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Posts Tagged ‘love’

Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good!
For His mercy endures forever.

– Psalm 118:1 (NKJV)

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good!
    His faithful love endures forever.

– Psalm 118:1 (NLT)

I look at these passages and see little difference.  By translation, the New King James Version (NKJV) utilizes mercy and the New Living Translation (NLT) uses love.  Neither is synonymous with the other according to our English dictionary and thesaurus.  However, Our interpretation of the Scriptures must look beyond the surface for our true inspiration and insight.

compassion for the miserable. Its object is misery. By the atoning sacrifice of Christ a way is open for the exercise of mercy towards the sons of men, in harmony with the demands of truth and righteousness (Gen. 19:19Ex. 20:634:6, 7; Ps. 85:1086:1516). In Christ mercy and truth meet together. Mercy is also a Christian grace (Matt. 5:718:33-35).

This word seems to require explanation only in the case of its use by our Lord in his interview with “Simon, the son of Jonas,” after his resurrection (John 21:1617). When our Lord says, “Lovest thou me?” he uses the Greek word _agapas_; and when Simon answers, he uses the Greek word _philo_, i.e., “I love.” This is the usage in the first and second questions put by our Lord; but in the third our Lord uses Simon’s word. The distinction between these two Greek words is thus fitly described by Trench:, “_Agapan_ has more of judgment and deliberate choice; _philein_ has more of attachment and peculiar personal affection. Thus the ‘Lovest thou’ (Gr. agapas) on the lips of the Lord seems to Peter at this moment too cold a word, as though his Lord were keeping him at a distance, or at least not inviting him to draw near, as in the passionate yearning of his heart he desired now to do. Therefore he puts by the word and substitutes his own stronger ‘I love’ (Gr. philo) in its room. A second time he does the same. And now he has conquered; for when the Lord demands a third time whether he loves him, he does it in the word which alone will satisfy Peter (‘Lovest thou,’ Gr. phileis), which alone claims from him that personal attachment and affection with which indeed he knows that his heart is full.”

Mercy is for our misery, it says.  Love is an expression of our relationship more so than a feeling or emotion.  Action springs from love, i.e. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son. . .For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him” (John 3:16-17, NIV).  The love sparks an action on God’s part for the benefit of those in misery (that would be us- “the world.”)

Can I justify substituting mercy for love, or vice versa?

I probably couldn’t muster enough searching of the Scriptures and the mysteries of God revealed within them to satisfy the hunger and thirst that many brothers and sisters would have for the answer to this.  After all, it is not my answer.  Ultimately, it is God’s answer.

Yet, let who He is satisfy your quest for such knowledge.  Look at His names.  

Jehovah Jireh means that He is our Provider.

Jehovah Shalom means that He is our Peace.

Jehovah Elohim means that He is the Creator, the Trinity or the Three-in-One plural name of  God revealed to us in Genesis.

He is full of love, mercy, peace, creation and all that we need Him to be to us.

Just based upon who He is to us, He can provide both mercy and love that endure forever.

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Think about this concept for a moment.

God (holy, self-existent Creator) grants grace to us (sinners).

[Does that really make sense to you?]

Let’s be honest.  You know that you are not worthy of being “saved.” Just like I know that I am not either.  However, God sees fit to hand blessings out to the unworthy and the unwanted.  He makes something out of the ones who have always had nothing and does good for those who have been long considered no-good, dirty scoundrels.

That makes sense, especially if He would have just let us into heaven and left it at that.

No, that’s not all.

He gives us His Spirit to dwell within us.  He leads us and guides.  He lives within each and every believer.

So, given that bit of information, we should definitely become more bold in our approach with God.  Since He lives within us, let us become more bold in His grace.  Because He is good to us, we should exhibit more boldness due to His grace.

We should get real BIG.

We should get real Bold In Grace.

After all, God saw something in us worthwhile and sent His only begotten Son to sacrifice His life for us.

Let’s get BIG.

 

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Brethren, I write no new commandment unto you, but an old commandment which ye had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word which ye have heard from the beginning. – 1 John 2:7

John was pretty clear.  He wasn’t writing about anything new.  It wasn’t anything that the believers had not already heard, either directly from Jesus or quoted by one of the followers who had walked with Him during His earthly ministry.

It was the same as it was in the beginning.

There was already an “old commandment” and that was “no new commandment.” It all was the same.

Nothing was new.

Jesus said what needed to be said.  He said it all from the onset of His ministry.  He continued with it throughout His ministry.  He wrapped up His ministry with the same thing.

His disciples and apostles were to continue in what He taught them from the beginning.  New followers were to do so also.  No one was to add anything to it.  No one was to compel others to get circumcised or recognize new moons or other feasts to become at one with Christ.  All that it took was a faithful belief in Him as the Son of God, the Savior, and the propitiation of our sins.

Nothing was added.

We have all that we need in Him.  We have all that we are to follow in His Word.  There is nothing new to it.  There is to be nothing added to it.  It is totally complete.

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I will praise the name of God with a song, and will magnify him with thanksgiving. – Psalm 69:30

I can publish praise of God openly with my voice.  However, I begin to wonder about the effectiveness of that praise in light of good works that reflect in the shadow of His wondrous works.  My works, no matter how much good that they actually do for God or others, are totally eclipsed and overshadowed by His great works.

This Thanksgiving say a prayer for those who seek to do good works.  Many will feed the homeless.  Some will offer them clothing and shelter.  Others will open their homes to them.  Some will go and spend volunteer time with wounded veterans while others will read to children in the cancer unit of the local hospital or wash feet at the neighborhood hospice.

Offer a prayer for those who offer their service.  Join the ranks of men and women who make Christ come alive for some people who will never set foot in a church’s sanctuary or crack open a Bible to find an inspirational passage.

Thank God as you give the world a glimpse of Him in action.  Remember, He could choose anyone.

It did not have to be you.  The least becomes greatest and the last becomes first in God’s economy and on His balance sheet.  We should be thankful to have been chosen and in a position to give back.

 


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for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God Romans 3:23

We all have sinned.

The Bible does not mince words when it comes to that. It speaks clearly on that fact, especially where Paul is concerned. We come to know that we never truly measure up to God’s standard.

Thank God for salvation.

Thank God that grace covers our sins. Praise be to God for the blood of Jesus that covers us so completely that we are not viewed by our sins but by His miraculous works.

Sin caused us to need the Savior, but it was not poweerful enough to keep us out of His family. He loves us as dear children, considering us both heirs and sons of God. He assures us that nothing and no one can pluck us from His hand.

We are still sinners, but God’s love for us ushered in salvation. Therefore, much akin to how Paul stated it to the Romans: we were saved as sinners.

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. – Romans 5:8

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“Grace is the active expression of His love.” – Brennan Manning, The Ragamuffin Gospel

If you really want to understand grace, you need to look at God’s love.  Grace is a manifestation of the love of God that He offers us in spite of all that we don’t do or refuse to recognize.  Imagine if it when by what we deserved and not by His grace.  We’d be in more than a pickle.

I like the way that SharpIron displayed Manning’s quotes on graceItsabeautifulgospel.com posted about Manning’s All is GracePastor Nancy speaks out on both books on her blog, Michael Daly posted YouTube videos of Manning speaking on the subject of grace.  We’ve got a lot of folks talking up both of these books on their blogs and sites.

Talk is cheap, though.  Isn’t that how the adage goes? Let’s start applying what we have been tossing around about grace in theory.  Let’s get out of the laboratory and make some headway with some real-time and real-life experiences with grace rather than experiments.

Manning just highlighted what has already been revealed.  The Bible says that we should recognize “the gift of God”- that is our salvation- that has come forth by the grace of God through faith (Ephesians 2:8-10).  These other bloggers spoke on how Manning treated the subject.  Some fully agreed with him, while others might have had some issues with parts of the concept.  Needless to say, the books did their work.  They drove people to return to their Bibles and search the Scriptures for their answers, not just leave it at what Manning had to say.

Let grace weigh heavy upon your heart until it cruishes anything beyond love for God.  Your love for God will cause you to forgive more, to offer kindness more often and provide grace as frequently as opportunity presents itself.  Let the gravity of grace do its work on you, so that God will have the glory through your words that are “seasoned with grace” and your actions that, like our Lord and Christ, are “full of grace.”

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The Christian has truly been blessed.  Each of us has been blessed to bear certain things as Christians.  Oddly enough, we may not view them as blessings, but they are exactly that.  There’s no other way that you can explain God choosing to use us to strengthen and support our brothers and sisters, even so-called ‘outsiders,” the way that He does with His power.

Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. – Galatians 6:2 (ESV)

God calls on us to bear the burdens of our fellow believers.  By doing so, the Word says that we fulfill the law of Christ.  We manifest love when we bear the burdens of others.

Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. – Luke 14:27 (ESV)

The Lord wants us to bear our cross.  He calls us to discipleship.  He says that we cannot be His disciples if we do not bear our cross.  Taking up your cross daily is part of being on the Lord’s team.

By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. – John 15:8 (ESV)

The Lord wants us as his disciples, but he also wants us pleasing the Father.  He desires that we do a good work in His name and to the glory of the Father in heaven.  The works that we do should bear fruit.  Our fruit will stand as proof of our connection to the Lord. 

People will not question much about what we do when it is done in a manner that bears burdens, bears fruit and causes us to bear our own cross.  When there is something that seems misleading to our actions, even our good deeds, people begin to question such acts as well as our connection with the Master as His followers.

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