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!

Advertisements

The Quest – Day 40!!! – FB Podcast Episode 100!!!

This is the devotional for Saturday, November 4, 2006 which is the 40th day of The Quest, our 40 Days of Discovery! Our devotional today offers a summary of the material in Chapter 40 of Frank Moore’s excellent book, The Power To Be Free. Thank you for sharing these 40 Days of Discovery with us! If you have found this journey to be helpful, please let us know!

 

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.

Today’s podcast marks the 100th episode of the FaithBuilders’ podcast! Thanks for helping our podcast site at buildyourfaith.net close in on 10,000 hits!

 

Day 40 – A Lifestyle of Service

 

Life in the Spirit of Christ is a life of service.

“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:9-10 NIV)

Your attention on this 40-day quest has focused primarily on a personal spiritual journey and your involvement in the community of faith. We’ve talked about the need to consecrate everything to God and receive the gift of His sanctification. However, the quest cannot be complete until we focus attention away from ourselves and onto others and their needs. Serving others is as vital to spiritual growth as praying or reading your Bible.

In the chapter of our Scripture focus for today, Paul teaches a key principle of service and ministry. Even in the midst of very difficult circumstances, we can experience the blessing and grace of God to the point that we wouldn’t want life to be any other way. Now to be sure, God is not the primary giver of the difficulties; Satan gets that credit. However, God finds ways to bless Paul and us in spite of Satan’s best efforts to defeat us.

Paul also teaches us one of the key mysteries of service and ministry here: God’s power sometimes works best in our lives at the point of our greatest weakness. We may prefer not to have the weakness, but somehow God’s light may shine brightest through it. So why does Paul endure the weaknesses and hardships in serving others? For the sake of Christ!

I’ve waited 40 days to say this. Are you ready? The life you long for is not about you! It’s about Christ and His example. The aim and focus is on others and the ways you can serve them in His name. It’s not about finding yourself; it’s about losing yourself. It’s not about becoming strong; it’s about coming to terms with your own weakness and finding your strength in Him. It’s not about what you become; it’s about what He becomes through you.

Life in the Spirit of Christ is a reflected life. You are like the moon. The moon is not a source of light. It only reflects the sun’s light. In like manner, as you spend quality time with the Spirit of Christ, you reflect His life through yours. Over time, Christ is formed in you (Colossians 1:27).

So does your quest for discovering life in the Spirit of Christ end today? No, quite the contrary! It’s only the beginning!

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 living a life of service.

The Quest – Day 36

This is the devotional for Tuesday, October 31, 2006 which is the 36th day of The Quest, our 40 Days of Discovery. Our devotional today offers a summary of the material in Chapter 36 of Frank Moore’s incredible 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 36 – A Holy and Pleasing Offering

We must offer ourselves to God as living sacrifices.

“Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” (Romans 12:1-2 NIV)

Author Frank Moore says that the common experience of saints down through the ages has been an awareness of a remaining hindrance to further spiritual growth. We come to realize that our problem involves wanting the best of both worlds—what God wants and what we want at the same time. But we know we cannot have it both ways.

Once we pinpoint the self-centeredness that is the heart of the problem, we realize it must be replaced with Christ-centeredness. We confess our need to God and surrender ourselves completely to His will. We sacrifice ourselves for God’s purposes and then trust God to change us. The Spirit entered our lives when we accepted Christ; now we are inviting Him to take charge of our control center.

Today’s Scripture lesson reminds us of Christ’s sacrifice. He willingly gave Himself to be nailed to the Cross. We too, should willingly offer our entire beings back to God as a living sacrifice. When we do this, something miraculous happens. Our values are changed from the world’s values; God radically transforms our lives. We receive the “mind of Christ” that the Apostle Paul refers to in 1 Corinthians 2:16. We say to God, “Whatever You ask, I’m willing to do. I’m just a glove for Your hand to fill.”

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.

To hear the message for 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 Church podcast. You will find the link at www.buildyourfaith.net.

Build your faith today by offering yourself as a living sacrifice to God.

The Quest – Day 35

This is the devotional for Monday, October 30, 2006 which is the 35th day of The Quest, our 40 Days of Discovery. Our devotional today offers a summary of the material in Chapter 35 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 35 – Christ in You, Part 2

You can become like Christ!

“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)

Today we continue the study of Christlike character development we began yesterday. Now, remember that this character development does not occur overnight.

13. Jesus was not vindictive and did not retaliate when others treated Him wrongly.
14. Jesus did not need to make a name for himself.
15. Jesus expressed strong emotion and indignation when the occasion called for it.
16. Jesus showed great courage throughout His life.
17. Jesus had a clear mission and purpose for His life.
18. Jesus lived with eternity’s values in view.
19. Jesus realized and accepted His human limitations.
20. Jesus always sought to do the will of His Father.
21.Jesus lived in constant communion with His Father.
22.Jesus depended on the Holy Spirit for constant spiritual strength and encouragement.
23. Jesus lived a life of service.
24. Jesus submitted himself to suffering on our behalf.
25. Jesus submitted himself to death on the Cross to accomplish our salvation.

Look back over the list of qualities and virtues from yesterday and today. God wants to form these in you as you grow in Him. Resist the tendency to make a list of these character qualities and grade your daily performance, or you’ll fall into the trap of bondage to performance. Just live for God and seek His ways. Growth in Christlikeness will follow as naturally as “April showers bring May flowers.”

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 the Father to make you like His Son.

40 Days of Purpose – Day 36

This is the devotional for Sunday, June 4, 2006 which is the 36th day of our 40 Days of Purpose. Our devotional today offers a summary of the material in Chapter 36 of Rick Warren’s best-selling book, The Purpose Driven Life.

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 36 – Made for a Mission

You were made for a mission!

“In the same way that you gave me a mission in the world, I give them a mission in the world.” John 17:18 (Msg)

God is at work in the world, and he wants you to join him. This assignment is called your mission. God wants you to have both a ministry in the Body of Christ and a mission in the world. Your life mission is both shared and specific.

Jesus clearly understood his life mission on earth. At age twelve he said, “I must be about my Father’s business,” and twenty-one years later, dying on the cross, he said, “It is finished.” Like bookends, these two statements frame a well-lived, purpose-driven life.

If you will commit to fulfilling your mission in life no matter what it costs, you will experience the blessing of God in ways that few people ever experience. There is almost nothing God won’t do for the man or woman who is committed to serving the kingdom of God.

If you want to be used by God, you must care about what God cares about. What he cares about most is the redemption of the people he made. He wants his lost children found! Nothing matters more to God; the Cross proves that.

Always be on the lookout to reach “one more for Jesus” so that when you stand before God one day, you can say, “Mission accomplished!”

The memory verse for this new week is Colossians 4:5 (NIV), “Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity.”

Thank you for listening to FaithBuilders Podcast at buildyourfaith.net. This podcast is a ministry of Faith Church of the Nazarene in Jacksonville, NC. Visit our website at jaxnaz.org for more information about our church.

Build your faith today by accepting God’s mission for your life!

40 Days of Purpose – Day 13

This is the devotional for Friday, May 12, 2006 which is Day 13 of our 40 Days of Purpose. For these 40 days we will be posting daily devotions based on the material in Rick Warren’s best selling book, The Purpose-Driven Life. We invite you to get a copy of the book and read chapter 13 with us today.

Click here to listen to the podcast version of this devotional.

Day 13 – Worship That Pleases God

God wants all of you!

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’” Mark 12:30 NIV

God doesn’t want a part of your life. God is not interested in halfhearted commitment, partial obedience, and the leftovers of your time and money. He desires your full devotion, not little bits of your life.

A Samaritan woman once tried to debate Jesus on the best time, place, and style for worship. Jesus replied that these external issues are irrelevant. Where you worship is not as important as why you worship and how much of yourself you offer to God when you worship.

The kind of worship that pleases God has four characteristics:

– God is pleased when our worship is accurate.

– God is pleased when our worship is authentic.

– God is pleased when our worship is thoughtful.

– And God is pleased when our worship is practical.

When Jesus said, “Love God with all your strength,” he was saying that worship takes effort and energy. It’s not always convenient or comfortable, and sometimes worship is a sheer act of the will—a willing sacrifice. When you praise God even when you don’t feel like it, when you get out of bed to worship when you’re tired, or when you help others when you are worn out, you’re offering a sacrifice of worship to God. And that pleases God.

Thank you for visiting http://www.buildyourfaith.net! This site is a ministry of Faith Church of the Nazarene in Jacksonville, North Carolina. For more information about our church visit our website at http://www.jaxnaz.org.

Build your faith today by offering God your full devotion!