VIDEO Jeremiah

Mar 11, 2015

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My Thoughts Are Not Your Thoughts

Methodist Pastor Bill Berney, in Pullman, said he felt a person could go to Heaven without accepting Christ — just by living the moral code of the Bible.

– I asked why he had a cross on the front of his church — it should’ve been a horseshoe

saying, “Good Luck Brother, hope you make it!”

 

LISTEN TO ME!  This generation has only one problem — we’ve not let God’s thoughts be our thoughts.

– Today’s homes have only one problem — we’ve not let God’s thoughts be out thoughts!

 

Isaiah 55:8-9 — “My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the LORD. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.
9  For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.”

 

America’s only problem — we’ve gotten a little education — learned a few facts and ideas, and decided we have all the answers!

 

NO!  The answers are found in God’s Holy Instruction Book — The BIBLE!

– For instance — discipline of children.

 

Years ago Dr. Spock, Ann Landers, and other misinformed people wrote books saying, “Don’t discipline the children — you’ll warp their little personalities.”

– Let them express themselves so they can develop to their potential.

– Those kids are grown now and are causing more trouble than we can handle………….

 

NO!  God’s Plan — discipline your children to teach the difference between right and wrong — to submit to authority……………………..

 

Proverbs 22:15A youngster’s heart is filled with foolishness, but physical discipline will drive it far away.

 

Proverbs 23:13-14 — “Don’t fail to discipline your children. They won’t die if you spank them.
14  Physical discipline may well save them from death.

 

Proverbs 29:15 — To discipline a child produces wisdom, but a mother is disgraced by an undisciplined child.”

 

 

That’s God’s Plan — you say, “I don’t see it.”

    – You don’t have to — God said you wouldn’t — Isaiah 55:8-9 — “My thoughts are

     nothing like your thoughts,” says the LORD. “And my ways are far beyond

    anything you could  imagine.
     9 For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than

     your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.”

 

    – OUR THOUGHTS ARE NOT HIS THOUGHTS!

 

Our trouble — we’re running a country with our thoughts — not HIS THOUGHTS!

– We’re raising families with our thoughts instead of HIS THOUGHTS!

 

THERE’S NOT A PROBLEM WE COULDN’T CURE IF WE’D READ THE BIBLE AND FOLLOW GOD’S INSTRUCTIONS.

 

GOD SAID, “MY THOUGHTS ARE NOT YOUR THOUGHTS.”

 

Some things God said I can’t understand.

– I can’t comprehend a burning Hell where people suffer forever…………….

– That’s irritating to my culture to think there’s a place where people who haven’t accepted

Christ burn forever and forever! — THAT’S NOT MY THOUGHT!

 

THE BIBLE SAYS THAT’S GOD’S THOUGHT!

Matthew 18:8 — “So if your hand or foot causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It’s better to enter eternal life with only one hand or one foot than to be thrown into eternal fire with both of your hands and feet.”

 

So where the Bible disagrees with me — I follow and believe the Bible…………

 

There are many things in the Bible I wouldn’t think.

– Example:  Someone cheated you and spread gossip that’s hurt your reputation — you ask

if you have the right to even the score and destroy that person for what he’s done to you.

– I say, “Of course you can!” — but there’s nothing in the Bible that says you can!

 

If I’d written the Bible, I’d said if someone does evil to you — you have a right for revenge — but I didn’t right the Bible!

– The Bible says, “Forgive you enemies.”

– The Bible says, “Return goodness for evil.”

– The Bible says, “Turn the other cheek.”

 

Now, I can’t understand that!

– To me it’s reasonable if someone hurts you that you should have the right to hurt him back.

– So I agree with you!

– You say, “Nah! I just don’t agree with you!”

         – No!  You and I agree, it’s just that neither of us agree with God.

 

The truth is, I take what God says.

“If you want my opinion!”

– I’m not interested in your opinions………………

I WANT TO KNOW WHAT GOD SAYS!

 

I learned a long time ago Somebody wrote the Bible who knows more than I know.

– So I trust it!

– Just like I trusted Mom when I was a kid…………………

 

We were a lot better off when we felt we may not understand the Bible or agree with it rationally, but God said it and that settles it — we believe it!

Our ways are not His ways!  Our thoughts are not His thoughts!

 

There are 3 things to look at this morning.

 

  1. OUR THOUGHTS ARE NOT HIS THOUGHTS CONCERNING SUFFERING.

 

Our thought:

– It’s better to have plenty.

– Have lots of leisure time – a 30 hour week is better than a 40 hour week and a 40 hour

Week is better than 50 hour week.

 

Our thought — good health.

– 2 cars in the garage — better garage around the cars.

– Better house hooked to the garage.

– More food on the table.

– More time to play.

 

BUT THAT’S NOT GOD’S THOUGHT!

 

God knew we’d get into mischief if we had too much time to play so God said work was better than play.

– God said responsibility is better than irresponsibility.

– The reason there’s so much crime is too much idle time — too much luxury.

 

I’ve had burdens and heartaches – so have you.

– Looking back I see often the places I thought were mountain peaks were valleys and what

I thought were valleys were mountain peaks.

– There were times of distress when I thought God had deserted me:

 

FOOTPRINTS IN THE SAND

One night I dreamed a dream.
As I was walking along the beach with my Lord.
Across the dark sky flashed scenes from my life.
For each scene, I noticed two sets of footprints in the sand,
One belonging to me and one to my Lord.

After the last scene of my life flashed before me,
I looked back at the footprints in the sand.
I noticed that at many times along the path of my life,
especially at the very lowest and saddest times,
there was only one set of footprints.

This really troubled me, so I asked the Lord about it.
“Lord, you said once I decided to follow you,
You’d walk with me all the way.
But I noticed that during the saddest and most troublesome times of my life,
there was only one set of footprints.
I don’t understand why, when I needed You the most, You would leave me.”

He whispered, “My precious child, I love you and will never leave you
Never, ever, during your trials and testings.
When you saw only one set of footprints,
It was then that I carried you.”

Missionary in West Indies had a daughter with a bad heart condition and he had to move to Hawaii, for her health.

– He thought his ministry was over — he started a retreat for worn-out preachers and

missionaries and has directly and indirectly touched more lives for Jesus than he ever would

have in the West Indies.

 

You say, “I don’t know why I’m not well!”

– I don’t either — God does.

 

You say, “We’re facing financial crisis — I don’t know why!”

– I don’t either, but I’d rather face troubles and have to depend on God than be someone

with no troubles who doesn’t depend upon God.

 

There’s so much talk about recession, shortages, high prices, economy collapse………..

– Don’t worry!  Be in God’s Will — let Him take care of you!

 

We can’t see God’s Plan: (lyrics from a record:  (‘I Received a Loving Letter)

“Dear Child,

             I heard you prayer last night and I know that things are not right.

      So I’m sending this to say, though things are not just right — I planned your life    

     this way.

        If every day brought sunshine, you’d hunger for the rain, and if every

           Voice held laughter — you’d long to cry again.

       And so I’m sending you some heart-aches — treat them tenderly.

         But when they become too much for you, just send them back to Me.”

 

  1. OUR THOUGHTS ARE NOT HIS THOUGHTS CONCERNING

     SALVATION

 

How do I get to Heaven when I die? — Everyone ought to ask that question.

 

Our thought — good people go to Heaven — bad people go to Hell.

– That’s our thought — That’s not God’s thought!

 

God doesn’t say, “Good folks go to Heaven — bad ones go to Hell!”

– God says, “Born again folks go to Heaven and folks that aren’t born again go to Hell.”

 

Our thoughts say there’s something I can do — if I do good and sacrifice — I’ll go to Heaven.

NO YOU WON’T!

– Nobody earns his way to Heaven.

 

You say, “Why won’t good works take me to Heaven?”

    – Because nobody does good works.

Isaiah 64:6 — “We are all infected and impure with sin. When we display our righteous deeds, they are nothing but filthy rags. Like autumn leaves, we wither and fall, and our sins sweep us away like the wind.”

 

The best thing you ever do won’t get you to Heaven.

Our thoughts are not His thoughts.  (elab. On our thoughts)

God doesn’t say that.

– Listen to what He says:

 

Ephesians 2:8-9 — “God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God.
9  Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.    

Titus 3:5 — “He saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He washed away our sins, giving us a new birth and new life through the Holy Spirit.”

 

What does God say?

“Whosoever shall call upon the Name of the Lord shall be saved.”

      “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved.”

       “As many as received Him to them gave He the poser to become sons of God.”

 

You must let Jesus into your life!

– Too many people try to hold Him at arm’s length and appease Him without accepting Him.

 

– Imagine if Lauren came to my house wanting in out of the heat and wanting water.

– I tell her, “You can’t come in now — I’m too busy doing good for someone else……………..”

 

It doesn’t matter what good I’m doing, it won’t take the place of letting that heat exhausted little girl come in where she’ll be safe.

 

I DON’T CARE WHAT GOOD YOU DO (repeat) it won’t take the place of receiving the Lord Jesus Christ into your heart and life!

 

Our way says live good and go to Heaven.

God’s way says take my Son and go to Heaven.

 

Our way says pay your debts and go to Heaven.

God’s way says take my Son and go to Heaven.

 

OUR WAYS ARE NOT HIS WAYS AND OUR THOUGHTS ARE NOT HIS THOUGHTS!

 

  1. MY THOUGHTS CONCERNING SANCTIFICATION

 

God wants control of my life.

– He wants me to obey — John 14:15 — “If you love me, obey my commandments.”

 

He wants to fill me with His Power and Love and cleanse my heart of sin until He can see

Himself reflected in me.

– Dad melting lead to make sinkers — skimmed all the slag out.

 

This comes only through TOTAL SURRENDER

– Question: “Don’t I fit in there too?”   “Can’t I reserve on little part of my life for me?”

 

My thought: if you’re too tired for Church or Prayer Meeting stay home — take care of yourself.

 

My thought: If you find it hard to meet financial obligations — it makes sense to withhold your

tithe.

– My thought if witnessing embarrasses you — you shouldn’t be put on the spot.

– My thought — you’re entitled to your rights.

 

BUT WAIT!  WHAT ARE GOD’S THOUGHTS?

“You are not your own — you were bought with a price.” 

 

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 — “Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself,
20  for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body.

 

I don’t have rights! Romans 12:1-2 — “And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him.
2  Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.”

 

It’s important we forget self and do what God wants us to do.

– We need dedicated people if we’re going to see our kids saved.

 

We must set the example! – Cecil Greene told his daughter, Shamela, she had to go to church with her Mom.  She told her Dad, “You don’t go to church, why should I?” 

We’ve none to lose…………….

 

The only hope for this Church and our families is total surrender to God.

    – God said, “Be ye holy for I am Holy.”

 

This means surrender to Christ in all areas of our lives — elab. on motives (God looks on heart)

– Little boy forced to sit down by is mom — “I’m sitting on the outside, but standing inside.”

 

“I’ve a right to do my own thing!”  — My thoughts exactly!

God’s thoughts — “Forsake all and follow Me!”

 

OUR THOUGHTS ARE NOT HIS THOUGHTS 

    – HIS ARE SO MUCH HIGHER THAN OURS ARE!

 

By Bill Woods

The Blessings of Wisdom

Proverbs 3:1-4

The world claims there are many paths to a successful, rewarding life: education, wealth, public recognition, or even service. But in the end, true fulfillment comes from the Lord and following His wisdom.

Proverbs says that when we choose to align our heart with God’s truth, we will “find favor and good repute in the sight of God and man” (3:4). Not only will we have protection, clear guidance, and intimacy with the Father, but we’ll also receive divine power to walk circumspectly before Him.

Wisdom—understanding God’s perspective on situations and responding accordingly—brings us the strength to stand firm in our faith and choose His way. It also helps us to calmly accept the hardships in our life. Our sovereign God knows the extent of our difficulties. Out of His love for us, He never gives us more than we can handle and uses even our darkest hours for His good purposes. Wise people are convinced this is true; they enjoy supernatural peace and will live in the Lord’s favor (Prov. 8:34-35; Phil. 4:7).

God wants to prosper His people in spiritual as well as material ways. For that reason, His first priority is to increase our understanding of Him. Then as we align our heart with His wisdom and will, we can apply His principles not just to our finances but to every facet of life.

The Lord stands ready to pour out His choicest blessings—power, divine favor, spiritual prosperity, and supernatural peace—on those who draw near to Him and submit to His plan.

Identification With Christ

“And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.” (Romans 8:17)

One of the greatest doctrines of the Christian faith is the identification of Christ with His people in all the key events of His great work of salvation. For example, we are considered by God as dying with Him since He died for us. As Paul said, “I am crucified with Christ” (Galatians 2:20).

Furthermore, when Christ was buried, we were in effect buried also. “We are buried with him by baptism into death” (Romans 6:4). Then we are also resurrected with Christ. “Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead” (Colossians 2:12).

But that is only the beginning of our great salvation. Christ then ascended to heaven, sat down on the right hand of the Father, and we are there with Him! “God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ. . . . And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:4-6).

Not even is this the end, for we are joint-heirs with Christ, as our text assures us. He has been “appointed heir of all things” (Hebrews 1:2), and we share His inheritance. “It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him: If we suffer, we shall also reign with him” (2 Timothy 2:11-12).

Identified with Christ in His suffering, His death, His burial, His resurrection, His ascension, and then in His eternal reign! This is our position by faith. When He returns, it will become actuality, “and so shall we ever be with the Lord” (1 Thessalonians 4:17). HMM

“From all your idols will I cleanse you.”

Psalm 106:34-48

We find the whale history of the book of Judges summed up in brief in

Psalm 106:34-48.

Psalm 106:34

This was their root sin, out of which all the rest of their faults arose. They were led into Canaan on purpose to execute the criminal nations, and they were either too idle, too timid, or too rebellious to carry out their office. Hence all the sin and sorrow which followed. No man can calculate the evils which may spring from the loins of one act of disobedience. If we leave one sin in our nature unsubdued, it will plague us terribly. O for grace to make thorough work, and perfect purging. Only the Holy Spirit can aid us in this.

Psalm 106:35

Companionship leads to imitation. We cannot live with the wicked without feeling their influence. Those coals which do not burn us may yet blacken us.

Psalm 106:36

The heathen worship was sometimes tasteful and enticing, and it was frequently licentious and fascinating to the flesh, and so by their tastes and their passions God’s own people were entrapped.

Psalm 106:37, 38

These sacrifices were the culminating point in idolatrous worship, and they were also the most horrible of crimes. What a miserable fact, that a people who had known the Lord should fall so low as to murder their innocent babes at the shrine of demons! Is not human nature capable of the worst imaginable crimes? Could even devils perpetrate worse enormities than these?

Psalm 106:40

Looking upon their loathsome deeds he loathed them, and determined to let them feel that he would not endure sin even in his own people. Sin was worse in them than in others, for they knew better, and were under the most solemn bonds to act better.

Psalm 106:43

See the longsuffering of God to deliver them many times, though they returned to their wickedness. Have we not tasted of the same great mercy?

Psalm 106:45

How beautiful is this language! How it sets forth the tender heart of God! O God, who can pardon as thou dost? Who but thyself would keep covenant with such a people? What multitudes of mercies were expended in covering such multitudes of sins! As in a looking-glass, we may here see our own lives, and it is enough to bring the water into our eyes, as with mingled shame and gratitude we gaze upon our own portraits.

Psalm 106:46

He who brought water out of flints, made even their oppressors sorry for them, and ere long he found means to deliver them.

Psalm 106:47

Thus in after ages other captives profited by the history of ancient times. We should do the same. Let us now join in the doxology which concludes the psalm.

 

Save, O our God, thine own elect,

From heathen lands thy sons collect;

We to thy holy name will raise

Our songs, and triumph in thy praise.

 

Blest be Jehovah, Israel’s Lord!

His name be evermore adored!

Amen, let all the people cry!

Praise ye Jehovah, God Most High!

 

The First Fruit Is Love

Galatians 5:22

When the New Testament was being written, there were four primary Greek words to describe the concept of “love”: 1) eros, 2) stergo, 3) phileo, and 4) agape. These four words conveyed four very different types of love. I want to talk to you today about these four different types of love; then I’ll tell you which of these four is the type of love the Holy Spirit wants to produce in your life.

The first word for “love” in the list given above is the Greek word eros, which is the Greek term for sexual love and where we get the word erotic. In Greek culture, this word referred to sensual, carnal impulses to satisfy or gratify the sexual desires of the flesh. It shares a common root with the word erao, which means to ask, to beg, or to demand. This confirms that eros is not a giving type of love; rather, it denotes a sexual demand. It is not a love that seeks to give or to please someone else, but a carnal love that seeks the fulfillment of its own desires.

It is very interesting that this word never appears once in the New Testament, not even in the context of sex in marriage. Even in Greek culture, the word eros represented a carnal, raw, base, low-level craving, yearning, ache, or appetite for sexual fulfillment. This type of “love” is so flesh-based and so far removed from the level of love that God expects of believers that it is never included in New Testament language.

In the New Testament, regardless of whether the context is friendship, brotherhood, or romance, all believers are urged to continually operate from the perspective of agape love, which is a love more focused on giving than it is on receiving. Because the word eros primarily describes a self-satisfying, self-gratifying, self-seeking, self-pleasing type of sexual appetite found mainly among unbelievers or those who are focused on themselves, it is not the type of love that believers should aspire to in their marital lives.

The second word for “love” mentioned in the list above is the Greek word stergo. The word stergo primarily pictures the love that exists between parents and children or the love that exists between members of a family. One scholar has noted that on occasion, the word stergo portrayed the love of a nation for its ruler or even the love of a dog for its master. Consequently, the real idea of the word stergo is that of devotion.

Although the word stergo does appear in the New Testament, it is very rarely used. We find it used in a negative sense in Second Timothy 3:3, where the King James Version translates it “without natural affection.” This suggests a time that will develop in the last days when strong family ties and devotion to one’s family will deteriorate. By using this word in a negative sense, the apostle Paul warns that one of the principal signs of the last times will be the deterioration of the family and of traditional family values.

The third word for “love” is the Greek word phileo, which describes affection— such as the affection felt between a boyfriend and girlfriend or the affability shared between two friends. It carries the idea of two or more people who feel compatible, well-matched, well-suited, and complementary to each other. Although this word describes the attributes of friendship, it is not representative of the highest form of love, which is agape. Other words derived from the word phileo are numerous. Here are a few of them:

  • Philadelphia: a compound of phileo and adelphos, the Greek word for a brother. When these two words are compounded together, it means brotherly love.
  • philodonos: a compound of phileo and edone, the Greek word for pleasure. When compounded together, it means one who is a lover of pleasure.
  • philoxenos: a compound of phileo and xenos, the Greek word for strangers or foreigners. When compounded together in this form, it carries the idea of one who loves to be hospitable.
  • philoxenia: similar to the word above, which means one who loves strangers. However, the word philoxenia places more emphasis on love for the person in need of hospitality.
  • philanthropia: a compound of phileo and anthropos, the Greek word for mankind. Compounded together, it means one who loves or who is kind to mankind.
  • philarguros: a compound of phileo and arguros, which is the Greek word for silver. Compounded together, it means one who is covetous or one who loves money.
  • philosophia: a compound of phileo and sophos, which is the famous Greek word for wisdom. When these two words are compounded together into one, it becomes the word philosophy, which is a love of wisdom.

The fourth word for “love” is the word chiefly used in the New Testament to depict the love of God. This is the Greek word agape—and it is this word that Paul uses in Galatians 5:22 when he writes, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love….” This is what I call high-level love, for there is no higher, finer, or more excellent love than agape love.

In fact, the word agape is so filled with deep emotion and meaning that it is one of the most difficult words to translate in the New Testament. Trying to explain this word has baffled translators for centuries; nevertheless, I will now add my attempt to clarify the meaning of this powerful word.

Agape occurs when an individual sees, recognizes, understands, or appreciates the value of an object or a person, causing the viewer to behold this object or person in great esteem, awe, admiration, wonder, and sincere appreciation. Such great respect is awakened in the heart of the observer for the object or person he is beholding that he is compelled to love it. In fact, his love for that person or object is so strong that it is irresistible.

In the New Testament, perhaps the best example of agape is found in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” In the phrase, “For God so loved the world,” the word “love” is the word agape.

This means when God looked upon the human race, He stood in awe of mankind, even though man was lost in sin. God admired man; He wondered at man; He held mankind in the highest appreciation. Even though mankind was held captive by Satan at that moment, God looked upon the world and saw His own image in man. The human race was so precious to God and He loved man so deeply that His heart was stirred to reach out and do something to save him. In other words, God’s love drove Him to action.

You see, agape is a love that loves so profoundly that it knows no limits or boundaries in how far, wide, high, and deep it will go to show that love to its recipient. If necessary, agape love will even sacrifice itself for the sake of that object or person it so deeply cherishes. Agape is the highest form of love—a self-sacrificial type of love that moves the lover to action. In contrast:

  • Eros is a self-seeking love.
  • Stergo is limited only to one’s family.
  • Phileo is based on mutual satisfaction and can feel disappointed.

Agape is a love that has no strings attached. It isn’t looking for what it can get, but for what it can give. Its awe of the one who is loved is so deep that it is compelled to shower love upon that object or person regardless of the response. This is the profound love God has for the human race, for He loved man when he was still lost in sin with no ability to love Him back. God simply loved mankind without any thought or expectation of receiving love in return.

When you love with such a pure love that you expect nothing back in return, it is impossible for you to feel hurt or let down by the response of the recipients of your love. You don’t love them for the purpose of getting something in return; you shower them with love simply because you love them. This kind of love is much higher than eros love that is based on selfishness; stergo love that is restricted by limitations; or phileo love that is rooted in mutual satisfaction. These three types of love are what I call low-level love, but agape is high-level love. It is a love that has no strings attached, a love that loves simply and purely—the God-kind of love.

In First John 3:16, we are urged to possess agape for each other. It says, “Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.” This plainly means that we are to love and appreciate each other just as fully and freely as God loves us.

The Father loved us to the point of self-sacrifice. Jesus’ agape drove Him to lay down His life for us. In the same way, we are to agape our brothers and sisters to such a high extent that we would be willing to lay down our lives for them. If we are truly operating in agape and they don’t respond in like fashion, it won’t offend or hurt us. We are not looking for what others can do for us; we are simply focused on how to love others with no strings attached. Therefore, the way other people respond to us has no effect on our desire to shower them with agape love.

Further explaining the role of agape in our lives, John said, “My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth” (v. 18). The word “love” is again the word agape, which tells us that when agape is at work, it is a force so strong that it demonstrates itself with deeds and actions. This is not an empty love that talks but does nothing. It is a love that does something, just as God loved us and then did something to save us from our lost and sinful condition.

This is the love that Paul urged us to follow after when he wrote in First Corinthians 14:1, “Follow after charity [agape love]….” The word “follow” is the Greek word dioko, which means to hotly pursue.

It was a hunting term that pictured a hunter following the tracks of an animal until he finally gets his game. This means that attaining this high-level love doesn’t come easy. If we want to attain agape love and regularly walk in it, we must hotly pursue it! It must be the focus and the aim of our lives.

If agape is the basis of your sexual relationship with your spouse instead of eros, you will always seek to serve and please your spouse rather than being self-centered and focused only on your needs. If agape is the basis of your family relationships rather than stergo, you will always remain devoted to your family, regardless of the disappointments that may occur along the way. And if agape is the basis of your friendships rather than phileo, you will be a faithful, immovable friend for life rather than a come-and-go friend who is faithful only as long as you get what you want out of the relationship. In fact, if agape is the driving motivation of your life and the force behind all your relationships, it will make you to be the best, most devoted, faithful, and reliable friend anyone has ever known.

You may ask, “But how can I possess such love? Is it really possible for me to regularly exhibit such love in my life for other people?” If you were seeking to walk in the kind of love that originates in the power of your flesh, it would be impossible, for flesh is selfish and self-focused and therefore cannot love that highly. But because the seed of God’s Word has been sown into your own human spirit, the potential for this divine love is within you all the time. Now it is up to you to shove the flesh aside and release the love of God from down deep inside. If you will let the Spirit of God release it from your heart, you will discover and enjoy the fruit of the Spirit called “love.” This high-level love is already inside you. Now it’s time for you to free that love and allow the Holy Spirit to manifest it in your life!

MY PRAYER FOR TODAY

Lord, help me turn my attention to Your kind of high-level love and make it a part of my daily life. Forgive me for those times when I’ve fallen into low-level, “you-scratch-my-back-and-I’ll-scratch-yours” love that gets easily offended. Help me climb up to the higher realms of love that You desire to be manifested in my life. Holy Spirit, it is impossible to continually walk in this kind of love in the power of my flesh, so I turn to You to awaken this divine love inside me and to help me manifest it in my life.

I pray this in Jesus’ name!

MY CONFESSION FOR TODAY

I confess that I am hotly pursuing agape love in my life. I want to attain this high level of love and regularly walk in it, so I treat this fruit of the Spirit like it is one of the most important aims of my life. Because the seed of God’s Spirit and Word is sown in my own human spirit, I have the potential for this divine love within me all the time. So right now I determine to shove the flesh aside and release the power of God from down deep inside. Because agape is the driving motivation of my life and the force behind all my relationships, I am the best, most devoted, faithful, and reliable friend anyone has ever known!

I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!

QUESTIONS FOR YOU TO CONSIDER

  1. Can you think of one person who has loved you with real agape love at some point in your life? What kind of impact did that “no-strings-attached” kind of love have on you?
  2. Would others say that agape love operates in you or that you have strings attached to your demonstrations of love?
  3. What can you do to move up into God’s high-level agape love? Think it over, and write down your ideas of what you need to do to leave behind the place of low-level love and move up to God’s higher realm of agape love.

Agape is a love that has no strings attached. This kind of divine love isn’t looking for what it can get, but for what it can give.

 

Simple Method Of Studying Key Verses

How would you like a simple method of studying key verses in the Bible?

 

First, copy the verse from one or more versions of the Bible. Write it under the heading VERSE FOR STUDY

 

Second, under the heading MESSAGE, write out in your own words what the verse says – what it commands, teaches, warns of, or promises.

 

Third, look at the verses immediately preceding and following the verse. These are known as the context of the verse. Under the heading CONTEXT, record first the thoughts added by the verses preceding your study verse. Record the thoughts added by the verses following the study verse.

 

Fourth, record the questions that the verse raises in your mind, or the problems you think it might pose for yourself or someone else. These can be recorded under the heading QUESTIONS.

 

Finally, APPLICATION: Describe one specific way you can change your attitudes or actions because of the teaching of this verse.

 

Suggested verses to study:

 

Matthew 4:19 (18-20) – Follow Christ

 

Matthew 5:6 (5-7) – Hunger for Righteousness

 

Matthew 5:11 (10-12) – Persecution

 

Matthew 5:44 (43-45) – Love your enemies

 

Matthew 6:6 (5-7) – Prayer

 

Matthew 9:37 (36-38) – Laborers

 

Matthew 23:11 (10-12) – Spiritual coldness

 

Matthew 28:19 (18-20) – Make disciples

 

Romans 1:16 (15-17) – Not ashamed of the Gospel

 

Romans 1:22 (21-23) – Becoming fools

 

Romans 6:13 (12-14) – Offer your bodies to God

 

Romans 8:34 (33-35) – We are not under condemnation

 

Romans 12:15 (14-16) – Empathy

 

Romans 15:2 (1-3) – Build others up

 

Galatians 4:2 (1-3) – Humility

 

Galatians 4:30 (29-31) – Do not grieve the Holy Spirit

 

Galatians 6:2 (1-3) – Carry each others burdens

 

Galatians 6:8 (7-9) – What you sow, you reap