Archive for the ‘ Unconditional Love ’ Category

Reliving Responses to Christmas: The Least of These

It happens to be Christmas Eve!

Back in the first year of this blog, I did a short Christmas series, beginning with this post, and then this post and this post and this post and this post.
Shall we relive the memories? Okay!


This last part might be a bit fanciful, but one of the joys of Christmas is having some fun.

When Jesus was born, we read: “She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.” (Luke 2:7)

Immediately following His birth, we read: “When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, ‘Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.’ So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger.” (Luke 2:15-16)

Eight days after He entered our world, we read: “When the time of their purification according to the Law of Moses had been completed, Joseph and Mary took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every firstborn male is to be consecrated to the Lord”), and to offer a sacrifice in keeping with what is said in the Law of the Lord: ‘a pair of doves or two young pigeons.’” (Luke 2:22-24)

A while later, we read: “Magi from the east came to Jerusalem.” (Matthew 1:1)

What is connection in all of these?

Those are barely mentioned, if at all, in each segment of the story: the animals!

Think about it:

  1. Animals had to give up their place to eat for the night.
  2. Animals were left alone for the night.
  3. Animals had to die for the Lord!
  4. Animals had to help carry worshipers and gifts for the Savior of the world.

When Mary and Joseph laid Jesus in the manger, a feeding trough for animals, this meant that for at least that night and into the morning the animals gave up their dining table.

When the shepherds left their herd for the night, as I mentioned the other day, the sheep lost their security system for a while.

When Jesus was dedicated, two pigeons gave up their lives!

When the Wise Men journeyed from the East, it was their camels and horses who bore the brunt of the excursion and lose any comfort during the trip (though I am sure the Wise Men would have mentioned a thing or two about riding animals through desert and mountain paths).

Would you give up your dining table for a poor baby? Would you like knowing you were unprotected for the night? Would like to carry someone else’s belongings for hundreds of miles (or several dozen … no one really knows exactly how far they travelled)? Would you die for someone?

My take on these under-mentioned characters is this: they were unwilling participants … actually, more like unawares … in this story of our Lord’s birth, yet they can still teach us something.

There are times when God will call us to go hungry for the sake of the Kingdom.

There are times when God will call us to step out of our comfort zones for the sake of the Kingdom.

There are times when God will call us to give up our lives for the glorification of Jesus Christ.

I can almost guarantee you that these things happen frequently throughout our lives without us even realizing it.

Think of Chinese believers who are worshiping together in someone’s home, when authorities come in and break up the meeting.

Think of Asian/Arab believers who are going to church, and they get beat up as they walk for simply believing in Jesus.

Think of African believers who sit in prison for reading the Bible at home.

Think of the missionaries who die entering a town, yet their children are able to share the gospel with hundreds or thousands through their tragedy.

Think of that time you saw a man on the side of the street, begging for money, and you gave him or fast food sandwich to help him survive a couple more days.

We are all called to serve. We do not always get an angel or a star to warn us and guide us before our service starts.

Merry Christmas, and peace and joy from our Lord to you!

Plumb Deserving of God’s Love

Your soul deserves to be fed wisdom, so head over to Proverbial Thought!

It is time for another song! As much as I like this song, I cannot fully stand behind it. I disagree with part of its main point!

I do not care for the fact that there is no direct mention of God/Jesus anywhere in the song, but I can let that go knowing so many of their other songs do. I will look at this as an opportunity to get into secular radio stations to pique the interest of someone who may not believe in God, yet. That being said …

The song is Plumb’s “Don’t Deserve You”, which I find an excellently orchestrated song and one I would suggest many people listen to.

My issue is specifically with one (repeated often) line, “I don’t deserve your love …”

Here is my issue with it: If God created you, then He has declared you worthy of His love. Every single person on this planet not only deserves His love, but, as the song says, “You give it to me, anyway.”

I think that is one of the hardest things for us to fight in our world: convincing others that they can and should be loved. I think singing about it like this can be detrimental. However, putting these lyrics to music could be the very thing that helps some people repent of this thinking and turn to God and His love. This is why I still like the song! (The thing we do not deserve is His grace, but that is the very reason it is grace! It is giving something undeserved!)

May you grow in the love of Christ and come to understand how vast His love truly is for us!


Plumb – Don’t Deserve You

You’re the first face that I see
And the last thing I think about
You’re the reason that I’m alive
You’re what I can’t live without
You’re what I can’t live without

You never give up
When I’m falling apart
Your arms are always open wide
And you’re quick to forgive
When I make a mistake
You love me in the blink of an eye

[Chorus]
I don’t deserve your love
But you give it to me anyway
Can’t get enough
You’re everything I need
And when I walk away
You take off running and come right after me
It’s what you do
And I don’t deserve you

You’re the light inside my eyes
You give me a reason to keep trying
You give me more than I could dream
And you bring me to my knees
You bring me to my knees

Your heart is gold and how am I the one
That you’ve chosen to love
I still can’t believe that you’re right next to me
After all that I’ve done

[Chorus]

I don’t deserve a chance like this
I don’t deserve a love that gives me everything
You’re everything I want

Crucified, Dead and Buried, and Rose Again to Life

(Proverbial Thought. Go. Get wisdom.)

We have been looking at the Hard Knocks Life. I am not going to write much this week. Instead, I will let the Word speak for itself, because it tells about some of the hardest knocks anyone can face.

The Crucifixion of Jesus

As the soldiers led him away, they seized Simon from Cyrene, who was on his way in from the country, and put the cross on him and made him carry it behind Jesus. A large number of people followed him, including women who mourned and wailed for him. Jesus turned and said to them, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep for yourselves and for your children. For the time will come when you will say, ‘Blessed are the childless women, the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed!’ Then

“‘they will say to the mountains, “Fall on us!”
and to the hills, “Cover us!”’

For if people do these things when the tree is green, what will happen when it is dry?”

Two other men, both criminals, were also led out with him to be executed. When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified him there, along with the criminals—one on his right, the other on his left. Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.

The people stood watching, and the rulers even sneered at him. They said, “He saved others; let him save himself if he is God’s Messiah, the Chosen One.”

The soldiers also came up and mocked him. They offered him wine vinegar and said, “If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself.”

There was a written notice above him, which read: this is the king of the jews.

One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!”

But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.”

Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”

Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”

The Death of Jesus

It was now about noon, and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon, for the sun stopped shining. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” When he had said this, he breathed his last.

The centurion, seeing what had happened, praised God and said, “Surely this was a righteous man.” When all the people who had gathered to witness this sight saw what took place, they beat their breasts and went away. But all those who knew him, including the women who had followed him from Galilee, stood at a distance, watching these things.

The Burial of Jesus

Now there was a man named Joseph, a member of the Council, a good and upright man, who had not consented to their decision and action. He came from the Judean town of Arimathea, and he himself was waiting for the kingdom of God. Going to Pilate, he asked for Jesus’ body. Then he took it down, wrapped it in linen cloth and placed it in a tomb cut in the rock, one in which no one had yet been laid. It was Preparation Day, and the Sabbath was about to begin.

The women who had come with Jesus from Galilee followed Joseph and saw the tomb and how his body was laid in it. Then they went home and prepared spices and perfumes. But they rested on the Sabbath in obedience to the commandment.

Jesus Has Risen

On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: ‘The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’ ” Then they remembered his words.

When they came back from the tomb, they told all these things to the Eleven and to all the others. It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the others with them who told this to the apostles. But they did not believe the women, because their words seemed to them like nonsense. Peter, however, got up and ran to the tomb. Bending over, he saw the strips of linen lying by themselves, and he went away, wondering to himself what had happened.

Luke 23:26-24:12, NIV

Let us remember this week: HE IS RISEN!

Love One Another

I offer your regular reminder to check out the wise words at Proverbial Thought.

You may remember last week (and perhaps from two years ago) that I discussed St. Valentine, not just “the love day” but the person.

Today I am delving more into the real message Valentine taught.

Whose Child Are You?

Dear children, do not let anyone lead you astray. He who does what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous. He who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work. No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in him; he cannot go on sinning, because he has been born of God. This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not a child of God; nor is anyone who does not love his brother.
1 John 3:7-10, NIV

This is not a debate over whether someone is righteous apart from Christ (the short answer is no).

This time we are discussing how our actions present us to others.

Precisely, do our actions prove we are children of God or of the devil?

Whose Child Are You?

Based on this passage, it would appear that it becomes easier (not necessarily easy) to tell who is a follower of Jesus and who follows … anything else! John was speaking to Christians in this passage, so this is not about what those outside of the Church are doing. This is only about the Christian.

If we claim to be a Christian and continue willingly to commit sins with no remorse, we are still living as children of Satan. Our adoption as Sons of God through Christ Jesus is in question.

The biggest tell, however, is whether we show love to others.

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
Matthew 5:43-48, NIV

There is a popular message being preached from prominent leaders in the Western churches, usually preached by their actions: if people disrespect us, infringe on our rights, or attack us based on our beliefs, we have the right and obligation to fight back in many, if not all, of the same ways.

This is not the love of Christ.

Our Lord loved those who infringed on His rights, mocked and disrespected Him, and attacked Him to the point of killing Him.

To do otherwise is proof of our relationship with the devil, Satan.

Love One Another

This is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another. Do not be like Cain, who belonged to the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own actions were evil and his brother’s were righteous. Do not be surprised, my brothers, if the world hates you. We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love our brothers. Anyone who does not love remains in death. Anyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life in him.

This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. This then is how we know that we belong to the truth, and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence whenever our hearts condemn us. For God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything.
1 John 3:11-20, NIV

Whose child are you?

Do you love people regardless (it does not mean you have to really like them or trust them)?

Prove you are a child of God. Live it out as St. Valentine tried to every day until he was beheaded.

Love others. No matter what they say or do.

Weekend Words & Sunday Stanzas – 08/26/2012

Do not forget us over at Proverbial Thought! These daily devotionals could very well change your life!

When the Disciples were assured of the Life of the Risen Lord, they were so radically changed. They suddenly loved people whom they may not have ever given a second thought about before Jesus came on the scene. They could not help but love others, because they knew how much God loves them.

I love them

This love compels me.

It moves me completely.

I look on those lost,

And my heart breaks.

When someone is hurt,

My heart hurts, too.

When my brother mourns,

My heart mourns.

When my sister is moved,

My heart is moved.

Lord, this love is too much for me,

But I know it is Yours.

Send more.

Help me love my brother.

Help me love my sister.

Let my heart break,

mourn,

move,

hurt,

love for them all.

Break me for them all.

You love me…

I love them.

Thank You, God.

More.

Thank You For

  Your Love,

     God.

   Amen.

Taken from deeper words for God from a simple man of God by daniel m  klem, page 138.

Will You Go To Hell for Me?

So far, I have discussed how the Church is failing and how we can reach out to others. [Cool-voice-over voice] And now for the conclusion:

I speak the truth in Christ—I am not lying, my conscience confirms it in the Holy Spirit— I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, those of my own race, the people of Israel. Theirs is the adoption as sons; theirs the divine glory, the covenants, the receiving of the law, the temple worship and the promises. Theirs are the patriarchs, and from them is traced the human ancestry of Christ, who is God over all, forever praised! Amen.
Romans 9:1-5

There is a movie called “The Second Chance” and stars Michael W. Smith. One of the boys in the movie joins a gang, and there is the traditional “If you want to leave the gang, we will beat you to within an inch of your life” talk. The pastor of The Second Chance Church reaches out to this young man, and it eventually leads to his wanting to leave the gang. When he went to tell the gang he wanted out (keep in mind that this boy has yet to become a believer in Jesus Christ), he arrived to find out that another young man from the church had taken the beating for him putting him in the hospital.

Why?

The other young man had such a love for others that he willingly and gladly paid the price for someone who had yet to believe.

Actually, it reminds me of another story about God becoming a man and dying for the sins of the world.

It also reminds me of Pastor Richard Wurmbrand’s story. (Seriously, check out the story.)

But for now, and to keep this short, can you relate with the Apostle Paul?

Do you love others so much that you wish you could lose your salvation for their sakes?

Do you love other believers enough to suffer for their sakes?

Do you love God enough to live out the love shown through the cross of Christ?

Would you take the punishment for someone you do not even know if would it bring them to the knowledge of Christ?

Would even if there was no guarantee? Even if they mistreated you?

Weekend Words & Sunday Stanzas – 12/25/2011

How about a new one! This past Sunday, 12/18, I wrote a poem that was inspired by “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day” and, of course, Jesus Christ.

May we remember on this particular day (and everyday) that Jesus Christ was born to bring peace, salvation, and fellowship between God and humanity. He was born to die, but He was also born to live again! The real meaning of this season is not to celebrate the birth of Jesus of Nazareth, instead it is to celebrate our God loving us so much that He willingly limited Himself to be with us.

I love you so much, because He loves you so much and before I ever even conceived of loving you!

Merry Christmas, and may your next year be a blessing (however that may look) that brings you into deeper fellowship with our Lord and Savior.

Bells Have Been Ringing

Bells have been ringing from churches
for several centuries
Proclaiming Christ is alive
and ruling from eternity
Bells have been ringing from churches
declaring the birth of Christ
Ringing to remind us of our sin
and that He had to die
Bells have been ringing from churches
calling mourners to mourn
Calling others to pray for families
of lost daughters and sons
Bells have been ringing from churches
calling the faithful to prayer
Reminding everyone who hears
that the Savior still cares
Bells have been ringing from churches
joining a girl with a boy
Bringing of their loved ones together
to share in the loving joy
Bells have been ringing from churches
to declare the returning Son
Whom at the sound of trumpets blown
will unite with us as One