An Incomplete, Complete Mess | Word For Life Says

 

 

Incomplete really speaks to the idea that I, we, us, don’t really have it all together like we think we do at times.  I mean, really, we are often so short from where we need to be; from where God wants us that we can feel the dragging of lack in our spirits.  If we were really honest with ourselves we would see within us deficit upon deficit without any real way of adding up to that holy mark of perfection our soul longs for.  If left to ourselves and our own ingenuity we would find that we are an incomplete mess.

But, thanks be to God that our completeness is not dependent upon us.  Rather, it is in Christ alone where we find everything that makes us 100% whole in Him.  In our relationship with Jesus as our Savior, there is no lack.  The Bible assures us, “You are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power,” (Colossians 2:10, NKJV).  On the cross, Jesus secured everything we need to have a full relationship with God Almighty, leaving nothing out.  Jesus Christ really does become more than enough for believers to rest in His salvation.  Through Calvary’s sacrifice, Jesus turned our incomplete mess into something completely beautiful.

More encouraging verses:

2 Corinthians 3:5 “Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God.”

John 1:16 “And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace.”

Colossians 1:19 “For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell.”

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“Don’t Change Your Glory!”

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“Hath a nation changed their gods, which are yet no gods? but my people have changed their glory for that which doth not profit,” Jeremiah 2:11, KJV

Changing your glory?! What does that even mean? It means anything that takes precedence over your worship of the one true God. It’s exchanging the life that was once rendered to service and obedience to God, to fulfill one’s own will and desires.

In God, we have love and security. In Him, we find peace, refuge and salvation. Yet, every day the battle ensues for us to give it all up to follow after that which “does not profit.” It reminds me of the story of the prodigal son. He had a hard time seeing what he really had going for him at home where he was. He thought the grass was greener on the other side and his perception of the other side drew him away from the blessedness he already had. He gave up everything his father secured for him to go off in the wild blue yonder to pursue his own desires.

Such was the calamity that befell the Israelites also. They had exchanged the worship of the one true God to follow after idols. This same God, whom throughout history, has sought to love them, protect them and pour out His promises on them. He has stomped down enemies for them. He has overthrown kingdoms for them. He has multiplied them, blessed them, led them, covered them, fed them and saved them. Yet, they had reached a point when they decided in themselves that they needed more.

I once heard someone teach that grass is still grass, no matter what “side” it’s on. Here, the prodigal son and the Israelites have been deceived into believing more in the imagination of the “other side” than in the reality of the powerful love they already had. It’s a truth thing! We have to be sure that truth is not misinterpreted because it can hinder one’s growth or cause one to step all the way out of the faith to the point of changing their glory.

From the beginning of time truth has been under attack and glory has been fought against. But, Hebrews 10:35 tells us, “Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompence of reward,” (KJV). In the garden, Adam and Eve cast away their confidence and believed deception. The Israelites cast away their confidence and went after that which does not profit. The prodigal son cast his confidence away and broke the relationship between him and his father. The book of Hebrews was written to the saints – to the church – to them already in a relationship with God through Christ, and the yellow tape of “CAUTION” has been spread out! It is warning those who are thinking about following the footsteps of those I mentioned. Hebrews is encouraging them not to give up on their faith! Don’t break your relationship with God! Don’t exchange your glory!

There are a lot of things and imaginations that seek to draw you away. Hebrews teaches that if we will just hold on to the truth, to the confidence, the reward is coming! 1 Corinthians 15:58 supports this by admonishing us to “. . . be ye steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord, (KJV). If you stay rooted in the Lord, it will all pay off in a little while. It’s not in vain! Don’t change your glory!

Hold on! “For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise,” (Hebrews 10:36, KJV). Wait for it! Do His will! Receive His promises! But, don’t change your glory! “Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him. But we are not of them who draw back into perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul,” (Hebrews 10:38-39, KJV).

There are many things that appear to profit but end in ruin. Ask Adam and Eve, or the prodigal son, or even the ancient Israelites. They suffered for the choices they made. Today, we can look at their examples and decide to do it differently. We don’t mock them, but we learn from them of what we don’t want to do. And, we don’t want to change our glory!

“Just Give Me Jesus!”

“But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.” 2 Corinthians 11:3

Every once in a while we need to take a step back and examine ourselves.  What or who is it that we are really devoted to?  What or who are we chasing after?  What or who are we investing our time and energies toward?  Are we just running this Christian race for a better life on this side of the grave?  Or, are we sincerely and completely devoted to the Christ who redeemed us from its power?

The Apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthian church for them to beware.  Beware of what?  Beware of deception that is afoot.  “But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ,” (2 Corinthians 11:3); or the sincerity of devotion to Him.

Jesus is our lifeline for the here and now, and for time to come.  If we are not completely tied to and devoted to Him, then what are we doing?  Why are we claiming our attachment to His holy body if our devotion is not fully geared toward Him, being sincerely in love with the Savior?

Our lives are to be simply Jesus.  Yes, we have other things to attend to in life and we cannot shirk those responsibilities.  But, the center of our heart is for the Lord.  In all that we do, we seek to do it in devotion, love, and honor to Him.

“Just give me Jesus,” the soul within cries.  The complications of life and the whisperings of other “means” seek to disrupt and break our sincerest fellowship with our Savior.  But, just give me Jesus.

May our devotion to Him, no matter what we are facing, be of the sincerest form.  May our hearts ever be tied to the Christ who redeemed us.  May our minds carry Jesus in it as we walk the paths of this life.

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“Stand Your Ground!”

Stand your ground, be firm,
don’t settle or rest.
Wear your resolve as an emblem
mounted on your chest.

You know who you are.
You know Who knows you.
And, you know in your heart
you have nothing to prove.

Don’t let their words sway
how you feel about self.
Don’t let their thoughts control –
For time will tell.

Your character, your work,
will speak for your stand.
Believe in who He made you,
perfectly planned.

Opinions of others,
their views of you,
pale in comparison
to Creator of skies so blue.

Let them judge and baulk,
throw verbal stones at you.
You are committed in faith
and God will see you through.

So, stand in your beauty
from the inside out.
Rest your heart in God’s thoughts,
under your feet, place their doubts.

“Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.  Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;).”  Hebrews 10:22-23

 

“Today I Believe I am Big Enough!”

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“And there we saw the giants, the sons of Anak which come of the giants: and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight,” Numbers 13:33

Feeling outsized in life?  The fact of the matter is that many of us feel too small for the task ahead.  Goals, dreams, and possibilities are alright to fantasize about, but when it actually comes down to implementing what needs to be done, we often feel inadequate, as if we don’t have enough in us to see it all the way through to the end.  We feel too small to go in and take hold of what we can be.

Too often we get stuck in a rut because of this line of thinking.  The pressure of what it actually takes to step out into something new, to believe there is a chance for you to be better and to have better, is a little overwhelming to most.  Dealing with the unusual and stepping into the unfamiliar takes a strong act of courage.  It involves one having enough strength and faith to look past what they view themselves as now and see something bigger.

For any area of life where we want to see improvement, there will always be barriers.  There will always be “giants,” whether real or imagined, that will say and make you believe that you are too little; that you don’t have enough in you to be big.

“Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world,” (1 John 4:4).  The world doesn’t want you to make it.  And, he that operates in the world wants your faith to diminish to the point that you feel like you’re a little “grasshopper.”  It is time for you to stop listening to the world and turn a deaf ear to the “giants.”  If God brought you to the edge of the promise, then, He is most certainly able to bring you all the way into it.  The main factor that can hinder you is you!  It is what you believe about yourself!   It is what you believe God can do in and through you!

“Greater is He that is in you!”  Our belief in ourselves and what God can do through us rises when we realize who it is on our side and what He can do.  That’s the beautiful thing about this.  Life may outsize us but it will never outsize God!  God dwarfs to nobody!  He is greater than all.  So much so, that when He was telling Abraham about his promises, “He could swear by no greater, he sware by himself,” (Hebrews 6:13).

God is the greatest there is.  The buck stops with Him.  He can’t be outdone.  He can’t be belittled.  He is king and will be king forever.  And, He is “in you!”  That means you are big enough!  You are nobody’s grasshopper!  You can do it because of who you have on the inside of you!  Your job is to wholeheartedly believe, understand and know His bigness, so that you can believe, understand and know that today, “I am big enough!”

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Sunday School Lesson – “God Created Mankind” Genesis 1:26-2:3, 7

Photo Credit: Pixabay/Prawny

VERSE DISCOVERY: Genesis 1:26-2:3, 7 (KJV, Public Domain)

Do you know how special you are?  Do you know of the creative design that brought you here today?  Can you fully appreciate your uniqueness, being an altogether separate creature from all others God created?

As part of the human race, you are the climax of God’s design.  Oh, the stars and objects above serve their purpose and are beautiful to look at, but they are not you.  And, as we look out on the horizon to view nature, we may sigh pleasantly at the glorious way the panoramic view displays His beautiful scene before us – but no scene is more beautiful to Him than those who were made in His image, in His likeness.  These were specially designed for a relationship with the Father.

As the creation story unfolds, may we find our place in it, our origin in it, and may those findings render a new appreciation for how special you are in the eyes of God. 

God Created Man

Genesis 1:26-27 “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.  So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.”

For six days, God had been creating.  With light created and darkness separated, both being defined for what they are; and with land, plant life, celestial bodies spoken into existence and put in their places, the Creation story of the beginning of everything we know is off to a beautiful start, and it is all good in the sight of the Creator.

With sea, land, and air creatures created and placed in their proper places, it is time for the crème de la crème of all His creation to be formed.  That apex of God’s design comes when He decides to inhabit this grand earth He made with mankind.

Mankind is the most unique of all God’s creation for several reasons (and we’ll discuss those reasons in a bit), but let’s hone in on the word “unique” for a moment in relation to all the elements of the Creation story already put in place.

Mankind has nothing like himself that dwells on the face of the earth outside of other members of the human race.  Yes, I know there is a scientific theory that tries to over-exaggerate similarities between humans and other species when, in fact, there are no other species identical to the man God formed out of the dust of the ground as his beginning origins (Genesis 2:7).  And, I know there are other theories that express many ideas of suppositions of how we came to be the people we are in the place that we are in, but the Bible gives the very straightforward facts of not only our origin but also why we are so special in our uniqueness among all other creation.

For we are made in the image/likeness of God.  God, Himself, spoke on that sixth day of creation and said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.”

The words us and our leaves many asking to whom God is talking to when He is speaking.  Now, again, while many people have theorized several answers to that questioning, the most biblically based, solid answer, revolves around the Trinity.  Biblical evidence shows clearly God the Father, the Son (John 1:1-14; Colossians 1:16-17), and the Holy Spirit (Genesis 1:2) being present at the time of Creation.

With God having no physical likeness, the image/likeness we were made to be like has more to do with the way He created man from the inside out.  Though His thoughts are above our thoughts (Isaiah 55:8-9), God gave us the capacity to think or operate intellectually and emotionally as He does.  With that comes the ability to reason, to love, etc.  We are not God, but apart from all other creatures, we are His likeness upon the earth.

In an article I previously published, Our True Image, I wrote:

“I believe when God spoke in the beginning that we were made in His image (see Genesis 1:27), He spoke of more than just our facial features, our physique, our height, weight, and so on.  He spoke of our representation of something the boundaries of those outer measurements can’t comprehend.  He spoke of our likeness of Him.  At that point of creation, when it came time for humanity to be put on the earth, God looked to Himself to snap a portrait of who we are truly designed to be.

Now, do I mean that you are supposed to be God sitting on the throne in heaven?  No.  But, what I do mean is we are carriers of so much more.  The portrait of our lives is made to expose and reflect His glory of the greater.” (WordForLifeSays.com)

Another part of the uniqueness of created humanity is he is to reign and have dominion over all other creatures created.  David expressed in the Psalms the reign of man over all “the works of thy hands,” (Psalm 8:6-8), and Hebrews agrees (Hebrews 2:7-8).

What this means is, as representatives of God on this earth, we are to diligently care for and steward the things of the earth.  One day, the earth will pass way in the great finale of the end times, but until then, every human being is given the order to care for this temporary home of ours, and all the other creatures in it.

Through the years, the word dominion has become synonymous with words like power, authority, and control.  And, that’s a right interpretation of the word.  But, what’s more important is how that word is being carried out.  Are we abusing, taking for granted, and treating recklessly those things placed under our control?  Or, are we managing everything in a godly fashion and taking proper care of what has been given us?  As His image-bearers, we have the responsibility to be responsible with His creation.

Both men and women carry this responsibility for both are made in the image of God (Genesis 1:27).  Each bears their own qualities that set them apart as male and female, but each are image-bearers created by God and His perfect design for all humans.  There are separate identifying markers for each sex, but as part of the human race they are made in his own image.  Jesus once said, “Have you not read that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female,” (Matthew 19:4).  Both have important roles in His creation.

Genesis 1:28 “And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.”

Then God spoke His blessings over them with the charge to be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth.  God blessed them to be productive that the earth might be filled, the same way He called all other creatures to multiply (Genesis 1:20, 25).  As God placed in all other living species of His creation the ability to produce (procreate) that the earth may teem with life, so did He with humanity.  Multiplication equals increase.  Increase equals a filled earth.

And, with that blessing of fruitfulness, came also the reiteration of their responsibility to subdue and have dominion… over every living thing…  God placed mankind in charge.  This may make us special, and some may abuse that top-of-the-food-chain-status, but the greater reminder is that with such a heavy charge there comes more to answer for on how things/creatures/nature was used under our control/charge.  Our job is to be righteous rulers over everything God has placed in our care.

Genesis 1:29-30 “And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.  And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so.”

As God has called us to the position of caring for other creatures in creation, He shows mankind some of the ways He cares for them and all living things as He supplies for their needs.  Specified seeds, fruits, herbs, and vegetation would be the meat or food nutritional source for all creatures such as beasts… fowls… and everything that creepeth upon the earth along with mankind which God created.  He gave or furnished every living thing with all that they need to survive, flourish, and multiply.

Genesis 1:31 “And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.”

When God took in the scope of everything He created, He saw it was very good.  Everything was perfectly original, perfectly created, and perfectly placed.  There was no intrusion in the tranquility of His beautiful design.  Sin was not present, and the earth was as glorious as He envisioned it – unstained and unaffected by the mess we see today.

Once I wrote, “Our original design was not to live in an environment of sin and decay.  It was not designed to exist with dead and dreary things.  It was designed to behold the beauty of God through His creation.  We were designed to live in God’s best!” (Made for Green/WordForLifeSays.com). 

And, when He saw His best on display, God viewed it as very good, culminating the sixth day of creation.

God Rested After Creation

Genesis 2:1-3 “Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them.  And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made.  And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.”

After everything was finished, God rested on the seventh day.  This day would later be referred to as Sabbath, which means “rest” or “cease.”  It would be a day set aside out of the week that demanded nothing but rest and time to worship (Exodus 20:8-11).  It also became a sign between God and His people (Exodus 31:13).

This holy precedent started with God Himself.  There are fewer things in the world than that which brings one the satisfaction of a job well done.  What God did was perfect.  There was no further need for work, therefore work ended, and He ordained the seventh day as a time of rest.

God made this day a priority and sanctified it, which means He set is apart as holy.  He did this because of or in honor of the fact that he had rested from all his work which God created and made.

There is something uniquely beautiful in the idea of the Creator of all sitting back and being pleased with everything before Him in perfectness.  I can’t help but imagine how happy His heart must have been at that time.  Did it all put a smile on His face?  Does it put a smile on your face thinking about it?  It does for me.

Genesis 2:7 “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.”

As chapter 2 progresses, it describes and reiterates, with additional detail, certain aspects of the creation story, including the specifics on mankind being formed… of the dust of the ground (compare Genesis 3:19, 23).   

Opposite of everything that was spoken in creation, or the way the animals were called forth from the ground (Genesis 1:24; 2:19), mankind was the only uniquely one formed to be an image-bearer of God.  This one, he was special, and he required a special design.

See, I told you that you were unique and special in His design.  Then, God breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.  Mankind is alive because of God.  Should God take away or withhold that precious breath, mankind would cease to live (see Psalm 104:21; Job 34:14-15).  “Thus saith God the LORD, he that created the heavens, and stretched them out; he that spread forth the earth, and that which cometh out of it; he that giveth breath unto the people upon it, and spirit to them that walk therein,” (Isaiah 42:5). 

God created mankind, and that’s the one and only true answer for our existence on this earth.  You and I are living souls because of God!

PDF Printable Sunday School Lesson Pack (With easy to read instructions following the P.E.A.R.L. format on how to conduct each lesson with areas for adding personal notes): Sunday School Lesson – God Created Mankind

Suggested Activities:

Fingerprints uniquely tell who we are. There are no two sets alike, not even for identical twins.  Your fingerprints tell of the individual God made you to be; that you are individually special to God.  Using a stamper and the fingers of students, have each rub a thumb or ink on the stamper pad and stamp a clear paper with their fingerprint.  Have them look carefully at it.  Students can even exchange them with one another to see their own uniqueness in the way God created them.  Tie this example into today’s lesson.

Younger students can work with moldable playing dough. For this example, homemade is best (I like the idea of using it organically, with no colors for the forming of man effect), but of course, any kind of moldable dough for playing will do.  Have students form “man” from the blob you give them.  Discuss how easy or hard it was.  Discuss the intricate details it took for God to make us. (Note: if you are using homemade dough and if time allows, let the children help you make the dough, to really get involved in the “creation” of the people they make.  Find a recipe for a non-cooking version.  There are many online to choose from.)

Younger students can also put together a Made in God’s Image people necklace. Print from the outlines (found online at wordforlifesays.com) the people templates on cardstock or glue to construction paper.  Decorate each one as you want.  Punch a hole in the top and string through with yard or something similar.  You can even add beads or cut up straws for a nice decorated effect.  They can wear it proudly around their neck because they are Made in God’s Image. PDFMade In God’s Image Craft

Adult Journal Page: Adult Journal Page – Made in the Image of God

Kid’s Journal Page: Kid’s Journal Page – Made in the Image of God

Draw the Scene: God Created Mankind Draw the Scene

Memory Verse: God Created Mankind Memory Verse

Word Search: God Created Mankind Word Search  Answers: God Created Mankind Word Search Answers

Crossword: God Created Mankind Crossword  Answers: God Created Mankind Crossword Answers

Word Scramble: God Created Mankind Word Scramble  Answers: God Created Mankind Word Scramble Answers

 

 

 

Sunday School Lesson – “The Love of God” 1 John 4:7-19

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VERSE DISCOVERY: 1 John 4:7-19 (KJV, Public Domain)

Love is a subject very near and dear to my heart.  It is probably one of my most written about topics to express.  And, we find out from today’s lesson that love is the essence of who God is.  We will learn deeply how our love is an identifying factor in proving us to be of Him and it shows the depth of all He feels for us.

In fact, the whole of our human story has been entirely of God’s love for us.  From our beginning in Genesis to the ending of the story to come, God’s love for humanity has been at the forefront of His relational chase of us.  If you have followed me and my writing for any amount of time you have probably come across a time or two an article I have written titled, Know Real Love.  In that I write:

“God loves you! Throughout the pages of the Bible, the overflow of all He feels for us is pronounced over and over again. He has plenty of evidence to mark the extremes of His love for us . . .  in Deuteronomy 23:5, He is noted as reversing a curse because He loves His people. But His ultimate show of love came when He initiated His plan to reverse the curse of sin once and for all. The plan was successful, but it didn’t come without a price. His love for us cost the life of His Son, John 3:16. All that was done so that one day we might experience the joy of what it really means to be loved; such a tender embrace wrapped around us that can’t be felt anywhere else.” (Word for Life Says/Know Real Love).

Because He loves us so, may we extend that same love to one another, is the pleading of this lesson.  We are His real-life examples to a lost world.  We are the only Bible that some people may read in their entire lifetime.  Let the story they see in you and I be one of love.

Think of it, in a world filled with hatefulness, selfishness, and condemnation, I personally believe we can never tire of hearing of the love of God.  And, as Christians we constantly need to be on our toes; to be retaught over and over again the importance that we show that same love God gave to us to one another.

The ugliness of this world’s characteristics DOES NOT have to infect us.  We can shine brighter above it all knowing that we are loved in a special way by Him.  With that knowledge, we too can return what we have received of Him to others.

When we truly know how much God loves us, we can love others better.

God is Love

1 John 4:7-10 “Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.  He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.  In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we mighty live through him.  Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”

God doesn’t birth ugliness (nasty characteristics and ungodly traits).  If one is born of God, then as His spiritual children that one should possess the character and nature of their heavenly Father (just as natural children inherit some of the nature and traits of their parents).

False teachers and naysayers will always try to usurp what God wants to do in the life of the Christian and how they ought to live.  In his letter, false teachers are an enemy that John had to deal with and because of them, he had re-educate the people on what God says is true and encourage people to live and follow that truth which revolves, here in this lesson, around love.

As a matter of fact, John opens chapter 4 with this warning: “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world,” (1 John 4:1).  After that he gives a summation of the contrast between the Christian and the world; “Ye are of God, little children . . .” (1 John 4:4), and “They are of the world. . .” (1 John 4:5).  Immediately following this comparison of who is in truth and who is in error, 1 John 4:6 begins to admonish the saints how we ought to live.  How the love of God is to be manifest in our culture.

Christians are to operate in a love culture for this is what we have learned from our heavenly Father.  For John to keep pushing this key point means there must have been a serious disturbance and dissension going on in the church that made it necessary for this subject’s continual address.  I wonder how many disturbances in our modern-day churches are due to a lack of this godly love culture being produced within its walls.

With that, John writes, “Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God.”  God loves us – Yes!  Love comes from God – Yes!  Now, the responsibility to share that love falls on the shoulders of the believers; of the body of Christ, the Church.  As Christians, God has lavished on us the best of His love through our Lord Jesus Christ (as well as being offered to the whole world if they will accept Him).  Therefore, as Christians, our relationship with one another should express that same spirit of love because what comes out of us gives testimony to what’s inside of us (see Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 15:16-20).

For a Christian to claim he is of God means that individual should express the same attributes that are characteristic of the God they say they represent.  To be without those attributes is to be without proof of who you say are and whose you say you are.  The things that come out of our life tell more about the real us than any words of the mouth.

In taking up the responsibility to love one another we are daring to stretch out beyond our personal comfort zones to the benefit of another soul in need.  We are putting our faith in action through the course of loving others.  We are pushing past the popular feelings of emotions and commanding of ourselves and our lives to give unto others what we have received from God.  We are personally making it our goal to imitate the Father’s love toward us.

Romans 12:10 tells us, “Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another.”  As brothers and sisters in Christ, we are all of the same holy family.  We share spiritual kindred and as such we should be devoted to one another in well-being and care expressed through a loving relationship as a family should.  Our love for one another is to be marked by fervency (see 1 Peter 1:22) which means we should have an on-fire, zealous love for one another in Christ.

Love is of God; love is from God and He has demonstrated His love toward humanity when He sent his Son into the world, that we might live through him, (see also John 3:16 and Romans 5:8 which we will see later in this lesson as well).  The sacrifice of Christ proved to us (manifested; made clear) and the world how much God loves us and now we are to make that same love evident to all through our daily living and sacrifice.

God is love (vss. 8, 16), something I hinted on earlier.  The word is can be compared to words such as be or exist.  God doesn’t just love.  God doesn’t just have love.  God isn’t just in love with us.  Loving is not just a part of Him.  God is love.  It’s what His entirety is.  Thus, whoever claims to be in an intimate relationship with God and knows God should readily and willingly demonstrate the same character He is.  In contrast to that, he that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.

This love relationship we get to experience didn’t start in or with us.  God has been the chaser of mankind since his creation.  Love begins and ends with God as the bookends that hold everything together.

To prove His love, He provided a means for mankind to be redeemed from the rift of sin that has torn apart his relationship with God.  He sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.   The fact of the matter is sin destroys.  And, there is no way around atoning (offering of propitiation) for that sin and restoring humanity’s relationship with God outside of shed blood.  Hebrews remind us, “Without shedding of blood is no remission,” (Hebrews 9:22).

With that being said, Christ became that shed blood sacrifice, sent by God, which permanently atoned for our sins.  The Bible tells us, “For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us: Nor yet that he should offer himself often, as the high priest entereth into the holy place every year with blood of others; For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself,” (Hebrews 9:24-26), where He not only covered our sins but, took them away forever.

Now, that’s love!  That’s what God’s love looks like!  Therefore, our response should be to love like God loves.

Love Like God Loves

1 John 4:11-13 “Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.  No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us.  Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit.”

Since God showed us the kind of love that would give up His only begotten Son, the command is, we ought to also love one another.  Whatever little meager anything we think we may lose or give up in extending love can never be compared to what God already gave.

Love is the key that opens the door to the reality in showing that we love Him.  God will not dwell in an environment of hate and selfishness.  If those are present, God is not.  If we, as His children, are showing His characteristics of love, then we know that we dwell in him, and he in us.  Love or lack of it is the marker that shows one’s stance in his/her relationship with God.  Anytime the individual or church is not operating in love, they are not operating in God and He is not in the midst.

There is a personal responsibility that John is pointing to for each individual believer to follow.  Approximately 10x’s John uses the word we throughout this lesson alone, not including the rest of his book where there are many, many more instances and identifying words which incorporate and reference the whole body of Christ with the use of words like “us” and “our.”

“We” identifies us.  We” states what we believe.  We,” tells our mission.  “We” also have His Spirit living on the inside of us and as such should operate the way His Spirit operates; in love.

Every true, born-again Christian, must possess the indwelling of His Spirit.  The effective and powerful Christian life cannot be lived out without His Spirit.  His leading and guiding on the inside is the separating factor between us and the world.  The world caters to the things of the flesh while the Spirit hones in on the things of heaven; the things of God.  Therefore, he hath given us of his Spirit and His Spirit should lead every Christian down the path of showing the same love He has shown to us.

1 John 4:14 “And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world.”

Here, we see the word “we” again.  In this usage of the word, John is speaking from his personal experience with Jesus.  John was not doing a retelling of a story passed down; rather, he was attesting to the real-life knowledge of the ministry he witnessed following Jesus Christ personally for those 3 ½ years.  This is a ministry that he has seen with his own eyes and now lives to tell about it or testify to others.

And, what does he testify?  “The Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world!”  How incredibly AWESOME is that!  He knows and witnessed His workings while here on earth that Jesus Christ was no less than the Son who has come to save!  He is the love of God in action!

Jesus Himself told Nicodemus, “For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved,” (John 3:17). This is nothing short of the ultimate act of love.  This, throughout every facet of His ministry, John gave witness to, testified of and wrote as a record in the books that bear his name.

1 John 4:15 “Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God.”

Earlier in this same book John wrote, “Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father,” (1 John 2:23).  This goes back to his combatting the false teachers and their teachings.  He stated very bluntly in the verse prior to this: “Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son,” (1 John 2:22).

Not only are they a “liar,” but have been identified with the “antichrist.”  That’s a heavy dose of truth.  Christians have to be on guard where they are getting their information from and where they are allowing it to lead them.  But he that shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God.

The false teachings are out there.  We are to make sure we are following the way of truth in love.

1 John 4:16-19 “And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.  Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world.  There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.  We love him, because he first loved us.”

Here, the love issue is unwrapped and exposed for us to understand.  What do we understand?

  1. We know and believed the love that God hath to us. – Before one can dish it out to another, they must believe the love that God has for them. God loves you! We are more than familiar with the John 3:16 statement of love, but what about the Romans 5:8 statement of love: “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” While we were yet in our mess – God loved us so much to send His Son to the cross for us. That’s powerful love!
  2. God is love. – Again, as already has been stated in our lesson, God cannot be separated from the character of who He is.  Love is not what God does, it’s who He is. Now, everything that the world identifies as love does not mean that God is in that.  If it is in opposition to His Word, He ain’t there.  Point blank.  Plain and simple.
  3. He that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him. – God’s love was a demonstrative type of love; one He put on display through action, particularly in the sacrificing of His Son. In John 15:13 Jesus said, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” He who possesses the same marks of love He did, has the same “God in him.” He that lives in the life of love lives in God.
  4. Perfect love – We can experience His perfect love.  When the day of judgment comes we can stand with no fear in us because we have already been covered by His love. Therefore, we fear no sense of judgment or separation.  Romans 8:38-39 reminds us, “For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, no powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” There is no fear in His perfect love.  Perfect love casteth out fear, therefore if any remain in fear he is not in love and needs to reevaluate their relationship with God. “For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father,” (Romans 8:15; see also 2 Timothy 1:7).
  5. We love him, because he first loved us. – Make no mistake about it; humans cannot take credit for this. As already stated before, love originates with God.  “God loves you!”  You, my friends, are so very much and incredibly loved by the King of all kings and the Lord of all lords.  There is so much that we face daily that tries to speak contrary to the blessedness we have in Him.  But, my God loves you with an undying love.  His heart is tied to His people.  His people need only to rest in the promises of His mercy, grace, power, and authority that make their hearts soar on the wings of the hope we have in Him all because He chose to love us first despite our sins and flaws.

And, when we truly grasp the understanding of the love of God for us, then can we learn to love others better.

PDF Printable Sunday School Lesson Pack (With easy to read instructions following the P.E.A.R.L. format on how to conduct each lesson with areas for adding personal notes for teaching):  

Object Lesson Ideas:

“How Much Are We Worth?”

“He Loves Me… He Loves Me Not”

“God’s Love Letter”

Craft Heart: Create a simple heart craft that expresses God’s love for them. Simply fold a piece of construction paper in half and cut into the shape of a half heart.  When the students open the heart fully, they can write in the middle “God is Love” and decorate their heart by making designs, or adding stickers, glitter, or other embellishments to it.

Kid’s Journal Page: Kid’s Journal Page – The Love of God

Adult Journal Page: Adult Journal Page – The Love of God

Memory Verse: The Love of God Memory Verse

Draw the Scene: The Love of God Draw the Scene

Word Search: The Love of God Word Search  Answers: The Love of God Word Search Answers

Crossword: The Love of God Crossword  Answers: The Love of God Crossword Answers

Word Scramble: The Love of God Word Scramble  Answers: The Love of God Word Scramble Answers

Additional Activities/Resources/Links:

“Love Bible Printables” (Yes, printables!  Originally for Valentines Day but goes very nicely with today’s lesson.  Enjoy!)

“Bible Lessons, Crafts and Activities about Love” (Several to choose from that can be nicely incorporated in this week’s lesson.  Enjoy!)

“Love One Another” (How does making “friendship stickers” sound?  This and another activity can be found on this link.  What a creative way to show love!  Enjoy!)

“Love One Another” (A creative classroom project which involves a big red heart and students’ self-portraits.  Very nice!  Enjoy!)

“Heart Crafts” (Several for Valentine’s Day that can be used creatively for our lesson.  Enjoy!)

“As I Have Loved You” (Children’s Bible lesson and activities with printable sheets and group activities that include a “Sucker Relay,” “Bubble Popping,” and more.  Enjoy!)

“Teaching Kids How to Love God and Love Others” (Sunday School Lesson Help)

“Love Bible Verses for Children” (Easy printable activity for kids.  Enjoy!)

“Love One Another Printable Mobile” (AWESOMENESS!  ENJOY!)

“Love Crafts” (Many unique love crafts to choose from that can be adapted to today’s lesson.  Click to check it out.  Enjoy!)

“Three Bible Stories that Teach About Love”

 

God Knows Your Importance | Word For Life Says

God knows your importance even if others don’t.
God knows your importance if you, yourself won’t.
God values you completely, through and through.
In His sight, you are treasured for the who that is you.

All of creation, He spoke, each part was good.
But, when He looked at you, He saw everything that could…
Everything that could dream…
Everything that could love…
Everything that could hope to the end.
He saw everything that could, with potential from within.

An original creation, the beauty of His eye.
Someone who has His heart, that He was willing to die.
Your value can’t be measured by man’s purpose or plan.
Your value stands only by what says the great, “I AM!”

And, He says you are gifted and loved, cherished and held.
Please, know it’s your importance that makes His heart swell.
Swell, because He can see more than anyone can.
Plant your faith, YOU ARE IMPORTANT, in His heavenly plan.

“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.” Jeremiah 29:11

Photo Credit: Pixabay/DzeeShah

“Love Makes a Difference!”

"Love Makes a Difference!" 1 Peter 4:8 www.wordforlifesays.com

“Above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.”1 Peter 4:8

Love makes the difference!  There’s no way around it.  God is love (1 John 4:8).  Jesus died because of love (John 3:16).  And now we are admonished to have that same “fervent charity/love” toward one another.  Christians are to have a love for each other that cannot be easily extinguished by life’s difficulties.  Paul wrote, “Ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another,” (Gal. 5:13; emphasis mine).  The love and compassion we have in us should be poured out freely to one another.

“For charity/love shall cover the multitude of sins.”  God’s love, through His Son Jesus, covered a “multitude” of my sins and yours.  We are to be imitators of our heavenly Father.  Proverbs 10:12 tells us, “Hatred stirreth up strifes: but love covereth all sins.”  Both of these verses pronounce love as a covering.  It’s not that we don’t see, feel or hurt at the wrongs of others, it’s all about what we choose to do with it.  Much like God (although we can never touch the capacity of His love), our love is to be so on-fire for one another that it causes us to look beyond the faults of others and see to the core of their very need.  That’s how love makes a difference!

“Come to the Waters”

“Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters . . .” Isaiah 55:1

Come to the waters, the Lord beckons.  This world will tire you out and the pursuit of it will leave you drained.  Refreshment can only be found in Him.  As one traipsing through a desert of darkness that this world so often leads you through, His plentiful Spirit will satiate the aridness and will water your life where it was once dry.

Do you need that touch from Him?

Come!

Do you need that refreshing spring that flows from the everlasting Father?

Come!

Do you need the tenderness and hope that can only be found in the stream of His salvation?

Come!

Do you need to be rejuvenated into new birth in the waters of His spiritual deliverance?

Then, come!

Don’t lighten your pace.  Run with haste to the pool of His mercy and grace, and come.  Don’t let anyone stop you from dipping in.  Dive in with full surrender and with full abandon, and come.

A sip just won’t do.  We are thirsty for You, O God!  We have nothing to offer for the price You paid, yet, You say come.  We have no value on our own, but You speak, come anyway.  There is no good thing that dwells in our flesh (Romans 7:18), but You invite us to draw near to You and come.

Come to the waters.  Step into the abundant life He so offers (John 10:10).  Come and let your soul be spiritually satisfied.  Come and take the offer of His salvation for yourself.

Come, and don’t turn away.  Don’t give up this great treasure that can only be found in God.  Don’t let the delight of what the Lord Jesus Christ bought for you on that cross slip through your fingers.

“Incline your ear, and come to Me. Hear, and your soul shall live . . .” (Isaiah 55:3, NKJV).  Live in Him.  Live in the peace He offers through the pouring out of His blood.  Live a life free from spiritual drought because you were once thirsty and you came and partook of His holy waters.

Yes, this world will dry you out, but He restores, He redeems, and He puts in right fellowship with Him every thirsty soul that comes to Him and drinks.  Jesus said, “But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life,” (John 4:14).

Therefore, come to the Water!