PO Box 3425
July/August Issue 2008 - Volume 27 Number 4
God Is Love
“God is love, and he who abides in love
abides in God, and God in him” (1
“He who does not love does not know God, for
God is love” (1 John 4:8).
Love is an innate characteristic of God. Love is His
nature. We must learn to love; we must grow in love. God is
This may not be reversed. That God is love does not
mean that love is God. This misconception reduces God to the personification
of a virtue. John also says, “God is light” (1 John 1:5). This does not
mean that light is God.
'God is love' defines His nature.
In John's first letter he emphasizes God's love for
us and how we should respond.
“In this the love of God was manifested toward us,
that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live
through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us
and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins” (1 John 4:9,
“God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that
while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). “For God
so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes
in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). “By
this we know love, because He laid down His life for us” (1 John 3:16).
“But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His
great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses,
made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved)”
(Ephesians 2:4, 5).
Nothing external can separate us from God's love:
“For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor
principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height
nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from
the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38, 39).
“Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed
on us, that we should be called children of God!” (1 John 3:1).
God's love comforts us and gives us confidence to
have a close relationship with Him: “We have known and believed the love
that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God,
and God in him. Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have
boldness in the day of judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world.
There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear
involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. We
love Him because He first loved us” (1 John 4:16- 19).
God deserves our utmost love. Jesus said, “'You
shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul,
and with all your mind.' This is the first and great commandment”
(Matthew 22:37, 38).
Paul refers to “haters of God” in Romans 1:30.
God has demonstrated His love. He deserves our love.
He inspires our love. Yet, each person chooses either to love or to hate
God. A neutral attitude to God is not possible. God punishes those who hate
Him and blesses those who love Him (Exodus 20:5, 6).
Why would anyone hate God? Because he has more
love for something else. “Do not love the world or the things in the
world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For
all that is in the world -- the lust of the flesh, the lust of the
eyes, and the pride of life -- is not of the Father but is of the world. And
the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of
God abides forever” (1 John 2:15- 17).
When we accept the loving grace of God by being
baptized, God's Spirit is poured out on us: “But when the kindness and the
love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness
which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the
washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out
on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, that having been justified
by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life”
Through the Spirit, the love of God is poured out in
our hearts: “Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has
been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us”
We receive the gift of the Holy Spirit when we are
baptized: “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of
Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of
the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38).
The love of God is poured out in our hearts by the
Holy Spirit who is given to us. Because we have experienced God's love, we
want to love Him and others the way He loves us.
“And this is His commandment: that we should
believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ and love one another, as He gave
us commandment” (1 John 3:23).
“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of
God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not
love does not know God, for God is love. In this the love of God was
manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the
world, that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved
God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for
our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No
one has seen God at any time. If we love one another, God abides in us, and
His love has been perfected in us” (1 John 4:7-12).
Paul told the Thessalonians: “But concerning
brotherly love you have no need that I should write to you, for you
yourselves are taught by God to love one another” (1 Thessalonians 4:9).
“This is the message that you heard from the
beginning, that we should love one another” (1 John 3:11).
People ought to recognize us as followers of Christ
because of our love for one another. Jesus tells His followers: “A new
commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you,
that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My
disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:34, 35).
It is not enough to say we love our brethren.
True love gives practical assistance where needed: “By this we know love,
because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our
lives for the brethren. But whoever has this world's goods, and sees his
brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God
abide in him? My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but
in deed and in truth” (1 John 3:16-18).
“If someone says, 'I love God,' and hates his
brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has
seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? And this commandment we have
from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also” (1 John
Jesus says: “This is My commandment, that you love
one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, than to
lay down one's life for his friends. You are My friends if you do whatever I
command you” (John 15:12-14).
“Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep
His commandments. He who says, 'I know Him,' and does not keep His
commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoever keeps His
word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are
in Him. He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He
walked” (1 John 2:3-6).
Some misuse the statement, “If we love one another,
God abides in us” (1 John 4:12) to claim that what we teach or how we
worship is not important as long as we love one another. But John explains:
“By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and
keep His commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep His
commandments” (1 John 5:2, 3). “This is love, that we walk according to
His commandments” (2 John 6).
If our teaching and worship are not according to the
word of the Lord, we are liars when we say we love God and we are liars when
we say we love the brethren, according to the Apostle, John.
“God is love, and he who abides in love abides in
God, and God in him” (1
John 4:16). “He who does not love does not know God, for God is love” (1
God showed His love by sending His Son. We love Him
because He first loved us. He who loves God must love his brother also. He
who loves God keeps His commandments.
“Now may the Lord direct your hearts into the love
of God” (2 Thessalonians 3:5). “Keep yourselves in the love of God”
“Be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love
and peace will be with you” (2 Corinthians 13:11). “The grace of the
Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit
be with you all. Amen” (2 Corinthians 13:14).
the Truth in Love
The Apostle Paul told Timothy, "Preach the Word,
be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all
longsuffering and teaching" (2 Timothy 4:2). Paul later said of
himself, "Woe unto me if I do not preach the gospel!" (1
Corinthians 9:16). If you combine Matthew 28:18-19 and 1 Peter 2:9 you see
that we all are required to teach the gospel to the lost.
But how do we ensure effectiveness? There is not a
guarantee on that. Ultimately, we plant the seed but God gives the increase
(1 Corinthians 3:6). One thing we can do is be certain we are speaking the
truth in love (Ephesians 4:15).
If you look at the things we most often lie about,
you see that, for the most part, we lie so people will not get offended. But
it is still a lie.
If we change Biblical truth to appease the listener
we have lied (Isaiah 30:8-14).
John 8:37 says the "truth will set us
free." First, we must be uncompromising when we proclaim the truth of
God's Word. However, we must be flexible concerning men's hearts. Matthew
7:12 says, "Whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them."
When we sit down to study with a prospect we must treat him with the same
care and respect we would desire for ourselves.
Second, we must be persistent but patient. John 1:1-3
tells us that Jesus is the Word of God and Hebrews 13:8 adds that He is the
"same yesterday, today and tomorrow." While the truth of Scripture
never changes, our level of patience must continue to grow. Having someone
overturn our core beliefs is a heart-wrenching process. When we study with
someone we must be patient to allow them to go through the transformation
and be understanding when it fails.
Third, we must be firm but factual. Our opinions and
traditions should never dictate what we teach. Matthew 15:14 promises,
"If the blind leads the blind, both will fall into a ditch."
Finally, we must hold the line but be helpful. The
gospel is to win souls and not to win arguments. Ephesians 6:10-17 says we
are in a spiritual war with Satan and his forces. We are not at war with the
sinner, only the sin. He has a soul that needs love and guidance.
Price Of Infotainment"
friends walk toward a destination. The
path has at times been steep and is not always smooth.
Their pace is labored as they come to a fork in the road.
The road that branches off goes downhill and is attractively
landscaped. There are no signs,
however, to tell them where this new path will lead.
They can't resist the temptation, and head downhill on the easier
path. The farther they go,
however, the farther they are from their destination.
people often choose the easier course is no surprise to any of us; we're
often guilty of the same. But
do we calculate the price of taking that easier course?
Will it lead to a place we really want to be?
Jacoby is on a campaign to awaken Americans.
The title of her newly published book, "The Age Of
Unreason", may not prompt multitudes to rush out to bookstores, but she
has a message that needs to be heard. Americans,
she contends, are being "dumbed down" because they more often
choose entertainment than information.
a recent interview with "U.S. News & World Report", Jacoby
talks about "infotainment". As
one can quickly see, it's a combination of the words "information"
and "entertainment". In
our culture, the emphasis is usually on the latter. More Americans choose to be entertained by the electronic
media (television and the Internet, e.g.) than to be informed by the more
"rational" means (books or other print media).
She states, "Video culture, as it appears in the digital media,
gives you a quick hit but doesn't encourage you to go
title for her article in the "Washington Post", February 24, 2008,
commands more attention: "We Actually Love Being Idiots".
In that article she pointed to a 2007 study by the National Endowment
Arts. "In 1982, 82% of
college graduates read novels or poems for pleasure; two decades later, only
67 percent did. And more than
40 percent of Americans under 44 did not read a single book - fiction or
nonfiction - over the course of a year."
She concluded her point by noting that the latter results arose as
personal computing, Web surfing and video games became commonplace.
there a price to be paid for this surge in infotainment? Those who have laughed at Jay Leno's "Jay Walking"
segments on "The Tonight Show" know that many Americans lack even
basic facts that once were
points to many such indicators that Americans are turning away from
intellectual pursuits (as simple as reading a novel) in favor of YouTube and
other electronic cotton candy. She
uses the word "antirational" to describe the trend. Others use stronger terms such as
Albert, on zmag.org flatly states, "An 'anti-rationality' trend is
sweeping our society."
choices before us couldn't be clearer: One involves mental concentration and
focus; the other requires only that we get comfortable, tune in and watch.
Under the guise of "relaxation", many of us choose a path
that takes us farther from where we want to be.
do you suppose this trend affects our nation's Bible literacy?
In a "Jay Walking" skit from March 2007, Leno asked one
young lady to complete the following: "In the beginning, God created
it really so important that we know the teachings of the Bible? While our
society might answer "Of course not!", let's consider some
statements from this Book. Proverbs
3 is a good place to begin: "My son, do not forget my law, but let your
heart keep my commands; for length of days and long life and peace they will
add to you. ... Happy is the man who finds wisdom, and the man who gains
understanding; for her proceeds are better than the profits of silver, and
her gain than fine gold" (Proverbs 3:1-2,13-14).
According to this, time spent reading God's word will lead to a much
book of Psalms opens with a warning against associating with people who care
nothing for God's teachings (such as the characters we regularly see
depicted on television and on the Internet).
problem was present long ago in the days of the prophet Micah.
He observed this about God's people: "If a man should walk in a
false spirit, and speak a lie, saying, 'I will prophesy to you of wine and
drink,' even he would be the prattler of this people" (Micah 2:11).
Then, as now, a person doesn't generally draw a large audience by talking
about God's word. If you want
to deliver lectures on wines and fine dining, though, an entire television
network may spring up around you!
see if we can make this clear: Suppose a person was diagnosed with cancer.
He is told, however, that with chemotherapy the problem can be cured.
When told when those treatments will take place, he refuses: "I
can't do chemotherapy then! That's
when my favorite show on TV comes on."
Would we consider such a person foolish?
we suggesting that Bible reading is as important as chemotherapy for a
cancer patient? No - we're
saying it's more important. We
base that claim on James 1:21: "Therefore lay aside all filthiness and
overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which
is able to save your souls." Chemotherapy, if successful, can add years
to a person's life. God's word
can lead to salvation of one's soul, and that's an issue of eternity!
you remember Jesus' parable of the wise and foolish builders. Only one built
his house in a way that it could withstand a vicious storm.
What was Jesus' application for us?
"Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I
will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock" (Matthew
7:24). Are we interested in
building a life that will withstand the storms of life?
Are we hearing "these sayings of" Jesus, much less, doing
face today a literal avalanche of entertainment options. When you finally get a moment to relax, you have dozens of
choices of what to do. But only
one of those choices will open the door to a better life on earth as well as
a blissful eternity. It's not
the easiest path, and it requires more effort than the others. Make sure you know the consequences before you make your
choice. And then make time for
you like to know more about beginning your own study of God's word?
Get in touch with me, and let me tell you about simple ways to get
started in reading this Book of books.
God gave this Book for all
March 7, 2008
Rules for Writing Good
Verbs has to agree with their subjects.
Prepositions are not words to end sentences with.
And don't start a sentence with a conjunction.
It is wrong to ever split an infinitive.
Avoid clichés like the plague. (They're old hat.)
Be more or less specific.
Parenthetical remarks (however relevant) are (usually) unnecessary.
Also too, never, ever use repetitive redundancies.
No sentence fragments.
Don't use no double negatives.
Proffread carefully to see if you any words out.