“Oh, the unspeakable greatness of that exchange,—the Sinless One is condemned, and he who is guilty goes free; the Blessing bears the curse, and the cursed is brought into blessing; the Life dies, and the dead live; the Glory is whelmed in darkness, and he who knew nothing but confusion of face is clothed with glory.” Trailady

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A person God turned around many times.

Thursday, November 06, 2014

Back to the basics, Pt. 1

2004 Hubble Ultra Deep Field
“That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life; (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;)” (1Jn. 1:1,2).
“Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls.” (Jer. 6:16).
We need to recapture the first priorities. We need to never forget the basics. Prophecies are utterly essential. They possess an urgency that the world needs to hear. Yet, they can never be the foundation of the kingdom of God. They are branches of the stock. They are walls built upon the foundation. They are not the stock; they are not the foundation. Redemption from Christ is the foundation. The love of God is the foundation upon which we may safely study and teach and preach the fearful prophecies. We need to weave the love of God into the prophecies of God, and settle it that the God of love is the God of the prophecies.
“For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” (1Cor. 3:11). The goodness of God, conviction of the Spirit of truth, confession and repentance, the new heart and new creature, the fruits and the gifts of the Spirit of God; these are the foundation. We can live on a foundation without walls and a roof, yes. But, that would be a harsh living and a funny-looking one, too.
But, never can anyone live inside of walls and under a roof without the foundation. In an instant, the city would condemn such a dwelling. The weight of the structure would cause the walls to settle, and then the roof would weigh heavier on one side, and soon cave in under the tremendous weight of the roof.
This says much concerning the everlasting gospel. It must be strong enough to endure 2,000 years. A Savior, a perfect representative of God, sinless in every respect, could alone lay the right foundation for the house of God. His kingdom must endure forever. Christ is the center of God’s kingdom; therefore, Christ must remain the center of the gospel. He is the central attraction.
“Let that therefore abide in you, which ye have heard from the beginning. If that which ye have heard from the beginning shall remain in you, ye also shall continue in the Son, and in the Father.” (1Jn. 2:24).
“Brethren, I write no new commandment unto you, but an old commandment which ye had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word which ye have heard from the beginning.” (1Jn. 2:7).
“That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full. This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.” (1Jn. 1:3-5).
“Again, a new commandment I write unto you, which thing is true in him and in you: because the darkness is past, and the true light now shineth.” (1Jn. 2:8).
Millions upon millions upon millions of stars in a dark spot of the night sky came into view when astronomers arbitrarily decided to point the Hubble space telescope there for almost a million seconds, just from curiosity to see what might happen. Out of the darkness appeared 10,000 galaxies and nebulae, each containing billions of stars, all of which being far, far, far away, hidden at such a distance that not even a photon from all those blazing suns of molten atoms could traverse it.
Today, modern theology has departed so far from redemption through the life and death of Christ that God seems to be in the dark. But, God is not in the dark; He never went anywhere. We are the ones who went somewhere. We have departed from Him; we are in the dark. We lost our first love. (Rev. 2:4). Will we make the choice to put forth effort and extraordinary time looking at His ancient words and concepts? Will we decide we will keep looking until God and His love come out of the dark and into full view? It can only happen if we point the telescope of our eyes and minds onto the pages of scripture, and wait there. “Blessed are all they that wait for Him.” (Isa. 30:18). Until He slowly dawns upon our searching hearts and minds He remains the Unknown God today as much as He has been all through time. We don’t want Him to be the Unknown God, do we?
“For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another.” (1Jn. 3:11).
“And now I beseech thee, lady, not as though I wrote a new commandment unto thee, but that which we had from the beginning, that we love one another.” (2Jn. 1:5).
“Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently.” (1Pet. 1:22).
But, how can we love with that perfectly patient love if we haven’t been loved by it? It’s not possible. We don’t have the capacity to love selflessly and graciously without having been loved like that. This is the cause of the pervasive hatred and anger and distancing between people that we see today. “We love him, because he first loved us.” (1Jn. 4:19).
We have heard about a God of love and the love of God.
“Woe unto you, Pharisees! for ye tithe mint and rue and all manner of herbs, and pass over judgment and the love of God.” (Lk. 11:42).
“Hereby perceive we the love of God, because He laid down His life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.” (1Jn. 3:16).
“Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.
He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.
In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him.
Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.
No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and His love is perfected in us.
Hereby know we that we dwell in Him, and He in us, because He hath given us of His Spirit.” (1Jn. 4:7-13).
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (Jn. 3:16).
“Finally, brethren, farewell. Be perfect, be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with you.” (2Cor. 13:11).
“And the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God, and into the patient waiting for Christ.” (2Thess. 3:5).
“But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared,” (Tit. 3:4).
“But whoso keepeth His word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in Him.” (1Jn. 2:5).
“Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew Him not.” (1Jn. 3:1).
“As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.” (Rev. 3:19).
“Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.” (Jude 21). The Greek word for “in” as with “in the love of God” can also mean “under”, as in “under the love of God”. Under the sunshine of His love we grow up as a flower, which turns itself toward the sun during the day. The sunshine touches the delicate pedals and brings forth the gleams and deep hues of the flower. So should we keep ourselves under the warm and therapeutic love of God. Then we love Him in return and can love others like He loves us. Maybe it sounds selfish of us to need love before loving others, but that is how it must be. We are dependent on our Creator for not only our physical needs, but also for our emotional needs. Life is made up of both, and we can originate neither.
“Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory.” (1Pet. 1:8). Christ had lived with Peter and the other disciples. Now He was in the heavenly sanctuary, no different toward them than He had been when He walked with them. He was still the compassionate Master Teacher and Friend. He was still the strong Lord with an exceedingly high standard. And He was the same intercessor for them before His Father. When the disciples put all of this together, they were indomitable against Satan’s global empire.
“Love [G25 agapao] your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;… Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” (Matt. 5:44,48). Agape love in a human loves like God loves. It is heavenly love, as high as heaven is above the earth. Agape love has lots of mercy. It blesses those who cursed and will curse in return, it does good to those who hated and will hate in return, and prays for those who abused and will abuse in return. Agape is perfect love because it can only come from God.
As atheistic and superstitious as the Greco-Roman civilization was, they recognized heaven, a sanctuary above, and a place among the stars that was holy. They knew that every perfect gift descended from above where the Father of all light and life and love originated. Today, in our modern Greco-Roman Empire, people are as atheistic; yet when they see agape love they all still recognize it as unearthly, and they welcome it with open arms.
Our influence upon others depends not so much upon what we say as upon what we are. Men may combat and defy our logic, they may resist our appeals; but a life of disinterested love is an argument they cannot gainsay. A consistent life, characterized by the meekness of Christ, is a power in the world. Desire of Ages, p. 141.
In a world growing increasingly selfish, no one can resist agape, selfless love. God’s love heard from the written word or experienced in the life is irresistible unless they purposely, determinedly close their ears and minds to it. Otherwise, it will find its way into their ears and have its way in their hearts. Agape love is that powerful; we are that susceptible to disinterested love.
So what about God’s love?


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