of our soul.

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Without faith, hope, and love it would be impossible to please God or serve others. Without faith, hope, and love we could never know or understand God. While the apostle Paul singles out love as being the most important of the three, I submit without faith and hope, you could never have love in the first place.

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There are days, when I take the time to notice the blessings bestowed upon me, I cannot help but be overwhelmed. Looking around the world, it’s ridiculous how incredibly blessed I am. Chances are, if you are reading this blog, your circumstances are similar. We have much for which to be thankful. To our detriment, it seems we spend far more time complaining about what we don’t have than allowing ourselves to be overwhelmed with what we do.

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For starters, if we have Jesus, what else could we possibly need? Anything other than Christ is just a temporary salve for a temporary wound. We are made complete in Jesus. Yet, God didn’t stop with the most incredible blessing ever. He continues to pour out His goodness into our lives.

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Constant prayer has been a part of my life as long as I can remember. I have a near constant dialog going with God. Somedays it’s more conversational, others it can just be a series of “I love You” or “Thank You” prayers being sent His way. Praying continuously is something I do without thinking. It wasn’t something I planned one day, it’s just how it is for me. I can’t remember a time when it wasn’t like this.

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Even when times are difficult, the prayer continues. While there are plenty of other areas with which I struggle, this one isn’t a huge concern for me in this season of my life. Still, I recognize continuous prayer doesn’t come as easy to many. Knowing this, I wanted to spend some time looking at Scripture and talking through the discipline of praying continuously.

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Imagine your father was the richest, most powerful man in the world. Think Bill Gates or Warren Buffet rich. Now imagine also you were your father’s prize, the apple of his eye. No matter how many mistakes you made, he always forgave you, always wrapped his arms around you letting you know everything would be okay. Finally, imagine despite all his wealth and love, the thing you enjoyed most was disappointing him.

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Instead of taking advantage of the best life had to offer, you preferred cheap knock-offs. Once more imagine every time he reached out to hold you, you laughed and walked the other way. Wouldn’t it be great if this was just a bad fairy tale?

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On your journey to discipleship, it’s important to remember following Jesus is always about the next step. We aren’t concerned with where He’s leading us, we’re simply content to follow. A hallmark of discipleship is never looking back. It doesn’t matter where you’ve been, or what you’ve done. The blood, grace, and love of Jesus makes all which has come before irrelevant. We are who He says we are, and He sees only who we are becoming.

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As far as God is concerned, the past doesn’t matter. He’s not interested in what you’ve done, only in what you will do for His Kingdom.  He holds no grudges. Jesus never looks at what you’ve messed up in the past as an indicator of what you might accomplish in the future.

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I have had the concern of being overly repetitious in my writing here. Being honest, it seems as if I continue to circle around a few ideas, putting what I hope is a fresh spin on them each time. Yet when I contemplate it, I come to a simple point. As long as I’m still struggling with it, I’m going to continue to write about it! I’m going to follow the advice of Ken Blanchard, one of my early mentors. He said the three keys to learning were repetition, repetition, and repetition.

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Living the life of a disciple is simple. Do what Jesus did, say what Jesus said, and love like Jesus loved. Do those things and you will be a true follower of Christ.

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With all the evil in the world it can become easy to believe there is no justice. Some jump quickly to blaming God. They hold Him responsible for the evil in the world, or even worse, accuse Him of causing it. Many struggle to understand why a supposedly all-powerful God would allow such atrocities to occur. Unfortunately, too many Christians have been exposed to teaching which tries to explain how God causes or at least permits all evil to accomplish His purposes.

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This is not only harmful teaching, but it is bad theology. God is love and does nothing that isn’t love. He is all good, all the time. Rather than diminishing His power, the fact evil happens in contrast to what He wills only demonstrates how powerful He is.

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God’s love and mercy for us comes free of charge. We can’t do anything to deserve it any more or any less. The fact is we don’t deserve it at all. Still, the love of God is such He gives it to us anyway. We cannot work harder to be more deserving or earn more favor. He has already given everything on our behalf. Regardless of what we do or don’t do, He sees us as having unsurpassable worth and loves us unconditionally.

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No matter how much we may want it to be otherwise, none of our efforts will change these facts. However, when it comes to our relationship with Christ, we have a very direct influence on how close we are and how much our lives look like Jesus to those on the outside looking in.

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Every disciple is consumed with the adventure of finding Jesus. We search for Him in this place, in this moment, wherever we may find ourselves. The search is made more difficult by the amount of disguise we’ve allowed to be placed on Jesus. For our entire lives, we’ve been told stories of who Jesus is. We’ve chosen to believe some of it, and discarded others as inconsistent with our understanding of the character of God.

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Along the way, we’ve painted a picture of Christ in our minds to help us see Him in our lives. The extent to which our picture of Jesus is accurate in relation to who He really is, determines how successful we will be in finding Him in our day to day lives.

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As I write this, it is only a few days until Father’s Day will be celebrated here in the United States. This holiday affects people in different ways, depending on their situation or upbringing, but few are emotionless about it. For those whose fathers’ have passed away, this day probably brings mixed emotions of joyful memories and sorrowful realities. Some never knew their father, and for these there can be an ever-present emptiness.

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Unfortunately, there are those who have fathers who were abusive in one way or another and, as a result, Father’s Day is a day of bitterness. To those like myself who had good fathers who are still with them, it is a day of celebration of years past. But to all who profess Jesus as their Lord, we have something even more important to celebrate: the love of our Heavenly Father.

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