What is Love?

How much ink has been spilled trying to define “love?”  Our culture tells us that love is all about feelings, which ebb and flow.  The problem is that kind of love is not dependable!  Is that the kind of love we want or need?

The Hebrew people of the Old Testament had a word for love, hesed, which scholars say could be more accurately translated as “covenantal loyalty.”  That is, the word traditionally translated “love” in the Old Testament actually means that a person is acting in keeping with the covenant that he or she has made to another.  Perhaps it is not surprising that there has been a recent trend to create “Covenant Marriages” in various states around the country.  Many people have become disillusioned with the flippant way that marriage vows are treated these days.  The “Covenant Marriage” movement is an attempt to recover the original meaning of marriage: a sacred, life-long covenant pledged between a man and a woman under the blessing of God and the church.  Such a marriage is not one entered into out of convenience or as a selfish attempt to get one’s own needs met.  A marriage covenant is a sacred, life-long pledge to seek the good of the other above your own needs, wants and desires.

This kind of love, Paul said, looks like Jesus:  “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her…” (Eph. 5:25)

Husbands and wives, are you being faithful to the covenant you have made with your spouse before God and the church?  This month, as Valentine’s Day approaches, reaffirm your “covenantal loyalty” to your spouse through faithful, unselfish, caring actions.  I suspect that your feelings will enjoy a corresponding renewal!

The Test for True Life: Love

Would life be meaningful to you if there was no such thing as love? According to the Apostle John, life without love is…, well, death. “Anyone who does not love remains in death” (I John 3:14b). John says that the way we know that we have received life from God is that we are able to love our brothers. “We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love our brothers” (1 John 3:14a).

So, what does it mean to love others?

This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers” (1 John 3:16).

John reveals here what this life of love is like.  It is like the life of Jesus. Loving like Jesus means that we are willing to sacrifice our lives for the sake of others. Jesus did this for us on the cross.

Loving like Jesus means that we will help those in need (cf. 1 John 3:17). We respond with compassion to help those around us who are in need. We are to respond to them as Jesus did.

Loving like Jesus means that we will not just talk about loving, serving and helping;
we will actually do it. When our loving actions give evidence of the values of Christ we profess, we are seeing the proof of a heart that has been changed by Christ. This evidence of Christ’s love living in us gives us confidence to stand before God (cf. v. 21).

So, according to John, if you really want to live, now and eternally, you need to
receive and then share the love of Christ with those around you. True love means living like Jesus did. That’s true life!

Real Love

(Click here to listen to the podcast recording)

 

Each week, it seems, we hear about a new celebrity couple getting together, and the gossip columnists begin taking bets on how long before they will call it quits. It makes me wonder if the popular song, “What’s love got to do with it,” was written about this phenomenon. They call it love, but is it really?

Years ago, a wise man by the name of Paul wrote a classic description of what real love is: “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” (1 Corinthians 13:4-8, NIV) Those celebrity relationships rarely, it seems, come anywhere close to Paul’s description.

As we celebrate St. Valentine’s day this month, consider the meaning of real love: it is a daily choice to put the best interests of the one loved before one’s own wants and needs. Love is more than an emotional high; it is a conscious choice, a continuing commitment. You don’t fall into and out of love (that would be infatuation). You must choose to love and you must choose to nurture that love if it is to grow.

Want to know more about love? Don’t look to the celebrities! Look to the best example of love, ever: “We know what real love is because Jesus gave up his life for us. So we also ought to give up our lives for our brothers and sisters.” (1 John 3:16, NLT)

The Quest – Day 39

This is the devotional for Friday, November 3, 2006 which is the 39th day of The Quest, our 40 Days of Discovery. Our devotional today offers a summary of the material in Chapter 39 of Frank Moore’s life-changing book, The Power To Be Free.

Click here to listen to the podcast version of this devotional. Visit http://www.buildyourfaith.net to read the previous days’ devotionals or to subscribe to the “FaithBuilders” podcast.

 

Day 39 – Life in the Spirit of Christ

We live life in the Spirit of Christ every day through a thousand daily choices.

“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.” (Romans 8:1-2 NIV)

To develop Christlike character we must look to Christ as our example. Then we consecrate ourselves completely to God. Next, we receive His gift of sanctification. Then we move from one growth cycle to another for the rest of our lives.

If you have heard that God quantum-leaps you to Christlike maturity in one moment with one prayer, you have been misled. Yes, our consecration can be accepted and our hearts purified in a moment. But the work of maturity is done in the many choices we make daily.

In our Scripture text for today Paul speaks of God’s incredible freedom that enables you to choose daily the way you think, value, and live. You have the freedom to choose one of two ways of life:

    Two preferences
Life in Christ Jesus, or
Life in the flesh, by which paul means living according to the carnal nature of humanity that prefers self over God

    Two walks
A spiritual walk in step with God’s value system, or
A fleshly walk in step with one’s own value system

    Two laws
The law of the Spirit of life – not a list of dos and don’ts, but the guidance of our deep love for God
The second law is the law of death – the outcome of doing what you please ends in spiritual death.

    Two powers
The power of Christ to forgive and free us from sin, or
The power of the old, condemning law which is powerless to deliver us.

    Two loyalties
Loyalty to the Spirit in which our pleasure is to do His pleasure, or
Loyalty to the flesh in which we become enslaved to our desires, passions and addictions

    Two destinies
Eternal life, or
Eternal death

Each day we have a choice between these two ways of life. You validate your consecration and affirm your sanctification in daily choices as you continue to live out your resolve to make Christ Lord of all!

The memory verse for this week is Colossians 1:27, “To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.”

For more information on both the FaithBuilders podcast and the Faith Church podcast visit www.buildyourfaith.net. For more information about our church, visit our website at www.jaxnaz.org.

Build your faith today by choosing life in the Spirit of Christ.

The Quest – Day 34

This is the devotional for Sunday, October 29, 2006 which is the 34th day of The Quest, our 40 Days of Discovery. Our devotional today offers a summary of the material in Chapter 34 of Frank Moore’s thought-provoking book, The Power To Be Free. 

Click here to listen to the podcast version of this devotional. Visit http://www.buildyourfaith.net to read the previous days’ devotionals or to subscribe to the “FaithBuilders” podcast.

 

Day 34 – Christ in You, Part 1

 

The Father wants to make you like His Son!

“To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.”  (Colossians 1:27 NIV) 

For the past month we’ve been on a quest to discover how we can live the life we’ve longed for.  We’ve learned we have a Guide to show us the way.  Our relationship with this Guide allows us to accept God’s love, experience His purity, and receive His power for this life.

Our quest for the remainder of our 40 days will point us in the direction of a Christlike character.  Christianity’s most unique feature is a close personal relationship with God.  He actually responds to our prayers!  Over time God molds us to think and act as He does.  We become like our God. Paul says in Romans 8:29 that God wants us “to be conformed to the likeness of his Son.”  So what does that look like?  Let’s look at the qualities Christ displayed in His earthly ministry. 

  1. Jesus loved the Father first and foremost, and then He loved us as an outgrowth of the Father’s and Son’s love for each other.
  2. Jesus had a winsome personality.
  3. Jesus lived a life of humility.
  4. Jesus lived a balanced life.
  5. Jesus had a sense of humor.
  6. Jesus had a heart of compassion and gave His hands to compassionate ministry.
  7. Jesus lived a life of fairness.
  8. Jesus was courteous.
  9. Jesus was thoughtful.
  10. Jesus paid compliments and showed appreciation.
  11. Jesus did not attempt to create conflict with His enemies, but when it arose He did not run from it.
  12. Jesus did not contemplate His plight in life and feel sorry for himself.

Think about each of these qualities of Christ throughout the day and imagine ways the Father might make you more like His Son. 

The memory verse for this week is Colossians 1:27, “To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.”

Thank you for listening to FaithBuilders podcast at www.buildyourfaith.net.  For more information about our church, visit our website at www.jaxnaz.org.  

If you were unable to attend Sunday’s service, focusing on Discovery 5 of the Quest, which reveals that “You can develop Christlike character,” or if you’d like to hear previous messages in The Quest series, please sign up for our Faith Nazarene Church podcast.  You will find the link at www.buildyourfaith.net. 

Build your faith today by asking God to make you more like His Son!

The Quest – Day 28

This is the devotional for Monday, October 23, 2006 which is the 28th day of The Quest, our 40 Days of Discovery. Our devotional today offers a summary of the material in Chapter 28 of Frank Moore’s insightful book, The Power To Be Free.

Click here to listen to the podcast version of this devotional. Visit http://www.buildyourfaith.net to read the previous days’ devotionals or to subscribe to the “FaithBuilders” podcast.

Day 28 – It’s In The Bank

God has provided all you need for victorious Christian living.

“I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” (Ephesians 3:16-19 NIV)

One of Professor Frank Moore’s students requested prayer for her brother who had moved out of the family’s expensive home and was sleeping on city streets and eating from garbage cans. The young man’s father had placed a large sum of money in a bank on the street where his son slept. He gave his son a checkbook with the words, “If you ever need money, all you have to do is walk into the bank and write a check.”

From what Paul says in our Bible text for today, God has done for us something like what this father did for his son. God prompts a longing in our hearts to find power for our lives and then provides a way for us to access that power. This power comes through the indwelling presence of the Spirit of Christ.

When Paul speaks of our inner being, he is thinking of the place of our personality, our spirituality, of the seat of our praise, worship and gratitude, the source of our willpower, emotions, attitudes and conscience. The Spirit of Christ must flavor everything that springs from our inner being.

How do we get this power for the life we long for? Paul says it comes by our faith in God and His indwelling love. Only God’s love working within us gives us the solid foundation we need to complete our spiritual journey with victory. This power is not just for a select few; it is for all of God’s saints—including you! God and His love can dwell completely in you, a love that you can understand in your heart, but cannot adequately put into words. This power fills us with God Himself!

God’s power comes your way though relationship with the Spirit of Christ. Seek Him rather than power as the focus of your quest. God’s power comes as a by-product of your relationship with Him.

The memory verse for this week is Acts 1:8, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

Thank you for listening to FaithBuilders podcast at www.buildyourfaith.net. For more information about our church, visit our website at www.jaxnaz.org.

If you were unable to attend Sunday’s service, focusing on Discovery 4 of the Quest, “You can receive power,” or if you’d like to hear previous messages in The Quest series, please sign up for our Faith Nazarene Church podcast. You will find the link at www.buildyourfaith.net.

Build your faith today by receiving the Spirit of Christ and His indwelling love by faith.

The Quest – Day 26

This is the devotional for Saturday, October 21, 2006 which is the 26th day of The Quest, our 40 Days of Discovery. Our devotional today offers a summary of the material in Chapter 26 of Frank Moore’s insightful book, The Power To Be Free.

Click here to listen to the podcast version of this devotional. Visit http://www.buildyourfaith.net to read the previous days’ devotionals or to subscribe to the “FaithBuilders” podcast.

Day 26 – Heart Pure

You can be heart pure with a single-minded heart toward God.

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.” (Matthew 5:8 NIV)

Author Frank Moore says that he hates the bait and switch. He has seen a product advertised in the newspaper, but the sales clerk politely informs him that the item is currently out of stock. But he tells him they have a much better product that costs only $50 more.

The bait and switch sometimes occurs in our quest for purity. We read the Bible and talk with Christian friends about God’s provision for our spiritual development and maturity, so we pursue it. Then somehow during the process we find we’ve been switched to performance-based approval.

Now, don’t misunderstand. Becoming a Christian always leads naturally into a new lifestyle that flows from becoming a new creature in Christ. It becomes a problem, however, if we attempt to reduce our Christian lifestyle into a codified checklist of duties.

Purity of heart is singleness of purpose for God’s will and way. More than anything, the person with a pure heart wants to find and do God’s will. So does single-mindedness classify a believer as pure in heart? If you’re talking perfect performance, the answer is no. Maturity and growth bring that. If you’re talking about perfect motive or desire to please God, the answer is yes.

When a small child gets her dad a glass of ice water while he’s working it is an act of pure love. So the dad forgives the muddy water from his child’s unwashed hands because the glass was full of love! Is your action always flawless? No. Can the desire of your heart be pure and clean? Yes!

The memory verse for this week is Matthew 5:8, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.”

Thank you for listening to FaithBuilders podcast at www.buildyourfaith.net. For more information about our church, visit our website at www.jaxnaz.org.

If you were unable to attend Sunday’s service, focusing on Discovery 3 of the Quest, or if you’d like to hear previous messages in The Quest series, please sign up for our Faith Nazarene Church podcast. You will find the link at www.buildyourfaith.net.

Build your faith today by loving God out of a pure heart.

The Quest – Day 20

This is the devotional for Sunday, October 15, 2006 which is the 20th day of The Quest, our 40 Days of Discovery. Our devotional today offers a summary of the material in Chapter 20 of Frank Moore’s great book, The Power To Be Free.

If you were unable to attend Sunday’s service, focusing on Discovery 3 of the Quest, or if you’d like to hear previous messages in The Quest series, please sign up for our Faith Nazarene Church podcast. You will find the link at www.buildyourfaith.net. We will post the recording of the service by this evening.

Visit our archives to read the previous days’ devotionals. Check out the links to the right to subscribe to the “FaithBuilders” podcast.

Day 20 – Not Another Lecture

God’s call to purity is not another guilt ball for you to catch. It’s a call to obey God’s truth.

“Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for your brothers, love one another deeply, from the heart.” (1 Peter 1:22 NIV)

Have you ever known teens who go deaf when Mom tells them to clean their rooms? Some folks quickly develop that same kind of deafness when God calls us to a life of purity. As Christians we know that purity is a Christian virtue, and that as followers of Jesus Christ we feel drawn to a quest for purity. But we don’t always have a biblical understanding of it. We can be so influenced by our culture that the biblical understanding of purity loses its strength.

Our society has many ways of urging us to lower our expectations of purity in our world:

· “Nobody’s perfect”

· “You should expect me to get angry. I have red hair.”

· “Kids will be kids.”

· “Men have a weakness for that, you know.”

· “He can’t help himself; he comes from a dysfunctional family.”

· “What do you expect? Her mother is an alcoholic.”

· “So I call in sick when I’m not. I work hard most of the time.”

· “Everybody fudges on the truth once in a while.”

· “It can’t be that bad; everybody does it.”

But all the excuses in the world don’t keep our hearts from longing and searching for purity. Our hearts tell us God has something more than the world wants us to believe we should expect, especially when we’ve been personally hurt by the impurity of others.

As you explore the Scriptures this week, keep your ears open to new insights God wants you to hear into the biblical definition of purity. Its meaning may be far richer than you imagine. Notice, too, that God believes we can live a life of purity in this sin-soaked world. Also, as you read and think this week, get in touch with the inner desire for purity God has placed within you. Enter this week’s quest with a new enthusiasm to discover God’s dream of purity for His children.

The memory verse for this week is Matthew 5:8, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.”

Thank you for listening to FaithBuilders podcasts. For more information about our church, visit our website at www.jaxnaz.org.

Build your faith today by realizing you can experience purity.


The Quest – Day 19

This is the devotional for Saturday, October 14, 2006 which is the 19th day of The Quest, our 40 Days of Discovery. Our devotional today offers a summary of the material in Chapter 19 of Frank Moore’s great book, The Power To Be Free.

If you were unable to attend Sunday’s service, focusing on Discovery 2 of the Quest, or if you’d like to hear previous messages in The Quest series, please sign up for our Faith Nazarene Church podcast. You will find the link at www.buildyourfaith.net

Click here to listen to the podcast version of this devotional. Visit http://www.buildyourfaith.net to read the previous days’ devotionals or to subscribe to the “FaithBuilders” podcast.

Day 19 – Is This Thing For Real?

God’s love is for real.

“How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” (1 John 3:1 NIV)

Love is a good thing! We know we need it and should give it to others. Love gets lots of attention from world religions, secular society and the entertainment sector, yet our hearts long for something more. This longing takes us on a quest to find a deeper kind of love. What we’re searching for can only be found in the love of Christ.

Christian love comes from God, the source of all love. Only though knowing Him and living in relationship with Him can we find love for the live we long for. 1 John 3:16 says, “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us.” But can we love in that way just by willing it? Haven’t you noticed that loving by sheer willpower just doesn’t cut it?

The Bible tells us that we must first accept God’s love for us. Only then can we turn around and love others the way He loved us. Christian love is not something we generate from within by determined willing or imagination. Rather it is God living through us to love others. We do not create Christian love; we simply pass it on as a gift. When God lives in us, His love flows through us, even to our enemies and those who frustrate us.

It may be tempting to dismiss the idea of Christian love as unrealistic. However, remember that God places His love in us the same way He gives us salvation. If you can accept the miracle and mystery of His salvation, you can also accept the miracle and mystery of His love. Receive it; pass it on. It’s that simple.

The memory verse for this week is Mark 12:30-31, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.”

Thank you for listening to FaithBuilders podcasts. For more information about our church, visit our website at www.jaxnaz.org.

Build your faith by receiving God’s love and then sharing it with others.


The Quest – Day 18

This is the devotional for Friday, October 13, 2006 which is the 18th day of The Quest, our 40 Days of Discovery. Our devotional today offers a summary of the material in Chapter 18 of Frank Moore’s great book, The Power To Be Free.

If you were unable to attend Sunday’s service, focusing on Discovery 2 of the Quest, or if you’d like to hear previous messages in The Quest series, please sign up for our Faith Nazarene Church podcast. You will find the link at www.buildyourfaith.net

Click here to listen to the podcast version of this devotional. Visit http://www.buildyourfaith.net to read the previous days’ devotionals or to subscribe to the “FaithBuilders” podcast.

Day 18 – Love’s Not Always Easy

It’s not always easy to love; God can show us the way.

“But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.” (2 Corinthians 4:7 NIV)

Loving God and others sounds manageable as we begin our Christian walk. It gets a little tough, however, as we begin to interact with people who are a bit hard to love. We are disappointed to discover that even the saints at church remain fully human. They’re sometimes as hard to love as sinners in the world. What’s that all about?

Even saints continue to live with their human natures; they still must use free will wisely every day. They face temptation. They have blind spots and prejudices. They lack insight and understanding about certain areas of life. They have unique personalities. They continue to deal with areas of immaturity. They still have human frailties and weaknesses. In no way do these realities diminish the grace and mercy of God at work in the believers’ lives. Nor do they depreciate God’s plan of salvation in our lives or His work among us. But if we fail to realize that we are still all human, we set ourselves up for disappointment.

But then one look in the mirror reminds us of our own imperfections. We realize that God cuts each of us a great deal of slack with His grace and mercy. We are called to imitate Him. As we become more like Him, we extend to others the same grace and mercy we received from God.

While we do not alleviate ourselves of the responsibility to grow in areas of weakness and immaturity, we are reminded that we are called to treat others with the same compassion and forgiveness God has showered upon us.

The memory verse for this week is Mark 12:30-31, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.”

Thank you for listening to FaithBuilders podcasts. For more information about our church, visit our website at www.jaxnaz.org.

Build your faith today by letting God teach you how to love others.


The Quest – Day 17

This is the devotional for Thursday, October 12, 2006 which is the 17th day of The Quest, our 40 Days of Discovery. Our devotional today offers a summary of the material in Chapter 17 of Frank Moore’s great book, The Power To Be Free.

If you were unable to attend Sunday’s service, focusing on Discovery 2 of the Quest, or if you’d like to hear previous messages in The Quest series, please sign up for our Faith Nazarene Church podcast. You will find the link at www.buildyourfaith.net

Click here to listen to the podcast version of this devotional. Visit http://www.buildyourfaith.net to read the previous days’ devotionals or to subscribe to the “FaithBuilders” podcast.

Day 17 – A Golden Rule

Apply the Golden Rule to everything you say and do every day with everyone

“So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 7:12 NIV)

We call this verse the Golden Rule for a couple of reasons. First, like valuable gold, Jesus placed it at the top of the list of most important things He said during His earthly ministry. Second, following this rule results in the best kind of life we can live. Let’s look closer at what Jesus says here.

Jewish tradition as well as world religions like Hinduism, Buddhism, and Confucianism, all urge us to: “Do no harm to others.” But Jesus reverses that thought into a positive command. Treat others with the same acts of kindness and goodwill that you would enjoy receiving. In other words, pursue joy and happiness for others. Think of the kind of party you would like to have, then plan that kind of party for someone else. Think of a really nice gift, then buy that kind of gift for a friend. Include those who frustrate and aggravate you on your list of possible recipients. Don’t forget to put your enemies on that list as well.

Jesus not only gave us an example for following the Golden Rule but also gave us the inspiration to follow it. He called us to a life that leads to peace and harmony in our relationships with others. He called us to a life of wholeness with this rule.

Jesus further gave us the strength and power to follow this Golden Rule. This love for which we quest does not find its source in us. It flows from God Himself. That’s why we must continually remind ourselves that it’s not ours to produce; it’s ours to receive. We must accept this gift of love from God and then pass it along in the same measure in which we have received it. So we find that living out the Golden Rule is impossible without a close personal relationship with God through the Spirit of Christ living in you.

It’s interesting, isn’t it, how your quest keeps bringing you back to the need of a close personal relationship with God?

The memory verse for this week is Mark 12:30-31, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.”

Thank you for listening to FaithBuilders podcasts at buildyourfaith.net. For more information about our church, visit our website at www.jaxnaz.org.

Build your faith today and every day by applying the Golden Rule to everything you say and do with everyone.

The Quest – Day 16

This is the devotional for Wednesday, October 11, 2006 which is the 16th day of The Quest, our 40 Days of Discovery. Our devotional today offers a summary of the material in Chapter 16 of Frank Moore’s great book, The Power To Be Free.

If you were unable to attend Sunday’s service, focusing on Discovery 2 of the Quest, or if you’d like to hear previous messages in The Quest series, please sign up for our Faith Nazarene Church podcast. You will find the link at www.buildyourfaith.net

Click here to listen to the podcast version of this devotional. Visit http://www.buildyourfaith.net to read the previous days’ devotionals or to subscribe to the “FaithBuilders” podcast.

Day 16 – Imitators of God

Imitate God.

“Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children, and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” (Ephesians 5:1-2 NIV)

Author Frank Moore says that one of his favorite memories of his son’s childhood occurred during the summer of his third year. There Brent was about three paces behind him pushing his toy mower, imitating every move he made. Like it or not, our kids imitate what they see us do.

That’s the concept Paul had in mind when he admonished us in the Scripture verse above to imitate God. In the verse just prior to it, he explains what he wants us to do, “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other” (4:32). Both verses tell us to love as Christ did. We follow His example and show others the same kindness and compassion we have received from Him.

What force drives this love? God’s love flows through us. This love originates in God (see. Romans 5:5). We simply receive it and pass it on to our hurting world. This means that whenever we see something else taking center stage in our lives, we quickly set it aside and restore God to first place. This enables us to reach out to others with the same love with which God reached out to you.

So often when Christians read in the Bible that they must love God and others, they assume they must generate large quantities of this love by themselves. So like the car rental employee, they try harder. Then they become frustrated, because they cannot love God’s way by themselves. The love you’re called to display requires nothing more than receiving God’s love and letting it flow through you to others. You simply imitate God.

The memory verse for this week is Mark 12:30-31, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.”

Thank you for reading the FaithBuilders devotional. For more information about our church, visit our website at www.jaxnaz.org.

Build your faith today by imitating God.

The Quest – Day 15

This is the devotional for Tuesday, October 10, 2006 which is the 15th day of The Quest, our 40 Days of Discovery. Our devotional today offers a summary of the material in Chapter 15 of Frank Moore’s challenging book, The Power To Be Free.

 If you were unable to attend Sunday’s service, focusing on Discovery 2 of the Quest, or if you’d like to hear previous messages in The Quest series, please sign up for our Faith Nazarene Church podcast.  You will find the link at www.buildyourfaith.net 

Click here to listen to the podcast version of this devotional. Visit http://www.buildyourfaith.net to read the previous days’ devotionals or to subscribe to the “FaithBuilders” podcast.

 

Day 15 – The Great Command

Love God, love others.  That’s it.

 
“The most important one is,…‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this:  ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these..” (Mark 12:30-31 NIV)

We live in a give-it-to-me-quick world.  That’s the mindset that also prompted one of the teachers of the Law to ask Jesus to cut to the chase when it came to the thousands of Jewish laws and interpretations.  Jesus replied with a twofold response:  love the Lord with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength and your neighbor as yourself.  The first command summarizes the first four of the Ten Commandments; the second summarizes the last six.

Love for God must always come first; love for others will naturally flow from it.  We do not obey God’s laws out of slavish obligation but with a child’s heart of love.  Sin does not break God’s laws as much as it breaks His heart.

On another occasion, Jesus summarized the Law by saying, “In everything, do to others what you would have them do to you” (Matthew 7:12).  We call this the Golden Rule.  We must always keep the biblical principle of love for God and others at the center of our thinking as we proceed on our Quest to discover the life we’ve longed for.

Jesus calls us to make sure that we mark everything in our lives with love.  We can easily be kind to those who are nice to us; we’re not as easily disposed to have that same regard for those who mistreat us.  But Jesus gave us that revolutionary charge.  Our love responses for God and others create one of the most important characteristics of our Christian faith.

The memory verse for this week is Mark 12:30-31, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.  The second is this:  Love your neighbor as yourself.  There is no commandment greater than these.”

Thank you for listening to FaithBuilders podcasts.  For more information about our church, visit our website at www.jaxnaz.org. 

Build your faith today by loving God and loving others.


The Quest – Day 14

This is the devotional for Monday, October 9, 2006 which is the 14th day of The Quest, our 40 Days of Discovery. Our devotional today offers a summary of the material in Chapter 14 of Frank Moore’s great book, The Power To Be Free.

If you were unable to attend Sunday’s service, focusing on Discovery 2 of the Quest, or if you’d like to hear previous messages in The Quest series, please sign up for our Faith Nazarene Church podcast.

Click here to listen to the podcast version of this devotional. Click on the recent posts on this site to read the previous days’ devotionals or to subscribe to the “FaithBuilders” podcast, click on the link in the right margin.

Day 14 – God is Love

God is love.

“God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him.” (I John 4:16 NIV)

A song attempted to define God’s love, then gave up on the hopeless task and painted a picture instead. God’s love defies description!

Many of us have heard about God’s love from earliest childhood. Songs like “Jesus Loves Me” and verses like John 3:16 which begins, “For God so loved the world….” For some of us it seems we’ve heard so much of God’s love that it has lost its mystery.

But God does not possess love the way someone owns a pickup truck. Rather, God defines all that we know about love by His very nature and being. He is the source of all love, the very personification of it.

The most amazing picture of God’s love which was given in that song is that of the Father sending His Son Jesus Christ to live among us and tell us personally about God’s love. Then He died on the Cross for our sins. What unbelievable love! When pressed to define God’s love, John pointed to a picture, “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down His life for us.” (1 John 3:16)

This picture reminds us that God’s love reached out to us before we even knew we needed Him. He sacrificed His most precious loved one for us. He found no price too high for our ransom. He cared, He gave, and worked for our good long before any of us responded to Him. He did the same for those who never responded. This selfless love always was and forever will remain undeserved by us. Yet, He continues to extend it freely.

So, here’s the map for your Quest. Head straight toward a more comprehensive understanding of this God who equals love.

The memory verse for this week is Mark 12:30-31, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.”

Thank you for listening to FaithBuilders podcasts. For more information about our church, visit our website at www.jaxnaz.org.

Build your faith today by seeking to know this God who is love.

The Quest – Day 13

This is the devotional for Sunday, October 8, 2006 which is the 13th day of The Quest, our 40 Days of Discovery. Our devotional today offers a summary of the material in Chapter 13 of Frank Moore’s great book, The Power To Be Free.

If you are unable to attend today’s service, focusing on Discovery 2 of the Quest, we’d love you have you participate via our Faith Nazarene Church podcast. We will attempt to post the service this evening.

Click here to listen to the podcast version of this devotional. Visit http://www.buildyourfaith.net to read the previous days’ devotionals or to subscribe to the “FaithBuilders” podcast.

Day 13 – Love Floats

Love is the most important virtue.

“But the greatest of these is love.” (I Corinthians 13:13 NIV)

Since author Frank Moore grew up near his grandparents’ farm, he is amused when he visits the local grocery store and sees pints of what they now call “heavy whipping cream.” The name might imply cream to be heavier than regular milk. Quite the contrary. Dr. Moore grew up with a gallon of fresh milk in their refrigerator every morning. He knows that because rich cream is lighter than milk, it floats to the surface.

If we think of putting every Christian virtue in a bowl of water, love will float to the very top as the most important Christian virtue described in the Bible. Furthermore, love represents a key ingredient in every other Christian virtue.

Love is defined as a strong affection leading to action toward another person often based on admiration, benevolence, or common interests. It usually leads to unselfish loyalty or benevolent concern for the good of this special one. These definitions speak more of action than warm, fuzzy feelings. These represent ways we want God and other people to think, feel, and act toward us. They also represent the ways God wants us to think, feel, and act toward Him and others.

Dr. Moore said he recently attended a meeting where he heard a woman say, “I love poor people.” Someone quickly responded, “What are their names?” You see, love is not a lofty abstract; it must translate into a practical, concrete gesture aimed toward a person with a name. True love touches real people.

You know intuitively that love is the greatest and highest virtue. Where and how do you discover this kind of love? That is the focus of our Quest this week.

The memory verse for this week is Mark 12:30-31, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.”

Thank you for listening to FaithBuilders podcasts. For more information about our church, visit our website at www.jaxnaz.org.

Build your faith today by loving God and others in practical ways.

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