VIDEO Layers of Love

Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.
Romans 5:5

Love comes in layers. The intimate love of a married couple is very exclusive. The love we have for our children is intense. We have friends we love on a different level, and there’s a special bond of love that unites followers of Christ. And yet, even with all those love layers extending from us, there is still enough love within us—thanks to the Holy Spirit!—to love the whole world.

That’s why the Bible tells us to entertain strangers (Hebrews 13:2), to have pity on the poor (Proverbs 19:17), to bear one another’s burdens (Galatians 6:2), to visit orphans and widows in their distress (James 1:27), to love our enemies and do good to those who hate us (Luke 6:27), to support the weak (Acts 20:35), and to “be kindly affectionate to one another” (Romans 12:10).

Love is demonstrated not just through words, but through actions. Be intentional in loving others, and God will reward you for your faithful obedience to His command.

True love is an act of the will—a conscious decision to do what is best for the other person instead of ourselves. Billy Graham

Our Benefits Package – Romans 5:1-5 – Skip Heitzig

God Redeems Our Pain

The Lord bless him! . . . That man is our close relative. Ruth 2:20

Olive watched her friend loading her dental equipment into his car. A fellow dentist, he’d bought the brand-new supplies from her. Having her own practice had been Olive’s dream for years, but when her son Kyle was born with cerebral palsy, she realized she had to stop working to care for him.

“If I had a million lifetimes, I’d make the same choice,” my friend told me. “But giving up dentistry was difficult. It was the death of a dream.”

We often go through difficulties we can’t understand. For Olive, it was the heartache of her child’s unexpected medical condition and relinquishing her own ambitions. For Naomi, it was the heartache of losing her entire family. In Ruth 1:21 she lamented, “The Almighty has brought misfortune upon me.”  

But there was more to Naomi’s story than what she could see. God didn’t abandon her; He brought restoration by providing her with a grandson, Obed (Ruth 4:17). Obed would not only carry on the name of Naomi’s husband and son, but through him, she would be a relative of an ancestor (Boaz) of Jesus Himself  (Matthew 1:516).

God redeemed Naomi’s pain. He also redeemed Olive’s pain by helping her begin a ministry for children with neurological conditions. We may experience seasons of heartache, but we can trust that as we obey and follow God, He can redeem our pain. In His love and wisdom, He can make good come out of it.  

By:  Karen Huang

Reflect & Pray

How has God redeemed your trials in the past? How is He encouraging you in your present difficulties?

Dear God, thank You that You’re redeeming the painful stories of my life.

For further study, read Why? Seeing God in Our Pain.

Remain Hopeful

When difficulty comes, choose to trust God Acts 27:13-26

Life doesn’t always meet our expectations. Even when our plans are according to God’s will, we may nevertheless face difficulties. I remember a season of life when I felt all alone and abandoned by the Lord. My mind said God was with me, but my feelings said He wasn’t. To counter those emotions, I had to pray and focus my mind on Scripture.

In today’s passage, the weather threatened Paul’s voyage to Rome. Even though the Lord was clearly directing His path, a violent storm arose on the sea. The sailors worked hard to save the ship, but gradually they gave up hope of being saved. The only one who persevered in hope was Paul, and he encouraged the crew with his confidence in God.  

Frustration over obstacles can lead to discouragement. Many times we can’t change what has happened—whether it’s a job loss, a loved one’s death, or a devastating diagnosis. Circumstances over which we have no control are often the ones that trip us up.

In times of discouragement, you have a choice. Will you focus on your circumstances, or will you fix your gaze on God and His Word? 

Root of Bitterness

“Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled.” (Hebrews 12:15)

Bitterness and a bitter spirit should never characterize a person who has experienced the saving grace of God through Jesus Christ. No matter how seriously one may have been wronged, if he has known God’s forgiving grace for his own wrongdoings, he should manifest that same grace in his life toward others, even though they do not merit it (for neither did he merit God’s forgiving grace himself).

Bitterness is a characteristic of the ungodly “whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness” (Romans 3:14). A Christian must never try to rationalize it as “righteous indignation” or to think that certain injustices give him the “right” to be bitter and resentful. “If ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth. This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish” (James 3:14-15). Rooted bitterness will soon “spring up,” not only robbing the bitter believer of joy and true fruitfulness, but bearing bitter fruit whereby many others will “be defiled.”

The antidote, of course, is never to “fail of the grace of God.” That is, we need to be “looking diligently,” moment by moment, at the wonderful grace of God by which we were saved through faith and in which we continue to live each day.

Therefore, “let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamor, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you” (Ephesians 4:31-32). Otherwise, we not only hurt both ourselves and others, but we also grieve “the holy Spirit of God” (v. 30). HMM

Power, the Great Need

But the manifestation of the Sprit is given to every man to profit withal.1 Corinthians 12:7

I think there can be no doubt that the need above all other needs in the Church of God at this moment is the power of the Holy Spirit. More education, better organization, finer equipment, more advanced methods—all are unavailing.

It is like bringing a better respirator after the patient is dead. Good as these are they can never give life. “It is the spirit that quickeneth” (John 6:63). Good as they are they can never bring power. “Power belongeth unto God” (Psalm 62:11).

Protestantism is on the wrong road when it tries to win merely by means of a “united front.” It is not organizational unity we need most; the great need is power. POM093

The power of God is at our disposal, waiting for us to call it into action by meeting the conditions which are plainly laid down. God is ready to send down floods of blessing upon us as we begin to obey His plain instructions. PTP029

There is no divine incoming until there is the human emptying. How is it possible to fill us until we are first emptied?…Emptied first, filled afterward is the order. SAN035

Don’t Miss the Point

Your word is a lamp for my feet and a light on my path.—Psalm 119:105

There are some who claim that having our “feet sandaled with readiness for the gospel of peace” means that we should always be ready to carry the gospel to others. That interpretation certainly fits in with Romans 10:15: “How beautiful are the feet of those who announce the gospel of good things!” but this is not, in my opinion, what Paul had in mind when he wrote the words of Ephesians 6:15.

In Ephesians 6 the apostle is dealing with one thing only—the Christian’s engagement with the Devil. He said: “Our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against … the spiritual forces of evil” (v. 12). His purpose is to show us how to stand against the “tactics” of the Devil. Although Paul was an evangelist with a strong evangelistic spirit, he was not thinking here of evangelizing, vital though it is. He was rather picturing a Christian who is under attack by Satan, warning us that unless our feet are firmly shod, we can easily be knocked down and disabled.

Those who claim that the phrase the “readiness for the gospel of peace” relates to evangelism miss the point of his exposition. No one would deny the importance of always being ready to share Christ with others, but the readiness to which Paul is referring here is the readiness to stand firm on the truths of the gospel. In other words, he is saying: don’t get into a fight with the Devil in your bare feet. Make sure you are well shod, for if you are not, he will most certainly get the better of you.


O Father, I am so grateful that You breathed into Your servant Paul to write these illuminating words. They are inspired, for they inspire me. Continue to teach me, dear Lord. I am hungry for more and more of Your truth. Amen.

Further Study

Ps 119:97-105; Isa 40:8; 1Pt 1:23-25; 2Tm 2:15

How did the psalmist view God’s Word?

Why is God’s Word a sure foundation?

Let No One Look down on You

No one should despise your youth; instead, you should be an example to the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.1 Timothy 4:12

Timothy was a sincere young man who earnestly desired to serve the Lord. Yet certain weaknesses in Timothy’s life hindered him from serving God confidently. Timothy was very young to be a religious leader, and apparently some doubted his abilities. Timothy had a tender nature and was sickly (1 Tim. 5:23). His was an inauspicious beginning for a young minister of the gospel in an age of persecution!

Paul urged Timothy not to allow his youthful insecurity to blunt his zeal and faithfulness in doing what God had told him. Rather than arguing with those who criticized Timothy, Paul urged him to live as an example of godliness. Paul advised Timothy to live a life that was so spotless in word, conduct, love, spirit, faith, and purity that his life could serve as a model for others in the church to follow. Timothy’s life was to be the evidence that God had called him. God looked beyond Timothy’s youth, timidity, and physical weakness and saw his sincere heart.

As you seek to follow God’s will, you may identify with Timothy. Perhaps some things about you seem to disqualify you from serving the Lord effectively. You may be sensitive because you are a new Christian or because you come from a sinful past. Perhaps you have little education or money or social status. You may have previously experienced failure in your service for God. Don’t allow this to intimidate you from following God’s will. Your area of weakness may be God’s means of demonstrating His strength (2 Cor. 12:9). Allow God to demonstrate His call upon you by transforming your life into a model of godliness.