Beauty From Ashes Videos


Monday, February 14, 2011

Got Love?

See how much our heavenly Father loves us, for He allows us to be called His children, and we really are!”    1 John 3:1  NLT
As believers our self worth is based on the fact that God loves us and calls us to be His children.  
“And all who believe will keep themselves pure, just as Christ is pure.  Those who sin are opposed to the law of God, for all sin opposes the law of God.  And you know that Jesus came to take away our sins, for there is no sin in Him.  So if we continue to live in Him, we won’t sin either.  But those who keep on sinning have never known Him or understood who He is.”    John 3:3-6  NLT
To keep pure means to keep morally straight, from the corruption of sin.  God also purifies us, but there is action we must take to remain morally fit.  
“Do not be hasty in the laying on of hands, and do not share in the sins of others. Keep yourself pure.”  1 Timothy 5:22  NIV
Come close to God and He will come close to you. [Recognize that you are] sinners, get your soiled hands clean; [realize that you have been disloyal] wavering individuals with divided interests, and purify your hearts [of your spiritual adultery].”  James 4:8  AMP
Since by your obedience to the Truth through the [Holy ] Spirit you have purified your hearts for the sincere affection of the brethren, [see that you] love one another fervently from a pure heart.”  1 Peter 1:22  AMP
There is a difference between committing a sin and continuing to sin.  Even the most faithful believers sometimes commit sins, but they do not cherish a particular sin and choose to commit it.  A believer who commits a sin repents, confesses, and finds forgiveness.  A person who continues to sin, by contrast, is not sorry for what he or she is doing.  Thus, the person never confesses and never receives forgiveness.  Such a person is in opposition to God, no matter what religious claims he or she makes.  
Sin - noun:  an immoral act considered to be a transgression against divine law : a sin in the eyes of God 
verb ( sinned |sɪnd|, sinning |sɪnɪŋ|) [ intrans. ]
commit a sin
: I sinned and brought shame down on us.
( sin against) offend against (God, a person, or a principle) 
Dear children, don’t let anyone deceive you about this:  When people do what is right it is because they are righteous, even as Christ is righteous.  But when people keep on sinning, it shows they belong to the devil, who has been sinning since the beginning. . . Those born into God’s family do not sin, because God’s life is in them.  So they can’t keep on sinning, because they have been born of God.  So now we can tell the children of God and who are children of the devil.  Anyone who does not obey God’s commands AND does not LOVE other Christians does not belong to God.”   1 John 3:7-8 & 9-10  NLT  (emphasis added)  
We all have areas where temptation is strong and habits are hard to conquer.  These weaknesses give the devil a foothold, so we must deal with our areas of vulnerability.  If we are struggling with a particular sin, however, these verses are not directed at us, even if for the time we seem to keep on sinning.  John is not talking about people whose victories are still incomplete; he is talking about people who make a practice of sinning and look for ways to justify it.  
Three steps necessary to find victory over prevailing sin:
1.  See the power of the Holy Spirit and God’s Word
2.  Stay away from tempting situations
3.  Seek the help of the body of Christ - be open to their willingness to hold you accountable and to pray for you.
“They can’t go on sinning” means that true believers do not make a practice of sinning, nor do they become indifferent to God’s moral law.  All believers still sin, but they are working to gain victory over sin.   
“This is the message we have heard from the beginning:  We should LOVE one another.”  1 John 3:11 NLT (emphasis added)
People who are morally upright the Holy Spirit & glory of God in us will expose and shame those who aren’t.  If we live for God, the world will often hate us, because we make them painfully aware of their immoral way of living.  
Unfortunately, there are people that have taken this idea to an extreme and totally devoid of love, make it their lives ambition to find fault, condemn & righteously judge those who profess Christ as Lord & the Son of God.   I think it’s interesting that through the Bible it is laced with the message of loving one another.  It also seems to be paired up with the gifts of the Spirit and even identifying false prophets.  
“If we love other Christians, it proves that we have passed from death to eternal life.  But a person who doesn’t love them is still dead.  Anyone who hates another Christian is really a murderer at heart.  And you know that murderers don’t have eternal life within them.”  1 John 3:14-15
John echoes Jesus’ teaching that whoever hates another person is a murderer at heart.  
“You have heard that it was said to the men of old, You shall not kill, and whoever kills shall be [a]liable to and unable to escape the punishment imposed by the court.
    But I say to you that everyone who continues to be angry with his brother or harbors malice (enmity of heart) against him shall be liable to and unable to escape the punishment imposed by the court; and whoever speaks contemptuously and insultingly to his brother shall be liable to and unable to escape the punishment imposed by the Sanhedrin, and whoever says, You cursed fool! [You empty-headed idiot!] shall be liable to and unable to escape the hell (Gehenna) of fire.”   Matthew 5:21-22 AMP
“You're familiar with the command to the ancients, 'Do not murder.' I'm telling you that anyone who is so much as angry with a brother or sister is guilty of murder. Carelessly call a brother 'idiot!' and you just might find yourself hauled into court. Thoughtlessly yell 'stupid!' at a sister and you are on the brink of hellfire. The simple moral fact is that words kill.”  Matthew 5:21-22 MSG
Christianity is a religion of the heart; outward compliance is not enough.  Bitterness against someone who has wronged you is an evil cancer within you and will eventually destroy you.  Don’t let a ‘bitter root’ grow in you or your Church. 
“. . . looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled;”  Hebrews 12:15  NKJ
“Dear children, let stop just saying we love each other; let us really show it by our actions.  It is by our actions that we know we are living in the truth, so that we will be confident when we stand before the Lord, even if our heart condemns us.”  1 John 3:18-20a  NLT
Real love is an action, not a feeling.  It produces selfless, sacrificial giving.   The greatest act of giving oneself for others.  How can we ‘give up our own life?’  By serving others with no thought of receiving anything in return.  Sometimes it is easier to say we’ll die for others than to truly live for them-this involves putting others’ desires first.  
“Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.”  John 15:13  NKJ
If we are living like Christ, we will ‘love one another’.   “And this is His commandment:  We must believe in the name of His Son, Jesus Christ, AND LOVE one another, just as He commanded us.”  1 John 3:23  NLT (emphasis added)
“Those who obey God’s commandments live in fellowship with Him, and He with them.  And we know He lives in us because the Holy Spirit lives in us.”  1 John 3:24 NLT
The mutual relationship, living in Christ as He live in us, shows itself in Christians who keep these three essential commands:
1.  Believe in Christ
2.  Love the brothers and sisters
3.  Live a morally upright life.  
Our conduct verifies His presence.  
I think it’s interesting, case at point, that in the middle of this message John starts talking about false prophets and how to discern and test them.  
“This is the way you find out if they [anyone speaking as if they were God speaking] have the Spirit of God:  If a prophet acknowledges that Jesus Christ became a human being, that person has the Spirit of God. If that person does not acknowledge Jesus, that person is not from God.”   1 John 4:2 & 3  NLT
Then John goes on to encourage that we have already won our fight against false prophets.   
“But you belong to God, my dear children.  You have already won your fight with these false prophets, because the Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world.”  1 John 4:4 NLT [emphasis added]
False teachers are popular with the world because, like the false prophets of the Old Testament, they tell people what they want to hear.  
The world wants to hear gossip, slander, strife and loves the ‘dirty laundry’ as the secular band Pink Floyd sung about in the early 80’s.   That is why the check out lanes of the grocery store are lined with the latest stories of such about everyone from the godless to the godly.   People are drawn to it & it is very DANGEROUS for Christians to be attracted to this.  It is not of God.   
Sadly there are Christians that have been seduced by demonic spirits through roots of a  rejection and rebellion that thrive on the attention they get from smearing other Christians.  Because they have not received the revelation of God’s love & acceptance of them they look for affirmation in worldly ways.  Deceived by the accuser of the brethren they believe they are doing the body of Christ a service by presenting them regularly with feasts of false accusations, slander and gossip producing nothing but confusion, strife & division.   I dare say these individuals have little to no accountability to spiritual authorities & are often lone rangers declaring their only accountability being to God Himself, yet their lives & god does not line up the God of the Holy Scriptures.  They swing their stones & verbal assaults with no regard or fear of God himself or the balance of His Word & Gospel.    If we fear God, then we understand that EVERYONE is created in the image of God.   How dare we assault God’s children & certainly God’s anointed.  Even David knew not to do this to Saul & Saul had behaved in many a wicked and ungodly manners.   David understood the reverence of God and the love of God.  
Back to the book of 1 John, right after the section on discerning false prophets & teachers we go right back into LOVING ONE ANOTHER.  
“Dear friends, let us continue to LOVE one another, for LOVE comes from God.  Anyone who LOVES is born of God AND KNOWS GOD.  But anyone who does not LOVE does not know God - for GOD IS LOVE.”   1 John 4:7-8  NLT emphasis addded
How well do you display your love for God in the choices you make and the actions you take?   The bible says that love covers a multitude of sins.  You covering your brothers sin or exposing it?     If we truly love God, we will love as he does.  
“God showed how much he loved us by sending his only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him.  This is real love.  It is not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away your sins.”  1 John 4:9  NLT

LOVE explains:
1.  Why God creates - because He loves, He creates people to be love
2.  Why God cares - because He loves them, He cares for sinful people
3.  Why we are free to choose - God wants a loving response from us
4.  Why Christ died - His love for us caused Him to offer a solution to the problem of sin
5.  Why we receive eternal life - God’s love expressed itself to us forever  
“Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely out to LOVE ONE ANOTHER . . . but if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love brought full expression through us.”  1 John 4:11-12  NLT emphasis added
God is LOVE, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them.  And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect. . . . We love each other as a result of His loving us first.  If someone says, ‘I love God, but hates another Christian, that person is a liar; for if we don’t love people we can see, how can we love God, whom we have not seen?  And God himself has commanded tha we must love not only Him but our Christian brothers and sister, too.”  1 John 4:20-21  NLT emphasis added
The real test of our love for God is how we treat the people right in front of us-our family members and fellow believers….that includes here on the internet.  We cannot truly  love God while neglecting to love those who are created in his image.  
So my question to you is, ‘Got love?’
If you don’t and you know by the gentle, deep conviction that you’re been off base and missed the mark, it’s not hopeless.  God loves you no different than the righteous.  His love covers your short comings.  I encourage you to ask him to forgive you, confess your sin(s) to Him & accept His forgiveness.  The bible says that once we do this, that he takes our sins and casts them as far as the East is from the West when we ask for forgiveness through his son Jesus Christ, who died to pay the cost of our sins.  The best is that he remembers them NO MORE and sees you are pure and righteous.   
If you’ve never asked Jesus to come into your heart.  Now is the time, today is the day of your salvation.  Ask him to come into your heart and live there.  He created you to have an intimate relationship with him and your body to be his dwelling place.   Yes, the Creator of the universe wants to live inside of you, but He is a gentleman & gives you the choice to invite Him in or not.  Invite Him in.  Open the door to your heart & ask your Father God to come into your heart and life.   Allow Him to be Lord.  Let His passionate love saturate you and change you.   The revelation of His love changed my life & continues to do so.   Allow your self worth to be built upon God’s love for you and that He calls you his child.  Let love rule.

Julie Shematz, Founder & CEO