LOVES MOTIVATION = FORGIVENESS

But a person who is forgiven little shows only little love. —Luke 7:47
A wealthy man was in the habit of lending his money. He had lent one man $50 and another man $5,000,000. Both the men fell on hard times and the lender just decided to forgive both the debts. Which man would have appreciated the debt forgiveness more? Which one would have loved the lender more?
When we understand the great debt of sin that we have been forgiven then our love for God and for people will be affected. The less we understand of how much we have been forgiven the less in love with God we will be and the less in love with the people He created we will be.
Are you a great lover of God and people? Then that is because you have a proper perspective on the sin God has forgiven you. Is your love for God and people small? That is because you do not have a proper perspective on the sin God has forgiven you.
Oh, that we would grow in our understanding of what God has done for us through His Son and by the power of His Holy Spirit. Then may our love for Him grow and our love for people grow as well. What is the evidence of our love for God? Jesus said, “Those who accept my commandments and obey them are the ones who love me. And because they love me, my Father will love them. And I will love them and reveal myself to each of them” (John 14:21). Also in First John 5:2-3 we read that “We know we love God’s children if we love God and obey his commandments. Loving God means keeping his commandments, and his commandments are not burdensome.” May we be lovers of God and lovers of people.
Dear Father, thank You for Your love and forgiveness, kindness and compassion, patience and prompting in and through Your Son, Jesus. Oh, may my understanding grow in the forgiveness You have given me and in my love for You and for people. May it be so.

OFFENDED BECAUSE OF JESUS

And blessed is the one who is not offended by me. —Luke 7:23

Does Jesus “rub you the wrong way?” Are you insulted or upset because of Him? Do you get angry when someone speaks about Him? If you do, why do you? If you do not believe in Him, why do you get upset when someone speaks about Him? Why is it you would get offended by someone who does not exist if indeed He does not exist? The answer is because He does exist and you do not like what He stands for!

This is clearly seen in the mid-east right now as ISIS is seeking to destroy the Christian community http://video.foxnews.com/v/4141197658001/are-we-witnessing-a-christian-holocaust-begun-in-mideast/?fb_ref=Default#sp=show-clips. What leads people to persecute Christians? If you do not believe or agree with me because I love the Lord Jesus then that is your choice, but would you kill me for it? Well, this is what is happening in the middle-east, Africa and other places. Personally, I have seen that kind of hatred for Jesus in people’s eyes here in the U.S. There is no doubt that if people could get away with it they would kill Christians here in this country as well. That may be the case in the not too distant future if this country keeps sliding down the steep slippery and slimy slope we are on.

Being offended because of Jesus is surely nothing new. Jesus did nothing wrong. He challenged the religious hypocrites. He healed many people and taught truth. Nobody could truly accuse Him of doing anything wrong. It took false witnesses to stir those who wanted to kill Him. The religious leaders were offended because He challenged their hypocrisy. The civil leaders were upset with Him for disturbing their peace. People in general were upset with Him for challenging their sinful behavior and practices. Yes, He offended those who would not admit who He was/is and they were offended because they did not want to acknowledge their own sinfulness and need for a Savior— their need for Him— to be forgiven of their sin.

Are you offended at the Name of Jesus? Or, do you rejoice at His Name? For those of us who know Him, we rejoice! It is a marvel to know the Creator and Sustainer of all things, the One who loves us so much that He was willing to leave the glory of heaven to come to this sin infested planet to die for the sins of man so we might be saved and then He rose on the 3rd day, proving Himself to be the Son of God (Romans 1:4).

Thank You Lord Jesus for the amazing love You have shown us and given us!

LISTEN!

But to you who are willing to listen, I say, love your enemies! Do good to those who hate you. Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who hurt you. —Luke 6:27-28

Who is listening to Jesus? ISIS is not or any of the radical Muslims. The abortionists are not as they slaughter multitudes of innocents as well. Those who are wealthy and corrupt are not nor are those who are poor and corrupt. All works based religious systems are not listening to Jesus. Really, there is only a minority in this world that is truly listening to Jesus. They may not be perfect at this, but they are seeking to be consistently honoring Him.

Jesus said, “But to you who are willing to listen…” Are you and I willing to listen to Him? Are we listening to Him? Are we taking the time to truly, sincerely and hungrily listen to Him? He has so much to say to us! Are we taking the time to listen or are we distracted by many things (Luke 10:40-41). It is better to be sitting “at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said” than to be “worried and upset about many things” (Luke 10:41-42).

What Jesus wants us to hear are those things He is calling us to practice that are supernatural. It is not natural to “love your enemies! Do good to those who hate you. Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who hurt you.” The natural inclination of a person’s heart is to hate your enemies, do evil to those who hate you, curse those that curse you and ignore those who hurt you. But this is what following Jesus is all about— He calls us to live in His power and not our own. It is only through His power that this type of life can be lived.

Listen to Jesus! Do you have enemies? Love them! Do you have people that hate you? Do good to them! Is anyone cursing you? Bless them! Is anyone hurting you? Pray for them! This is what Jesus said to do. May we listen to Him!

Dear Father, may I listen to Jesus and do His will. Please help me to yield to the Holy Spirit’s guidance in this and not to the natural inclinations of myself. May it be so.

THE GREAT PHYSICIAN

Jesus answered them, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor—sick people do. I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners and need to repent.”—Luke 5:31-32

The doctor says, “That spot on your skin may be very serious. It may be melanoma. Even though it is just one speck on your skin, you understand that cancer can kill you. Now, you can deny what the doctor has told you and ignore his advice or you can yield to what he has to say. So it is with us sinners. We can ignore that fact and suffer the eternal consequences later or we can listen to God’s remedy and be saved from our sin.

Have you ever lied, even if it is a so-called “white lie”—that is a “little” lie? I have not met anyone yet who has told me “no.” That makes us all liars. More than that, in the Book of James we are told that “For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it” (James 2:10). Because of I have lied that also makes me an idolater, a blasphemer, a parent dishonorer, a Sabbath breaker, a murderer, an adulterer, a thief and a coveter. Yes, all of us have broken all of God’s law. When we understand the seriousness of our sin and the holy and purity of God, then we can comprehend why He would condemn us forever. Not one sin can enter His presence in heaven. Not one! The whole human race is in trouble. God hates sin!

Jesus came to save those who acknowledge their sin and their need to repent from it. He did not come to save those with the attitude that “they are all set” and don’t need any forgiveness from God. They believe they are just as good as the next guy, but as stated above, the next guy is also in deep trouble if his sin is not forgiven. Can you imagine two guys that have terminal cancer and one says of the other “I am not as bad as that guy?” They are both terminal! So it is with those who don’t think they need God’s forgiveness when they compare themselves with someone else that also needs God’s forgiveness. They are both on the road to eternal destruction.

Do you hear God’s call? Then repent of sin, turn from it, have a new perspective on what sin is, learn to hate it and follow Jesus. Following Jesus— nothing better than that!

Dear Father, please help me to faithfully follow Jesus in the power of the Holy Spirit.

FORGIVEN TO FORGIVE

Who can forgive sins but God alone? —Luke 5:21

Unforgiveness… it is a snare that captures so many people. They become bitter, hateful, spiteful, vengeful… Their health is affected in many ways and they surely are not thinking right.

“Nearly everyone has been hurt by the actions or words of another. Perhaps your mother criticized your parenting skills, your colleague sabotaged a project or your partner had an affair. These wounds can leave you with lasting feelings of anger, bitterness or even vengeance.

But if you don’t practice forgiveness, you might be the one who pays most dearly. By embracing forgiveness, you can also embrace peace, hope, gratitude and joy. Consider how forgiveness can lead you down the path of physical, emotional and spiritual well-being” http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-living/adult-health/in-depth/forgiveness/art-20047692.

Part of being able to forgive is to reflect on what the Lord Jesus Christ has forgiven us of. Not only that, but the Lord God Almighty commands us to forgive (Colossians 3:13). Unforgiveness has an impact on our fellowship with God. One very familiar portion of God’s Word, the Lord’s Prayer, is recited so often and yet so many people do not understand what it is actually saying. So many surely are not applying what it says. “And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors” (Matthew 6:12). Did you catch that? That statement is asking God to forgive us “as we also have forgiven.” Then in verse 14-15 we read “For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” Listen that means for the follower of Jesus Christ that unforgiveness is affecting their fellowship with God! To not forgive others is to not be forgiven ourselves. This is a very serious matter.

As we consider all that Jesus has done for us at the cross again this season, let us consider the wonderful forgiveness of our sin because of Him. Let us consider how fortunate we are to be reconciled with God through Jesus. Then, let us consider anew His command for us to be forgiving as He has forgiven us. Rejoice! God has forgiven us when we called on the Name of Jesus. Now… let us rejoice as we forgive others and experience relational reconciliation.

Dear Father, search my heart and if there is anyone I have not forgiven, help me to forgive in the authority of Jesus and by the Holy Spirit’s help. May it be so!

YOU ARE THE SON OF GOD!

“Go away! What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God!” —Luke 4:34

Moreover, demons came out of many people, shouting, “You are the Son of God!” But he rebuked them and would not allow them to speak, because they knew he was the Messiah. —Luke 4:41

Go on the street and ask people who Jesus is and you will get interesting answers. They will say he was just a man or just a prophet or just a good teacher. Some will even say that he is a made up figure and never really existed. Still others don’t know anything about Him. One of the saddest things in the United States is the Biblical illiteracy not only among adults, but how this is impacting young people and children as well. How can a nation founded on Christian values end up where we are today? The answer— we have became a nation of rebellious idolaters!

When Jesus came into contact with demons they knew who He was. They said, “I know who you are—- the Holy One of God” and “You are the Son of God!” They also knew judgment is coming— “Have you come to destroy us?” In James 2:19 we read that “You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that–and shudder.” Demons shudder at the thought of God because they absolutely know what is going to come upon them in the future. They will be judged and thrown into the Lake of Fire (Revelation 19:20; 20:10, 15). People, on the other hand, say they believe in God and yet they do not live for Him and do not “shudder.” They do not trust the Lord Jesus Christ. They live life like they want to live life with no concern about God or the judgment to come. They take God lightly and do not have a proper perspective of Him. Compared with the demons, they are absolutely blind to their future fate.

As a follower of Jesus, I am so glad I know what the future holds and I also am so glad that I will never be condemned because Jesus took that condemnation for me at the cross. Hallelujah! I am so grateful. I rejoice for I know my home is in heaven. All that is happening on this planet is moving toward a final conclusion and it is the Lord God Almighty that will conclude things. Don’t fret, rest in His plan and purposes. As follower of Jesus we are eternally safe. What can man do to us? —“The LORD is with me; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?” (Psalm 118:6). Yes! We are safe in Jesus!

Dear Father, thank You for saving me from my sin through the finished work of Jesus on the cross. I am grateful and may I live in such a way that is pleasing in Your sight and shows my gratefulness. May it be so!

PERSECUTION

John also publicly criticized Herod Antipas, the ruler of Galilee, for marrying Herodias, his brother’s wife, and for many other wrongs he had done. So Herod put John in prison, adding this sin to his many others. —Luke 3:19-20

Standing for Biblical values sets Christians apart. A New Mexico photographer is in court because of not wanting to photograph “a lesbian couple’s commitment ceremony” http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865557098/New-Mexico-photographer-loses-third-round-of-gay-discrimination-case-but-attorneys-vow-fight-isnt.html?pg=all. “Christian bakers fined up to $150,000 for refusing to bake same-sex ‘wedding’ cake” https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/christian-bakers-fined-up-to-150000-for-refusing-to-bake-same-sex-wedding-c. “Govt tells Christian ministers: Perform same-sex weddings or face jail, fines” http://www.adfmedia.org/News/PRDetail/9364. The list goes on…

Targeting followers of the Lord God Almighty to persecute them is nothing new. It started in the first family as Cain killed his brother Abel. “And why did he kill him? Because Cain had been doing what was evil, and his brother had been doing what was righteous. So don’t be surprised, dear brothers and sisters, if the world hates you” (I John 3:12-13). In the Middle-East our brothers are being targeted for the very fact that they seek to be living righteous for the Lord Jesus Christ. That is all. In the United States we have the above situations occurring. They are not as severe as what is happening to our brothers and sisters in the Middle-East and other countries, but the U.S. is moving in that direction. “Supreme Court agrees to rule on gay marriage” and you better understand that if this ruling is in favor of “gay” marriage, then the “church” is going to be in the bulls-eye of the activists targeting.

Again, Cain killed Abel because Abel was doing what was right in God’s sight and Cain was doing what was evil in God’s sight. That’s it! It is true today. Christians, those truly following Jesus not just in words but also in actions, will be targeted by “wicked people who suppress the truth by their wickedness” (Romans 1:18). Here’s the crux of the matter— wicked people seek to suppress the truth by their wicked practices even if it means killing those standing for the Truth— Christians. This is not new…

Dear Father, even as the church in Smyrna was warned they would be persecuted, Jesus told them to be “Be faithful, even to the point of death.” Oh, that we who follow You would be faithful until we die— whatever circumstance brings that final breath. May it be so!

JOY

Then Simeon blessed them, and he said to Mary, the baby’s mother, “This child is destined to cause many in Israel to fall, but he will be a joy to many others. He has been sent as a sign from God, but many will oppose him. —Luke 2:34

Many people will oppose Jesus and fall and great will be their fall (Matthew 7:27). It will be an eternal fall (Revelation 20:15). On the other hand, Jesus will bring others great joy (Luke 24:52). Their joy will last forever (Romans 10:17).

Who can truly oppose Jesus? Can a man tame the sun? Can man ever still the waves of the ocean? Can man hold a tornado in his hand? Neither can men oppose Jesus and come out on the winning side. Satan is a defeated foe and all who side with him and against Jesus will be defeated forever. Nobody can stand against the Creator and Sustainer of all things.

Who will you side with— Jesus or Satan. There are only two sides. You are either in the Kingdom of light, the Kingdom of Jesus or you are in the Kingdom of darkness, the Kingdom of Satan. You are either set free from your sin by Jesus or you are held captive by Satan to do his will. Oh, may you be trusting and living for Jesus now and forever!

Dear Father, thank You for the joy You have given me in knowing Jesus. Oh, may I let others know of this Joy that they may know Him too.

LISTEN AND OBEY GOD’S WORD

The LORD our God has secrets known to no one. We are not accountable for them, but we and our children are accountable forever for all that he has revealed to us, so that we may obey all the terms of these instructions. —Deuteronomy 29:29

Questions, questions, questions and we all have them. What is your question or are your questions that you would like to have answers for? Fill in this blank— Why _____________? So, what was your question?

The Lord God Almighty has some things that He just will not reveal to us. He alone knows the reasons and purposes to the situations we cannot understand. We may want to know the answers to all kinds of questions, but He may not reveal the answers to us. As much as we might not want to hear it, but those things He has chosen not to reveal to us are things we don’t need to know at this present time. We may think we need to know, but in reality, we don’t. If the Lord God Almighty knew we needed to know then He would reveal the answers to us.

On the other hand, He has revealed much to us and we are responsible to be obedient to those things. Unfortunately, too many people are caught up in those things they do not have answers to and are not faithful in those things He has revealed to us. The Bible is one volume containing 66 books that are comprised of 1,189 chapters or over 31,000 verses. Surely God has revealed what we need to know within those pages. Yet, “In a fresh study of “Bible engagement” released yesterday, LifeWay Research surveyed more than 2,900 Protestant churchgoers and found that while 90 percent “desire to please and honor Jesus in all I do,” only 19 percent personally read the Bible every day.” http://www.christianitytoday.com/gleanings/2012/september/80-of-churchgoers-dont-read-bible-daily-lifeway-survey.html?paging=off. Then there are those who just come on Sundays and hear the pastor preach, but what is one spiritual meal going to do for one who claims Jesus? Try eating one meal for the physical body each week and see what that will do! Maybe we have many questions that would be answered by what God has already revealed to us in His Word if only we would spend time listening to what He desires to tell us.

Got a question? Have you searched out God’s Word? He may have already revealed the answer! Or, He may choose not to. Either way, will you trust Him?

Dear Father, thank You for Your Word that You have revealed to us. Oh, may we be faithful in searching out what You have to say and then trust You for the things You have chosen not to reveal. May it be so in the power of Your Holy Spirit and in the authority of Your Son, Jesus.

GOD IS THE GOD OF THE IMPOSSIBLE BEING POSSIBLE

For nothing is impossible with God. —Luke 1:37

People like to come up with communicative gymnastics to try to deny that God is God. One of the favorites is “Can God make a rock so big that He cannot lift it?” Yet they do not understand the purposes or character of God. But to answer this question that is typically asked out of arrogance and sarcasm— Yes, God did make a stone that He could not move for three days. It was the stone that was rolled in front of the tomb where Jesus was buried and the plan of God was that He would be in that tomb three days. God could not, in His plan, move that stone until the proper time.

“Nothing, nothing, absolutely nothing, nothing is impossible with God” as the songs says. This is seen in the amazing miracle of the virgin birth which is the context of the verse above. The Lord God Almighty supernaturally caused Mary to become pregnant. This is not the first time that God worked miraculously so women could have children, but this is the only time that He worked to cause a virgin to “be with child” without the normal process of impregnation by a male.

So too man cannot save himself from sin. The question was asked to Jesus by His disciples— “Who then can be saved” and the answer was “What is impossible with man is possible with God” (Luke 18:27). Jesus also said, “What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?” (Mark 8:36-37). People have a tendency to trust their wealth, whatever level they have, and not to trust in the Lord God Almighty, But, “Wealth is worthless in the day of wrath, but righteousness delivers from death” (Proverbs 11:4). We only receive this righteousness through trusting the Lord Jesus (II Corinthians 5:21). No amount of wealth can ever buy our way into heaven. Neither can any good deeds we do (Ephesians 2:8-10; Titus 3:5). We simply need to repent & trust the finished work of Jesus on the cross.

What is your situation that appears impossible to you? It is not impossible with God. He accomplishes anything and everything He desires to. “I am the LORD, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me?” (Jeremiah 32:27). God will do whatever He desires in your life. The question is… Will you trust Him for it?

Dear Father, thank You that I can trust You fully and that You are working out Your desires in my life. May I be faithful in lining up with what You desire to do in and through my life and not work contrary to Your purposes. May this be so in Jesus’ Name.