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God’s Love

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  • We all have them.  Some more than others.  James tells us to count them all joy (1:2), but it’s easier said than done.

    The book of Job offers wisdom for trusting God in times of distress.  When Job emerged from his test of faith, he told God, I had only heard about you before, but now I have seen you with my own eyes (Job 42:5 NLT).  Job’s trouble transformed his knowledge of God from “crumbs of rumors” (42:5 MSG) to feasts of faith. 

    Here are three reminders to help us grow spiritually during trial seasons:

    1. God’s plan is bigger than we think.

    God is orchestrating the affairs of this world in ways far beyond our comprehension. Job was unaware of his role in God’s plan to remind Satan that he is a defeated foe.  Satan thought Job only served God for the benefits. He claimed that if God removed the blessings and protection from Job, he would reject God.  Satan didn’t understand Job’s motive, but God did.  God knew Job would stand under pressure. How? Because Job was so convinced of God’s unfailing love (10:12) that he would trust Him even when he lost everything (13:15; Read also Habakkuk 3:17-18).

    To feast on faith, we must settle two issues: God orders the steps of our life (Psalm 37:23), and His love will never abandon us (Romans 8:31-39). If God allows it, He will handle it. Our present circumstances have not changed the nature of God (Hebrews 13:8). He is always worthy of our devotion!

    2. God’s focus is on developing our character.

    God is committed to the process of shaping us into “a vessel for honor, sanctified and useful for the Master” (2 Timothy 2:21 NKJV).  Job had a flaw in his character that God was working to correct.  Job 32:1-2 says, “he was righteous in his own eyes” and “he justified himself rather than God.” Job filled several chapters with emotional outbursts of self-pity. When he stopped long enough to hear God speak, he developed a deeper understanding of how great God is and how insignificant he was (42:6).

    God doesn’t want our conditional trust, He wants us to die to ourselves.  Paul said, “Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.” (Philippians 3:8 ESV).

    God will also use disappointment with people to shape our souls and cause us to find our fulfillment only in Him. Job was hurt by his friends who misrepresented God while dispensing theological advice.  When Job prayed for his friends as God commanded, he was restored.  Repentance and forgiveness released blessings.

    To feast on faith, we must surrender to the process of becoming like Jesus. Instead of asking, “Why, Lord?” learn to ask, “What now, Lord?”  God “will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know” (Jeremiah 33:3 NKJV).

    3. God’s viewpoint is eternal.

    When Job was at his lowest point; when nothing seemed secure, he held on to one truth. “For I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last he will stand upon the earth” (Job 19:25 ESV).

    God sees everything from the perspective of eternity. We may not know what is required to accomplish God’s eternal purpose, but we can know that God is with us in our affliction (Isaiah 43:2) and working for our good (Romans 8:28-29).

    To feast on faith, we must understand God is preparing us for eternity with Him (2 Corinthians 4:17, Revelation 21:4). The Apostle Peter encouraged us to look forward with joy. “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed” (I Peter 4:12-13 ESV).

    Reposted with permission from Reflections Magazine.

    “So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other.  Just as I have loved you, you should love each other.  Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” John 13:34—35.

    The love we express to one another is a living testimony that we are the disciples of Jesus. People will know if our words are void and lack true emotion, but true love will be expressed from our hearts.

    The Power of a Heartbeat

    The human heart begins to beat at the first month of conception. From the moment it starts beating until the moment it stops, the human heart works tirelessly to give you life. When the human heart stops beating, the body cannot survive.

    • The average heart beats 72 times per minute.
    • In the course of 1 day it beats over 100 thousand times.
    • In 1 year it beats approximately 38 million times.
    • By the time a person turns 70 years old it has beaten 2.5 billion times.

    Our heart beats automatically, without having to think about it because it was built for a purpose. God has formed our hearts to express love and to prove there is life.

    The Heartbeat of Our Savior

    The heartbeat of Jesus was vibrantly loud as He hung on the cross, and it is in the flow of His blood streaming down from Calvary that we can experience forgiveness, mercy, and love.

    God’s heart is beating right now and it will never stop beating. It is beating for you, it is beating for your family, it is beating for your coworkers, it is beating for the broken, it is beating for the world.

    • What is your heart beating for?
    • What is your hearts desire?
    • Do you desire a heavenly heartbeat?

    Today, let’s pray for the heartbeat of God.

    Prayer: Lord, I pray that I would feel your heartbeat. Let me love what You love and love who You love. I desire for my heart to beat after Yours. Lay a persons name on my heart to pray for. In Jesus name.

    “So then, whenever we have an opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who belong to the family of faith” (Galatians 6:10, New English Translation).

    November 13 of each year is celebrated as World Kindness Day. Although it has “world” in the title, only certain countries recognize it and there’s no particular way in which it is celebrated. Perhaps that’s because there are so many ways to show kindness. The holiday season, now approaching, seems to elicit feelings of kindness and generosity in many people, but I don’t believe it can be confined to just one day or one season of the year.

    So, what exactly is kindness?

    The dictionary defines kindness as “the state or quality of being kind” (dictionary.com). Not too helpful is it? It doesn’t convey the true feeling of the word. Someone once described kindness as love in action. To me that comes closer to its true meaning. Love inspires kindness, and kindness makes the world a better place for all of us. The smallest action can make the biggest difference.

    The Gospels abound with stories of the kindness—the love in action—Jesus demonstrated during His ministry on earth. Wherever He went, He reached out to the sick, the oppressed, the untouchables of society. Because of His compassion and kindness, regardless of their status or circumstance, Jesus serves as the perfect example for us today.

    “But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit” (Titus 3:4-5, NKJV).

    God’s kindness (love) is not dependent on how worthy we are; it’s based on how merciful and compassionate He is. Nor can we base extending kindness to others on what we perceive as their worthiness. Does anyone deserve the many blessings and kindnesses that come our way in life?

    After meditating on what true kindness is, I then considered the greatest act of kindness I’d received. Was it the unexpected letter of encouragement when going through a difficult situation? Or perhaps the very generous housewarming gift from a friend? Or when my mom sacrificially helped me fulfill what seemed an impossible dream? All of these things were appreciated and wonderful, but none ranks as the greatest.

    The greatest loving kindness ever shown me was by Jesus Christ. He was the only one kind enough to take my sins upon Himself and die in my place. Someone once said, “Kindness is showing someone they matter.” Jesus did that for me! When He gave His life on the cross—the greatest expression of love in action—He demonstrated how much I mattered to Him.

    “The LORD appeared to us in the past, saying: ‘I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness’” (Jeremiah 31:3, NIV).

    God’s great loving kindness causes me to ask how I can emulate this kindness to others. I can’t die for them—He already has—but I can tell them about the One whose love transcends anything they can imagine. I can tell them how much they matter to God.

    Prayer: Thank You, Lord, for the greatest act of love, mercy, and kindness ever shown. Help me to testify of Your love in action to everyone I meet.