Walking in Love

by Rick
Walking in Love

Blog_Striking_Love of God

This series is paramount.  We cannot live fruitful lives as Christian apart from the love of God.  We are commanded to walk in the Love of God and in this series we will investigate several facets of God’s love and how we can walk in this love daily.  I trust it will be a blessing to you.

  • Introduction to God’s Love:
  • A Commandment is not a Suggestion
  • Understanding God’s Love!
  • Love without Limits
  • God’s Love is poured out in Our Hearts!
  • The Love Chapter
  • The Most Excellent Way!
  • We are bankrupt without Love!
  • The Characteristics of God’s Love
  • The Characteristics of Love – 1: Love Endures Long
  • The Characteristics of Love – 2: Love is Patient
  • The Characteristics of Love – 3: Love is Kind
  • Switched Price Tags!
  • The Characteristics of Love – 4: Love is not Envious
  • The Characteristics of Love – 5: Love is not Boastful or Vainglorious
  • The Characteristics of Love – 7: Love is not conceited
  • The Characteristics of Love – 8: Love is not rude
  • The Characteristics of Love – 9: Love does not act unbecomingly
  • The Characteristics of Love – 10: Love does not insist on its own way
  • The Characteristics of Love – 11: Love is not self-seeking
  • The Characteristics of Love – 12: Love is not touchy or fretful or resentful
  • The Characteristics of Love – 13: Love takes no account of the evil done to it
  • The Characteristics of Love – 14: Love does not rejoice at injustice
  • The Characteristics of Love – 15: Love rejoices when right and truth prevail
  • The Characteristics of Love – 16: Love bears up under anything and everything
  • The Characteristics of Love – 17: Love is ever ready to believe the best
  • The Characteristics of Love – 18: Love’s hopes are fadeless under all circumstances
  • The Characteristics of Love – 19: Love endures everything [without weakening]
  • The Characteristics of Love – 20: Love never fails
  • The Greatest of these is Love
  • The Actions of Love
  • The Actions of Love – 1 : Love your enemies
  • The Actions of Love – 2: Overcome Evil with Good
  • The Actions of Love – 3: Pray for those that give you a hard time
  • The Actions of Love – 4: Stay consistent while under attack
  • The Actions of Love – 5 : Give to those that want to take
  • The Actions of Love – 6:  Give to the needy
  • The Actions of Love – 7: Practice Benevolence
  • The Actions of Love – 8: Practice the Golden Rule
  • The Actions of Love – 9: Love those who are Hard to Love
  • The Actions of Love – 10: Help those that cannot return the favor
  • The Actions of Love – 11: Give for Giving’s Sake
  • The Actions of Love – 12: Live out your God-created identity
  • The Actions of Love – 13: Show Mercy
  • The Actions of Love – 14: Don’t Pick on Others
  • The Actions of Love – 15: Don’t condemn those who are down
  • The Actions of Love – 16: Be easy on people
  • The Actions of Love – 17 : Live to Give – You won’t regret it!
  • Encouragement
  • You Can Do It!
  • The Purpose of the Charge
  • The Test of Thanksgiving
  • Why the Love of God is Important
  • Operate with you New Heart
  • It’s so Easy to Love Him!
  • The Law of Jesus
  • The Law of Jesus
  • Love God with your Entire Being
  • Learn to Love Yourself
  • You Prove you love God by loving Man
  • Hang the Rod of Love
  • God’s Love for You
  • Do you know how much God loves you
  • Why it’s important to know God loves you
  • You will eventually Become what you consistently Behold
  • The End
  • The Benediction

A Commandment is not a Suggestion (top of page)

(John 13:34,35 NIV)  “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

This morning we start a new series entitled “Walking in the Love of God.”  I would venture to say that learning to walk in love is the most important facet of any Christian’s life.  I pray that this series will be a blessing to you.

In John 12 Jesus made His triumphant entry into Jerusalem, marking the beginning of the end of His life.  The feast of the PASSOVER was just a few days away and He would be the PASSOVER lamb, once and for all.  Jesus predicts His death in the latter part of the 12th chapter and He then begins to give His disciples the last teachings He would be able to, prior to His crucifixion in chapter 20.  In chapter 13 Jesus teaches His disciples a great lesson about humility by washing their feet.  Later on in the chapter He says something very interesting.  Jesus said, “A new command I give you: Love one another.  As I have loved you, so you must love one another.  By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.

Tomorrow we will discuss the types of love and why this was a new and different type of love than the love that they operated in before, but for this morning I want to focus on the fact that Jesus called this a commandment.  A commandment is an order, direction, or requirement; based on the authority of the person giving the commandment.  A suggestion is different.  A suggestion is an attempt to influence without the qualification of authority.  Jesus was not suggesting here, He was not attempting to simply influence them.  Jesus started His final instructions to His disciples by letting them know that He, based on His authority, would require them to operate in the love of God.  This was not something that would be limited to the original disciples.  We will see in this series that no believer is exempt from this commandment.

Most people understand commandments like “thou shalt not kill,” or “thou shalt not steal;” but “Love one another” is of equal, if not greater, importance!  God is love.  Remember that He does not merely possess love or operate in love.  God literally is love (1 John 4:8).  The word Christian means “like Christ.”  If we are going to be “like” Him, then we must operate in love.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that being a true Christian leaves you without an option when it comes to loving people.  It means that God did not qualify whom you should love by saying that you could love those you like and hate those you dislike.  It means that God was not just simply suggesting that operating in love is a good thing to do if you get around to it.  No!  Love is a commandment, love is a requirement, love is a an obligation, and love is a lifestyle! Enter this day determined to operate in the love of God.

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I knot that You commanded me to love.  I understand that I do not have an option.  I declare that Your love in me is stronger than my impulses to hate and ignore.  I declare that Your love in me helps me to love those I dislike and to operate in goodness towards those that mistreat me.  The more I operate in love, the more I become like You.  The more I become like You, the more You are pleased with my life.  The more You are pleased with my life, the more I will enjoy Your favor, blessing, and increase.  I face this day in Your love!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

Understanding God’s Love! (top of page)

(John 13:34,35 NIV)  “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

Yesterday we started a new series entitled “Walking in the Love of God” and we discussed how Jesus gave His disciples (and us) a new commandment to love, how the commandment was not a suggestion, and how love is now our “identifying characteristic” as a Christian.  If we are to live out this love that Jesus spoke of, then we should make every attempt to understand it.  You will always abuse what you do not understand.  One of the first things we need to understand is that we only have one word for love in English, but there are several words for love in Greek.  Four of the Greek words for love are:

1.  Starge:  A family type of love.  This is how you love your brothers and sisters.

2.  Eros:  A physical type of love.  This is how you are supposed to love your spouse, and only your spouse.  This love was perverted and became “erotic.”

3.  Phileo:  This is a brotherly or friendly type of love.  This word is the root word for Philadelphia and why this city is called “The city of brotherly love.”

4.  Agape:  This is the word used when Jesus said, “By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”  This is the type of love we are focusing in on in this series and this is the type of love that we truly need to understand.

We will go into great detail on the characteristics of agape – The Love of God – later on in this series.  Let’s look at a few quick characteristics of the love of God this morning:

1.  God’s love comes as a result (fruit) of God’s Sprit in us:  “But the fruit of the [Holy] Spirit [the work which His presence within accomplishes] is love…” (Gal 5:22 AMP).

2.  God’s love requires obedience to His Word:  “The proof that we love God comes when we keep his commandments… ”  (1 John 5:3 MSG)

3.  God’s love requires love towards one another:  “… believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another…”  (1 John 3:23 KJV)

4.  God’s love requires love back towards God:  “The reality test on whether or not we love God’s children is this: Do we love God? Do we keep his commands?”  (1 John 5:3 MSG)

So what does this mean to you today? It means that once you know better, God will expect you to do better.  God wants you to learn about His love and He wants your learning to turn into living.  He does not want you to say you love Him, but then fail to love others; or claim to love Him, but then fail to obey His Word.  God wants you to express your love for Him by allowing His love to flow freely through you this day and every day.  Are you ready to face this day in the love of God?

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  Your love is not the same type of love that I knew before.  After I came to know You, I have also come to know Your love.  I declare that I will walk in Your love this day.  I express Your love in me by obeying Your Word, loving others, and loving You.  I declare that I will let your love and your light so shine through me today that people will see the love and give You the glory for it!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

Love without Limits (top of page)

(John 21:15 -17 NIV)  When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you truly love me more than these?”  “Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.”  Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.”  Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you truly love me?”  He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”  Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.”  The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”  Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.”

This morning we continue our series on “Walking in the Love of God.”  Yesterday we discussed the four Greek words for love and how God’s love (agape) was superior to the other three.  We also discussed the fact that agape comes from God’s Spirit.  In other words, you cannot love God’s way without God’s Spirit.  This morning we will see how this applies to our lives.

If you read our text for this morning you see that Jesus asked Peter three times if he loved him.  Now that you know that there are different words for love in Greek you might be interested in knowing that the same word for love is not used in all three questions.  The first two times Jesus asked Peter if he loved Him with God’s love (agape).  Peter’s response was, “Lord you know that I love you with brotherly love (phileo).” The third question, however, was different. Jesus asked Peter if he loved Him with brother love (phileo).  This is where our text says that Peter was “hurt” by the question.  Peter replied, “…you know that I love you.”  The word Peter used was phileo (brotherly love), not agape (God’s love).

Why was Peter hurt the third time?  I believe it was because he then realized his limitations.  He had walked with Jesus for three years.  He saw Jesus heal the sick, raise the dead, cause the blind to see, lame to walk, and deaf to hear.  Jesus never performed one miracle, however, until the Holy Spirit came upon Him at his baptism.  Jesus did everything that He did for the Kingdom after the Holy Spirit – what Adam had in the garden – was restored to Him.  Peter could not love Jesus with God’s love (agape), because He was not yet Born-Again of God’s Spirit and God’s love (agape) is a fruit of the Holy Spirit (Gal 5:22).  So in essence, when Jesus asked Peter the third time, “Do you love me (phileo)?”  He was saying, “Do you realize that you can only love me with your limited love?”  That is why Peter was hurt.  Peter realized the limitations of humanity without the Holy Spirit.  It is interesting to note that on the Day of Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit was poured out, that Peter was the first to act on this new empowerment of God’s love.  He preached the first New Testament sermon and 3,000 people were saved (Acts 2).

So what does this mean to you today? It means that when we are Born-Again by God’s Spirit we are literally empowered to overcome the limitations of mere humanity.  We can love with God’s love, walk in God’s peace, take pleasure in God’s joy, and minister to others with God’s heart.  The Holy Spirit made a real change in Peter because he understood that he was limited without God’s presence in him and we can experience the same.  When we realize that the Holy Spirit literally lives inside of us, we will be able to overcome our limitations and allow His love and His light to shine through us to make a difference in our environment every day!

Confession for this day:  Lord God. I am a Born-Again believer.  I declare that You, the limitless and all-powerful God, live in me and I can do all things through You.  I love with Your love.  I walk in Your peace.  I rejoice in Your joy.  I share with others through Your heart.  I am an example of Your love in the earth and Your love, loves without limits!  In Jesus’ name. Amen.

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

God’s Love is poured out in Our Hearts! (top of page)

(Rom 5:5-8 NIV)  “… God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.  … Christ died for the ungodly.  Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die.  But God demonstrates his own love for us in this:  While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

This morning we continue our series on “Walking in the Love of God.”  I have discussed the different types of love for the last few days, emphasizing on God’s love.  I have also mentioned how God’s love is a fruit of the Spirit.  This morning we further investigate how this applies to us.

Paul talks extensively about the faith of Abraham in the fourth chapter of his letter to the church at Rome and explains how his faith was “credited to him” as righteousness.  In verses 23 and 24 Paul says, “The words “it was credited to him” were written not for him alone, but also for us, to whom God will credit righteousness – for us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead.”  We can see there then that our righteousness is tied to Jesus the Christ.  Paul closes out the chapter by explaining how Jesus “was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification” (v.25).  The fifth chapter of Romans opens with a clear explanation that our “justification” comes by faith in Jesus the Christ.  Our text for this morning explains what happened when we established our faith in Jesus as our Lord and Savior.  Paul says that God “poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit.”  We receive the Holy Spirit when we receive salvation and a lot has been said about what we receive when we receive the Holy Spirit.  Many focus on the power, authority, deliverance, security, and etc.; that we receive; but one often overlooked and very important aspects of our salvation is that we receive the Love of God in our hearts when God Himself comes to live in us!

The Father demonstrated His love for us by sending His only begotten Son; Jesus demonstrated His love by dying on the cross for us while we were still sinners; and the Holy Spirit continually demonstrates His love by living in us and permeating the Love of God in, on, and through our hearts.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that you should remember that the Holy Spirit lives inside of you as a Born-Again believer.  It means that when the Holy Spirit took up residence in you, you received God’s love.  And it means that God is love (1 John 4:8), God is inside of you, and He has poured out His love in your heart.  That having been said, shouldn’t you want to walk in the love of God?  Knowing how God overlooked your faults and still loved you enough to save you should be motivation enough for you to look beyond some of the faults of others and still love them.

You may not wear clergy attire, ever stand behind a pulpit, or ever stand before thousands; but you can love.  The greatest example of Godliness is when we love like God loved.  Will you walk in the Love of God today?

Confession for this day:  Lord God. I am a Born-Again believer.  I have been justified by faith.  I recognize this morning that You demonstrated Your love for me by giving Your only son, even when I ignored and disregarded You.  Your love has been poured out in my heart and I declare that I will allow this love to flow towards others, even when they are doing things that I don’t like.  I will demonstrate my Christianity by walking in Your love!  In Jesus’ name. Amen.

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

The Most Excellent Way! (top of page)

(1 Cor 12:31 NIV)  But eagerly desire the greater gifts.  And now I will show you the most excellent way.

This morning we continue our series on “Walking in the Love of God.”  Paul goes into great detail about spiritual gifts in the 12th chapter of his first letter to the church at Corinth.  He explained to them that “There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit… different kinds of service, but the same Lord… different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men” (verses 4-6).  He went on to list nine spiritual gifts.  Three gifts deal with the “eyes” of God: the message of wisdom, the message of knowledge, and prophecy.  Three gifts deal with the “hands” of God: faith, healing, and the working of miracles.  The final three gifts deal with the “mind” of God: the discernment of spirits, speaking in different kinds of tongues, and the interpretation of tongues.  In the rest of the chapter Paul goes on to explain the diversity of people and gifts that make up the body of Christ.  What is very interesting is the way in which Paul closed the chapter.  After going into such detail about spiritual gifts and the composition of the Body of Christ, the Holy Spirit through Paul closed out the chapter with our text for this morning.  He said, “But eagerly desire the greater gifts.  And now I will show you the most excellent way.”  Paul uses this verse as a segue to what is commonly referred to as the “love chapter.”  We will walk through the entire 13th chapter of first Corinthians over the following days, but before we do, I wanted you to know that Paul calls God’s love, “the most excellent way.”

Bigger than seeing through the “eyes” of God in prophecy; greater than operating with the “hands” of God in the working of miracles; and more important that receiving from the “mind” of God in the discernment of spirits; operating in God’s love is the most excellent way.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that everything we attempt to do for God and His Kingdom comes down to a matter of intent.  Many Christians seek spiritual gifts with the wrong intentions.  They want to operate in some sort of spiritual power so that they can be exalted, but we will see this week that any motivation to do anything in the Kingdom of God must be rooted and grounded in the love of God.  When you come to God with pure motives, God can use you to meet the needs of others, while still getting the glory Himself.  When you come to God with impure motives, then you are simply attempting to make yourself look good.

Do you seek to glorify God with your life and living or do you simply attempt to look good for yourself?  This is an inward issue of motive and this is a clear issue of love.  If you operate in the “most excellent way” today, God will bless you to accomplish everything you need to do, while still getting the glory out of your life!  Are you ready to be blessed?  Then walk in the love of God!

Confession for this day:  Lord God. I don’t seek spiritual gifts, I seek You.  I operate in Your love.  I seek to live a life that is pleasing in Your sight.  As I walk in Your love and I seek Your face, I declare, by faith, that You cause me to experience success in every area of my life.  You are the source of my success.  My love for You keeps me rooted and grounded.  I walk in the humility that comes from knowing that my daily victory comes from You!  In Jesus’ name. Amen.

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

We are bankrupt without Love! (top of page)

“If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don’t love, I’m nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate.  If I speak God’s Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, “Jump,” and it jumps, but I don’t love, I’m nothing.  If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.” (1 Cor 13:1-3 Message Bible)

This morning we continue our series on “Walking in the Love of God.”  Yesterday we discussed how Paul laid out nine gifts of the Holy Spirit in the 12th chapter of his first letter to the church at Corinth and how he went on to close out the chapter by pointing us towards the “most excellent way.”  I did my best yesterday to explain how that “most excellent way” is love, but Paul does a much better job of explaining the importance of love in the first three verses of chapter 13 than I could ever do.  Please take a moment to read our text again.

In verse one Paul explains that eloquence without love is nothing but noise.  There are many intellectually sound and verbally articulate people in the world; people than can stand and give a discourse about the Word of God without even knowing the God of the Word.  These are people that talk about things they read, but not necessarily what they live.  These people may be exalted by the world for their intellectual prowess and oratory skillfulness, but Paul lets us know that they are doing nothing for the Kingdom of God if they do what they do without love.

In verse two Paul lets us know that even if someone operated in divine revelation and special acts of faith, they would still be nothing without love.  People don’t care what you know until they know that you care.  There are many theologians and biblically astute preachers that make poor Pastors, because they don’t have a shepherd’s heart.  When people are hurting and they need encouragement, they would much rather find a person that can share one scripture from their heart than a person that can share fifty scriptures from their head; or a person that is motivated to pray for the sick, because they have a genuine love for people and not just as a matter of “going through the motions” of preaching and praying.

In verse three Paul explains that even outward acts of financial and human sacrifice are nothing if they are not performed in love.  There are many people that support ministries or give to the poor with the wrong intentions.  Although we should take advantage of tax law, tax write-offs should not be the motivation of our giving.  You can give without love, but you cannot truly love without giving.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that we are bankrupt without love.  We can be an usher at our church, teach a Sunday School class, financially support ministry, feed and clothe the poor, and pray for the sick; but it all means nothing if we are not doing everything in the Love of God.  Activity without love does not result in productivity in the Kingdom!

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I thank Your for Your Word.  Your Word makes it clear to me that You are love and that You expect me to operate in love in every area of my life.  I repent for the areas in my life where I have been operating outside of love.  I declare that I will learn to walk in Your love and I vow that I will live what I learn.  I do not want to be spiritually bankrupt.  Lord, help me to walk in Your love this day!  In Jesus’ name. Amen.

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

The Characteristics of Love – #1: Love Endures Long (top of page)

“Love endures long and is patient and kind; love never is envious nor boils over with jealousy, is not boastful or vainglorious, does not display itself haughtily. It is not conceited (arrogant and inflated with pride); it is not rude (unmannerly) and does not act unbecomingly. Love (God’s love in us) does not insist on its own rights or its own way, for it is not self-seeking; it is not touchy or fretful or resentful; it takes no account of the evil done to it [it pays no attention to a suffered wrong]. It does not rejoice at injustice and unrighteousness, but rejoices when right and truth prevail. Love bears up under anything and everything that comes, is ever ready to believe the best of every person, its hopes are fadeless under all circumstances, and it endures everything [without weakening]. Love never fails [never fades out or becomes obsolete or comes to an end]. As for prophecy (the gift of interpreting the divine will and purpose), it will be fulfilled and pass away; as for tongues, they will be destroyed and cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away [it will lose its value and be superseded by truth].” (1 Cor 13:4-8 Amplified Bible)

This morning we continue our series on “Walking in the Love of God.”  In the last couple of messages we have learned that love is “the most excellent way” and that we are literally “bankrupt” without it.  I listed five verses as our text.  These verses contain twenty characteristics of love.  We will walk through all twenty over the next few weeks and I believe they will be a blessing to you.  This morning we start with the first – “love endures long.”

Simply put, love does not give up easily.  When you truly love someone you are able to look beyond faults, flaws, and failures and love still them.  Let’s look at the story of the prodigal son, for example (see Luke 15:11-31).  This kid disrespected his father by asking for his inheritance early.  He then set off for a distant country and wasted the money on fast living.  After the kid was broke (financially) and broken (in spirit), he decided to come back home and ask his father for a job.  He knew he had messed up and no longer considered himself a son.  He was willing to take the position of a hired servant.  His father, on the other hand, was operating in love.  He woke up every day expecting that his son would come home.  One day, while the kid was still a good ways off, the father saw him coming and was filled with compassion for him.  The father was not filled with rage, resentment, or bitterness.  This father was filled with a love for his son that “endured long.”  He did not wait for his son to make it to him, he ran out to his son, threw his arms around him, and kissed him.  The son tried to explain that he was willing to be a hired servant, but the father ignored the foolish comments.  Instead of saying, “I told you so,” the father told his servants, “Quick!  Bring the best robe and put it on him.  Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet.  Bring the fattened calf and kill it.  Let’s have a feast and celebrate.”

So what does this mean to you today? It means that the love of God enables you to endure disappointments from and mistakes by the ones that you love.  When you operate in the love of God you are not quick to hold grudges, nor focus on the bad.  You are quick to forgive and to move forward and you don’t live in the past.  Are you operating in the love of God?  Does your love endure long, or is it a love that only loves when others do what you like?  If that is the case, you might call it love, but it is not the love of God!

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I operate in Your love.  Your love enables me to look beyond faults, flaws, and failures.  Your love enables me to quickly forgive.  Your love enables me to look forward and not backward.  Your love is not always contingent upon what others do.  Your love is consistent and powerful and I operate in Your love today!  In Jesus’ name. Amen.

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

The Characteristics of Love – #2: Love is Patient (top of page)

(1Co 13:4 AMP)  Love endures long and is patient and kind; love never is envious nor boils over with jealousy, is not boastful or vainglorious, does not display itself haughtily.

This morning we continue our series on “Walking in the Love of God.”  Yesterday we stated that verses 4 through 8 of 1 Corinthians chapter 13 contain twenty characteristics of love; and we took a look at the first one: love endures long.  We learned how the love of God lasts through the ups and downs of life.  God’s love enables us to suffer some things to be.  This morning we look at the cousin of enduring long, in the characteristic of patience.

I recently finished an entire series on faith and patience (the power twins) and in that series we learned that patience is the ability to remain the same or “the force of consistency.”  While love is enduring long, we must know that it is also remaining the same.  It is not God’s love when we endure the constant changes of others, but complain every step of the way.  It is easy to be nice to others when you are face-to-face with them, but then talk about them behind their back.  It is easy to say in public that our love for others endures long, but then privately despise them, because of their actions.  One of the greatest truths I have learned about the love of God is that God’s love is “One-Sided!”  Paul said of God and His love, “We can understand someone dying for a person worth dying for, and we can understand how someone good and noble could inspire us to selfless sacrifice.  But God put his love on the line for us by offering his Son in sacrificial death while we were of no use whatever to him” (Rom 5:7,8 MSG).  It is not that God sent Jesus to die for us because we were doing so much for Him.  It is not that we were loving Him, worshipping Him, and giving Him glory in the earth.  No!  Even while we ignored, disrespected, and dishonored God; He loved us enough to send His son to die for our sins.  His love endured long and His love was patient.  His love remained the same.  His love was one-sided.

Even after we accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior and attempted to live a life that is pleasing in His sight, we made many mistakes.  What did God do when we made mistakes?  Did He retract His love?  Did He change the way He dealt with us?  Did He start treating us with a ‘ten foot pole?’  No!  God’s love never changes, because His love is one-sided.  He loves us, even when we fail to love Him back.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that patient love is consistent love.  We are not operating in the love of God when we only love those that love us back and only love them “while” they are doing things that we approve of.  God’s love does not require a tit for a tat.  God’s love does not change when others do things we do not like.  God’s love empowers you to love others, even when you do not like what they are doing.  God’s love enables you to look beyond flaws and still love the flawed.  God’s love equips you with His consistency, even while the object of your love is inconsistent.  God’s love is one-sided!  When you operate in one-sided love, you are able to consistently love others, even while they are living inconsistent lives!

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I declare that I operate in Your love today.  Your love in me is so strong that I remain the same, no matter what others do to me.  Your love shines through me daily, regardless of circumstances.  Your love enables me to love sinners while still hating sin.  Your love enables me to look beyond faults and still meet needs.  Your love enables me to remain consistent in an inconsistent environment.  I declare, by faith, that I operate in One-Sided love!  In Jesus’ name. Amen.

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

The Characteristics of Love – #3: Love is Kind (top of page)

(1Co 13:4 AMP)  Love endures long and is patient and kind; love never is envious nor boils over with jealousy, is not boastful or vainglorious, does not display itself haughtily.

This morning we continue our series on “Walking in the Love of God.”  We noted that verses 4 through 8 of 1 Corinthians chapter 13 contain 20 characteristics of love.  We have looked at the first two and this morning we examine characteristic #3: love is kind.

Webster’s dictionary defines the word kind as being disposed to do good to others, and to make them happy by granting their requests; having tenderness or goodness of nature; benevolent.  If you read that definition again and you think of the ministry of Jesus you will quickly see that Jesus was kind.  He was disposed to do good to others.  He was inclined to meet their needs.  He was good natured and benevolent.  I mention that because Jesus was our example.  As a matter of fact, we identify ourselves as Christians.  The word Christian literally means “Like Christ.”  So if we claim to be like Him, shouldn’t we make every effort to live like He lived, walk like He walked, and act like He acted?

Paul also instructed us to be “…kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another” (Eph 4:32).  A person who is kind is constantly looking for ways to be a blessing to others.  They are literally seeking for opportunities to do good.  They get excited when an opportunity presents itself for them to meet the needs of another.  What kind of testimony would the church have if a majority of Christians really walked in kindness?  If they walked in the love of God to the point to where they were literally seeking to be a blessing to others every day?  I can tell you that there is a great need for kindness today.  Not just today as in a metaphorical reference to the present times, but today as in a literal reference to September 23rd, 2005.  I am currently in Texas and have come in contact with a few people that have evacuated Louisiana and arrived here after; because  of hurricane Katrina; only to find themselves preparing for hurricane Rita.  This is a time where the church needs to be a church of love and the church needs to operate in kindness.  People are looking for someone to be kind to them and God is looking or His children to meet needs.  God sends people our way, He sets up divine appointments between the hurting and the healed and He expects us to live what it is that we say we have learned.  God expects us to be disposed to do good to others; especially at such a time as this.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that people really don’t care about the Christian screensaver you run on your computer, the Christian bumper sticker you display on your car, or the Christian music you play in your office; what they really want to know is whether or not they can “see” Christ in you.  They don’t want to hear you talk about Christ, they want to see you live like Christ every day.  Walking in love is the greatest witness.  When you walk in the love of God and live as a “kind” person, they get to see of glimpse of Christ in the earth!

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I declare that I am disposed to do good to others.  I seek to make others happy.  I seek to be a blessing and not a burden.  I enter this day with my heart attuned to Your heart.  I am listening for Your leading.  Lead me to those that You are looking to bless and I declare that I will be channel through which Your love can flow.  Use me to share Your love with someone today.  In Jesus’ name. Amen.

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

Switched Price Tags! (top of page)

This morning we continue our series on “Walking in the Love of God.”  So far we have covered 3 of the 20 characteristics of love found in verses 4 through 8 of 1 Corinthians chapter 13.  Before we address number 4, I feel led to share a message with you that is based upon a message I heard yesterday.  I had the pleasure of receiving the Word from Bishop Roderick Mitchell a few times this past weekend.  One of the messages he preached was entitled “Switched Price Tags!”  This message blessed me greatly and I will base this message from his.

When I was a kid, and before I came to know Christ, I remember my little sister having a minor surgery to remove her tonsils.  We were going to be in the throat clinic for hours so I asked my mother if I could go across the street to a department store.  I got there, looked around for what I could buy with my few dollars and came across a leather Joe Montana football.  What attracted me to this football, in addition to Joe Montana’s signature, was that it was small enough for me to grip with my “less than large” hands.  I looked at the price tag and realized that I did not have enough money to buy it.  I then came across another football.  This football was made of rubber and did not have any signatures.  I was pleased to look at the price tag and realize that I had enough money, but I did not want that football.  So, as a little kid from Brooklyn with no one around, I switched price tags.  I put the high price tag on the low value item and put the low price tag on the high value item.  I paid less money for the Joe Montana football and I left.

Bishop Mitchell told a similar story and he pointed out that many of us have performed similar injustices in the Kingdom of God.  We put low price tags on things that are important to God and high price tags on things that are important to us.  We put a high price tag on position, but a low price tag on the person.  We put a high price tag on singing, but a low price tag on preaching.  We put a high price tag on giving money, but a low price tag on showing kindness.  We put a high price tag on clothing the poor, but a low price tag on loving those we clothe.  We put a high price tag on religion, but a low price tag on relationship.  We put a high price tag on what we can get from God, but a low price tag on walking in the Love of God.

In Matthew 23:23 Jesus rebuked the Pharisees for being show-offs.  They were giving God a tenth of the spices from their garden, but they neglected the more important matters of the Law, such as justice, mercy, and faithfulness.  In essence, they had switched price tags.  They put more emphasis on the giving than they were on living! They focused on what was important to them, but failed to focus on what is important to God.

So what does this mean to you today? I submit unto you that the most important matter in the Kingdom of God is the love of God.  If you attempt to do other things, but fail to develop yourself in the love of God, then you have switched price tags.  God wants us to switch the price tags back this morning.  Realize that God’s highest price tag is placed on His love and we must all seek to develop in the area that is most important to God!

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I declare that I get my priorities straight this morning.  I switch the price tags back.  I realize that walking in Your love is Your number one priority and I seek to develop myself in Your love today and every day.  As I develop in Your love, I become the person that You desire me to be and I learn to place importance on the things that are important to You!  In Jesus’ name. Amen.

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

The Characteristics of Love – #4: Love is not Envious (top of page)

(1Co 13:4 AMP)  Love endures long and is patient and kind; love never is envious nor boils over with jealousy, is not boastful or vainglorious, does not display itself haughtily.

This morning we continue our series on “Walking in the Love of God.”  We noted that verses 4 through 8 of 1 Corinthians chapter 13 contain 20 characteristics of love.  We have looked at the first three thus far and this morning we examine characteristic #4: love is not envious.

Envy is a feeling of inadequacy and bitterness rooted in the perceived superiority of the possessions or qualities of another.  Envy and jealousy stem from the fear of being superseded.  We see a clear example of this in 1st Samuel chapter 18.  In chapter 17 young David conquered the uncircumcised Philistine (Goliath) with a slingshot and a stone.  Everyone was happy that Goliath was dead, none more than King Saul; because Goliath had been troubling Israel.  In Chapter 18 we see that the king’s son, Jonathan, became instant friends with David.  The king was also so pleased that he kept David with him from that moment on.  David was quickly awarded a high rank in the military and everything seemed to be going great.  The people were happy, David was happy, Jonathan was happy, and the king was happy.  When the men were returning home after David had killed the Philistine, the women came out from all the towns of Israel to meet King Saul with singing and dancing, with joyful songs and with tambourines.  They danced and sang, “Saul has slain his thousands and David his tens of thousands.”  This immediately bothered King Saul.  He was very angry.  He thought, “They have credited David with tens of thousands, but me with only thousands.  What more can he get but the kingdom?”  The 9th verse makes it clear what the cause of this resentment was.  It says, “And from that time on Saul kept a jealous eye on David.”

Saul was the sitting king and David was a teenager, but Saul allowed himself to feel inadequate because of the praise the young man was receiving.  That inadequacy led to bitterness and that bitterness would lead to several attempted murders of David.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that love is not this way.  When you operate in the love of God you stand firm in the confidence of your own character and abilities; you have a healthy self-image; and you know that you have not been gifted to do everything.  Once you understand who you are, you can sincerely celebrate other’s victories with a pure heart.  Looking at another’s strengths and using that as motivation to get better is OK; but resenting them for their strengths is not.  I will close this message on God’s love with a quote from today’s younger generation.  They say, “Don’t hate, appreciate, so that you too can celebrate!

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I walk in your love today.  I do not resent the gifts and strengths of others.  I fully understand my giftings and abilities and I appreciate what you have blessed others to do as well.  I do not allow jealousy to raise its ugly head in my life.  I am thankful for whom you made me and I am established in my own endowment.  I am rooted and grounded in love.  In Jesus’ name. Amen.

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

The Characteristics of Love – #5: Love is not Boastful or Vainglorious (top of page)

(1Co 13:4 AMP)  Love endures long and is patient and kind; love never is envious nor boils over with jealousy, is not boastful or vainglorious, does not display itself haughtily.

This morning we continue our series on “Walking in the Love of God.”  We noted that verses 4 through 8 of 1 Corinthians chapter 13 contain 20 characteristics of love.  We have looked at the first four thus far and this morning we examine characteristic #5: love is not boastful or vainglorious.  Before we get into the message this morning I want to pause and let you know that it is my prayer that we (all those that receive Today’s Word) grow in all of these areas.  There is no greater expectation of us from God than that of walking in His love.  As we are learning these characteristics of love, we are actually learning how God expects us to live.  With that in mind, let’s continue our journey towards walking the Love of God.

To be boastful is to speak of one’s self with excessive pride; having an excessively high opinion of oneself.  Vainglory is unwarranted pride in one’s accomplishments or qualities.  In today’s vernacular, this is basically being “full of yourself.”  There is a thin line between confidence and arrogance and even the best of us cross that line from time to time.  That is why it is important to constantly receive nourishment, guidance, and direction from the Word of God; in order that we might receive the correction we need to stay on the proper course.

Pride is a weapon of our enemy.  As a matter of fact, it is one of his three major weapons.  Satan’s “big three” are: 1) the lust of the flesh, 2) the lust of the eyes, and 3) the pride of life (1st John 2:16).  Solomon said, “Pride goes before destruction… ” (Proverbs 16:18).  This is what happened to satan.  He operated in pride and got kicked out of heaven.  Isaiah talks it, “Satan said, “I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the utmost heights of the sacred mountain.  I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High” (Isaiah 14:13,14).  What do you see in those two verses?  Satan had an excessively high opinion of himself and it got him in trouble.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that you should appreciate everything the Lord enables you to do, but you don’t have to go around telling everyone about it.  If you are good at what you do, allow others to say how good you are.  You don’t need to boast on yourself.  When Jesus was questioned by the high priest on whether or not he was the Son of God, Jesus answered, “That is what you say” (Matthew 26:63,64).  In other words, Jesus was saying, “I don’t need to go around saying who I am and what I can do, I allow you to do it for me.”  We should follow Jesus’ example.  If you are truly talented and a hard worker, then simply continue to be faithful to do your best and God will open doors for you.  Solomon, who was the richest man in the world when he lived, said that your gift will make room for you and bring you before great men (Proverbs 18:16).  So walk in love, remain humble, and God will exalt you!

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I walk in humility today and every day.  Your love in me keeps me from bragging on myself.  I will allow my work to speak for itself and I know that my gift will make room for me and bring me before great men.  Thank You Lord for showing me in Your Word how to live and walk in Your love.  I make every effort to live what I learn and I know that You will exalt me as I remain humble.  In Jesus’ name. Amen.

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

The Characteristics of Love – #6: Love does not display itself Haughtily (top of page)

(1Co 13:4 AMP)  Love endures long and is patient and kind; love never is envious nor boils over with jealousy, is not boastful or vainglorious, does not display itself haughtily.

This morning we continue our series on “Walking in the Love of God.”  We noted that verses 4 through 8 of 1 Corinthians chapter 13 contain 20 characteristics of love.  We have looked at the first five thus far and this morning we examine characteristic #6: love does not display itself haughtily.

To be haughty is to be condescendingly proud or to believe others to be inferior.  The text says that love does not display itself to be that way.  In other words, a people that walk in the love of God do not conduct themselves in such a manner that they put people down and make them feel inferior.  Have you ever met a person that seemed to talk down to everyone?  People that talk down to others often cause bitterness, resentment; and offense; and these are definitely not the goals of Christianity. People that operate in haughtiness are people that cause harm and not help.  They lower other’s self-esteem, instead of helping raise it.  They tear down instead of building up.  They put down instead of encouraging.

There are haughty people in this world, but haughtiness should not be and identifying characteristic of a Christian.  When you say you are a Christian and you declare that God Himself lives inside of you, then there ought to be some sort of evidence of His presence.  The greatest evidence is walking in His love.  When you walk in His love you seek to be a blessing and not a burden.  You seek to build up and not tear down.  You seek to walk in peace and not offense.  You seek to make others feel superior and not inferior.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that you must be considerate when dealing with others.  The old adage, “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me,” is simply not true.  Words can hurt.  When you look and talk down to people you can actually help destroy their dreams, instead of encouraging them to pursue their dreams and become what God has destined for them to be.  Be cognizant today of how you talk to and deal with people.  When dealing with a Private or a General, a pauper or a President, your subordinate or your superior; always remember to treat them as God would have you to treat them and to be a blessing and not a burden!

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I do not display myself haughtily.  I do not present myself as being superior to any other and I do not talk down to people.  I am a blessing and not a burden.  I am used of You to build up and not tear down.  I walk in Your love and I make a positive impact on every person that I come in contact with.  In Jesus’ name. Amen.

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

The Characteristics of Love – #7: Love is not conceited (top of page)

(1Co 13:5 AMP)  It is not conceited (arrogant and inflated with pride); it is not rude (unmannerly) and does not act unbecomingly. Love (God’s love in us) does not insist on its own rights or its own.

This morning we continue our series on “Walking in the Love of God.”  We noted that verses 4 through 8 of 1 Corinthians chapter 13 contain 20 characteristics of love.  We have looked at the first six thus far and this morning we examine characteristic #7: love is not conceited.

To be conceited is to have or display a sense of overbearing self-worth or self-importance.  This is a character trait that can literally cause God’s favor to cease from operating in your life.  Peter told us that God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble (1 Peter 5:5).  You don’t want to be on the other side of God’s resistance.  We see an example of this in 1st Samuel chapter 15.  The Lord spoke to king Saul through the prophet Samuel and said, “I am the one the Lord sent to anoint you king over his people Israel; so listen now to the message from the Lord.  This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘I will punish the Amalekites… Now go, attack the Amalekites and totally destroy everything that belongs to them.  Do not spare them… ” (verses 1-3).

Later on in the text we see that Saul partially obeyed.  Saul attacked the Amalekites and had the people killed, but he decided to take the King of the Amalekites (Agag) alive.  He was also supposed to kill the animals, but he decided to keep the best of the sheep and cattle, supposedly to offer up a sacrifice to God.  God was not pleased with this at all.  Partial obedience is disobedience.  God sent Samuel to express His displeasure with the King.  In verse 17 we see what God attributed the disobedience to.  The Message Bible says, “When you started out in this, you were nothing – and you knew it.”  The King James version says, “When thou wast little in thine own sight.”  What was the problem?  Saul had gotten to the point where his self-importance as King caused him to disobey the God that he was supposed to be serving with the position in the first place.  Let’s learn from his mistake and not repeat it.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that God can bless us and we should expect Him to.  We should expect to go higher and further every day.  We should pray for and believe that God’s favor will be upon our lives.  But we should never get to the point where we are so “big” in our own eyes that we fail to honor the God that is the origin of our blessings.  Nor should we ever have a sense of overbearing self-importance.  I do agree that Christians should never have a low self-esteem, but love keeps it all in balance.  Love keeps us from getting the “big head.”  Love keeps us rooted.  Love enables us to appreciate the blessings that God has given us, to the point where we never dishonor God, nor do we dishonor man!

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I appreciate whom You have made me  and I keep the proper perspective.  I do not fail to acknowledge that You are the source of my success and the reason for my being.  I also do not place my importance over others.  Your love in me keeps me balanced.  Thank You Father for allowing me to succeed, while still keeping the proper perspective!  In Jesus’ name. Amen.

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

The Characteristics of Love – #8: Love is not rude (top of page)

(1Co 13:5 AMP)  It is not conceited (arrogant and inflated with pride); it is not rude (unmannerly) and does not act unbecomingly. Love (God’s love in us) does not insist on its own rights or its own.

This morning we continue our series on “Walking in the Love of God.”  We noted that verses 4 through 8 of 1 Corinthians chapter 13 contain 20 characteristics of love.  We have looked at the first seven thus far and this morning we examine characteristic #8: love is not rude.

The modern day translations for the word rude tell us that being rude is: to act in an offensive manner; to be abruptly and unpleasantly forceful; to be discourteous, coarse, or vulgar.  In the original language of our text, to be rude means to become easily provoked or irritated.  Love is not these things.  Love is not offensive towards others, but rather makes every effort to avoid offense.  Jesus said, “woe to that man by whom the offence cometh” (Matthew 18:7).  Love is not easily irritated, but rather has a high tolerance for people.  Love does not force its way upon others, especially when it comes to personal beliefs.  I preach the fact that every Christian should know what they believe, that they should remain firm in their beliefs, and that they should be led of the Holy Spirit to share the light of the gospel with a dark, dying, and decaying world.  The need for evangelism, however, is not a license for offense.  I have met many Christians who commonly offend others under the guise of evangelism.  It is important that we share the truth of the gospel message, but you can do so in such a way as to avoid offense.  You can force your beliefs upon someone, cause an argument, and maybe even win the argument; but winning the argument does not equal winning a soul.  If you win the argument, but they leave offended, ministry has not taken place.

Love is not rude.  The Message Bible says that it “doesn’t fly off the handle.”  Love doesn’t seek to offend, but rather to reconcile.  Love doesn’t seek to cause offense, but rather to share with others while operating in harmony.  Love seeks to meet needs without causing problems.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that spirituality is not a license to be rude or mean towards others.  God wants you to draw others towards Him, not drive them away.  God wants you to meet the needs of others, but to do so in such a way as to avoid offense.  When people think of you they should think of the love of God.

Take a moment to allow this Word to be a mirror for you before you face this day.  Look in the mirror and ask yourself if you like what you see.  Are you rude towards others?  Are you easily provoked or irritated?  Do you cause others to be offended?  If so, then repent this morning and ask God to allow His love and His light to be perfected in you this day and this week.

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I declare by faith that I am not easily provoked.  I do not get irritated quickly.  Your love is in me so strong that I am able to deal with people and avoid offense.  I am here to help and not hurt.  I am here to build up and not tear down.  I am not unpleasantly forceful towards others.  I am a source of peace and not strife, love and not hate, harmony and discord.  In Jesus’ name. Amen.

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

The Characteristics of Love – #9: Love does not act unbecomingly (top of page)

(1Co 13:5 AMP)  It is not conceited (arrogant and inflated with pride); it is not rude (unmannerly) and does not act unbecomingly. Love (God’s love in us) does not insist on its own rights or its own.

This morning we continue our series on “Walking in the Love of God.”  We noted that verses 4 through 8 of 1 Corinthians chapter 13 contain 20 characteristics of love.  We have looked at the first eight thus far and this morning we examine characteristic #9: love does not act unbecomingly.

To act unbecomingly simply means to be inappropriate; to fail to comply with the standards implied by one’s character or position.  I am a military officer and a common term in the military is “conduct unbecoming” of an officer or noncommissioned officer.  This term is used when a person’s actions do not correspond with their rank.  In other words, there is a level of expectation tied to every rank or position; the higher the rank the greater the expectation.  The expectations implied on a General are much greater than those implied on a Private, and rightly so.  A General may have thirty years of experience and will therefore be expected to make tactical, personal, and morale decisions that reflect that experience.  Anything less is conduct that is unbecoming.

You may be wondering what this has to do with the Body of Christ.  Well, the same principle applies.  The text says that love does not act unbecomingly.  In this series we have covered the fact that God’s love was poured out in our hearts when we were Born-Again (Romans 5:5).  We also learned that His love was actually Himself, because God is love (1st John 4:8); that Jesus commanded us to love (John 13:34); and that Jesus stated that love would be the identifying characteristic of His disciples (v.35).  Paul explained to us that love is the “most excellent way” (1stCorinthians 12:31) and that we are bankrupt without it (13:3 Message Bible).  We must also never forget that Jesus lived His life as the ultimate example for us.  He showed us what “right” looks like.  He lived the standard.  While He was hanging on Calvary’s cross, with nails in His hands and feet, after being unjustly tried and beaten, He looked down at the people and said, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.”  What was Jesus doing?  He was operating in love!

So what does this mean to you today? It means Jesus was and is our standard.  The standard has been set for Christian living.  We act unbecomingly when we fail to comply with the standards implied by our position in the Body of Christ.  Let me ask you a couple questions.  How long have you been a Christian?  Do you consider yourself a Private or a General in the Body of Christ?  Remember, however, that your consideration should not be based on the number of hymns you know, prayers you pray, church services you attend, or suits you own; your consideration should be based on whether or not you are operating in the Love of God.  Anything less is conduct that is unbecoming of a child of God!

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I thank You for pouring Your love into my heart.  I declare, by faith, that I operate in Your love today and every day.  My conduct will match my character.  My behavior is lined up with Your Word.  My actions bring glory to Your name and Your kingdom.  I glorify Your name with my thoughts, words, and deeds.  I do not operate unbecomingly today, nor any day.  In Jesus’ name. Amen.

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

The Characteristics of Love – #10: Love does not insist on its own way (top of page)

(1Co 13:5 AMP)  It is not conceited (arrogant and inflated with pride); it is not rude (unmannerly) and does not act unbecomingly. Love (God’s love in us) does not insist on its own rights or its own way, for it is not self-seeking; it is not touchy or fretful or resentful; it takes no account of the evil done to it [it pays no attention to a suffered wrong].

This morning we continue our series on “Walking in the Love of God.”  We noted that verses 4 through 8 of 1 Corinthians chapter 13 contain 20 characteristics of love.  We have looked at the first nine thus far and this morning we examine characteristic #10: love does not insist on its own rights or its own way.

There is a matter of compromise woven into most relationships.  It is unrealistic and improbable to think that you will walk through life without having differences of opinions with others.  Learning to deal with disagreements is healthy and necessary in the Body of Christ in particular and in life in general.  From the time little boys and little girls are taught to “play nice” on the playground to the time where grown men and women pass from the temporal to the eternal, compromise is required.

Marriage, family, friendship, and even co-worker relationships require some level of compromise when dealing with disagreements.  A compromise is a settlement of differences in which each side makes concessions.  It is an acknowledgement of the validity of someone’s opinion or position.  This is a healthy reality because it helps keep us grounded in the fact that we are not always right.  Even in the cases where we believe strongly that we are right, we might be led of God to concede on some issues, in order that we might keep the peace in our marriage, friendships, and workplace.

Why is this a big deal?  Because persons who insist on their own rights and their own way all the time consistently cause offense.  Remember that characteristic #3 was kindness.  We learned that kindness being disposed to do good to others, seeking for ways to make others happy.  When we insist on our own way we are doing the exact opposite.  Instead of causing others to be blessed, persons who insist on their own way all the time incite resentment, bitterness, and anger in others.  This is just simply not the goal of Christianity.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that others are sometimes right and that even when they are not completely right, love seeks for ways to settle differences by allowing both sides to make concessions.  When one person in a relationship consistently insists on their own way it leads to domination; domination leads to frustration; and frustration often ends in dissatisfaction and resentment.  This should not be your goal as a Christian.  Seek to be a blessing and not a burden today and remember that you don’t always have to get your way!

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I thank Your for enabling me to see the goodness in the ideas of others.  I declare that my eyes are open to see and my heart is open to receive from others today and every day.  I do not insist on getting my way.  I am led by the Holy Spirit to make the proper decisions and even the proper concessions.  I do not seek to dominate my relationships, but rather to compliment those that I have relationships with.  In Jesus’ name. Amen.

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

The Characteristics of Love – #11: Love is not self-seeking (top of page)

(1Co 13:5 AMP)  It is not conceited (arrogant and inflated with pride); it is not rude (unmannerly) and does not act unbecomingly. Love (God’s love in us) does not insist on its own rights or its own way, for it is not self-seeking; it is not touchy or fretful or resentful; it takes no account of the evil done to it [it pays no attention to a suffered wrong].

This morning we continue our series on “Walking in the Love of God.”  We noted that verses 4 through 8 of 1 Corinthians chapter 13 contain 20 characteristics of love.  We have looked at the first ten thus far and this morning we examine characteristic #11: love is not self-seeking.

To be self-seeking is to be overly concerned with your own interests, desires, or needs.  Being passionate and determined for personal advancement in and of itself is not a bad thing, but people who are self-seeking are passionate about their personal advancement, even if it comes as the cost of others.  Self-seeking people are simplyselfish.  The root word for selfish is “self.”  These are people that simply put their desires above everyone else’s andneglect others in their pursuit of personal satisfaction.  This is definitely not a characteristic of a person who is walking in the love of God.

There are many descriptions in the Bible of what God is “like,” but I have only found two declarations of what God literally “is.”  1st John 1:5 says that God is light.  1st John 4:8 says that God is love.  God is like many things, but it is clear that He literally is both light and love.  The opposite of light is darkness.  There are many scriptures that support the fact that God wants us to “walk in the light” and not the darkness of this world.  Likewise, the opposite of love is selfishness.  There are many scriptures (today’s text included) that support the fact God does not want us to be selfish.  I have often stated that you can give without loving, but you cannot truly love without giving.  Love requires you to take into consideration the needs, cares and concerns of others.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that you should strive to be your best, you should endeavor to succeed in everything God allows you to do, and you should seek excellence in every area of your life; but you should not do it while neglecting and stepping on/over other people.  God does not want to know how many times you made it up the mountain of success; He wants to know how many people you were able to take with youPeople that are really good are people that are able to make other people better! Are you one of those people or are you so concerned with yourself that you neglect others?

God wants you to be a blessing, not a burden.  Are you being that blessing by empowering others to be better or are you being a burden by succeeding at the cost of others?

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I am who You say that I am.  I can do what You say that I can do.  I can be what You say that I can be.  I am successful in every area of my life.  My success, however, does not come at the cost of others.  I make others better and not worse.  I take into consideration the needs, desires, and concerns of others.  Your love in me enables me to want to see others succeed and does not just seek my own personal success.  I am going to the mountain top, but I am taking others with me!  In Jesus’ name. Amen.

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

The Characteristics of Love – #12: Love is not touchy or fretful or resentful (top of page)

(1Co 13:5 AMP)  It is not conceited (arrogant and inflated with pride); it is not rude (unmannerly) and does not act unbecomingly. Love (God’s love in us) does not insist on its own rights or its own way, for it is not self-seeking; it is not touchy or fretful or resentful; it takes no account of the evil done to it [it pays no attention to a suffered wrong].

This morning we continue our series on “Walking in the Love of God.”  We noted that verses 4 through 8 of 1 Corinthians chapter 13 contain 20 characteristics of love.  We have covered eleven thus far and this morning we examine characteristic #12: love is not touchy or fretful or resentful.

First of all let me apologize for sending this message out a little later than normal.  Today is a day off for the military and I almost forgot that it was not a day off for the civilian sector.  So I got up to receive this Word and send it out to you.  I pray you will be blessed.

A person that is touchy is a person that tends to take offense for the slightest reason; being oversensitive.  This is a person that requires special tact when dealing with them.  Any insignificant event may cause them to fly off the handle.  A person that is fretful is a person that is inclined to be displeased or troubled.  This person is looking for things to go wrong and looking for ways to be upset.  A resentful person is a person that keeps a persistent ill willtowards those that wronged them.  Even after an apology has been rendered, a resentful person will harbor ill feelings for a long time.

Have you ever met a person like this?  I am sure you have.  Walking up to a touchy person is like walking into a mine zone.  You may say something like, “I like your shoes.  Where did you get them?”  And they might reply, “Why do you want to know where I get my shoes?  I can’t stand copycats!  I am tired of people trying to copy me!  Why can’t you just find your own shoes?”  The same is the case with the fretful person.  It is as if they like being upset and they are looking for ways to be displeased.  Finally, the resentful person does not only get upset, but they hold on to that inner anger for a long time.

We have all encountered people like this, but this is definitely not God’s desire for His children.  As children of God we should be children of love and children of light.  We must rule our emotions and not allow our emotions to rule us.  It is unfortunate, but I have met many believers in the Body of Christ that allow their emotions to rule them to the point where they are living their lives on an emotional roller coaster.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that God wants you to live a strong, stable, and satisfied life; but this type of life will elude you if you allow yourself to be ruled by your emotions.  Emotional people are touchy, fretful and resentful.  Emotional people are unstable, unbalanced and insecure.  Are you an emotional person that is easily offended or are you a stable person that possesses the ability to remain the same in spite of circumstances?

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I rule over my emotions and I do not allow my emotions to rule over me.  I am pleasant towards others and not quick to take offense.  I do not look for ways to get upset, but I rather look for ways to be a blessing.  I do not hold grudges, I forgive and move forward.  I am walking in Your love!  In Jesus’ name. Amen.

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

The Characteristics of Love – #13: Love takes no account of the evil done to it (top of page)

(1Co 13:5 AMP)  It is not conceited (arrogant and inflated with pride); it is not rude (unmannerly) and does not act unbecomingly. Love (God’s love in us) does not insist on its own rights or its own way, for it is not self-seeking; it is not touchy or fretful or resentful; it takes no account of the evil done to it [it pays no attention to a suffered wrong].

This morning we continue our series on “Walking in the Love of God.”  We noted that verses 4 through 8 of 1 Corinthians chapter 13 contain 20 characteristics of love.  We have covered twelve thus far and this morning we examine characteristic #13: Love takes no account of the evil done to it.

You have read this morning’s characteristic from the Amplified Bible.  I believe it will help to read it from a few other translations.  This portion of the verse is translated “thinketh no evil” in the King James Version; “does not keep a record of wrongs” in the Good News Bible; and “Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others” in the Message Bible.

I remember a series of commercials about College that ran when I was a kid.  The message at the end of the commercials was, “A mind is a terrible thing to waste.”  Unfortunately, many Christians waste valuable brain power on the wrong things; spending a great deal of time nursing and rehearsing the wrongs done to them.  The Bible clearly teaches us to meditate on the Word of God day and night.  Meditation is powerful.  The word meditate used in Joshua 1:8 and Psalm 1:3 means more than just to think about; it also connotes muttering.  It means that we are to not only to constantly think about the Word of God, but also to constantly speak the Word over and over as well.  There is a level of faith that is activated when we think and speak something (see Romans 10:9,10).  When we consistently think (believe) and speak a portion of scripture we activate that scripture in our lives.  This is the power of biblical meditation.

The opposite is true, however, concerning meditation.  If you replay the evil done to you over and over in your mind, you will find yourself talking about it as well.  Jesus taught us that our mouth will speak out of the overflow of our heart (Mat 12:34).  So if we consistently think about the wrongs done to us and then begin to speak about them, we are activating a negative force and not a positive one over our lives.  Not only is this destructive – for all parties involved – but it is just simply not God’s will.  This type of activity leads to physical maladies like high blood pressure, stress, tension, etc.; and more importantly, it hinders spiritual growth.  Unforgiveness is what I call a “blessing blocker” that will hinder God’s favor from flowing upon our lives.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that you should not waste the power of your mind and your mouth on negative things.  The love of God meditates on the Word of God day and night.  The love of God forgives and moves forward.  The love of God doesn’t keep good records of bad things.  The love of God prays for those that do us wrong.  Are you ready to forgive and walk in the Love of God this morning?  If so, you will experience spiritual and physical blessing!

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I declare, by faith, that Your love is in me so strong that I am able to release the bad things that people have done to me.  I release them this morning and I move forward.  I use the power of my mind and my mouth on good things and not evil.  I look up and not down.  I move forward ever, backward never!  In Jesus’ name. Amen.

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

The Characteristics of Love – #14: Love does not rejoice at injustice (top of page)

(1 Cor 13:6 AMP)  It does not rejoice at injustice and unrighteousness, but rejoices when right and truth prevail.

This morning we continue our series on “Walking in the Love of God.”  We noted that verses 4 through 8 of 1 Corinthians chapter 13 contain 20 characteristics of love.  We have covered thirteen thus far and this morning we examine characteristic #14: love does not rejoice at injustice and unrighteousness.

To rejoice, simply put, is to experience joy; an intense feeling of happiness.  Love does not break out into this intense feeling of happiness over the misfortune of another.  Have you every met someone who loved to see others fail or hurt?  These people are simply not walking in the love of God.  Christians should not take the opportunity to celebrate the fact that others are going through tough times.  As a matter of fact, we should sympathize with and show compassion towards those who are “going through.”  We should seek to be a blessing and not a burden.

Jesus had an intense meeting with a family that he loved in John chapter 11.  Mary and Martha were crying because their brother (Lazarus) was dead and he had been dead for four days.  They sent word to Jesus while Lazarus was still alive.  Jesus got there and would later raise Lazarus from the dead, but before He did, He encountered a hurting family.  What did He do when He met with the family that was grieving?  What did He do when He saw their tears?  Did He break out into a dance and celebrate the fact that they were hurting?  Of course not!  The Bible says, “Jesus wept” (John 11:35).  He cried with them.  He shared their feelings.  He shared their pain.  Why?  Because He was operating in the love of God.

Paul said, “A body is made up of many parts, and each of them has its own use.  That’s how it is with us.  There are many of us, but we each are part of the body of Christ, as well as part of one another” (Romans 12:4,5 CEV).  “If one part of our body hurts, we hurt all over. If one part of our body is honored, the whole body will be happy” (1stCorinthians 12:26 CEV).  And He also said, “Rejoice with those who rejoice [sharing others’ joy], and weep with those who weep [sharing others’ grief]” (Romans 12:15 AMP).  It is clear that the Holy Spirit through Paul taught us to care for one another.  We are all members of the Body of Christ and we should share in each others’ disappointments and success; but the love of God is not confined to just other Christians.  It would be a poor witness to only love those who name the name of Jesus.  Our light shines best in darkness.  We must allow the love and the light of God to reach those who are hurting and do not know God so that they will come into the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ!

So what does this mean to you today? It means that you must be considerate.  Celebrate with others when they are celebrating, but also be compassionate towards those who are hurting.  We should not take pleasure in other’s pain; but rather seek to be a blessing while they are down.

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I seek to be used of You to be a blessing and not a burden to others.  I seek to build up those who are torn down.  I seek to encourage those who are discouraged.  I do not rejoice when others are hurting.  I have compassion towards others and I allow Your love and Your light to meet them where they are.  In Jesus’ name. Amen.

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

The Characteristics of Love – #15: Love rejoices when right and truth prevail (top of page)

(1 Cor 13:6 AMP)  It does not rejoice at injustice and unrighteousness, but rejoices when right and truth prevail.

This morning we continue our series on “Walking in the Love of God.”  We noted that verses 4 through 8 of 1 Corinthians chapter 13 contain 20 characteristics of love.  We have covered fourteen thus far and this morning we examine characteristic #15: Love rejoices when right and truth prevail.

Yesterday we stated that rejoicing is experiencing an intense feeling of happiness and how Christians should not rejoice over injustice and unrighteousness.  This morning we take it a step further and clarify what we should rejoice about.  Love rejoices when right (or righteousness) and truth prevail.

Webster’s dictionary says that truth is that which is considered to be the supreme reality and to have the ultimate meaning and value of existence and righteousness, among other things, is applied to God, the perfection of His nature.  Moreover the Bible states that God is a God of truth (Duet 32:4), Jesus was full of truth (John 1:14), the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of truth (John 14:17) who guides us into all truth (John 16:13), the Word of God is truth (Dan 10:21; John 17:17); and that God made Jesus to be sin for us so what we might be made righteous (2 Cor 5:21).

I know that was a lot to digest, but the bottom line is that God expects us to be different when we are Born-Again and start walking in His light and His love.  Before I became a Christian I rejoiced in unrighteousness.  I remember growing up in Brooklyn and how we hated cops.  The police officers were there to establish order, but we rejoiced in disarray.  We loved to see people fight.  If a fight broke out, a crowd quickly gathered.  We loved to see arguments.  If a couple broke out in an argument in the street, others quickly chimed in and instigated the argument to go further.  We were not operating in light and truth, we were operating in deception and darkness and we rejoiced in the things that we participated in.  Paul explained it well when he told us that we were children of disobedience and by nature, children of wrath (Eph 2:2,3).  Prior to salvation we all operated as agents of satan’s kingdom and Jesus explained that there is no truth in him.  Jesus said, “…There is nothing truthful about him. He speaks on his own, and everything he says is a lie.  Not only is he a liar himself, but he is also the father of all lies” (John 8:44).

So what does this mean to you today? It means that as Christians you should rejoice in and about the things of God.  You should not rejoice when you see darkness in operation.  When you see satan having his way with people it is not the time to laugh at them or to pleasure in their pain, but you should rather pray for them and lead them into the light.  When we become Christians we must realize the change.  We should not take pleasure in watching shows like Jerry Springer that focus on the chaos of the world, but we should take pleasure in things that are true, just, honest, honorable, and right.

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I fill my mind and meditate on things that are true, noble, righteous, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious; the best and not the worst; the beautiful and not the ugly; things to praise and not things to curse.  I set my heart on the things above and not beneath.  I take pleasure in goodly and Godly things.  In Jesus’ name. Amen.

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

The Characteristics of Love – #16: Love bears up under anything and everything (top of page)

(1Co 13:7 AMP)  Love bears up under anything and everything that comes, is ever ready to believe the best of every person, its hopes are fadeless under all circumstances, and it endures everything [without weakening].

This morning we continue our series on “Walking in the Love of God.”  We noted that verses 4 through 8 of 1 Corinthians chapter 13 contain 20 characteristics of love.  We have covered fifteen thus far and this morning we examine characteristic #16: love bears up under anything and everything that comes.

The word translated “bears up” in this text means to protect, preserve, cover, keep secret, hide, conceal.  It also means to carry in the mind, to carry from one place to another; transport.

We learned back in characteristic #3 (love is kind) that love is disposed to do good unto others.  We have learned through many of the characteristics that this tendency to do good should not be shaken by temporary circumstances.  We all make mistakes and love enables us to look beyond the mistakes and continue to love the mistaken.  Solomon said it this way, “Hatred stirs up trouble; love overlooks the wrongs that others do” (Prov 10:12 CEV).  Peter also explained it by saying, “Above all things have intense and unfailing love for one another, for love covers a multitude of sins [forgives and disregards the offenses of others]” (1st Peter 4:8 AMP).

What we are dealing with this morning takes it a step further.  To bear up under our brothers and sisters means to literally be able and willing to carry their burdens.  People should be able to come to us and share their heart and their faults without the concern that we will broadcast their faults to the world.  Love is disposed to hide or conceal the faults and imperfections of others.  Love does not transmit or give undue publicity to the flaws and faults of others.  People should know that we have the ability to carry their issues without ever having to reveal them.

Have you ever met someone who just seemed to tell it all?  In Spanish we call those people “Radio Bembe;” the word “Bembe” being a reference to lips.  In English I guess we could give them the radio call sign letters of “WLIP.”  Unfortunately, others quickly find out that they cannot confide in these people, because their “business” will quickly get out.  This is simply not the way that the Love of God operates.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that we all makes mistakes and we all need someone to confide in and to share our heart and issues with.  It also means that you must develop a sense of care and concern for people, to the point where you will not share openly what they have shared with you privately.  As we bear up one another’s burdens, we will find ourselves helping one another be the men and women of God that He has intended for us to be.

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I am disposed to do good unto others.  I am also disposed to hide and conceal the faults and imperfections of others.  What I receive in private will remain private.  I do not transmit or make public the wounds of my brothers and sisters.  I seek to minister to them and help them, not to hurt them by smearing their name with my lips.  As I bear up my brothers and sisters I find myself strengthened through Your Spirit to be a continual blessing in the earth!  In Jesus’ name. Amen.

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

The Characteristics of Love – #17: Love is ever ready to believe the best (top of page)

(1Co 13:7 AMP)  Love bears up under anything and everything that comes, is ever ready to believe the best of every person, its hopes are fadeless under all circumstances, and it endures everything [without weakening].

This morning we continue our series on “Walking in the Love of God.”  We noted that verses 4 through 8 of 1 Corinthians chapter 13 contain 20 characteristics of love.  We have covered sixteen thus far and this morning we examine characteristic #17: love is ever ready to believe the best of every person.

This is a big one.  I have dealt with many people who consistently believe the worst of people.  Love is always ready to believe the best, no matter what.  Let me explain, however, that this does not mean that God wants you to begullible.  It does not mean that the person walking in the influence of God’s love is under some type of mystical spell that makes them all naïve; that they fail to see the difference between right and wrong; that they are prone to believe a falsehood as the truth; or that they do not make the effort to investigate the truth.  What is means is that a person walking in the love of God is disposed to give the benefit of the doubt to others; is ready to put the most positive slant on the information they receive about others; and tends to believe that others are acting upon good motives.  Love produces this type of positive expectation because it rejoices in the happiness and goodness of others and refuses to believe the contrary except on irrefutable evidence.

To put it another way, love has faith in men.  Love wants to believe that people are good and not evil.  Love wants to believe the best and not he worst.  I have met many people that have lost faith in people.  They have been hurt so many times that they now refuse to allow others to get close to them and they expect the worst out of people.  These type of people close themselves down towards others and build up walls of resentment, bitterness, and pain.  Love refuses to allow the actions of a few to influence our actions towards the masses.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that you should not allow yourself to expect the worst in people, just because some people did you wrong.  Have people mistreated me?  Sure.  Have some led me astray?  Of course.  But those are not grounds for me to taint my opinion of people as a whole.  Love empowers us to forgive those that have hurt us in particular and to continue to expect the best out of people in general.

Have you been hurt in the past?  Please don’t allow the hurt caused by a few to cause you to expect the worst of the rest of the world.  There are people in this world that are here to bless you and others here for you to bless.  If you have the wrong attitude you might miss both opportunities!

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I am disposed to give the benefit of the doubt to others.  I put the most positive slant on the information that I receive about other people.  I expect the best and not the worst.  I will not allow those that have hurt me in the past to keep me from those that will bless me in the future, nor from those that You will enable me to be a blessing to!  In Jesus’ name. Amen.

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

The Characteristics of Love – #18: Love’s hopes are fadeless under all circumstances (top of page)

(1Co 13:7 AMP)  Love bears up under anything and everything that comes, is ever ready to believe the best of every person, its hopes are fadeless under all circumstances, and it endures everything [without weakening].

This morning we continue our series on “Walking in the Love of God.”  We noted that verses 4 through 8 of 1 Corinthians chapter 13 contain 20 characteristics of love.  We have covered seventeen thus far and this morning we examine characteristic #18: love’s hopes are fadeless under all circumstances.

To hope is to look forward to with a confident expectation.  Hope desires the best outcome possible.  Hope expects a positive result.  In context, this is dealing with relationships with other people.  We stated yesterday that love is ever ready to believe the best of every person.  Hope now takes it a step further.  When there is no place left for believing good of a person, love comes in with its hope.  Even when it is clear that a person has done wrong, love still confidently expects that they will do better.  Love loves them in spite of their faults and anticipates a “turn around” in the heart of the transgressor and believes God for a complete (physical, social, mental, and spiritual) restoration.

No matter how hopeless someone may seem, love hopes for the best for them and their situation.  This is part of theresilient character of God’s love.  Love will hold on to this “confident expectation” for years if need be.  I know of men and women who have expectantly waited on their spouses to make a “turn around” for years.  Likewise, I know of many who have endured a great deal with their children, but they never gave up hope.  Even when it is clear that a situation is grim and the possibilities are limited, God’s love is able to look beyond problems and see promises; look beyond obstacles and see opportunities for God to move; and look beyond flaws and failures by faith.  Why?  Because love’s hopes are fadeless under all circumstances!

So what does this mean to you today? It means that God’s love “in” you will enable you to hope beyond natural hope.  The bible says that Abraham “against hope believed in hope” (Romans 4:18), because he was standing on the Word of God.  His situation was beyond natural hope, but he still believed and God eventually got his turn around.  Likewise, you may have a situation with a loved one that seems hopeless.  The Love of God “in” you can enable you to look beyond hopelessness and trust a God that can turn hopeless situations around.

Do you love them enough not to give up hope?  Keep on believing for their “turn around.”  Operate in fadeless hope and eternal expectation!

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  Your love in me is so strong that I believe the best in and for others.  I look beyond natural hope and I tap into Your supernatural hope.  I confidently expect the best for those that You have allowed me to come in contact with and I will not give up on them, no matter how hopeless the situation may seem.  You are the Lord of the Breakthrough and I confidently expect a breakthrough in every seemingly hopeless situation.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

The Characteristics of Love – #19: Love endures everything [without weakening] (top of page)

(1Co 13:7 AMP)  Love bears up under anything and everything that comes, is ever ready to believe the best of every person, its hopes are fadeless under all circumstances, and it endures everything [without weakening].

This morning we continue our series on “Walking in the Love of God.”  We noted that verses 4 through 8 of 1 Corinthians chapter 13 contain 20 characteristics of love.  We have covered eighteen thus far and this morning we examine characteristic #19: love endures everything [without weakening].

The very first characteristic we covered (a few weeks ago) was “love endures long.”  This morning we take it a step further and see that it not only endures long, but it also endures everything (without weakening).  In other words, love is consistent.  You should know about consistency because we recently finished an eight week series on walking in “Faith and Patience – the Power Twins.”  In that series we investigated the force of consistency and how God requires us to develop the ability to remain the same, regardless of our circumstances.

Paul said, “Don’t be so naive and self-confident.  You’re not exempt.  You could fall flat on your face as easily as anyone else.  Forget about self-confidence; it’s useless.  Cultivate God-confidence.  No test or temptation that comes your way is beyond the course of what others have had to face.  All you need to remember is that God will never let you down; he’ll never let you be pushed past your limit; he’ll always be there to help you come through it.” (1stCorinthians 10:12,13 MSG).  Not only will God help you come through it, but love enables you to remain the same while you are coming through.

Love endures persecutions and mal-treatment from open enemies and professed friends; and still continues to love.  Love endures people talking about you behind your back and lying to you to your face; and still continues to love.  Love endures disappointments from loved ones and out right attacks from adversaries; and still continues to love.  This does not mean that love never gets upset or that love never dislikes the actions of others, but what it does mean is that love can stand in the midst of unlikable and unpleasant circumstances and still operate in our lives.  God is love and He can endure anything.  This same God, who is love, lives inside of us.  The issue now is whether or not we will allow God’s consistent love to operate in our lives.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that you don’t have to like everything and everyone, but you still are commanded to love.  It also means that this love is not a passive and wavering emotion, but rather a consistent and stable force that can operate in our lives.  Are you ready to allow the force of consistent love to transform you into the image and the likeness of Christ?  If so, there is nothing that God will withhold from you!

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I declare, by faith, that I operate in consistent love today and everyday.  I do not allow Your love in me to waiver with every change of circumstance.  Your love is a consistent force in my life and it enables, empowers, and employs me in Your kingdom.  Nothing can stop me from operating in love!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

The Characteristics of Love – #20: Love never fails (top of page)

(1Co 13:8 AMP)  Love never fails [never fades out or becomes obsolete or comes to an end].  As for prophecy (the gift of interpreting the divine will and purpose), it will be fulfilled and pass away; as for tongues, they will be destroyed and cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away [it will lose its value and be superseded by truth].

This morning we continue our series on “Walking in the Love of God.”  We noted that verses 4 through 8 of 1 Corinthians chapter 13 contain 20 characteristics of love.  We have covered nineteen thus far and this morning we examine characteristic #20: love never fails [never fades out or becomes obsolete or comes to an end].

If something has been superseded it means that is has been set aside, displaced, replaced, or removed; all because the issue/item has become obsolete, inferior, or antiquated.  This gives us a better understanding of out text.  The text connotes that the gifts of prophecy and tongues have had and continue to have their role in the Kingdom of God, but there will come a time where they will become obsolete.  When Jesus returns (ultimately) or when a believer dies (more directly) the role of prophecy and tongues ceases; but love will continue to operate, because God is love (1stJohn 4:8).  Love is an eternal requirement so we might as well come to grips with it.

Love will never lose its relevancy, never become outdated, and never be replaced by some “higher” characteristic. Most importantly, love will never become inferior to anything else.  Love is God’s highest calling.  You can’t get around it, over it, or under it.  Remember what Paul said at the beginning of 1st Corinthians chapter 13, “If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don’t love, I’m nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate.  If I speak God’s Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, “Jump,” and it jumps, but I don’t love, I’m nothing.  If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.” (1 Cor 13:1-3 Message Bible).

So what does this mean to you today? It means that God requires us to operate in love today and forever.  There will be no hatred in heaven, so we might as well prepare ourselves now (in time) for eternity.  Create a checklist of these 20 characteristics of love and seek to perfect them in your life.  If you want to know if you are growing in Christ, then simply measure whether or not you are growing in love.  You can go to church every Sunday morning and Wednesday night, you can participate in programs and ministries, you can get accolades for your dedication to the Pastor and the vision; but if you are not growing in Love you are not growing in God!

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I know that You posses strength, might, and power.  I know that You possess wisdom, knowledge, and understanding.  But I also realize that You ARE love.  Love is the most excellent way and I seek to perfect my love life today and everyday.  The more I walk in love, the more I become like You.  I declare, by faith, that I will be used this day as an instrument of Your love in the earth.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

The Greatest of these is Love (top of page)

(1 Cor 13:13 NIV)  And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

This morning we continue our series on “Walking in the Love of God.”  Thus far in this series we spent a week laying the foundation for biblical love and we have spent a little over a month dealing with the characteristics of God’s love.  I led us into the 13th chapter of 1st Corinthians by reminding us that Paul closed out the 12th chapter with a statement that set the stage for the supremacy of God’s love.  Paul, after going into such detail about spiritual gifts and the composition of the Body of Christ in chapter 12, closed out the chapter by saying, “But eagerly desire the greater gifts.  And now I will show you the most excellent way.”  Paul’s segue led us into the “love chapter” and I pray that you have – for I know that I have – gained a better understanding of what God’s love is.  Next week we will start to investigate what God’s love does.

I felt led to point out this morning that Paul not only led us into this chapter by exalting love, but he closed the chapter the same way.  After explaining the characteristics of love and dealing with matters of spiritual maturity, Paul concluded that the major facets of Christianity can be summed up into faith, hope, and love.  Furthermore, Paul made it clear that the greatest of the three is love.

The word greatest in the text means exactly what you think it means.  It is means that love is superior to any other quality of Christianity.  Being an usher, singing in the choir, or wearing a clergy collar; means nothing to God if you do not operate in love.  Feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, and having pity on the poor; means nothing to God if you are not doing it because of love.  Preaching on Sunday morning, teaching on Wednesday night, and even knocking on doors on Saturday afternoons; means nothing to God if you are not compelled with love towards those that you are seeking to minister to.  God is love (1st John 4:8) and operating in His love is the greatest requirement, the highest goal, and the ultimate achievement.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that this series should provoke us all to check our motives and ensure that we are doing what we do in the Kingdom of God, because of the Love of God in us.  If love is the greatest, and it is, then we should strive to operate in God’s greatest requirement.  Continue to seek to be a blessing to others, but do it because you love God and love people, not because you are seeking to impress your Pastor, your spouse, or your friends.  God’s love in you should be motivation enough to want to make a difference in the life of another – today and everyday!

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  Love is your greatest requirement.  I seek to please You daily with my life and living.  I declare, by faith, that I will operate in love today and every day.  I allow love to be my motivator.  I do what I do for You and others, because I love You and I love them.  Use me this day as an instrument of Your love.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

The Actions of Love #1:  Love your enemies (top of page)

(Luke 6:27 MSG)  “To you who are ready for the truth, I say this: Love your enemies.  Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst.”

This morning we continue our series on “Walking in the Love of God.”  Last week we finished the 20 characteristics of God’s love.  A few of you emailed me and expressed your concern that this series was about to end; stating that this is a topic that you would like more teaching on.  Well, for those of you that are enjoying this series, rest assured that we still have a ways to go.  Over the last month we have attempted to gain a better understanding of what God’s love is.  This morning we start a series of teaching on what God’s love does.  This portion of the series will deal with 17 “actions” of love found in the 6th chapter of the gospel of Luke, verses 27 through 38.  This morning we start with action #1: love your enemies.

In Luke 6 Jesus was being followed by a great number of disciples.  He broke away from the crowd and spent all night praying for direction.  The next morning He chose the 12 Apostles out of the crowd.  He went on to minister to the crowd, healing the sick and casting out demons.  He then began to teach them (verses 20-26).  It was after this teaching that Jesus said, “To you who are ready for the truth, I say this: Love your enemies…”  It was as if Jesus was saying, “Ok, you guys have seen me minister to the needs of people and heard me teach principles of the Kingdom of God; but if you think you are ready for the next level, you must start by operating in the love of God.”  Jesus made it clear from the beginning that Godly love extends beyond human love.  Human love loves those that love them back.  Human love loves those that are easy to love.  Human love is contingent upon circumstances being right, but the love of God empowers us to extend beyond the limitations of human love and to love those that we would never love otherwise.

The word action means the process of doing or performing something.  Love is more that just thinking.  Love is more than just dreaming.  God’s love in us manifests itself in the earth in a tangible form.  We must “act out” the love that we profess to possess.  Webster says that an enemy is one who feels hatred toward, intends injury to, or opposes the interests of another; a foe.  Jesus had many enemies while He walked the earth, but their actions against Him and His ministry never stopped Jesus from loving them – flaws and all.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that there will always be people that do not like you and there may even be some that are out-right against you; but do not allow your dislike for the actions of a person to lead to a hatred for the person themselves.  Hate the sin, but love the sinner.  Dislike the negative things acted out towards you, but ask God to empower you to still love the persons acting them out.  Love them enough to earnestly pray for them.  Love them enough to want to see God’s best for them.  I know this is a hard thing – believe me, I understand – but when you truly love those that are coming against you, you find yourself being transformed into the true image and likeness of Christ.  You’ve been learning about what love is, are you ready to act out what love does?

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I declare, by faith, that You empower me to love those that I would not normally love.  I even love those that come up against me, feel hatred towards me, and seek to injure me.  I do not repay evil with evil.  I overcome evil with good.  I overcome hatred with love.  I overcome darkness with light!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

The Actions of Love #2:  Overcome Evil with Good (top of page)

(Luke 6:27 MSG)  “To you who are ready for the truth, I say this: Love your enemies.  Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst.”

This morning we continue our series on “Walking in the Love of God.”  Yesterday we looked at the first action of love found in Luke 6:27-38.  This morning we look at action #2: overcome evil with good.  This is based on the latter part of our scripture for this morning where Jesus said, “Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst.”  A good example of this is found in Matthew chapter 14.

John the Baptist got in trouble because he spoke out about a situation that he judged to be immoral.  This is something that could have easily been a part of today’s tabloids.  Phillip was the brother of Herod and was married to Herodias, the granddaughter of Herod the Great.  Josephus, a first century scholar, wrote that says that this marriage of took place as a result of a trip to Rome where two married couples decided to swap spouses.  To make matters worse, not only did Phillip take Herodias to be his wife, after she was the wife of another, but they were also related.  John the Baptist publicly spoke out against this and became a marked man.  Soon Herod had John the Baptist arrested for speaking out against his brother.

One night Herod’s family threw him a big birthday party.  His niece, Herodias’ daughter, was there and she danced for her uncle.  He was so pleased that he made the mistake of promising her, with an oath, to give her whatever she asked.  Her mother jumped on the opportunity and pushed her to ask for the death of John the Baptist.  The girl caved in and said, “Give me here on a platter the head of John the Baptist” (v.8).  The king did not want to do it, but he was obligated by his word.  So John was beheaded in prison and his head was brought to the girl on a platter.

When Jesus found out what happened He withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place.  John the Baptist was not just a prophet, but he was also Jesus’ cousin.  I am sure that the matter by which he died made it worse.  If John had died for preaching the gospel it would have been a different story; but John died as a result of a birthday party prank and I am sure that Jesus felt the pain of it.  So how would love react? Would love put a curse on Herod?  Would love go to Herod’s house and pick a fight?  Would love call angels down to destroy Herod’s entire family?  NO!  Love knew that this was an attack from the kingdom of darkness, attempting to destroy the work of God; so love would counterattack the kingdom of darkness and destroy the works of satan.  When Jesus’ boat got to the other side there was a huge crowd waiting on Him and many of them were sick.  Jesus got out of the boat, was moved with compassion, and He healed their sick (v.14).

So what does this mean to you today? It means that there is an overwhelming satisfaction that comes from firing back at evil with good.  Jesus could have done lots of things, but He chose to be a blessing and not a curse.  He chose to do good and not evil.  He chose to overcome evil with good.  When something bad happens to you or your family, what will you do?  Will you seek to retaliate with evil or will you overcome evil with good?

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I seek to be a blessing and not a curse.  I seek to do good and not evil.  No matter what the kingdom of darkness hits me with, I declare that I will walk in the light.  I will seek to destroy the works of darkness by being a blessing to all those that You enable me to be a blessing to!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

The Actions of Love #3:  Pray for those that give you a hard time (top of page)

(Luke 6:28 MSG)  “When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer for that person.”

This morning we continue our series on “Walking in the Love of God.”  We have looked at the first  two actions of love found in Luke 6:27-38 thus far.  This morning we look at action #3: pray for those that give you a hard time.

Let’s take a look at Jesus again this morning as our example.  He was falsely accused, run through bootleg trails, convicted without one witness, slapped in the face, spat on, mocked, ridiculed, beaten, and then caused to hang on a beam in between two real criminals; all three of them with nails driven through their hands and feet.  Moreover, to add insult to injury, they drove a crown of thorns into his skull and put a sign over His head that read, “THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS.”  How would love respond to this treatment?  Jesus could have called down a legion of angels to destroy them all, but Jesus looked beyond their actions and said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34).

Now, you might say, “But Rick, this was all part of prophecy and Jesus forgave them because it had to happen.”  I come back and say that Jesus forgave them and prayed for them, because that is what love does.  Our scripture is clear that we should pray for those that give us a hard time.  Those that want to fight this might bring up the fact that I listed this scripture in the “Message Bible” and not in the King James Version.  Just to make sure we are clear in what the Bible is teaching us here, I want you to read it from three more versions (KJV included):

King James Version:  “Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you.”

Contemporary English Version:  “Ask God to bless anyone who curses you, and pray for everyone who is cruel to you.”

Amplified Bible:  “Invoke blessings upon and pray for the happiness of those who curse you, implore God’s blessing (favor) upon those who abuse you [who revile, reproach, disparage, and high-handedly misuse you].”

Could it be any clearer?  God wants us to be a blessing to others, period!  He wants us to be love and light in a dark, dying, and decaying world.  When people are against you and they give you a hard time, take a few minutes to get away and pray for them.  Pronounce blessings upon them and earnestly pray for God to establish His best upon their lives.  If they are giving you a hard time, then they probably need someone to pray for them.  Why not be the bigger person and operate in love?

So what does this mean to you today? It means that praying for those you give you a hard time is a true symbol of Christian maturity.  Are you there yet?  Can you earnestly pray for those that curse you?  Can you sincerely invoke blessings upon those that mistreat you?  If you can, then you are operating in the love of God; a love that looks beyond the outward actions of people and sees the need in the person.

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I declare, by faith, that Your love is operating in me so strong that I am able to pray for those that give me a hard time and pronounce blessings upon those that mistreat me.  Your love in me empowers me to remain constant and consistent as light in the midst of darkness and love in the midst of selfishness.  I can do it!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

The Actions of Love #4:  Stay consistent while under attack (top of page)

(Luke 6:29 MSG)  “If someone slaps you in the face, stand there and take it…”

This morning we continue our series on “Walking in the Love of God.”  We have looked at the first three actions of love found in Luke 6:27-38 thus far.  This morning we look at action #4: stay consistent while under attack.

This morning we come across a scripture that many do not like to mention.  The whole notion of “turning the other cheek” has been avoided by most Christians.  When we understand the context, however, it let’s us know that this is more than simply a literal “offer” of the other cheek.  What Jesus is teaching here is that love remains consistent.  Love operates in patience.  Remember that patience was the ability to endure circumstances while still remaining the same.  Patience is the “force of consistency.”  We did an entire series on Faith and Patience – the Power Twins.

Matthew explained this.  He said, “Here’s another old saying that deserves a second look: ‘Eye for eye, tooth for tooth.’  Is that going to get us anywhere?  Here’s what I propose: ‘Don’t hit back at all.’ If someone strikes you, stand there and take it” (Mat 5:38,39 MSG).  The phrase “Eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth” is actually in the Bible.  It is in Exodus 21:24 and Leviticus 24:20, but Jesus was contrasting the Old Testament teachings with a New Testament emphasis on the Love of God.  Jesus was teaching that the Love of God enables us to not seek revenge.  Webster defines revenge as “the act of inflicting punishment in return for injury or insult.”

So this message is not about getting hit in the face and offering to get hit again, it is about not seeking to repay the hit of another with a hit ourselves.  Jesus Himself was hit in the face and He did not turn the other cheek, but He also did not seek to hit the person back.  We see this in (John 18:22,23 CEV)  As soon as Jesus said this, one of the temple police hit him and said, “That’s no way to talk to the high priest!”  Jesus answered, “If I have done something wrong, say so.  But if not, why did you hit me?”

So what does this mean to you today? It means we should not attempt to repay evil with evil.  What good is it if we attempt to get revenge for everything people do to us?  If we do that, then how are we different than anyone else?  As Christians we are called to be different.  We are called to be light in the midst of darkness.  We are called to be love in the midst of selfishness.

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I do not seek to get revenge for what people do to me.  I know that You protect me and You will deal with those that come up against me in accordance with Your wisdom.  My role is to remain consistent in love, hope, and faith.  I operate in Your love today and everyday, no matter the circumstances.  Your love in me is consistent!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

The Actions of Love #5:  Give to those that want to take (top of page)

(Luke 6:29 MSG) “… If someone grabs your shirt, gift-wrap your best coat and make a present of it.”

This morning we continue our series on “Walking in the Love of God.”  We have looked at the first four actions of love found in Luke 6:27-38 thus far.  This morning we look at action #5: give to those that want to take.

I know that some of the things covered in this series may seem unrealistic.  Loving your enemies and praying for those that give you are hard time and just simply not natural reactions to mistreatment, but that is exactly the point.  When you are Born-Again your spirit is renewed with the Holy Spirit, but your mind has yet to be renewed.  Pastor Finace Bush says that this “New man with an old body needs a new mind!”  In essence, before we can really operate in biblical faith, our belief system has to change.  A man came to Jesus who had a son with a condition that he could address.  The man said, “…if you can do anything… help us.”  Jesus replied, “The issue is not whether or not I can.  Everything is possible for him who believes” (see Mark 9:22,23).  In other words, Jesus was saying, “Your belief system to this point has led you to believe that your son is hopeless, but you if can change your belief system to be open for new possibilities, then I can operate in your life.”

This is what this series is all about.  God wants us to change our belief system concerning how we deal with people.  Instead of repaying evil with evil, we must be re-programmed to overcome evil with good.  Let’s take out text for this morning for example.  Matthew’s version helps us understand it better.  Matthew said, “… if anyone wants to sue you and take your undershirt (tunic), let him have your coat also” (Matthew 5:40 AMP).  This was a legal matter.  Jews wore two principal garments, an interior (shirt) and an exterior (coat).  The interior garment encircled the whole body and extended down to the knees.  The exterior garment was wrapped around the body and was removed when labor was performed.  Jesus taught that if and adversary wanted to obtain your interior garment, through the legal system, that instead of following your normal way of thinking and fighting him tooth-and-nail, that we should rather take our exterior garment, gift wrap it, and give it to them as well.  Why?  Because this is not the way the world operates.  The world goes tit-for-tat against each other and Jesus was teaching us a new way to live.  Instead of trying to file a counter law suit (or counter argument) for everything, we should seek to operate in God’s love to the point where our actions of kindness literally overwhelm the world’s actions of treachery.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that you must seek to change the way you look at things.  Once you change your perspective and your belief system, you will be open to the leadership of the Holy Spirit concerning how to act and respond to others.  Don’t respond to evil with evil.  Don’t respond to malice with more malice.  If you do that, then you are no better than the world.  If you are able, however, to get a new mind into the old body of your new man, then nothing will be impossible to you!

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I declare that my mind is renewed daily towards Your belief system.  I do not respond to evil with evil.  I change my thoughts to Your thoughts and my ways become more like Your ways everyday.  Use me as an instrument of kindness that overcomes a world of deceit!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

The Actions of Love #6:  Give to the needy (top of page)

(Luke 6:30 AMP) “Give away to everyone who begs of you [who is in want of necessities]…”

This morning we continue our series on “Walking in the Love of God.”  We have looked at the first five actions of love found in Luke 6:27-38 thus far.  This morning we look at action #6: give to the needy.

Today’s Word goes all around the world daily, but I know that the majority of the readers are Americans.  The US is a nation of abundance in comparison with most of the world and most Americans do not really understand how financially blessed they are.  I have done a great deal of study on what the Bible has to say about money.  The Word has taught me that money makes a great servant, but a poor master.  Those that understand the purpose of prosperity are able to keep the proper perspective and use money as a blessing and not a hindrance.

I have heard lots of teaching on tithing, giving offerings, and supporting ministry.  There is another category of biblical giving, however that is often neglected from our pulpits; and that is giving to the poor.  Solomon said, “He who is kind to the poor lends to the Lord, and He will reward him for what he has done.”  He also said, “He who gives to the poor will lack nothing, but he who closes his eyes to them receives many curses” (Proverbs 19:17 & 28:27).

The Bible does say that those that receive a prophet, because they are a prophet, will receive a prophet’s reward.  This is a direct tie to supporting ministry and ministers and it is a text that is often quoted by ministers asking for support.  This is biblical and something that I perform in my personal life; but I do not neglect the next verse.  The next verse says, “And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is my disciple, I tell you the truth, he will certainly not lose his reward” (Matthew 10:42).

The point is that you can give without loving, but you cannot love without giving.  You cannot love the homeless without wanting to do something for their situation.  You cannot truly love the hungry without having the desire to get them some food.  Will you be able to meet every need?  Of course not, but love at least wants to! When you walk in the love of God, you will have a desire to want to make a difference in the lives of the less fortunate.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that tithing is good and supporting ministry is fine; but never forget to take the opportunities that the Lord gives you to make a difference in the lives of the less fortunate.  There are many organizations that are making a difference in the lives of people daily.  If you are not postured to impact the needy directly, then at least pray about financially supporting an organization that is.  Remember that what you make happen for others, God will make happen for you!

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I declare that I will honor you with my finances.  I will not neglect to do what is right and I will ensure that money is my servant and not my master.  I seek to be a blessing to those that are in need.  Use me as a conduit of blessing, as an instrument of Your grace, and as an example of Your love!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

The Actions of Love #7: Practice Benevolence (top of page)

(Luke 6:30 NIV) “…and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back.”

This morning we continue our series on “Walking in the Love of God.”  We have looked at the first six actions of love found in Luke 6:27-38 thus far.  This morning we look at action #7: practice benevolence.

Webster defines benevolence as “An inclination to perform kind, charitable acts.”  We learned in the characteristics of love that love is disposed to do good to others.  When you walk in love you are literally looking for ways to be a blessing to others.  One way to be a blessing is to forgive debts.  I know that at first reading it looks as though this text is making reference to those that steal things from you.  This is not the case.  If someone steals something from you, then they are a thief and you are to treat them as such, but this text is making reference to those that borrow something from you, but are having difficulty repaying it.

Debt is an epidemic in the United States and is the cause of family problems, high blood pressure, stress, and a myriad of other ailments.  The Israelites knew the dreadful possibilities of debt and the Law established a fail-safe mechanism to ensure that no one would fall into the deadly grips of long-term debt.  The Law stated, “At the end of every seventh year, cancel all debts.  This is the procedure:  Everyone who has lent money to a neighbor writes it off.  You must not press your neighbor or his brother for payment:  All-Debts-Are-Canceled – GOD says so” (Deuteronomy 15:1,2 MSG).

Jesus carried this principle of debt cancellation over to the New Testament, but with a twist.  You don’t have to wait seven years any more.  If you lent something to someone and you know that they are struggling to get it back to you, then love simply forgives their debt.  Bless them with it.  It will relieve a burden from off of them and it will give you the satisfaction of walking in the love of God and being a blessing to someone else.  Your gift will become a seed and God will cause you to reap a harvest.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that love does not chase people down to demand that they repay something that you both (1) know they are struggling to repay and (2) really have no need of yourself.  Love doesn’t kick people when they are down; love seeks to pick them up.  Be a blessing to someone today.  Forgive a debt, share a kind word, make peace with someone you haven’t talked to in a long time, make an effort to do something you know God would want you to do, but you wouldn’t normally want to do.  As you seek to put God’s will above yours, you will find yourself walking in the Love of God!

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I declare that I walk in Your love.  I forgive the debts of those that owe me and cannot repay.  I will not chase them down and add additional pressure.  I will be a blessing and not a burden.  I also seek to perform kind, charitable acts every day.  I am an example of Your love.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

The Actions of Love #8: Practice the Golden Rule (top of page)

(Luke 6:31 MSG) “Here is a simple rule of thumb for behavior: Ask yourself what you want people to do for you; then grab the initiative and do it for them!”

This morning we continue our series on “Walking in the Love of God.”  We have looked at the first seven actions of love found in Luke 6:27-38 thus far.  This morning we look at action #8: practice the golden rule.

This action is about sowing and reaping.  I did an entire series on this topic.  One of the things that I bring out in the series is that Jesus taught that our harvest is not contingent upon our understanding of the process.  Meaning that we do not need to totally understand how God will bless us for sowing seeds of love, peace, forgiveness, money, etc.; but we need to simply believe that we will reap a harvest from our seed.  Jesus said, “God’s kingdom is like seed thrown on a field by a man who then goes to bed and forgets about it.  The seed sprouts and grows – he has no idea how it happens” (Mark 4:26,27 MSG).  Farmers don’t need to a have degree in agriculture to know that if they sow apple seeds they will reap apple trees.  They don’t need to totally understand the process; they must simply believe the process.

In our text for this morning Jesus teaches us a simple rule of thumb.  The world calls it the golden rule, but I call it sowing and reaping.  If you ask yourself what you want people to do for you and you then take the imitative to do it for them, you are sowing seeds towards your harvest.  Paul said, “Don’t be misled: No one makes a fool of God.  What a person plants, he will harvest. The person who plants selfishness, ignoring the needs of others – ignoring God – harvests a crop of weeds.  All he’ll have to show for his life is weeds!  But the one who plants in response to God, letting God’s Spirit do the growth work in him, harvests a crop of real life, eternal life.  So let’s not allow ourselves to get fatigued doing good.  At the right time we will harvest a good crop if we don’t give up, or quit” (Galatians 6:7-9 MSG).

So what does this mean to you today? Let’s glean a few golden nuggets:

  1. You harvest is contingent upon your seed, not your full understanding of the process.
  2. You will harvest what you plant.
  3. If you do not like your current harvest, you need to check the seed you have been sowing.
  4. There is always a space between planting the seed and reaping the harvest.  You must remain consistent in that space.
  5. You will reap a harvest if you do not give up or quit!
  6. Think about how you want others to treat you, then go ahead and treat them that way first – by faith!  That’s love!

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I declare that I walk in Your love.  No matter how people have offended me and no matter how they treat me, I am able to overcome evil with good.  I am able to forgive.  I am able to love.  I am able to treat people, by faith, the way that I expect to be treated.  I sow the right seeds and I reap the right harvest!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

The Actions of Love #9: Love those who are Hard to Love (top of page)

(Luke 6:32 MSG) “If you only love the lovable, do you expect a pat on the back?  Run-of-the-mill sinners do that.”

This morning we continue our series on “Walking in the Love of God.”  We have looked at the first eight actions of love found in Luke 6:27-38 thus far.  This morning we look at action #9: love those who are hard to love.

Before we get into the lesson this morning I want to share this text from one more version.  The Amplified Bible says, “If you [merely] love those who love you, what quality of credit and thanks is that to you?  For even the [very] sinners love their lovers (those who love them).”  The point here is that there should be a clear and distinctive difference between sinners and saints.  A hard-core sinner knows how to love those that them.  A person with no relationship with God knows how to return a favor.  Those without the Holy Spirit know how to look out for those that look out for them.  What makes us different?  What makes us distinct?  What separates us from the run-of-the-mill sinner?  It should be the love of God.  Moreover, it should be the love of God in us, on us, and through us; and this love should flow towards all people; not just those that love us back.

There is a difference between agreement and submission.  If my wife was hungry and I offered to take her to Burger King to satisfy her hunger it would require submission on her part, because she does not like fast food.  If I offered to take her to Outback steak house to satisfy her hungry then it would not take submission, it would just be a matter of agreement, because she likes Outback.  Likewise, when you love those that love you, you are merely agreeing with the person in the action of love.  However, when you love someone that does not love you, you are outwardly displaying your submission and obedience to God.  You are not loving them because you are in agreement with them, you are loving them because you are in agreement with God.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that God is not impressed when you love those that love you.  He sees that from people that have no relationship with Him.  He wants to see you submit yourself to His commandment of love and operate in His love towards those that are hard to love, that cannot stand you, that may even hate you, that treat you wrongly and talk about you.  Will you be able to look beyond their feelings for you and obey God’s commandment to you?  If you can, you are showing your maturity in Christ!

God does not reward people that only love those who love them back, but He will reward you when you love those that are hard to love!  Are you ready to be blessed?  Then walk in the Love of God!

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  Your love in me is so powerful that it enables me to love those that do not love me.  Your love empowers me to love those that give me a hard time.  When others do not show me love for me to agree with, I choose to agree with Your Word and love them anyway.  I am in agreement with You when I cannot find any love in them to agree with.  My obedience to You and my submission to Your love ensures that Your blessing will remain upon me and my house!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

The Actions of Love #10: Help those that cannot return the favor (top of page)

(Luke 6:33 MSG) “If you only help those who help you, do you expect a medal?  Garden-variety sinners do that.”

This morning we continue our series on “Walking in the Love of God.”  Thus far we have looked at nine actions of love found in Luke 6:27-38.  This morning we look at action #10: Help those that cannot return the favor.

Scholars tell us that an Israelite is obliged to do good to another Israelite; but they do not have this same obligation towards Gentiles (non Israelites).  An Israelite is not bound to do anything for a Gentile.  However, if a Gentile performs an act of goodness or kindness for an Israelite, then the Israelite is bound to show kindness to him and do him good.

This is a matter of motivation and incentive.  Webster defines incentive as, “Something, such as the fear of punishment or the expectation of reward, that induces action or motivates effort.”  The issue here is an expectation of reward.  Those that do good for others just because they expect the same in return are seeking an exchange from the person, but Jesus was teaching that our only expectation should be from God.  We ought to want to do good for others just because God is good and He lives in us.  His goodness in us should be so strong that it overflows towards others.  Not just towards those have been good towards us, but towards those that have never done anything for us and towards those that may never be able to return the favor.

People are anxiously waiting to see a difference in Christians.  They want to know if we will act like everyone else or if we will really live what the Bible says we should live.  Paul said that “all creation is eagerly waiting for God to show who his children are” (Rom 8:19 CEV).  We show the world that we are God’s children when we act differently than the average person and we literally live out what we preach.  Our text says that “garden-variety sinners” know how to do good to those that do good to them.  Are you any different than a garden-variety sinner?  Is God’s love in you strong enough to empower you to help those that cannot return the favor?

So what does this mean to you today? It means that, like Abraham, we have been blessed to be a blessing (Gen 12:2); it means that God’s love has been poured out in our hearts (Rom 5:5); and it means that we should act like it.  Seek to be a blessing to someone today, even if they cannot return the favor.  Don’t seek your return from them; know that God will bless you for allowing His light to shine through you.  Be a blessing with no strings attached!

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  Your love is in me so strong that it propels me to want to do good to others.  Not just for those that have done good for me or to those that I know can return the favor; but to all people.  Use me today as a vessel of goodness, kindness, and love today.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

The Actions of Love #11: Give for Giving’s Sake (top of page)

(Luke 6:34 MSG) “If you only give for what you hope to get out of it, do you think that’s charity?  The stingiest of pawnbrokers does that.”

This morning we continue our series on “Walking in the Love of God.”  Thus far we have looked at ten actions of love found in Luke 6:27-38.  This morning we look at action #11: Give for giving’s sake.

Yesterday we focused on not doing good for others with an expectation of the same in return.  This morning the emphasis is not to continue the same methodology to gift-giving.  This is a good reminder for us, because the Christmas season is right around the corner.  Giving gifts on Christmas is a strong tradition in many countries.  I will not get into the fact that most people expect gifts on Christmas and it is not even their birthday.  I will deal with that later.  For now I will focus on the fact that we make Christmas (in particular) and gift-giving (in general) a matter of expectation and pseudo-obligation.

Undoubtedly there will be a gift “exchange” set up in many offices around Christmas.  One person is expected to bring in a so-called gift and then exchange it with another so-called gift.  The problem is that if it requires an exchange it is not a gift.  Webster says that a gift is “something that is bestowed voluntarily and without compensation.”  By definition then, if it requires compensation it is not a gift.

I see this same pattern played out in my family.  Gifts are given on a regular basis.  One cousin buys a gift for another cousin’s baby for their birthday.  The recipient then feels obligated to get a gift for the other cousin’s child’s birthday.  I’ve seen this played out for years.  I have heard members of my family say, “I wish ‘so-and-so’ would not have bought me this.  Now I have to go and get them something.”  All of this is done without unction from God.  The motivation behind the gifts is more a matter of protocol than sincere benevolence.

If we place an expectation of a return on the person that we are giving a gift to, then we may actually be hurting them and not helping them.  That’s not love.  If you are led by love to be a blessing to someone, then you will not expect anything in return.  Love gives.  You can give without loving, but you cannot love without giving!

So what does this mean to you today? It means that you should give, as God leads you, without any expectation of a return gift.  Our text says that if you expect something in return, then you are no different than a pawnbroker.  Remember that this Christmas season and beyond.

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I am motivated by Your love to be a blessing to others.  Use me as a conduit of blessing.  You have blessed me with much.  Enable me to use what You have given me to be a blessing to others and I declare that I do not expect anything in return.  I have been blessed to be a blessing.  Lead me concerning where and what to sow.  I know I will reap a harvest, but I will not look to the people that I bless to give me the harvest.  I will look to You, the Lord of Harvest.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

The Actions of Love #12: Live out your God-created identity (top of page)

(Luke 6:35 MSG) “I tell you, love your enemies. Help and give without expecting a return. You’ll never–I promise–regret it. Live out this God-created identity the way our Father lives toward us, generously and graciously, even when we’re at our worst.”

This morning we continue our series on “Walking in the Love of God.”  Thus far we have looked at eleven actions of love found in Luke 6:27-38.  This morning we look at action #12: Live out your God-created identity.

Our text is a sort of recap of the last few verses.  Jesus reminds His listeners to love and give and then promises a blessing if they obey.  I like the way the Message Bible brings this out and says that if we do these things we are literally living out our God-created identities.  This is important because we must understand what happened when we were Born-Again.

At new-birth our spirit was reborn with God’s Spirit, causing us to become children of God.  I say children because we, at new-birth, are babies in Christ.  John 1:12 calls us children of God at this stage and it is uses the Greek wordteknon; which means little child.  We have a new Spirit, but we do not have a new soul.  Dr. Finace Bush says that, “our new man in our old body needs a new mind.”  Our soul is comprised of our mind (thinker), emotions (feeler) and will (chooser).  As we grow in Christ and learn to live out our God-created identity we actually change the way we think about things (mind), we learn how to be led by the Spirit of God and not our feelings (emotions), and we gradually train ourselves to choose (will) things that are pleasing to God.  At this stage we graduate from children to actual Sonship.  I bring this out because the King James Version of our text promises that if we live this way our “reward shall be great” and that we will be “children of the Highest.”  It says children, but it uses a different Greek word than the one used in John 1:12.  The Greek word used is huios.  This word is used for those that are mature.  This is the same word used in Romans 8:14 where Paul said, “those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God” and it is also used in verse 19 were Paul says, “The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed.”

So what does this mean to you today? Let me attempt to wrap it up in a few nuggets:

1.       When you are Born-Again you have a new Spirit, but your mind, emotions and will (soul) still has to be renewed.  At this stage you are a child (baby) of God.  As a new man in an old body you need a new mind.

2.       As you walk with God and are led by His Spirit your thinker, feeler and chooser are transformed and you are then called a son (mature person) of God.

3.       The world is actually waiting for you to act like a son of God.  They want to literally “see” people living out what is preached.  The world is tired of seeing hypercritical Christians and Paul says they wait in eager expectation for true sons to be revealed.

4.       Walking in love is the greatest litmus test of your spiritual maturity, because God is love.  If you think you are mature in Christ, but you cannot walk in love, then you need to reconsider your opinion of yourself.  Love is God’s greatest expectation!

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I examine myself this morning.  I openly confess where I am and then I declare, by faith, that I walk in Your love daily.  I live out Your identity in me.  I graduate from being a child to being a son.  I strive to be mature in You in everything that I do.  I think the way You would have me to think; I rule over my emotions; I walk by faith and not feelings; and I train my will to line up with Your will.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

The Actions of Love #13: Show Mercy (top of page)

(Luke 6:36 AMP) “So be merciful (sympathetic, tender, responsive, and compassionate) even as your Father is [all these].”

This morning we continue our series on “Walking in the Love of God.”  Thus far we have looked at twelve actions of love found in Luke 6:27-38.  This morning we look at action #13: Show mercy.

The message for this morning is simple – show mercy, because God shows mercy to you.  Webster says that mercy is “compassionate treatment” and “a disposition to be kind and forgiving.”  We already covered in the characteristics of love that love is disposed to do good towards others.  This message reminds us of that and then takes it further towards forgiveness.

I often say that we ought to continually give God praise for His grace and mercy.  Grace is God giving us what we do not deserve.  Mercy is God not giving us what we do deserve. Lamentations tells us that “The Lord’s kindness never fails!  If he had not been merciful, we would have been destroyed.  The Lord can always be trusted to show mercy each morning” (3:22,23 CEV).  Think about that for a moment.  God is faithful to show us mercy.  If the Lord had truly given us everything we deserved, for every action (good and bad); then we might not be here today.  I thank God that He showed mercy on me when I messed up and I thank God that the Bible says that I can trust God to show me mercy every morning!  The King James Version of this text tells me that His mercies are literally renewed every morning.  I don’t have to face today with yesterday’s mercy.  That is awesome.  That gives us hope.  That helps us understand how much God cares about us and how He is faithful to forgive us.

If God will do all of that for us, then should we not show the same mercy and forgiveness towards others?  Jesus told a story in Matthew 18:21-35 about a servant who failed to understand this principle.  This guy owed a large sum of money, in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, and he could not pay it back.  He was about to lose his family over it when his master got a change of heart and decided to forgive all his debt.  This was awesome!  The guy then left that place and ran into another person that owed him a few dollars and he wound up choking the man, demanding payment, and having him imprisoned.  When the servant’s master found out about it he was furious.  The master came back to the servant and had him tortured until he could pay the entire original debt back.  Jesus then said, “This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart” (v.35).

So what does this mean to you today? The message is simple; forgive just like God forgave you.  Show mercy towards others, just like God shows mercy towards you.  When you act like God you are walking in His love!

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I thank You for forgiving me and renewing Your mercy towards me every morning.  I declare that I will also forgive others and show mercy towards them.  I allow Your love to shine through me by operating in mercy, forgiveness, compassion and kindness.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

The Actions of Love #14: Don’t Pick on Others (top of page)

(Luke 6:37 MSG) “Don’t pick on people, jump on their failures, criticize their faults–unless, of course, you want the same treatment… ”

This morning we continue our series on “Walking in the Love of God.”  Thus far we have looked at thirteen actions of love found in Luke 6:27-38.  This morning we look at action #14: Don’t pick on others.

I know that when I started this series most people already thought they knew what love was all about.  I trust that you have learned that there is a great deal to walking in the love of God.  The bible has a lot to say about love.  We have been in this series for eight weeks already and we still have a ways to go.  Let’s break down our text for this morning into four sections:

1.       Don’t pick on people:  To pick on someone is to intentionally cause undue stress; to hassle, annoy and irritate.  Have you ever met someone who constantly harasses others?  I don’t mean the person that jokingly plays around, but the one that finds pleasure in intentionally aggravating other people?  These people are constantly seeking to identify contentious areas in the lives of others and when they find them, they take every opportunity to “push their buttons.”  The bottom line is that love does not act that way.  Love seeks to minimize and not magnify the weaknesses of others.

2.       Jump on their failures:  Failure is a part of life.  I am a person that is not accustomed to failure, but we all have do deal with it.  It is said that most millionaires have filed for bankruptcy at least once.  What does that mean?  It means that they failed, but they recovered from their failure.  Dr. John Maxwell wrote a book entitled “Failing Forward” that really blessed me when I was down.  I recovered and so can others, but it makes it harder to recover when there are others there to jump on your failure and constantly remind you of your mistakes.  These people do not help and we should not be one of them.

3.       Criticize their faults:  You may be in the position where you lead others.  Part of your responsibility may be to “identify” the faults of your subordinates.  There is a difference between identifying and criticizing a fault.  This goes beyond a normal critique and gets into the harassment arena.  Don’t be one of these people.

4.       Unless you want the same treatment:  Always remember the principle of sowing and reaping.  In the world they say, “What goes around comes around.”  This is actually a biblical principle and you will reap what you sow (Gal 6:7).  What you make happen for others – good or bad – you are actually making happen for yourself.

So what does this mean to you today? We all endure hardships from time to time and there are times in all of our lives where we fell like we have been picked out to be picked on.  People have enough to deal with in the course of their lives already; they do not need anyone else putting any external pressures on them.  As a Christians you should be there to help and not to hurt, to be a blessing and not a burden.

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I thank You for using me this day to be a blessing and not a burden to others.  I do not pick on others.  I do not jump on their failures.  I magnify their strengths and their successes.  When someone is down I remind them of all the things they have done right.  I help to build them up and not tear them down.  I am careful when I give a critique not to criticize.  I am going to be a blessing today!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

The Actions of Love #15: Don’t condemn those who are down (top of page)

(Luke 6:37 MSG) “…Don’t condemn those who are down; that hardness can boomerang.”

This morning we continue our series on “Walking in the Love of God.”  Thus far we have looked at fourteen actions of love found in Luke 6:27-38.  This morning we look at action #15: Don’t condemn those who are down.

The word translated condemn in this text means to give or pass judgment upon; to pronounce judgment against.  This flows in the same vein as yesterday’s message and it is a warning against a critical spirit.  Jesus clearly explained this issue of judgment in Matthew chapter 7 when He said, “Do not judge, or you too will be judged.  For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.  Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?  How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye?  You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye” (Verses 1-5 NIV).

The point here is that love focuses on others for the purpose of being a blessing, but it focuses on self when it comes time for judgment.  Love ensures that we keep a prosper perspective of ourselves.  Those that are babes in Christ are often the ones that are quick to judge.  Seasoned believers seem to be less judgmental.  Why?  Because the more you know about Christ, the less you think of yourself.  The more you know about the many times that God covered you with His grace and mercy, the less critical you will be of others’ mistakes.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that love is there to pick up those who are down, not to kick them down further.  Paul said, “Those of us who are strong and able in the faith need to step in and lend a hand to those who falter, and not just do what is most convenient for us.  Strength is for service, not status” (Romans 15:1 MSG).

Are you in Christ for service?  If so, then you will be there to help and not to hurt those who are down.  Pick someone up today.  Pick them up with a smile, kind word, a listening ear or a few moments to show you care.  People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care!  Show God’s love through you today.

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I thank You for helping me to focus on other’s strengths and not weaknesses.  I assist those who are down.  I am here for their betterment and not their detriment.  I am a blessing and not a burden.  I do not pronounce judgment upon them.  I seek to help restore them to their fullness so that You can get the maximum glory from their lives!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

The Actions of Love #16: Be easy on people (top of page)

(Luke 6:37 MSG) “…Be easy on people; you’ll find life a lot easier.”

This morning we continue our series on “Walking in the Love of God.”  Thus far we have looked at fifteen actions of love found in Luke 6:27-38.  This morning we look at action #16: Be easy on people.

I really enjoyed reading Joel Osteen’s book (Your Best Life Now) earlier this year.  One of the things that he talked about in his book was how his Dad taught him that everyone was entitled to a bad day.  Everyone has a bad day from time to time.  If we respond to every sarcastic comment with a like comment or every bad attitude with more of the same, then we will be no different than the person we are confronted with and we will fail to use the opportunity to help change their day for the better.  You never know, they may be a hard, rude and resentful person that needs to hear a kind word or they may be a pleasant, soft, and considerate person that is simply having a bad day.  In either case, if we go easy on them, we can help change their day and maybe even their life for the better.

I pray this series has taught you to take your focus off of yourself from time to time.  Self-centered people cannot do great things for God.  They miss the opportunities that God presents them with, because they are constantly focused on their problems, issues and concerns.  If your perspective if always on you, then you will never see what God needs you to see in your spouse, child, co-worker, supervisor, etc.

When someone gives you a hard time, instead of striking back, think about them for a moment.  What might they be going through?  Are they stressed out?  Are they overwhelmed?  Are they dealing with personal pressure?  You never know what they are facing.  Other versions of this text say, “Forgive, and you will be forgiven.”  The quicker you forgive them, the quicker you will be able to look beyond their actions and ask them things like: Are you OK?  Or, is everything alright?  Or you can surprise them by replying to their harsh treatment with a compliment like: I like that shirt, where did you get it?  Or, you sure look nice today.  You will soon find this verse to come alive in your life.  As you are easy on people, your life will be a lot easier.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that walking in the love of God is more than just lip service.  We all have bad days.  I had my fair share of challenges yesterday with my hotel internet connection and I wasn’t as nice on the phone as I should have been.  I was convicted about it, repented and moved forward.  I will do better today.  Maybe if I was easier on the people yesterday I would have gotten the issue resolved a lot quicker.  The good thing about it is that I learned a phrase a few years ago that changed my life forever.  It is, “Yesterday ended last night!”  No matter how you treated people yesterday, it’s over.  This is a new day with new mercy (Lam 3:23).  Determine to do better.  Be easy on people and your life will be a lot easier!

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  You empower me to look beyond bad attitudes and to see hurting people.  I am able to reply to rudeness with kindness.  Everyone will have a bad day from time to time.  I will not make their day worse; I seek to make it better.  I am easy on others and I live a stress free, joy-filled life.  I enter into this day with a smile on my face, a song in my heart, and Your joy as my strength!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

The Actions of Love #17:  Live to Give – You won’t regret it! (top of page)

(Luke 6:37 MSG) “Give away your life; you’ll find life given back, but not merely given back – given back with bonus and blessing.  Giving, not getting, is the way.  Generosity begets generosity.”

This morning we continue our series on “Walking in the Love of God.”  We started off this series by laying a foundation for difference between biblical (God’s) love and worldly love.  We then covered 20 characteristics of love, basically delving into what love is.  After better what understanding what love is, we then examined what love actually does.  We started off our “Actions of Love” in the 27th verse of Luke chapter 6 and today we arrive at our last verse.  We have covered 16 actions of love in this passage already.  I trust you have a greater understanding of biblical love.  This morning we look at action #17: Live to Give!

This morning’s text is used in pulpits all over the world on a regular basis at offering time.  A more common translation (NIV) of the text says, “Give, and it will be given to you.  A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap.  For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”  We commonly use this to refer to money and it does apply to money, but I like the way that the translator of the Message Bible put, “Give away your life…”  After dealing with things like loving your enemies, doing good to those that mistreat you and praying for those that give you a hard time; Jesus returns to this issue of sowing and reaping.  He promises that your actions will not go unrewarded.

More than likely, your natural inclination will not be to love your enemies or pray for those that give you a hard time; but if you put these 17 actions of love into practice then you will literally be changing your composition.  You will force yourself into being “transformed” into the image and likeness of Christ (Rom 12:1,2), by renewing your mind to think like He thinks and act like He acts.  If you do this, our text says that you will literally be giving your life away; but what it really means is that you will be giving your old and evil tendencies away and replacing them with the characteristics of the God of love, peace and joy.  Will you still be you?  Of course!  But a new you, with a new attitude, a new perspective, and a new life!

So what does this mean to you today? It means that you should live to give.  Give your life to Christ.  Give your love to others.  Give forgiveness to those that hurt you, mercy to those that mistreat you and help to those that need it.  As you live to give you will find that you will not regret it.  God will give you peace in your heart, clarity in your mind, strength in your body, vision for your family, provision for the vision and an overflowing return on every good seed sown! Walk in love and your life will be changed for the better!

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I live to give.  I give my life to You!  I give my love to others.  I sow seeds of mercy, forgiveness, kindness, goodness, peace and money.  I reap a pressed down, shaken together and running over harvest on every seed sown.  My labor of love is not in vain in You, Lord.  I walk in Your love and I live a life that is pleasing to You!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

You Can Do It! (top of page)

(Rom 5:5 CEV) … All of this happens because God has given us the Holy Spirit, who fills our hearts with his love.

This morning we continue our series on “Walking in the Love of God.”  We have covered a lot of ground in the last nine weeks and I pray that it has been a blessing to you.  I have asked you to go back and review the 20 characteristics of God’s love and the 17 actions of God’s love at your leisure (on the website).  Use this series as a reminder of God’s greatest expectation in your life.  I know that we have covered some areas that may be challenging to you, like loving your enemies, praying for those that give you a hard time, or operating in consistent love, regardless of the circumstances.  I felt led this morning to give you a simple reminder – You Can Do it!

It would be unrighteous of God to expect you to do something that He has not already equipped you to do.  Whatever God expects you to do, He equips you to do.  On the same token, whatever God equips you to do, He expects you to do.  Early in the series we covered our text for this morning.  We come back to it because it is a reminder that God has given us His Holy Spirit.  Romans 5 opens with Paul teaching that we have been made acceptable to God by faith.  Paul said, “…because of our Lord Jesus Christ, we live at peace with God.”  Paul goes on to teach us that Christ also introduced us to God’s undeserved kindness and that this kindness makes us happy.  We feel an overwhelming joy when we come to Christ and our life is never the same.  Paul also explains that life in Christ does not exonerate us from difficult situations.  He teaches that learning to deal with difficult situations helps develop a passionate patience in us.  This patience builds character and it gives us hope.  It is at this point that Paul teaches about the reality of the Holy Spirit.  The Holy Spirit comes to enable us to experience joy and overcome hardships.  However, the latter part of this verse is the key.  Paul teaches that part of the Holy Spirit’s role is to fill our hearts with God’s love.

The love of God was poured out in your heart when you were Born-Again.  God gave you His Spirit and His love so that you could do everything you have learned in this series.  People are waiting to see Christians act like Christians (Rom 8:19).  People want to see a true difference in those that claim to be in Christ.  When we truly walk in love they will see that difference in us and God will change their hearts through His love.

So what does this mean to you today? It means God has given you His Spirit and His love.  You have everything you need to walk out what you have learned.  As you make en effort to walk in love, you will allow God’s light to shine through you and the hearts of others will be changed.  No matter what you are facing this morning and no matter how difficult your circumstances may be, don’t allow anything to keep you from walking in God’s love.  You Can Do It!

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I am anointed by Your Spirit, covered by Your blood and filled with Your love.  Nothing can stop me from operating in Your love today.  No matter what happens and no matter how people treat me, I will remain the same.  I operate in consistent love.  I can do it!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

The Purpose of the Charge (top of page)

(1 Tim 1:5 AMP)  Whereas the object and purpose of our instruction and charge is love, which springs from a pure heart and a good (clear) conscience and sincere (unfeigned) faith.

This morning we continue our series on “Walking in the Love of God.”  Paul had a great relationship with his son in the faith, Timothy.  Timothy was his protégé.  Paul’s first letter to Timothy was a charge to continue the ministry that he started in Ephesus and to teach the right things.  The people of time were focusing on legends, myths, and issues of race and ancestry.  Paul told Timothy that these discussions would only lead to arguments and are not productive in the Kingdom of God.  He follows on with our text for this morning and clearly charges Timothy to both operate in love and to teach the people to love.  The Message Bible translates this verse, “The whole point of what we’re urging is simply love – love uncontaminated by self-interest and counterfeit faith, a life open to God.”  This is the charge of Christianity, because God is love (1st Jn 4:8).  We have been destined to be transformed into the image and likeness of Christ (Rom 8:29) and Christ’s image is an image of love.  With this in mind, let’s take a look at the three areas of the charge to love found in our text:

1.       A Pure Heart:  This charge is not a charge to simply have outward expressions of kindness, but to ensure that your actions are motivated by the love that you have rooted and seated in your heart.  What is the motivation behind what you do?  Do you do good works because you love or because you want to say that you did good works?  God does not look at your outward actions; He looks at the heart (1 Sam 16:7).

2.       A Clear Conscience:  It is hard to walk in clear and pure love with God and man when you are walking in guilt.  Sin hinders our prayer life and clouds our conscience.  To truly walk in love you must be in right standing with God.  If you are in sin this morning, take a few moments to repent.  John said, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1st Jn 1:9).  Make sure you have a clear conscience before you leave your computer.

3.       Sincere Faith:  I taught in our previous series that faith is an expression of confidence in God and His Word.  When you make an attempt to walk in love, you are literally walking by faith.  You are expressing your sincere confidence in God and His Word.  When people do you wrong and you decide not to respond the way you used to respond, because of what you have learned about God and His Word; you expressing your confidence in the Word you received and you are walking in sincere faith.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that your name does not have to be Timothy to receive God’s charge to walk in His love!  God expects you to turn the corner from learning to living.  You have been learning about God’s love, are you ready to walk in love with a pure heart, a clear conscience and sincere faith? The choice if yours!  If you choose yes, then you will also experience God’s favor upon your life.

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I choose to walk in Your love.  I do good unto others because I love you and I love them.  I operate with a pure heart.  I have confessed my sin to you and I am free from guilt and shame.  I operate in a clear conscious.  I make a concerted effort to live everything I learn in Your Word.  I express my confidence in You and Your Word by living what I learn.  I walk in sincere faith!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

The Test of Thanksgiving (top of page)

(1st John 4:20,21 MSG)  If anyone boasts, “I love God,” and goes right on hating his brother or sister, thinking nothing of it, he is a liar. If he won’t love the person he can see, how can he love the God he can’t see?  The command we have from Christ is blunt: Loving God includes loving people. You’ve got to love both.

This morning we continue our series on “Walking in the Love of God.”  Tomorrow Americans will celebrate Thanksgiving, our nations’ oldest holiday.  Thanksgiving is a time of good food, good fellowship and good fun.  Families get together around the table.  People are reunited to loved ones they have not seen in a long time.  Children get to eat their favorite sweets.  Kids of all ages enjoy the Thanksgiving Day parade on television, followed by some good football.  Thanksgiving is about as American as the proverbial “apple pie.”

Thanksgiving is a day of good wholesome fun and it is also a day of reflection.  It is a day where many think back on their blessings and they praise God for His goodness and His mercy towards them.  People all over will thank God tomorrow and honor Him for His blessings upon their lives.  This leads us to our text.  Please take a moment to read it again.  John is blatantly clear that loving God includes loving man.  I mentioned all the niceties about Thanksgiving because that is the reality of what will happen tomorrow; but the message this morning is for us not to go on thinking that we can praise and thank God for His goodness, while we simply ignore the people we cannot seem to get along with.  God is not pleased with lip service.  He does not welcome the praise of those that harbor hatred in their hearts.  The message yesterday taught us that God expects us to love with a pure heart, a clear conscience and sincere faith.  When we harbor hatred in our heart we are tainting the purity of God’s love.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that you should want to thank and praise God tomorrow (and everyday for that matter), but you should also want to know that God welcomes your praise.  He will welcome your praise and your love when He knows that you are doing your best to represent His love in the earth by loving others!

Do you really want to honor the God that you cannot see?  If so, then love the people that you can see!

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I pass the test of thanksgiving.  I honor, respect and love You completely and totally.  I express my love for You by expressing my love towards others.  Your love in my heart overtakes and overpowers any hatred, bitterness, malice and strife.  I walk in pure love with You by walking in pure love with others!  This is how I represent my thanks!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

Why the Love of God is Important (top of page)

I pray that you enjoyed your Thanksgiving holiday and that you are ready to get back to work.  Instead of getting ready for work this morning, I am actually getting ready to head out to Kuwait today.  I will be gone for a few weeks.  I may not be able to send out Today’s Word for a couple of days while I travel and get setup.  I will continue to send it out as soon as I am able.  If you would still like a read a Word during the time that I am traveling, I ask that you visit the website (www.todaysword.org).  I am sure you will find a Word that will minister to you.  I ask that you pray that the Love of God would shine through me on this trip and that my family would remain in peace while I am gone.  Thank you.

This morning we continue our series on “Walking in the Love of God.”  I felt led to share something with you that I received from a study from Dr. Creflo A. Dollar.  He dealt with six reasons why God’s love is important.  I will briefly explain each one.

1.  It’s the whole meaning and purpose of your life:  Our transformation from darkness and selfishness towards light and love is the essence and embodiment of Christianity; it is the purpose why Jesus came.  Jesus was God incarnate and we are the continuation of His incarnation.  We are to continue to live as He lived and love as He loved.

2.  It’s the only way others will know you are a Christian:  Jesus said that people would know that we are His disciples (followers and understudies) if we have love one for another (John 13:35).  Operating in love is what sets the Christian apart from the rest of the world.

3.  It proves you are abiding with God:  John said (1st John 4:7,8), “Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God.  Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.”  These are not my words; the Bible says that you if you do not love, you do not know God.  Do you know God?

4.  It shows you are filled with the fullness of God:  Having lots of money does not prove you are full of God.  Healing the sick does not prove you are full of God.  Praying in tongues does not prove you are full of God.  Casting of demons does not prove you are full of God.  These are some of the things that God does for and through His children, but love is not what God does; love is what God is!  When you are full of love, you are full of God.

5.  It’s proof that you love God:  Jesus said that if we love Him we would keep His commandments (John 14:15).  He went on to command us to love (John 15:12, Matthew 22:37).  Your love for God is proved by your love for man.

6.  It’s the perfect bond of union between you and others:  In this series we learned 17 actions of God’s love.  If you operate in these actions you will be free from strife, bitterness, and hatred towards others.  You will be able to enjoy pure relationships and live a stress free life.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that walking in the Love of God is of utmost importance because God is love.  He came to live inside of us when we were converted.  He now wants to shine through us as we show externally what has already happened internally.  Let His love and light shine today!

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I understand the reasons why Your love is important.  I allow Your love and Your light to shine and permeate through my being today.  I am an example of You in my thoughts, words, and deeds.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

Operate with you New Heart (top of page)

(Eze 11:19 AMP)  And I will give them one heart [a new heart] and I will put a new spirit within them; and I will take the stony [unnaturally hardened] heart out of their flesh, and will give them a heart of flesh [sensitive and responsive to the touch of their God],

I am currently in Germany and still on my way to Kuwait.  I had an opportunity to send out Today’s Word from the airport and I pray that this message will be a blessing to you.

This morning we continue our series on “Walking in the Love of God.”  In our text for this morning we see a prophecy by Ezekiel of a time where God would give His children a new heart.  He would do this by giving them a new spirit.  This new spirit would come in to replace their stony heart with a heart of flesh; a heart that is sensitive and responsive to the move and touch of God.  We see a similar prophecy in chapter 36.  There Ezekiel said, “I’ll pour pure water over you and scrub you clean.  I’ll give you a new heart, put a new spirit in you. I’ll remove the stone heart from your body and replace it with a heart that’s God-willed, not self-willed.  I’ll put my Spirit in you and make it possible for you to do what I tell you and live by my commands” (Ezekiel 36:25-27 MSG).

The difference in chapter 36 is that God explains the “spirit” He mentioned in chapter 11.  Here God, through Ezekiel, says that He will give us His Spirit.  This is the promised Holy Spirit.  This promise was fulfilled on the day of Pentecost and now we all receive God’s Spirit when we are Born-Again.  Part of the role of the Holy Spirit in our lives is to remove our stony heart and replace it with a heart that is God-willed and not self-willed.  Ezekiel 36 says that the Holy Spirit in us will enable us to live by the commands of God.  This means that the Holy Spirit can enable you to love those you cannot stand and be kind to those that treat you wrong.  If you are willing to receive, you will be able to achieve, through the power of the Holy Spirit.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that God has given you the power to walk in His love, His will, and His way.  He has given you this power through the Holy Spirit.  It is no longer a question of whether or not you can; it is now a question of whether or not you will.  If you submit your will to His will, you will see God’s glorious power working through you and you will receive a transformation from a stony heart to a soft heart.  A heart that is willing and wanting to please God.

You have a new heart.  Will you act like it today?

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I operate in my new heart.  I no longer have a stony heart that fights against Your commands.  I have a soft, pure, and pliable heart; a heart at seeks to please You by obeying Your commands.  I have a heart that is sensitive and responsive to Your touch.  I operate in Your love, because I operate with my new heart today and every day.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

It’s so Easy to Love Him! (top of page)

(Psalm 19:1 NIV)  The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.

This morning we continue our series on “Walking in the Love of God.”  This morning I woke up with a song in my spirit.  I don’t know who wrote it, but it says, “It’s so easy to love You.  So easy to love You.  It’s so easy to love You, because Your wonderful.  It’s so easy to love You.  So easy to love You.  So easy to love You, because You’re my friend.”  I walked outside and began to sing unto the Lord and appreciate Him for His glorious splendor.  As I looked out at the beautiful sunrise here in Kuwait and began to think about the views a saw from the plane while I was traveling, I was reminded of our text for this morning.

David said that the heavens declare the glory of the Lord.  The clouds are a testament of His handiwork; the mountains an example strength, the sun an example of His power, and the moon an example of His wisdom.  All of creation declares His glory.  God was thoughtful enough to clothe a flower with beauty, to fill a pear with sweet nectar, to put healing virtue in herbs, to cause plants to exchange carbon monoxide for oxygen, and the list could go on and on.  Who would not love a God like that?

If God could pitch a tent in the heavens for the sun (Ps 19:4), put singing in a bird, and colors in a rainbow; He can surely meet your needs this morning.  Peter told us to cast all our cares upon Him (1 Peter 5:7).  Why?  Because He cares for us.  Think about that for a moment.  The God that watches over the universe cares about you, your family, your children, your career, your desires, your plans, and your concerns.  This morning you may have not awoken with God on your mind, but I guarantee you that you were on His.  He is mindful of You (Ps 8:4) and He is never too busy to meet you where you are.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that after learning so much about the love of God, you may consider walking in love to be a hard thing.  You may think that fulfilling all the requirements of God’s love is unattainable, but I want you to know that loving God is not an arduous task.  God is easy to love.  He takes the time for you, simply make the time for Him.  Acknowledge Him today, His glory, His splendor, His power and His might.  Know that the God that made everything takes the time to hear from you.  I opened with the first verse in Psalm 19 and I will close with the last.  In the 14th verse David prayed a prayer that applies to our lives today, “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer” (v.14).

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I declare that it is easy to love You.  Every time I look at the sun, the moon, or the stars, I will glorify Your name.  Every time I taste a fruit, smell a flower, or take a deep breath I will acknowledge Your glory.  I thank You for taking the time to think of me and I declare, by faith, that I will take the time to acknowledge You daily in my thoughts, words, and deeds.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

The Law of Jesus (top of page)

(Mat 22:34-40 NIV)  Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: ” ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

This morning we continue our series on “Walking in the Love of God.”  I have waited a long time to get to this text.  I debated on whether or not to start the series with it.  I felt led to leave it towards the end.  This is quite possibly the most important passage about love in the Bible.  The Pharisees and the Sadducees made constant attempts to stump Jesus.  They wanted to somehow get Him to violate the Law.  The first five books of the Bible are known to Jews as the “Torah” or the “Law of Moses.”  The Law contained many commandments and it was literally impossible to live by them all.  The Sadducees attempted to entangle Jesus in a legal dilemma by asking Him if it was lawful to pay taxes.  Jesus knew it was a trap and He asked whose face was on the money.  When they agreed that it was Caesar’s face, then Jesus said, “Then give Caesar what is his, and give God what is his.”  With this Jesus silenced the Sadducees.

The Sadducees were unsuccessful at getting Jesus entangled in the Roman law so the Pharisees came and attempted to get Him entangled in the Jewish law.  They got their best expert in the law to ask Jesus what the greatest commandment in the Law was.  Jesus’ answer has wide-spread application.  He first quoted Deuteronomy 6:5 which states, “And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.”  Jesus elevated this to the greatest commandment.  The Pharisee only asked Jesus to identify the “one” top commandment, but Jesus went on to add a second one.  Jesus said that the second one was like the first one and it was to “Love your neighbor as yourself.”  This second commandment was not a quote from the Law at all.  Loving your neighbor might have been a principle, but it became a law that day.  Jesus went on to say that all the Law and the Prophets hand on these two commandments.  Over the next few messages we will learn how important these two commandments are to our lives as Christians.  You will see that the 10 commandments and the other hundreds of commandments are all captured in these two.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that you don’t have to remember hundreds of commandments or be a scholar in the Levitical law to live a life that is pleasing to God.  Jesus made it easy for us by capturing the essence of Christianity in two laws: Love God and Love Man.  We will see that they are both important and if fulfilled, we will live a prosperous and peaceful Christian life.

If you wanted to know the secret of how to live a life that is pleasing to God, then here it is: Love God and love your neighbor.  If you do these two, the rest will fall in place.

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I obey the law of Jesus this morning and every day.  I love you with all my heart, soul, and mind.  I also show my love for Your by loving my neighbor.  I fulfill these two commandments and by them, I fulfill Your law.  I live a life that is pleasing in Your sight.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

Love God with your Entire Being (top of page)

(Mat 22:34-40 NIV)  Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: ” ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

I have had some communications problems at my current location and have not been able to send out Today’s Word for a few days.  I am thankful to be able to send it out today.

This morning we continue our series on “Walking in the Love of God.”  I dealt with this morning’s passage on our last message.  I called it the Law of Jesus.  This morning we take a closer look at the passage by dealing with the first part of Jesus’ instructions, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.”

1.       Love the Lord your God:  The name used for God here is Jehovah.  Jehovah comes from the past, present, and future tenses of the verb “to be;” meaning simply but profoundly, “I am who I am,” and “I will be who I will be” (see Ex 3:14).  Jesus clearly lays out a requirement for all believers to love this God; the God of our past, present, and future.  The God who was, and is, and ever shall be.

2.       With all your heart:  Other places in scripture the word heart is translated from the word soul.  Your soul is your mind, emotions, and will.  In this case that would be redundant.  The connotation here is that of emotions.  I teach that we should rule over our emotions and not allow our emotions to rule over us.  Loving the Lord with your emotions is an example of having emotional control.  Controlling yourself to the point where you do not break out in fits of anger, but you rather channel your emotions towards God in worship and towards others in love.

3.       With all your soul:  We have covered emotions and we will cover your mind next, so what I believe this makes a reference to is your will.  God has given you the ability to choose.  You are a free moral agent.  You can choose to love or hate, bless or curse, worship or disregard.  You have the ability to choose, but when you submit yourself to God and allow Him – through systemic teaching of the Word of God – to transform you into His image and His likeness, then you simply choose what He would have you to choose.  That’s how you love God with your will.

4.       With all your mind:  In many ways, you are what you think you are (Prov 23:7).  You are, the way you think you are.  If you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right either way.  If you can change the way you think, you can change the way you are.  To love God with your mind is to train and transform (Rom 12:1,2) your mind to think the way God thinks.  You train yourself to think good thoughts and not evil.  Your thoughts will lead to your actions.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that the greatest commandment in the Bible is to love God with all your being.  Love God with your heart (your feeler), your soul (your chooser) and your mind (your thinker).  Once you start loving God this way, then you are on the road to becoming the person God intends for you to be.

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I declare that I love You will all my heart, my soul, and my mind.  I love You with all my being.  I control my emotions and channel them towards worship and peace.  I control my will and force myself to make Godly decisions.  I control my mind and think the right thoughts.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

Learn to Love Yourself (top of page)

(Mat 22:34-40 NIV)… And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

This morning we continue our series on “Walking in the Love of God.”  We have approached the love of God from many angles.  This is the point in the series where we discuss loving your neighbor as yourself, but before we do, we must address the issue of loving yourself.

There are many people, Christians included, who do not love themselves.  I do not mean that we should love ourselves to the point where we have an unhealthy and unrealistic image of our character and abilities; but I do mean that we should be thankful to God for making us the way that He did.  No one else on the planet has your fingerprint.  No one else has your voice signature.  Your eyes are a one-of-a-kind.  This uniqueness is an example of the creativity and the intricate detail of God.  He formed you like no one else.  David said, “Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out; you formed me in my mother’s womb.  I thank you, High God – you’re breathtaking! Body and soul, I am marvelously made! I worship in adoration – what a creation!” (Psalm 139:13,14 MSG).

David praised God for making him the way that He did and so should we.  Let’s get beyond some of the common hindrances:

1.       Weight:  Lots of people consider themselves overweight and they do not like what they see when they look in the mirror.  There is a healthy unsatisfaction that drives us to exercise, but then there is an unhealthy unsatisfaction that leads to low self-esteem.  If this is you, then ask God to help you take control of your emotions.  Develop healthy eating habits, exercise, and address your weight concerns; but most importantly, learn to love yourself.  God loves you just the way you are and so should you.

2.       Past Failures:  We all have made and will make mistakes.  However some people cannot seem to get beyond their past mistakes and failures.  I read a book years ago by John Maxwell entitled, “Failing Forward” that was a blessing to me.  I was dealing with a difficult situation and I learned to use past failures as a platform from which to launch future successes.  Most multi-millionaires have filed for bankruptcy at least once.  What does that mean?  They learned to get past failures and try again.

3.       Past Sin:  This is a big one.  Many Christians have come to God, repented, and received forgiveness.  They know that God has forgiven them, but they have not learned to forgive themselves.  Learning to forgive myself is a gift I learned and a key to walking in peace.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that you must learn to love yourself.  God loves you just the way you are.  This is not a license for sin, but it is a commandment to love.  Learn to be thankful for the way you look, speak, laugh, and smile.  Learn to love being You!  No one else can be a better you and than you.  Get past failures.  Yesterday ended last night.  Today is a new day and you have new mercy.  Accept forgiveness from God and learn to forgive yourself.  Don’t beat yourself up about yesterday.  Face today with great expectations!  As you love yourself you will be able to love your neighbor!

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I thank You for making me that way that You did.  I appreciate my smile.  I laugh at my own laugh.  I am pleased with what I look like, in a healthy way.  I am comfortable with who I am.  I love myself and I am able to love others.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

You Prove you love God by loving Man (top of page)

(Mat 22:34-40 NIV)… And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

This morning we continue our series on “Walking in the Love of God.”  Yesterday we learned the importance of loving ourselves.  This morning we take that love one step further, towards loving others.  Some people claim to love God, but fail to love others.  They claim that their relationship with God is personal and that it has nothing to do with how they treat others.  Jesus taught on the end time judgment in Matthew 25.  The following excerpts are from verses 31-46:

“When the Son of Man comes in his glory with all of his angels, he will sit on his royal throne. People of all nations will be brought before him, and he will separate them… the king will say to those on his right… Come and receive the kingdom… When I was hungry, you gave me something to eat, and when I was thirsty, you gave me something to drink. When I was a stranger, you welcomed me, and when I was naked, you gave me clothes to wear. When I was sick, you took care of me, and when I was in jail, you visited me.” … the people will ask, “When did we…” The king will answer, “Whenever you did it for any of my people, no matter how unimportant they seemed, you did it for me.”  Then the king will say to those on his left, “Get away from me! You are under God’s curse. Go into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels! I was hungry, but you did not give me anything to eat, and I was thirsty, but you did not give me anything to drink. I was a stranger, but you did not welcome me, and I was naked, but you did not give me any clothes to wear. I was sick and in jail, but you did not take care of me.” … Then Jesus said, “Those people will be punished forever. But the ones who pleased God will have eternal life.”

Your love has to be more than lip service.  There are many people that claim to be Christians, but Christianity is more than your parents’ religion, or something you fill out on a form, or put on your ID tags; Christianity is living like Christ.  I know this series on love has been long, but it is long because God is love.  The Bible has much to say about love, because love is the highest requirement of Christianity.  People are turned away from God every day because of those that claim to be Christians, but never act like it.  The world is waiting for the manifestation of true Christianity (Rom 8:19).  Will they see it in you?

So what does this mean to you today? It means that God expects you to prove Your love for Him by sharing that love with others.  Christmas is right around the corner.  Make sure you don’t get so engulfed in Santa Claus, Christmas trees, and egg nog, that you fail to remember the reason for the season.  We are celebrating the love of God manifested in His Son.  Show your love for God by being a blessing to someone else.

Remember that whatever you do for others, no matter how unimportant they may seem, you are doing it for God!

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  My love for You is more than just lip service.  I show my love for You by sharing that love with others.  Lead me towards those that You would have me to be a blessing to and I declare, by faith, that I will.  I want to be an instrument of Your grace and an example of Your love.  Use me this day and every day.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

Hang the Rod of Love (top of page)

(Mat 22:34-40 NIV)… And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’  All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

This morning we continue our series on “Walking in the Love of God.”  After commanding us to love God (with all our heart, soul, and mind) and love our neighbors (as ourselves), Jesus goes on to say, “All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”  That is a big statement.  It means that all of the Law of Moses (the first five books of the Bible) and all of the teachings of all the prophets all come down to loving God and loving man.

Kenneth Copeland tells the story of a vision he received from the Lord where he could see a man attempting to hang big and beautiful curtains, but the curtains kept falling down.  He realized that the curtains had words on them and each one meant something.  They curtains represented faithfulness, peace, favor, grace, etc.  The man in the vision was frustrated because he could not get the curtains to remain in place.  As he would work on one, another would fall.  The man finally cried out to the Lord in desperation.  The response Kenneth Copeland heard was, “Hang the rod!”  He looked over and saw a huge golden rod.  The rod was well big enough to hold all the curtains in place.  The rod also had words on it and it was, “The Love of God.”

I may not have told the story exactly the way that Kenneth Copeland saw it, but the essence is there.  Everything hangs on the Love of God.  If you get the rod of love in place, then the curtains of faithfulness, peace, favor… will hang in place as well.  To attempt to receive the blessing of God without the love of God, however, can be a frustrating experience.  Too many people are attempting to get things from God without really knowing God at all.  Don’t pursue things, pursue God.  If you pursue God and walk in love, the things (blessing) will pursue you.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that nothing else really works – at least not for long – without the love of God in operation in your life.  Jesus simplified the message of the Bible for you down to two commandments.  Love God and love man.  If you can do these two, then you are giving God His proper place and you are in effect, hanging the rod of love.

Once you get love in place everything else will stay in place.

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  Everything hangs of Your love.  I declare, by faith, that I operate in Your love today.  I hang the rod of love and I have my priorities in order.  As I get love in its proper place, everything else will stay in place and I will walk in Your divine favor and blessing.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

Do you know how much God loves you? (top of page)

This week we will close out our series on “Walking in the Love of God.”  We have covered a lot of ground and I pray that you have been blessed by this series.  I have dealt with our requirements to love God from several perspectives, but I have not mentioned how much God loves us.

Paul admitted to dealing with the inner struggle we all face from time to time; the conflict between wanting to do right and the and the actual act of doing it (Romans 7:14-25).  He then went on to give us hope in the opening verses of the 8th chapter by letting us know that our life in the Spirit can overcome the desires of the flesh.  It is in this 8th chapter that we find the focus for this morning’s message.  After teaching us to live victoriously in the Spirit and commending to become an example of the manifested glory of God in the earth (v.19), Paul goes on to explain that our confidence in life is rooted in our certainty and conviction that God love us.

Paul declares, “Do you think anyone is going to be able to drive a wedge between us and Christ’s love for us? There is no way! Not trouble, not hard times, not hatred, not hunger, not homelessness, not bullying threats, not backstabbing, not even the worst sins listed in Scripture: They kill us in cold blood because they hate you. We’re sitting ducks; they pick us off one by one. None of this fazes us because Jesus loves us. I’m absolutely convinced that nothing – nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable – absolutely nothing can get between us and God’s love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us” (Romans 8:35-39).

I could easily spend a week of teaching on these five verses, but I was led to just share them with you.  Read them a couple of times and allow the Holy Spirit to solidify the height and dept of His love for you in your heart.  Absolutely nothing can stop God from loving you.  You did nothing to make Him start and you can do nothing to make Him stop.  Now, this is not a license to sin.  He loves you just he way you are, but He loves you too much to leave you there.  Remember that this passage of inseparable love is found in a chapter where Paul is teaching on living a Spirit-led life.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that you should know how much God loves you.  Your assurance of God’s love for you breeds a confidence that money can’t buy and that the devil can’t steal.  God loves you with an inseparable and inexhaustible love.  The God of the universe takes the time to love you personally and intimately. Once you settle this in your heart you are able to face every day with a quiet conviction that enables you to overcome any obstacle.

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I thank You for solidifying Your love in my heart.  I know how You love me and my knowledge of Your love breeds an inner confidence in me to face each day.  I walk into this day as a loved child of the Most High God.  My assurance of God’s love enables me to overcome everything I must face this day and every day.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

Why it’s important to know God loves you (top of page)

(2 Tim 1:11, 12 CEV)  My work is to be a preacher, an apostle, and a teacher.  That’s why I am suffering now.  But I am not ashamed!  I know the one I have faith in, and I am sure that he can guard until the last day what he has trusted me with.

This morning we continue to wind down our series on “Walking in the Love of God.”  Yesterday we looked at how much God loves us and this morning we see why it is important to be sure of His love.

We all suffer loss.  We all endure occasional hardships.  We all deal with the trouble that is associated with this world.  The good news is that Jesus declared that He had already overcome the world (John 16:33); meaning that although we may deal with difficult situations from time to time, we can have an inner assurance that we will not only come out of the ordeal, but come out on top.  This inner confidence comes from knowing, without a shadow of a doubt, that God loves us.  God loves us so much that every hair on our head is counted (Matthew 10:30).  God cares about us to the point that He has already planned for the smallest details in our lives.

Paul understood his assignment.  He was called to preach the gospel at a time where preaching the gospel would bring him persecution and imprisonment.  How did Paul deal with the assignment?  Did he whine and complain?  Did he attempt to run from his calling because of the persecution?  No!  Paul was willing to endure (2 Tim 1:3) everything associated with his assignment and he did it with gladness, because he knew his God and he was sure of His love.

Your assignment may not require the suffering that Paul’s did.  Preachers of the gospel today, in most free countries, are not thrown into prison and beaten.  But we all have our share of difficulties.  Whatever your difficulties are, whatever obstacles you face, you can overcome them all with the inner confidence that comes from knowing that God loves you and He will never leave you (Heb 13:5).

So what does this mean to you today? It means that you can find inner strength to deal with your outer pressures.  It means that being sure of God’s love empowers you to face every day with a blessed assurance, supernatural peace, and great expectations.

If you are sure of God’s love, then you will be sure to expect a great day and a fulfilled life!

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I am confident that You love me.  Your everlasting love for me enables me make every effort to live out my assignment in life, no matter what obstacles I may face.  I have an assurance that I will overcome every hindrance, rise above every challenge, conquer every attack, and walk in world-overcoming victory.  I can do all things through Christ and I do them all by faith.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

You will eventually Become what you consistently Behold (top of page)

(Romans 12:2 NLT)  Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will know what God wants you to do, and you will know how good and pleasing and perfect his will really is.

This morning we continue to wind down our series on “Walking in the Love of God.”  I have closed out series in different ways and I have been prayerful about how to close this series out.  This morning God led me to focus on the goal of a series like this.  The reason that I would spend 10 weeks teaching on the same thing is because that is how our minds are changed.  We do not change our belief system over night.  As we consistently receive information about a particular subject and we continue to apply that information to our lives, it becomes a part of us.

Moses said, “So love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and strength. Memorize his laws and tell them to your children over and over again. Talk about them all the time, whether you’re at home or walking along the road or going to bed at night, or getting up in the morning. Write down copies and tie them to your wrists and foreheads to help you obey them. Write these laws on the door frames of your homes and on your town gates” (Deut 6:5-9 CEV).  Moses started off by instructing the Jews to love God and followed with further instructions on how to bring it to pass – by keeping the Word of God before their eyes.  Moses knew that the eye is a gate to the body and if we fill that gate with Word of God we will eventually become what we consistently behold.

We live in a day where 2 Billion people claim to be Christians, but there are not 2 Billion people living like Christ in the earth today.  Some claim Christianity without having a true relationship with Christ and others have become Christians (been Born-Again), but have not submitted themselves to systematic biblical teaching so they can learn to live what they have received.  Paul, in our text, reminds Christians that we cannot continue to copy the behavior of the world.  We should not boldly claim that we have moved, while others continue to find us at our old address.  We must submit ourselves to the process of mind renewal if we are to live out what we have experienced within.  If we consistently put the Word of God before us and commit to applying what we receive, we will become people that have been truly touched and transformed by the love of God and we will see a steady decline in crime and divorce rates in the US and in the world.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that you become what you behold.  What have you been consistently beholding?  If you read Today’s Word, attend Bible Study and participate in worship at a local church, you are feeding yourself the light and the love of God.  But if you also overload yourself with watching and listening to impurity all week long, then you might cancel out everything you received from the Word.  There is a battle over who and what you will become.  Your input will determine your outcome.  What input will you choose?

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I choose to live my life by Your counsel.  I will memorize Your Word and teach it to my children over and over again.  I will talk about Your Word all the time.  I will keep Your Word before my eye and ear gates.  I become what I behold and I declare that I become a vessel of love, peace, and harmony.  I do not copy the behavior and customs of the world.  I copy You and You are a God of love.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

The Benediction (top of page)

(2nd Corinthians 13:11 CEV)  Good-by, my friends.  Do better and pay attention to what I have said.  Try to get along and live peacefully with each other.  Now I pray that God, who gives love and peace, will be with you.

This is the final message in our series on “Walking in the Love of God.”  I trust you have been blessed.  I will close the series this morning (Thursday) and not tomorrow, because I start my journey (three flights) back to the US tonight.  I look forward to being with my family.

As I prayerfully considered how to close out this series I was pleased when the Holy Spirit confirmed the text for this morning.  In this text Paul declares the benediction to his second letter to the church at Corinth.  He wrote this letter before he visited them for the third time.  He dealt with some hard issues in this letter, so he closed it out by saying, “I am writing these things to you before I arrive.  This way I won’t have to be hard on you when I use the authority that the Lord has given me.  I was given this authority, so that I could help you and not destroy you” (v.10).  He goes on to write our verse for this morning.

It was Paul’s custom, in the benediction, to encourage the recipients of his writings to fulfill the instructions of the Lord and to remind them that God will enable them to do whatever He expects them to do.  Likewise, I encourage you this morning.  We have dealt with areas in this series that many view as a challenge.  Things like loving your enemies and blessing them that curse you are hard pills to swallow for average Christian.  However, this series has been a call to excellence and not average; a petition from God to operate like Him in the earth.  There are too many people that are “turned off” from God, Christianity, and the church, because of people who claim to be Christians, but fail to walk in God’s love.

I encourage you to live out what you have learned in this series.  I remind you that loving God and loving man are the commandments of Jesus.  I entreat you to allow the Love of God to wash away the resentment, bitterness and anger that your past may have embedded in your soul.  Walking in His love can heal past hurt, remove past pain, and renew you into the person God intends for you to be.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that we should get along and live peaceably with each other.  It means that we should walk in the love that God commands us to walk in.  And it means that we can do it, because the God that infuses love and peace is always with us and will never forsake us.

If God loves you, even with all the mistakes that you make, then why not share that same kind of forgiving love with others?

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  You empower me to love.  You equip me to walk in peace.  You employ me as an instrument of godliness in the earth.  Your blood covers me, Your Spirit guides me, and Your love rules me.  I walk peaceably with all men.  I let no corrupt communication proceed from out of my mouth.  I am a blessing and not a burden.  I am a help and not a hindrance.  I build up and I do not tear down.  I am Your child and I walk in Your love this day and for the rest of my life.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!