IN THE WORD

Love is the single most important characteristic of the born-again believer. Unfortunately, this trait is often times misunderstood. It is the single identifying trait of a true follower of Jesus Christ. Jesus said, "A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another". (John 13:34-35).

I believe that in many Christian circles, we are missing the mark on the true meaning of love. No fingers pointing to any particular denomination or organization; just in general, we need to sit back and properly define what real love really is. Can it be properly defined? I tend to think that true agape cannot truly be defined. We have our fancy lingo and big words, but, do they define love? Do they accurately define what Christ did for us at Calvary? Are we expected to positively define the trait we are suppose to carry that would cause us to lay down our life for someone we do not know or may never have met? Jesus said, "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends" (John 15:13). The thought may be coming to your mind, "It says 'for his friends'". I challenge you to tell me who your friends are if you are to love even your enemies! If this love is extended to even your enemies, don't you think it extends to those who are not your enemies as well? This is agape.

As God, Jesus knew every sinner he was dieing for. As man, he never met a single one of us. Yet, he humbled himself, emptied himself, and went to the lower parts of the earth in our place. I wouldn't want to be there even for a second. Jesus was there for three days. Why? So we would not have to go! This is agape.

Love is a trait of a true Christian. I say "trait" because traits do not normaly change. To define love as a characteristic would contradict the very essence of agape. The love that can be defined as a characteristic is not agape. It is a warm, mushy feeling that passes in time. It is a carnal type of feeling that we have come to call "love". It is not the love that God manifested in Christ and Christ to the world, and it is not the love that God expects us to show to the world. There are real people out there with real souls that are going to live somewhere, forever, whether they like it or not. They need the love of Christ. They need this agape love that Christ freely gives to us. Matthew 10:8 says, "Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give".

All the books in all the world concerning love cannot be added together to bring a full definition of it's true meaning. There is something I would like to add to that. The Holy Ghost bearing me witness, the Bible does not say all there is to say about love. That is, in the letter of the word. The letter is what collects the attention of all the scholars and all the scoffers. I say that it is deeper than that. There is a spiritual principle that applies to everything that is said about love. Love is more than an emotion. It is a living force. Those looking into the letter of the word will not see this. It must be spiritually discerned. The things of God can not be properly understood with the mind of the natural man; that is to say, the carnal mind.

1Corinthians 2:14 says, "But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned". I John 4:24 teaches us that God is a Spirit. While I John chapter 4 verses 8 and 16 teach us that God is love. Therefore, love must be a spirit; a spirit that we must harvest in our earthen vessel. It is of little use to us if we keep it clothed within, unseen from the human eye. Unfelt by the hurting person we have come in contact with. Love cannot be love until it has been given away. Only when it has been shown can it be harvested by a recipient. Until it reaches that point, it cannot be called love. It will simply be an emotion. Here today; gone tomorrow.

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Be Content
Published by: L. Douglas Hogan

I had a dream last night that as I meditated on it doors were opened to answer a lot of questions. Here first is the dream.
In the dream the wife and I were movie stars. We were not happily married. We both had found another to love. The woman I had found to love left her husband because she considered him lazy. The wife and I went ahead and got a divorce. After the divorce I was feeling lonely because the new woman I had found I was having trouble locating and so I felt alone and weak. That is how the dream ended.
After awakening I started meditating on the dream. The first thing I noticed was in order to disobey God and get a divorce, we were given strength by those that were willing to be disobedient and commit adultery.

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I learnt we need something to strengthen us in order to be disobedient to God.
The things that impress us will, ultimately, influence us.

I then asked myself "how could we have found another except that we were looking"? So what made us look for another? The answer was very easy, as the woman who thought her husband was lazy, thought it gave her enough reason to desire another.

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Discontentment leads us to desire something different.

When a person becomes discontent, his/her mind begins to stray. They look for new ways to cope with the missing ingredients; and they flirt with compromise and substitutes. After some time, they realize with disappointment that their expectations are falling short of what they anticipated. Rather than lowering their expectations to a more realistic level, they become disgruntled, eventually depleting all joy and succumbing to spiritual exhaustion.

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Contentment for everything brings happiness to our lives, solves problems by not allowing them to be viewed by us as problems.

To be content with everything in this world inhibits our knowledge of problems. Then, if there are no problems why seek truth? Why seek to change any thing? That question led me to seek an answer. The answer was in Isaiah 58.

Isaiah 58:13-14 says "If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the LORD, honourable; and shalt honour him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words: Then shalt thou delight thyself in the LORD".

It says if we keep the Sabbath we will delight our self in the Lord. That's the thing we start to desire, the Lord. So first we have to become content. Pleasing God demonstrates our desire for the Lord. So we are content with everything but our closeness with the Lord. That is the formula: we become content with everything except for our closeness to the Lord. Continuous growth in the Lord allows for discontent with the closeness we are to the Lord. This presses us onward and upward towards new heights.

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Purpose to be discontent with your growth in the Lord

This is against every thing man teaches. Man teaches if you don't like something pray and it will be fixed. Then when we pray and it doesn't change anything, we have to tell our self, "it must not have been Gods will or we don't have enough faith". We know that God wants to see mans health healed, Jesus and the disciples healed so the problem is mans lack of faith. So we pray God build our faith.


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Covetousness or desire for anything other than the closeness of God causes doubt to be placed in out minds.

Luke 17:5 "And the apostles said unto the Lord, Increase our faith". The answer from Christ was. Luke 17:7 "But which of you, having a servant plowing or feeding cattle, will say unto him by and by, when he is come from the field, Go and sit down to meat? 8 And will not rather say unto him, Make ready wherewith I may sup, and gird thyself, and serve me, till I have eaten and drunken; and afterward thou shalt eat and drink"?

Matthew 6:33 "But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you".

My final conclusion is this: By man teaching man not to be content with what God has done in his or her life; it causes man to question God's existence through unbelief.

Luke 12:15 "And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth".

Hebrews 13:5 "Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee". 1 Corinthians 6:10 "Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God".

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God's will or Satan's will: we are doing one or the other!

Worship! If you have breath, you are qualified to worship. Not only qualified but commanded to do so. "Let everything that hath breath praise the Lord. Praise ye the Lord" (Psalms 150:6). We are to worship God because His greatness demands praise. His holiness deserves worship. Worship may be done in a private atmosphere but praise is to be done openly, not to showoff, but to bring glory and honor to God, and to bring people to God. Worship can not be done if you do not know whom you are worshiping. In Acts 17:23, Paul, who was on Mars Hill, sees the people worshiping an alter that reads, "To the Unknown God". Paul says to them you are worshiping an object ignorantly, but I am here to tell you that my God is not made by man's hands. We are to worship God because He is the creator of everything. "In the begging God created the heavens and the earth" (Genesis 1:1). God created us to fellowship with Him and praise Him. It is a duty we are called and privileged to do.

Praise the Lord

We have many reasons to praise God; but a reason that is above the rest, is because of the death of Jesus on Calvary; when God saw that His creation did not have a worthy sacrifice to give. Year after year, priests would come in to the temple and give a spotless lamb, but it was not good enough. So God did the only thing that would work, He gave Himself. "And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth" (John 1:14). He deserves worship and praise because through death, Jesus gave us salvation.

The bible describes our praise unto God as exuberant and joyful. "Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands. Serve the Lord with gladness: come before His presence with singing" (Psalms 100:1-2). "Praise the Lord with the harp: sing unto him with the psaltery and an instrument with 10 strings" (Psalms 33:2). Our praise is to be unto God, not to ourselves. We are to lift Jesus high. Our praise creates an atmosphere for Jesus to work. For He inhabits the praises of His people: "But thou art holy, o thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel" (Psalms 22:3). Praise: it's not to lift us up, but to lift Him up.