The world shouts out and questions: who is God? They respond that God is love, and He is—but Moses set the record straight when he reminded the Israelites that “The Lord your God is a consuming fire; he is a jealous God.” [Deut 4:24] Moses reminded them that one of the ways He reveals Himself is through fire, whether in a burning bush or on the top of a mountain. He revealed Himself to the pagan Egyptians and the Israelites as one who is not a man who should change his mind. [Num 23:19] Moses asked them this question: “what other great nation has a god so near to them like the Lord our God whenever we call on him?” [Deut 4:7] God is asking us the very same question; Do you know the Lord God?
Here is the truth: “You do not see him now, but you believe in him, and so you rejoice with an indescribable and glorious joy.” [1Peter 1:8] Even though they and we do not “see” him, we hear his voice saying: “This is the correct way, walk in it,” whether you are heading to the right or the left. [Is 30:21] This is as true today as it was yesterday: if we seek Him, we will find Him; if we seek Him with all our heart and soul. [Deut 4:29]
God is the Lord God, and there is no other besides him. He asks: Do you love the Lord your God with your whole mind, your whole being, and all your strength? [Deut 6:5]
1Cor 13 Puzzles are challenging and time-consuming and there is nothing more frustrating than working on one only to note that one piece is missing. Our lives are like a puzzle and if we are missing the key piece of love we are like a cymbal that is off-key.
The word Paul uses is “AGAPE” and it means love without changing, self-giving without expecting something in return, even if rejected. It has little to do with emotion but much to do with self-denial for the sake of another. It is love in action and it is love that is virtuous.
Want to know what true love is; look at Christ. Jesus is patient, Jesus is kind, and Jesus was not nor will ever be envious. Jesus was humble; he was the epitome of humility (Phil 2). Love is what the world needs so they may see Christ.
Paul ends this chapter with these words: And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love for it never falls short. It never fails. You may have many gifts but without that great gift of the Holy Spirit’s Fruit, (Gal 5:22) you are a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. Today mirror Christ to the world! Ask Jesus to give you that quality so that you exhibit Him!
Luke 8:26-39 Dr. Luke uses his pen to share with us that a true disciple loves as God loves and shows compassion as He does. In Luke 8:26-39, the focus is on the principle that works must accompany a disciple’s faith. James shared this same principle: “faith without works is dead.”
Dr. Luke shares the vibrant story of the healing power of Jesus. He removes the stigma of the devil’s works, which are impotent to His power, and as we read this story of the demoniac, we are confronted with the power of sin versus the healing power of Jesus. Jesus’ heart was touched with the compassion and love the Father has for the lost. It is His love that draws him to this Gentile that the question asked by the disciples might be answered: “who is this man?” This is a question Dr. Luke continues to present to his audience and answers through Jesus’ healing, rebuking the wind, and as he reverses the effect of the evil one’s power. In doing so, the disciples are given evidence that “the gospel, …is God’s power for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.” [Romans 1:16]
Lastly, Jesus, full of mercy for the swine herders, leaves them a disciple who is a witness to God’s power lest they say to God that they did not know. They are now without excuse, as Paul noted in [Romans 1:20b]. The healed demoniac is a lesson in discipleship. We are to be God’s witness, and reveal what God has done for us.
Matt 26-28 With his detailed observation skills, Matthew recalls the last week of the earthly life of our Lord. He now recalls his notes on two people, Judas and Mary. Judas was a taker with his embezzling self-seeking heart, whereas Mary was a giver of the most expensive gift of the oil poured out.
Judas would be revealed along with the religious leaders, as those who would conveniently erase Ex 20:13 “You shall not murder.” Judas would forever be known as the betrayer of innocent blood when he said to the religious leaders—what will you give me to betray Him. Mary would be forever remembered as the one who came and anointed Jesus for his burial. Jesus remarked that she would be remembered for what she did whenever the gospel is proclaimed in the whole world.
Charles Spurgeon was right when he asked: What do men think of a love which never shows itself in action? Judas never loved Jesus, but Mary loved with abandon.
What say you regarding your words, I love the Lord Jesus?
Ezekiel 25 to 27 God chose Israel to carry His message of love and forgiveness to the world. However, she decided to allow the foreign gods to infiltrate her land and her worship of Yahweh. Know this truth: judgment begins at God’s house, but He also sees others’ contempt and in His righteousness will also judge them.
God patiently sent prophets and priests to warn Israel that He would discipline. First, the northern tribes were scattered to the north. God hoped that Judah would learn, but she did not. She became even more immoral, so God sent the Babylonians and sent them into exile. One would think that the nations to the east would see this and learn. Instead, they scoffed, aided the Babylonians, and rushed in to take Judah’s land, cities, and crops. In their pride, they fell for the lie that God would not discipline them. Our prisons today are an example of this thinking.
Ezekiel explained that it was because they rejected God and His children; they too would face God’s hand. Like a maid dries a plate, He wiped them clean from east to west, beginning with Ammon and ended with Tyre.
The lesson for us is that there is a day of reckoning for all that the world may know that He is God.
Long ago a hymn writer penned these words to those who need a fresh look at God:
“O Soul are you weary and troubled? No light in the darkness you see? There’s light for a look at the Savior and life more abundant and free. Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in his wonderful face, and the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.”
Truly “God loves with an everlasting love, and that is why He has been and always will be faithful.” [Jer 31:3] Perhaps you, like the exiles in Babylon, need to hear those words. Maybe that is why Jeremiah wrote this letter to them and adds this postscript: “Sweeter words cannot be said than I love you! Greater is the phrase, I have always loved you and I always will.”
Centuries later, John wrote: “For this is the way God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” [John 3:16] And later still, God’s Son Jesus said Greaterlove has no one than this that one lay down his life for his friends. [Joh 15:13].
Today ponder those thoughts, sing that hymn, and know this truth: