This is not love

2 John

This letter is from John, the elder.
I am writing to the chosen lady and to her children, whom I love in the truth – as does everyone else who knows the truth – because the truth lives in us and will be with us forever.
Grace, mercy, and peace, which come from God the Father and from Jesus Christ – the Son of the Father – will continue to be with us who live in truth and love.
How happy I was to meet some of your children and find them living according to the truth, just as the Father commanded.
I am writing to remind you, dear friends, that we should love one another. This is not a new commandment, but one we have had from the beginning. Love means doing what God has commanded us, and he has commanded us to love one another, just as you heard from the beginning.
I say this because many deceivers have gone out into the world. They deny that Jesus Christ came in a real body. Such a person is a deceiver and an antichrist. Watch out that you do not lose what we have worked so hard to achieve. Be diligent so that you receive your full reward. Anyone who wanders away from this teaching has no relationship with God. But anyone who remains in the teaching of Christ has a relationship with both the Father and the Son.
If anyone comes to your meeting and does not teach the truth about Christ, don’t invite that person into your home or give any kind of encouragement. Anyone who encourages such people becomes a partner in their evil work.
I have much more to say to you, but I don’t want to do it with paper and ink. For I hope to visit you soon and talk with you face to face. Then our joy will be complete.
Greetings from the children of your sister, chosen by God.

3 John

This letter is from John, the elder.
I am writing to Gaius, my dear friend, whom I love in the truth.
Dear friend, I hope all is well with you and that you are as healthy in body as you are strong in spirit. Some of the traveling teachers recently returned and made me very happy by telling me about your faithfulness and that you are living according to the truth. I could have no greater joy than to hear that my children are following the truth.
Dear friend, you are being faithful to God when you care for the traveling teachers who pass through, even though they are strangers to you. They have told the church here of your loving friendship. Please continue providing for such teachers in a manner that pleases God. For they are traveling for the Lord, and they accept nothing from people who are not believers. So we ourselves should support them so that we can be their partners as they teach the truth.
I wrote to the church about this, but Diotrephes, who loves to be the leader, refuses to have anything to do with us. When I come, I will report some of the things he is doing and the evil accusations he is making against us. Not only does he refuse to welcome the traveling teachers, he also tells others not to help them. And when they do help, he puts them out of the church.
Dear friend, don’t let this bad example influence you. Follow only what is good. Remember that those who do good prove that they are God’s children, and those who do evil prove that they do not know God.
Everyone speaks highly of Demetrius, as does the truth itself. We ourselves can say the same for him, and you know we speak the truth.
I have much more to say to you, but I don’t want to write it with pen and ink. For I hope to see you soon, and then we will talk face to face.
Peace be with you.
Your friends here send you their greetings. Please give my personal greetings to each of our friends there.

Jude

This letter is from Jude, a slave of Jesus Christ and a brother of James.
I am writing to all who have been called by God the Father, who loves you and keeps you safe in the care of Jesus Christ.
May God give you more and more mercy, peace, and love.
Dear friends, I had been eagerly planning to write to you about the salvation we all share. But now I find that I must write about something else, urging you to defend the faith that God has entrusted once for all time to his holy people. I say this because some ungodly people have wormed their way into your churches, saying that God’s marvelous grace allows us to live immoral lives. The condemnation of such people was recorded long ago, for they have denied our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.
So I want to remind you, though you already know these things, that Jesus first rescued the nation of Israel from Egypt, but later he destroyed those who did not remain faithful. And I remind you of the angels who did not stay within the limits of authority God gave them but left the place where they belonged. God has kept them securely chained in prisons of darkness, waiting for the great day of judgment. And don’t forget Sodom and Gomorrah and their neighboring towns, which were filled with immorality and every kind of sexual perversion. Those cities were destroyed by fire and serve as a warning of the eternal fire of God’s judgment.
In the same way, these people—who claim authority from their dreams—live immoral lives, defy authority, and scoff at supernatural beings. But even Michael, one of the mightiest of the angels, did not dare accuse the devil of blasphemy, but simply said, “The Lord rebuke you!” (This took place when Michael was arguing with the devil about Moses’ body.) But these people scoff at things they do not understand. Like unthinking animals, they do whatever their instincts tell them, and so they bring about their own destruction. What sorrow awaits them! For they follow in the footsteps of Cain, who killed his brother. Like Balaam, they deceive people for money. And like Korah, they perish in their rebellion.
When these people eat with you in your fellowship meals commemorating the Lord’s love, they are like dangerous reefs that can shipwreck you. They are like shameless shepherds who care only for themselves. They are like clouds blowing over the land without giving any rain. They are like trees in autumn that are doubly dead, for they bear no fruit and have been pulled up by the roots. They are like wild waves of the sea, churning up the foam of their shameful deeds. They are like wandering stars, doomed forever to blackest darkness.
Enoch, who lived in the seventh generation after Adam, prophesied about these people. He said, “Listen! The Lord is coming with countless thousands of his holy ones to execute judgment on the people of the world. He will convict every person of all the ungodly things they have done and for all the insults that ungodly sinners have spoken against him.”
These people are grumblers and complainers, living only to satisfy their desires. They brag loudly about themselves, and they flatter others to get what they want.
But you, my dear friends, must remember what the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ predicted. They told you that in the last times there would be scoffers whose purpose in life is to satisfy their ungodly desires. These people are the ones who are creating divisions among you. They follow their natural instincts because they do not have God’s Spirit in them. But you, dear friends, must build each other up in your most holy faith, pray in the power of the Holy Spirit, and await the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will bring you eternal life. In this way, you will keep yourselves safe in God’s love.
And you must show mercy to those whose faith is wavering.
Rescue others by snatching them from the flames of judgment. Show mercy to still others, but do so with great caution, hating the sins that contaminate their lives.
Now all glory to God, who is able to keep you from falling away and will bring you with great joy into his glorious presence without a single fault. All glory to him who alone is God, our Savior through Jesus Christ our Lord. All glory, majesty, power, and authority are his before all time, and in the present, and beyond all time! Amen.

Relate: Find this at: https://theriverwalk.org/2021/12/26/this-is-not-love/

The Grammar of Love

Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 1 John 4:11 
Sometimes Greek grammar can illuminate our responsibilities as Christians—as in 1 John 4:11. When the Greek word “if” is followed by a certain kind of verb form (in this case, “loved us”), the “if” condition is assumed to be true. So we could translate the verse, “If God so loved us”—and indeed, He did—then we also ought to love one another in the same way. “So loved us” forces the question, How did God love us? The answer is found in the preceding verse 10: He sent His Son into the world to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins.
Putting verses 10-11 together, we see our responsibility. God loved us sacrificially. If God loved us sacrificially—and indeed, He did—then we also ought to love one another sacrificially. Our responsibility, then, is to love one another the same way God has loved us. God sacrificed His Son to love us—what have we sacrificed to love others? Have we sacrificed anger, pride, resentment, material goods, time, self-interest?

Greek grammar makes our responsibility clear. Since God sacrificed for us—and indeed He did—we ought to sacrificially love others as well.

Love so amazing, so divine, demands my soul, my life, my all. 
Isaac Watts, “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross”

 

  • David Jeremiah

Perfect Love

But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him.
1 John 2:5 
When young people leave home for college, they often hear words like these from a parent: “Remember who you are and whose you are. Your lifestyle and actions when away from home will reveal how well you have internalized and embraced the values you’ve been taught.”
The apostle John wrote something similar to his first-century audience. In short, the Christians who obey God’s words are those in whom the love of God is doing its maturing and perfecting work. Or, said another way, “By [our obedience] we know that we are in Him.” Obedience doesn’t mean perfection, or never sinning. (See the apostle John’s acknowledgement that sin happens in 1 John 1:9.) John’s word “perfected” means “completion” or “ending.” The goal of God’s love for us, and our love for Him, is that we would be conformed to His will as expressed by obedience to His Word.

Do you find yourself being conformed more and more to the image of Christ, motivated by your loving fellowship with Him (Romans 8:29)? By this you know that you are in Him.

The habitual inclination of the heart…in believers…is unto good, unto God, unto holiness, unto obedience.
John Owen

  • David Jeremiah

God’s Love

He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?
Romans 8:32 

A father was approached by a young man who wanted to marry his daughter. After a lengthy conversation, the father gave the young man the permission he sought: “Yes, you may marry my daughter.” Before leaving, the young man also asked, “Could I have a glass of water before I drive back?” “A glass of water?” the father asked, smiling. “I’ve just given you my most valuable possession, my daughter, and you ask me for a glass of water? Of course! Help yourself to whatever I have, now that you have what is most valuable to me.”
Something similar happened when God gave His only Son to the world, to die for our sins. Sometimes when we pray about a need, we forget that God has already demonstrated His unconditional love for us by giving us His Son. Paul reminds us, “How shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?” Our needs are important, but they pale in comparison to what God has already given.

Remember God’s unconditional, unchanging love when you pray. He is ready to “give us all things.”

The true measure of God’s love is that He loves without measure.
Anonymous

 

  • David Jeremiah

The Love of God

1 John 4:7-21

Dear friends, let us love each other, because love comes from God. Those who love are God’s children and they know God. Those who do not love do not know God because God is love. God has shown His love to us by sending His only Son into the world. God did this so we might have life through Christ. 10 This is love! It is not that we loved God but that He loved us. For God sent His Son to pay for our sins with His own blood.

11 Dear friends, if God loved us that much, then we should love each other. 12 No person has ever seen God at any time. If we love each other, God lives in us. His love is made perfect in us. 13 He has given us His Spirit. This is how we live by His help and He lives in us.

14 We have seen and are able to say that the Father sent His Son to save the world from the punishment of sin. 15 The person who tells of Him in front of men and says that Jesus is the Son of God, God is living in that one and that one is living by the help of God. 16 We have come to know and believe the love God has for us. God is love. If you live in love, you live by the help of God and God lives in you.17 Love is made perfect in us when we are not ashamed as we stand before Him on the day He judges. For we know that our life in this world is His life lived in us. 18 There is no fear in love. Perfect love puts fear out of our hearts. People have fear when they are afraid of being punished. The man who is afraid does not have perfect love. 19 We love Him because He loved us first. 20 If a person says, “I love God,” but hates his brother, he is a liar. If a person does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God Whom he has not seen? 21 We have these words from Him. If you love God, love your brother also.

Christians often hear that God loves them. This truth is repeated in church, and believers often recite Bible verses on the topic. Yet do we really grasp what it means to be cared for in this way by the Creator of the universe? Let’s explore two aspects of His love.

First, God’s love isn’t influenced by anything within or around us, because it is one of God’s unchanging attributes. We know that even while we were still living in sin, Christ died for us (But God showed His love to us. While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Rom. 5:8). We didn’t do anything to earn His love, and we can’t do anything to hinder it.

Second, divine love is eternal. Believers will never be separated from it. In fact,    Ephesians 1:4 (Even before the world was made, God chose us for Himself because of His love. He planned that we should be holy and without blame as He sees us.) tells us that the Father chose us before the foundation of the world. We know, therefore, that His care for us has always been a fact—and always will be.

We can trust the One who loves us completely. Jesus proved His love by dying in our place to rescue us from sin and its consequences. He promises to stay with us always and redirects us when we stray. Whether or not we feel His presence, His love surrounds and protects us forever.

Undeserved Love

“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”1

As humans, we often struggle to accept the fact that God loves us unconditionally. It is hard to understand how someone could love us even when we mess up. I have had this conversation with many people, and, more often than not, this is because we are stuck in the human “give and take” mindset when it comes to love. In many marriages, and relationships in general, you must “earn” love, acceptance, and time before it is given. If there are disagreements or disappointments in the relationship, this may affect how love is demonstrated.

While this concept of unconditional love may be difficult for us to grasp because of our human brokenness, this is the only kind of love God has towards us, His children. His love is not dependent on how “good” we are and will not change when we fail. Now, this doesn’t mean that we can go live ungodly lives and do whatever we want because God’s love is unconditional. We must remember that God cannot see sin, so if we choose to practice sin, we intentionally create a separation between ourselves and God and will reap the consequences of our actions. Does he still love us? Absolutely. However, it is our choice to receive that love and love Him in return. There a huge difference between choosing to live in sin and missing the mark on occasion. Our goal should always be to be like Jesus, but we are human and will make mistakes.

The important thing to remember in any situation is that God loves us no matter what. If we have strayed from His will, he awaits your return with arms wide open. No condemnation, just a loving Father ready to give you renewed life. If we fail, cling tight to God’s hand, get up and keep going. The more we accept and experience God’s love in our lives, the more we can put it into practice towards others.

Suggested prayer: Dear God, I have done nothing to deserve your love, yet you give it to me freely. Sometimes I condemn myself for the mistakes I make and drift from you believing I am unworthy. In these moments, help me remember that, in Jesus, I am loved, worthy, forgiven, and accepted. My mind can’t begin to comprehend the depths of your love, but I ask that you help me be a channel of your love to those around me. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

  1. Romans 5:8 (NLT).
  2. Comment at: http://www.actsweb.org/daily.php?id=2191

“Loving Your Neighbor”

(J. R. Miller, )

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(You will find it helpful to listen to the audio above, as you read the text below.)

“You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Mark 12:31

What is it to love our neighbor? It is the loving that is hard. We could do almost anything else, short of loving unpleasant neighbors.

But love is the word–and no revised version changes it. No matter how disagreeable, unlovely, unworthy, our neighbors may be–still the commandment persistently and relentlessly says to us, “You shall love him!

Our neighbors are around us all the time, needing our love. Indeed, they touch our lives so continually, that we must guard our every look, word, and act–lest we hurt some sensitive spirit.

Some people seem to forget that other people have feelings. They are constantly saying words and doing things which give pain. True love is thoughtful. We ought to train our hearts to the most delicate sense of kindness, that we may never, even jokingly, give pain to any other human being.

Our neighbors have hearts, and we owe to every one of them–the beggar we meet on the street, thedegraded wretch we find crawling in the mire of sin’s debasement, the enemy who flings his insults in our face–to every one, we owe the love that is thoughtful, gentle, and gives no hurt.

Our love ought also to be patient. Our neighbor will have his faults. But we are taught to bear with one another’s infirmities.

If we knew the story of men’s lives, the hidden burdens they are often carrying, the unhealed woundsin their heart–we would have most gentle patience with them. Life is hard for most people, certainly hard enough without our adding to its burdens–by our criticisms, our jeering and contempt, and our lack of love.

Can I Love Jesus But Not The Church?

Can I Love Jesus But Not The Church?
If we don’t love God’s people, then we have reason to suspect that our relationship with God is not genuine.
Watch Video »

A Prayer about loving well

These thoughts are from Everyday Prayers: 365 days to a Gospel-centered Faith by Scotty Smith. I have read it most everyday for several years. I am always reminded and encouraged by it. Higly recommend it.

And so we know and rely on the Lord God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in Love lives in God, and God in them. This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: in this world we are like Jesus. There is no fear in love. The perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. We love because he first loved us. 1 John 4:16 – 19

Gracious Jesus, today I am remembering the call to love well all kinds of people at all kinds of situations. I am recognizable as one of your disciples by the way I love others ( John 13.34). This would be an unbearable burden if you didn’t love us as you do. We love you, anybody, only because you first loved us.

Help my love well the members of my immediate family. They are at the same time. Easiest and the hardest people to love, day in and day out. Sometimes I think I have the greatest family on the earth; sometimes I think I would trade one another in for a Diet Coke.

Forgive me when I want friendship to be simply mutual admiration society rather than a community of groaning, grace, and growth.

Help me know how to love the depressed and sad people in my life.

Help me to love the poor, the orphans and widows, The marginalized, for among them I will surely find you, Jesus.

 

God’s Love – It Endures Forever

Psalm 136:1

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good. His love endures forever.

The National Football League (NFL) will get started soon (they began camp this week). School will begin shortly – we hope – virtually or in-person or some hybrid model. There are a lot of things happening – even in the midst of this pandemic – that some consider good.

We often debate what is good in our lives. For instance – if you asked me a few years ago what was good – I might have said – lemon meringue pie – or peanut butter moose track ice cream. These days – I try to stay away from both. I’m trying to lose some weight for a variety of reason (this seems to be a never ending quest). Some might say – my marriage is good – or my children are good – or my favorite team is good (the Orioles are playing better of late – but they are a long way from being called good).

School is starting back up soon. Is school good in your book? Will your favorite High School sport play this year and will your team be good? Will your school’s band get to play this year and are they good? Is our school good in general? What or who do you think is good?

The ultimate good – of course – according to Scripture and the personal experience from many of us – is the love of God. All things we consider good are temporal – they do not last. But the love of God endures forever. Even as we face the sudden death of a dear friend and member of our church – God is still good and with us through it all.

Continue at: https://raymcdonald.wordpress.com/2021/08/05/gods-love-it-endures-forever/