Sunday, May 30, 2021

Devotion: God Encourages

In our discussion about “The Characteristics of God, his nature, his character, and his personality,” we mentioned “there is no iniquity with the Lord our God, nor respect of persons, nor taking of gifts” (II Chronicles 19:7), “God changes not” (Malachi 3:6), and “it is impossible for God to lie” (Hebrews 6:18) as three traits that God had chosen to be part of “his nature, his character, and his personality.”  As part of our discussion, we mentioned that we were able to sum up God as “a god of integrity.”  We also mentioned that the reason God chose to be “the One of integrity” was so that his children would recognize him over all others.  However, today we want to add yet one more thing to our list of things that makes our God “a god of integrity.”  Did you know that God is “a source of encouragement” to his children?

“Know therefore that the Lord your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations” (Deuteronomy 7:9 ESV).  “It is the Lord who goes before you.  He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you.  Do not fear or be dismayed” (Deuteronomy 31:8 ESV).  “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1 NIV).  “The Lord is a stronghold for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble.  And those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek you” (Psalm 9:9-10 ESV).

“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you” (Psalm 32:8 ESV).  “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” (Isaiah 41:10 NIV).  “Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall” (Psalm 55:22 NIV).  “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you” (I Peter 5:7 NIV).  “You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you” (Isaiah 26:3 NIV).

“The Lord is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation” (Psalm 118:14 NIV)!  “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?  The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid” (Psalm 27:1 NKJV)?  “I call on the Lord in my distress, and he answers me” (Psalm 120:1 NIV).  “I have set the Lord always before me.  Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken” (Psalm 16:8 NIV).  “You are my refuge and my shield; I have put my hope in your word.  Away from me, you evildoers, that I may keep the commands of my God” (Psalm 119:114-115 NIV)!

God is faithful.  God keeps his promises and loves steadfast with those who love him, keeps his commandments, and seeks him.  God is forever with us, keeping his eye on us.  God is our refuge, our strength, our shield, and an ever-present help for us.  God is our stronghold in our time of need and in our time of trouble.  God is our light, our song, and our salvation.  As we cast our cares upon him, he will sustain us.  God will give council and instruction as he teaches us in the way that we should go.  God is always with us and he will keep us in perfect peace if we keep on minds stayed on him.  God will never let his righteous fall but will uphold us with his righteous right hand.  God will never forsake us.  When we call on God in our times of distress, he will answer.  If we set God before us always, we will not be shaken, because he will be at our right hand.  We need to put our hope in the word of God and keep his commands, because God truly does care for us and he is “our source of encouragement.”

May today’s inspirational message abundantly bless you and greatly inform you.  We pray that you will be the better for having read it.  If blessed by today’s message, please share so that others may be blessed as well.  Amen.

Enjoy your blessings - KW

Saturday, May 1, 2021

Devotion: Love Your Neighbor As Yourself

According to scripture, you are to love others as you love yourself.

“For, dear brothers, you have been given freedom: not freedom to do wrong, but freedom to love and serve each other.  For the whole Law can be summed up in this one command: ‘Love others as you love yourself’” (Galatians 5:13-14 TLB).

The thought is that when you love others as you love yourself, you will not want to do any harm to them.

“Pay all your debts except the debt of love for others—never finish paying that!  For if you love them, you will be obeying all of God’s laws, fulfilling all his requirements.  If you love your neighbor as much as you love yourself you will not want to harm or cheat him, or kill him or steal from him.  And you won’t sin with his wife or want what is his, or do anything else the Ten Commandments say is wrong.  All ten are wrapped up in this one, to love your neighbor as you love yourself.  Love does no wrong to anyone.  That’s why it fully satisfies all of God’s requirements.  It is the only law you need (Romans 13:8-10 TLB).

When you love others as you love yourself, the belief is that you will not want to do anything that harms, hurts, or cheats the other person.  When you love others as you love yourself, then there would be not one thing that you would want that belongs to them, none of their possessions or their significant other.  When you love others as you love yourself, then stealing from them or killing them would never be a thought in your mind.  This is why the scriptures says, “For the whole Law can be summed up in this one command.”  When you “love your neighbor as you love yourself,” you put all of God’s commandments into one commandment where “love supposedly does no wrong to anyone.”

“And so I am giving a new commandment to you now—love each other just as much as I love you.  Your strong love for each other will prove to the world that you are my disciples” (John 13:34-35 TLB).

This is why Jesus said that we have “a new commandment,” a commandment to love each other.  If we each love one another as much as Jesus loved us, then we too would give the ultimate sacrifice for each other.

“I have loved you even as the Father has loved me.  Live within my love.  When you obey me you are living in my love, just as I obey my Father and live in his love.  I have told you this so that you will be filled with my joy.  Yes, your cup of joy will overflow!  I demand that you love each other as much as I love you.  And here is how to measure it—the greatest love is shown when a person lays down his life for his friends; 1and you are my friends if you obey me” (John 15:9-14 TLB).

There is no greater love that one person can express for another then to give this life for them.  Those who understand this commandment, “to love one another,” have a cup that is truly filled with the joy of Christ.  And yes, that cup of joy does overflow.  Think about what this type of love could do if every believer in the body of Christ would adhere to it.  It could unite the body of Christ, with one purpose.  Then think what a united body of believers could do.  We could change the world.  One new commandment given by the one who showed the world what it meant, “to love your neighbor as you love yourself.”

We always give thanks to God for the ability to share our inspirational message with you.  We constantly pray that you will be blessed as well as informed by them and that you will be the better for having read them.  If you are blessed by them, please share so that others may be blessed as well.  Amen.

Enjoy your blessings - KW