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Posts Tagged ‘love’

Day 54: Fatherly Compassion

Posted by undergroundchurch on June 16, 2011


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“As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him;” Psalm 103:13 NIV

Sadly, many people cannot relate to this Scripture. If you did not have a compassionate father, I can understand where you may skip over this, but there is something important in this passage that gives greater understanding about God and how fathers should act.

Fear the Lord

The problem with understanding the “fear of the Lord” is that too many feared their fathers out of real fear for their own lives.  They feared the backhand, the fist, the drunkenness, the yelling and fights.  However, that type of fear is not the kind of fear we should have of the Lord.

The fear of the Lord is trembling, awe and reverence for a holy God that with a mere thought can remove you from this world.  However, it is the love and compassion of the Lord that produces the patience He has with us, which in turn gives us assurance that He truly loves us.  This patience is not shown to give us permission to sin but to allow Him to work in us to deliver us out of dependence on sin.

His holiness produces in us a fear of the Lord, but his compassion frees us to boldly come before him still trembling yet knowing that He accepts us.

Fatherly Compassion

Fathers in this world need to draw on God’s example of Fatherly Compassion.

Our kids are a treasure, but sometimes they can be a bit of a handful.  We can be very upset with some acts in them.  However, when this happens, it is important to keep in mind God’s approach with us and then emulate it.

  1. Show the error, yet show more love before, during and after correction
  2. Show more love than disappointment
  3. You are a Father first, but don’t forget that you are the reason your kids are here.
  4. Your job is to train them up in the Lord to reflect the life and love of Christ. The best way to do that is show them love like Jesus does.

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Day 24: How to be Seen as a Christian

Posted by undergroundchurch on January 24, 2011


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Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. – Philippians 4:8

The word for “lovely” is only use here in the Scriptures and come from the root “phileo” meaning “friendly love” and it literally means, “unto friendly love”.  Some translations capture the sense well by using the word “pleasing” or “acceptable” because the idea is that a commonly acceptable thing.

The opposite of this would be “hostile”.  We are not to think in hostile terms but in pleasing, acceptable and lovely ways.

Let me be direct: Church splits occur primarily because people are not thinking in a “lovely” manner.

The source of unity is the Holy Spirit, and He uses the bonding agent of Love and a common purpose to adhere people of different gifts, backgrounds, preferences, etc. into a cohesive organism that can act as the Body of Christ on earth doing the ministry He started.

If we think in pleasing and lovely ways, and allow the Holy Spirit to work into us love, then we begin to put other people’s needs ahead of our own.  We think about how the things we do affect others.  We speak more kindly, act more generously, walk more humbly and love more genuinely.

Jesus wasn’t just speaking to the air when He said, “They will know you are my disciples by your love one for another.” (John 13:35) Love for each other is the mantra of the church.

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Day 14: How Much do You Love Jesus?

Posted by undergroundchurch on January 14, 2011


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We have lost transparency, and that’s one of the main reasons why so many people stay bound. – Lady Eagle 8

Sometimes I hear a message and just one line jumps out, and I can’t let it go.

This line was uttered by a lady that used to be homosexual until she met the power of God.  She was actually told by people in the church that she shouldn’t tell others about what God did…

Say what?!?

I’m sorry… If God delivered me from something that amazing, I’d be jumping up and down!

But what if Jesus delivered you from… oh, say, drinking or drugs or something radical?

Would you be inclined to tell everybody you saw?

What if God delivered you from your debt? Would you testify to God or your discipline?

What if God delivered you from a headache? Would you testify to God’s healing power or Advil?

Jesus laid out a principle in Scripture that defines how much your are willing to testify about Him, which is found in Luke 7:36-50.

Jesus is at a religious leader’s house and while eating, a woman (most likely a prostitute) comes in with anointing oil and begins weeping at Jesus’ feet, putting oil on his feet and wiping His feet with her tears and hair.

Simon, the religious leader, is disgusted.

Jesus proceeds to tell him a story of a lender that forgave two people of their debts. One owed 10 times more than the other. He then asks Simon, “Which one with the debt do you think loved the one who forgave the debt more?”

Simon correctly replies, “The one who was forgiven the most.”

In verse 47, Jesus lays the principle out…

Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.

Principle:

Our love for God starts at the level of forgiveness we realize is lavished upon us.

Those of us that have been delivered from “heinous” sins tend to fall deeply in love with Christ. Those who have not, have a more difficult time mustering that level of intense love. However, might I suggest that all of us have one thing we have been delivered from that, though we didn’t experience it fully, we need to get through our heads so that we too can love as she did?

Our Great Deliverance

Every believer was once dead in their sins and on their way to an eternal hell where there is weeping, gnashing teeth, fire and sulfur and a complete utter absence of the presence of God for EVER!

Whatever life Christ delivered you from pales in comparison to the deliverance Christ brought you when you believed.  Once you set your heart on this fact and understand what he really did for you, your love will begin to grow for Christ like never before.

 

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Day 9: The Power of Confession

Posted by undergroundchurch on January 9, 2011


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Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity.

I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD.” And you forgave the guilt of my sin. – Psalm 32:5

King David’s writings pre-date the Apostle John’s by about 1,000 years, yet one could argue that they were contemporaries.

John writes on this same matter:

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. – 1 John 1:9

The theme of confession runs through the Bible.  It is the foundation of our salvation (Romans 10:9,10) and our forgiveness (1 John 1:9), and even though God required sacrifices, the sacrifice alone did not express a heart of forgiveness. God required the sacrifice to pay the “penalty” of sin, but true forgiveness can only be found when the heart of man goes before the offended God and confesses (acknowledges) the sin.

John the Baptizer’s ministry focused completely on this aspect of confession (Mark 1:5). He didn’t instruct people to offer sacrifices but confess their sin, repent and turn to God.  This set up softened hearts that could receive the Messiah who followed his ministry.

Confession does not stop with our sins and God.  We should…

Confession shows accountability and demonstrates a willingness to accept responsibility.  This first step leads us to a place of humility where God meets the offender and then lifts them up. (Proverbs 28:13, Isaiah 59 (esp. vs 20), James 4:10)

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Day 8: What does God Want Out of You?

Posted by undergroundchurch on January 8, 2011


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“He has shown you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” – Micah 6:8

Every word in these verses completely reflects the thoughts of God except one… “Require”.

The word require in our language really fails to convey the intent of this thought.  The Hebrew word used here translates to “seek out”.  It literally means “to thresh out” or “trample with the feet”. This word shows just how to examine or study something out.  Why the big deal?

If God simply required something of you, it would mean that “you better do it first and then He will accept you.”  Instead, God uses the word that brings the thought “to chase after”. The word occurs twice in 1 Chronicles 16:11 where he says of us, “Seek the Lord and His strength; Seek the Lord continually”.

So how does this apply? God seeks in you continually to find these qualities.  He won’t leave you alone to find them on your own, but participates in building them in you if you open yourself to His Spirit.

God want to bring out of you…

What is Good?

Remember Jesus said that no one is good except God (Mark 10:18). Only a Good God can make you good.

To act justly

God’s shows little tolerance for injustice.  He is just, and brings the best means for you to become a just person and in the process, act justly toward others.

Love Mercy

A person who loves mercy seeks to apply mercy wherever possible.  If you don’t love mercy, you tend to only show it when it benefits you, or you show it only after the person needing mercy is beaten down. Mercy needs to come early, even before the suffering begins, and only a heart of mercy, the kind that God has, works.

Walk Humbly before God

If you could obtain all these things God seeks in you without God, you would no longer be humble.  Humility recognizes your inability to do it and yields to the work of God in your life.

 

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Day 7: Relationship with God

Posted by undergroundchurch on January 7, 2011


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The Christian faith is primarily about relationship to and companionship with God. – Fire Bible (commentary on Hebrews 3:12)

Every aspect of God’s revelation to man was about relationship, but it seems at times that we emphasize “rules” e.g. “don’t do this, don’t do that, etc.” Rules do play a role in any good relationship, but the rules don’t define the quality of the relationship.

Think of the rules that govern your relationships. You set boundaries around the times you “drop in” to see a friend. You don’t cheat (I hope) on your spouse because it demonstrates a lack of love.  These rules are important, but they tell you nothing about the quality of the relationship.

Beyond the rules and the trappings of what we call “religion”, God desires more than anything for each of us to enter a real relationship with Him.

Look at what He tells us about Himself in that relationship…

And don’t forget that the core rule given by God to Love him with all your heart, soul and might (Deuteronomy 6:4-5) only works in real relationship because God first demonstrated His love for us by giving his one and only to die in our behalf (Romans 5:28).

If true love exists, the guideline, “don’t cheat on the one you love” doesn’t need to become a rule because you would not even consider it an option.

This is God’s love.  He loves unconditionally, and nothing you can do will sway that love (Romans 8:39)

Religion produces rules designed to sway God to love man.  Relationship starts with God and ends with God. We just happen to be the benefactors if we enter into this relationship.

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Day 3: A Heart of Sacrificial Giving

Posted by undergroundchurch on January 3, 2011


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Elijah said to her, “Don’t be afraid. Go home and do as you have said. But first make a small cake of bread for me from what you have and bring it to me, and then make something for yourself and your son. – 1 Kings 17:13

When you read the whole story in chapter 17, you find that Elijah’s request goes to a widow and her son on their last scrap of food.  A ravaging famine plagued the land and the lady made a pact to eat this last meal with her son and then sit down to die.  When the prophet tells her this, she follows his direction and God blesses her with oil and flour that never ran out until the day the rains came.

One way to look at this passage tells a story of “obedience”, for when she obeys Elijah, God rewards her obedience.

Another way to look at it reveals a test of her “faith”.  Can she believe the man of God?

However, I think that it reveals a heart of “giving”.  Yes, the other elements exist in this woman’s response, but her ability to let go of all she has to bless another person that simply asked, “Do you have anything to eat and drink?” shows me a person with a sacrificial-giving heart.

Jesus illustrated the same point in a story of another widow arriving at the temple one day where she placed two small copper coins in the collection box.  Jesus reveals to the listener that the coins were the last in her account (Mark 12:42). We don’t know what happed to the window in Jesus’ story, but we see her testimony in Luke and Mark and the message enlightened the hearts of millions of believers through preaching and teaching throughout the centuries.  Her simple act teaches even today that God recognizes sacrificial giving.

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The Source of Our Dilemma

Posted by undergroundchurch on October 22, 2010


“Original Sin”, some call it “Ancestral Sin“, is a more pervasive dilemma to our current state than we might even fathom.

Original Sin, as understood for this article, is the sin seed that is passed on to every human because of the original sin committed by Adam in the Garden.

Original Sin effects us today because there are multiple components to it…

Original Sin is about Love

The point of God planting a tree in the middle of the Garden then telling Adam not to eat from it was not to tempt Adam, but to see if Adam would choose to love God or love himself.  When Adam sinned, it separated him and us from the direct connection with God.  Remember that God walked with Adam in the garden, something God has not been able to do since Adam sinned.

The most powerful words God ever utters in the Bible are the ones He says right after he says the word, “Now” as in Revelation 21:3

And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God.

This event takes place after everything is made new.  God is looking forward to the day when He can once again “walk with man in the garden” as it were.

It is all about Love because God reached out to us when we couldn’t reach out to him. (c.f. John 3:16, Romans 5:8)

Original Sin is about Penalty

We are still paying the price for the sin Adam committed that fateful day.

Penalty of Death

  • God told Adam, “In the day you eat of it you will surely die” (Genesis 2:16,17)
  • All have sinned, and the wages of that sin is still death (Romans 3:23, 6:23)

Every time someone dies, we are reminded of Adam’s original sin. If Adam’s sin only applied to him, we wouldn’t have death, sickness and sin in the world today.

Penalty of Pain in Childbirth

Every time a woman gives birth naturally, she is paying a price for Eve because she listened to the serpent and not her husband. (See Accountability and Original Sin below)

Other creatures in God’s kingdom don’t go through the pain of birth that humans do; ever heard a dog or cat scream like a human?

Penalty of Snakes

Part of the curse is the form of the snake, which crawls on its belly.  Each time I see one, I am reminded of the curse. (Genesis 3)

Penalty of Thorns and Thistles

Ever been scratched by a thorn? Or have to pull a weed out of the garden? Thank Adam.

Penalty of Gardening

Yep, gardening is a result of the curse.  Makes you wonder how it was before Adam sinned. (Genesis 3) God was going to provide all our food.

Original Sin is about Accountability

Genesis 3 tells us what went down.

Eve ate of the tree first; Adam, who was with her, but didn’t speak up during the entire event, ate it once she gave it to him.

However, you have to go back a chapter to see the setup.  You see…

  1. Adam was created first
  2. God then planted the tree in the Garden.
  3. God tells Adam that if he eats from it, he will die.
  4. Later, God creates the woman from the man’s side.

In chapter 3, we see the man and woman at the tree, she is telling the talking serpent (which should have been a clue) that if they ate from it OR TOUCHED IT they would die.

How did she know about eating it, and where did she get the extra restriction?

We have here the first case of legalism in the Bible, which always adds to God’s word.  God said Adam would die if he ate it; Eve added (probably because Adam told her) that if they touched it, they would die. She ate it first (eyes were not open), and then Adam ate it (eyes were opened to their nakedness after this).

SPECIAL NOTE: The extra rule didn’t help them abide by the command God gave them. (Legalism doesn’t help you be a better Christian.)

The problem in the story is that God told Adam the rule, and Adam told his wife the rules, but Adam did not defend God’s word, nor his wife as she was talking to the serpent.

It was not her fault, it was Adam’s!

Had Eve eaten, and Adam not, there would be no sin today because she was not responsible to God. Adam should have been the one talking to the serpent and saying something like, “Get thee behind me Satan!” He was her covering, and he failed her.

Accountability and the Original Sin Seed

The Original Sin seed does not pass through the woman, it passes through the man because of accountability.  Adam was accountable to God, Eve was accountable to Adam (God never told Eve the rules, that was Adam’s job).

Jesus could only be born as a human, not because Mary was “immaculately conceived”, but because she was a woman and there was no man involved in conceiving Jesus.

The promise was to Eve that the savior would come…

And I will put enmity between you and the woman,
and between your seed and hers;
he will crush your head,
and you will strike his heel.” – Genesis 3:15

Men and woman are equal in every way relationally with God except one, accountability. Eve was cursed because she was deceived, and did not listening to her husband, but we have sin in the world because the man of the house refused to be the man of the house. (c.f. 1 Timothy 2:14)

Original Sin is about Redemption

Paul states that through one man, Adam, sin and death entered the world (Romans 5:12-21). It is through one man with no Original Sin seed connection through man to Adam that sin is broken  and we can live. Our only hope is in the “Son of God” who became the “Son of Man” without losing his claim as “Son of God”.

His Father is God, born of a woman, which allows him to be fully man and fully God and gives us hope that the power of sin and death is broken for those that receive the gift of life. This only comes through the power of the death and resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

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Newton’s Laws of Motion and Life’s Obstacles – Reaction

Posted by undergroundchurch on January 10, 2010


Newton’s had three laws of motion that can help us understand some of what happens to us on a daily basis. By tying these three examples to life’s obstacles, hopefully we can gain some understanding on how to deal with our daily circumstances.  Let’s look at the third law of motion. (click HERE for the article on the First Law, Click HERE for the article on the Second Law)

The Third Law of Motion – Reaction

The Third Law states – “Every action has an equal and opposite reaction.”

Every move you make affects something or someone somewhere.  We do not live in a vacuum, but we are either going to have a positive or negative impact on the world around us.  We can bless; we can curse, but we cannot avoid impacting the world around us.

This law states that the reaction to the force is equal and opposite. This is often the case in the short term, however, there is a spiritual “butterfly effect” that takes place that actually boosts the output of the reaction. The Bible uses the term “sowing and reaping”.  You will reap what you sow, but like seeds, you don’t get one seed for every seed you sow.  You reap 50, 100 or 1000 times as much.  In some cases, you reap a harvest year after year from the same seed you planted (e.g. fruit tree).

Like sowing and reaping, you also receive the same type of thing that you sow.  You don’t get apples from orange seeds; you get apples.  You don’t get good from evil either; you reap in like kind.

If you sow curses on your children, they will in turn curse you and probably lead a cursed life, but if you sow blessing (not material, but spiritual blessing) upon your children, they will, as Proverbs 22:6 says, not depart from the way they are taught.

Someone said once that it takes 10 blessings to overcome one curse.  This is sometimes true, not because blessings are less powerful, on the contrary, they are the greater power.  Curses just impact our sinful life in such a way that we tend to allow it more power in our lives than the blessing.

God says that the return on a curse from him goes 3 or 4 generations, but blessings go a 1000 generations.  (Exodus 20:5-7)

God built his church with this very law in mind, I believe.  For it is the mission of the church to encourage and build one another up in the holy faith.  It is each Christian’s ministry to love and bring a positive affect on one another.  We are to bring those that don’t know Christ to the Cross, and we are to help those that have encountered Jesus to grow in grace.

We are to impact those around us, but be aware, even your loving actions can produce an unlovely response from the world, for:

If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. – John 15:19

When this happens, be strong for the Love God has for you is supposed to be passed on.  Some will receive that love and so be saved…. that is a good reaction.  Others will hear the message and so reject it… that is a bad reaction.  Either way, we are called to bring the good news. It is up to the hearer as to their own reaction to it.

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Newton’s Laws of Motion and Life’s Obstacles – Force

Posted by undergroundchurch on January 9, 2010


Newton’s had three laws of motion that can help us understand some of what happens to us on a daily basis. By tying these three examples to life’s obstacles, hopefully we can gain some understanding on how to deal with our daily circumstances.  Let’s look at the second law of motion. (click HERE for the article on the First Law)

The Second Law of Motion – Force

The second law of motion states in essence, “The more force you apply to an object, the faster it goes and that the same force applied to two objects of different masses will move at different speeds.”  But you knew that already.

In a car, the more gas you give the engine, the more power it produces making the car go faster.  But if you put a car engine in a Semi tractor trailer pulling a 30 ton haul, it may not produce enough force to move that trailer even 20 mph.  A car engine just can’t produce enough force to move a large load like a tractor trailer.

Let’s face it. Many of life’s problems are small enough that you can handle them in your own strength.  But if you throw together enough of those little problems, you can become overwhelmed.  Your engine just isn’t strong enough to pull the larger loads.

We can only exert so much force and then we tap out.  Either one big problem can doom us to despair or a bunch of little problems drown us and we die a death by a thousand paper cuts.  What we need is a bigger force or additional forces applied to the situation.

God provided three methods of walking through situations when your engine just isn’t enough.

  1. Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall. (Psalm 55:22)
  2. Strengthening one another through love (e.g. Luke 22:32)
  3. Combination of 1 and 2.

Paul tells us in Philippians 4:

I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. (vs. 12)

Contentment is a big part of overcoming, but contentment alone is not enough unless you are content in the right source of force.  Paul goes on to say this about his source of contentment:

I can do everything through him who gives me strength. (vs. 13)

And when in doubt, trust in the Lord and don’t lean on your own understanding (force).  In all of your ways acknowledge him and he will direct your paths. (Proverbs 3:5,6)

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