From the brand new album “Children of God.” Available everywhere April 22, 2016.
Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. 1 Peter 4:8
Linus Van Pelt, better known as simply “Linus,” was a mainstay in the Peanutscomic strip. Witty and wise, yet insecure, Linus constantly carried a security blanket. We can identify. We have our fears and insecurities too.
The disciple Peter knew something about fear. When Jesus was arrested, Peter displayed courage by following the Lord into the courtyard of the high priest. But then he began to show his fear by lying to protect his identity (John 18:15–26). He spoke disgraceful words that denied his Lord. But Jesus never stopped loving Peter and ultimately restored him (see John 21:15–19).
Peter’s emphasis on love in 1 Peter 4:8 came from one who had experienced the deep love of Jesus. And he, in turn, stressed the importance of love in our relationships with the words “above all.” The intensity of the verse continues with the encouragement to “love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.”
Have you ever needed that kind of “blanket”? I have! After saying or doing something I later regretted, I have felt the chilly draft of guilt and shame. I have needed to be “covered” in the manner that Jesus covered disgraced, shame-filled people in the Gospels.
To followers of Jesus, love is a blanket to be graciously and courageously given away for the comfort and reclamation of others. As recipients of such great love, let us be givers of the same.
Father, Your love, in and through Jesus, has rescued us time and time again. Help me to be an instrument of Your saving love for others.
God loves you and me—let’s love each other.
We may wonder how Peter could deny his Lord (John 18:15–27). One reason was that Peter’s security was shaken. He had just seen Jesus beaten, falsely accused, and mocked; and now feared for his own life. He was also spiritually weak. Just hours before, Jesus had warned Peter that he would betray Him (13:31–38). Yet when Jesus led His disciples to the garden and urged them to watch and pray, Peter and the others slept. Despite Peter’s denial, Jesus forgave him and restored him (John 21:15–19).
God’s love is totally different from ours. For one thing, His love is everlasting. He bestows it on us continuously, and there is absolutely nothing that can interrupt or interfere with it. This is because His love is not based on a feeling but flows from His very nature. Therefore, it is perfect, unchangeable, and trustworthy (1 John 4:8). In contrast, disagreements and other circumstances can cause human love to fluctuate or fail.
What’s more, God’s love is unconditional—there’s nothing we can say or do to either deserve or deter it. We never have to wonder if the Lord still loves us. Every day you and I walk under the canopy of His love, which remains unaffected by our behavior, whether good or bad. Even if we wander from His will or fall into disobedience, we don’t have to worry that the canopy will be removed. We did not build it, so we can’t dismantle it. The source of God’s love is God Himself, and His love is eternal, perfect, and without any conditions whatsoever.
Notice I did not say you would necessarily enjoy life because He loves you; nor did I say that God would overlook transgressions. Disobedience is a matter of grave consequence for the Christian. Yet even in our foolishness and sin, the Lord is our loving Father, who faithfully disciplines His children. We must always remember that sin does not affect God’s boundless love for us.
The heavenly Father has always loved you, and He always will. As you release any misconceptions about His everlasting love, you’ll be able to rejoice under His canopy.
“How long, ye simple ones, will ye love simplicity? and the scorners delight in their scorning, and fools hate knowledge?” (Proverbs 1:22)
This ancient question by the wise man Solomon was posed almost 3,000 years ago and is still relevant today. “How long?” he asked. How long will men continue to scoff at true knowledge? “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction” (Proverbs 1:7).
The answer to your question, Solomon, would have been 3,000 years at least! Peter prophesied “that there shall come in the last days scoffers . . . saying, Where is the promise of his coming?” (2 Peter 3:3-4); and Paul said “that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be . . . boasters, proud, blasphemers. . . . Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth” (2 Timothy 3:1-2, 7).
Throughout history men have scorned the true knowledge of God and His creation. Peter says they “willingly are ignorant,” and Paul says they are “without excuse” (2 Peter 3:5; Romans 1:20), but they “delight in their scorning” nonetheless.
It is remarkable that their hatred of God’s true knowledge is cloaked in a robe of scientism and evolutionary pseudoknowledge that even deceives many professing Christians. “Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools” (Romans 1:22), despising the true wisdom and instruction of God’s Word.
“To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them” (Isaiah 8:20). Those who scorn God’s Word have no light of their own, despite their scientific pretensions. “Wise men lay up knowledge: but the mouth of the foolish is near destruction” (Proverbs 10:14). HMM
Daniel 1:3, 4
This prudent monarch sought to increase the splendour and influence of the Chaldean court by having men of intelligence near at hand. He had probably made a selection from the noble families of other subjugated nations, and now he did the same with the captives brought from Judah.
And the king appointed them a daily provision of the king’s meat or food
They were to be thus honourably sustained and duly educated, till their personal beauty and mental gifts would be developed, and they would become fit attendants upon his majesty.
Daniel whose name signifies “judge of God”
Belteshazzar or Bel’s favourite
Hananiah, of Shadrach or young friend of the king
Mishael, of Meshach which probably means the lamb
Azariah, of Abed-nego or servant of Nebo. There may be little in a name to some persons, but upon others titles have very great influence; nevertheless, these three holy youths were not perverted from their faith: their names were changed, but not their natures.
The kings food was such as Hebrews were forbidden to eat, and his wine had most probably been consecrated to idols by libations, therefore Daniel endeavoured to avoid defilement.
Daniel 1:12, 13
and let them give us pulse or vegetable diet only
Their temperate living had promoted rather than injured their health, an experience which has been confirmed in hundreds of instances; moreover, the Lord whom they so scrupulously obeyed, saw to it that they should not suffer. Be it ours to follow the right course with care, and no harm can come of it.
Thus by courteously requesting the favour, and submitting cheerfully to the officers test, Daniel and his friends gained their point, which they might not have done had they been rude and rash. Gentleness wins where roughness would utterly fail. The decision and wisdom shown by these four young men are an example to us all.
Jesus answered, If a man love me, he will keep my words. (John 14:23)
Much of our full gospel literature and much of our preaching tend to perpetuate a misunderstanding of what the Bible says about obedience and Christian discipleship.
I think the following is a fair statement of what I was taught in my early Christian experience and before I began to pray and study and anguish over the whole matter:
“We are saved by accepting Christ as our Savior.”
“We are sanctified by accepting Christ as our Lord.”
“We may do the first without doing the second.”
What a tragedy that in our day we often hear the gospel appeal made in this way:
“Come to Jesus! You do not have to obey anyone. You do not have to give up anything. Just come to Him and believe in Him as Savior!”
The fact that we hear this everywhere does not make it right! To urge men and women to believe in a divided Christ is bad teaching—for no one can receive a half or a third or a quarter of the divine Person of Christ!
“If thou return to the Almighty, thou shalt be built up Job 22:23
Eliphaz, in this utterance, spoke a great truth, which is the summary of many an inspired Scripture. Reader, has sin pulled you down? Have you become like a ruin? Has the hand of the Lord gone out against you, so that in estate you are impoverished, and in Spirit you are broken down? Was it your own folly which brought upon you all this dilapidation? Then the first thing to be done is to return to the Lord. With deep repentance and sincere faith find your way back from your backsliding. It is your duty, for you have turned away from Him whom you professed to serve. It is your wisdom, for you cannot strive against Him and prosper. It is your immediate necessity, for what He has done is nothing compared to what He may do in the way of chastisement, since He is Almighty to punish.
See what a promise invites you! You shall be “built up.” None but the Almighty can set up the fallen pillars, and restore the tottering walls of your condition; but He can and He will do it if you return to Him. Do not delay. Your crushed mind may quite fail you if you go on to rebel; but hearty confession will ease you, and humble faith will console you. Do this, and all will be well.