Daily Devotional for Thursday February 14, 2013
( 1 John 4:8)
***ASK BILL: Pastor Bill, recently I was told by a 75yr old friend that you can be a Christian and not believe in the Bible. Is this true?
ANSWER: ABSOULTELY NOT! If the Bible is not true, we have no faith! When we come to faith in Jesus, it is automatic that God's Word is the inspired, inerrant Word of God representing Absolute Truth and our final authority in all matters! It is inconsisten to say your faith is in Jesus and deny the Bible as the only Truth there is!
Today is the day the world celebrates that powerful force known as love. The world focuses more on the romantic aspect of this emotion; I want to focus you on the true meaning of the word from God's perspective. You see, God's love, Biblical love, has an aspect that the world tries to copy but fails. That aspect is to be God's love, the love spoken of in the Bible, and must be UNCONDITIONAL.
I can tell you right now, that in our human condition, it is impossible to love anyone unconditionally. However, when you have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, when you have the strength that God imparts to you, that element is not only possible, but required of His children.
One of the common threads you will find in my Devotionals is that when you live your life and operate according to God's plan, things will work out. However, when you rebel, ignore God's warnings, and do it your way instead of God's way, it never works long-term, and you end up dealing with heartache and pain that could have been avoided.
For those like me that are hardheaded and stubborn, we usually have to find this out the hard way and endure some of the worst things life has to offer, before we finally realize that if we would just submit our will to His and do it His way, we could avoid many unpleasant experiences.
Love, God's kind of love, is no different. In a romantic sense, between a man and woman, it was intended for us to have one partner during this lifetime. While I realize that for many it is not the case, that doesn't alter or change what God's plan is. For those who have gone through the pain of divorce and broken relationships, you understand very well why God's plan is the best plan. I want to encourage those young adults today to not hurry into romantic relationships so early in life.
I cannot begin to tell you the mail I get daily from young adults 13, 14, 15, and 16, who are writing because of problems with boyfriends and girlfriends. In all honesty, you have no business being romantically involved at that age.
The biggest problem that I have seen in many years of ministry, dealing with literally tens of thousands of young adults "in love", is that the revolving door of relationships that start FAR too young, gives people a mindset that when things don't work out the way you like, just move on. Sadly, this mindset is carried into marriage, and when thing get difficult it becomes much easier to just walk away, as opposed to honoring the vows to your spouse, and God.
God's plan is one man, one woman for a lifetime. Again, those who have been through multiple relationships in their life understand why that plan works so well. Patience, faith, and trusting God is the key element in establishing that God-ordained union in your life. It then puts you in a position, with the power of God living in you, to love that person the way you should, unconditionally.
Outside of the romantic arena, unconditional love is the way God expects us to ove others. How can you love someone you don't even know, unconditionally? Think about the unconditional love God showed when He gave His only son on a cross 2000 years ago for the sins of this world, for the sins of everyone, including those who mock and curse Him. That is the true test of unconditional love.
Loving someone who loves you is easy. Can you love, unconditionally love, someone who has been mean to you, done bad things to you, caused you pain and heartache. God did. How do you think God feels about those who defy Him, work against Him, and hate Him. These are the people He gave His son for. GOD LOVES THEM UNCONDITIONALLY.
I love you and care about you so much. I pray that you will think of someone today, this Valentine's Day, who you might label as your enemy, someone you have had problems with in your life. I want you to get on your knees tonight before you go to bed and pray for that person. Pray for them and then ask God to give you unconditional love for that person. The Bible tells us to "love our enemies." Again, that is God's kind of love, unconditional love.
You will not even begin to know the feeling of joy and peace as you pray for that person, the blessings you will know as you love that person unconditionally. God loved you unconditionally even though you were a sinner, how can we do any less?
Make today a special day as you pray for that person in your life who has harmed you in some way, and God gives you the strength to love that person unconditionally. I will be praying today for God to give you the strength to take this step today to giving love God's way....unconditionally.
In His love and service, Your friend and brother in Christ,