Friday, March 14, 2008

Words of Encouragement

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. – John 3:16

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. – 1 John 3:16

Christ and the Cross. True love. I do not know about you, but I am often amazed at the love of God. My understanding still is not able to grasp completely the love of God. How do you completely understand a love that is so great, you would sacrifice yourself for your enemy? God loved us so much that he gave his son that he loves for our sin. He allowed the innocent to die for the guilty, how do you completely understand that?

Or how do you understand that the cross was on the mind of God even before man was created? Before the foundation of the world, God was preparing a way for man’s release from sin. God’s love is patient with us. When we were his enemy he could easily have required our lives, but instead he granted us mercy so that we would have the opportunity to accept his love. We foolishly believe that what we do (in our sinful state) is because of who we are and in our own ability. We get in our cars, go to our jobs, and accomplish the things we think we should all with a pat on our own backs. What we do not realize is if God had not granted us his mercy we would not be able to get in our cars (without God we wouldn’t have use of our limbs), go to our jobs (it’s his mercy that granted us the job) and accomplish anything (all done in his mercy).

God gives to us his love. He plants it down within our hearts. If you cannot love, then it is safe to say that you do not have God. God is love and when we accept his gift of Jesus’ sacrifice, he imparts to us his love in us. If you find yourself not loving your brother, it is a safe sign that you need to check yourself. The scripture from 1 John tells us that because we have the love of God, we are now empowered to love our brothers. Jesus our example laid down his life for you and I, and we ought to do the same for someone else.

This takes us back to having deliverance over ourselves. Because we have the freedom of “self” we can sacrifice ourselves so that God can use us to reach someone else. We can let go of our agenda, our plans, and our ideas for God’s agenda, God’s plan and for godly ideas. Today I pray for us that we rejoice in what the gift of Christ has offered to us. There are so many more godly provisions that have been opened to us we only need seek them. When you go to worship this week, go seeking God’s direction so that he can show you his plan for your life.