Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Love~Part 4

God is love.

As my husband prepared his message for the Sunday before Valentine’s Day, we had many discussions on the subject of love. Since most of us think of 1 Corinthians 13 when anyone mentions love, Dick had decided to use the very familiar passage of scripture as the basis for his sermon.

As we talked, Dick excitedly realized that, in all truthfulness, we could take out the word “love” from 1 Corinthians 13 and put God’s name in instead and every statement would still be true!

Let’s try it!

God is patient and kind.
God is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude.
God does not demand his own way.
God is not irritable,
and He keeps no record
of when He has been wronged.
God is never glad about injustice
but rejoices whenever the truth wins out.
God never gives up,
never loses faith,
and is always hopeful.
God endures
through every circumstance.

Isn’t that amazing? And absolutely true! I could have jumped up and down when that became clear to me (except that’s hard to do while riding in a car).

It makes perfect sense! Since God IS love, all these characteristics of love that Paul shared in 1 Corinthians 13 would be true of God himself. Wow! That is huge! What a wonderful caricature Paul quickly sketches of our loving Father. I am still awed by this revelation. 1 John 4: 8 and 16, probably the first verses taught to every kid who ever came through Sunday school, mean so much more to me now! GOD IS LOVE!

What does “God is love” mean for you?

Bask in His love, my friends!

©2012 Pamela D. Williams

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Love~Part 3

7 Dear friends, let us love one another, because love comes from God. Whoever loves is a child of God and knows God. 8 Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love. 9 And God showed his love for us by sending his only Son into the world, so that we might have life through him. 10 This is what love is: it is not that we have loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the means by which our sins are forgiven. 11 Dear friends, if this is how God loved us, then we should love one another. 15 If we declare that Jesus is the Son of God, we live in union with God and God lives in union with us. 16 And we ourselves know and believe the love which God has for us. God is love, and those who live in love live in union with God and God lives in union with them. 1 John 4:7-11, 15-16

John says that God is love and love comes from God. All of God’s thoughts, words, and actions are motivated by love. His essence is love. Therefore, to begin to love in the ways 1 Corinthians 13 talks about—how God wants us to love—we first need to know God. John helps us get to know God better by telling us more about God, especially about how God showed His love for us.

God craves a real connection with us, but since God is holy and we are sinful, our sin blocks our path to Him. However, God loves us to so great an extent that He sent His Son to take on our sins and bear the punishment we deserved. That is incredible love!

Now the way is clear for us to live in union with God, just like He so deeply desires. We can get to know Him, live in His love, and can allow Him to work in our lives, equipping us to love others with God’s kind of love.

What steps would you recommend to “live in love", and therefore "in union with God” (v. 16)?

Up next will be Part 4--the last in the LOVE series. This post will highlight a moment of understanding and clarity that I received as the culmination of my ruminations on love.

Many blessings,

©2012 Pamela D. Williams

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Love~Part 2

Galatians 5:22-23

I received a startling revelation this week as I looked again at 1 Corinthians 13: 4-8a. As I contemplated loving patiently, kindly, and faithfully, the parallels with Galatians 5:22-23—the fruit of the Spirit—suddenly jumped off the page!

When we express love as God wants us to—in accordance with 1 Corinthians 13--we exhibit the fruit of the Spirit! We radiate joy, convey peace, practice patience, show kindness, exercise goodness, offer faithfulness, walk in humility and demonstrate self-control.

What is the key to loving as God would have us love? It is the presence of his Spirit! On our own, none of us will register very high on God’s love meter. But when we invite God’s Spirit to fill and empower us, we will be able to love the way God spelled it out in 1 Corinthians 13. Isn’t that revelation freeing?

Love~Part 3 will be posted soon. Y’all come back now! Hear?


©2012 Pamela D. Williams

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Love~Part 1

“Love” takes top billing each February. During this month, many of us give chocolates, flowers, special dinners, cards, jewelry and various other things in an effort to be intentional in expressing our love for someone special. Each year we rack our brains for the perfect gift that will say, “I love you!”

However, we need not look too far for ideas. God spells out the best ways to express love in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8a.

When I held up God’s love meter to my love for others, I found myself falling short. God and I have been having some serious discussions about this all month long. In Part 2 I will share some more of what God is teaching me.

How about you?  How does your practice of love compare to this passage? 

Stay tuned for Love~Part 2! Coming Soon!


©2012 Pamela D. Williams

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Scrooch* in a Little Closer

What an awesome time of worship we enjoyed in our contemporary service this past Sunday! God drew me close to Him through the words of the songs, the testimony of the worship leader, the enthusiasm of those around me, and the toe-stomping message in the skits performed by a talented troupe. I love it when God’s nearness is practically tangible!

Do you long to draw close to Jesus? Be encouraged then, because, in His great love for us, God uses a variety of ways, not just worship, to draw us into a deeper relationship with Him.

God gave the church the basic disciplines of prayer, worship, the Lord's Supper, Bible reading and study, Christian fellowship, and fasting in order to lead people to saving faith in Jesus and to keep us close to Him.

By regularly practicing these spiritual disciplines, we avail ourselves of the power of grace to:
  • transform us into the persons God wants us to be (Romans 12:2)
  • enable us to obediently love God and  love our neighbor (Luke 10:25-27)
  • grow in holy living (1 Peter 1:15)
  • express our faith through love (Galatians 5:6)
  • understand the things of God (1 Corinthians 2:11-13)

Surprisingly, the famous Methodist theologian, John Wesley warned that how we use these disciplines will determine whether we receive any grace through them. What did he mean?

Like the Pharisees of Jesus time, we sometimes do the right things but for the wrong reasons. Wesley encourages us to keep the following truths in mind:

God can offer his grace in any way and at any time. Have we limited God by only expecting to find Him in prayer or Communion or in fasting? Are we looking for Him always and everywhere?

Spiritual disciplines themselves cannot save us. When we read the Bible or give or go to church, is it out of a misplaced notion that these efforts will erase our sins? Only faith in the sacrifice of Jesus can assure us of forgiveness.

Drawing closer to God must be our only motivation. Practicing these disciplines will not earn us special standing with God or make us more deserving of His favor.

Isn’t it awesome that God wants so much to be in a relationship with us that He’s willing to reach out through all available means to get our attention? What has drawn you close to Him today?

Scrooching in a little closer to Jesus,

*scrooch [skrooch] Chiefly Midland and Southern U.S.
verb> to squeeze or huddle (usually followed by in or over).

©2012 Pamela D. Williams