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Rooted and Grounded in Love

In Ephesians 3:17 we are told to be, “rooted and grounded in love.” If, like a tree, our roots grow down into the love of God and spread then that unconditional love of God will permeate our whole being. However, in order for that love to grow and spread there are certain things that we have to do. Colossians 3:14 (AMP) tells us to “put on love and wrap yourself in (unselfish) love.” In other words, we have to be intentional and make a decision to love.
Practically speaking, how do we “put on love?” The preceding verses of Colossians 3:12-13 answer that for us. Firstly, we need to be compassionate (see also Eph 5 :2), kind, patient, putting up with each other, even when someone annoys you! In addition, love is reflected in our words and tone of voice (which was dealt with in an earlier blog). It also means being forgiving. Forgiveness is a very important part of love; the flesh wants to harbor bitterness towards the person that hurts us but not so with love, “Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others” (Col 3:13; NLT). We are called to follow the example of Jesus (see also the Deacon Stephen; Acts &:54-60), who when He was dying said, “Father forgive them for they do not know what they do” (Luke 23:34; NKJV). Love also believes the best of others (1 Cor 13:7). Some people love to gossip and spread malicious rumors about others (Prov 26:22) but if we stay away from gossip, we can believe the best of people. None of us know what is going on in someone else’s life so we need to make allowances (Prov 14:10).
Let’s commit today that with God’s help we will “put on love” and freely extend forgiveness. We will have many opportunities to put this into practice!

Equipped to Witness

“Eye has not seen, not ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him” (1 Cor 2:9; NKJV). Well, I am sure we would all say we love God and desire to be all God wants us to be and do all He has for us to do, yes? The apostle Paul exhorted us to “set your minds on things above, not on things on the earth “(Col 3:2; NKJV). In other words, in our lives, let’s have a heavenly perspective as to how we use our time and energy. I am always amazed and encouraged when I read how Jesus said we would not only do the things He did but even greater things (John 14:12). God has created each one of us for the good works He has prepared for us (Eph 2:10). What could be greater or more fulfilling than to be His ambassadors or witnesses (2 Cor 5:18-21), sharing our Christian life experiences with others. We are called to let our light shine to people around us (Matt 5:16) and share the gospel of Jesus with them (Mark 16:15).
The gospel in simplest terms is the account of Jesus, His life on this earth, how He died on a cross to win forgiveness for us all (1 Cor 15:3; Eph 1:7), rose from the dead and ascended back into heaven. If people believe in Him, (1 John 1:9), make up their mind to turn away from sin (Acts 2:38) ask His forgiveness and give Him control of their life they will be saved or made new (Rom 10:9-10) and can enter into an amazing relationship with Jesus! (1 John 3:1).
God gives us the power to witness (Acts 1:8) and the words to use (Luke 21:15). Let’s do it! The results are truly heartwarming.

Keep on keeping on!

Matthew 6:8 tells us that God knows our needs before we even pray but He still tells us to pray. The Bible also tells us in 1 John 5:14,15 that if we pray according to God’s will, He hears us and answers us (see also Prov 15:29). However, when we have been praying and believing God for something for months and even years with no physical manifestation, we could be tempted to get discouraged. The devil may be whispering in your ear that it is not working, but Jesus tells us in in Luke 18:1 (AMP) “to pray and not give up and lose heart.” He goes on to tell the story of the desperate widow and the unjust judge who finally gave her justice. Jesus, however is NOT unjust, He is just and not only that but the unjust judge responded out of aggravation, whereas Jesus responds to us in love. As Luke 18:7 says, “will not (our just) God defend and avenge His elect (His chosen ones) who cry out to Him day and night?” (AMP).
I encourage you to keep praying, no matter how long it is taking for the answer to manifest (see also Matt 7:7 and 1 Thess 5:17), but pray in faith. Mark tells us that, “whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours” (Mk 11:24; ESV). So, believe you have the answer when you first pray (not when you can see it physically) and keep thanking God for the victory. Don’t let the devil discourage you with his lies, keep speaking the promises in God’s word that your prayer is based on in faith!

The Devil Defeated

“The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they mat have life and that they may have it more abundantly” (John 10:10; NKJV). The thief is satan, whose primary interest is to rob everyone of all God has for them; the fulfilled life here on earth and eternal life after death. Satan will tempt us to sin and use circumstances, situations and the hostile opposition of people to distract us from God’s direction for us. However, don’t get depressed, Jesus through His death and resurrection defeated satan and all his demonic forces. “Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it” (Col 2:15; NKJV, see also Heb 2:14-15). Jesus delivered us from satan’s rule and influence and gave us authority over him (Col 1:13; Luke 10:19). We have been made part of Jesus’ kingdom (Col 1:13), we are God’s children (1 John 3:2) and are greatly loved (Rom 5:8). Satan will still try and disrupt our walk with God but will only succeed if we allow him to. “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks around like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8). Notice it says, “like a roaring lion”; remember he is defeated and you are victorious over him as a child of God. In the epistle of James, we are told to resist satan and he will flee from us (James 4:7). How do we do that? Well, satan tempted Jesus three times before He began His ministry on earth (Matt 4:1-11). At each temptation Jesus replied with God’s word and would not sin, so satan departed from Him. (see also Eph 6:11-18). Walk in God’s victory today!

Are You Expecting?

“You also must be ready all the time, for the Son of Man will come when least expected” (Matt 24:44; NLT). Jesus gave this exhortation after talking to His disciples about the end times. What did He want them to be ready for? The second coming of Jesus. Mark chapter 13 also deals with the end times and ends with the following words of Jesus, “And what I say to you, I say to all: watch!” (Mark 13:37; NKJV). (See also the parable of the 10 virgins in Matt 25:1-13). Paul confirms this in 1 Thess 5:2, when he says that the return of Jesus will be unexpected, “like a thief in the night.”
From these passages we learn that we must be ready and prepared for the second coming. We should be thinking about it and be joyfully expectant, constantly reminding ourselves that it could happen any day. We don’t know when exactly because only God the Father knows that (Matt 24:36) but we do know that it will happen “in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye” (1 Cor 15:52; AMP). Peter cautions us that as we wait for the return of Jesus, we should be doing our best to live lives that are above reproach (2 Peter 3:14).
The hope of eternity with Jesus should motivate us all our days because the book of Revelation tells us a little bit of what we have to look forward to. We will see God face to face, (Rev 22:4), we will drink from the fountain of living water (Rev 21:6b), there will be no more sin, sickness, death, sorrow, crying or pain (Rev 21:3-4) and we will reign with God forever! (Rev 22:5). Now that’s something to shout about!