True Love Part 3

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The Birth of Jesus Christ
2 In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. 2 This was the first registration when[a] Quirinius was governor of Syria. 3 And all went to be registered, each to his own town. 4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, 5 to be registered with Mary, his betrothed,[b] who was with child. 6 And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. 7 And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.[c]

The Shepherds and the Angels
8 And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. 10 And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,

14 “Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”[d]

15 When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16 And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. 17 And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. 18 And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. 20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.

21 And at the end of eight days, when he was circumcised, he was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb.
— -Luke 2:1-21 ESV

I just LOVE the Christmas story! Every year we see Christmas plays and nativity scenes; albeit less than in days gone by. The focus is always on Baby Jesus, as it should be.

This week as we prepare for the Christmas celebration, let’s think about the first Christmas account found in Luke chapter 2.

A young virgin girl, Mary, found favor from God. She was chosen to raise and care for His Son on this earth. I think of this through “rose-colored glasses”. It must have been so awesome to know that you’re son is THE Son of God, THE long awaited Messiah. How special and blessed Mary must have felt, right?

But with that blessing came great hardship. Mary wasn’t married, yet. In that day and time, you could be stoned to death for that. Her reputation was severely tarnished to say the least. And so was the reputation of her husband-to-be since he kept her. (We know God’s angel came to him, like Mary, and explained what was going on.) But their families didn’t know what we know, nor did their friends or onlookers.

People are the same-just the times are different. If folks will talk about you and look down on you now, they would then, too. So we can surmise the pain Mary and Joseph must have went through as vessels that God chose to do such a miracle through.

Don’t you know that Mary must have dreamed of being a mother and what her home would be like and the nursery she would have when the first little one came? But that’s not how it happened. During her first pregnancy she was scorned by society and then gave birth in a barn. Jesus cradle was not hand crafted by Joseph, but was a strangers feed trough.

But God, (my favorite phrase in the Bible) delivered another miracle in the barn. Angels went to shepherds (strangers) who then came to celebrate Jesus! Mary and Joseph must have been shocked at the men coming to their baby’s birth. But what a confirmation of obedience! Scripture says “But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart.”

I’ll just bet she did! What LOVE the Father has for us to send His Son to be our Saviour! And what love the Father had for Mary and Joseph to demonstrate such a confirmation of His word at one of the hardest times of their lives (up to that point).

Where can you see the love of God in your life? If you think you can’t, look deeper! God loves you and gave His only begotten Son so YOU could have eternal life. He is pursuing you right now. Why don’t you say “Yes” to that free gift of salvation, today.

True Love Part 2

But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8 ESV

But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8 ESV

How would you describe “true love”? Do you get that sweet, warm feeling when you think of love? Maybe you think of commitment as true love. Or maybe you think of acts of service for someone whether they ever know it was you who acted on their behalf.

Imagine you are dying, but the doctor hasn’t told you that yet. Someone you don’t even know finds out you are dying and gives the doctor your cure which he has to hold until you ask for the cure. You finally are told you are dying and there is nothing YOU can do about it. BUT Someone has the cure for you, all you have to do is ask for the cure and it will be given to you. You immediately ask for the cure and it’s given to you. You are healed! You can hardly believe how close you came to dying and you realize that the cure is available for everyone, they only have to ask. Wouldn’t you tell everyone you know?

Well God loves us so much that He provided the cure for me and you BEFORE we ever knew we were sick (sinners). Jesus is the Cure and all we have to do is ask Him to save us.

because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.
— Romans 10:9-10 ESV

That’s love! If you’ve received His free gift of salvation, are you telling everyone you know? It’s the best gift ever!

True Love Part 1

16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
— John 3:16 ESV
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What is “True Love”?

John 3:16 is the perfect definition for “true love’ in my opinion. God loved the world, us, me, you, so much that He gave His ONLY SON, so that whoever (me, you) believes in Him should not die an eternal death in hell, but have eternal life in Jesus.

Whew! Now that’s love! I’m pretty sure I’d never be able to sacrifice either of my children for anyone. But God did.

He did it knowing that the majority of people would never trust in Jesus. He did it knowing that most of the people would never give Jesus a second thought. He did it for you!

That’s true love. God loves YOU so much that He sacrificed His Son, Jesus, so that YOU could say yes to salvation! WOW! That’s not all. Jesus went to the cross on our behalf because He was willing to be sacrificed for us!

That’s true love. I don’t know about you, but sometimes I do things unwillingly. I may go, but I go kicking and screaming. Jesus went willingly to the cross to pay for your sin so that you would have the choice of trusting in Him for salvation or not!

Let that sink in a minute. Yes, I know that God knows who will and who will not get saved, but the cross of Christ was for everyone. That means He died in our place whether we accept His gift or not. Certainly, if we don’t accept the gift of salvation, we will stay on the road to hell and be there for all eternity.

BUT we don’t have to go the hell because before we were conceived, Jesus died for us so that we could choose Him. He made the way for us.

Some people say if you love someone let them go and if they love you they’ll come back. I guess in a way, that’s what Jesus did. He loved us so much that He died for us. He paid our eternal debt. But in order to accept His payment on our behalf, we have to put our trust in Him.

If you are looking for love, look no further. Jesus loves you. YOU. You. No matter where you are in life, no matter what you’ve done in life, no matter how you feel about yourself-Jesus loves YOU and He wants to save YOU.

If you are a believer in Christ, praise the Lord! Stand up and remember to Whom you belong. Jesus loves YOU; always has and always will. Serve Him in thankfulness and gratitude because Jesus truly loves YOU!

Self-control - Fruit of the Spirit Episode 10

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

Self-control

I shudder at the thought! Sometimes I think I have a lot of self-control, but then I lose it! Thankfully, the Holy Spirit has it and is developing it in me. I’m so grateful the Lord has patience with me (us, mankind).

I have often told classes that I’ve taught you know when the Holy Spirit is truly controlling me - my mouth stays shut! Now, folks I’ve taught leave a meeting or class with me and will laugh and say, “Ms. Wendy, the Holy Spirit was controlling you!” He’s still working on my face! But face or no face, words not said is great! You can’t take those back.

On a more serious note, self-control is definitely a character of the fruit of the Spirit. As the Lord matures us in the faith, He lovingly teaches us about love and grace. First of all, He lavished His love and His grace on us in salvation. But it doesn’t stop there! Day by day, He conforms us into HIs image. Throughout life as we are conformed, we are seasoned with love and grace.

The more we understand about God’s great love for us, the more we can practice self-control. So many things are just not worth an argument. Through the Holy Spirit we have power, love and self-control.

for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. 2 Timothy 1:7

Our pastor recently preached on wisdom and how with wisdom we learn to let a lot of offenses and irritations go. Relying on God’s love and wisdom, we practice self-control.

I’m certainly not a pro at practicing self-control, but thanks be to God I am better than I used to be. This week, let’s seek God’s love, grace and self-control!