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)

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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 25

This is the devotional for Friday, October 20, 2006 which is the 25th day of The Quest, our 40 Days of Discovery. Our devotional today offers a summary of the material in Chapter 25 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 25 – Undivided Loyalty

Heart purity requires an undivided loyalty.

“Jesus answered, ‘If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” (Matthew 19:21 NIV)

Carlos studied to be a medical doctor. When an area church found itself between pastors, God used this experience to call Carlos to full-time ministry. Carlos had the potential to earn one of the largest salaries in his country as a medical doctor. Yet he chose to live in a modest home and earn a modest salary as he fulfilled God’s call on his life. His undivided loyalty to Christ affected his entire life.

The verse for today comes from Jesus’ encounter with a rich young man in Matthew 19:16-22. The young man approached Jesus with the pure intention of asking an honest question. In Jesus’ day it was taught that God granted eternal life based on the performance of good deeds. This way of thinking is still around. The young man wanted to know which good deeds would assure eternal life.

Jesus pointed him to the Ten Commandments, but He failed to mention commandment number 10, “Do not covet.” The young man said he had followed these commandments perfectly, or so he thought.

But Jesus called for the young man to be perfect. He called him to deal with his internal problem of coveting by outwardly letting go of the material possessions he loved most. These possessions defined him: others even called him the “rich young man.” Now, Jesus does not condemn owning material possessions or working a job which pays a salary. But He does require us to remove all stumbling blocks that stand between us and fellowship with God and following His will for our lives. That’s why Jesus’ last words to the young man were, “Come, follow me.”

We also must watch for subtle stumbling blocks to our spiritual commitment. These include anything that means more to you than pleasing God completely. Such stumbling blocks will make you weak and ineffective in your commitment to Christ because they divide your commitment. Once you remove them, you clear the path to heart purity.

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 offering God your undivided loyalty.

The Quest – Day 21

This is the devotional for Monday, October 16, 2006 which is the 21st day of The Quest, our 40 Days of Discovery. Our devotional today offers a summary of the material in Chapter 21 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.

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 21 – To Will One Thing

Purity sometimes means simply willing one thing—God’s will.

“When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to him and said, ‘I am God Almighty; walk before me and be blameless.’” (Genesis 17:1 NIV)

Purity is not so much perfect performance as it is pure intention and undivided loyalty. But for many of us, our loyalties are too divided to allow us to focus on purity of direction for life. Our recent study of God’s purposes for our lives helps us in this regard. Once we understand God’s purposes for our lives, we can filter the ambitions, activities and goals of our everyday lives through His purpose and see how they measure up. When your list matches His list, you’re ready to go. Everything else can go in the trash.

Abram (also known as Abraham) is an example of single-mindedness. God called him to be “blameless.” That’s a powerful concept. Blameless does not imply perfect performance, as in free from mistakes. It pictures a person wholeheartedly seeking to do God’s will. There’s no mix of wanting God’s will along with my will. It’s an undiluted desire to do what God wants me to do. God finds such unmixed desire acceptable and characterizes such a life as blameless. This offers us another insight into the biblical understanding of purity.

Abraham wasn’t perfect. But, through his occasional errors in judgment, Abraham kept fellowship with God and he sought wholeheartedly to find and do God’s will. When he stumbled, he sought God’s guidance, got back up, and started again.

Single-mindedness cannot stand alone as the sole meaning of the word purity. However, it shows us an important insight into God’s truth about purity.

A computer which devotes 100% of its processing time to fulfilling the requests necessary to run the programs you choose to run is a powerful tool. A computer infected with spyware which steals processing time and computer memory from the programs you want to run becomes a useless paperweight very quickly. A computer yielded to the purpose of its owner is a beautiful thing.

Abraham yielded the life God had given him back to God to be used for God’s purposes. What a beautiful life!

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 making the “One Thing” of your life God’s will, not yours.