Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. 1 Corinthians 16:13 NIV
At strategic times God has sent angels to people to tell them what they needed to know. That tells us that heaven and earth are not disconnected, and what happens on earth has a spiritual dimension. Our spiritual engagement influences this. Following Paul’s advice in his letter to Corinth and being aware, prayerful and confident, can make all the difference.
PRAYER Forgive me, Lord, for being casual and unprepared spiritually. Your word instructs us to “pray continually” and my response is so much less. Help me to begin to see not just everyday concerns but the spiritual realities behind them. Lead me to pray accordingly, and bring Your kingdom to earth. For Jesus’ honour and glory, Amen.
This is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.
1 John 4:10 (NIV)
Why should God love me?
“If you really knew me… knew what was in my life behind the front that I put up … If you really knew me (I suppose God knows me like that) you wouldn’t expect God to love me.”
It’s not a real quote but I have heard a version of that comment many times as a pastor.
The way we see ourselves and the way God sees us, are not the same. The way we value ourselves and the way God values us are not the same.
We work on the premise that our relationship with God works like the way we get to know anyone else. God has to get to know us, and hopefully He will see some things He likes and over time, become warm to us.
Wrong. God loved and accepted us first.
He may not love and accept all our attitudes or behaviour… but He created us and sent His Son Jesus to be the “atoning sacrifice”, to pay the high price to make things right for us.
Is this automatic? The fact of God’s love for us is not a maybe — that’s established. What is not automatic is our love for God, and our acceptance of Jesus for who He is. That requires us to make a choice!
We agree with Jesus about who He is and what He has done in our behalf. What He did was costly. Our decision also has a cost to it – the cost of our independence, of giving someone else a higher place in our lives. But now we realise the extent of God’s love for us that was there all along. We just had to make our move, to receive it.
As the Passion Translation puts it:
“This is love: He loved us long before we loved Him. It was His love, not ours. He proved it by sending His Son to be the pleasing sacrificial offering to take away our sins.” 1 John 4:10 TPT
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.
Proverbs 1:7 NIV
Question and answer
Q. Should we fear Someone who is love, and who is committed to be merciful in His dealings with us?
A. There is the ‘stab of fear’, like when the tiger in the zoo fastens its eyes on you; and there is the slower apprehension of being momentarily speechless in the presence of greatness, like meeting the Queen. One stirs you to ‘fight or flight’; the other moves you positively, to deep respect and deference – and a willingness to listen.
Lord, we worship You.
We bow down before Your majestic presence, yet You would have us address You as ‘Father’.
We put aside our imagined knowledge and experience, and seek Your instruction.
We bring our situation of difficulty which has baffled the leading minds, knowing You have wisdom and insight far above our own, and the grace to impart it to those who listen.
Lead us in Your way, Lord, and share with us a glimpse from Your perspective – raising our faith to pray in agreement with You, for Your will to be done. Amen.
A thought about this verse – possibly controversial, but topical