May 29 – Faith, Love, Obedience a Tapestry


“By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome.” – 1 John 5:2-3 (ESV)


Twice in our verses today the apostle John says that love and obedience to God’s commandments go hand-in-hand. We are members of God’s family because we have been born of God, that is reason enough that we love all of God’s children ⸺all others who are born of Him. This kind of love is the second characteristic of the overcomer. We who by faith believe in God are the overcomers. We have overcome the stain and guilt of sin and our sin has been forgiven. Having never sinned Christ paid the penalty when He died on the cross in our place. The third characteristic of an overcomer is obedience. Let’s not think that obedience to God’s commandments, is too difficult or and onerous chore. God promises that his commandments are not burdensome. What is burdensome is the effort of earning our way by following the requirements of the false teachers and false religions. Trying to be “good enough” is difficult and tiring. Faith, love, and obedience to God are the characteristics of a true believer which are woven into a tapestry of our lives. Following in the way of Jesus Christ is not taxing but liberating.

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April 26 – No, Not Burdensome


“This is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome. For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world — our faith.” – 1 John 5:3–4 (ESV)

Struggling to be obedient to God as if obedience is a heavy burden is not evidence of love for Him. Our acts of loving God amount to much more than just keeping His commandment. Truly, loving God is having a heart for God that enables us to keep the statutes and instructions without that becoming a burden. John explains why God’s commandments are not burdensome. When we are born of God – and this is for all who are truly born of God – He makes us overcomers of the world system. We have what overcomes the many pitfalls and obstacles to keeping God’s will. It is the new nature we have through being born of God. That new birth creates in us a new creature and that creates a faith developing and maturing within ourselves. This faith in God who loves us and gave us His only Son, does more than enable us to assent to God will, it also enables us to embrace all that He is for us in Christ. Eighteenth-century pastor Jonathan Edwards wrestled with this text and concluded, “Saving faith implies love. Our love to God enables us to overcome the difficulties that attend keeping God’s commands.”

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April 17 – Discipline Builds Discipline

“It is for discipline that you endure; God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline?” – Hebrews 12:7 (NASB)


Discipline is a two-way street. Every true believer in Jesus receives opportunity to grow through the discipline God sends our way and thrive in spiritual growth, stronger faith, and increasing knowledge of God. Other’s buck against it and end up going the other way. They refuse to learn the lessons God gives them, causing them to miss the blessing and benefit. In times of adversity, says the author of Hebrews, keep in mind that all our setbacks come from God; He is training us in godliness because He has accepted us as sons and daughters in His eternal family. He wants the very best for us. The difficulties we encounter are blessings in disguise, for behind our difficulties stands a loving Father who is giving us what is best. As God’s children, then, we must always look beyond our trials and realize that God himself is at work in their lives training us to trust Him. Discipline that reproves teaches us to have character that is disciplined. It is a sign of God’s parentage of us. It is a confirmation God really loves us for whom He loves, He reproves and discipline. When disciplined, let’s repent and be zealous.

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March 9 – Doused with Love


“…and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” – Romans 5:5 (ESV)

Our verse is part of a passage that edifies us about a chain of blessings. The broader passage Romans 5:3-5 is worth a look to see the sequence of character development of our life in Christ. But this is a precious gem in verse 5 that we take up today. If you have ever stood under a waterfall and enjoyed the refreshment of a cold-water drenching from the falling water, then you will appreciate the promise we have today. It can be likened to being under any cascading water naturally or by a fountain. Take notice of the preposition ‘of’. The Holy Spirit pours the love of God into our hearts. Like a shower of blessings, God the Holy Spirit takes an endless bucket of love and douses our hearts with His love. We belong to God the Father. He has signed, sealed, and truly delivered us to Himself now and forever. But now He is tuned in listening for us to call on Him. When our weak bodies, weak wills, weakened resolves exhibit their presence, how good it is to know it’s not up to us. God is doing so much for us. We need only receive the blessing.

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March 9 – Doused with the Love of God


“…and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” – Romans 5:5 (ESV)

Our verse is part of a passage that enlightens us about a chain of blessing. The passage Romans 5:3-5 is worth a look to see the sequence of character development of our life in Christ. But it is another precious gem in verse 5 that we take up today. If you have ever stood under the falling water in a waterfall and enjoyed the refreshment of a cold-water drenching, then you will appreciate the promise we have today. It can be likened to being under any cascading water naturally or by a fountain. Take notice of the preposition ‘of’. The Holy Spirit pours the love of God into our hearts. Like a shower of blessings, God the Holy Spirit takes a bottomless bucket of love and douses our hearts with His love. We belong to God the Father. He has signed, sealed, and positionally delivered us to Himself. Now He is tuned in listening for us to call on Him. When our weak bodies, weak wills, weakened resolves exhibit their presence, how good it is to know it’s not up to us. God is doing so much for us. We need only receive the blessing.

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February 25 – United in True Unity


“Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose.” – Philippians 2:1-2 (NASB)

Our passage today from the letter to the Philippians, written by Paul the Apostle continues an appeal he made in chapter one. (Let’s remember that chapter divisions and verse markings were applied 1150 and 1500 years later.)

In Philippians 1:27, Paul wrote about living our Christian life in harmony with the message on which it is based. He followed that message with a call to show spiritual unity. This unity is possible because of the reality of the four qualities mentioned in 2:1. The “if” clauses speak of certainties, about realities, not questionable things. So in this passage “if” may be translated “since.” Paul appealed on the basis of any encouragement from being united in Christ; any comfort from His love; any fellowship with the Spirit; and any tenderness and compassion. We are exhorted furthermore to demonstrate unity in practical ways. This unity is ours in Christ. Our expression of spiritual unity results in complete joy for all. Matching the four realities are four specific ways in which our spiritual unity will be understood. We will find ourselves being like-minded, sharing and showing the same love; united together as one in spirit; and focused on one common purpose.

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February 14 – Demonstrating True Love

“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” – Romans 5:8 (NASB)

Today is a day when people send messages to show their special feelings for each other. The celebration seems to focus mostly on couples in love, but actually it is a day set aside to show affection and love to anyone in our lives. Our children, our parents, our siblings and even our friends. So it is most appropriate today for us to think of the message of love that God has sent to us. There is no other love that surpasses it and it is poured out upon us without fee. God tells us of His love and showed us His love in sending His only begotten Son to the cross of as an ultimate act of God’s love for us. The cross was no surprise to God. It was a part of His plan, and the purpose was to love even to those who didn’t deserve it – that includes every person born after Adam. Let’s thank Him for providing the means to have our sins not just covered but expiated. On this Valentine’s Day, let His love be shown through our actions and words.

The origin of celebrating February 14 as a day of love and romance is conflated. Read here a short explanation from Smithsonian Institute sources.

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January 26 – Joy In All Settings


“If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.” John 15:10-11 (ESV)

We are fruit bearers for the Spirit of God. He bears the fruit through our obedient service to Him. The first three mentioned in Galatians 5 are love, joy, peace. In his last Passover meal Jesus emphasized these three with His Apostles. Our promise in our passage today is that keeping the commandments of Jesus as by his own example he kept the Father’s commandments, our lives will bear out joy. The very reason Jesus expounded on so much during this last supper was to produce joy within the hearts of his closest friends. Except for Judas, these were going to bring the Good News to the whole world. Jesus knew the road would be rough for them yet He promises joy as they journey on it. We are promised joy in any and all circumstances of our lives. If our joy is not rooted in our circumstances but in our obedience to God, it will produce more joy. It promises to be a full joy even when situations are dark. Let’s not fear what might be or is and so lose our joy, instead do what He has called us to do. Love one another and our neighbor too.

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January 25 – One Word Fulfills


“For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, “YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.” But if you bite and devour one another, take care that you are not consumed by one another..” Galatians 5:14-15 (NASB)

The promise that we find in this verse is that “love” is of paramount importance in the life of a Christian. Jesus said it was proof of discipleship. Apostle Paul in this letter to the several churches in Galatia (we don’t know exactly how many), that had been under attack by false teachers, the Judaizers. These Judaizers were aggressive in their legalistic methods to keep Christians as a sect of Judaism. In the fruit of the Spirit we studied yesterday, Love was the first of the list. Paul urgently writes in this letter and makes clear that such love needed to be mutually expressed in the Galatian churches.. As a result of the inroads of the false teachers they were insisting Christians uphold observance of the Mosaic Law as they interpreted and corrupted it with thousands of added legalistic requirements. The church was divided and engaged in bitter strife. The followers of the legalists and those who remained steadfast were biting and devouring each other. This was far from the biblical ideal of believers dwelling together in a loving unity, and threatened the churches with destruction and the loss of their individual and corporate testimonies.

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January 24 – A Bundled Package of Fruit


“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” Galatians 5:22-23 (ESV)

It is common that these verses are misread and mistaught on a pretty regular basis. The error comes in the word ‘fruit’ which is read as ‘fruits.’ These nine qualities of character are a bundled package. Together they are the fruit produced by the Holy Spirit in the life of an obedient follower of Jesus. As listed there, this fruit is the evident mark one may expect from a life in which the Spirit of God is living and reigning and Jesus is Lord. Jesus also implied that one’s character of life can be determined. In Matthew 7, the test for false prophets is, among other things, the kind of life they live. Consequently, even though Jesus did prohibit disapproving criticism of others by his followers (Matthew 7:1), He encouraged fruit inspection. The secret to exhibiting spiritual fruit in abundance is described in John 12:24. Using as an illustration a grain of wheat sown in the ground, Jesus encourages death to self and to the desires of the old nature and resurrection to the new life of “much fruit.” Our promise is this fruit produced in our lives if we live according to the Spirit of God.

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