Love and Be Loved

Image result for cuddling babyNewborns need to be held. They need to feel the warmth of skin on skin. Doctors confirm newborns actually require a significant amount of physical contact every day. If they don’t get it; they suffer from withdrawal condition known as failure to thrive and in extreme cases; death may occur.

Man has a desperate need to receive love and also to give love. When you snuggle, kiss, and sway with a new-born love are flowing both directions. Pure, unselfish, mutual love is proof of a relationship with Jesus Christ. John 13:35.

The single best example of love flowing two different directions is between man and his Creator. In 1 John 4:19, the Bible says the only reason we can love at all: “We love because he first loved us.” Everything that comes from God flows out of His love for us.

He loves you so much that He created you. And He loves you so much that even though you’ve chosen many times to turn your back on Him, He still sent His Son to pay the price for that sin by allowing Jesus to be nailed o a cross as a your substitute.


The Garden of God

This week my wife and I took a week’s vacation at beautiful Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Though Myrtle Beach offers many venues of entertainment; we came with the purpose to rest and recuperate. There are many places we could have chosen but one of our favorites is Brookgreen Gardens.

I think it is one of the most beautiful places in the South. I especially love the beautiful oaks with the Spanish Moss. The Gardens also has fantastic sculptures, water gardens, flowers, native wildlife and much more.As we were walk under the towering oaks, I commented to my wife if this is so awesome, I cannot imagine what the Garden of Eden was like.

Some ‘scholars’ say that the Garden was a myth as was Adam and Eve. I choose to believe God’s Word and believe the Garden was a reality. Some ask the question, “Is heaven just the Garden restored?”
Yes, the Garden of Eden will be very much like heaven but heaven will be so much better as to not even compare with it.  The best part is that God will dwell with His people. The New Jerusalem and the Garden of Eden also had one more thing in common — God was in their presence.

I don’t think humans have the capacity to fully understand the grandeur of God’s creation.The Garden of Eden would have been a climatic paradise; everything about God’s creation would have been perfect; after all, He had pronounced it “very good.”
Genesis 1:31).  What God says is ‘very good’ cannot have any flaws whatsoever.  Therefore, the world in which Adam and Eve lived would have been the perfect temperature, the perfect humidity, without pests or diseases, and without anything that would detract from their enjoyment of knowing God in a perfect, undiluted way.  Surely, this is what is meant by the word ‘paradise’.

I think the songwriter was correct, “Where Jesus is this heaven there.”

Have You Surrendered?

Many of our younger generations probably are not familiar with the name Hiroo Onoa. He was an Imperial Japanese Intelligence Army officer who fought during World War II and refused to surrender in August 1945! For years he lived on an isolated island not aware that Japan had surrendered to the United States thus ending World War II. He assumed that America was still his enemy!

When our American troops discovered Onoa was still living on this island; they tried to convince him the war was over. But he refused to surrender thinking it was a trick. It was only after hearing the Imperial Emperor’s voice broadcast via loudspeakers telling him that the war was truly over, that he finally surrendered.

The Bible tells us that ALL have sinned and therefore are enemies with God. Romans 5:10 tells us “Even when we were God’s enemies, he made peace with us because his Son died for us… God knew that our debt of sin was so large that only by sending His Son, Jesus Christ, to die for us could we be forgiven. “Technically” everyone has been forgiven as Christ died for all men but forgiveness only takes place when we surrender (confess our sin) and accept Jesus Christ as our Savior.

Have you surrendered your life to Christ and received the free gift of salvation?

Coming Down

In two weeks many will be observing Good Friday and I would like to share my thoughts on a phrase that was spoken on that day. That phrase is often overlooked by many.

Matthew 15:30 “…save Yourself, and come down from the cross! VS 32 Let this Christ, the King of Israel, now come down from the cross, so that we may see and believe

Of course Jesus being the Son of God could easily have done that but in so doing, He would not have fulfilled God’s will in providing salvation for all of mankind.

Paul tells us in Galatians 2:20 that Christ followers have been crucified with Christ… Paul was not speaking of our physical life but our old life while living in sin. Again Paul tells us in Roman’s 6:6 “We are those who have died to sin;…” Jesus commanded His followers to take up their cross daily and follow Him.

Any time we yield to SELF; we are technically coming down from our cross. Often in a divorce; some one (or both) have come down from their cross. Many church conflicts are a result of coming down from the cross wanting their way. When a man yields to the temptation to look at pornography, he has down from his cross. (Dead men do not experience lust!)

Satan was defeated because of Christ’s cross and we defeat Satan in our lives as long as we remain on our cross. Any time you come down from your cross; you are open to the attack of Satan. The only place of safety is the cross. The only place of victory is the cross.

What Did You Expect?

Expectations: We all live with them. We got to a doctor’s appointment and we expect to be seen on time. We expect him to make us feel better. We go to a restaurant and we expect good service and delicious food. Someone is scheduled to meet us, we expect them to be punctual.

So the question is how do we act when our expectations are not met? Angry? Disappointed? We usually respond in some less than Christ-like manner. Jesus asked His disciples to seek accommodations in a Samaritan city but they were not welcomed there. (The Jews and Samaritans despised one another.) What was the disciples response? They asked Jesus for permission to pray down fire and destroy the city! Jesus rebuked them for having a wrong spirit! Luke 9:54-55

Jesus’ disciples expected Him to establish an earthly? kingdom but when Jesus made it clear His was a spiritual kingdom; they got upset to say the least.

So, how are we to respond when our expectations are not meet?

Love God Unconditionally. We must keep loving God supremely as our first and greatest desire. When he doesn’t answer prayer the way you expected, cling to him more tightly. We serve God, not because of the things he has given, but because of who He is.

Quit Questioning Yourself.Basically, we blame past decisions for present disappointments. God doesn’t always lead us into comfortable surroundings, so unfulfilled expectations do not indicate that you missed God’s will.

 Focus attention on the next life.  Our whole emphasis revolves around desires and expectations for life on earth. Then, when things don’t turn out as we expected, we give ourselves over to despair. But we must remember, this life is not about this life; this life merely prepares us for the next one.

Sanctified Imagination

The human imagination is a wonderful thing! When I think of imagination; I immediately think of Walt Disney. On October 1, 1971, five years after the great Walt walt-disney-florida-mapwalt-disney-with-map-of-florida-olp-travel---news-viewsolp-zzuys1w3Disney passed away; Disney World had its grand opening. During the dedication ceremony, someone turned to Mrs. Walt Disney and said, “Isn’t it a shame that Walt didn’t live to see this?” Mrs. Disney replied, “He did see it, that’s why it’s here.”

All of us to some degree or another have an imagination. Many of the modern conveniences we have today started in someone’s imagination. As I was falling asleep one night; I started remembering how God led my wife and me in our lives. I started to use what I call my “sanctified Imagination.”
By that, I mean using my imagination to “flesh out” passages of Scripture and the character of Jesus.
Example: I wondered what does God do while I sleep? I know, He has a whole universe to oversee but what is He doing in my life while I sleep? Psalm 121:3-4. The psalmist writes, “He will not let your foot be moved; he who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, he who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.”

Here’s where my imagination comes to play. I can imagine Jesus sitting beside my bed, smiling as He puts together the events of my coming day. Psalm 143:8      I would like to think He says with pleasure, “Just wait and see what I have in store for you when you wake up.” (It just might be possible.”)

On A Mission

I love the classic scene from The Blues Brothers when Elwood Blues announces: “We’re on a mission from God.”Image result for blues brothers It’s a mission from God that keeps us on the straight and narrow. When we are busy with the Father’s business, we can’t be sidetracked. A mission from God not only motivates us to do the right thing, but it also demotivates us from doing the wrong thing.

If you aren’t on a mission from God, you aren’t really living—you’re dying. You aren’t just wasting your God-given potential, you’re wasting space. You’re dead weight.

You need a vision for a mission. Ask God to give it to you.