You Shall Love the Lord

“Therefore, you shall love the LORD your God, and keep His charge, His statutes, His judgments, and His commandments always

Deuteronomy 11:1 (NKJV)

On August 14 at 10 pm I lost one of the things I love the most in this life. I lost my little dog Odie. Odie was a small 15lb bundle of joy that I and my wife owed our lives to, literally.

The first time he saved our lives was when we first got him, 14 years ago. He was about one and a half years old according to the Veterinarian and full of life.

My wife and I had been on disability for about a year when he came to live with us. He was a rescue that was found in the mountains of Tennessee. He had lived through the winter by catching game of one type or another.

My wife and I could tell you the time by what tv show we were watching. We were grossly overweight and in declining health.

When Odie arrived, things changed. Every two hours, he demanded a walk. Before long, we started to lose some weight and feel better. We decided to get out and ride bicycles and lose even more weight. The weight loss made us start feeling better. Our doctors at the VA hospital helped us get into a weight loss program. Before long we were wearing decent clothes and were active again. It was all because that little dog got into our hearts and refused to let us die.

The second time he saved our lives was different. We were living in an RV park and had to walk to the office to get out mail. One day my wife and Odie were going to get the mail and one of the people up front had their youngest Rottweiler off leash, and he came at my wife. Odie got between them and threw the bigger dog down on his back and held him there until the woman came and pulled him away.

Two weeks later, on the 4th of July, I was walking Odie and we were going to the pavilion to see someone. Again, those people had both of their Rottweilers off leash. When they came at us, Odie got between me and the other dogs and fought the two of them. They tore Odie’s chest open, but they never got to me. We took him to the Vet. And they said to just keep the area clean and let it heal.

That little 15lb dog was willing to give his life so I could live. Those Rottweilers weighted over 100lbs each. For the remainder of the 14 years he lived with us, his dedication to my wife and I was unmistakable. His one purpose for living seemed to be loving us. He was always with us and when anyone came to the house, He greeted them first and made sure they were safe to let in. There was nothing that could compare to the dedication that little dog had for us.

“If you love Me, keep My commandments. And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever.”

John 14:15-16 (NKJV)

Why can’t we be as dedicated to God as that little dog was to my wife and I? That little dog was willing to give his life for us because he loved us as much as we loved him. We tried our best to return the affection by being devoted to him.

God gave His only begotten Son to die on the cross in our place (John 3:16) Then God gave us His Spirit to live in us and guide us through this life. Despite all God has done for those who ask Him to, most people reject God’s love and turn back to sin.

God’s love for us in 10 times greater for us than what most, so called, Christians give to Him. Being dedicated to someone means you devote your life to them; you love them totally and completely. This is the kind of love God has given us, why do some feel they don’t have to give that love back.

God doesn’t expect us to love Him as much as He has loved us, but we should. God is living “in us” 24/7 yet most people who call themselves Christians can’t find time to study their bible of to pray, or to help others.

Watching tv is not a sin, unless it is replacing the time you say you don’t have for God.

How dedicated are you to God?

Love the Lord Your God

“Therefore, you shall love the LORD your God, and keep His charge, His statutes, His judgments, and His commandments always.

“Therefore, you shall love the LORD your God, and keep His charge, His statutes, His judgments, and His commandments always.

Deuteronomy 11:1 (NKJV)

Forty-three years ago, my wife and I met at Great Lakes Naval Base near Chicago Illinois. When we met, we were in what they called “A” school. We were both seeing other people at the time, but that only lasted a month or so. When we finally figured out that we were clearly in love, we decided to get married. Believe it or not, she asked me!

My friends, and her friends all told us we were rushing into a marriage that would not last. Our friends all told us the marriage would not last more than 2 years. On our third anniversary, I reminded her that she forgot to get a divorce.

My wife and I both figured out that marriage was something we would have to work at. You cannot just take life as it comes, there is a lot of forgiving each other, a lot of compromise and a lot of fun attached to a marriage.

Most people think love is all you need for a good marriage, but they are wrong. Love takes work, emotion, help from others, but it also takes devotion to each other. The experience of love is what you make of it.

Loving my wife is the most fulfilling thing I have ever done. She brings me joy, comfort, frustration, and she lifts me up when I fall.

My wife and I love God and we know He loves us. That does not mean we get a free ride. We still study the bible, that is how you learn God’s will. If we know what God wants us to do each day, then we can accomplish His will and more.

We still pray every day, multiple times. We still volunteer for different things concerning the homeless, the sick and those who just need someone to talk to.

Most of all we try to live the bible every day. We try to keep all God’s commands and we try to return at least a fraction of the love that God gives us on a daily basis.

Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world. But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, “Abba, Father!” Therefore, you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.

Galatians 4:3-7 (NKJV)

My wife and I look at bible study on a personal note. What has God done for me? God listened to me when I repented of my sin. God gave His only begotten son to pay the debt for my sin on the Cross. God gave me his spirit to live in me and guide and help me if I listen to Him. God comforts me through the truth of His word. How much more love could I ask form God.

When my wife I got married they all said it wouldn’t last. When I was saved (28 years ago) People said I could not change. I did with the help of God’s Love.

Are you ready to change?

Walk in All His Ways

Deuteronomy 10:12-13

“And now, Israel, what does the LORD your God require of you, but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all His ways and to love Him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to keep the commandments of the LORD and His statutes which I command you today for your good?

Deuteronomy 10:12-13

How dedicated are you to God? Do you know what Christ was like? Do you walk in the same way as Christ? Are you Christ Like?

Dedication.” Devoting a person, place, or thing to Holy use. You can also look at dedication as a round robin situation. To be dedicated you must be totally devoted to God; to the point of being Holy. In 1Peter 1:15-16, Peter tells us that God called us to be Holy, as He is Holy. To be like Christ who was holy. If we are holy, then we must be totally dedicated to God. If you are a Christian, you are holy. If you are not holy, you are not a Christian.

To be dedicated and holy, you don’t have to wander around and preach all day and night. You don’t have to talk about God with every breath you take, but you must think about God before you say anything.

Dedication is studying the bible at least an hour every day and you must live the bible 24 hours a day.

And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.

Galatians 5:24-25 (NKJV)

One of my “soap boxes” is sin after salvation. As Paul states in the verse above, we crucified our sinful flesh (nature) when we were saved. The moment we dedicated ourselves to Christ (God) we were free from the sinful nature of the flesh. In 2 Peter 1:4 it states that we are partakers of the Divine Nature. What does that even mean? It means that we have been baptized into the body of Christ (the holy church) and therefore have dedicated ourselves to Christ. We can then be baptized by the Holy Spirit and thereafter our heart is the host to the Holy Spirit. With the Holy Spirit guiding our every thought and move, how then can we sin?

The answer to the next question is easy. If you are a Christian, then you have studied the life of Christ. If you have the Holy Spirit living in your heart, then your studies have molded you into the likeness of Christ.

Once we are in the likeness of Christ, then we now have the mind of Christ (1Co. 2:16). With the mind of Christ to guide our every move, how can we go wrong? Christ lived a sinless life. If we have the mind of Christ and are living the life of Christ, then how can we sin?

For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

Ephesians 2:10 (NKJV)

Salvation is given freely, but it is not free.

God freely gave His only son to die on the cross in our place. However, God has given us Commands over the years pertaining to how we should act and things we must do. If we want salvation and eternal life through the Love of God, then we must follow these commands without fail.

If we follow these commands God will use them to mold us into the likeness of Christ who did good works. These works are our gift from God. These are the works that give us a feeling of satisfaction, a feeling of accomplishment, a feeling of the goodness of God.

For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.

Colossians 1:9-10 (NKJV)

Here is the round robin I told you about. Paul says that since the day they heard of the dedication of the church at Colosse, they had prayed for them. What did they pray for? Not for the individuals, but for the church body. For them to grow in wisdom and knowledge to do good works, not in riches to impress their neighbors.

If you want to be a Christian, then you must experience the “round robin” for yourself. You will never regret the experience, because without this experience, you are nothing.

Showing Mercy to Thousands

You shall not make a carved image… you shall not bow down to them nor serve them.

Deuteronomy 5:8-10

‘You shall not make for yourself a carved image–any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments

Deuteronomy 5:8-10 (NKJV)

The paragraph above is one of the most misread and misunderstood passages in the bible. Some people use this to say it is a sin to take a photograph or watch a movie. However, they don’t say anything about making statues as monuments to fallen heroes and they visit those statues and remember the fallen.

Let us take another look. What is the first verse? “’You shall not make for yourself a carved image–any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.”

Look at what I have underlined. What is a “carved image?” The dolls made in molds, not the ones that are sewn. A carved or poured plaque, especially if it is dedicated to someone. A carved “bust,” a carved or poured animal or mythical creature/person. These are the things Moses was talking about. These are the things God described to Moses when he gave him the Ten Commandments.

What about photographs? Do you worship Photographs? Let me tell you about a couple I once knew.

They were the Wilsons, Joe, and Margie. They had a son named Adam who was killed in Vietnam. When Adam was buried. Joe built a platform in the living room of their house. Joe hung an 18”X20” picture of Adam with candle sconces on each side. He also built a podium on the stage. Around the stage he built a kneeling bench on each side. Every night they would kneel and pray.

The reverence this couple were showing was not to God, it was to their son. I have been to their house many times and what we talked about most was their son. Even when we were supposed to be talking about the bible, they always found a way to make their son part of the conversation.

My dad had a second-grade education. But the book he practiced his reading in was the King James bible. I have known a lot of people with college educations that listened to my dad when it came to knowledge about life. I didn’t appreciate his knowledge until I was grown and on my own. He was probably one of the most knowledgeable people I have ever met, and he knew his bible.

I talk about my dad at times to my visitors, but he is not the only subject and I am not constantly grieving about his death.

I have many pictures of my grandchildren and I love to show them to people to let them know about my family. I like looking through scrapbooks to see the different people and what they like. There is no harm there, I do not bow down to them nor do I serve them.

Look at the second part of that sentence. If we bow before a picture to pray, even if we are praying to God it is wrong and our prayers are wasted.

Now look at the last statement God made in that paragraph. God promised His love to those who keep His commandments. If I live the bible every day, I will without trying keep God’s Commandments.

What most people don’t understand is that for them to keep the commandments, they first have to know what those commandments are. To know what they are, you must read and study the bible.

God’s love is everything. If you read and study God’s word, you won’t be able to do without it. If you live a sinful life you will one day with you had it.

My family and I have never worshipped each other, nor have we ever desired to be rich in money or in glory. What we have wanted is a good paycheck and we will give our tithe of one tenth of the money and all the glory to God and his love. AMEN!!

Strangers Among You

Leviticus 19:34

The stranger who dwells among you shall be to you as one born among you, and you shall love him as yourself; for you were strangers in the land of Egypt; I am the LORD your God.

Leviticus 19:34 (NKJV)

I remember when I was in grade school my family moved several times. My dad had been a farmer and when he sold out, he had several jobs at first. Each time he changed jobs, we moved.

The worst part about all those moves was changing schools. Each time I changed schools I was afraid of the first day. I knew I would probably meet someone that wanted to be friends, but I was always afraid I wouldn’t. It was hard being me.

About the fifth time we moved, we bought the house. That was a good sign. It was a place that we would probably stay.

By this time, I was in the sixth grade. The class I was in was filled with kind; thoughtful kids that made me feel a part of the class. It was a large class for that period of time. There were 60 children in the class and each one was determined that everyone would graduate grade school and move up to junior high. Once I was a part of them, I really felt good.

I remained with that class until I left school in the tenth grade. It was my choice to leave this time, but they all tried to get me to stay. We had become family that cared about each other.

In the verse of scripture above, God made this type of behavior law for the Israelites. He wanted them to welcome all strangers into their family and treat them as they would other member of their family.

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

John 3:16 (NKJV)

In the New Testament, God established a tie between the Hebrew people and the Gentiles. God demonstrated his love for all peoples by giving the greatest gift ever given, His only begotten Son. God sent him to bring all men together in one cause. This cause was the Love of God. No one could give more love than God gave.

I also remember how hard it was to go from a sinner to a Christian. I had already been accepted by the people I ran around with, I had the confidence of those I worked with, I was scared to surrender my heart to Christ.

After I had surrendered, I was living in a new environment. I no longer had the desire to use the words I had previously used, I no longer had the desire to go to bars and get drunk, fight, and get girls. I wanted to stay home and study God’s word. I had the opportunity to change my life for the better.

Before long I had people joining me for bible study and again, we formed a family and welcomed all who wanted to study about God and His love.

The whole reason behind the statement in Leviticus 19:34 is to keep the Hebrew people from fearing other people coming into their towns and allowing them to use God’s love to welcome them and their trade into their city.

Let brotherly love continue. Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some have unwittingly entertained angels.

Hebrews 13:1-2 (NKJV)

The message for us today still uses the same scripture and message. Why would God want them to welcome strangers into their family gatherings? It was never God’s intention to separate the Jewish people completely from the rest of the world. God’s intention was for the Jewish people to be an “example” for the rest of the world. They failed by rejecting the salvation brought by Jesus.

When you look at the church you will find many people that God has given many different talents to many people in the church. You will find people that are naturals at welcoming people for the first time. Those are the people that should be your greeters, not those who want to greet for a personal show.

Many people (like myself) find it hard to go out into the community and talk to people about salvation and God. That was really not what God had in mind. Christ never went into a community to talk to people about God, the community followed him because of the life he lived. God’s intention is that people will see Christ in you and follow you to church to hear about salvation.

Just as God intended for the Hebrew people to set the example for the Gentiles, the same is true for us today. Since we are Christians (Christ Like); setting the example should come easy for us. We have the advantage over the Hebrews because we have the Holy Spirit to guide us and keep us from sin.

If we do our job as Christians, the strangers will come to our church and we can welcome them as God intended.

Vengeance is Not Mine

Leviticus 19:18

You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the children of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the LORD

Leviticus 19:18 (NKJV)

How many times have you heard, “Vengeance is Mine?” This is just a statement to make your grudge against someone legal in your eyes. No one else will ever believe you are right.

I heard a story about a woman who was angry at her sister. She always said that her husband cheated on her with her sister. In the story they had not spoken for 10 years. In fact, her and her husband had moved away, and she had not been home to visit her family all this time.

One day the woman got a call from her mother; her sister was in a Hospice and was not due to live another day. She reluctantly agreed to fly down to be there for her mother.

After she arrived her mother introduced her to some people in the lobby. They talked for a while and then she met Heidi. Heidi was a friend of her sister’s and they had been the closest of friends for years.

During the conversation, Heidi disclosed the fact that she and the woman’s sister were married. The woman was speechless for a moment, finally she asked how long they had been seeing each other. Heidi told her they had met in Little Rock Arkansas on November 01, 2001.

Heidi stated that they had remained in Little Rock until November 21st. They had flown to Mexico and were married on November 25th.

The woman could not believe what she was hearing, and she challenged Heidi. Heidi left the room for a few moments. When she returned, Heidi produced a marriage certificate that proved what she was saying about the marriage.

The woman’s husband was gone during that period of time and she thought her husband had spent that weekend with her sister. The woman and her husband had separated and divorced in 2002. Since their divorce, the woman had lived her life in misery. The woman had hated her sister and the hatred had caused her not only mental problems; she had also developed ulcers.

This woman found out what could happen if we don’t follow God’s commands. The woman took it upon herself to want vengeance on her sister and the result was a loss of God’s love and mental and physical damage to her life.

“Be angry, and do not sin”: do not let the sun go down on your wrath, nor give place to the devil.

Ephesians 4:26 – 27 (NKJV)

Paul went even farther than God in his expression of the fight against anger. Paul tells us in Ephesians that it is ok to occasionally be angry, as long as we do not let the anger grow and become sin. Vengeance is a growth of anger. If we don’t forgive and release the anger, it will grow within us like it did in the woman.

This woman lost not only her sister because of her vengeance, she also lost her husband and her mental and physical health. Don’t be like this woman; turn your anger into laughter by having faith that God will deal with any situation concerning anger.

Our job is to give God the vengeance in our hearts, give forgiveness to the person we are angry at, and receive God’s love because we did the right thing.

Serving Your Master

Christianity is not a religion; it is a way if life.

If his master has given him a wife, and she has borne him sons or daughters, the wife and her children shall be her master’s, and he shall go out by himself. But if the servant plainly says, ‘I love my master, my wife, and my children; I will not go out free,’ then his master shall bring him to the judges. He shall also bring him to the door, or to the doorpost, and his master shall pierce his ear with an awl; and he shall serve him forever.

Exodus 21:4-6

With all the turmoil in the world today, it is my faith in God that helps me endure all the hardships that come my way.

I look at the marching and rioting in our streets and I can only think of the Indians that are still on reservations. The Cherokee were placed on the reservation in 1830. They have been living on the reservation for 190 years. There have been protest over food and living conditions over the years, however they resolved the issues in a peaceful manner. These resolutions didn’t come at the expense of the law being downsized to allow more crime, these resolutions were sensible and rational. Reducing the police departments invites more crime, not more peace.

There are several people today that have issues with different things in their lives. If we use our Love for and from God, it will lead us on our journey to discover a peaceful resolution.

God’s love for us is more than just love. His love will give us peace in our heart and allow us to think of things that anger would keep hidden from us.

I look at the Cherokees and compare them to our demonstrators today. Over the years more and more of the rules and regulations that governed the Cherokees have been changed through peaceful negotiation with the government. They were able to do this because they worked hard and sought out the education required to know how to talk to the government.

God’s love gives us the intelligence to study the bible and know what the peaceful resolutions are.

Without God’s love we let anger and terror rule our lives. There is no forgiveness and where there is no forgiveness for our fellow man, there can be no love for one another, there can be no love for God, and without forgiveness the way to God is blocked.

God’s love comes from studying the bible and listening to one another’s troubles (James 5:16). The great Martin Luther King Jr. preached this message until he was finally listened to. In fact, his message was heard around the world.

There are still some people who are bitter and cause trouble, but for the most part we are still living the message given us. Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. didn’t tell us to hold on to the bitterness and use it to take down the monuments of past leaders of the people, instead he taught that all people, no matter the race, must forgive each other and move on in life. He taught that no matter how many laws and regulations you change, if it does no involve forgiveness, God’s love in not any part of it.

Today all I see is bitterness. This is not coming from true Believers, but from the lawless and misguided souls that are still looking for something to hold on to.

We need to find another man like Martin Luther King Jr. This man or woman can be black, white, red, or purple and it would be the same. People listen to those who can prove from their actions that they know God’s love and wish the same love on all men and women in this world.

Greed, racism, women’s lib, hatred, domination, and many other things are trying to take over the world. These things can only survive in those who don’t know God’s love. Peace, prosperity, equality, togetherness, love for one another, and Christianity are all the product of God’s love.

If we can get the church building open again, we can all worship together and all can be at peace with one another.

Just remember, the bible leads to God, God give us love, love leads to kindness, kindness makes us love one another, and loving one another leads back to God.

Christianity is not a religion; it is a way if life. In life there are bumps along the way and we must steer clear of these bumps because the bumps lead to sin. The only way to steer clear of these bumps is to keep our eyes of God, not the world.

If You Love Me

Love the world as God loves you and God will bless you. God Bless All.

Keep My Commandments

Exodus 20:6

but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandmentss 20:6 (NKJV)

Exodus 20:6 (NKJV)

When I was growing up, I remember the 10 Commandments were hanging in every church building and every courtroom in the United States. Over the years, people got them removed because they did not want to be reminded of their obligation to God.

God only asks us to do 10 things in honor of Him and He has promised to do hundreds of things for us.

The pledge of the allegiance at one time hung in the classrooms in our schools and we were asked to recite it every day. In my school we also had a prayer over the intercom. However, the people who have come from other countries asked that it be removed because they were still loyal to the country they came from. If they are getting an education in our country, they should at least be respectful and step out of the classroom during the pledge of the allegiance and prayer. Instead, our country bowed down and took away the pledge so they would not be offended. There are still small groups that meet and have prayer and bible study during lunch and recess.

Most of the couples of today, are not married. If they got married, they would have to recite wedding vows that would bind them in ways they do not want to be bound or constricted by anything. Where will all this end? You and I will not see it in our lifetime, but it will come. The parameters for a wedding were set in the book of Genesis. That parameter should never be breached.

We promise our children that we will do our best to feed and clothe them, to send them to the schools that will provide them the education they need to live in the world today. Isn’t that the same thing God promised the Children of Israel, isn’t that the same thing Christ promised the Christians of today.

We, as parents, expect our children to respect us by doing what we ask of them. As parents, we set ground rules that we expect to be followed by our children. We expect our children to love us enough to follow those rules.

Isn’t that what God was saying. If we expect our children to follow our rules to get our love, what makes us think that not following the Commandments of God are any different than what we expect of our children. Remember, we are adopted children of God. Jesus Christ is our brother and we are adopted children of God.

For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.”

Romans 8:15 (NKJV)

 “As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love.  If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.

John 15:9-10 (NKJV)

As Christians, we are not bound by the Levitical law in the Old Testament, however, we are bound by the 10 commandments. Why? Because they are the law. Let me explain.

The Jewish law contained in the book of Leviticus is a specific and detailed set of laws that must be followed, or the person will be punished by the people. However, these laws are based, on the Ten Commandments, but they are not the same. As Christians, we are not responsible for the Levitical law, However, we are responsible for the many commandments given by God and Christ. These Commandments are located throughout the Old and New testaments.

How do the Ten Commandments relate to the Constitution of the United States? Just as the Jewish Law was based on the Commandments, the Constitution contains the same rules as the Commands in the bible. We are a Christian Nation; however, we will allow other beliefs to worship in our nation.

There are many people that think we should not allow others to worship their god. According to John 3:16, God loves everyone in the world. If God loves them it is our responsibility to love them too.

If we can, in some way, get along as nations; then we could possibly have a better world. We can’t wait for the other countries to conform to us, we must be the first to introduce them to our God.

What we must do as individuals is dedicate all our lives to the service of God. I don’t mean everyone should be ministers, what we must do is study our bibles daily, talk to our children about God and let them study and be ready when Christ knocks on our heart’s door.

What we must remember that although we are friends with people who have religions to worship, Christianity is not a religion it is a way of life. We must study the bible and find the commands that we must follow.

If the people of our nation would welcome the Love that God gives us through his commands; we would be able to welcome loving each other. Once we become God’s Children, God will bless our nation, and using God’s love we can help the nations of the world.

Go to your bible bookstore and they can get you a copy of the Ten Commandments to hang on your wall to remind you daily of God’s Love for you. Then it is up to you to spread God’s word by talking to neighbors, family, and strangers about your God and How much He loves you.

If you go online, you can probably find a copy of the pledge of the allegiance to memorize.

With all the unrest we have in the world today and in our country as well, we need to love each other even more. If we can dedicate ourselves to God full time, we will also be more attuned to the solutions for dealing with the world.

Love the world as God loves you and God will bless you. God Bless All.

Jacob and Laban’s Daughters

Genesis 29:1-30

In our society today, we have scientists who look for animals that are extinct. We also have archeologists who look for old artifacts that will prove certain things about our history. However, there is no one that looks for the things in life that have faded away and are no longer practiced, like love.

The reasons for stating that you love someone in our society today have changed.

Now that we have colleges that focus our careers on one certain area of expertise, the climb up the corporate ladder has become our focus and has changed how most people look at their lives. Most people work 70-80 hours per week and some work even more. However, there is one thing to remember, it is not the colleges that are changing the marriages today, it is the greedy expectation that the higher learning will bring a larger paycheck. The thing that gives you the higher paycheck is the number of hours that you work. Because the man and woman work so many hours, they don’t have time to properly date and get to know one another.

During the riots and demonstrations in the 1960s, the world adapted a motto of “practice love, not war.” Unfortunately, the love they were talking about was sex, not love.

When it comes to marriage today, society has changed the wedding ceremony and now couples write their own promises and vows. The vows do not contain the promises of fidelity they once did. The cost of the wedding today has climbed to an unusually high cost. The prices have soared and range from an average of $175.00 (per guest) in Alabama to $356.00 (per guest) in Hawaii.

The reasons for getting married today are a large variety of things.

  1. It is the next logical step.
  2. It is the next step in the corporate ladder.
  3. We both like all the same things.
  4. We just don’t have time for the dating scene.
  5. We just want to enjoy each other, we don’t need a piece of paper

I am sure you could probably multiply this list by 100 and you would still not get them all. But when you look at things through God’s eyes, the reason for getting married is the same today as it was the day, He created Adam and Eve, Love.

What we are going to look at today is not a feeling a couple has about each other, but a life of helping each other. Love has always been spread over a life together.

The scripture we are using is about How Jacob came to have both Leah and Rachael, who are sisters, as his wives.

When this scripture took place, the way to get a wife was to barter her from her father. Laban was Leah and Rachael’s father. Jacob had taken a job tending the fields and caring for the flock. When he had been there a short while, he met Rachael and they fell in love.

To do the right thing, Jacob approached Laban and promised to tend the fields and flocks for 7 years in exchange for Rachael for his wife. The marital ceremonies would take place in the presence of Laban.

During the time this took place, it was customary for the woman to build a hut for the couple to live in after the consummation of their affections. You see, the only ceremony God cares about takes place in the heart.

Jacob loved Rachael so much, 7 years would be a short time.

When the 7 years were up, Jacob was told by Laban that when he finished work, he could join his new wife in the hut that she had built.

Laban knew that if he allowed his youngest daughter to marry first, he would take the chance that his older daughter would never be married. It would look to others that he loved the youngest daughter the most and would do the most for her.

When Jacob woke in the morning and looked beside him, there was Leah, not Rachael.

Holding back his contempt for Laban, Jacob went to him and demanded the opportunity to have Rachael for his wife. He and Laban came to a compromise. Jacob would work another 7 years for Rachael, and he would keep both daughters for his wives. Both Rachael and Laban agreed. Jacob worked the 7 years and received Rachael as his wife also.

Jacob set an example that should still inspire us today. He had every right to be angry and probably was a little. But what he did proved his love for Rachael. Jacob forgave Laban for deceiving him and that allowed him to be open to the compromise and allowed him to have what he really wanted in the end.

Even today, we as Christians can turn to this scripture when people take money or damage our belongings or even insult or embarrass us in public. Without the forgiveness that removed the contempt and anger from Jacob’s heart, there would have been no room for the love he had for Rachael, and in the end the love for Leah also.

“Be angry, and do not sin”: do not let the sun go down on your wrath,

 nor give place to the devil.

Ephesians 4:26-27 (NKJV)

We can see that Jacob and Rachael had reason to be angry, but that didn’t give them the right to sin. If they had dwelled on the deceit given them by Laban, they would have allowed malice to enter their hearts and that would lead to sin. Instead they both chose to get rid of the anger through forgiveness. Once we forgive someone for what they have done to us or to others around us, it gives us the opportunity to love that person as well as others.

It doesn’t matter whether you look at this situation through the eyes of Jacob, Leah or Rachael, the answer is still the same, Forgiveness is the prelude to love.

Another thing we must remember is that someone else may not be the person that needs the forgiveness, sometimes we are required to forgive ourselves for one reason or the other. A bad thought about someone is not a sin, but if we allow that thought to become contempt in our heart, then we must forgive them. Remember, for God to forgive us, we must first forgive others.

To have God’s Love in our heart, we must forgive at least once each day.

Sacrificing Isaac

How much do you love God? Would you sacrifice one of your children for God?

Genesis 22:1-14

Due to the circumstances that surround us today, this scripture may seem like it doesn’t apply, but it does. We are living in very trying times. Due to the Covid-19; people are having to make one decision after another.

Today we are going to look at how we can make decisions that please God as much as this incident did.

8  And Abraham said, “My son, God will provide for Himself the lamb for a burnt offering.” So the two of them went together.

Genesis 22:8 (NKJV)

The story contained in this scripture reading is love. Not only the love from God to Abraham, and the faith in God that Abraham had, but also the love that Abraham had for God. This story of love is overly complicated and most people who call themselves Christians, would fail miserably when it came to the faith and degree of love we should give to God.

Notice that, before they went up the mountain, Abraham had faith that God would furnish the lamb for sacrifice. The faith that Abraham had would not move the mountain, however, this faith convinced God of His love for Him.

Because of the pandemic, many people have lost their jobs and are depending on others to survive. Bills are piling up and they are in a panic mode. Don’t worry, if we are honest with each other, we have all been in this predicament.

What we have to ask ourselves is not what we would do in this predicament, what we need to look at is our heart and make sure we have enough faith in God to sacrifice a good job that would make us work on Sunday, because of our Love for God. We also need to look and see what God has put in our path that would make this decision a good one. God will always give us something better than what we think would be good for us.

When we look for a job, we are looking for something that will pay a high wage. We want to make a lot of money so we can do the things the Jones family does. We want people to look up to us like they do the Murphy’s after they bought that new car. What we want is the money.

When God choses something for us, He looks at what we need. God knows about the pandemic that will happen in the future. God knows about the house fire that will happen six months from now. God knows about the accident that will happen to your child at school. God looks at what you need now and what you will need in the future.

How much do you love God? Do you love Him enough to do what ever He tells you to do? Do you love God enough to not sin?

As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.

John 15:9-10 (NKJV)

Notice that Jesus didn’t tell us to keep the commandments while we were at church; He didn’t tell us to keep the commandments while we were at work, Christ wants us to keep the commandments from the time we wake up in the morning until we go to sleep at night. If we can do that, we will show Christ that we love Him.

How many commandments are in the bible? I can’t tell you the exact number, but I can tell you that there are far more than ten. The only way you will be able to know the commandments you have to follow is by studying the bible. Look on the bright side. If you study the bible every day from the time you get home until the time you go to sleep, you won’t have time to sin and your love for God and Christ will grow so much stronger.

There are actually teachers and preachers that will tell you that once you are saved, you can do anything you want to do, and God will forgive you. Do not try it, it won’t work.

Abraham had always done what God asked him to do. God had also determined that all of the descendants of Abraham would do the same.

And God said to Abraham: “As for you, you shall keep My covenant, you and your descendants after you throughout their generations.”

Genesis 17:9 (NKJV)

How can we follow the commandments of God that were given thousands of years ago? They didn’t have all the debt that we have today. They didn’t have the diseases we have today, they didn’t have to travel like we do today, they didn’t have to drive across the country to visit relatives like we do today. A donkey didn’t cost thousands of dollars like the car. Things just weren’t the same back then.

Now that you have tried using all the old worn out excuses there are, let’s look at the reality of the subject. God would never tell you to do something you can’t do, and it doesn’t matter whether you drive a donkey or an SUV.

The descendants of Abraham were given a set of laws and ritual readings they were to follow and perform.

Christianity is not under the law. However, we do still have to follow the commandments that are totally separate from the law. Judaism is a religion; Christianity is a way of life. We are given the word of God and we are also given something that wasn’t given to the Jews. We, as Christians, are given the Holy Spirit to guide us. God is living in our hearts. He is there to instruct us 24/7.

The problem with most Christians is that they don’t listen. If we need guidance on what to do in a certain situation, God is there to guide us, the problem is that we don’t listen when He tells us what to do.

Study the bible and ask God to help you. If you do then God will know that you love him and will have no need to test you like He tested Abraham.

How much do you love God? Would you sacrifice one of your children for God?