Category Archives: love

God’s Deep Concern for the Poor

He who oppresses the poor taunts his Maker, But he who is gracious to the needy honors Him. (‭Proverbs‬ ‭14‬:‭31‬ NASB)

When you oppress the poor, you mock God and provoke His wrath, but when you show them grace, you honor Him.

God cares for the poor a great deal. God expects us to humbly respect others, especially those whose status is “less than” our own.

We may not oppress the poor – we may not be in a position to – but we do not show them grace. Most of us probably hardly interact with them.

We need to show grace to the poor. We need to care for them. Otherwise we dishonor God and even risk His wrath.

If we forget about the poor, about whom God is deeply concerned, we are less like Christ than we ought to be.

We’re human and self-centered by nature, but His grace will empower us to overcome our self-centeredness and open ourselves up to others.

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True Greatness

Sitting down, He called the twelve and said to them, “If anyone wants to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all.” Taking a child, He set him before them, and taking him in His arms, He said to them, “Whoever receives one child like this in My name receives Me; and whoever receives Me does not receive Me, but Him who sent Me.”
‭Mark‬ ‭9‬:‭35-37‬ NASB

True greatness is serving others, putting them before yourself. When you serve the lowest person in Christ’s name, you serve not only Christ but the Father who sent Him.

We view the great as those who should be served. God’s idea of greatness is unlike ours – it’s the opposite of ours.

The greatest thing we can do is serve others. Serving others is serving God.

To achieve greatness in God’s kingdom, serve others. Follow the example of Christ.

God is not like men, lording His greatness over us. In fact, His greatness is displayed in the same way He tells us to live here: Jesus came not be served but to serve. And in His grace, he shows us how deep the root of sin is in our lives – so deep that our idea of greatness is completely self-centered, while true greatness is completely other-centered.

Jesus gives me the truest example of greatness. Only His grace can destroy selfishness in me and make me truly great.

When we forget this, we become focused on self at the expense of the life God wants us to live and at the expense of those around us.

The selfish root of sin in us needs to be destroyed. We need to become other-focused.

Like a Child

And they were bringing children to Him so that He might touch them; but the disciples rebuked them. But when Jesus saw this, He was indignant and said to them, “Permit the children to come to Me; do not hinder them; for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it at all. ” And He took them in His arms and began blessing them, laying His hands on them.
Mark‬ ‭10‬:‭13-16‬ NASB

God loves children. He loves their innocent, complete trust. That’s the kind of faith He looks for, the kind of faith He loves. He does not let it down.

I need to trust God the way my children trust me. That’s the kind of faith it takes to enter the kingdom of God.

Trust as a child trusts: completely.

I’d venture to say that we usually don’t trust like children. This leads us to fear, doubt. Or it leads us to feel we are self-sufficient. I leads us to pride, which can keep us from entering God’s kingdom.

 Ask Christ to give you this kind of trust in Him. Only He can really break through our cynicism, our pride, our fear and create this type of faith.

Stirring Up Trouble

Hatred stirs up strife,
But love covers all transgressions.

‭Proverbs‬ ‭10‬:‭12‬ (NASB)

God doesn’t want us to stir up strife, but to love one another, forgiving sins, preserving peace. He wants us to love as He has loved us.

Hatred, pride are our nature. We must be reminded to love rather than hate.

Rather than wanting to expose the sins of others, we should want to love them, forgive their transgressions, and keep peace.

We need love, and we need to give love. Jesus is the example and source of this love.

Real Love

We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love abides in death. Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer; and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him. We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. But whoever has the world’s goods, and sees his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him? Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth.

‭1 John‬ ‭3‬:‭14-18‬ NASB

Love for our brothers and sisters is the evidence of our salvation. Hate for a brother or sister is evidence against it. Christ showed us what love is when He died for us. In light of that, how can we go without helping brothers and sisters in need and still say that we love God?

We can’t.

Love in word only is not love. True love is evidenced by deeds.

If we hate a brother, it’s clear that we don’t love God, and we don’t have eternal life. If we close our hearts against a brother in need when we can help, the love of God is not in us.

To hate a brother or sister is a sin. But so is not loving one.

Christ gave us the supreme example of love – He died for us. Love is no less than this. Let His example be the one we follow.

He loves us and gave us the greatest example of love when He died for us.

We need God’s supernatural love in us to give. We’re really not capable on our own. Only by His grace can we have the capacity for real love.

We Are One

Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all.

‭Ephesians‬ ‭4‬:‭1-6

God has called us, saved us, and we should live in a way worthy of that calling. Since God Himself, who is over and in and through all – especially His church – is one, we must love one another and treat each other with humility, gentleness, patience, tolerance – be at peace – so as to preserve the unity that already exists in God. We are under one God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – we all share the same hope, faith, baptism. We are one. We must work to preserve that.

The unity of the body is one His highest priorities. We are bound together.

Treat other believers with humility, gentleness, patience, tolerance, love, peace for the sake of the unity of the Spirit.

When we lack gentleness, patience, tolerance, we divide the unity of the Spirit. We are not working diligently enough to preserve that unity.

God has made us one across all human barriers. He has given us all hope and salvation.

Love Covers All Transgressions

Hatred stirs up strife,
But love covers all transgressions.

Proverbs‬ ‭10‬:‭12‬ NASB

We need love, and we need to give love. God has shown us love, and He has shown us how to love through Christ, His Son. He wants us to love as He has loved us.

God doesn’t want us to stir up strife, but to love one another, forgiving sins, preserving peace. Sadly, though we have seen His love for us through the blood of Christ spilled on the cross, we must be reminded to love rather than hate.

When fellow believers sin, we often look for ways to expose their sins, to bring them to justice. (Now, there comes a time when – if a believer refuses to repent – sins must be exposed in the course of biblical church discipline. We have not reached that point – we’re talking here about beginning this process from a place of love.) Instead, let’s ask God to change our desires. Ask for the desire to love them, forgive their transgressions, and keep peace.

Love. Don’t hate.

Forgive. Don’t condemn.