Tag Archives: Agape

1 Samuel 27; 1 Corinthians 8; Ezekiel 6; Psalm 44

…We sometimes tend to think we know all we need to know to answer these kinds of questions—but sometimes our humble hearts can help us more than our proud minds. We never really know enough until we recognize that God alone knows it all. (MSG)

…Yes, we know that “we all have knowledge” about this issue. But while knowledge makes us feel important, it is love that strengthens the church. Anyone who claims to know all the answers doesn’t really know very much. But the person who loves God is the one whom God recognizes. (NLT)

…We know that “we all have knowledge.” Knowledge puffs you up with pride, but love builds up. If you think you know something, you do not yet know anything as you should. But if any person loves God, that person is known by God. (NCV)

1 Corinthians 8:1b-3

Right now God is working on my heart in the area of “love”; not in the romantic sense (eros), not even in the brotherly sense (philos), but in the agape, unconditional, freely given, never changing sense.

What does it mean to love God? What does it mean to love my husband? My children? My friends? My enemies?…

I am learning that it is vital for ALL of my relationships for me to focus on love. Loving with intention. Loving without reservation. Loving whole-heartedly. My goal must be to always seek to ‘keep my love on’.

I am learning that love is transformative. That when I love without inhibition, real freedom is established and my relationships flourish – I am free to be who I am. You are free to be who you are. Even when we don’t see eye to eye. Even when we have different opinions, different revelations, different ways of living life.

But be careful that your freedom does not cause those who are weak in faith to fall into sin. (NCV)

Only be careful that this power of choice (this permission and liberty to do as you please) which is yours, does not [somehow] become a hindrance (cause of stumbling) to the weak or overscrupulous [giving them an impulse to sin]. (AMP)

But God does care when you use your freedom carelessly in a way that leads a fellow believer still vulnerable to those old associations to be thrown off track. (MSG)

1 Corinthians 8:9

I am learning that when I make the conscious choice to love above all else, the enemy tempts me to fall into old patterns of pride, anger, fear, and lack of self-control, perverting liberty with bad attitude, with a ‘holier than thou’ outlook.

I easily fall back into believing that I am right, believing that my way is the only way. I substitute true freedom given by God, for captivity. I forfeit true love for my ‘right’ to live in the distorted ‘freedoms’ of my own understanding. My ‘entitlement’ to do what I want to do, how I want to do it, becomes a hindrance for others. My sin causes others to sin. Not only did I get off the path of love, I also risk pulling others off with me. I withdraw into my own little world, separating myself from the things I most desire.

I am learning that breaking those old molds means going back to the Cross. It means putting my focus back on God’s love (John 3:16). It means obeying His commands – to love the Lord my God with all my heart, all my soul, and all my mind; to love my husband, children, friends, and enemies as I love myself (Matthew 22:35-40). It means to love on purpose, to abide in a culture of honor.

I am learning that living IN love is a process. And, some days it is easy…

Blessings – Julie (writing from Sholavandan, India)

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Filed under 1 Corinthians, 1 Samuel, 66 Books, Ezekiel, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, New Testament, Old Testament, Psalms

Judges 6; Acts 10; Jeremiah 19; Mark 5

But Peter said, “No, Lord! I have never eaten food that is unholy or unclean.”

But the voice said to him again, “God has made these things clean, so don’t call them unholy!” Acts 10:14-15 (NCV)

He said, “You people understand that it is against our law for Jewish people to associate with or visit anyone who is not Jewish. But God has shown me that I should not call any person ‘unholy’ or ‘unclean.’ Acts 10:28 (NCV)

Peter began to speak: “I really understand now that to God every person is the same. In every country God accepts anyone who worships him and does what is right. You know the message that God has sent to the people of Israel is the Good News that peace has come through Jesus Christ. Jesus is the Lord of all people! Acts 10:34-36 (NCV)

Interestingly enough, my husband and I were recently discussing whether or not God redeems what is considered ‘unholy’ by man.

Our oldest daughter was given kolusu, sterling silver anklets with little bells on them, by her uncle according to Indian custom. Though she didn’t wear them much in the US, she has been wearing them non-stop since we arrived back in India, which is great because I can locate her much easier when she is playing. I mentioned today that I would like to also get a pair for our younger daughter, to help stimulate her desire for walking, and maybe even a simpler pair for myself (I always loved the idea of wearing anklets).

My husband continued the conversation by saying that these anklets are not only an Indian custom, but also a Hindu tradition, allowing one of the gods to enjoy the sounds of the bells and to also keep the devils away. I countered by expressing my belief that God is the creator of bells and what the enemy may try to steal for his purposes is redeemed again by God. Our exchange ended with a “to be continued.”

I was impressed today by Peter’s understanding of the redemption in Christ in regards to people, concerning the laws of Moses. It is so easy for me to judge someone based on external appearances, customs, behaviors or choices that differ from my own. It is easy for me to deem something ‘unclean’ or ‘unholy’ because my opinion differs; and it is easy for me to throw random, out of context Bible verses at the ‘problems’ to try and make them go away or change. But my judgments of things is not God’s judgment of things; and it is not even my role to make judgment in the first place (James 4:11-12; Romans 2:1-4).

Jesus exemplified this revolution by consistently associating with those that the people and the law considered ‘unholy’ and ‘unclean’-tax collectors, homosexuals, lepers, prostitutes…the demon possessed, diseased individuals like the woman with the issue of blood, and those who had died-all those walking in sin, no matter how big or how small the sin.

He wasn’t concerned with their current state of uncleanness. He knew that their personal experiences of His Agape love would change their hearts forever. He knew that He was planting seeds in their hearts for the future. He knew they were simply diamonds in the rough. He knew that they were children of God who had not yet realized their true identity, and therefore had not yet been ‘cleansed’.

Christ’s sacrifice on the cross changed everything. He brought redemption and restoration of hearts into countless lives. His resurrection, His gift of grace fulfilled the law and made holy what was once unholy through belief in Him. What an amazing inheritance, what an incredible birthright for God’s sons and daughters, those who know Him personally, and those whose eyes have yet to be opened.

Yesappa, Open the eyes of my heart and allow Your love to enter in a deeper way, Your agape love for Your people, the redeemed and those who have yet to give themselves to You. Help me walk in love and not judgment. Give me Your compassion for Your children and help me bring Your Light into their lives. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Blessings – Julie (writing from Sholavandan, India)

Scripture taken from the New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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Filed under 66 Books, Acts, Bible in a year reading plan, Jeremiah, Judges, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, Mark, New Testament, Old Testament

Exodus 9, Luke 12, Job 27, 1 Corinthians 13

Lordship or Not?

 “I tell you, whoever acknowledges Me before men, the Son of Man will also acknowledge him before the angels of God.  But he who disowns Me before men will be disowned before the angels of God. Luke 12:8-9

Found at Bible Gateway –  http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Ex.%209;%20Luke%2012;%20Job%2027;%20I%20Cor.%2013&version=NIV1984 

Exodus 9          God’s Wrath is real. There is no escape route except One. God will have His Way whether I am on His side or not.

            Pharaoh refused to comply. God sent natural disasters to Egypt with explicit instructions, “Let my people go, so that they may worship Me.” This is always God’s command for me: Worship Me in Spirit and Truth (John 4:23-24). The plague on livestock, of boils and hail did not move Pharaoh’s stubborn heart against the LORD, the God of the Hebrews.

            What is my reaction to God’s commands? Am I hardening my heart against God to my own demise? What pain am I suffering because I refuse to acknowledge God as my Lord and Master? How am I “plagued” because I disregard and do not submit to the Truth of God’s Word and the power of His Holy Spirit?

Luke 12, Job 27, 1 Cor. 13             Jesus, You warn me not to be false. I am never allowed to lie. I am God’s child, not the devil’s (John 8:44). You will disclose everything about me – please do this to me, so I may see my blind spots and live for you more purely! Lord Jesus, engender a passion for Your Truth, Your Word, that my mind filters everything through It. (Psalm 1, 2 Corinthians 10:5) That I speak, live, and love the Word of God, which is You, Lord Jesus. May my mouth be pleasing to You.

            I am NOT to act out of fear of man nor for worldly desires, for that is distrust and disrespect of the One Who Loves me best. Instead I am to acknowledge Him and learn from His Holy Spirit. I am to be rich toward God, for He is my heart’s priceless Treasure. Lord, I dedicate my mind and heart to be faithful to You, my Rock, so that I will not be tossed to and fro according to the fickleness of man. I get so hurt when I do not live by faith in You.

            Because the Lord Jesus has given and entrusted me with much, He demands much from me. Besides giving me food, clothing, shelter, You have given me an able mind, a new heart, Your Son, Your Word, Your Spirit. What more can I need! Nothing! So I am honored and yearn to always be Your faithful bond slave, actively engaged in Your “ministry of reconciliation” (2 Corinthians 5:17-21). Jesus, You are coming unexpectedly – yet may I live consciously aware that You are in me, that You are watching me right now. So I may always think, act and speak for your purposes and glory! Awaken Your tools and gifts within me that I would use each of the under Your skillful Hand and without ceasing. Bring Yourself much glory, please! I delight to see Your Glory!

            I will not deny my integrity because of the work of the Lord Jesus Christ’s shed blood on the cross for my multitude of sins (Romans 8:1-2). I will teach the godless about the power of God; the ways of the Almighty I will not conceal (Job 27:11). Jesus warns me that He has brought adversity within my family: those for and against Jesus. (Luke 12:51-53) I know this full well.

            So I will choose to love with God’s wisdom and compassion. God, Who IS Love, never fails. I will drink heavily from His Word and Holy Spirit. I will feed my emotion and mind on the Word of God so He will heal me and pour through me for His good purposes and glory. I will trust the Lord unashamedly. I am to live out of His Agape Love for me.

            My Father, thank You for teaching me in these verses what You expect from me and how You enable me. Thank You for giving me more than I could ask for: Freedom from guilt, shame and condemnation; Freedom to read Your Word and to Worship in my country, anywhere and anytime; Fellowship with true believers; Freedom to hear Your word on the airwaves, TV, and internet. God, You are SO Gracious!! I am so grateful that You are sovereign!! I am indebted to You for all You pour into me!! Thank You!! Your gifts of the Holy Spirit, Your fullness in me, Your chastening me, Thank you!! Your Joy is my strength from the enemy of my soul!! Holy Spirit regenerate me. I seek to follow Your command to “Let go” of whatever is keeping me from truly worshiping You with my life. I rejoice in praise and worship of You Lord Jesus Christ! Amen.

Crystal (PsalmThirty4)

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Filed under 1 Corinthians, Exodus, Job, Luke, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, New Testament, Old Testament